tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 8, 2016 8:00am-10:01am EDT
contributing to the conflict in south sudan. i am wondering if we're looking at that too expanded and make it more robust in terms of those in meet the criteria so well laid out two years ago in the sanctions regime. >> mr. chairman, engaging with the fate-based community, yes we do engage with them both within south sudan and also the vatican. we have been in touch with them on numerous occasions and comparing notes on south sudan and they have also engaged in that the senior cartels who went there and a number of the religious leaders spoke out during the visit of the u.n. security council this past weekend in favor of the regional protection force being deployed and moving forward on a
political prop is. so i think the faith based community is finding its voice. we have also three usaid given a $6 million grant to the south sudan council of churches to work on community-based reconciliation offers. so we are engaging the faith based community. i think of the many meetings that i've had with religious leaders in south sudan after the outbreak of fighting in december 2013th, they showed a lot of frustration and have turned a ear to them. i think they are beginning now to find their voice in unison and it may become harder going forward. ..
the opposition people refused to get out of the vehicles and they sped off and the soldiers fired at those vehicles. the opposition security officials in the vehicles fired back and killed i believe five government soldiers right in that very vinty. so it was a very intense environment. there were a lot more soldiers out on the street after that incident. and our cars came along, and they were, it wasn't a formal check point. it was a lot of soldiers on the street waiting them down.
it was very dark and our vehicles have tinted glass. so even though for the brief time that they stopped and tried to showed identification, it was not clear soldiers would have been able to see it or frankly understand the license plates. you're dealing with, don't forget, with an army primary illiterate and so when our vehicles, according to standard operating procedures, when they tried to open the doors of our cars, also sped off. the soldiers he opened fire, just as they had when it happened with opposition vehicles. and again, shortly again, in the same area shortly after that incident the country representative for unesco, egyptian national, was driving in the area and encountered a similar problem. because he was not in an armored vehicle he was seriously wounded. to say this is targeting americans, we did not deduce
that from the circumstances. and the regional security officer working with diplomatic security back in washington conducted an internal investigation of the events and, that's a, the review of that report is still ongoing. and, we were very thankful of course that our people had resources, that we had fully armored vehicles for them to right around juba. why our security protocols for them to be riding in armored vehicles, in most parts of town, particularly after dark. in response to that incident, the embassies emergency action committee met the next morning and changed the curfew to a dawn to dusk. so took appropriate actions to try to mitigate that. in terms of sanctions let me just say yes, we share the frustration. i mentioned some of the
difficulties actually putting together packages that meet all the legal criteria but we certainly will look at taking actions against those who continue to impede the peace process, are hindering humanitarian delivery and the like. >> yes, i just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that there are several people here from gabon who are expressing their concern about the elections that took place. i just want you to know that we see you. we read your posters. i know you were asked to put them down but we did see what they said. and we also are concerned and i just wanted to acknowledge that your presence has not gone unnoticed. >> and i fully concure with the ranking member. thank you for being here. i would like to yield to mr. meadows. >> ambassador, let me come back with two very quick points. i mentioned the ngos. technology is a great thing.
i got information that would suggest that, even within the last few hours or few days, that there has been potentially the shutdown of 40 ngos. and the threat, if not reality of seizing their assets. are you aware of that report? >> we have received reports over the past several hours of harrassment of a number of ngos of civil society. >> you say that report could be accurate? you are getting the same. >> it could be. we'll look back and verify it. >> could you get back to this committee right away whether that is accurate or not. i guess the second follow-up to that question, if it is accurate will you be resolute in your condemnation of same and we will not tolerate that kind of behavior if our humanitarian aid is going to continue?
>> i can assure you, congressman, that we will be very direct and very strong in condemnation of any harrassment of -- >> seizing of assets, more than just harrassment. so that is my concern. so will you commit to get back to this committee within the next seven business days to let us know what is happening on that? >> we'll get back to you as soon as we can confirm it. >> what is reasonable time? if seven days is not reasonable what is reasonable time? 14 days? >> give us 14 days, please. >> 14 days. we'll do that. the last thing is this, as you talk about a political environment which is open and inclusive and yet we're hearing reports that potentially some one took a letter to the u.n. security council and might have been murdered after that. would you care to comment on what's happening since the u.n.
security couldn't sill visit? >> well some of this harrassment of civil society that -- >> murder is more than harrassment. >> that we've been hearing about, has been subsequent to the visit by the security council but it is something that has gone on in the past as well. we have long been -- >> how much of that are we going to tolerate? >> press freedom and freedom of movement for ngos and the like. >> how much of that are we going to tolerate? >> well, it is a matter what we can actually do to effect that -- affect that behavior. >> i yield back. we have many leverage points. thank you, mr. chairman, for your flexibility. >> thank you, ambassador booth for your leadership and spending your time today before us at the subcommittee. thank you. i would like to invite the witness table. senior advisor to the president's united states institute for peace.
ambassador lyman served aspects envoy for sudan and south sudan from march 2011 and to march 2013. he led u.s. policy and led timely mentation of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement. ambassador lyman's career, secretary of state for african affairs, u.s. ambassador to both nigeria and south africa. and assistant secretary of state for international organizations. he is also a member of the african advisory committee to the u.s. trade representative. began his career with usaid and served as its director in ethiopia. we'll hear from brian udebe. journalist by trade, with a sympathy tank that focused on security sector reform in fragile countries. over the last three years his research interests focus on linkages of media interest, conflict and security.
