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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 23, 2016 10:37am-3:01pm EDT

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he already talked about some of the early issues. i was asked in 1991 to look at the pricing of a drug for cancer is a drug that was invented and was being licensed to do a pharmaceutical company and there was a clause in the agreement but said it should be priced at a reasonable price so i was brought in to evaluate the claim. the congressman at the time was interested in the issue. i started working on this and then that lead to taking a look at the role of the federal government and funding all drugs that have been put on the market since 1955 and then other types
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of drugs for severe illnesses and as a result of this work that i was doing on drug pricing in the united states looking at these issues, i eventually began to get more aware of the international discussions about the u.s. could do and what was happening in the countries in 1994, i was invited to argentina and brazil by people that have picked up my name as someone working on these issues and i really became aware for the first time the extent to which the united states and the state department and through the trade office and the whole apparatus of the foreign policy was putting pressure on the developing countries to extend and put in place monopolies on pharmaceutical drugs so wha a lf developing companies have
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excluded the pharmaceutical drugs from the patent system and you could buy drugs from argentina and others and at that point also from brazil and the u.s. was pushing all these countries to put those in place but also going way beyond that. and i remember when i was at argentina the first time the united states was putting pressure on argentina and the congress wouldn't pass. they signed onto the world trade agreement and they already agreed to put into effect a system of patterns on the drugs by the wto agreement so in a way that battle is already over. they agreed they would start granting patents for the pharmaceutical drugs. drugs. it is just a question of when that would take place and the
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united states wante wanted to ho happen roughly ten years before they were required under the wto rules. so the congress wouldn't pass the law because the domestic drug manufacturers were influential in argentina said the white house was pressing the president of argentina to invoke. argentina had just been a democracy a short period of time and it was causing a political crisis because the idea that they could dictate walls through executive orders and things like that was considered a step backwards in a dictatorship for democracy and i was struck at the time in the equation of looking at the democracy on the one hand and a pid of the price of drugs on the other hand the
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u.s. was jumping right in. now if you fast-forward that through today, right now, just this week there is a dispute we are involved in with columbia, trying to do an extensive cancer drug for leukemia that generated about $47 billion already for a drug company cannot even an american drug company commits invented on nih and grants in the united states in terms of the early development but the patent rights are owned by a swiss company and the senator had his staff meet with the embassy recently and see if that report frothereport from the emf the nature of columbia braves the monopoly on this drugce the per capita income in columbia,
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if they do that it would have negative consequences for the u.s. funding of the peace process which if you think about it and it's sort of an astonishing linkage between peace in a place like columbia. when i work on these issues i do a lot of work and i'm not going to go through everything that we've been working on but i will say that to really understand the nature of the power that's involved in trying to do with the issue, but he talked about his true and i started working on this at about 9,000 people at a dying for the lack of access into the summer between ten to 15,000 people in sub-saharan africa that are receiving the drugs. today there's nothing 10 million
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people as a result of these efforts not just me and my colleagues but the people he talked about a. of doctors without borders and all these different organizations of the drug study group as a whole range of groups that were involved in this and it's been a big success story but at the root of all the disputes, just to understand as i mentioned the power that's involved for several years my wife took a drug that's a cancer drug for women about one fifth of breast cancer patients have this and it is generating about
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$500 million a month. the swiss company was developed initially by a u.s. subsidiary and the company wanted to develop the drug of and of course and they finally did. but if you can imagine, that's one drug for one company. it's not even the biggest selling drug nowadays. there are more that generate more cash than that. whathe political problem do you think you could imagine you couldn't solve with $500 a month with a super high profit margin so when you deal with abuse issues the profits are so large on companies my wife now takes a drug that costs around $150,000 a year and instead of $5,000 a week it probably costs 3,000,
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trying to remember between the sticker price and the negotiated price. that's the kind of merging are talking about. every time somebody tries to fix things come anytime there is an effort at refor of reform commid by the way and just goin i'm juo skip the slide. every time you try to argue that a price is too high for drug, like for example the drug for prostate cancer invented at ucla licensed to a japanese company of costs $129,000 per year in the united states and other countries in europe including switzerland or norway or sweden
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the price is less than half in some countries it is a quarter even though this is a drug invented on u.s. dollars so when we try to change the price they say you will collaborate hurt the effort to collaborate. they were rounding up in terms of sales or a big-ticket item likbig ticket itemlike prostatee united states in every single time can every drug, every disease the answer is if you do anything to move the price of the drug down coming to undermine the r&d and because people care about innovation and because they know somebody that doesn't have the drug they recognize the value of having a
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pipeline of new drugs they feel powerless to address this issue and accept anything it essentially you are in a negotiation where you are asked whether or not the price you're willing to pay to keep your wife alive to keep your son alive and keep your neighbor alive. often that is a big number people are often priced out of the system routinely about 80% of the worlds population is completely priced out of the market and it will be a long time before it's widely available in the countries. almost no women that had positive breast cancer got this drug that kept my wife alive for the last six years and that is a system that we accept because people think it is necessary. the important thing that we are working on right now that is
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forward-looking is to change this situation that we are in and what we are trying to do is d-link the cost of the pharmaceutical drugs from the financing. right now you granted a monopoly on a life-saving drug that's how you fund. and you sit around and people are consistently shocked when a for-profit drug company charges a high price of a drug that you will die if you don't get and every year, every month they are surprised this happens year in and year out it's considered a surprise. there should be a learning curve that goes along where you realize that it's predictable if you grant the monopoly to some profit maximizing firm you will observe a high price if it's effective. so the idea is to get rid of it altogether and just make every
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drug a generic drug from day number one. [applause] you cannot regulate monopolies in the public interest in this case. they have too much money, they have too much power. they've gamed the system one way or another. we don't regulate them. they regulate us. that's what's going on right now in the monopoly. if you get rid of the monopoly, you have to replace it with something that also provides robust funding. so one element would be to have the trade agreements on that patent extensions and property protections and a million other things on the trade agreements 30 signed to raise the price of drugs and instead of that, the idea is to have them focus on national obligations in things like that to focus and put into
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place different measures and incentives with direct funding cut subsidies etc. but to get them to focus on funding rather than high prices and not make it the focus of the agreement could make r&d to focus. that's one step. another step is to reinvent the idea so instead of granting a monopoly you give them money in the design it in such a way that the system works on an efficient set of rewards. senator sanders introduced several bills we worked on for example and i just have time for this one example we are off now to about $14 billion a year just in the united states market for hiv drugs. over the past 30 years we've had about one new drug developed per year on average so if you think about it, $14 billion is a lot
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of money to pay for one new drugs per year. these are drugs you can buy for less than 1% of the price by the fda approved suppliers outside of the united states through the peps pepfar program. sweep aside 3 billion a year as the reward for people to develop new chemical entities for hiv drugs which is for the united states, not the whole world and that is a very big reward system can and it eliminates the monopoly so what you are looking at is a 10 billion-dollar per year freeing up resources which is based on what you're currently doing. we are treating a lower number of patients today then some african countries do because the prices are high. sometimes the patients are not tested in jails because the authority doesn't want the
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obligation of paying for these. we have higher infection rates than we should because we have less utilization of the drugs. but you can do that. we can do it for cancer. the good part for us, i basically have 45 seconds so i'm not going to be able to go through much of my talk here but we are committed to this. recently the ceo of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, glaxo smith kline looks for ways to implement the d. linkage. a number of countries proposed developing countries propose a fraction of the budget for cancer treatment be satisfied to reward the developers of new drugs. but they get the drugs as generics. they don't pay $3,000 a week for a cancer drug they pay $5,000 a week and extended treatment to people and make it more equal and fair. but they recognize the
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importance of innovation so they set aside a different way to finance them to change the business model. it's like the business model for telecommunications was radically transformed by the way the internet pricing is done so you're not yelling at somebody to hang up the phone every time they are talking to their mother or friend or something like that. you're not afraid to send a message because on the margin that's free even though you pay to have the service you don't pay to use the service and that's what we are looking at we want the price of the drug to almost be free but we are willing to pay to get the drug, the first copy out the door. so it's a change in the business model and it will make the world a better place and will be the most transformative thing you can imagine for equality when t comes to access for care and it's a very important campaign and i'm fully committed. thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. [applause]
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>> now we know -- >> [inaudible] getting the republicans running the cooling system to turn it off. [laughter] >> it is a little cold. [inaudible] [laughter] now you know why jamie got the award for civic courage. by becoming his group, knowledge ecology international budget is the equivalent to less than one day's compensation package of david, but then one day his
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compensation package of mario up there. the next speaker i first met him he was a finishing sophomore majoring in civics and he came up to me and said can i go to washington this summer and work on problems affecting people with disabilities and i said of course. he was a paraplegic from a motorcycle accident after his freshman year. he was on the ground floor of the movement, one of the greatest success movements in history. those of you have older age will remember that we didn't even see a student with a physical disability in school.
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out of sight, out of mind. they didn't want to take the students up the stairs. they were segregated. and now look there are accesses all over. buildings have been renovated and retroactive. there is still a lot to do about whether it is racing down connecticut avenue with wheelchairs joyously talking to one another, whether it is access to schools hospitals there's been tremendous progress and he's right on the ground floor here he was part of the demonstration, he was the brilliant inventor of the resilient wheelchairs he and a few others broke the monopoly of london selling high priced and
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reliable flimsy wheelchairs. he doesn't patent inventions for anybody to use. he's teaching many people mostly women how to be build from materials that are strong, durable and inexpensive and in those countries if you don't have a wheelchair is almost a death sentence and every year his network manufactures 15,000 wheelchairs and he will tell you that is only part of it. you will also see a demonstration of a view that he expresses in his incredible definition of people with disabilities purchase what he called his group from his
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nonprofit group were away and wheelchair. [applause] and i give you will hodgkins. >> put your feet into strips of the wheelchair in the third world. there you are. because your sign has been snapped racing down the rough and narrow streets. somehow you've survived the impact and made it home on medical care. here you are without a clue how to stay alive. you badly need to know how people manage to stay alive that
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you have no way to move beyond. the few wheelchairs in the country were designed long ago for hospital use and they rarely last long. most are discovered in a large pile behind the national hospital. your family begs to help, but what can they do and who will feed the children? if you are like most will plead to get out and they will beat you back into your friends will say she died of a broken back. i snapped my spine in illinois.
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wheelchairs were plentiful in the u.s. but far from optimal. since the early 1950s, a single company have monopolized the u.s. industry and debated with monopolies do best raising prices for cheaper products. ..
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whatever you do. every single day, coming down rock, over my teacher ran, fighting to get in and out of your house. an american chair just does not work. it's got to be much, much tougher than what the gringos get by with. [applause] a few years later, while working in washington d.c. as nader's reader, i was faster break down the wheelchair of an attorney at the extremities exchange commissiocommissio commission. the tone of the monopolist manufacturer both of our chairs was bragging to its stockholders
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and its subsidiaries were dumping shares overseas in effect really keeping foreign competition out of the u.s. i responded that while the price of the company's newest chair, the average indian sports model so-called was $750 into today's money in england, the same chair listed for $2750 in the u.s. 1973. when did this in the u.s. disability rights movement had tried to import the low priced seamless chairs to the u.s., their orders were refused. the exchange commission attorney told me that refusing these purchases was an illegal restriction of international trade and should be challenged. that attorney was evident camp, an active republican who later
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became the head of an equal employment opportunity commission under president bush the first. following kim's advice, i went to the london shore room of everson jennings and ordered 10 short chairs, asking that they be sent to washington d.c. everson jennings refused saying that our parent company does not allow us to ship to the western hemisphere. journalist jack andersen reported this violation and president carter's attorney general griffin bell open an antitrust investigation. that investigation moved very slowly until 1977 when ralph nader and deborah kaplan of the right-center challenged ballot in the public forum shortly
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after the doj filed an antitrust lawsuit. in 1979, a settlement was reached, perhaps prodded by the likelihood of a new administration that would be very friendly to monopolies. the settlement was a classic consent decree in which the monopolist's war that they had never broken the law and promise to never do it again. competition in the u.s. wheelchair industry, prices fell and improved. while some american wheelchair raiders found better wheelchairs, very little of this improvement trickle down to the poorer 80% of the world. the cost of imported real chairs were far too high for developing countries where people with disabilities are the poorest of
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the poorest of the poor. what is needed is a locally based industry where wheelchairs can be brought anywhere and be prepared anywhere else. the new american chairs, made of exotic aluminum titanium carbon fiber cannot be repaired in the poorer countries. steel can be repaired almost anywhere. this is why the vast majority bicycles have been made of steel for well over 100 years. i also have a personal interest in proving wheelchair -- steel wheelchairs as wheelchairs made of exotic materials cannot be used to travel safely outside of the wealthy world. reporter john hockenberry who writes his titanium wheelchair to almost anywhere on this planet travels with a large case of spare parts and still has needed to back up of npr to bail him out when things break down. but a traveler with a classic
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steel bicycle can get parts replaced or repaired or custom-made by the blacksmiths in the bike shops in nearly every corner of the globe. with more dependable mobility in mind, i searched the u.s. and europe throughout the night teen 70s, looking for inventors who wanted to bring the steel wheelchair at two the art of the bicycle 1890s. i found very little help. most westerners were working on high-tech materials and trying to develop new high-tech wheelchairs. they were not working on providing the basic mobility that could help a farmer with a hard days work. it was in nicaragua where you realize that i could get more help in the poorest parts of the world than in the west. they're a mat for young writers, all sharing one chair.
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the wheelchair was a u.s. hospital model and it broke down frequently. their shared wheelchair. each time the wheelchair broke, where is my clicker? they would help -- thank you. thanks a lot. let's see. the wheelchair. they would redesign it and fix it so it would not fail again. i know i sound the help i would
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need to make my own chair much better. as we developed together are early chairs and a skilled writer builders in the philippines and mexico showed us how to toughen fixtures without making them anywhere as heavy as if the american equivalent. but as much as we like to read our chairs, they were hard to sell it medical personnel and founders were weary of her hand-painted rustic style peer writers themselves have no money. disabled survivors that the nicaragua civil war solve their problem by accident. doesn't that the survivors of the marathon wheelchairs clear across to show they were ready and willing to be part of the new nicaragua. it did not accept -- the only
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women entering the race, wheelchair builder ramos writing the first prototype of a new chair would beat them all. within weeks, a dozen new chairs were shelled and were chairs for 35 years since then the wheelchair product got training and support in the u.s. peace corps unfortunately this help was cut off sad by the new reagan administration. our wheelchair network as here
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in sa nicaragua has always been tied to the growth of the international disability rights movement. since everyone has equal opportunities to gain disability, the movement open lands of communication that are otherwise not allowed. the national disability group in south africa, for example was the first and only multiracial group during apartheid allowed to lobby the south african legislature. innovations of young and old. most of them writers of locally new chairs.
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some of our inventions come from people very young and very old. this fellow rearranged our spoken pattern when he was eight years old they can still take advantage of this great ideas. the greatly improves stability of our chair noticed that the wheelbase is long on my chair with a 50% longer wheelbase than a typical chair that is six inches shorter than the typical chair because my feet are behind gives a great stability. the biggest injury cloud world over, you hit a bump and fall
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forward. if you take the ratio of the track links to the height of the typical american wheelchair and apply it to three stories tall, hit a curb and a false on its face and maybe breaks its femur in the process. our training here at san francisco state university includes welding to start the testing and over the years learning how to do over the edge wheelchair writing. our new shop in berkeley, california is our most wheelchair accessible shop yet. he acts from long-term users is critical.
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it is critical to keep on improving our chairs. nicaragua has written and abused the same chair since 1985 and is always proud to show me -- excuse me, this is hard. [applause] these folks are the best and the brightest. they put us to shame. his always proud to show me his broken thumb a new. [laughter] mistakes have been. original parking brake had a loop in the handle to make it easier to grab. recently, some of the shops, our
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shops are the shops we were with our independent but such of the more professional looking rubber handle. but when this quadriplegic fellow had a new chair, he couldn't work it. he couldn't block the breaks and transferred. he is hurt himself very badly. i made in a custom break to our old design that he could hook his finger and operate that way. needless to say he is much happier now [applause] shares are now made in a few countries for shipping to other countries. these arrived a week later in
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haiti, shortly after the earthquake. our chairs have been made now and over 40 countries. there have been over 100,000. that of course is hardly the tip of the ice berg. their are easily 50 million people in the world today in developing countries who don't have their first share or if they have one, there was one of these substandard chairs and a verity broken it. our greatest disappointment has been that our chairs cannot provide people with mobility that last them a lifetime or even close. our best chairs last 10 or 15 years, several times longer than most other chairs, but think
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about it. how are these folks going to replace their chairs? our chairs cost $200. that can be for a person with disability, legally paid less than half of what others are paid, illegally, even less than that. they're just no way they can come up with a $200 replace their chair when it finally becomes beyond repair. there are wheelchairs being made in uganda in 1965 that last much longer. many of the last 25, 30 years. if you look at the chair on the left, it uses a regular bicycle wheel. that is the stumbling block towards making a wheelchair last a lifetime. they cannot repair ball.
