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tv   [untitled]    February 13, 2012 3:00pm-3:30pm EST

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there is nothing on the revenue side and there is nothing on the entitlement side under the sequester. it is all on discretionary savings that have already been cut. we're headed already as congressman van hollen indicated to the lowest discretionary spending as a share of our national income in 60 years. >> why increase the process in the first place? >> the hope was the special committee would come up with a better idea on both the revenue side and on reforming entitlements and unfortunately they did not. we're left with the sequester. the president is saying, yes, we should secure those savings, we should actually have greater savings, but we should do it in a more balanced way. that's an entirely rational response, i think. >> i agree with what the senator
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said on that. nothing to add. i just got a note saying what the speaker proposed is moving only on the payroll tax cut piece. that would obviously leave millions of americans who are out of work through no fault of their own hanging. it would leave millions of seniors who need to see their doctors as part of the medicare program potentially in the lurch, so that's why these three things were dealt to yet as one package together the first time around and they should stay together on the next round. i am glad the republicans are finally wanting to move the payroll tax cut without other extraneous provisions like blocking clean air regulations, but other than that, i think that things need to move together and travel together the three of them. >> can i ask you what kate asked you earlier, you're saying now
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that you would vote against a straight -- >> what i am saying is it is important to keep these three things together and as i read the statement, he is talking about something he may bring up later this week. i still think that the conference committee can work its will and i am hopeful that we'll be able to get to a solution. there have been discussions going on over the weekend. >> mr. van hollen, using that as a lead in, what are the state of talks right now? i understand that some of the talks breaking down over the weekend were pinned to length of time and off sets. what can you tell us? >> i don't want to get into a lot of detail other than to say i think you know the democrats proposed a permanent doc fix. we had proposed as part of that that we use some of the war savings. it is not clear whether our house republican colleagues will go along with that. i should point out some of the senate republicans have been
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supportive of that idea, but house republicans did not take kindly to it in the public meetings, and so we're looking for other alternatives. as you say, you can have anything from a one-year fix to a permanent fix. >> on the war savings, a lot of people say this is not a legitimate offset, this money that wasn't going to be spent anyway. how do you all respond to that? >> why don't you look at this year's budget and what's been happening. the reality is that the war savings budget, the budget that's been put aside for the war has been used for other things that may not be directly related to afghanistan and iraq, for example, and if you don't tap that, if you don't cap that, what you do is you create a slush fund that exists for years and years and years. i think part of our hope is to
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make sure that the defense department just like every other federal agency is budgeting on a regular, annual basis, and you don't have the separate fund that's created that can dramatically increase cost to taxpayers. i think the reality is it has been used in part as a sort of supplemental fund for things that may not be strictly related to the war and by capping it, you make sure that we're on a regular budget for the defense department. >> one other thing should be said here. the republicans in the house had in their budget the use of these funds in total as offsets, in total. so now they come along and complain about capping them. it is a little disingeneral us on frankly. the fact is we're out of iraq. we're winding down the effort in
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afghanistan. that is going to create certain savings. we ought to make certain those savings go to an intended purpose, not become as congressman van hollen indicated a slush fund that can be used to spend money in other places never intended by the congress of the united states. >> senator conrad back to agriculture. you said direct payments will take a hit. anything in rural development and other programs that won't be popular in rural america? >> look, we have to have savings from every part of the budget. i republic north dakota. i have worked very hard in the last two farm bills. we are working very hard on a new one. we can accommodate $23 billion of savings and still provide a sound safety net. when you go beyond that, it
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becomes real challenging. the president asked us to go further. the president has asked for spending reductions or savings in virtually every area of the budget. and we understand that has to be done. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> we take you from capitol hill to the white house briefing room where president secretary jay carney is answering questions from reporters. >> senator rubio or blunt, the issue here is giving employers
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the right to deny women, to deny women access to preventive services including contra sepgs free of charge, so essentially this bill or these bills would give any employer the right to deny the women who work for them contra coverage. it is dangerous and wrong and we oppose that. >> it is not just rubio. >> we think it is absolutely vital that women no matter where they work have access to the same healthcare coverage, the preventive services here are important for women's health and it is important that women no matter where they work have access to them. the president found in the policy he put forward on friday an approach that balances the vital need to provide these services to women without