he covered zones in darfur, blue nile and eastern sudan for the e boston based i hadcation centers and sudan radio service project in nairobi, kenya. prior to this he served as project and publications coordinator at the think tank, center for international governance innovation in waterloo, canada. he is representing the enough project. ambassador, please proceed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and let me begin thanking you personally for all the support you and the committee provided when i was. when i was special envoy and you and congressman bass and members the committee to continue to focus attention on these set of issues. it is very important and it is very much appreciated. i'm not going to go over the background of the situation. i want to address some key questions you raised and raised
in the previous exchange. let me start with the peace plan itself around which the various activities are organized. the egad peace plan signed in 2015 on paper is a very comprehensive agreement, but it has a fatal flaw to it. and that is, it rests very largely on the willingness and ability and commitment of the very antagonists who brought the country into civil war to carry out a fundamental political transformation. it is not in their interests to do so. and, what we've seen over the last year or so year or so, instead of carrying that forward, they fell back into conflict and now bashar has been driven out of the country. without a strong international
oversight and administrative oversight of this program, it was not likely to succeed. the second problem that we now face is that it would be a mistake to assume that with the accession of dang to the vice-presidency we have a government of national unity. he does not command the loyalty of all the various forces that we're fighting with this government and to assume it is capable of carrying out a comprehensive and being ininclusive would be wrong. it's not. now we have the the humanitarian crisis which people have addressed. it is outrage just situation. the united states spending alone over a billion dollars a year. over 58 workers have been killed trying to carry out a humanitarian program. that they have been attacked and
most recently in the terrain hotel. that the international community seems to care more for the people of south sudan than the leaders on both sides. that is outrageous, situation. it calls into question whether the government can claim to the rights and responsibility of sovereignty which goes with the claim of sovereignty. now recently, kate home quist, as congressman sissel lien knee mentioned and myself said there should be international administration and oversight of south sudan. without that we do not see how the peace plan can go forward. ambassador booth described the role of jmac under the peace
plan and the role of festus. the fact that mechanism last no real authority over the parties. festus himself had said in several reports said almost no progress has been made implementing the peace process. the proposal would be extraordinarily difficult to do. and ambassador booth indicated that but here is the fundamental question. here is the fundamental question and the fundamental challenge. the peace process in is in the hands of egad and the african-american community primarily and if they are not prepared to amend the current peace process to create a true oversight authority which they will back up politically and back up by enforcing an arms embargo, by taking other
measures then that peace plan won't work. if they're prepared to do that, no one needs trusteeship or anything else but the promisee gadd is badly divided -- igad. they have threatened an arms embargo many times and never threatened or follow through. for the u.n. security council we have an addage that guides practicality. when africans are divided security council is divide. you will not get sanctions through russia and china unless the africans are united and say this is what we want and the africans are divided and igad is divided. even if the u.n. security council would pass an arms embargo, the surrounding countries would have to implement it to make sure arms are not sneaking through or being violated. so the primary attention effort seems to me for the african union and for igad to decide
exactly if they are in control of this process, how to strengthen it. let me just come to this question of the 4,000 troops that are being added. as you pointed out, it is a question of putting these under and whether they will act differently. it is very difficult to contemplate a u.n. peacekeeping force confronting in an armed way the forces of the host government. i don't think many u.n. forces are prepared for that. i don't think even the security council is prepared for it. the question is this force going to have the mandate to confront not just outlyers but an attack like the terrain hotel complex and go up against government forces? that is a very difficult thing to do, and it has to be backed
solidly by the troop-contributing countries and iigad. if they're not prepared for that, the force may secure the airport but they won't be able to protect civilians. now the other question is the political context, putting them back, putting more forces into juba without changing the nature of the peace processer and the way it's inapp enforced seems to me will have a continuation of the situation we now have. so i think it is critical that the u.s., the international community, the united nations call upon african union and the igad to strengthen that process so there is a real oversight and enforcement of the peace process with sanctions and punishment for those who get in the way of it, otherwise we won't get the transformation we need and i
think that's the great dilemma that we now face in south sudan. thank you very much. >> ambassador lyman, thank you again and thank you for your prior service aspects envoy. mr. endeba. >> chairman smith, ranking member bass, members of the subcommittee, i want to thank you for your continued focus on south sudan and for inviting me to testify. impunity is entrenched in the system of rule in south sudan. the horrific terrain hotel incident is an example of that impunity. the country's leaders commit horrific crimes and treat state resources like their personal property. the country's money is captured by a few and used to wage war. with financial leverage on these leaders and your continued leadership and support it is possible to counter the system and the perverse inclinations of its leaders. it is possible to disrupt access
to the process of corruption that fund war and to shift the incentives of south sudan's leaders to a peace. congress can do the following four things to have immediate impact on the perpetrators of the crisis in south sudan. first, congress can make sure that the u.s. treasury department has the staff and the funds it needs to use more anti-money laundering measures. the measures can be used to target and freeze the assets of elite politicians and leaders in south sudan who perpetuate violence, loot public coffers and use international financial system, including u.s. institutions to launder the profits of their ill-got enwealth. second you can insure the administration imposes targeted sanctions and asset freezes on top leaders and support others who take these measures. we've had discussion about how
the threat of sanctions alone is not inducing the change needed in south sudan. so when we look at this recommendation, this is a call to action. third, you can push for stronger endorsement of existing sanctions and asset freezes in the united states and internationally on the south sudanese political elite. fourth, you can pass the global mag knit city human rights accountability act. this act authorizing the u.s. president to impose sanctions on government officials like those in south sudan who misappropriate state assets and attack anticorruption crusaders. i believe these four steps can strike directly at wallets of people that are suffering in south sudan, people that commit crimes and enrich themselves because they believe they will not face consequences for their actions. these leaders are more likely to support peace when they pay a
price for war. the institutional challenges in south sudan require your long-term support as well. i traveled to juba to analyze this very issue. april was a month full of hope by president and main opposition leader had returned to town. people believed that the fighting would stop and the two leaders would work together to govern. there was hope that the critical governance institutions could begin to function properly as well. i focused my research on three key institutions. the anti-corruption commission, the national audit chamber and the public accounts committee in the national legislative assembly. i found that all three were severely undercut intentionally. top level politicians deprived them of money they need to function, conflicting laws prevent prosecutions of
officials that have been investigated, and cronyism undermines the effort to fight graft. the mechanisms and institutions that could promote accountability do not have what they need to be effective. but there are several things congress can do to help south sudanese people address their institutional and systemic challenges. first, continue to support the people in south sudan who fight for transparency and accountability. listen to them. stand with them and help them raise their voices. second, insure there is strict budget oversight for assistance to south sudan. those who commit, those who command and commit atrocities and seek personal enrichment should not be able to misappropriate public funds especially those given by americans to support the south sudanese people. third, support and strengthen institutions in south sudan that
can build open and accountable government. these institution cost work much more effectively than they do today but they need political, technical and financial support. most of all, they need the space to operate without undue political interference. a fourth institution that needs these same things is the hybrid for south sudan that was established in the august 2015 peace agreement to insure accountability for war crimes. next week on september 12th, the century, an initiative of the now project will publicly present the results of a two year investigation into corruption in south sudan. the century has documented between high level grand corruption and violence in south sudan and we encourage u.s. policymakers to make immediate action on findings we release. your support is critical. the stakes are very high in
south sudan. if south sudanese leaders face no repricals or deterrent for their crimes, south sudan will disintegrate. with help that can be prevented. that innings for your help to south sudan and the your commitment to the south sudanese people. >> thanks very much for your personnal work, your trip which really uncovered and you got to see the three institutions in particular. thank you for relaying it to us. without objection your full statement, both your full statements will be made a part of the record. and unfortunately we do have a series of votes, well over an hour, we expect of voting. so we will conclude here but i want you to know how deeply appreciate tiff we all are on the subcommittee, for your leadership and for your guidance. we will stay in touch going forward. in a week i look forward or so to the new report which we, the committee will digest and i'm
sure utilize as we have in the past with enough projects. ambassador lyman, thank you, you did extraordinary service unvery difficult situations. so thank you for that leadership all those years and your entire foreign service career. the hearing is adjourned. i would have liked to ask some questions. i will submit a few for the record if you get back to us in timely fashion, that would be greatly appreciated. the hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations].
[inaudible conversations] >> today a hearing on the $400 million cash transfer to iran made by the u.s. for an unfulfilled arms deal in the 1970s. we're live from a house financial services subcommittee at 10:00 a.m. on c-span3. fbi director james comey and cia director john brennan join intelligence leaders today to discuss national security. they will be at a national security conference live at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3.