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like a good bicycle for a lifetime, the regular wheelchair as a high-strength axle and a special hub, a bicycle axle on one end is not going to stand out. the forces are forces can bend most commercial wheelchairs. i can trash them in a few minutes. but ugandan chair is the only one in the world that has been replaceable or been repairable as long as people give them a lot of tender loving care it
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doesn't fit in as many outhouses and is an old-fashioned chair, like the chairs here 100 years ago make it very hard to get in and out of the chair. when i was in uganda 20 years ago, this woman that i had to trade shares with her. she needed my chair that cost one third as much to travel home she doesn't have to pay for a whole row of seats and she had another reason as well. i would go home with her chair and maybe i could learn how to make my chair as good as hers. [applause]
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so we are working on not as hard as they can. in the picture i am writing one of them. it is hard to see that in the back of my wheel is a very thin fork but doesn't widen the chair. if i make it strong enough, it is to have the. number 10 baby will be a little closer. we are zeroing in, but it is not easy. but it sure is worth trying. i certainly learn a lot working with people for whom i have more respect than i've had in my life for anybody. it is pretty amazing. [applause]
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>> thank you, ralph. tremendous. showing that ingenuity and determination are key to be in the public interest world and passion as well, which ralph shows so clearly. now we're going to have robert coulter. he was a founder of the indian law center, and in my resource center back in 1978. i remember saying some pain out of the pine ridge reservation rebellion several decades ago, "new york times" reporter i believe that was asking about the dakotas. what does your people call this before the fight maintained? he said ours. [laughter] that is the spirit that robert
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coulter brings to his 40 years of work as an attorney. his pottawattamie indian himself and he has been involved over the long haul in fight after fight against injustices against the native americans throughout the americas. in fact, he was the author of the first draft of the u.n. declaration of rights of indigenous people was adopted by the general assembly in 2007. ballclub, robert coulter. [applause] >> thank you, jim. it is wonderful to be here. congratulations to ralph on this 50th anniversary of safe at any speed and thanks for this -- and thanks for this opportunity to be here at this time along
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with so many others. first, i want to show you a very short video about our organization. ♪ >> these are the core beliefs of the indian law resource owner. for more than 30 years, the center has been a global force challenging and though the legal framework to enhance the lives of indigenous peoples. one of the major causes of the economic and social ills within native community is the unfair legal rules that apply only to native peoples in the united states. we have taken on cases on behalf of the shoshone and the mohawk nation and others with the goal of changing some of these laws. we also seek to strengthen right so that tribes can better
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connect their people. >> 13 negative children will be so blunt in her time. >> the united nations that the ration on the rights of indigenous people. >> we wanted to be sure and we wanted to establish legal rules that would make it clear that indigenous people really do own their land and really do have full and complete legal rights to those lands, that they have right that can be protected in court, rights that are protected by definite rules apply the cant just be thrown out or ignored by countries and their governments. >> the declaration was adopted by the assembly in 2007. >> as you know in april, we announced we were viewing our position on the rights of the
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indigenous peoples. today i can announce that the united states is lending its support to this declaration. >> this is just a snapshot of the work coming out of helena, montana and washington d.c. offices. with any of my resource center are experts in india or not, working to protect and preserve indigenous peoples and their communities. our ultimate goal is to make positive contributions that will have lasting effects. visit www.india mod.board. -- andy at law -- >> i'm not sure that i actually belong up here with the kinds of organizations and add the kids that have been assembled here. we are an american indian organization and we just work hard and worry about our funding and wonder what we can do to improve the future for india and
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alaska native peoples. i suppose we are a lot like many of these other organizations. let me try and give you a little bit more detail about what we do. what we do is provide legal representation to american indian and alaska natives nations and tribes and i mean indian nations and tribes in central and south america as well. we are funded just by foundations, individuals and a few indian nations. we don't taken a government money that is a matter of our integrity and independence and as a result, our budget has always been pretty small. it is less than 1.5 million per year and that is only in recent
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years. we have an office, as you heard in helena, montana. we also have an office here in washing in the state that is headed by my partner are some 35 years, armstrong wiggins. armstrong, if you are here, raise your hand or stand out. he has done so much to build our program. when we began this work in the 1970s, indian nations in the united states were just utterly dominated by the federal bureau of indian affairs. they suffered extreme poverty. tribes have few legal rights. that is still the case. and practically no constitutional rights. nearly all tribes were completely dependent on federal support for food, shelter, health care and other
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necessities. and into mexico, central and south america injured even worse, frequently suffering massacres, murders, genocide and the like. indian communities were and still are typically denied land rights and forcible relocation. as a result of indigenous peoples worldwide were disappearing along with their cultures and languages. our human rights work by fax and involves thousands of indigenous peoples worldwide, though we just work in the americas. there's an estimated 370 million indigenous people in 70 countries around the world. indigenous people i like to say or american indians, alaska natives in other peoples like that. there's a little bit more of the definition. there are people is that inhabited a country or region at
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the time before other people of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived and became dominant. well, we wanted to insist indigenous nations and tribes to change the appalling treatment and the racist laws that were on foot at amen. a reasonably fair and workable system is always necessary for economic development and improvement of social conditions. in the united states, that doesn't exist today and it is pervasive poverty, deprivation and suffering. casinos benefit really only a few tribes, lawyers and court had done virtually nothing to assure constitutional rights and fair treatment for indian tribes. it was clear that we would have to do something different in order to overcome the incredibly unjust legal system and the system of federal control that
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have been entrenched for 100 years and still it is so entrenched. we decided that we must listen to indian nations that ask for help and follow their decisions. they decided to work her native peoples, not just in the united states. working for indian nations means we were never trained to work alone. we were advising and assisting indian and alaska native nations. sometimes many of them in several countries. that was important. we began a long-term strategy to overturn the antiquated body of law that we found almost everywhere. writing, education, lawsuits and organizing and changing the law, but we learned after years of work they were not open to any serious challenge to the legal system that affects indian nations. the supreme court that ruled
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desegregation unconstitutional also ruled the same year to actually confiscate indian tribes property without due process and without compensation. that is still the law and the united states. we need an additional strategy for changing the laws as some of the indian nations that i was representing pointed out that they had never relinquish their rights as nations to participate in the international community and so we began to look to the international community to the united nations for ways to challenge the laws in the united states and elsewhere. ..
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and i suggested to the indian nations that is working with at the time that they consider proposing to the united nations a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. i wrote a draft for them to consider. they did consider it, reviewed, modified it and took it to the united nations in 1977 and proposed it to the united nations for adoption. our strategy was that by creating international awareness and pressure on the united states and other countries, we might be able to develop international legal standards about the rights of indian nations and indigenous peoples. we might be able to change the
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policies and practices of countries, and we might be able to persuade eventually the domestic courts and lawmakers to reevaluate their laws and policies. we had very difficult times. our strategies were -- many people said we would never publish anything. we had a staff of just five or six, and our budget was never more than a few hundred thousand dollars a year. but the process in the united nations soon became the largest and most heavily attended human rights process in the u.s. history. for the first time the affected people, the indigenous people were able to participate in human rights process and they were enormously effective. hundreds and hundreds of them went to the united nations to negotiate an advocate for the declaration. the work on the declaration took 30 years until finally answered the general assembly adopted in
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2007 and the united states gave its approval and 2010. [applause] it made a big difference because the declaration and plan for the first time that indigenous peoples have the right to exist, the right to exist as distinct peoples. that was not the case before. the right to exist with their own governments, without discrimination of any kind, with the right to own their land and resources and a host of other rights. this was a great change in the tide of history, and it has changed how countries the indigenous peoples. now, in 2014, just about two years ago we hope to win four more major commitments from the united nations general assembly. we won commitments to develop a
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permanent monitoring and implementing body for the u.s. and declaration, to see that it is carried into effect. we won a commitment to create new rules in the u.n. that were printed indian nations and other indigenouindigenous governmentst the state on a permanent basis in the united nations. after this we will have a special permission to go and fight for our rights there. they will be there all the time. we also got a commitment to combat violence against indigenous women, which are got into the do. that by the way speaking individual is our senior attorney who has accomplish remarkable things in the fight against violence against indigenous women. we also -- [applause] we also went a commitment from the united nations to do more to encourage respect for indigenous sacred sites. on the domestic front our
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project on violence against indigenous women help to with a major change in united states law, as you heard in the reauthorization of violence against women act. they used brilliant organizing, brilliant communications, it is about the epidemic of violence against native women and created advocacy in international bodies. and they won the support of women all over the country who helped bring about a tremendous reform in united states law, returning law enforcement power to indian governments in the united states, power to help prevent some forms of violence against indian women. but much more needs to be done. we've litigated land claims. reviews the federal courts to challenge federal government abuses and sometimes state government abuses. we change the united states laws in some important ways, but
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fundamentally the unfair and raises legal framework is still in place and we're continuing to challenge it. we are going to have to focus on education to educate a new generation of lawyers and judges so we are writing materials to do that. it's going to take many more years to change the law. assuring that the united nations takes the necessary measures to in the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and to see to it that countries respected these rights is another priority for our work going forward. and now we are going to have to implement the new american declaration on the rights of indigenous people, because let me say, just four days ago the indian law resource center staff here in d.c., and a handful of amazing indian leaders from the americas, over here at the
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organization of american states succeeded after 26 years of work, succeeded in completing the negotiations on a new american declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. added stronger than the human declaration. now, that's -- yes. [applause] it was a tremendous job they did come and there were so few of them, but it had to be done and they did it marvelously. that declaration is expected to be approved by the general assembly of the organization of american states in a few weeks in june. so we are looking forward to that. the greed for indian resources seems to have grown in recent years, much more virulent. at the same time we are seeing a breakdown of the rule of law in the americas, a significant
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reduction in the willingness or ability of countries to enforce laws or to abide by them. these two factors are extremely dangerous for marginalized people, such as indigenous people. as indian communities have begun to assert the real legal rights that are being created, indian leaders are being murdered in many countries. this is a very alarming development, particularly in central and south america. they are being murdered by those who covet these indian lands and resources. it's a very urgent situation that we must address and must stop. we hope to train more indian lawyers and indian leaders, especially in central and south america to help them defend and assert the right. i hope that perhaps we can create -- i hope that we can create an indian law resource center in that part of the
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world. i get moved by that because it's been a dream that we have been unable to fulfill for many years, but perhaps we can do that soon. fund raising concerns -- [applause] thank you. thank you so much. fund raising concerns are serious. i'm worried that foundations seem to be trending toward just short term projects. isn't good. it took 30 years to get the human declaration, and it was worth it. 26 years to get the american declaration. serious work requires serious time. we need to educate philanthropy to be responsive. i think our greatest need -- [applause] yes. we made it look to individuals and families where foundations are falling down. for the longer i think we need to focus more on education and modern communications work. we need to try to engender the
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rule of law in many countries. and by this i mean encouraging political and social systems so that they are governed democratically by laws and not by the arbitrary dates of individuals. well, in this long-term view i hope that we will see which cultures and hundreds and thousands of indigenous communities thriving all around the world. but i also want to see a great body of rights, fundamental rights, recognize for other peoples as well. this need not be just limited to indigenous peoples. i believe that most of the rights in the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples should be the rights of all peoples of the world. [applause] so let's either do something about that. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you. terrific. what a great lineup we have. this is spectacular. i'm learning so much sitting backstage. next up is a fellow who is a founder and has been longtime director of public justice, a great organization. his name is paul bland, but he is not. rather, he is a fiery fighter for equal access to the courts in this country, and particularly has been doing yeoman's work in that case and in the face of corporate arbitration clauses, totally unjust, anti-democratic decisions. in fact, corporate arbitration is best defined as two coyotes and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
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well, paul bland has been in the face of the corporate power that has created those clauses and he is now scoring great victories after years of fighting with these. welcome paul bland. [applause] >> it is incredibly cool for me to be in the building, in part, 35 years ago when i was in college i was here and saw the jerry garcia band and so i'm wearing a jerry garcia died so i feel like i was at home. so public justice can what are we? we pursue high impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice to protect the earth's sustainability and to challenge predatory corporate and government abuses and country. so let me break it and. first of all there's a lot of different public law firms out there. why do we feel we are different? so there's two things about our model.
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the first is we try to leverage resources and that's one of these words like w we're going o leverage and synergize department and encircle and so forth. the word leverage mean something for us. we recruit groups of trial lawyers, people are really skilled at parity at the facts and taking depositions and found out what the truth is and we work with them on high impact cases. we work, a lot of our cases will have 10% of the time or 5% of the time where we able to recruit and get some of smarties was in the country to help us actually take on some really big causes that we just had our own 14 large that we would never be able to do. the second thing about our model which is really cool is that we work for impact cases. we're not just looking for case in which some has been treated badly. so we are different. i love people who do legal aid worker i love people to individual truck cases but looking for cases that will lead to systemic change, something bigger and broader.
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we look for cases which can have an appeal. we look for cases where you can have a class action or some sort of aggregate change that we can get an injunction that would change the way corporations act as. we look for cases were our communications can draw attention to an issue. the first part of her mission statement i read he was taught to economic interest. odyssey things are protecting the united states with respect to economic injustice. we have the sharpest division between the very wealthiest, the .1% of the rest of the country that we've had since the gilded age are probably worse than in the 1920s. we rank 10th in the world with respect to economic injustice between the richest and virtually everyone else. most americans live paycheck to paycheck today. elizabeth warren critique of the way our economy to set up, she first articulated in her two income trap book is the potentially worse. in the last 10 years with that many millions of people who have homes for close to every user a couple many have cars repossessed.
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the american economy didn't get this unfair by accident. it didn't jump. it was pushed. a lot of corporate cheating going on. first of all there's a ton of predatory lending -- [applause] most people in america don't understand how high interest rates and fees on the loans they are dating or. it's incredible how many people don't understand the product they're getting. there is waged steps that's on an extremely wide skippered a ton of people living situation to which is like a company town where they are no longer considered employees. they are independent contractors but most of the things they need in order to other job are provided to them by the corporation. you have a lot of people who a generation ago are working 60 hours a week and they were making good middle income salaries, and now they're working 60 hours a week and their families are on public benefits because the vast majority of the money that is being given to them is going back to the company of various steps. how did this happen?
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a bunch of things can be done about it. the first is that a lot of companies were able to get away with this corporate cheating by using the forced arbitration clauses. gives to that aspects of the. forced arbitration is when the government puts in the fine print which almost nobody reads, a provision that says if we break the law, you can't sue us in court but instead just to go to a private arbitrator and we'll pick the company, they will pick the arbitrator. editing will be secret. whatever the arbiter decides come is to make an error of law or fact none of that is appealable. most importantly, you can never bring a class action so even if we cheat 100,000 people in exactly the same way to a predatory scheme, under our contract everything what have you is individualized. yet to go out on your own and separate figure out that you were cheated, separately figure out what the law is, you justify own plan, pay a fee to the arbitrator, go buy yourself.
