tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN3 September 29, 2014 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
layer of skin. so i went to the doctor and told them those few things. and he kind of had a hunch. he said you have lupus. lupus is my body attacking my body. if you have a cold your body attacks the cold. my body attacks my kidneys. it doesn't know the difference between a cold or my kidneys or my skin or my blood. it's attacking it. well, they give me a pill and it failed. they give me a pill and it failed. they give me another pill and i didn't tolerate it very well. i went through every single
medication they have and nothing was working. >> it's frightening especially with lupus because no one has answers. the doctors don't have answers. i certainly didn't have answers. you're almost hope helpless. >> i was heart broken because i didn't know why she had to go through this and not somebody else. but -- >> they didn't know what to do. they didn't know how to treat me. >> she had gone through all the drugs so it was kind of the last resort. >> it all happened really quickly. and they put a port in your neck in your jugular vein and take out your stem cells. you get admitted to the hospital where they give you five days of
chemo and it was intense, intense chemo. after they wipe my body clean of all of the sick cells, the lupus cells, they give me my stem cells back. it is a brand new immune system. it is an immune system of a newborn. it took about six to seven months for me to really feel better. >> ready? set, go! >> it is definitely fun. we are definitely outdoor people. we love hiking. >> because of adult stem cells i can walk long distances. if i can walk on the trails, i can go hiking with my husband. we love nature. >> it was pretty rough for a while there being told that we may not be able to have a child. >> i wanted something so bad my whole life and i read online that i might not be able to have
it. i asked if it was okay that i try to get pregnant. >> he said you have a new immune system. it does not know that you have lupus. so we are going to try. >> adult stem cells gave me a better life and a chance to be a mom. >> isn't that a great story. you are a part of that when you support such great works at the family research counsel. with all of the news dominating the headlines of isis we hardly hear about the crisis on our own border. yet that crisis continues. we need to hear more about that. coming next is the lieutenant governor of texas who will be addressing this issue among
others. during his time in office he worked hard to make texas the national leader in job creation and the best place in america to do business. let's take a look at the monitors for a little bit more about our next speaker. remember last summer when many of you rode buses and drove cars to austin because we had a group of people who literally took over the senate chambers and kept our senate from doing business. and so we decided we would all show up so that we could save some lives. >> the visionary for hb 2 and pro lifeers and women and children owe him a debt of gratitude that simply is
difficult to really explain to people. >> i want to tell you why, this little baby right here came up for adoption. the little girl who was pregnant who didn't know who the dad was went down to get an abortion and she couldn't get an abortion because this little baby had just turned 20 weeks old. so the next time somebody says to you that this is about politics i want you to remember, i want this to be etched in your mind this is what it is about right here. >> this is a massive bill. this bill brought people in from all over the country. they paid people to come in from
all over the country. that is how big and massive this bill was. that is what david dreamed up for us, put together and helped shepherd through. no one else offered to do that for us or was able to do that, not dan patrick and not anybody else. that is what makes him irreversib irreversible. >> the sacrifice you and your staff and other legislators made, we have our son today. >> there is a time when you have stood courageously and here we stand today with the fruit of that, this little baby. lieutenant governor ought to get the credit for his leadership. i want you to thank him today. >> ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome lieutenant
governor david dukehurst. >> thank you. laemsh, it is a great pleasure for me to be here this morning. i get to be in a room full of fellow conservatives, fellow christians, people that are dedicated to supporting life. i get to talk about texas. it doesn't get any better. i have been a conservative all my life. i remember as a youngster i read "the conscience of a conservative". when i got through reading i said that is me. my most important north star is my christian faith, my belief in christ. with my family a very close
second meaning they are really great. growing up my dad was killed when i was 3 years old in a car wreck. mom was our rock. she taught us her christian values. and we had her unconditional love just like we have christ's unconditional love. i have come to realize that the core essence of conservatism is the liberty of every person. just a second ago, seeing that baby, continues to be very emotional for me. you and i know that life is a gift from god. i am proud to defend it anytime i can from anyone who would treat preborn babies as a mere inconvenience or try to harm you or your family.
thinking about that baby, before i was elected lieutenant governor only one pro life bill in the history of the state of texas had passed down. since then i have led in passing parental consent, a woman's right to know, a 24-hour cooling off period, making it a crime for the first time in the history of the state of texas if you harm an unborn baby, defunding planned parenthood. the sonogram bill and a lot more including what you just saw, the 2013 blockbuster bill where we had protesters chanting hail satan. that bill has saved a little over 10,000 lives in one year.