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further cost while ensuring that religious liberties are protected. again, there has been a broad spectrum of folks who have come out in support of the president's approach. the bill put forward here, the one by senator rubio, the one by senator blunt, i guess an amendment, we believe are dangerous and wrong by giving any employer the right to deny the women who work for them kra cep ti ve coverage and it is simply not the right approach. >> israel accused iran and -- of bombings today in georgia. what's the white house's reaction to israel's suspicions about who is behind it? >> as you know already, we condemn in very strong terms the
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attempted attacks against israeli targets in knew new delhi today. these incidents underscore our ongoing concern rashding the recent targeting of israeli interests overseas. we continue to examine the situation. details are still emerging regarding those incidents. as secretary clinton indicated, the united states places a high priority on the safety and security of diplomatic personnel around the world. we stand ready to assist with any investigation of these acts. we have no information yet on who is responsible for these attacks. we are still evaluating what happened. >> are you sharing information with israel or investigating together about that? >> you can be sure as we said in the past that generally speaking we have extremely broad cooperation with israeli intelligence and the israeli military and you can assume that that kind of discussions are taking place sfwl one follow-up
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on jim's question. would the white house entertain the possibility of extending the payroll tax cut without having an offset? >> i don't want to entertain hypotheticals. >> it is not a hypothetical right now. >> sure it is. would they entertain a bill if it were put forward. that's a hypothetical. as i noted at the beginning of my answer, we found it ironic late last year when house republicans who had made it a cornerstone of their philosophy in dealing with tax cuts that they should not be paid for that they were in the case of payroll tax cut for 160 million working americans insisting that it be paid for. nonetheless, the president happily worked with congress to ensure that the extension, the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, as well as unemployment insurance was offset with reasonable cuts. we are willing to continue working with congress and to
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offset the payroll tax cut extension and unemployment insurance extension in a responsible way that doesn't harm the economy and doesn't harnl the very people the tax cut is meant to help so that it is extended for the full year. that's the approach we have taken. we certainly expect congress to act accordingly without delay and without drama. >> how important is it to the president that principle of having an offset? >> i think we made clear that the principle that it be offset was one established by republicans. >> how important is it? >> was established by republicans as recently as last week, re-established or reasserted. we're willing to work with them to offset it in a responsible way and we expect congress to get its work done and to extend it. the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the doc fix for the rest of the year. let me get to jay. >> okay.
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the president when he spoke to nova student and faculty earlier today acknowledged the numbers in the budget were so big they were difficult to talk about, and to break them down, it would be along the lines of a family that makes $29,000 a year spending $38,000 a year and taking on new debt at $9,000 of new debt with a $153,000 credit card bill they were not able to pay down. that would be a way of looking at the average american to afford or to understand it. does that seem responsible? >> jake, i appreciate the analogy. i think what you know and everyone in this room knows and what every american knows based on what i have seen is that this economy was in free fall in january of 2009. it had the government in the previous eight years had had racked up an enormous amount of debt although it had started the
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century with surpluses, and because of the free fall we were in, urgent measures needed to be taken to reverse the direction of the economy and to reverse the direction of employment in this country. those actions were taken. hard choices were made. thanks to those tough choices made by the president and working with congress and the economy has now grown for a number of consecutive quarters. it has created private sector jobs for 23 straight months, well over 3 million, 3.7 million new jobs, and we are headed in the right direction. we have a long way to go. what the president made clear and the chief of staff made clear yesterday in his appearances is that we need to make sure we get it right as we move forward so that we invest where we need to, we extend the payroll tax cut, for example, because we need to economically and then for the medium and long-term we need to do the things that we need to do to
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ensure we reduce our deficit and debt so that we can get our fiscal house in order, and that's what the president's budget does. as you know from the debate we had last fall, his vision, again ens caps lated in this duj document reduces the deficit, reduces cut spending by $4 trillion over ten years in a balanced way that includes the $1 trillion in discretionary cuts agreed to in the budget krol act. it includes revenues as well as reductions in entitlement spending as well as reductions in defense spending. that's the approach the american people expect us to take. >> he is willing theoretically if he had a partner, a republican partner in congress, who was willing to take on the sacred things in his party and the president is willing to go forward within this budget document, this is a budget document according to what he is willing to do on his own. it is not as far as he would go, right? >> well, i wouldn't want to