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that is will corporate america's indian is around this force arbitration clause issue. so this terrific amount of evidence in individual cases in the employment area that workers do worse in arbitration than they do in court, that they do get an award it tends to be about 20-25% of what it would be in court. but the biggest element of it is a ban on class actions. so, for example, it used to be the law in america that you could challenge a force arbitration clause and if you could prove as the plane of the ban class actions had the effect of cutting and consumer protection or civil rights law that a court would strike it down. this was, this was my crew for a while. going around them state supreme court to state supreme court and getting them to adopt the law but said if the ban on class actions in arbitration clause would get the consumer protection law and the court with her whatever we had three cases against payday lenders in north carolina and payday
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lending is legal, illegal in some places, regulated some. in north carolina it was just a legal. they were not allowed to do it but they were doing anyhow because they had arbitration clause and they figured we are good to go because no one consumes because we had arbitration clause. we built this strong record and got the court to find the arbitration clause in the case prevent anyone from going forward. made it impossible for someone to bring a case. once we prove that we are able to go forward and with five cases in this role judged i don't have a couple of cases out of time. three cases in one round, to cases in another run. the first three cases go forward. we be the arbitration clause. $45 million in relief for the people. we pay the checks to 200,000 people. [applause] >> thank you. then in april 2011, by a 5-4
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vote, justice clear by giving the supreme court has been a new rule, never existed before, which said even if an arbitration clause would undermine civil rights law would still have been forced to sing the worst case in history of consumer law. in the wake of the conceptual cases literally hundreds of class actions throughout across the country even where there was proof that the case count the arbitration clause was going to gut figures from going forward. we had two more cases against payday lenders and they were thrown out, nobody had anything. they continue to be charged the full another no one got checked. force arbitration system worked as it was planned and it worked really well. so we still have not given up since 20 longer we find all sorts of different problems come anytime a company makes a mistake that you will agree become a little sloppy can we go after with 20 different cases pending. were challenging force arbitration clauses. this year we have 18 appeals
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committee reports about the country knocking out these types of clauses and doing some other acts of justice for we've been fighting hard for consumer financial protection bureau, rich cordray's agency which announced a proposal to have a new rule that for monday, 20% of economy, under the dodd-frank act, they have the power to wipe away the force arbitration clause and class actions and his announce agency has said they intend to do that and they're going forward with it. [applause] >> a chamber of commerce is losing its mind about this and fighting like crazy and you only argued. we don't need these laws because the magic of remarkable work and so forth. we've heard that story many times but there's finally progress going on and we're taking down the clauses were copies make mistakes. admittedly some of the cases come on and as many cases against dell and they did a, i have more cases against cardiff and scam artists. we find arbitration clauses that are being done.
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like an evolution if you are a predator animal going behind the herd you don't like and can't get the healthiest, we find the companies lousy lawyers, drafted a crappy arbitration clause that we pull that down. but there's a lot of different issues around the economic injustice with our barriers like arbitration, court secrecy completes a federal laws and by the way, good consumer protection laws and we work on a variety of different cases fighting against this court secrecy so forth in order to fight against economic injustice. so earth sustainability. the core problem is that corporations can't externalize the costs of what they do. in other words, when you're someone say coal is cheaper than solar energy, it's cheaper if you don't count all the different things that coal does like it makes it hard for people to breathe and to contribute enormously to climate change and it destroys strings and so forth.
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as long as they can take all these costs that the products create and stick them on other people, it looks like it's a lot cheaper than what is in the company mix a lot more money. that's really our model. for example, sustainability of the earth, single biggest threat will come as a surprise to no one is climate change. what are probably the two biggest drivers of climate change the first is called and the second is factory farms. we have come at this image of away from a lot of other people politically indefinable area. the two traditional approaches of if i met up with his first of all this to the vp. there's been some great work in that area -- the epa. were much what interested in suing the corporations that are polluting. we focus on that. i think that's the better use of our resources. the second thing is there's a lot of people litigating over air quality and some great work being done in that area. what we focus on his it turns out that coal plants, frequently dubbed all kinds of stuff in the
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streams that render them dead suspect there places that look like something out of that mccarthy movie, the road where everything is great and there's nothing living? you are dead zones throughout america where coal pollution is gone in, coal ash and other waste and sent to wipe away every single living thing in the streams. the second biggest driver of climate change, factory farms, they frequently have dumped enormous amounts of manure into the streams. what we've done is we've gone after coal facilities, so we've done is use of cases we've had success stopping mountaintop removal mining in which people bring these gigantic machines -- [applause] thank you. to look like something out of star wars and they simply read the entire of the mountain off and then just dump all of the rock into a valley. used to be about to be a part of west virginia that used to be these beautiful rolling hills that are not just flat, i got parking lot. what used to be the mountain is
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is flat. will use the a string of super -- what sort of situations? we argue it violates the clean water act. but it does exist in more we consider that polluted, for example. we had a lot of success in that area. with the factory farms, we went after, there were four mega- dairies in rural washington. with a bunch of cases like this but this was the first one in the country like it. these dairies have so many cows they cram these cows together just side to side to side. they can't even clear what the art so to put them in a big concrete bowl more or less and have them stand there and own excrement up to their knees and they take this incredible number of cows and periodically wash it all out and they're producing more waste than the entire human population of hoboken, new jersey. then they were having these piles of waste that could be as high as 50 feet high and like
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eight football fields wide and they said it's not pollution because of fertilizer and fertilizer is valid. really come is really valuable. fertilize would be valuable if you can spread it over the state of iowa, okay court when you pile it 50 feet high several football fields wide, it's not fertilizing anything. is killing everything. what was happening was it was all getting into the groundwater and the company said it's impossible to get into groundwater. it's amazing because it turns out the groundwater is downgrade from your factory farm is really polluted and the water upgrade from your factory farm isn't. then we find out the factory farm, they bring in bottled water for all the people who worked and lived there so it's like the water is safe enough for you but it's not enough cash to it's not safe enough for us. we sue these guys and ended up winning, the first ruling ever. [applause] thank you. this is a polluting factory farm, that dumping waste in a way that agriculture waste that
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gets in the water supply is, violates federal statute. we are headed toward a court order to we end up settling. completed protocols which are dealing with ways different. for the first time in a generation people who live there, many of them are indigenous americans are going to be able to actually drink clean water for the first time. we have a lot of cases like this. [applause] >> last thing i want to talk about his abuse of power. there's a lot of different ways in which people civil rights to violate the with experts are going to several different types of cases. so, for example, we have a case in texas, latino american guy gets arrested, behind us child support for cuba's. the custody of his children most of life. his ex-wife as the joint antispam too much and the rest of her three days later he is dead. seven jailers were in the top of them and they said welcome he
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died of ddgs. at the shakespeare if you have been around and all of them to shake to manifest themselves to enormous bruising of your chest, two broken ribs and severe external hemorrhaging. and they can also add boudin laced marks on his back and torso. he was murdered. this is not okay. the black lives matter movement is not something that you import. if something trial lawyers are partularly well situated to go after. [applause] thank you. we have an anti-bullying project where we change the way schools approach things that we had a case in pine bush, new york, upstate new york and it turns out that there was enormous amount of anti-semitism up there. friend of the southern poverty law center told us there's a significant claim presence in upstate new york. we had clients in which kids who go to school, who were being beaten up all the time, being all -- with kids who were held
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there was some of the kids crippled a swastika before it. they said they need to get tougher, people to protect themselves. totally wrong. that is not an approved way for schools to do with it. we suited up we not only get money out of the public of them to completely change the way they approach these problems. we get them to adopt a variety of things to train the teachers come to the student had to go through educational programs. every single incident as an associate swastika on one as the photograph, washed off, painting over within a day. we have a variety of different things to change the way this will output a. it wasn't just enough to get money. we wanted to have a change in this isn't and that's what we're fighting for. we are doing this in -- [applause] thank you. we have a lot of different situations we're going about violence against women on campus or some schools a pretty good and some schools will try to discourage women from coming forward. that's not okay. there's a variety of different
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things we can fight about. [applause] you know, some of these problems seem so big that their hope was to people. and when we first started working on climate change, for example, that's initiatives to become to never make it didn't into. in the last couple of years we shut down twice now and the last two years which have been one of the 10 biggest carbon dioxide polluters in america. and if were able to hold coal and factory farm to actually into realizing their cause, they swallow their own cause, that alternatives will not seem so expensive by comparison applause make. >> thank you. and if we were able bit by bit by document the case, by pushing for the government to take action, no with the change in the supreme court possibly we litigating cases, but going after these situations, we'll be able to make a dip in predatory lending because a lot of the
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recent predatory lending has thrived is when the wasn't enforcement. these problems are not hopeless. i'm filled with hope. i'm filled with anger. i mean come on filled with a sense of this incredibly unfair the way things are going but i don't think it's something we're to give up on. if we doubled down, take that anger enter into something positive and we fight case-by-case and build a story we can change this country. thank you. [applause] ..
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if you would like to submit comments or have ideas or suggestions, we welcomed those and would like you to send us to info@cs rl.org. we will make sure those get routed to the right speaker and they will get back to you in response. we will reconvene at 12:50. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> the sunny --
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we interviewed fcc chair tom wheeler. >> is a regulator and a consumer, what is your view of the cable industry today? >> guest: so, you know, i was listening to pat and he was talking about four years ago. i was saying golly, four years ago i was working at ncta. so my relationship with the cable industry has been a long, long time. it was always a great privilege, i thought, to be associated with this industry at that particular point in history.
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and you know, michael powell was kind enough after i became chairman to ask me to come and meet with the ncta board. i sat down and i said, you know, folks, and everything that i believe about the relationship between government and industry was a philosophy developed while i was at ncta because that was a period of time when the cable industry was the voice of competition and innovation. those who did not want things to change, in those days it was the
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brought pastors and hollywood and the telephone company all working together to try and hold back the cable industry. those who did not want things to change used government to maintain the status quo to the detriment of consumers. and so, the philosophy that i developed coming out of that kind of mixed areas the job of government is to promote competition and to let consumers enjoy the benefits of that with the full understanding that those who did are the incumbents never like change. but the thing that is impressive
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to me here is that the cable industry has said we are not cable industry. we are the broadband business. we are the next generation of products. and with that kind of innovative thinking that drives consumer welfare, creates competition. so as we look at the policy issues that result from that and the consumer issues as you say, looking at things from a consumer point of view. the evolution from yesterday's cable industry to tomorrow's broad and industry is requiring
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of everybody how to rethink the relationship of the consumer, how to rethink the government. i think it takes you back to those asic concepts that i developed at ncta, that it should be all about promoting competition and stepping out of the way when there is competition. let me give you an example. the decision that there was effective competition in the video business was a 3-2 decision at the fcc. as you know, the effect of that was to deregulate rate regulation from local franchising authorities across the country. it was a 3-tube out of the commission. i know a lot of folks have
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reported ever since wheeler has been that there has been nothing but 3-to vote. that is me voting with two republicans. because i believe, yes there is competition in the delivery of video services that no longer warranted the kind of regulation that have historically been imposed on cable companies. and we are now defending a position in court. we are defending that position yet that is the same kind of thought process i want to bring to all the other issues we're dealing with, whether they are set-top boxes, open internet or special access for all the other issues. how do we make sure that we are focusing on competition in the government's role to ensure
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encouraged competition so that government can then step out. >> host: mr. chairman, as you know from your successor michael powell in his speech on monday used the term -- use this phrase, the fcc is launching a relentless government assault on cable. now you've got not in doubt here that probably disagrees with your position on that new show at a time i set-top boxes. what is your message to that? what do you tell them? >> is really interesting. you know, michael and i have switched jobs as we did with a few years in between i might point out. you know, if anybody understands the reality of the job like michael's, i do. you know, i can think back to
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when i was the lobbying chairman powell and i think that the way in which lobbying campaigns tend to work these days is first you set up a scenario is there's too much being done. we are being persecuted. and then you talk about the conceptual things that could happen if they do this or do that. i am now on the other side, receiving this. you say okay, real or turnabout is fair play. but you also understand what is going on. but there is an important step
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that has to follow that here. it is not enough just to say we are against this. this is awful. it is incumbent on both the regulator and the regulated to deal with findings elution, not just [inaudible] i think from my experience, i can think of one specific incident with michael when he was chairman when i wish i could present more solutions.
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i think the opportunity that exists now is when you go down the list with set-top talks as our special access or any issue with which there is some intention. we had the make or break point where there is a choice. are you going to say no and do everything possible? or are you going to say how do we make this work for consumers first and away we can live with it. in the course of a rulemaking, that is a rulemaking third designed to elicit. how do you get from a point where we put out an idea, people react to the idea.
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neither one of those is going to be the finished product, but there is going to be a finished product. and how do we focus on the real needs, the real challenges and work together to get their for the benefit of consumers? >> host: chairman wheeler, one of your mantras is competition, competition, competition. when you look ahead to 2017 to the rest of this year and beyond, how do you view what that competition is going to look like in light of a couple of big mergers that the fcc has approved, it better than some of the disruptors in new technology. >> this is the point about why i think intx is a great theme for this particular meeting because
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there are going to be multiple new alternatives for consumers. you know, i am an amateur historian. i love history. i have been trying to study recently the history of networks, the evolution of networks over time. and i have reached one absolute truth. bad days that those who try to stop the change always fail. i mean always fail. those who said here is a new opportunity, how do i see things less in terms of protecting myself and more in terms of expanding markets, that is what
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was so exciting about this industry back in the 70s and 80s when i had the privilege of being here at ncta. we were saying here is a new opportunity. how do we change the way consumers get information? by golly we sure did. >> host: so, given your history here at ncta, the fcc, the wireless industry, where d.c. the future of paid tv going? >> so i think there will always be a future for paid tv. i think that it is going to be -- when they back up a second here. what i think is a relevant because i'm just an observer and all of this. it seems as you look at things, you see the evolution of the
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nature of television, the explosion of video alternatives. you see an increase talk about smaller bundles and how that changes the relationship with the consumer. you see alternative pathways to the consumer over kinds of devices and that we have the potential to be entering the best era ever for consumers and programmers and those who deliver. in that environment, the regulatory challenge becomes how do you make sure that those alternatives combat? let's leave this industry out of it. you know, the telephone company didn't do a great job of delivering new alternatives and
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so they were competitors to them. and so, i think that there would be -- i think the future is exciting both as a consumer and a person looking at it from an historical point. >> host: conversely, as these video delivery systems mature, do you see that there will fall under fcc regulation and scrutiny? >> guest: i think that is very much in the hands of the industry. remember i said that the job of government is to encourage competition because competition is a lot better than regulation, particularly in a fast moving industry like this. if you can't have competition, you know, i was really excited.
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last year on this stage i talked about the potential for cable operators competing with each other. tom rutledge is now going to be doing some of that. at&t as a result of the directv merger is going to be doing some significant overbuilding. there's a lot of talk in set-top talks as about how it's not like this anymore. you combine apps and open internet and all the sudden you don't have to exist just in your franchise area. you rework the contracts with your programmers and deliver that kind of service across the country competition will discourage and make it unnecessary for government to get involved.
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government has a role saying, excuse me, first we have to get competition. are we going to evolve into a competitive marketplace? i think our job at the commission is to say how can we make that happen? >> chairman wheeler, you referenced the fact you've been here the last couple years, giving speech to these folks. did you come here with a specific message that you want to make sure they heard from you? >> guest: colleague, peter, i hope you've heard it. yes. when they go back to what i said at the out side. you know, pat mr. and i were talking backstage and i was congratulating him for being in the hall of fame and in select it for the hall of fame. i know it was a privilege when i
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was inducted into the hall of fame and it was an emotional moment. i was talking about how it was an emotional moment for him because there were so many powerful things happening when i was fortunate enough not to be at ncta. again, the core of what was happening was how do we bring a competitive service at a time when those who didn't like the idea of competition were doing everything possible to shut it down. and so, my only thing is i haven't changed. that is the same believe that i have when i cast those at the sec today. >> host: one of the things we talk to your colleagues about yesterday with the way the fcc
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operates, the fact that all four sitting on the stage is probably a violation of the sunshine. the fact that they could not do that, that your office is in washington, could there be a change in how the fcc is managed to meet? >> guest: the interesting thing is my thought on not have evolved and i have become a traditionalist. there have been a lot of good reasons why the procedures of the commission are as they are and have been this way for decades. for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction is the kind of thing that makes you think, wait a minute, is this really something we have to be challenging at this point in time? so i think it is always
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worthwhile to explore, to ask the questions that have the dialogues, to talk with those on capitol hill who write the rules. the question is, is very necessity to change that for which the last multiple decades have been operated very successfully? >> host: chairman wheeler, how do you get your -- >> guest: i get it on multiple devices. i am a happy comcast subscriber in washington d.c. in oxford, maryland we have another house. i use both broadband and cable to deliver the content to me.