today i don't know a state more socially conservative than texas. i want everybody to be socially conservative. i don't know a state more fiscally conservative than texas. i am pretty independent. i am a proud republican but i am pretty independent. i do what is right. a poor boy i started my business from scratch. i knew then as i know now that government takes too much of our money. government has no money. it is your money. that's why over the years i am building consensus in the reg sla legislature in which we cut taxes. we have eliminated 57 state agencies because i hate to waste
your money. i have made job creation a priority because i think that is part of the american dream. i remember trying to start my business and how hard it was. but a key on that is if you are willing to work hard. if america were not a great country border security would not be a problem. tony asked me to come up from texas and talk about a subject that i'm involved with every day and that is border security. it's a situation that i regret that we are in the middle of in texas but we are and i am proud of what we are doing. i want to make a statement about how proud i am to the men and women in texas who are standing up and standing on that line because ladies and gentlemen i will probably say it again.
if we don't stop the bad guys at the border today they will be in your neighborhood tomorrow. now, most of us, if not all of us in this room, are fed up with washington and the federal government. i may be madder because i know what could be done if the federal government would just listen. i feel very strongly about this. border security is a huge issue in texas and around the country. the democrats have tried not to talk about border security but to talk about immigration and talk about the humanitarian and try to pull at your heart strings. i understand. i think over the last year the tsunami of unaccompanied children and what that means and literally the president opening up the red carpet for them to come here and then talking about
amnesty by executive order and made millions of us all around the country really mad. bottom line, we don't stop the bad guys at the border they will be in your hometown tomorrow. i believe we have to do five things. we have got to secure our border against illegal immigration. we have got to stop drug, dangerous drugs coming in killing our fellow americans. three, we have to do something about our trans national gangs operating in every texas city. they are working for the cart cartels. human trafficking is awful. we have to stop human trafficking. trafficking of young children turning into sex slaves here in the united states. we have to secure the border against potential national
security threats crossing the border. today a lot of our border patrol signs in the texas brush are in english, spanish and chinese. there is an unconfirmed judicial watch story about isis activity. a very liberal democrat congressman, that is redundant, debated me last saturday. he made light of the border threat saying the fbi and the cia had told him there are no known confirmed terrorist threats along our southern border at the present time. at the present time. that is not the question, congressman. the question is is there isis activity targeted on the united states. the answer is yes.
the leader of isis has said i will see you in new york. prayer rugs have recently been found on the texas side of the border in the brush. again, we are facing another tsunami and that is the trans national gangs in every city. if you don't remember anything i said today please remember this one thing. including 3,000 murders. when your friends say it doesn't hurt. it kills texans. it hurts texans. it kills americans and hurts americans.
i respect mexico and i respect the efforts of the previous president and the fight against the drug cartels. mexican president was wrong on 9/11 when he issued a press release saying texas was putting the texas national guard on the border for politics. governor perry and i are both conservative republicans but we run and serve completely independent of each other. and i just didn't wake up yesterday and dawn on me that we need to do something about securing the border. i started eight years ago. eight years ago i said i'm fed up with the federal government. they are not going to do their constitutional responsibility to defend our sovereign border. and when that happens i believe the state will have not just a right but obligation to step in and act independent of the federal government.
did you know there are almost twice as many cops in new york city with guns as we have in the whole border patrol, border between alaska and canada. and there is no way they can do this. they need more people. again, as a conservative and a firm believer in the tenth amendment i believe states must act independent of the federal government when the federal government fails to do their constitutional duty. that's why in 2007, eight years ago i started appropriating texas tax dollars, not federal dollars to help secure our southern border with our state police. we have high altitude, helicopters, armor plated gun boats. the cartels don't shoot at us. each boat can fire 1,000 rounds
a minute. we put texas rangers in the brush. we have now spent over $800 million of texas tax dollars, not a penny of federal tax dollars trying to secure our border. this increase is because obama put out the red carpet for people to come to texas with the help of the drug cartels. these cartels are horrible. some of the people that the cartels smuggle are left to die. others are put into service as sex slaves. i cannot sit idly by and not do everything in my ability to stop that. these are humans cht these are people made by god like us. we need to stop this horrible, horrible practice.
[ applause ] i notice my time is almost up. last fall we ran a trial surge. it was successful. we kicked off a big surge, 1,000 of our state police and activated 1,000 of our national guard. we haven't militarized the border. the border patrol, our eyes and ears are armed. when they spot illegal activity that call the border patrol and our state police and we round them up. and it is working. we targeted on the worst zones 120 mile zone where most of the cartels are. and we have reduced illegal immigration some 65% and working to get it down to zero. i want to be careful when i say our intercepts tell us cartels
are saying when are these guys going to stop? my answer is never until we finish the job. [ applause ] it is not without a cost. it is costing us in texas $18 million a month. that's a lot of money. i asked myself, how do you put a price on saving the life of a texan or american? you can't. there is no price. my goal is to be able to show washington how to do it, get them to increase the size of the border patrol and let us go home. we have problems we need to face right now. washington needs to change the 2008 law that allows apprehended aliens to have a final hearing on their being in the united states. that is nuts. that hearing going to thapen in two days, not two days.