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negotiate the line items of a global grand bargain if you will. the president demonstrated last summer his willingness to take on the sacred cows in his own party, his willingness to do things and lead his party in a direction that would be very difficult for them because he knew and the leaders of the democratic party and the congress agreed it was the right thing to do for the economy. >> the budget doesn't reflect that. >> actually it does. it doesn't reflect every item of the potential grand bargain that the speaker of the house walked away from, but it does reflect the proposal the president put forward in the fall and it does it with a combination of entitlement reductions and reforms, of revenue increases, asking that those who have done exceptionally well over the last ten years, the wealthiest americans pay a little extra, pay their fair share and does it through a sensible and wise
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reductions in defense spending and discretionary spending. >> from your own words and president obama's own words, it is not as bold as he would be willing to be if he had a republican partner in congress willing? >> it is a very bold proposal. it is absolutely designed on the framework laid out by bipartisan commissions like bohls and simpson shared that similar to the commission in that it encapsulates this approach and we haven't been able to travel the bipartisan balanced road on the republican side. you've had a situation where the president has been willing to make tough choices, things that are hard for democrats to do, but we haven't seen the concurrent willingness on the republican side unfortunately to even embrace -- even be open to the idea that americans overwhelmingly support which is that we need to do something
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about revenues so that we can reduce our deficit and deal with our long-term debt in a responsible way because the alternative is the so-called ryan budget which basically ends well for as we know it which asks average seniors to pay up to -- medicare, sorry, asks average seniors to pay up to $6,000 a year extra for deficit reduction and also so that millionaires get $100,000 extra in tax breaks. i think that is a tough message to explain to the average american out there struggling to make ends meet and sees hope in the economy but still knows that we still have a long way to go and the answer on one side of the aisle is to seriously affect the livelihoods of senior citizens so that we can give more tax breaks to the folks who have gotten the most tax breaks in the previous ten years. that's not a debate that we
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believe the other side is likely to win. the sensible approach is the bipartisan approach, this balanced approach that says we have to do this in a way that deals with all the drivers of our long-term deficit including revenues and including defense and including skegsary spending. >> let's get back to the family metaphor and one of the spouses isn't ready to make the tough choices but the president is? >> he took a lot of heat this summer from his party and advocates on the democratic side of the political spectrum because of his willingness to make tough choices, and he remains willing to do that, and he would welcome a willingness by republicans to approach deficit reduction in a balanced way. i mean, there is a lot of talk about simpson bohls, commission that only exists because the president created it and the
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outlines of which drove the president's own broad deficit and debt reduction plan. what people forget is it asks for twice as many revenues as the president's own proposal. people forget it asks for substantially more deficit cuts than the president believes are responsible and what we forget about simpson bohls is not a single house republican endorsed it or supported it and i think that reflects part of the problem we have in washington right now. nora? >> on syria, the un human rights chief today said the failure of the collective action of the security council has, quote, emboldened the sir syrian to launch a widespread and systematic attack on civilians. does the white house agree with that. >> the white house believes the
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asad regime continues to perp trait disgusting acts of violence against its own people who seek a democratic transition and better life and we call on the asad regime to cease and desist this behavior and we work with our international partners to continue to pressure the regime and isolate it to try to bring about a change in behavior. as you know, we have been working with a group that is standing up, the friends of syria which will have its first meeting in tunisia on february 24 1k3 we'll work with our allies and country in the region to further pressure asad to stop this behavior and step aside and allow the syrian people the future they deserve and includes as well discussions of providing humanitarian aid and other measures that can be taken to isolate asad even further. >> there is an arab league
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proposal to send in peacekeepers. would the u.s. be willing to add to that effort? >> we strongly agree with the arab's league demand sunday to immediately and fully stop all acts of violence and the murder of syrian civilians and the arms forces to lift the military seize imposed on restal districts and villages. we support an enhanced and expanded arab league mission and we are discussing the unand our international partners the circumstances in which a peace keeping force whether under arab league, un or other auspices would help maintain piece in syria starting with a peace to keep. unfortunately there is not one at this moment. >> there could be a scenario where u.s. troops are over there as peacekeepers? >> we're talking about un, arab league or other auspices and you are speculating about an outcome
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that would require a peace to be kept to begin with. >> can i ask you about given the arab spring and other areas where they have been involved for instance in libya. are there any similarities in terms of syria and the action we took in libya? >> that's a helpful question and an important one because we made the point with regard in answer to questions about why not act in syria the same way that the united states acted with libya, and i think it is an important to point out two things. one, all the way back when libya was unfolding we made clear every country is different in our view and therefore the approach we take in every -- with regards to the developments in every country is different. the situation in libya was one where you had united nations support. you had broad arab league support. you had the libyan people asking for the kind of intervention