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>> host: experience good? >> guest: i'm a happy subscriber. >> host: one of the complaints you hear often from people who have cable as the cost of sports. are you a sports fan? is there something you would like to see done without? >> guest: and my sports fan? when i was running ncta come i went to a small school in the midwest called the ohio state university and every fall we would play a sport there was a funny shaped ball. the networks never were delivering the content i wanted to see. and soap test house there and the folks in columbus who were cable casting the ohio football
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games would send me overnight a videotape of the game and on monday i would have a party for all of the congressional folks for the ohio delegation saying here is the football game. we can all watch it. and by the way, if we have choices in television, rather than just the three networks, you can be a lot more of it. i think we have reached that point. we have seen a plethora of sports that has resulted in i think that is a great thing and i never miss in ohio's game because i'm either in in the stands i am on cable. >> host: final question, is there too much focus on the chairman of the fcc? first of all, this is a collegial body of five votes to
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get anything done and it becomes easy. you've got a hang and name on it. twenty-third teen to whenever it is, chairman was to hang a name with it. but the other thing is it is a strong chairman structure. and so it creates an opportunity to put ideas before your colleagues. i go back to the fact that you've got to get three votes and that is very much a cooperative process that happened every single day. >> host: ladies and gentlemen, tom wheeler, chairman of the fcc. >> guest: thank you, peter. >> next week, "the communicators" talks with the
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four other fcc commissioners.
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>> house and senate come and senate come in a session today. the house takes up several bills including energy and water spending legislation and a though dealing with toxic chemicals.
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[inaudible conversations] >> the subject may be a come to order. without objection from the chair is authorized to declare an recess and reset the committee at anytime and welcomes you. sorry for being a little day. we've called this hearing today
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to examine a chart 3765 come in the ada education reform act of 2015 and h.r. 241, the access act of 2015, which are to commonsense proposals that require plaintiffs to provide defendant with written notice and an opportunity to correct an alleged ada violation voluntarily before they may file a lawsuit enforce the business owner to include legal costs get these bills come out so they play to cases involving public accommodation would both improve public access for disabled individuals and eliminate thousands of predatory lawsuits and damage that damaged the reputation and its overall purpose. in the ada was signed into law by president george h.w. bush in 1990, the goal was to provide the disabled with equal access to public facilities. and in large part from the ada
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has worked, has been held as the most sweeping nondiscrimination legislation since the civil rights act of 1964. unfortunately, enterprising plaintiffs and their lawyers have abused the law by filing a flurry of ada lawsuits in the churning out total hours and extract the money from small businesses rather than prevent access for the disabled as the ada intended. these predatory lawsuits are possible for two chief reasons. first, 100% compliance with the ada is very difficult to achieve. even though good-faith efforts such as bringing our hiring an ada compliance expert, a business can still find themselves subject to lawsuit for almost any other minor or intentional fraction. according to one of ada compliant specialist, quote, i rarely if ever see circumstances for instances where there isn't
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an access violation somewhere. i can find something wrong anywhere, unquote. this makes compliance to challenge comes even for those with the very best of intentions. second, unlike title ii of the civil rights act, the ada does not require any notice before a lawsuit can be filed. this has led to thousands of lawsuits being filed for issues of relatively minor noncompliance such as a sign being the wrong color or having the wrong wording. abuse of the ada has been noted by federal judges in numerous cases throughout the country have referred the perforation of lawsuits as a cottage industry. these judges have recognized the explosion of private ada litigation is primarily driven by the ada attorney's fee provision. one court explained that the ability to profit from ada litigation has led some law
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firms to spend disabled individuals to as many businesses as possible in order to have them aggressively seek out all violations of the ada, unquote. and rather than notify and business of violations and attempting to remedy them, lawsuit. prior to find a lawsuit does not have attorneys fees under the ada. there is an incentive. as one federal judge observed, the result is the means for enforcing the attorneys fees have become more important and desirable than the end disabled individuals. the ada was enacted to protect disabled individuals not to support a litigation mail for entrepreneurial plaintiffs attorneys hunting for ada violation just to file lawsuits. these bills examine today would help eliminate predatory ada
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lawsuit, increase compliance with the ada by giving businesses the opportunity to fix ada violations instead of dragging them into litigation and improve the reputation of the ada in the eyes of the public and ultimately improve access for disabled individuals. losses would be reserved for those individuals which are truly unwilling to make appropriate changes. this would also allow claims to move through the legal system faster. moreover, requiring notification before filing the lawsuit will benefit oureconomy and have been forced to close because of accessibility lawsuit and others have unnecessarily spend thousands of dollars litigating claims. small businesses are critical to the economic recovery and should not be burdened by unnecessary litigation. it's an honor to have congressman ted poe who introduced 3765 and congressman ken calvert, both here to
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testify about their respect to bills and i look forward to the testimony of our other witnesses. with that, i would recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee, mr. cohen from tennessee for an opening statement. thank you, mr. chairman. colleagues, good to have you all here. this is not the first time there's been a hearing on this type of issue. since 2000, there have been three times the bills have been filed with hearings on pre-notification concerning ada. i have met previously with the folks in the shopping center world, hotel world and the disability community and try to get a better grasp on the issue and come up with some type of a reasonable solution. it is difficult to do it. folks don't really want to change the positions they've got. some of them are based in 1990 and they will tommy this is what we did in 1990 and it's kind of
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like that's fine. i wasn't there in 1990. my job is not to ratify what happened in 1990. when we look at these cases, private parties are indispensable to have been enforced to have enforcement of any civil right laws. we've got to have private attorney generals and private attorney generals have been so effective in many areas and civil rights in particular in the ada and the agreement said there would be damage to these cases under the ada, but attorneys fees if the compromise that was done. i understand there's some folks that think there's attorneys out there throwing a wide net and they don't really have a specific target. i think that is wrong. but i have suggested to them that coming up with some type of the solution part of that in the bill is that you have to have specificity and your complaint and you can tighten that up to see that they have not just a
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complaint, but a specified specific complaint although i don't know why rule 11 has worked against those types of complaints in the past, but so be it maybe that would help. if you get into the situation where obviously the title of this hearing is examining legislation to promote the effect is enforcement of the ada's accommodations provisions. we have to presume in their that we want to enforce the ada accommodation commissions, although most of what we've got is not enforcement of limiting enforcement and limiting the juxtaposition of by minder contradiction in the title and what i see as the focus of the legislation. i've never seen a criminal penalty that would be created to anybody who would search the
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civil right and that's to be a case he could penalty -- criminal penalty if you don't give your notice provision for us. that seems really harsh and folks have agreed that was harsh and maybe further than i could go. that would be anathema. but there can be abusive. i think there might be abuses and if there are want to clean them up. i did that with this committee and looking naturals and i know they are not your piles, mr. poe, they may be. marshall county, texas zero and they're just not necessarily great hair. i would suggest if you want to commend this pre-suit notification that you ought to have -- something that also rewards the good guys to clean up the mess after 120 days and everybody says the good guys would come forth and that's what you want to get. the mirrors are the signs or whatever taking care of. if the good guys do it, and make
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substantial clients, great. but if they don't, you're a bad actors. griffey lollygag or don't be substantial whatever, then you've got to have a stake. the fatah have a state to make sure the bad guys get punished somehow. i'm not quite sure you do it, but not just to give them this notice provision to punish them for liquidated damages and the amount is equal to the multiple of what it requires to fix the area or maybe there'd be some other damages we can come up with to punish the altars that are in the good guys. you've got to have consequences for those people who otherwise get the benefit and not the folks that i know are interested in helping through this action and the folks at the ada community wants like i want the
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ada enforced. this is not about attorneys. this is about ada provisions. attorneys to bring cases the business community and bring it up. unlikely there will be a continued interest in those people, the attorneys to follow attorneys to follow through and help them get the notice provision for dyson of the client to try to cure problems with the ada and that's the way the system works. people have to have some skin in the game. this will hurt the enforcement here unless they come up with something on the backend that can make it a little bit sweeter. i'm a lawyer and i have a disability. i helped pass the ada state statute in tennessee and getting
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this wide net thrown in the subject to attorney's fees. that is a disservice members of the bar. i hope we have a fruitful discussion. i know we will. i think we need to make sure the bad guys get five so that the good guys can deal with the notice. i got back the balance of my time. i must just the way it is. >> i thank the gentleman and i would not yield to the ranking member of the full committee, mr. conyers from michigan. >> thank you, chairman ranks. our distinguished witnesses that
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have joined us this morning. the three bills that are subject of the hearings would in a two-day notice and her requirement under title iii of the american disabilities act to make 290. specifically, these measures would prohibit a lawsuit from being commenced unless the plaintiff first gave the business owner specific notice of an alleged violation and opportunities to fix or make substantial progress towards remedying such violation. let me begin by stating what i said previously when similar proposals were considered by our committee in the year 2000 again
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in the year 2012. quote, i am adamantly opposed to any effort to weaken the ability of individuals to an worse their right under title iii is public accommodations provisions. and here is why. first, the notice and care requiring that will generate numerous litigation traps for the unwary and ultimately dissuade many individuals from pursuing their legitimate claims for example, two of these bills would require a complainant provide specific notice that the alleged violation before he or she may file is to, but they failed to define what constitutes specific notice, nor
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do they define what is substantial progress towards compliance. as a result, courts will have to struggle to determine what these inherently big terms mean, thereby creating a note an invitation for a well-financed business interests to engage in endless litigation possibly that would trade are typically limited resources. in addition, these measures would undermine a key enforcement mechanism of the american with disabilities act and other civil rights laws. a credible threat of a lawsuit is a powerful inducement to businesses to proactively take care to comply with the act's requirements. get a pre-suit notification
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requirement would create a disincentive to engage in voluntary compliance as many businesses would simply wait until receiving a demand letter before complying with the law. this requirement also would discourage attorneys firm representing individuals with claims under title iii because attorney fees may only be recovered if litigation ensues. that's an individual with the title iii claim would not be entitled to recover such fees if the extent of the attorney's representation was limited to drafting the demand letter. pre-suit notification would make it even more difficult for disabled persons with valid title iii claims to obtain legal
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representation to enforce compliance with the act. finally, title iii via its terms is already designed to make compliance relatively easy for businesses. and so, i am pleased to join the hearing and i yield back any time remaining. thank you, mr. chairman. >> and i thank the gentleman. without objection, other members opening statements will be made part of the record. before introduce witnesses, are they to submit to statements for the record differs is the editor owners and support of h.r. 3765 picoseconds the coalition letter, also important in support of h.r. 3765. but that objection, the
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statements will be entered into the record. but we now introduce her witnesses. we have two distinguished panels today. i will begin by introducing the first panel of witnesses. our first witness is representative ted poe. mr. poe represents texas second district and is a member of the judiciary and foreign affairs committee. glad to see you, sir. our second witnesses represented 10 tolbert, representing the 42nd district and is a member of the house appropriations committee. i'm glad you're here. so i would now recognize our first witness, congressman ted poe. if you'll turn up microphone on, yes, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for allowing me to be here. i want to thank the ranking member and also i would like to thank commerce and calvert for his work on this issue for a good number of years. as the chairman has pointed out,
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or has pointed out in the past, a former judge, prosecutor, lawyer, legal profession for almost 40 years. this has been a situation where this particular hearing that we are having deals with i think i abuse of a good law. i believe strongly in the ada and it needs to be always in force. the goal of the legislation is to make sure that when there is a violation anywhere across rooted plane that the violation gets fixed so that there is accommodation for the citizen to get into the business. the legislation hopes to prevent what is occurring, that there are lawsuits being filed not to get accommodation with the citizen, but to get money so that people settle an alleged violation may or may not have or be addressed. what happened to his are making a lot of money off of what i
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think are frivolous lawsuits to the attachment of the person who has actually been prohibited from going in to some businesses because the goal is not being reached to allow accommodation. what is happening is lawyers are filing lawsuits. businesses settle rather than go to court and the lawyer gets we don't know how much of that money. so in the last 10 years these frivolous lawsuits have been filed under the public accommodations section of the ada. some of these losses are in my opinion shakedowns for businesses and they are using the ada as a basis to obtain quick settlements rather than go to court. for example, some of these law firms and our specific offerings in different parts of the country that do this.
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they will file a notice or give a better stating that there is not a proper pool lift in a motel or hotel. some of these hotels don't even have a pool for these motels, but that isn't to settle rather than go to court because of the cost of litigation. that is the motivation of these lawsuits. we are talking settlements of around $8000 apiece. often the same individuals to organizations who are making many claims from business to business. it is a business model that is working especially in the last two years were 10,000 of these lawsuits have been filed. in florida a plaintiff named howard: come and no relationship the ranking member, has filed 529 of these lawsuits. california, martin vocals out 124. pennsylvania, christopher mueller has filed 21 of these losses. in some cases, like our toe in
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sued the hotel in the key west for an alleged violation of their pool despite the fact he was never a registered guest at the hotel. sounds somewhat suspicious. the ada act or to actually wrote wrote part of the ada bill helped the hotel site and this particular case. he stated colin was essentially operating, quote, a continuing enterprise that boils down to extortion. that does not get people into these motile spirit that does not accommodate these individuals. it allows far, as he said, shakedowns for money to be collected by these ada trolls. and some of the letters and notices are so nebulous that the person receiving the notice doesn't even know what the violation was.
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we have a kind knee in houston manages many shopping malls and one particular shopping mall, there's 40 parking spaces that are painted blue and ada compliant that they are still sued because the latter does not lead to the specific violation is. this bill will require basically three things. that they be put on notice that they can fix the problem before there is a lawsuit. if that's the goal to fix the problem, but the business on notice. if the business doesn't respond to this notice within 60 days, lawsuit commenced. if they then don't fix the problem within 120 days, i think that could be worked on how many days will file the lawsuit. that does not prohibit the citizen from filing and getting their day in court. if we want to fix the problem, let's fix the problem. it allows for arbitration if the
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sides want to. it is voluntarily and requires the justice department to come up with some working with the industry and people in the ada community of combat different bottles on how they can educate all businesses throughout the country on what the ada says and how they can come fly with a lot as it is. so that is why the legislation, if you put them on notice, fix the problem, get ada compliant. it is not to really allow for these frivolous lawsuits, the money go into i think the attorneys rather than fixing the problem. i yield back my time and that's the way it is. >> i thank the gentleman and i would now recognize our second witness, representative calvert. sir, make sure that the microphone is on.
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thank you, mr. chairman. to see which numbers of the subcommittee and civil justice, thank you for the opportunity to testify in h.r. 241, to access back. as you know, the ada has been mentioned with one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation that would pass in this country. we all agree providing all americans with access to public accommodations is an invaluable legislative object dave. the purpose of ada is to ensure that says disabled to the public accommodations provide appropriate remedial action for those who have suffered harm's as a result of noncompliance. although there are times the litigation if necessary, there's an increasing number of lawsuits brought under the ada that are based upon a desire to achieve financial settlements rather than achieve the appropriate modifications for access. lawsuits filed by serial litigants often referred to drive-by lawsuits place exorbitant legal fees on small business, oftentimes business
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owners are even unaware of the specific nature of the allegations brought against them. in early 2011, frivolous lawsuits against mall businesses reached an all-time high throughout california. as a result, my good friend tim lungren championed the issue and introduced the original access act in the 112th congress. i was pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to take over legislation for introduction beginning in the 113th congress. january 2015 are reintroduced h.r. 241, the access act. h.r. 241 is a cost free commonsense piece of legislation that would alleviate financial burden small businesses are facing full text so in the purpose of ada. any person aggrieved by a violation would prevent the owner operator with the written notice of violation specific enough to allow such owner operator to their access. within 60 days the owner operator would be required with
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the aggrieved person with a description outlining improvements made to address the barrier. the owner operator would have 120 days to make the improvement the failure to meet conditions would allow the lawsuit to go forward. without question, we must ensure individuals with disabilities are afforded the same that is an opportunity for those without disabilities. as a former small business owner and restaurant owner, i personally have had to do with the serial litigants and i can say for certain that frivolous lawsuits do not accomplish any goal, allowing small business owners to fix ada violations within 120 days rather than lengthy bills to play out is a thoughtful and timely approach. while the ada is a national law as i mentioned earlier, california has become ground zero for the lawsuits. in fact, california is home to more federal disability lawsuits than the next for states combined.