>> the c-span radio app makes it easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it is free to download from the apple app store or google play. get audio coverage and up-to-the-minute coverage for c-span radio and c-span television, plus podcast times for popular public affairs and history programs. stay covered all day. c-span radio app means you always have c-span on the go. supreme court justice ruth bader ginsberg spoke to the incoming class of georgetown university law school on wednesday. she talked about the late justice anthony scale yaw and -- anthony scalia and her career. this is just under an hour. [applause] >> justice ginsburg, members of
our faculty, and members of our incoming glass class, welcome to you here today. the excitement in this community in anticipation of this talk has been great. as you may remember, two weeks ago when i welcomed the members of our entering class in this room, and i announced that justice begins burke would be speaking -- ginsburg would be speaking to you today. the first reaction was, there was an audible gasp. and wild applause. that excitement, now we will hear from the justice, it is really extraordinary. a few years ago we began inviting a giant of the bench or bar to over reflections to the entering class, and it's really been a remarkable opportunity for our students. as you embark on your legal
education, to listen to and learn from someone whose career has shaped the law. now by attending georgetown law you've chosen to learn the law in the place where laws are made and this is evident in the speakers who welcomed our first year students. so, justice sotomayor was our first speaker. two years ago justice stevens spoke to the incoming class. and last year, the late justice scalia very memorably spoke to the entering class. this year we're fortunate to be joined by justice ruth bader ginsburg. join me in a round of applause for justice ginsburg. [applause] >> thank you. thank you -- already. >> now, i know a long introduction of justice ginsburg is not necessary for georgetown
students. you know, as you progress in your studies at the law center, you will read and discuss her many powerful and brilliant supreme court decisions as well as her pointed and influential dissent, and you will also learn, if you don't already know, that she occupies a rare space in legal history. like justice thurgood marshall, justice ginsburg would have been an historic figure in her case in her work as advocate for gender equality. she would be an historic figure even if she had never been a judge. and, she is not only a great judge, a great justice, a figure of historic importance as a lawyer, but, as i'm sure you also already know, the justices a cultural icon. [laughter] so, how many of us can say that
they have inspired a one-act opera, two coloring books, and a phenomenon known as, the notorious rbg? [laughter] now justice ginsburg is a special member of our law center community. her late husband, marti ginsburg, was a treasured tax professor and scholar at georgetown law for many years, and we have a professorship named in his honor. mary hart net and wendy williams who join us here today are justice ginsburg's authorized biographers. they're coauthors with justice ginsburg of her book, my own words, which will be released october 4th. and they're members of our faculty. the justice is a long-time supporter of our women's law and public policy fellowship program and every year, invites the fellows to the court for team
conversation. and i'm particularly grateful that we've been fortunate to hear the justice speak to our students and alumni and faculty on countless occasions. i will never forget two years ago in this room justice ginsburg spoke to the graduating class. i will never forget that conversation. i will also never forget the students, second row, center, whering a notorious rbg t-shirt. before we begin, from the justice, a couple announcements. after justice ginsburg's remarks we'll have time for a few questions. i will be calling on people. i welcome all of you to join us for a reception in the sports and fitness atrium. before we start, please take a moment to silence your cell phone. i will now prove how important
that is because i'm going to silence mine. this is extraordinary moment. you're now beginning your legal career, and you're going to hear from an extraordinary jurist and someone who has inspired us all, justice givesburg. big round of applause. [applause] >> thank you. you're not going to ask me any questions? >> just planning them ask but i can ask. >> my remarks will not be long, so there will be ample time for a conversation with you. i am going to speak about the most momentous occurrence of the 2015-2016 term and that was the death of justice scalia.
his absence will be felt for many terms ahead. the originalist, a play by john strand, produced as the in the stage, the spring of 2015, portrays justice scalia, and an imaginary law clerk. she is african-american, and a lesbian. i suggest it to the author that was, oh, i left out, she was very liberal. [laughter] maybe three of those could have happened but i have some doubts about the reality of the script. it begins appropriately with two quotations. one, the fix meaning cannon. words in legal text must be
given the meaning they had when the text was adopted. and second, such is the character of human language that no word conveys to the mind in all situations one single definite idea. the first quotation comes from reading law, the interpretation of legal text by antonin scalia and brian garner. the second, from chief justice john marshall's opinion for the court in mccullough against maryland. justice scalia would likely favor the fixed meaning cannon. my view accords with chief justice marshall, no words convey precisely the same thing in every setting, context really matters.
justice scalia i believe would agree with me that the forth chief justice had a point. i will not speak today of justice scalia's jurisprudence but instead of our enduring friendship, from the years we served together on the u.s. court of appeals through the d.c. circuit, through the nearly 23 years we were two of nine u.s. supreme court justices. in a preface to the labretto for der he can wang's comic opera you heard about, scalia-ginsburg, justice scalia described as a high point of his days on the bench a spring 2009 evening at the opera ball held at the british ambassador's residence. it was an elegant and spacious
room. justice scalia joined two regular washington national opera tenors at the piano for a medley of songs. he called it, the famous three tenors performance. [laughter] both on and off the bench justice scalia was a convivial, exuberant performer. among my store of memories, an early june morning, 1996. i was about to leave the court to attend the second circuit's judicial conference in lake george, new york. justice scalia entered my chambers, opinion draft in hand. he tossed the sheave of papers on my desk and said, ruth, this is the penultimate draft of my dissent in the virginia military
institute case. it's not yet in shape to circulate to the court but the clock is running, and i want to give you as much time as i can to answer it. on the plane to albany i read the dissent. it was a zinger. [laughter]. it took me to task on things large and small. among the disdainful footnotes the court refers to the charlottesville campus of the university of virginia. unlike university systems with which the court is perhaps more familiar such as those in new york and of course he and i both came from new york, there is no charlottesville campus. there is only the university of virginia. [laughter] thinking about fittingly restrained responses consumed my weekend but i was glad to have the extra days to adjust the
court's opinion. and my final draft was more persuasive thanks to justice scalia's searing criticism. indeed whenever i wrote for the court and received a scalia dissent, the majority opinion ultimately released was clearer and more convincing than my initial circulation. justice scalia honed in on all the soft spots and energized me to strengthen the court's decision. another indelible memory, the day that the court decided bush v. gore, december 12th, 2000. i was in chambers, exhausted after the marathon review granted saturday, briefs filed, sunday, oral arguement on monday, opinions completed and released on tuesday.