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that was authorized under the unsecurity resolution that allows the enforcement of the no fly zone and the actions by nato forces to prevent nato and outside forces to prevent ka gadhafi from a mass assault on his own people so there are serious significant differences between these two situations. we are in a way that is similar we are working with international allies and partners from europe, the united nations, the region, to forge a broad group supporting the syrian people and do everything we can to isolate and pressure asad, to support the syrian people in a time of dire need and to help bring about the democratic transition that the syrian people desperately deserve. >> back on the budget, how can
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the president yesterday say this is not a time for austerity, we chant choke off the recovery when you if go back to last summer the economy was in worse shape, unemployment was certainly higher than it is today and the president during the debt ceiling debate was saying it is a moral imperative to tackle the debt? isn't this budget now basically kicking the can down the road? >> it is a great question because it contains the answer within it. the president's vision for fulfilling the moral obligation to tackle the debt is contained within the budget he presented today. he certainly did not mean last summer that we should contract spending in a way that through the very fragile recovery at that point into reverse and cause further job loss and inflicted further economic pain on the american people. he has always taken the approach as we have emerged from the greatest recession since the great depression that we need to take steps to strengthen the
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economy, create economic growth, have the economy create more jobs in the near term to give it the strength that it needs so that the recovery will become an engine on its own and that we then -- but even now as we're taking, we're passing measures that do that like the payroll tax cut, for example, or unemployment insurance extension or the other aspects of the american jobs act which unfortunately republicans have blocked, but would put people back to work and cause even greater economic growth, we do those things and we do them responsibly and pay for them but we do those things even as we lock in the kind of medium and long-term savings that would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over ten years. >> you acknowledge that unemployment is down but there when you say locking those savings, the peter g peterson foundation which is non-partisan flat apply said when you look at
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your own budget even under optimistic supgss it shows debt rising rapidly after 2022 and reaching levelings that would put the economy at risk. the first part of the answer seems to be working but the second part how are you locking in savings -- >> we are locking in savings over ten years t doesn't mean that every problem is solved. >> it is going to be $25 trillion in debt in -- >> i am sorry, has someone else offered a $25 trillion debt reduction plan? i think i would be interested to see it. the fact is the president has put forward a deficit and debt reduction plan that would save more than $4 trillion over ten years. that is significant savings. it builds on some of the decisions that have been made working with congress last summer through the debt ceiling negotiations that led to the passage of the budget control act that locked in a trillion dollars in discretionary cuts and locked in an additional $1.2 frill i don't know through the sequester designed to force
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congress to act in a responsible and balanced way for further deficit and debt reduction and he has further savings that account for the total $4 trillion. that's the right approach. it doesn't mean we solved every problem for the country going forward. certainly that wouldn't be the case. it does it in a responsible way and it does it in a way that proves as other bipartisan commissions have shown that you do not have to decimate medicare, end it as we know it in order to balance and deal with our deficit and debt and bring it under krol to achieve the primary balance that the president's budget does. you just need to make responsible choices. you need to ask something of the wealthiest americans who at the time the middle class was getting hammered was enjoying the greatest accumulation of wealth in the previous decade before the president took office. all we're asking is that
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everyone pay their fair share so that everyone gets a fair shot and the president thinks that's entirely responsible and happens to be a view shared by a broad majority of the american people. >> despite the good things you say the republicans immediately say every year they say dead on arrival with the rummage. the ryan budget, you say it hurt senior citizens. is there a better way to do that so the $25 or trillion debt that is coming a decade from now, is there something to the process and is there a way to make this process better? >> i suppose there are many ways to make the process better. the principle one is for elected officials of goodwill to decide they're going to check the idealogical baggage at the door and that was the approach we took in the discussions led by
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vice president biden last summer. it was the approach the president took in the discussions he had with the speaker of the house john boehner and the approach we would take tomorrow if there were a willingness to acknowledge that there is a way to do this that's fair and balanced and that there is a way to do this that doesn't require the burden of dealing with our deficit in long-term debt to be borne by senior citizens and the most vulnerable in our community. if we all are willing to make the tough choices, we can get it done. that'sen caps lated in the budget and reflected in the negotiations last summer and be the approach going through this year. a lot of people talk about how nothing will get done this year because it is an election year and i think you were around in '96 and others were and that's what everyone said in 1996, it can't be done because there is an incumbent president


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