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a 2014 report determined since 2005, more than 10,000 federal ada lawsuits filed with the highest disabled populations, 7188 of which were filed in california. is it to 14, according to the u.s. census bureau, 31 attorneys made up 56% of those federal disability lawsuits in california. those figures are the real-life toll it takes on small business owners and why introduce legislation to allow a fixed it. period it is clear it is not just a major problem in california. the introduction of similar legislation by the gentleman in texas, mr. poe allows just that. his legislation authorizes a training component for affected community and certified access specialist, which i certainly would welcome and embrace as an amendment to the legislation. this is also a bipartisan issue supported by states. i was pleased to see california
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s.b. 269 i would like to submit for the record as well as the related article. passed in the state assembly and senate was signed into law by governor jerry brown on may 10, 2016, just a week ago. the legislation authored by my friend come a democrat, state senator richard roth is similar to the access act in the last this is to take immediate steps to become accessible by providing 120 days receipt of a certified access specialist report to resolve any violations without being subject to litigation costs by statuary penalties. i worry with california acting to curb these lawsuits, some of these litigants will try their trade at other state. maybe they will move next door to arizona. without question, the access act would ensure the ada is used for true purpose of guaranteed accessibility to public accommodations for all americans while eliminating the costly and
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unnecessary losses for small business owners. once again, i appreciate your time today and stand ready to assist in any way possible to ensure the legislation moves forward. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. in fact, i would like to thank both representative powell and representative calvert for the time and expertise. i'm grateful for her testimony. i would now like to invite the members of our second panel of witnesses to come forward. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> i want to welcome all of you. our first witness on this panel is leaky -- transfixed. she owns and operates. the subject of abusive ada lawsuits. our second but as -- our second
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witness is millie shah. .. other company that owns and manages retail properties. each of the witnesses' written statements will be entered in the record and i ask that each of you witness -- each witness summarize his or her testimony in five minutes or less. to help you stay within the time, there's a timing light in front of you, green to yellow indicates you have one minute to conclude your testimony. when the light is red, it indicates the witness' five minutes have side. before i recognize the witness it's the tradition they be
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sworn, so please stand and be sworn. for those who can't stand, just -- do you solemnly swear the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> die. >> let the record reflect the witnesses answered in affirmative. i recognize our first witness, miss key, and turn that microphone on you. >> can you hear me? >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you. my name is lee key and i leave in california. i am here to express my concern regards americans with disability act and how it's been used. i understand all businesses must be accessible for our customeres. i have been a disabled all my life and i am grateful for the -- who recognize the needs for more accessibility for the disabled community when he
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signed ada into the law. public should have access for wheelchair and strollers. public facilities, eating area should be accessible with tables wide enough and high enough for a wheelchair to sit. the eating area should not be designated just for the disabled people and eating areas should not have a sign that say for wheelchair only. accessible buildings allow people with disability to become more independent. i appreciate businesses that have accessible facilities but personally it does not matter if the crab bar is at 37 inches or at 32 inches as long as it is providing and is clear and i need it. our business have to recognize the need for all -- for example, many businesses provide -- --
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with the ada guidelines, because of the lack of information from our city, state, federal, informing the public regarding changes. my mother has two doughnut shops, and has been through locations for all -- it is not fair for businesses to receive a lawsuit from law firms that is out of our city and county limits. prior to filing a lawsuit, notification be sent to a business if there is inaccessible. that mean inside the building has obstacles that are four inches and the facility is too narrow. now that this facility is not up to code with the ada, therefore the particular places or
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business should be -- however my mom doughnut shop was built in 2000, and do not have architectural areas. i know. am there. all businesses should have facilities that are correct. minor violations, and 120 days for correct constructional. in my experience, the carpet or the mat has never become entangled in my wheelchair. after -- ada -- remove the carpets then the ada will be creating a hazard for the able bodied person. we should not be able to feel separate from the rest of society. i this will create bitterness between the customer and the business. do not need a sign to inform me i am disabled and where i should sit.
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the ada should -- accessible curbs and ramps that do not wrap around the building and the back door access for me. generally when i am period through the back door i feel like businesses are embarrassed or ashamed to -- because of my physical limitations. this is understandable because there are disabled individuals, including lawyers, that make it their personal mission in life to collect money from businesses they have never been to. it seems this handful of lawyers think they're only helping the disabled community. moreover, they are separating the disabled community and the able community. the lawyers are causing the able-bodied community to dislike americans with disability act, make the rest of small business owners, who are trying to earn an honest living, look bad. throughout my life people are
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generally very helpful. when i am out and about in communities, people offer their kindnesses to me, whether i accept or decline is up to me. i also have a voice if i need assistance. i can ask for help. i too not want business owner to cringe when the see me enter their establishment. person experience. i was at downtown -- had to use the restroom. i asked if i could use the restroom. then they asked me if i'm going to buy a drink. my -- responded she does not drink but needed to go to the restroom. no, they did not give me permission to use the restroom. since the ada lawyers are going to sue small business, they are posting signs on their windows, no public restrooms. i'd like the laws to be fair and not be take advantage of or
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misused by people that know the laws as lawyers and certified access specialist person. elected official and inspectors should inform the public of all new laws and changes. if this is necessary hungry ada laws to continue, many business will be forced to shut down and there will be many empty buildings in our community because they do not have the money to pay off -- this is wrong and misusing the ada. i notice governor jerry brown signed bill that limited damages for certain minor or technical violations of the ada in my opinion, lawsuit is still a lawsuit. doesn't matter if the amount is reduced. thank you. >> thank you. miss key.
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and now recognize our second witness, miss shaw, and miss shaw, is the microphone on? >> chairman frank -- >> would you turn the microphone on. >> chairman franks, rank -- >> may have to bring that closer to you. i'm not sure what -- >> can you hear me? >> yes, ma'am. >> chairman franks, ranking member cohen and distinguished members of the sub committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. it is an honor to appear before you to share my story. my name is milly shaw and i am a second generation hotelier and attorney from georgia. my parents migrated from india in 1980s and bought their first hotel in georgia. i spent the first eight years of my life on the third floor of day's inn. a place i called home. 30 years later my family owns several hotels that employ nearly 400 people. i personally own two hotels in atlanta, georgia, that amount to nearly 150 guest rooms and employ over 20 dedicate employees. i'm also here representing the
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asia-american hotel owners association, members own over 40% of all hotels in the united states and employ over 600,000 american workers, accounting to 10 billions in payroll annually. recently small businesses have come under attack by unscrupulous attorneys and professional plaintiffs seeking to make a quick buck. to advance their corrupt goals that's bad actors manipulate one of the most important civil rights laws in our country, the americans with disabilities ability elm was recently sued for violations of the ada at may hotel in. there was surprised to think a guest was denied service. i contacted the general manager to learn that the plaintiff had never actually stayed at our hotel, nor was there any evidence that he or his attorney had visited the property. the claims in the complaint were extremely vague and general. among several broad issues he stated a failure to provide accessible by into the hotel's pool. my swimming pool has been closed since the day i purchased it.
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it is empty and covered with a tarp. was i being sued for failing to provide entry into part of my hotel that hat always been closed to the public? i researched the plaintiff and his attorney and found out they have sued nearly 100 businesses and each suit is almost identical. in fact, the same plaintiffs, the same attorney, has sued my father with the same complaint at one of his hotels. it's clear that the plaintiff has no desire to stay at the property and that the attorneys are using him as a proxy. i now have two options. i can either fight the suit, subject my business, employees, families, to months of intrusion and litigation and pay thousands of dollars in defense fee, or i can settle with the plaintiff and pay his attorney thousands of dollars and which the attorney will likely be the only one with the financial gain. we cannot afford to pay out settlement after settlement and defend against meritless suits aimed at preying on fears. hoteliers are targeted because
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so many of us are minorities. settling would imply i'm guilty of violating a civil rights law and would send anal signal to my customers that my hotel is substandard and i do not care for my guests and could impact my ability to attract new customers and finance additional properties and grow my business. it's a no-win solution. we need to find a solution that discourages attorneys from abusing the day for dishonest purposes. hr3765, the addai education and reform act is a vehicle that balances the important protections conferred by the ada with affording small business owners the opportunity to address any issues that may exist. the bill requires a detoday description of a potential problem, requirement of notice and a cure period in order for the order to recognize the areas of concern. also provides a solution that promotes improved accessibility. mr. chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. appreciate your listening to how
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an unscrupulous attorney has targeted me and several others in an effort to extort money under the guise of the ada. we're in the business of hospitality, the crux of our industry is to provide a welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable environment for all of our guests. ask you to consider my story when evaluating hr3765. please help protect small business owners like myself who simply want to run our business, free from the fear that the next envelope we open might be a lawsuit that closes the doors to our hotels. thank you. >> thank you, miss shaw. i would now recognize our third witness, mr. buckland. is that microphone close to you and on, sir? >> move it a little. can you hear me? >> yes, sir. >> mr. chairman, and ranking member conyers, and members of
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the subcommittee, my name is kelly buckman, i'm executive director of the national council on independent living. it's the oldes accessibility national grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. we go by ncil. it includes people with disabilities, in other words for independent living, statewide independent living councils and other disability rights organizations. nicl advances the independent living and the rights of people with ditch if disabilities and envision a world in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. centers for independent living address discrimination and barriers that exist in society through direct advocacy. the barriers are sometimes architectural but more after reflect at tattoos and presents that have been reinforces for generations. they have deterred people with disabilities from working, leaving many in poverty and unjustly detained in
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institutions. as my own life experience has proven, with increased opportunities, individuals with disabilities can claim their civil rights and participate in their communities in the same way as people without disabilities do. i broke my neck in a diving accident on july 26, 1970. i have used a wheelchair ever sense. coincidence lit the american witches disability act was signed into law on july 26, 1990. by president george h.w. bush. exactly 20 years to the day after i got my disability. therefore i had 20 years of experience living with a disability prior to the americans with disabilities act, and now i have 26 years of experience living with a disability post ada. fortunately the ada has literally changed the face of the globe. although i'm honored to be here, i am here to testify in
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opposition to the sod -- as congressmen -- the original ada and the 2008 amendments which were passed and signed into law, passed because people with disabilities, bipartisan lawmakers and businesses worked together. the various efforts to make it harder to bring a title 3 lawsuit have never followed the same process. and never enjoyed support from people with disabilities or the organizations that support them, or the organizations that represent them. people with disables don't want more lawsuits. we want more accessibility. adding a notification requirement won't make multiple lawsuits go away. it simply sends the message to business owners they don't have to worry about complying with the ada until they get a letter. and most parts of this country, it is very difficult to find a lawyer who is interested in bringing an ada complaint against public accommodation because they can't collect
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damages. the ada was enacted as a complies between the disability and business community. the disability community gave up trying to get damages bill allowing injunctive relief and attorney fees. unfortunately there are still businesses and companies who have yet to comply with this important civil rights law even after 26 years. problem here that these bills are trying to address have little to do with anything with the ada. title 3 does not provide for damages. settlements or court orders only can involve attorneys fees. and in the states that the witnesses are from, those states statutes, like california, which has been mentioned, allow the people to get damages. that's why california changed its law. damages are not allowed in the ada, they're no need to change the americans with disabilities act. there's lots of information out
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there. there's lots of technical assistance for people to get on how to comply with the law. even a phone line you can call in to get information, and there's a web site. there's lots of free technical assistance to businesses who actually want to comply with the law. the ada does not require businesses to do anything that would be considered an undo burden. which means if a not readily -- readily achievable and can be accomplished without much difficulty or expense. i just want to say, some of the stuff -- i'm going to go through the rest of my written testimony -- some of the stuff has been talked about around buildings and stuff. the state i hail from, idaho, we changed the building code in the state so when people gate building permit their buildings can be built according to the americans with disabilities act, and the act really gives people
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ranges they have to put stuff into, like, for instance, miss key can fit under the table, can't. that's why the act allows for ranges instead of exact numbers that have to be met. so, with that, mr. chairman, i know my time is running out but i -- just in closing i would like to recognize the wife of mr. justin dart who is known as the father of the ada in the building. with that, mr. chairman, thank you very much. >> thank you marx buckland, and welcome. we now recognize our fourth and final witness, mr. weiss. is that microphone on and close? >> yes. can you hear me? >> yes, sir. >> good morning, mr. chairman. ranking member cohen, mr. conyers and members of the subcommittee. i'm david weiss, executive vice president and general counsel or l of ddr corp. i've been in practice for almost 30 years and general counsel since 2003.
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the ddr is a new york symptom exchange traded real estate investment trust. we own over 350 properties around the country in puerto rico and have over 1 3 million square feet. our tenants are some of the most recognizable national, regional and local retailers. i'm here to testify today on behalf of the international council of shopping centers, icss. the global trade association for the shopping center industry, with over 70,000 members and over 100 countries they represent a wide variety of owners, managers, and other professionals related to real estate. first and for most, let me say that the icsc vigorously supports both the letter and the intent of the ada. we recognize and applaud the positive impacts the ada has had on our society. we also support hr3765, introduced by congressman poe as ways to strengthen accessiblity,
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the primary goal of the addai. frankly i think the legs we're talking about today is misunderstood. there's actually quite a bit of agreement related to the legislation. as mr. buckland noted people with disabilities don't want more lawsuits. they want more accessibility. frankly, we couldn't agree more. we all share the goal of more accessible. we want full compliance, we want it faster, with less cost and we want more resources, not less, devoted to improving accessibility. as an industry, our interests are aligned with the goals of the ada. first and all it's the right thing to do. many of us have the experience the challenges faced by family and friends who are disabled. second it's in our economic best interests to do so. there's a fundamental misunderstanding and misconception that businesses don't support or want to comply with the ada. let me be very clear. more people visiting our
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shopping centers and properties is a good thing. we work with our tenants exhaustively to find ways to encourage more, not less, people to come to our properties, and we spend millions of dollars each year to accomplish this. let me be clear again on an area where i think there's also agreement, and that relates to the bad apples. for those persons who flaunt the ada, they deserve the full weight of enforcement. they choose to ignore compliance and a lawsuit and the threat of attorneys fee ises the only way to force compliance, then so be it. but on the other hand, if a simple notice is the fastest and cheapest way to solve many unintended and often minor areas of noncompliance, why would be not encourage that? unfortunately not everyone agrees with mr. buckland. lawsuits by a small group of lawyers have skyrocketed. 63% increase from 2013 to 2014, over 4700 lawsuits filed in 2015.
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unfortunately, there are some whose interests north aligned with the ada. these attorneys take a different approach they file first, ask questions later. they sue, settle, and move on. their interest is not in actually improving accessibility but rather only in earning attorney fees. many never visit the property, can't tell you what violations may be there, and never bother to confirm whether any alleged violations have been resolved. so i support this legislation because it gives the good apples a 60-day window to respond to claims without an immediate lawsuit. it gives 120 days for the opportunity to cure any potential violations. i think we can all agree that this is the fastest, most effecter and cost effective way to achieve compliance. and secondly, let's not forget that also enhances education and training and encourages the use of alternative dispute
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resolution to actually speed up enforcement. and then let's also be clear about what this legislation does not do. it does not stop the right to sue for noncompliance. it does not limit the ability to recover attorney's fees. it does not change the department of justice enforcement rights. it does not change state laws. what it will do is encourage compliance and stop the unfortunate abusive tactics of a few. with that i thank you for this opportunity to testify today and i look forward to answering any questions you might have. >> thank you, mr. weiss. thank you actual for your testimony. we'll now proceed with questions. beginning guy recognizing myself for five minutes. and miss key, if it's all right,'ll begin with you. miss key, mr. poes bill requires a plaintiff to give a business owner notice of an alleged ada violation and the opportunity to fix that violation before a lawsuit may
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be filed. as a business owner, as someone disabled, do you believe it's fair to the disabled to require notice and an opportunity to fix a violation before a lawsuit can be filed? >> it's fair. the reason i believe it is fair because there's so many new updates, law regulation that -- for example, for my mom's shop, it was seven items unnecessarily. it was a -- that -- the exit sign, incorrect symbol of the restroom, the doorknobs. that is simple. was not aware of the new regulations. so if you are making changes, let us know and this would not happen.
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if the community, if the citizen knows, this will not happen. i would like to say something. i don't think your building here is accessible. i went to the women's restroom. it's not accessible. and you guys create and make the laws and your building is not accessible. how do you expect a normal citizen to follow your rules if you're not doing it yourself? >> thank you, miss key. miss shaw, critics of legislative efforts to allow for cure period prior to commencing a lawsuit under title 3 of the ada have argued the property owners have a legal obligation to ensure their property isaac set able to the disabled. these critics argue that a notice good cure legs would credit a further insend it four property owners no tot comply with adaen in their sued. how do you respond to that
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criticism? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would respond to the critics by saying that the fact that they're having an issue with the grace period shows and implies that they're not here to promote accessibility. all of us here in this room support the ada, we promote it and think it's great for america. in fact we want to fix any issues because ultimately that attracts customers to our business and we want to grow our business. so we're automatically incentivized. so a notice and cure provision would help us fix any areas of concern and promote accessibility versus just the attorneys filing lawsuits immediately, getting attorney fees. >> thank you, miss shaw. mr. weiss, has there been an increase from ada litigation under title 3, and if so, cue provide the committee with some background on that increase? >> yes. i'd be happy to. the number of cases has grown dramatically over the last few years.