no surprise, justice scalia and i were on opposite sides. the court did the right thing, he had no doubt. i strongly disagreed and explained why in a dissenting opinion. around 9:00 p.m. on tuesday night the telephone, my direct line, rang. it was justice scalia. he didn't say, as he often did, get over it. [laughter] instead he asked ruth, why are you still at the court? go home, and take a hot bath. good advice. i promptly followed. among my favorite scalia stories, when president clinton was mulling over his first nomination to the supreme court, justice scalia was asked a question to this effect: if were
you were stranded on a desert island with the new court colleague, who would you prefer, larry tribe or mario comb he mow? scalia answered without hesitation, ruth bader ginsburg. and within days the president chose me. i recall a dark day in the summer of 1999 hospitalized in crete beginning of my long bought with coal row rectal cancer. what brought me to crete, justice school yeah recommendation that i follow him as a teacher in tulane summer law school program. the first outside call i received was from justice scalia. ruth, he said, i am responsible for your days in crete, so you must get well. is there anything i can do to help? justice scalia was a man of many
talents, a jurist of captivating brilliance, high spirit and quick wit, possessed of a rare talent for making even the most somber judge smile. the press wrote of his energic fervor, stringent intellect, peppery prose, acumen and and rafah built. not so well-known he, he was a discerning shopper. we were in india together in 1994 for a judicial exchange with members of that country's supreme courts and high courts. on a day off our driver took us to his friend's shop. one rug after another was tossed on the floor, leaving me without a clue which to choose. justice scalia pointed to one he thought his wife, maureen, would like for his beach house in another caroline. i picked the sail design in a
different color. it has worn very well. [laughter] one asked how could we be friends given our disagreement on lots of things? justice scalia answered, i attack ideas. i don't attack people. some very good people have some very bad ideas. [laughter] and if you can't separate the two you have to get yourself another day job. you don't want to be a judge, at least not a judge on a multimember panel. example, in point from his first days on the court, justice scalia had great affection for justice brennan and justice brennan hugely enjoyed justice scalia's company. i miss the challenges and the laughter justice scalia provoked. his pungent, eminently quotable opinions, so clearly stated that
his words rarely slipped from the reader's grasp. the roses he brought me on my birthday. the chance to appear with him once more as a enumerous airy at the washington national opera. the court a pail paler place without him. of the toward the end of the opera, tenor scalia and againstburg sing a duet, we are different, we are one. different in our approach to comprehending different text, but one in our respect and affection for each other and above all, our reference for the constitution and the court. it was my great good fortune to have known the peerless justice scalia as a working colleague and treasured friend.
and now i will ask the dean, should we, should we open the floor to questions? >> yes. let me, before we do, let me ask you one question to start. >> shall i come? >> please. so as our students starting their legal career, first of all, thank you very much for that wonderful tribute to justice scalia. [applause] i would like to ask you, as our student are starting their legal careers, what advice you'd have, what advice you'd give them? >> i can tell you that everything that i have done in the law, every job that i have had has been richly rewarding. you're going to a fine law
school. you have the opportunity to take a multitude of courses. i hope you thrive in that education and that you come away from it with the knowledge that a true member of the legal profession has an obligation to give back to his or her community. you have a privilege, a monopoly on legal representation. because of that privilege, you owe an obligation to help make things a little better for people less fortunate than you. so i hope while you're in you law school you will think about what do you really care about? is it the environment? is it discrimination? is it it the way we run our elections?
whatever it is, whatever your passion is, pursue that. i can tell you that i have gotten more satisfaction out of thinks i did for which i was not paid than i did for most of my paying jobs. you will also have the opportunity to attend programs like this where you have speakers or panelists. take advantage of those. i wish you well. i was one of the rare law students, in fact i came to law school in 1956, ancient days, and i really loved law school, because it was interactive, not through technology as today, but i had attended cornell university where most of my classes were large lecture classes. and you sat there and you took notes.
but a law school class is a constant engagement in whatever the problem is. so you're thinking, you're not just taking notes and copying, but you're actively thinking throughout the whole class. i love that about, about law school. i hope you will too. >> what made you decide to go to law school? >> what made me decide? i had a professor at cornell, robert e. cushman, a professor of constitutional law and i was attending cornell in days that were not the best for our country. there was a huge red scare, huge communist scare. senator joseph mccarthy was holding forth, naming names of people who in their youth, in the height of the depression, had belonged to some socialist,
socialist group. and professor cushman pointed out to me we were straying from one of the most basic values of our country, that is, the right to think, to speak, and to write as one believes, and not as a big brother government tells you is the right way to think. and speak and write. and, professor cushman pointed out that lawyers were stands up for people all before the house on un-american activities committee or the senate internal security committee, reminding our congress that we have a first amendment and we have fifth amendment protections against self-incrimination. and that our congress had an obligation to honor those basic principles of our constitution.
so i had the idea of being a lawyer was a pretty good thing. you could get a job and work for pay but you could also help keep the society in tune with our most basic values. i wasn't fully appreciative of the hurdle that i would face because in 1956 when i started law school, there was no anti-discrimination law, no title vii. certainly no title ix. and employers were totally up front in saying, we don't want any lady lawyers in this shop, or, we had a woman lawyer once, and she was terrible. [laughter] so i asked how many men have you engaged that didn't work out? [laughter].
but it was interesting thing. my family was concerned that i wanted to be a lawyer until i got married. i married my last year at cornell, and my husband, who was the greatest tax professor in america, and he taught at georgetown for many years, my family thought, well it's okay now if ruth wants to be a lawyer because, if it doesn't work out, she will have a man to support her. [laughter] >> now, and when did you decide that you were going to focus or do so much litigation work on fighting gender discrimination? >> it was the very end of the '60s, beginning of the '70s. these were things that i had thought about but didn't believe there was anything i could do.
so sort of put my ideas on a backburner. and then my students, i was teaching at rutgers law school in newark, new jersey. my students had heard that nyu law school, i think at georgetown law school too, there was a course in women and the law. so they wanted to have such a course. i went to the library. i read all of the federal decisions ever written that had anything to do with gender lines in the law. that was no mean feat. there was precious little written and all of it was wrong. [laughter] so my students on the one hand that wanted this course and then the new jersey affiliate of the american civil liberties union began to get new kinds of complaints.
one of them, school teachers, public school teachers, who were forced on to so-called maternitity leave. this was when the women began to show, four months, five months, she had to leave the classroom because the little children shouldn't think that their teacher swallowed a watermelon. in any case these women knew they were perfectly capable of staying in the classroom. and the leave was not only without pay but there was no guaranteed right of return. so that was one category of case. another, blue-collar women who worked in places with good health insurance, if they were married, their spouse either didn't have insurance coverage or had less advantageous insurance coverage.
so these women wanted to take out family coverage but they couldn't get family coverage because women workers could be covered only for themselves, not the family. the assumption was, the real earner in the family, the true breadwinner, was the man, and if the woman was earning something, well that was just pin money earning, she wasn't the bread winner that counted. so she couldn't get insurance coverage for her family. those two were typical of the kinds of arbitrary barriers that women faced. and so the new complaint is coming into the aclu. my students, and then it dawned on me that, how lucky was i was to be born when i was and to be a lawyer, because it was the first time in the history of the united states that it became
possible for legislators and judges to respond to these arbitrary gender lines. whatever were saying in the '70s, had been said generations before but said at a time when society was not yet ready to listen. think of abigail adams who reminded her husband john, to remember the ladies and he treated that as kind of a joke. so the possibility of being part of that movement for change that the law was catching up to the changes that people were experiencing in their own lives. it was, it was beyond wonderful that i could be, i could be part of that successful movement. and to show that we realized we're not saying anything new, on the brief in the turning
point case, the reed v. reed case, we put on the brief the names of two women, great feminists saying things we were saying. mary wrote a wonderful law review article called jane crow and the law. dorothy kenyon was determined to put women on juries in every state in the union. hard to appreciate the way it was, even into the '70s there were states that didn't call women for jury duty. the u.s. supreme court in the 1961 decision said, well, that's okay. the women, they have the best of all possible worlds. yes, they're not called for jury duty but if they really want to serve, they can go to the clerk's office an sign up, then they will be on the list. think of what, how many men would voluntarily sign up for
jury duty if they could escape it. anyway, as i said, it was incredibly exhilarating, exhausting too, to be, to be part of a change that was long overdue, and it really was catching up to the difference in people's lives. i think of it in terms of my children. my daughter was born in 1955, and there were very few working moms at that time. my son was born 10 years later, in 1965, and it wasn't at all unusual for a child to be in a two families. enormous change the way people were ordering their lives in that 10-year period. >> what was the first case that you brought?
>> the first case to come to the supreme court, reed v. reed, and i didn't get involved until the case was in the u.s. supreme court. sally reed was an everyday woman. she made her living by taking people who were disabled and caring for them in her home. she had a young son that she and her husband separated. when they separated, sally was given custody because the child was what the law calls, of tender years, needing the care, the nuturing care of a mother. when the boy reached his teens, the father said, i should be custodian because now he needs to be prepared for a man's world. sally thought that was a terrible idea.
she thought the father would be a bad influence on his son. sadly she was right. the boy was severely depressed and one day took out one of the father's many guns and committed suicide. so sally wanted to be appointed administrator of her young son's estate. she applied first and her former husband applied a couple of weeks later. the probate court judge said, the law in the state of idaho, sally reed was from boise, idaho, the law of idaho gives me no choice. it reads, as between persons equally entitled to administer a he decedents estate, males must be preferred to females. just that simple.
so when i found out from law week that the supreme court had taken this case, i called sally reed's lawyer in boise and said, the aclu would like to represent you. and he said, that's fine. you can write the brief. i'll do the oral argument. you can do all the writing. and that was sally reed's case. and it was the turning point case. it was unanimous judgment, and it was the first time in history that the supreme court ever said a gender line in the law is unconstitutional. . .
many nations, people would think it's hopeless to expect the courts to strike down a law because it treats people unfairly. so that was the next case. in the case after that, involved a typical gender classification. he was a lieutenant in the air force, and she married a former service member who was at the time a college student your so
she applied for the housing allowance that was available to married male officers but not married female officers and she want her husband have access to the medical and dental care available at the base your well, medical and dental benefits were available to the wife or the children of a service man, but not a servicewoman, and the same thing with housing allowance. typical, that we think is the man who's the one who is making the money in the family, and so he has to get protection for his family. a woman, she is not the head of the family. in fact, it was expressed open common law and the civil law the same way, that the husband in
the marriage, the husband was head of the family. pikachu's any mode and she was obliged to follow. i've explained to many people in relation to our same-sex marriage decision. it wasn't until the year 1982 that the u.s. supreme court struck down louisiana's rule as unconstitutional. wind marriage wasn't institution of a dominant male and a subordinate female, it's not the kind of union that a gay couple would want to enter, which one would be dominant in which one would be subordinate? so wasn't it of 1982 the end of the head and master rule that marriage was converted into a relationship between equals. >> when you start the
litigation, did you have a sense of a series of cases that you're speaking -- thinking of bringing up what you hope to achieve? >> first of all, we wanted cases like sally reed, the facts, the facts would appeal to the judges. they all were very of the same thing, the man is the dominant partner. he is the breadwinner and the woman -- the woman's domain is the home and the children. so what we wanted to do was to break down that stereotypical view of the world. one of my favorite cases was the case where the young man whose wife was a schoolteacher, already choose able to work in
her teaching job until, well into the ninth month of her pregnancy. she went to the hospital to give birth. the doctor came out and reported to stephen weiss and felt, you have a healthy baby boy, but your wife died of an embolism. so he was determined that he would work only part-time until a child was in school for a full day. and he figured out that between the social security benefits available to a sole surviving parent with a young child in his care, he would be able to make it between social security benefits and a part-time earnings he would be able to support his infant and then sell. so he went to the social security office to get what he had heard were child in care benefits, and was told we are so
sorry, these are mothers of benefits and not available to fathers. again, another example how we divide the world into people who are breadwinners account and people who are stay at home type spouses. so stephen one big. he had a unanimous judgment on the us supreme court but three different ways of looking at the situation. most of the justices said were obviously it is commission begins with the woman as wage earner. she pays the same social security taxes that a man pays but her family doesn't get the same benefits. some thought there was discrimination against the male
as parent because he wouldn't even have a choice of personally caring for his child. and then there was one that later became my chief justice, he was then justice rehnquist, he said this is arbitrary from the point of view of the baby. why should the baby have the opportunity for the care of a sole surviving parent is that there is female but not if the parent is male? so that wasn't a laceration of how the gender lines in the lot ended up hurting everyone. >> i wanted to talk a little bit about your career as a litigator. as our students are starting to think about your legal career, it's an extraordinary example of how as a lawyer you really transform the law. it's both a great model and it's
inspiring. i wanted to begin with that and then open it up to questions from our audience. not going to cold call you. you'll have to volunteer. but the people of questions for the justice? what i would like, stand up, please come and say your name. >> i was wondering if you could speak to what you see are some of the major challenges to gender equality today? and also maybe offer some advice -- [inaudible] >> in the decade of the '70s, almost all of the explicit gender lines in the law were gone. it was a combination of legislative change, court cases, but laws of the kind i described, benefits for a man but not a woman, or supposedly favors for a woman like not having to serve on a jury, and
not for me. all of those explicit categories were gone. some enormous help that congress passed the civil rights act of 1964, and including in the famous title vii sex as a category, that discrimination was prohibited on the basis of that category, just as race, religion and national origin. so all that was what was -- >> the challenges facing -- >> yes. discrimination did not end with the explicit lines in the law. some of it went underground. a lot of it was not even conscious.
it's what, the term is unconscious bias. one of the best examples i have is a case that was brought as a title vii case in the late 1970s. and was against at&t for failure to promote women to middle management jobs. that women did just as well as the men, even better. they flunked disproportionally at the last step, and the last step was what the company called a total person test. that was an interviewer sitting down with the candidate for promotion and having a conversation. women dropped out disproportionately. why? because the interviewer was overwhelmingly a white man
sitting across the table from a white man, he felt a certain rapport, a level of comfort. if the person on the other side of the table was a member of a minority group, or a woman, the interviewer felt a little uncomfortable, strange. he didn't know quite how to relate to someone who was different. it wasn't conscious, so how do you get rid of that unconscious bias? i've told many of the stories about how they simply orchestra got rid of it. someone had the simple or brilliant idea, let's talk a curtain between people who were auditioning and the testers.
well, up until well into the '70s, you never saw women in symphony orchestras. in my growing up years, it was perhaps a heart player but that was a period when the curtain drop was used in the was almost overnight change. people who thought that they could tell the difference between a woman playing and a man, whether it was a violin or anything else, turned out they were all wrong. but we can't do that in every sphere of human activity. how good could it be if we could? the other barrier that women face is, one, how do you arrange your life when you have children in the family? it's still true that women bear the burden of raising children.
the joys and the trials of raising children. disproportionately, but as i see more and more men are recognizing how sad it would be if one day they wake up and their children are grown and they have had no part in raising them. a few weeks ago i was in santa fe, new mexico, to a united way program, preschool program for children. it was so -- a number of fathers who was there holding their babies in their arms. society could do a lot to help in that respect. the united states is behind many countries in the amount of preschool care that it provides.
i would say those are the major hurdles. unconscious bias, and how do you work out what is today called a work on balance in your life. >> excellent question. and actually if you can wait for the microphone. the fourth row. please against nature to ask the question. >> hello. my name is sarah and i was wondering if you thought the were any valid constitutional arguments that would prevent president obama from filling justice scalia succeed on the supreme court? i hope that's not too political. sorry. [laughter] >> as you know the president has the authority to name appointees to the supreme court, but he has to do so with the advice and consent of the senate.