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frankly, that's really the driving need for this legislation. this is both a growing and expanding problem, and actually just continues to grow. as i mention in my opening remarks, there's been a 65% increase from 2013 to 2014, and the numbers just continue to grow and grow. in particular there are certain states where these cases are growing the fastest. california, florida, new york, texas, arizona. those combined had the largest number of suits filed, over 80% of them filed nationwide. california has approximately 40% of the lawsuits but only, frankly, 12% of the disabled population there. so this is an ongoing and continuing problem. >> thank you, sir. and i will now recognize the
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ranking member, mr. cohen, for five minutes. >> thank you, sir. mr. weiss, is the fact that california's got their state law -- i think i heard it includes damages -- could that not be the reason why there's so many of those cases in california? >> no. i don't think so. obviously the ada has been in effect for 25 years. i think we all would agree it's had a dramatic impact across the country. so much so that it is just a part of the way of doing business. in our industry, it becomes second nature. we're constantly updating our properties and ensuring compliance with them. the issues that we're having here are very specific, and this legislation -- >> let me ask you this. we have limited tie. why do you think california is particularly litigious. that's the question.
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>> i can't tell you exactly why. some states over others but i can tell you that it's growing nationwide -- >> but specifically you mentioned texas, arizona, california, and florida. there's got to be some -- aren't those states -- >> that's where there are to the most cases but there are cases -- >> i'm hip to that. the fact is -- reason thigh those four more than, you don't have a thought. mr. buckland do you have a thought? >> mr. cohen, i do. those are the states that allow damages. all four of those. >> all four of the states. >> yes. >> how many other states allow damages. >> there's ten in total. >> if there's ten total and four of them, that seems like what they've got in common. that's not a national problem. seems like that makes it -- miss shaw, you grasp that do you not? you grasp the fact those four states or four of ten and that might be the unifying or unique factor that causes the
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burgeoning lawsuits. >> it's across the united states. my properties in georgia, and the same attorney and the same plaintiff have filed the same lawsuit 100 times. >> in georgia? a georgia lawyer? >> correct. >> let me ask you this. you heard what i was saying about the possibility of have something time type of damages for the folks that don't comply if there was a notice provision. would you agree there needs to be some type of stick to punish harshly with sanctions the folks that don't comply within the 120 day period? >> yes. the whole idea is that you would be able to file the lawsuit. >> that's already available. shouldn't there be something extra? >> such as what? >> such as sanctions, damages, liquidated damages. some amount of -- >> yes. exactly. you cannot impose sanctions but remember, at the same time, we're also trying to run our business, and so we're doing the best we can --
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>> but you're a good guy. time talking about the bad guys. >> the bad guys do need sanctions. >> so you agree -- mr. weiss, you agree that would be something that would make your proposal better? >> let me start on the damages issue which you have raised before. first of all, this -- we are not talking about making changes under fundamental underlying changes to the ada. we're talking about legislation which is narrow in focus, a particular abuse or an existing enforcement mechanism. secondly, i'm not sure that damages actually will reduce the problem. in fact it may well encourage them. more damages means more lawsuits, more lawsuits means more attorneys fees. it means more time and resources -- >> but if the damages are only -- >> what we're trying to do. >> -- damages only for the people that didn't comply with the program. the program has a lot of beneficial purposes. yours or ted's or whoever, but i can see the benefit of getting
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compliance, but for the folks that don't comply, why not -- the damages aren't going to be a problem for the good guys. only for the bad guys, and bad guys always have to be punished. >> i think your underlining assumption this is only a damages issue. take florida, for instance -- >> i'm not saying it's only damages. probably a damages issue because of where the litigation has exploded. time talking bat way to have another lever out there to make people comply. all you've got is the notice, which you make it harder to bring a lawsuit and this incentivize lawyers from being involved in the process which will probably result in less notice of actual problems. if you're going to do that, do something that does -- you don't want to have overkill and help the good guys at dvr but not the bad guys at eeq. >> with all due respect, mr. cohen, i don't think this inhibits the enforce. of the ada.
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i think it actually helps enforcement. here's -- >> , my buckland, mr. burkland do you think it inhibits people -- >> absolutely. there's no civil rights statute that requires notice to be able to fix the problem before you can bring a suit. no other civil rights-but they want to put it in this one. it absolutely -- i'll give you couple of examples, like i was in virginia beach. there's a time share down there, and if we sat through, like, a time share -- i'm sure you have experienced this -- silt through a presentation, they give you some reward. the reward was to be able to go on this whale watching tour. so, we sat through the presentation, me and my wife and my son. they gave us our whale-watching tickets, and by the way, none of the time shares -- i couldn't have purchased any of the time shares because they're all inaccessible. not a single time share didn't
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have a step in front of it. so they're all inaccessible. then we go to whale-watching tour and they tell me they don't take people in wheelchairs on their tours. i talked to the guy that took the tickets and said, are you aware of the americans with disabilities act? he said, yes. that doesn't apply to us. i said, where is the manager? i'm the manager. i said you don't think the ada applies to you you? he said. no when i got back home i talked to the department of justice, and we went into where you work it out between you, we did that. they, with very little expense, built a ramp to the boat and now take people with disability on the tours. this happened recently. there's a business association here in washington, dc that i went to. could not get in the front entrance was not accessible.
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couldn't independently enter the building itch told them all that. gave them resources to get information on what the fixes were. checked back with them in two and a half months later to see if they had made any progress on making their billing accessible. i got no response. so i waited for about another two weeks. sent them another e-mail, asking if they had made any progress. no response. i did that three times with no response. so then i made a phone call. they weren't in. so i left a message. no response to my phone call. frankly, that is the most of the responses that you get from when you notify people there's a problem, you don't get any return response. that's what has happened to me over and over -- >> thank you, sir issue appreciate it. my time is out. >> recognize the gentleman from iowa, mr. king. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i thank the witnesses for your
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testimony here today. i'm just thinking about how the americans with disabilities act in a way changed me life, and i want to put this narrative in into the record. happen to have been the only public building in the community that was wheelchair accessible right after the passage of the ada, and so they came and asked me, would you be the host of the republican caucus, in your community? and i said, sure. i'm happy to open up my doors and help people out. then i became the chairman of the caucus and now here i am in congress. so i just slipped that in as -- i don't know how many different implication thursday. i'm sure it's affected your lives more than it's affected mine but it's ironic if the meeting had never taken place who knows what i would be doing today. so, i wanted to ask especially mr. buckland, and i'd ask if you could be brief in your analysis of this, but you lived through
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20 years prior to the ada, in a wheelchair, and 26 years afterwards, and you probably didn't see the immediate results of that because we had a lot of any construction that took place, and refurbishing that took place. so, i don't have any doubt that it's changed a lot of accessibility and you have seen it incrementally from your eyes. the question back then in 1990 was: do we require compliance with the ada on -- only on new construction or also for existing buildings and facilities? i recall going in and doing curb cuts and making wheelchair accessible, and i'm wondering why didn't we think of that when we built the sidewalk in the first place. it was a huge oversight on the part of society not to see how simple and cheap that part of the ada could have been, but what would it be like today, do you think, if the addai had been written in such a way that new construction complied but old construction was voluntary?
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what kind of progress would we have made in the last 26 years? >> mr. chairman, mr. king, very little. if you walk around this town, most of this is old construction. so, if we hadn't applied the ada to existing structures, nothing here would be -- a lot of the build little here wouldn't be required to comply. >> so, do you think -- these build little especially have some of the oldest buildings here, and in my neighborhood it would be different for different reasons. we have a lot of new sidewalks and a lot of new curb cuts would have been done. but i just want to ask you in your perspective. and you have given it to me. i'd like to turn to ms. shaw. you mention thread are essentially copy and paste 100 lawsuits from a single lawyer, and those lawyers in many cases,
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either you or miss key said the lawyers had not been in the facility. so i'll ask eachoff, of you but first miss shaw. what does that list of plaintiffs look like when you have a lawyer with a 100 suits copied and pasted, what's the list of the plaintiffs look like on each of the suits? >> in my case it's just one plaintiff, and so he is using the -- the attorney is using that one plaintiff to fish out other properties in the area and slap the same lawsuit on them. >> have you looked at the plaintiffs in those other lawsuits that were filed by the same attorney? could it be the same plaintiff in some of those cases or even all of them. >> absolutely in this case it is the same. my father received the same lawsuit, same number of pains, same attorney, same plaintiff, at his property. >> but there are 98 others out there. what the likelihood that the same plaintiff has also been utilized by the same attorney in a number of other cases in addition to you and your father? >> there's a likelihood they're
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the same plaintiff and same attorney there oar plaintiffs and other attorneys. so it's an ongoing case. right? you can have one plaintiff suing 100 properties, using the same attorney. and that same attorney may want to settle 100 properties and you average $5,000, that's a lot of money. >> so i'm just trying to get this concept how this works in the attorney's office. you have an attorney that is hotel chasing attorney, and he decided i've got a potential plaintiff here, i'm going to contact him and the two of us can go together and file potentially 100 lawsuit and you by the plaintiff and i'll be the attorney and we'll collect this money at the expense of the businesses who didn't have a opportunity to cure, and didn't know they were out of compliance with the ada. so, i just look at that. had these plaintiffs, then -- that's the likelihood that the plaintiff had never been in the building before the suit was filed? >> i think each case varies. in my case i looked back one year to check the reservations, first name and last name ever matched and there was no record
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of that person staying at our hotel. >> miss key? >> yes. >> would you concur with the testimony of ms. shah and your experience? >> yes. that particular day, this individual sued three locations in our city, same person. and he does not live in the city. and that particular day i was not at the shop. i came back from doing myer -- my errands and agot a patchage, and no one knew who he was. i asked the medical facility that does provide wheelchair to make sure if he is -- and the register with them or buy anything from them. they development know who he is. and recently they did a kind of investigate on this and shows he is able-bodied.
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he go to places, and he uses his wheelchair to get what he does and he leave his wheelchair and put it back in his truck. >> isn't that fraud? would you you sat is fraud. >> that i fraud. that's i would we're here. we need to stop this. we need to stop this fraud. we need to stop this ridiculous using ada to get that they want. mr. buckland said the facility he contact three time and get no response. please go sue them elm that's what the price. whatever that need to be done, yes, but give us a chance. us, myself or miss shah, we don't have any barriers in our facility. no barriers. just because we don't have the information that you folks changes. lawyers have no right, if it's a barrier, please come up to us. have no problem. >> thank you very much. i thank the witnesses and yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i now recognize the ranking member, mr. conyers, for five mints. >> thank you, chairman franks, and i thank the witnesses. could i begin by asking unanimous consent to enter into the record 14 letters from organizations that have a variety of objections to the measure that we're examining today? the consortium for citizens with disabilities, paralyzed veterans of america, the national -- the leadership conference on civil and human rights, and the -- plenty of others. can i ask noon consent -- they take strong exception to this measure, and i ask that these letters be included in the record.
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>> without objection. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted to just ask mr. buckland if we're all friends here -- if mr. weiss' testimony raised any objections in terms of your experience as someone that is disabled? >> well, mr. chairman, mr. conyers, the whole issue around the written notice and the -- you have to wait a certain time to cure, all that stuff, like i said in my testimony issue think that will incentivize businesses to not do anything until they do get a letter. so i take exception to that. also think that like just naming the number of lawsuits doesn't mean that's a bad thing. those businesses were out of compliance, then why is that a
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problem that they got sued for being out of -- for breaking the law? i don't quite understand that. so there what no mention about whether or not they were valid complaints. just the numbers. so, i'm not sure that this results in being a bad thing. >> would it be helpful if the committee knew what the results of all of those lawsuits were? >> yes, i think it would. then i also think that the department of justice could provide this committee with some information about how many complaints they've received, what the complaints were about, how the complaints were resolved, that sort of stuff. >> mr. chairman, i'm hoping that we might be able to follow through on both my suggestion and mr. buckland's, in terms of getting a little bit more detail on some of these cases. now, mr. buckland, we have four
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witnesses here this morning. you're the only one that is opposed to this measure, and so i wanted to ask you, what does the presuit notification mean for the private enforcement of the ada, and what would happen if enforce. is left only to the attorney general if private lawyers stop bringing cases. >> the obvious, mr. conyers, like, what will happen if we're -- if our ability to file suit is impeded, then we have less enforcement, and like i mentioned before, the businesses will just wait until they get a letter. our experience really has been, as i mentioned, -- it's
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difficult to find attorneys that will cake tases except for those states that allow damages. and so i think this is really more of a state legislation issue than it is with the americans with disables ability. >> i do, too. proponents of presuit notification argue that it's reasonable to give businesses the opportunity to cure a violation before lawsuit commences. how might such a notification scheme affect voluntary compliance? >> again, it would impede our ability to make businesses comply because you'd have the waiting period, the notification, it would would disenincentivize attorneys, but i want to ask you the opposite question. why do they need to be notified? the americans with disables act is out there. there's lots of information how you comply. i mentioned that before.
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there's 10ada centers, one in each region of the country, and they have expert cease on the americans witch disabilities act. what is required to comply. this'll come out to your business and talk to you about what you need to do. so they should be pro-active and should be -- they'll know the law there is, they should get the technical assistants and come into compliance. >> i think that a very good response, and you have answered all my questions very appropriately, and mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentleman and now recognize the gentleman from florida for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing. the americans with disabilities act not only changed society for the better, it both literally and figuratively opened the doors of public life that had been closed too long and any efforts we undertake to address
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abuses we have to continue to ensure our society is open to everyone. the goal that we all share is widespread compliance, full compliance with the ada. retrofitting older constructions, ensuring new construction is built from the start has always been the guiding principle itch appreciate that the original compromise that created the ada was designedded to balance national interest in accessibility with the desire to make private businesses allies in this endeavor rather than odd sir varies, and i don't want to upset the original balance that makes it harder to work together toward our common goal of compliance. we have to make sure we achieve continued progress to accessible. that's what the adas meant to provide. if abuses of the process work against those goals i think it requires to us stop and pay attention. in florida, which we talked
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about earlier, in my own state, more than one in five ada claims filed last year originated in the southern district of florida. businesses have to, have to retain the right, do the right thing, and has to be an incentive for them to do the right thing. the it threat of a lawsuit is powerful and works but for honest actors who are making easily correctable small fixes, things that take a few minutes to remedy, we have to have a process that allows them to make fixes to just a grab bar, rehang a coat hook and do it quickly without a lawsuit. i don't take the used of good faith lightly. it should be difficult, a difficult standard to meet. it should show that businesses are in partnership with the american people in creating a society that is accessible to everyone. the public life is for everyone and we want a sew cincinnati where small businesses can
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thrive doing business with everyone. now, mr. weiss, i've been told that the worst of the repeat plaintiffs don't even bother to follow up to see if the infractions have been corrected. tells me that complaints often are about extracting more rather than making a facility more accessible. the code enforce. officer in del rey beach in my part of south florida, quoted as saying they don't care if you fix it or not. the businesses play between 5,000, $12,000, and it goes away, people are taking complete advantage of the moneymaker and has nothing to do with compliance. in your experience, what has been the follow-through of plaintiffs post settlement? >> i'm sorry to say it's virtually none. that's part of the problem. we spend millions of dollars ensuring our properties are code compliant and compliant with the
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ada, and we have millions of dollars invested and then we have attorneys essentially that come to us with their hander out -- with their hand out, not knowing -- vague claims of noncompliance, don't have specifics ander in both to follow up as longos you paid to settle the suit. as a followup i would mention both in your district, mr. deutsche, this has become a -- this is not just the icse issue there press reports, one this week of a serial player filing a thousand lawsuits. in response to mr. cohen's reference to lawsuits in california, california has actually asked two pieces of legislation to actually try to curb the abuse of the lawyers even with the damages provision that the human beings will tillly help. there are abuses going on and so california has passed legislation as well to try to limit the abuses that are occurring there. >> mr. buckland, isn't there a
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difference between a business owner who refuses to include a required number of handicapped spaces or who refuses to make the restrooms accessible, and business owner who runs the business, who has followed all of the technical assistance as best as he or should could, and the grab bar is two inches too high, or the paper towel holder is a couple of inches off, or the line on the handicapped parking space that this is drawn slightly crooked. there's a difference, isn't there? and shouldn't we enincentivize -- don't we want people in the bad actors to actually have to do what is necessary and lawsuits absolutely are required to get
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them to do it? but shouldn't we require or give an opportunity to the small business owner who used all good faith to comply with the law, the opportunity to fix something when it might take five minutes to fix instead of making them pay $10,000 or $12,000 when a lawsuit is filed? >> mr. chairman mr. deutsche, with all derespect, if there's only -- the only issue is the grab bar twice inches off, the business fixes that, unless you're in a state with damages, there's no money paid out. you only collect -- >> one second. want to correct that. make i misunderstood. but the stories i've heard from the businesses in my district where in south floriday one in five of the cases are filed, the story i heard from the guy who runs the bagel shop i stop in, in the morning, who just shared another story with me help got hit with a lawsuit for one of
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these very minor mistakes. he has used all good faith to try to comply, and you're right, he is going to raise it by a couple of inches, and it's going to cost him $10,000 in plaintiff legal fees, which is a cost that he never should have had to incur. >> i'm sorry. unless he is like somehow fought against the original complaint, why would there be attorney's fees. >> can you answer that question? >> the answer is because the suit is filed before the business owner even knows what the issue is. so, to get rid of the lawsuit, you need to -- you ended settling it. i think the chairman understands this, and the ranking member of the committee understands, there's no one on this committee two tights harder to keep the courtroom doors open for justice in the country than die.