and if the senate doesn't act, as the current senate is not acting, what can be done about it? even if you could conceive of a testing also, what would be the response be? well, you will not have to vote so we will vote no. but if you think that cooler heads will prevail. i hope sooner rather than later. the president is elected for four years, not three years, so the power he has used in three continues into 4, maybe some members of the senate wakeup and appreciate that that's how it should be. >> excellent question. in the back, the two together.
so the first person, all the way back and then one row up. >> hi, justice ginsburg. i'm a cocoa. i have one major question. what did you find to be the most challenging part to be a justice of the supreme court? and thank you. >> what do i think is -- >> the most challenging part to be the justice of the supreme court over the years from your old perspective speak with one thing is pure stamina. [laughter] it's the best but also the hardest job i have ever had. and the supreme court is very much what lawyers call a hot bench. that means that justices are really prepared for the oral argument. they have done a great amount of reading before they came on the bench. you have to have the ability to
stick with it, to read a lot, to be able to function alone while you're going through that thinking and reading process. it's a little bit like law teaching. the transition for me from being a law teacher to being an appellate judge was not great. what does a law teacher do? thanks, rights, goes into the classroom and have exercises somewhasummerlike oral exercised then goes back to her office and begin thinking and writing, reading and writing. and something else that is
different from law teaching. so if you're at law teacher and your writing a great tome, you can give it to your colleagues, we need to work in progress and answer the comments but in the end you decide. if you are a member of a collegial court, you are powerless to do anything alone. i said in the days when i was on the d.c. circuit, unlike the district judge who sits alone in the court and dislike the law over the film while the case is in the district court, i was powerless at the court of appeals, unless one of the mind, at least one of the mind agreed with me. and in the supreme court the magic number is five. so collegiality is tremendously important in the way we work,
and when we write an opinion for the court, we are not writing it for ourselves. we are not writing it as though we were queen. we have to accommodate the use of people who are on the same side, so it becomes truly a judgment for the court, and not just for the individual. defense is something else. [laughter] but collegiality is tremendously important in our workplace. and the current court, i'm pleased to say, is most collegial. it has some customs that help us. before we go on the bench and before we confer, we go around the room, each justice shakes
hands with every other. we looked our colleague in the eye as if to say, yesterday you said around a burning dissenting opinion from a excellent opinion for the court. [laughter] but as scalia said such times, get over it. [laughter] and the other things that promotes collegiality, we celebrated each other's birthdays. the chief would buy some wine and we would have a happy birthday toast. we lost our song leader. justice scalia was the only one who could truly carry a tune. we had music hours at court twice a year. one in november and one inmate. before the state of the union, we all have dinner together in a justices dining room.
and justice as spouses meet quarterly for lunch. it was once, when i was a new justice, it was called the ladies dining room. [laughter] but was a bit of a problem when two of the spouses were men. [laughter] she came up with a really fine idea. the supreme court is somewhat tradition bound as was -- and she said let's tell them we want to call it the natalie cornell rehnquist dining room. natalie rehnquist had died some years before, and chief him she was devoted to each other and no, we have a natalie cornell
rehnquist dining room. >> that's wonderful. >> in working on gender equality have you ever felt the progress wasn't quick enough or not fast enough or has stalled out? and what has kept you motivated to work on these issues? >> by think progress wasn't quick enough? i'm amazed at how quick the progress has been. if you think back to the days when i was one of nine women students in a class of over 500. never had a woman teaching in the classroom. when i graduated there was not a single woman on a federal appellate bench your editing only one in the history of the united states. today, about half of the law students are women. i think about 30% of the federal
judges are women. it's still not enough, but the direction of change is right. sometimes people ask me, so now there are three view. wing do you think you'll have enough women on the u.s. supreme court? and i say, when we are nine. [laughter] ever since the court had nine members, it's all been men. so why not? another, i was in new mexico and met with the new mexico supreme court, five member court, three are women. i met with a federal district judge, seven.
three are women, including the chief judge. half the magistrate judges are women. so that change to me is exhilarating. i sometimes worry, and today's young women, think, well, there's no more discrimination. they will be disabused when they get their first job and when they have children. but i've always thought a dealing with discrimination, the wrong thing to do is to snap back in anger. if you want to persuade someone else, you have to do it in a way that would be acceptable to the audience. so i would, the advice i would
give to the young women, keep pushing, but don't do it in a way that will turn off others. do in a way that will educate. educate people who perhaps haven't thought about what we are losing its aside if we don't take full advantage of the talent of all of our people. >> i think we have time for one more question. i do want to just point out that 53% of the class are women. it's a big change from nine out of 500. all the way in the back. yes, the green. >> thank you for being here tonight. i was just wondering if you had one case they came up in the supreme court that you really wish like with the other way?
like you in the minority and you just like i guess her biggest maybe like regret decision that you were really hoping was going to prevail. >> i didn't -- >> so when case that you wish came out the other what of all the cases you on the supreme court. >> well, give me my the sense? [laughter] -- the sense -- justice john paul stevens wrote a very signed dissent in this united. that would be on my list. shelby county, the decision that took the heart out of the voter rights act, 1965. that would be another one on my list. but sometimes these stories have happy endings is in the lilly ledbetter case. my colleagues got wrong. tagline of my people is the ball is now in concord this court to
correct the error into which my colleagues have fallen. they got to lilly ledbetter fair pay act. when it's a constitutional ruling we do have the last say, so either you need a constitutional amendment to overturn a supreme court decision, which is the rarest of things in our system. we have a constitution that is powerfully hard to amend. and the other is for the court to overrule your which it has done sometimes. who was the great justice who said the supreme court is not final because it's infallible, but it's infallible only because it's final. the history we have in our country of dissenting opinions,
think back to the very worst decision the court ever made into dred scott case. justice curtis and one other this and did. justice curtis wrote a fine dissent in that case. think of the era of separate but equal, plessy v. ferguson, a fine dissent by chief justice, i justice collins. think of the descriptive speech cases that came to the court at the time of world war i when justice brandeis and justice holmes wrote in dissent. those dissents are today the law of the land. so yes, you can see from my dissents what i would disagree
with. also i might mention an oppressive dissent written by justice breyer a couple of years ago, and that was why the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. >> this has really been so incredibly inspiring for all of us. i think your career on the court, your career as an advocate, as a scholar, it's so profoundly changed not only the nation but the world. and for everyone here as you're starting your legal career, to have the opportunity to spend an hour listening to you about your career and about what the law can do, i can't think of a better way to start law school. so please join in a round of applause for justice ginsburg. [applause] >> the u.s. senate will begin
it's a day with a moment of silence marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. and then resume consideration of a bill authorizing projects by the army corps of engineers for flood control and hurricane damage. also provides state loans to the michigan and other cities with excessive lead levels in the drinking water systems. live coverage now of the u.s. senate here on 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. eternal spirit, by whose providence our forbears brought forth this nation, use our lawmakers to make a better world. empower them to remove those things that obstruct the coming of your kingdom on earth. as they strive for human betterment, may they experience the constancy of your presence. lord, give them the wisdom to give primacy to prayer, seeking your guidance in all they think, say,
and do. teach them the lessons they ought to learn, enabling them to grow in grace and in a knowledge of you. and, lord, with the approach of september 11, we pause to thank you for your sustaining and prevailing providence. remind us to not put our trust in human might, but in your grace, mercy, and power. we pray in your strong name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the
united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the president pro tempore: under the previous order, the senate will now observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the lives lost in the attacks on september 11, 2001. (moment of silence)
[moment of silence] the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i understand there are two bills at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the bill for the second time.
the clerk: s. 3296, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth. s. 3297, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: in order to place the bills on the calendar number under the provisions of rule 14, i would object to further proceeding en bloc. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, 15 years ago this sunday al qaeda terrorists launched brutal and vicious attacks against our country. and yet this weekend america will remember not only the horror of those attacks, but also the heroism of our response. we saw firefighters, police officers, and first responders rush to confront danger. we saw the men and women of our armed forces stand ready and sacrifice greatly in defense of
our country. we saw americans across the land work together in a spirit of unity. 15 years later it is clear that the terrorists did not succeed. we remain united against terror. so this sunday is a day to remember and honor the victims of september 11 and pray for their families. it's also a day to express gratitude to the many americans who have fought to keep us safe ever since. the men and women who fight for the very thing that makes this the greatest nation on earth. freedom. now on a different matter, i want to take a few moments to congratulate a fellow kentuckian and a good friend of mine who has recently taken up the leadership reins of america's oldest and largest war veterans organization. this summer brian duffy of louisville was elected commander in chief for the veterans of foreign wars. brian is the first operation
desert storm veteran to lead the v.f.w. his election is good news not only for his fellow desert storms veterans but veterans of every generation. that's because brian lives to serve his fellow veterans. he's been doing so for decades as a proud member of the v.f.w. for 33 years. let me give you just one example of what brian's done for the veterans of kentucky. he is the founder of the bluegrass chapter of an organization called honor flight, a group that flies world war ii and korean war veterans to washington to visit the memorials that were built in dedication of their military service. the program provides transportation and food to the veterans of this bygone era, those whose numbers unfortunately continue to shrink year after year.
without honor flight, many of these veterans would never be able to see the world war ii memorial or the korean war memorial. it's important that they know more than six decades later america still deeply respects and honors their service and sacrifice. my father served in world war ii. i've had the pleasure of meeting many of his contemporaries when they come to washington to make this important trip. hundreds of kentucky veterans have completed this journey thanks to brian and subsequent leaders of bluegrass honor flight. that's just one way brian has tworkd see that america -- worked to see that america stands up for its veterans just as they have bravely stood up for their country. it's one reason why i know he'll make an excellent commander in chief for the v.f.w. brian served in the u.s. air force as a jet engine mechanic on f-4 phantom fighter aircraft before becoming a flight
engineer aboard c-141 star lifter transport aircraft. he has gone to grenada and panama as well as operation desert shield and storm. brian and his wife jean, who hassles served in leadership posts for louisville have two children. i'm sure his family is proud of brian along with many kentucky veterans, particularly his fellow v.f.w. members at post 1170. let me also congratulate my good friend carl kaylin whom i've also worked with for decades on behalf of bluegrass state veterans for his appointment to serve as chief of staff to the commander in chief. carl and brian will make quite a team. kentucky and the nation are grateful for their leadership and for their service. brian has previously served the v.f.w. as its junior vice commander in chief. he also served as the senior vice commander in chief. i know brian is a huge hockey
fan so he'll know what i mean when i say that his election as commander in chief makes quite a hat trick to the benefit of kentucky veterans and veterans across america. in brian's own words, the v.f.w. is an organization that endures and an organization comprised of patriots. both of these descriptions aptly fit the v.f.w.'s new chief. under brian's leadership, i'm sure the v.f.w. will continue to pay it forward to every veteran who has raised his or her right hand and taken an oath to defend a nation dedicated to the preservation of life and liberty. now on one final matter, president obama said something interesting just days before signing his namesake health takeover into law. in explaining the need for obamacare, here's what he said. what's happening to your premiums? what's happening to your
co-payments? what's happening to your deductible? they're all going up. that's money straight out of your pocket. so, the president said, the bottom line is this, the status quo on health care is simply unsustainable. simply unsustainable. that was the president's view on the state of health care, of our health care system before obamacare. here's his view on the health care system six years later. to many americans still strained to pay for their physician visits and prescriptions to cover their deductibles or pay their monthly insurance bills, struggle to navigate a complex sometimes bewildering system and remain uninsured, that's the president on the state of america's health care law six years after obamacare. the president wrote this just last month.
it sounds an awful lot like what we heard from him years ago from the pre-obamacare world. it throws the realty of this partisan law into stark relief. it's not only that obamacare is failing to live up to its many promises invoked to sell it, it's often making things worse. just pick up any paper or turn on the news and you'll see that more troubling projections are rolling in when it comes to obamacare. in fact, each day seems to bring more forecasts of skyrocketing premiums and dwindling choices. it's a trend hitting americans across the country. for instance, here's the headline people in my home state recently awoke to. "get ready to pay more for health insurance in kentucky." the story goes on to warn of obamacare premium rates that could skyrocket by as high as 47%. nearly 160,000 people are
expected to be impacted. here's a letter from a man in louisville who recently contacted my office. how, he asks -- how are working-class americans like myself able to budget for such drastic changes. the so-called affordable act, he said, is unaffordable. he and other kentuckians are hardly alone in feeling this way. take illinois, where premiums could soar by as much as 55%. or tennessee and montana where some rates could skyrocket by more than 60%. or minnesota where premiums could rise an average of more than 50%. minnesota's democratic governor said he was alarmed by these drastic increases and called them reason for very serious concern. even my friend, the democratic leader, referred to obamacare's premium increases yesterday as -- quote -- "huge."
he's right. he was right to mention obamacare's tax increases too. this partisan law raised taxes that hit the middle class after democrats promised that it wouldn't. these huge premium increases aren't the only reason obamacare is raising costs for the middle class. premiums aren't the only reason that americans recently cited health care costs as their number-one financial concern. it isn't hard to see why americans might be hurting. taxes are up, co-pays are up, deductibles are outpacing wages and now with more and more insurance companies pulling out of the obamacare state exchanges, americans are being left with another big problem. fewer coverage options. the obama administration used to promise us that the obamacare marketplace would provide more choice and control over health
insurance options and result in a significant increase in competition and an array of options for consumers everywhere. that was the promise of obamacare. but that's not the realty for many americans today. obobamacare has forced out so many insurers that about one in five insurance care customers will be forced to find a new insurance company this fall. more than half the country could have two or fewer insurers to choose from in the exchanges next year. and about a third of all counties in the u.s. along with seven entire states are set to have just a single insurer offering plans in their area. that includes one county in arizona that until just last night would have had no options in the exchange at all. i know this is something that senator mccain has been deeply concerned about, and he's
introduced good legislation to address if. -- to address it. obamacare co-ops continue to collapse at every turn, too, with less than a third expected to offer plans next year. when these co-ops collapse, they can cost taxpayers millions and disrupt coverage for thousands of enrollees. they can force patients to start over on their deductibles midyear, even find new doctors. these are the latest reverberating echos of the president's most famous broken promise: "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." that was the president's promise. here's a kentuckian from campbellsburg who wrote to me after losing his insurance. "i lost my health insurance that i had for many years because of obamacare. instead of something affordable, i face the possibility of struggling to purchase an
obamacare health plan that costs two to three times what i have i had been -- i had been paying. to top it off," he said, "the process of trying to find coverage had been a nightmare." and here's something to keep in mind when democrats try to spin the american people on obamacare: for all of this chaos and pain for the middle-class families, obamacare still has not achieved its stated purpose of universal coverage, not even close. tens of millions still remain uninsured. tens of millions. and those who do have insurance are now discovering they simply have health insurance. it isn't the same thing as having health coverage. they have insurance, but it isn't the same thing as having health coverage. take one new jersey man who suffered for years from chronic migraines and needs medications to help alleviate the pain.