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>> believe me, he is telling the truth. >> but in this situation, all we're looking for is the opportunity for someone, for a small business owner, to be able to -- who has exercised all good faith and only tried to do the right thing to do the right thing without being forced to pay an extravagant amount of money, give them the opportunity to fix and it they will. >> i really appreciate the panel for being here. it's a real important discussion. yield back. >> i thank the gentleman and this concludes today's hearing, and without objection, all members have five legislative days to submit additional questions for the witnesses or additional materials for the record. want to thank the witnesses and thank the members and thank the audience for being here, and this hearing is adjourned.
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[inaudible conversations] >> we will take you live by the
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bipartisan center in washington. we will hear from two former housing and development secretaries, henry cisneros and mel martínez. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everyone. good afternoon. good afternoon and welcome to the bipartisan policy center. i'm bill hoglan, senior vice president at the center and i have the pleasure of helping to oversee our fiscal pension healthcare and policy work. i rent cily came across the statistic that startled me. there are over 600 million people in the world today over the age of 65, all cards on the table, i'm one of them, remarkable in itself the fact
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but even more remarkable it is estimated that half of all humans from the beginning of recorded time who have been over the age of 65 are a live today. amazing. and now statistics and estimates can always be an error, i am certain of one thing as i look around room, everybody in this room will be ten years older ten years from today. [laughter] >> we are all living longer and that's a good thing, but with the good news also comes some challenges, with a myriad of policy issues that we cannot ignore. the fiscal challenges to me are particularly dawning and in just ten years, 70% of all federal mandatory spending will be associated with federal healthcare spending. it's also true that some of the most creative solutions to our nation's aging challenges are also found in the inner section
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of multiple disciplines and that applies to our discussion today. in 2013, the bipartisan policy center had a housing commission and they had the forthright to see the flag -- the millions of americans, seniors, prefer to age in place in their homes and communities as a new frontier in housing and with aging comes connection to health and thus the senior health and housing task force was launched one year ago to underscore between health care and housing and improving health outcomes, public and private cost savings, and enhanced quality of life for america's aging population. it seems to me too often my experience has been also that it's treated as separate and exclusive areas of concern. the task force goal established
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to help policy makers break down the siloh's separating the two bridge this divide. today you will hear that this is, indeed, not only possible but absolutely necessary. this project complements a number of efforts that we have underway right here at the bipartisan center including efforts of long-term care reform, innovation within the healthcare system and personal savings retirement, and on the final point as advertisement in about three weeks, the bipartisan center in commission and savings cochaired by senator conrad and former secretary social security administrator lockhard will release extensive recommendations for over two years and you're all invited. today is senior health and housing force consist of two very distinguished republicans
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and two equally distinguished democratic members with significant experience in expertise in housing and health policy fields, former hud secretary and major henry cisneros and mel martínez and former u.s. representative schwartz and vin weber. we very much thank them for their dedication to this particular project. i also want to recognize the team here here and nikki who staffed the task force as well as the external consisting of leaders and housing space and many are here today and just if you're here, will you please stand up, if you're a part of that advisory group if you haven't because they were very helpful in this.
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thank you, thank you. over the next hour we will hear first from the task force members on the recommendations. this will be followed by moderated discussion with the task force led by dr. anan and followed by question and answer period and all of you here and the audience will have an opportunity for some questions. so at this time, please welcome a wonderful friend secretary cisneros. [applause] >> thank you. bill, thank you very much for your kind words and thank you for your service. i first had the opportunity to meet bill here at the bpc about four years ago after a career on capitol hill at sigma and now here at the bpc where he has focused on the really important questions before our country. four years ago he was helping staff, the task force that dealt with deficit reduction issues,
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and the overlap between those questions of the trajectory of national expenditures for medicare, medicaid, social security and the work of this task force overlap greatly because what we have tried to do in this work is to try to find ways to shave the increase in cost by having people live healthier lives in their own homes for as long as possible. i also want to express our thanks to john d. foundation who supported this important work and have supported the bpc's previous work in housing and in aging. over the next 15 years, america senior population is poised to grow dramatically driven by the aging of the 78 million baby boomers. people born between 1946 and 1964, the first of those turn 65
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in 2011 and every year 1.8, 2 million people turning 65 years of age, by 2013, seniors 65 and above will represent more than 20% of the total american population. that's up dramatically from 14% today. those over 85 years of age are already the nation's fastest-growing demographic group. america is changing demographics will impose unprecedented strains on our fiscal, healthcare and housing systems. although these challenges have been essentially hiding in plain sight as a nation, we are severing underestimating the high stakes involved. it truey is one of the most impressive domestic issues before our country. i don't think we really thought through as a nation what it will mean to have an ever-increasing portion of our population, not only aging but aging without
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resources but aging without good home circumstances. one of the biggest challenges is the need for me affordable rental housing. acute shortage of affordable house affects low-income households of all ages many who spend excessive amount of income just on housing, but it is particularly tragic when an older adult often living alone must forego purchasing essentials like nutritious food or medications just so they can pay the rent. just for shelter. surveys show that the overwhelming number of seniors want to, quote, age in place, stay at home as long as they can in their existing homes and communities. yet many of our homes and communities lack the structural features and support services that can make living there safe and viable. compounding these challenges is 70% of adults over 60 who will
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eventual rerequire daily essentials like bathing, medication management, long-term services and supports. medicare doesn't cover these long-term services and supports. though the cost of this care can consume a large portion of the a household's budget. in addition only a small minority of americans have long-term insurance covering expenses. personal expenses are a critical source of retirement funding. personal savings are a critical source. for millions of seniors, the savings will fall fall short of what is necessary to pay for housing, modifications to make housing safer, that long-term services and support i described, health care and other retirement needs. today's task force reports draws attention to these concerns and offer recommendations for congress, for the administration
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and for state and local governments to consider. the recommendations cover a broad range of subjects from increasing increasing the supply of affordable housing to transforming our homes and communities so they are safer and more excessable for seniors to enlisting the power of technology to help older adults live more independent lives. underlying all the recommendations is the belief that greater integration of america's health care and housing systems will be essential. more tightly linking health care and other supportive services with the home can help manage chronic diseases, improve health outcomes for seniors and enable millions of americans to age with greater options. over the past year, the task force was fortunate to witness many success stories, housing providers who made integrating supporting services with the
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home a central focus of their mission. healthcare providers who understood the importance of a home as a site for care and service delivery, local community who is deploy the latest technology to help seniors remain connected to neighbors and friends. they can become truly national in scope. make no mistake, healthy aging begins at home. the title of our report is not just a slogan, it must be a central element of any strategy to manage the demographic challenges ahead. at this time i would like to turn the floor over to a gentleman who has become a very good friend, senator mel martínez, senator martinez was, as you know, the mayor of orange county, florida. he was secretary of housing and urban development and then senator from florida. he is one of the best public
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servants i had the privilege to know, a wonderful human being and as i say a friend having thoroughly enjoyed working with him in bipartisan efforts and hopefully more in the future. senator mel martínez. [applause] >> thank you very much. well, the feeling is mutual henry. i have enjoyed getting to know you better not only on this but other housing issues at bpc in the past and like you hope will have a chance to do more in the future as well. i really enjoyed working within vin weber and allyson. we have had a lot of productive conversations while, you know, one thing that is important to remember as we live in the current times that this city lives in is that the bipartisan policy center is a hallmark of what is needed in washington so very much which is bipartisan ideas, ideas that bring together different points of view but at
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the end of the day resolve to find common ground so we can reach solutions, so we can move the country forward. that's one of the great things i love so much about doing this work. so may just happens to be oiledder americans' month, in recognition seniors contribute to communities and to america. so it is fitting that the task force is releasing a report at this time, our goal is to offer some policy ideas that can help maximize these contributions as the senior population grows. monthly mortgage payments along with property taxes, utility payments and the cost of home maintenance and upkeep can be a major strain on the budget of senior households, for many seniors, housing-related costs constitute household expenditures. major contributor is scarcity of affordable homes.
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this is a probably for our country at large but certainly acute problem for seniors. impacts lower-income households, many who are older adults living on fixed incomes. there were 11.2 extremely renter households competing for only 4.3 million affordable and available rental homes resulting in a total short canfall of 6.9 million homes, 2.6 were identified as elderly households with no children. the rapid age of u.s. population is slightly to increase for demand for affordable rental homes and exacerbate the supply, the supply-demand line that's just not keeping up with current problems. in the coming years many of older americans will seek the transition from home ownership to rental housing.
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the demand for rental housing will intensify even more with greater numbers of seniors suffering severe rent burdens. center for housing studies estimates by 2025 the number of rent other households age 65 to 74 and 75 or older will pay more than 50% of their income on housing, will rise by 42% and 39% respectively. as we say in our report, affordable housing is the glue that holds everything together. without access to such housing and stability it provides, it becomes increasingly difficult to introduce a system of home and community-based supports that can enable successful aging. to help increase the supply of affordable homes for older adults, the task force proposes a significant expansion of the low-income housing task credit program.
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the housing credit is a 30--year-old program that encourages 100 billion and private investment in affordable rental housing. it has proven to be a great success, helping to support the construction and preservation of more than 2.8 million affordable rental homes including hundreds of thousands of homes for seniors. as cochairs of the bpc housing commission, henry and i call for a 50% increase in federal support for the housing credit. and so therefore we were very please that had chairman of finance, senator hatch and senator campwell also a member of the committee released bipartisan legislation last week mirroring those recommendations. other organizations have called for even higher levels of additional support. what's clear is that the greater private investment and affordable housing that is needed now more than ever and the housing credit is indispensable to encouraging this future investment.
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when i served as hud secretary, i considered the section 202 program to be one of our most successful initiatives, many of the seniors served at the program are at risk but benefit from the supportive services available to them at project sites. the nonprofit sponsors of the project have enhanced the lives of literally of hundreds of thousands of low-income seniors and their families. unfortunately since 2011 there has been no funding under section 202 for new construction or rental assistance for new units, so while we must work together to adequately fund the program, it's also time to try something different. the task force proposes a new federal program that uses project base rental assistance and the housing credit to finance new construction and attract funding from healthcare programs. our approach drawing from the
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recent reforms to the section a11 program, not just the federal government and mission -oriented and private sector developers. by requesting states to funding healthcare and related services the approach would suggest integrated delivery of housing health care and other services. the task force also spent time xapging the impact of regulatory policies on the cost of housing, including housing for seniors. this is an issue that deserves more attention than it typically receives. it's something that i worked at when i was at hud. it's a great big problem in our country. recan't i heard statistics that in florida 40% of the cost of an affordable home goes to governmental cost, permitting, impact fees, et cetera, it's a real serious problem. so i was pleased that the housing financial services'
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commit held a hearing this past march as the national association of home builders recently pointed out, on a national level government regulation is about 20% of a new single family home. if we are going to close the supply gap, federal regulatory policy must work to encourage not stopping the production of new affordable homes. state and local communities must also embrace land use policies that encourage alternative housing for seniors such as accessory dwelling units, these policies must be a win-win for everyone preserving the integrity of neighborhoods while expanding the supply of affordable housing options. the bottom line is that we need both the public and private sectors to step up and recognize the need to help seniors age with options in their communities. and finally, i want to conclude
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by highlighting the issue of senior homelessness, the number of home lessen oirs is projected to rise nearly 59,000 by the year 2020. the task force believes that our country, one of the wealthiest nations in the world should not accept the situation in which so many senior citizens live without adequate shelter and appropriate care. preventing and ending homelessness should become a national priority. to help the effort, the task force recommends that the interrationy event an end homelessness among older americans in the near future. now, it is my pressure to turn the program over to congressman vin weber to recommendations to transform homes and communities. so now, vin. [applause]
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>> thank you, mel. this is my first project with the bipartisan policy center and it's been a real delight to work with henry, mel and congressman schwartz. what a delight it's been in the first experience to work with the staff of the bipartisan policy center, all of whom are genuinely dedicated, mission-driven people and we can be proud of the work that we have done and the other projects, i think, that are emanating from this place, special notice to my friend bill who noticed -- made some reference to his own approaching senior years since i can tell you that bill and i have been friends for over 30 years, that tells you a little bit about my age, i guess. [laughter] >> it's a delight to work with these folks. before i get into specifics and i will, i just want to say one
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of the things that we probably said to each other every time we've met or did a telephone conference call or anything else like that, was it's really kind of the case that america does not understand the magnitude of the problem that is going to be hitting them. we said it time and time and time again. and if you cut through all of the recommendations and analysis and everything and i can leave you with one thought, that would be the thought, we all kind of know america is aging, we all know we have problems connected to that. our conclusion really is the country does not understand the magnitude of the difficulties it's going to face with the huge number of retirees and aging population in the coming years. in the course of our work, the task force decided to do a lot of work here obviously but try to get input from around the country as well and i want to say that those are very successful efforts. we convened last september, a
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panel at the humphrey school and congressman schwartz did the same thing in philadelphia in march of this year and tried to get prospectives from different folks with different areas of expertise in those two places. it took input in a number of other ways as well. one thing we can say that the nature's of the community in our country may differ but the problem exists. there's no place immune from this problem we are facing of the aging of american and the large number of unprepared folks and communities that are facing. as henry mentioned, the overwhelming majority of seniors seek to age in their own homes and communities and unfortunately over the next 15 years they are not going to be likely to do so. they'll be a mix match. i can say from personal experience, this is something that's very close to me. within one month of launching
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the task force my siblings and i moved my mother into a retirement facility and it's a nice place, well taken care of, i don't have any problems with the care there but the wrenching difficulty of moving someone out of an independent home where they have been living into a facility is enormously difficult and sometimes it's unavoidable but there are things we can do to make it possible for people to stay longer in independent living and age in as the phrase goes. there's 3.8% of housing units in the united states are suitable for individuals with moderate mobility difficulties, just moderate difficulties and at the same time communities as oppose to individual homes, lack senior-friendly infrastructure such as accessible transportation, well-maintained streets and well-lit and affordable housing and you can see in our recommendations,
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recommendations that are aimed both at -- at the individual residents where people live and at the communities within which they live. a large part of it on a personal level that we are all becoming more aware, household finances. 20% of those over 62 will have $5,000 or less. this level of savings y'all can tell is inadequate to cover the expenses of daily living, never mind the costs of trying to adapt a structure to the problem of an older person. to accommodate the desire to age in place, it's obvious to us that new solutions and approaches will be necessary and i believe will be adopted. we will talk more about the possibilities of that later and we offer a lot of specific recommendations.
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for us, it's best to start with the use of existing resourcese l pr programs for which you are all familiar to provide expertise and home assessments add modifications. .. administration for community living, aco. under this initiative the aco would coordinate existing federal efforts as well as publish an annual inventory of programs that have modifications for home owners and landlords that went to seniors. initiative would serve as a resource center to inform the aging network, national network of federal, state and local agencies that provide services
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to 11 million older adults annually about resource available for home assessments and ramifications. we are pleasedo see that congress with a little bit of recognition from us but reauthorized the older americans act earlier this year which, of course, is the aging network. the task force recommends cities and states establish and expand programs to assist particularly low income seniors with whole modifications. new property tax credits, grants or forgivable loans. 80% of all modifications for aging are paid out of pocket by resident. local governments can help relieve some of this burden by making funding available to up with these modifications. in my home state of minnesota, the congressional district i represent, a lot of rural people and any of you who come from a rural area of the country under no there are many here who do know that we have a disproportionate increasing share of seniors living in rural communities across the country. about 15% of residents in
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nonmetropolitan regions are 65 and over compared with only 12% in urban areas and often lack the support network you would get in an urban area. the u.s. department of agriculture section 504 program is an important source of funds for single-family home modifications for low income will seniors of the program and will but outdated so we suggest a number of ways to make section 50 for more effective, streamlined application process providing greateproviding greaty point the low end of grant portions, and increasing to $7500 our wing threshold requiring a lien against the homeowner's property. let me finally conclude by saying our report is that all of the answers but it's our hope you will help spark a national focus on these incredibly important and difficult issues. it is my belief that i think the belief of the task force that when we face a problem of this magnitude, a tidal wave coming at us come eventually there will be a response. it's very important in our view
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that we start planning an effective systematic well thought out response rather than dealing with it as a crisis when it is upon us already. and with that i will pass the baton to my colleague and friend, congressman allyson schwartz from pennsylvania. [applause] >> well, thank you very much. i'm pleased to be with you this afternoon as well and participate in the task force. it's also my first opportunity to work directly with the bipartisan policy center, and wonderful colleagues, could we to do this for people. we had lots of discussion and were able to come to think some very important recommendations. so we help policymakers will take very, very seriously. so thank you for the opportunity to do this. i do want to just share a quick comment before i start my more exclusive remarks.
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you've heard from my colleagues but this report has a great deal of information. a lot of important facts, the numbers by very real. they are not exaggerated by any means and who matter in each and every one of our communities across the country. but it's more than that. it does point out solutions, open to other ideas as well but there's very specific recommendations and solutions. this really is a call to all of us in health, and housing and public policy to move outside of our silos entity could understand the interaction between health and the communities and homes we live in, the great opportunities that exist to better understand that. so one of come window, a lot of conversations going on around medicare in particular but medicaid is will just and health care space to understand how important, factors other than what we've considered traditional factors are in the status of our people.
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certainly seniors but beyond health care itself, the influence on health status has really contributed to a premature mortality that your home, that the place in 20 living, your physical environment makes a great deal of impact on your individual health. housing takes on greater importance of course older americans since they spend a great portion of their time in their home. the home is also increasingly seen as a potential site of care for seniors to receive health and wellness services and is an essential tool for caring for those with chronic conditions. by virtue of the rapid expansion to the senior population, more and more americans will be living with multiple chronic conditions and experiencing limitations of activities of daily living. i was one once assisted medicine report that seems pretty stunning. 68 were sent to medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions.
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as the result 93% of medicare spending is spent on these people. so understand that on the spending on chronic, multiple chronic conditions, and the effect of being able to provide care for scenes with multiple chronic conditions in their homes has the potential to improve health care outcome and reduce health care utilization and costs in significant ways. as mentioned in the report, to give you some examples. one is there's evidence this proposition works. and it is growing and catching attention around the country. vermont senior services at home model is demonstrating how housing can slow the rate of growth in medicare spending. capable of fundable, federal funding trout johns hopkins university showing how tailored home intervention can help ask risked seniors avoid
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hospitalization. these are all very positive developments and their leading the challenges that we face in communities across this country into exciting and innovative ways. bringing health care and housing even closer together and building on the strong foundation that's already been laid is really key. we have to accelerate this integration of health and housing. it is scaling it up, learning from all of these different innovations can figure out what's working and then really scaling it up to really much bigger numbers in many more communities. the task force identified several important policy opportunities including key actors in national health care system who can really don't have to be part of all this. of course, there's a public interest medicare and medicaid, the private insurers including medicare advantage plan that have flexibility to really tackle some of these issues head-on, and help -- health care professionals and hospitals.
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will do all of our institutions. quite simply to our report is a call to action to the entire health care community to address housing when caring for older adults. and to really, want to go through a few of the opportunities. you are more in the report but just in a couple of key ones that we really think we can make a difference. first, they are the most vulnerable seniors, those who need really enhanced care coordination, including those who are of core seniors. there are, for example, 1.3 million older adult winters 11 obloquy subsidized housing. the vast majority of whom argued eligible for medicare and medicaid. which means they're older and they are poor. the task force recommends the centers for disease for medicare and medicaid services, cms, and its center for medicare and medicaid innovation, innovation and cordoning health care and
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long-term care services and support for medicare beneficiaries living in public housing. under this initiative health care providers in partnership with housing entities which implement evidence-based care models and programs, and be accountable for improving health care outcomes and reducing costs. eligible applicants would receive advanced payment. for example, an amount for beneficiary on a monthly basis which would be used to make important investments in their care coordination in infrastructure, including supporting housing based service coordinators. second, there is an opportunity to prevent poor health outcomes in seniors. consider, be very explicit example but what i think will capture your attention, is that 123 older adults fall each year. and not just fall simply, but sometimes quite dramatically. it results in 2.5 million
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emergency department visits each year. 700,000 hospitalizations, and $34 billion in annual health care costs. it is very disruptive and very difficult, and sometimes really life-changing experience for them, and tragic in so many ways. many of these falls are preventable. and yes, most occur in our home. that's why we strongly recommend that medicare and other federal agencies make reducing falls for seniors a top priority. opportunities exist to both incentivize and provide technical assistance to help providers help reduce falls. cdc has its steady, tool for the great resource in establishing
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best practices and way to go. else look at particularly within the cap-and-trade system upholding, providers accountable for providing these kinds of supports. there are also opportunities to support community-based fall prevention programs and support public and private sectors in efforts to modify homes assessment talked about. and we should be helpful in terms of fall prevention. the outside these enormous. interesting report also has issues or fitness investment and some of the things in maintaining your balance as you get older, turns out to be a real issue as well as getting rid of those -- that you can trip over far too easy. some very simple examples if you happen to have an older adult in your loved one's family and see what you can do about that. the third example is a task force spent significant time examining the role of technology
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in helping to play a role in the home setting in improving successful and healthy aging. we sent an online survey to 179 housing and health care stakeholders and ask the question, which technologies are most effective and scalable? and what health outcomes can be achieved with these technologies? very interesting result about this and the real sense you'll find all the results in the report. they are included there. what is clear that older adults and their caregivers and their health care providers can benefit considerably with technologies like telehealth and remote patient monitoring to improve health and get good health outcomes. that are so numerous barriers. to our high cost to consumers that need to be reduced. there's the difficulty in licensing sometimes in these requirements that prevent the
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adoption and use of these technologies, and these barriers should be removed and should examine. there's been some good work on this at attention on the hill to telemedicine. so let me just close by saying to my friends and colleagues did, this is an enormous opportunity. there aren't many come everyone of us knows, and maybe even care greatly about some of summit is over 65 for someone coming, giv. so let's look out for each other and let's do it in a way that improves health status can reduces costs, and really enables all of those seniors to age successfully for many years. thank you. [applause] >> in good afternoon. asbell mentioned i want to thank again all the co-chairs for your remarks to do everything we want to now move to the moderated discussion part of our event. so if you could please join us on stage.
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[inaudible conversations] >> i'm hoping we'll have some time for audience question and answer today, but we wanted to ask a couple of questions i think that are on the minds of many of you in the audience today, and many of you watching. it's a process can such a pretty. first press we begin with you, secretary cisneros. if you don't love it about the cost applications of the recommendations proposed today. we know some of the recommendations if implement thd result in additional federal expenses but we also know that there some items that could lead to savings over time, particularly with respect to cost borne by the health care system.
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how would you frame a discussion about costs with regards to these recommendations speak with at least a few words about that but firstly let you think you as a leader of the task force and nikki was irresponsible on the part of bpc any of the other team of researchers and writers who can associate with us. if we could take just a moment of personal privilege and ask those folks to stand so we can recognize anybody has been involved in the writing group. thank you, dennis. thank you. [applause] >> a good part of the impetus for this report is, in fact, the fact that we are increasingly aware of the role of demographics in influencing the cost curve of increasing budget expenditures on the part of the federal government and other levels of government. costs related to medicare, medicaid, social security are three of the most important drivers of budget deficits.
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and it's a function of the fact of the public is aging as dramatic as it is. i mentioned 78 million baby boomers. it causes the rate of number of persons over age 65 between now and the next 20 years or so to double as a note of people over 85 to triple with increasing medical costs as those used advance. and the most expensive years of being the fortitude of a person's life where they find themselves in those expensive housing they will ever have, a nursing home, with most expensive medical care needs that they will confront. so anything we can do as a country to shave off the trajectory by enabling people to stay at home longer, less expensive than nursing care, to have the votes to build of home, care at home, peace of mind at
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home that allows them to be healthier at home, all of those are positive aspects of what this report speaks to. it does cost some to expand on home services, for example, and create a support system of home care specialists that our country is going to need. but the expectation is that those costs are less than what can be saved and shaving off the cost of increased for the most expensive form of care. there have been numerous studies done over the years. one specifically at stanford, that spoke about, trying to great a plateau on health followed by what they call compression of use of morbidity. the standard expectations about aging is beginning at six or so there's a sort of steady decline, and cost increase over
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a steady period. professor james freeze at stanford expounded and logic is that if you can find ways to keep people on a higher plateau for longer period of time, and then there's a shorter period which we all could see to the field and realities of life, that she should important in terms of creating a dividend, if you will, for the country. and i think those concepts are all complicit in this report. a personal experience was mentioned, two summers ago my mother who live in the home in which she and my dad bought when they were married, raised five children, 69 years in the house tom and could never talk about leaving the house even after my father died and begin to talk about moving elsewhere. it would've taken dynamite to blow her out of that house but she which is doubly. it was her garden.
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she knew the bird in the neighborhood. it was her house. she fell down in the summer of, august of come on site, 2014, and it went downhill from there. she was 90 and we lost her by november. so there was about a four month period there that was that difficult, but she had been after home perfectly healthy, functional, at 90 until that moment. so i lived through the implications of putting people, keeping a person can sustained in a place where they can be happy and then there is that inevitable through the pundits difficult, but if we could create those kinds of circumstances are more americans i think they would be better off in the country as whole from the budget template would be better off as well. >> thank you. another question and perhaps secretary martinez you may want
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to start your relation to the role of the private sector come expanding the supply of affordable housing for seniors. 's window above the low income housing tax credit. he spoke about today, thin and s it's about leveraging private sector investment. and our other recommendations in today's report that engage the private sector in afford the housing preservation and to no modification. how do we get the private sector more involved and do you think these recommendations will help speak with i think these recommendations really strike a great balance between the potential for savings that henry has been talked about as will as engaging the private sector can the investor community in things that would be considered by them to be as interesting as low income housing tax credit. i had the great privilege of working with senator mitchell in our housing task force, and he prides greatly and being a father of the tax credit, or being at the birth of the tax credit, let's put it that way. and what a success it has been
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over the years because there is a tremendous desire for investors to find opportunities for the benefits they receive as a tax credit, et cetera. some of these recommendations by co-modification, for instance, we could make a home more suitable for someone to live in the home until they are 90, but in henry's mother's case. so often that's not the case because of constraints, because of steps. there are so many things. the other thing we did consider also is a tremendous opportunity for aging in place, the use of technology and want technology. as we look at that as there is of opportunity we will have to remember that the not-for-profit sector and the private sector are both to be engaged in this effort in a way that i think can create a much more sustainable program for the long haul and also something that we can be done in the short run. we had the experience that we've had in the local government arena you know it is about engaging the not-for-profit, the
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private sector and those communities in partnership with government that really can make things happen and come alive. that is what we need to replicate and not only just look to another program but how do we make some things work in a better, smarter way? i think the low income housing tax credit am and how exciting the recommendations that we made a couple of years ago have now been picked up my senator hatch who by the way significantly chairman of finance in senator campbell who's a democrat on finance as well. so it's a bipartisan opportunity for something good happened in an area where over the years i've heard so many times people involved in the program say i would invest thousands, millions more if i could have an expansion of the tax credit program if there was more opportunity with a. i think we need to keep that in mind and the smart as we go forward as we go forth and find effective solutions for the long haul will make this a more sustainable problem. by the way we need to realize
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the enormity of what's face gets is going to require all of the above. it's not going to be just up on a hill and it's not going to just be a not-for-profit. it's going to be the entirety of what art country resources are in order to get it done anyway that is sustainable and meet the tremendous challenge we face. >> focusing on health care, congresswoman schwartz, the task force makes a number of recommendations to the stakeholders, medicare advantage plan, nonprofit hospitals in addition to the recommendations you outlined. with a gradual shift our health care, we move from volume two valley. health care sector is increasingly looking outside the four walls of the clinical setting to realize better outcomes than lower cost. is this finally the time for housing in the home setting to become a top priority for health care stakeholders? >> certainly it is -- there's a great deal of conversation about all of the social environmental
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situational factors that relate to health care and health care costs. people can get to the hospital, get to the doctor in a timely fashion, can't fill their prescriptions because they can't make it there. nobody delivers to the neighborhood was simply afraid to call for recommendation. deserter story about someone was recommended to get cataract surgery but he knew he didn't have anyone who could take care of them when he got home. finally, because it's in a really good medicare advantage plan, the fact is someone went to his home, talk to them and said come back and we'll help you with those i got to make sure you know what's getting done and actually had the surgery go successful outcome, and he ended up resolving his health care problem. that can happen over and over again. there's also a lot of interest in referring to the committee
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partners who are providing some of these services, some of the other agencies do send caretakers into the home or understand some of the social service needs of families that are not so, you know, smoothly functioning as others and be helpful. but they are also saying this is real stress on the system to be able to provide all this care. so we do need to begin, i think it is happening, to think about some health care dollars being spent, clinical this is in the home is one that is really very different, wonderfully successful with nurse practitioner, nurse clinicians going to though. other health care providers, doctors making house calls but really getting they care what the person is not required to come to the hospital or health center or doctors that don't exist in this densely urban or rural areas. it's an interesting time at a time for innovation, and what
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works, and certainly making sure the finest models enable this to happen is extremely important both from managed care because we know these needs just continue to grow and have a dramatic impact on families. and for the successful and healthy aging because when henry says it's right, we can stay healthy longer, and many whom are nearly 65, there are 10,000 of them every day, certainly is hoping that be the case. they are relying on policymakers to begin cannot just talk about these committee partnerships and not about conferences of be able to do that and again relying on medicare, around payment for the services and charlie of what is happening in states where medicaid, there's some very successful programs in a variety of states, we look at those best
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practices to define them and then skimming them up. >> i do want to ask one more question but i think it's likely in the mind of viewers today and those in the audience. we are living an interesting political times right now we're in the final six months of one congress and administration in the midst of a colorful presidential election and soon to be a new congress administration -- >> such diplomatic language. >> in early 2017. how feasible is it for this or the next congress and administration to take on the recommendation called for today's? >> that's a good question. i think that, we have a couple of, and are a couple of reasons that might be negative. one is just the general dysfunction we've seen around washington abou around all issur several years. the other more specifically is the inability of congress to come up with big ideas into of the budgetary problems that we
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face. we could talk about this for a long time. i think both of those things are going to get better from our standpoint rather than worse. worth. that may not be true for every policy, but in terms of just the dysfunction of washington, we could talk about it all afternoon. i simply say, the famous economist herb stein who is the chairman of the economic council, in the nixon administration has a famous sanctum and unsustainable trend will not be sustained. and there's a lot of truth to that. i mean, we all keep saying we can't go on like this forever. well, we can't go on like this forever. the truth is most members of congress, s. allison and melt will tell you, don't like the fact, if you talk to them individually or in small groups or away from cameras, they really want to publish some things. i do believe they will be a shift in the. i don't know exactly what
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precipitated. may be new president because there's usually -- i think that would be possible. in terms of actually doing things we talked about today, remember one very basic fact. i mean, politics drive policymaking in this town, and the average age of the average voter is going up, up, up. that's the other side of the coin that we've been talking about today but the political potency of senior voters and of those, and their kids who have to deal with these problems is only becoming more and more salient. so there's a constituency to accomplish this. i really believe in terms of doing the things that we talk about in the broad array of proposal for policy changes that need to be put forward, the biggest problem -- >> we are going to leave this discussion but you can see anytime on our website at c-span.org.
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we take you live now to the u.s. senate on today's agenda, the adam walsh reauthorization act. it would authorize $81 million for sex offender registration programs and it would establish new justice department programs to assist survivors of sexual assault. this is why the senate coverage on c-span2. -- this is live senate coverage on c-span c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. mighty god, you shine in glorious radiance. the world belongs to you

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