the moment obamacare placed him on medicaid, he lost his access to each of his doctors, which meant waiting four months to see a new doctor and get a prescription to the medication he needs. you have a card saying you have health insurance, he said, but if no doctors take it, it's almost like having one of those fake i.d.'s. your medication is all paid for, but you can't get the pills. you can't get the pills, it is worthless. according to a goa gallup poll released this morning, many report that obamacare has hurt rather than helped their families. and many more americans say that obamacare will make their family's health situation worse rather than better over the long run. is it any wonder? americans are told that obamacare would allow them to keep the health plans they
liked, but they couldn't. americans were told that obamacare would drive down health care premiums by $2,500 per family. it hasn't. americans were told that obamacare would not raise taxes on the middle class. it did. americans were told that obamacare would increase choice and competition. the very opposite is proving true. and remember the promise: "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." it's been broken, too. in fact, the obama administration recently erased references to keeping your doctor from its web site. these entirely predictable consequences are not just flukes or quirks of obamacare. they are not just small wrinkles in a system that will work
themselves out with time. they represent fundamental flaws built into the law's original design. now republicans warned about obamacare's consequences repeatedly from the very start. democrats mocked us for doing so and rammed through their partisan law anyway. every single democrat in the senate woos needed to -- was needed to pass it and they got every one of thevment i invite -- every one of thevment i invite democrats to follow the lead of one of the president's health care leaders who penned an op-ed entitled "how i was wrong about obamacare." the problems democrats caused for the middle class aren't going away until obamacare does. so if democrats are serious about helping the middle class, they'll work with us to build a bridge beyond obamacare to better care.
anything else is more hollow rhetoric. today, six years on, obamacare is failing the middle class, but the president still hasn't offered a serious solution to fix it. he's now trying to convince americans that the solution to his bloated, unwieldy and expensive law is to make it more bloated, more unwieldy, and more expensive. in other words, more of the same. more of the same, just worse. his preferred presidential candidate says the same thing. so do congressional democrats. how can anyone conclude, after reading all these stories about how obamacare is hurting the middle class, that what we need now is more obamacare in the form of a government-run plan? that's their solution now.
more obamacare in the form of a government-run plan. look, democrats can continue to spin us on how great this law is. they can continue to tell americans to get over this law and its pain for the middle class. they can continue to laugh at americans who lose their plans. they can continue to crow about exploiting -- quote -- "the stupidity of the american voter" to push this partisan law on the middle class. or they can work with us to move beyond the failed experiment of obamacare. they can prove that they are finally willing to put people before ideology because this much is clear -- this much is clear: obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class. it hurts the very people it was designed to help. it raises costs, crushes choice,
and is now crashing down around it. it simply isn't working. to quote what president obama said six years ago, "the bottom line is this: the status quo of health care is simply unsustainable." mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. reid: it seems it was just a few minutes ago -- it wasn't, it was 15 years ago -- that just a few feet from where i stand now i went to a meeting. it was approaching 9:00, and no one was in the room, s-211. senator breaux from louisiana
walked in. he said, flip on the tv. and we did. we could see a tower had been hit in new york. we thought a plane had hit it by mistake. and so we shut off the tv and senator daschle came in and started the meeting. and just a few -- in just a few minutes some people came in and ushered senator daschle out of the meeting. he came back in quickly and said, the building has to be evacuated. there's a plane headed towards the capitol. by then we didn't know -- but as i walked out of that room, i could look out the window -- we all could -- see the smoke billowing from the place we learned was the pentagon. so i'll always remember that. of course i will. and, of course, remember, we've
learned since the many heroes of that day. people running toward, not away from danger. on that day, i was first taken home, rushed -- had to rush back to the capitol through police barricades. four members of the leadership were helicoptered out of the capitol to a secure location outside of d.c. we came back as the sun was going down to the capitol steps. barbara mikulski, the senator from maryland, who is known for giving dynamic speeches, didn't give a speech this day. very simply she said in front of this bipartisan group of senators, i think what we should sing is "god bless america." and we all did that. it was a beautiful rendition of
all the varied voices of senate republicans and democrats singing that song. and we didn't know really what that meant, what tomorrow would bring. but that gave us some inspiration. to think about how great our country is. the perpetrators sought to attack our democracy, our way of life. but they faivmentd but the tragedy -- but they failed. but the tragedy of that day reminded us of our resilience, led by george bush who did such a remarkable job of rallying the nation. we exhibited the best of ourselves in front of the world. and we resolved to degrade and destroy the terrorists spofnlgt in the end, after many failed
attempts, in spite of some people saying, well, let's wait again -- as obama said, let's do this, and they killed obama -- i mean, they killed bin laden. that was the right thing to do, a courageous move on behalf of president obama, the right thing to do. he was ultimately brought to justice. so today, 15 years later, i'll always remember that little experience a few feet from here. we'll all remember in our own way september 11, and we'll in our own way honor the heroes of that day. and we'll never forget that we're always stronger whenever we're united. mr. president, i have trouble comprehending my friend, the republican leader, how he can with a straight face talk about how terrible america is.
ah, things are upside down. it's terrible. remember, eight years ago obama was elected president -- almost eight years ago. that month, our country, under the prior administration, for lots of reasons we've all talked about, lost 800,000 jobs in one month. that wasn't the only month. our unemployment rate shot up in places like the presiding officer's state and my state to more than 14%. unemployment in america was raging. major companies failed. i saw the secretary of treasury on his knees begging in the white house the speaker of the
house, nancy pelosi, for help. we joined together with presidenpresident bush. -- we joined together with president bush. there was nothing partisan about what we did. and even though there were some small steps, we did our best to help the country. and since then, under the last eight years of obama's leadership, the country has been significantly turned in the right direction. for my friend, the republican leader, to parrot when donald trump is saying -- "make america great again" -- america is great ... right now. millions of jobs have been created in this administration. millions and millions of jobs, about 16 million.
there are no ground troops except in afghanistan. they've been brought home, and rightfully so. to hear my friend, the republican leader, we served together a long time, talk about the awfulness of obamacare , you don't have to have a long memory to know what it was like before obamacare. insurance companies canceling policies, denying insurance, not writing insurance because you're a woman because you had a prior disability. i don't know if my friend is briefed by his office, reads the newspapers, watches the news. three words ago the word came out that the uninsured is at all time lows in our country. 92% of americans