>> if you are from mexico or canada your hearing is in 24 hours. we need the nation of mexico to tighten their border security and eliminate free train rides across mexico. what can you do? support. support, pray, change in the 2008 law. pray for us as we stand up for the life of every texan and every american. pray for our law enforcement. they are in a dangerous position. pray for our law enforcement as we try to do our part to protect america's border. pray we elect a good conservative president in 201
who is a leader and will do the right thing for america. you know, i told tourists many times that texas doesn't really exist. it is more of a way of thinking. if you saw the movie america which i recommend and i normally don't quote rocker elite singers but if you saw bono in the movie you know what he said? he said it has always been a right/wrong issue and america has always been on the side of right. amen. he said give us liberty, dignity and justice and we will handle it from here and get government out of the way. i like that. let me end by saying i love america and i know you love america. it's offered this poor boy from
texas opportunity. it offered me the opportunity of a lifetime and that is biggest second only to my wife trisha saying yes to serve as the lieutenant governor of texas for 12 years and try to honor the lord in my acts and my words and to help protect life and to protect our liberties and try to make this a little better place to live. america has fallen some. our leaders have failed us. but as christians we know america is in god's hands. and with our strong prayers every day several times a day i know in my heart as a hero of yours and mine once said america's best days are in front of us. god bless you. nice to be with you.
♪ we have a video we would like to show you. let's look at the monitors together. >> i have a question. can a nation conceived in liberty carry its head high if it denies protection to the youngest and most vulnerable of its citizens? can a country founded on god-given rights continue to thrive without understanding that life is a precious gift from our creator? i believe that great nations and great civilizations spring from
a people who have a moral compass. >> i don't think a civilization can long endure that does not have respect for all human life born and not born. >> as a physician i have looked into the eyes of one pound babies. i have cradled their small bodies in the palm of one hand. i defy those who are careless who would disregard life look at these tiny little miracles and say we are not going to protect that. >> i believe there will come a time when we are all judged on whether or not we took a stand in defense of all life from the moment of conception until our last natural breath. >> as a teenager i gave my first public speech in my church. my hands shook, my heart pounded. i thought to myself i can't do this. somehow i did. because i wanted to talk about things that were important i persisted. i chided my church as a senior
in high school for not seeming to care about the not yet born, for looking the other way and not taking a stand on life. >> i will be in earnest. i will not equivocate and will not excuse. i will not retreat an inch and i will be heard. >> one thing i promise you i will always take a stand for life. ladies and gentlemen, the value voters summit is honored to welcome the national religious broadcasters coming now to introduce our next speaker would you please welcome the president of nrb, dr. jerry johnson. he is courageous.
he is not afraid to stand up. he is not afraid to speak out. he is not afraid to vote no. he is not afraid to mount a filibuster when necessary. senator rand paul was elected in 2010 to represent kentucky in the united states senate. he is a champion for constitutional liberty, fiscal responsibility and for the sanctity of human life. he has been a vocal advocate for term limits, a read the bills act and that is a good idea and an audit of the federal reserve. he serves on the senate foreign relations committee as well as
the health education, labor and mentions committee, homeland security and government affairs committee and small business committee. senator paul is also a practicing ophthalmologist. he continues to provide pro bono eye surgery. senator i want to particularly thank you for your national leadership in defense of the constitution, especially the very first freedom in the bill of rights, religious liberty. last fall you voted against in committee and on the senate floor and helped thwart senator harry reid's brazen attempt to gut the 20-year-old religious freedom restoration act. he is on the edge.
he has an edge. it gives him the edge. it is an honor to welcome you to this assembly, senator rand paul. ♪ right here right now there is no other place i want to be ♪ ♪ ♪ right here right now watching the world wake up from history ♪ ♪ thank you. what a glorious morning it is outside. it's a beautiful day. thank you for coming. america is not just experiencing growing pains, though. america i believe is in a full blown crisis, a spiritual crisis. soothing voices seek to reassure us saying everything is okay. all is well until one day all is not well. the problem as ozputs it is not
wolves at the door. it is termites in the floor. our foundation is cracking. it is not that we have chosen the wrong politicians although there is some truth to that. it's more fundamental. we have arrived at a cross roads. we have arrived at a day of reckoning. will we falter or will we thrive and rediscover our mojo. america has greatness left in her. if we believe in ourselves and founding documents and the system that made us the rie riechest, freest. the sand is shifting. our moral compass is wavering. ozguinness makes the point when he states that the only proper restraint for freedom is self-restraint. what does that mean? it means those of us who love freedom must realize that
freedom is not a license to do as you please. freedom can only be realized when citizens know self restraint or put another way, virtue. this parallels george washington's belief that democracy requires a virtuous people. think american revolution versus the french revolution. laws don't ultimately restrain people. 98% of the people will follow a virtuous course with or without laws. this isn't to say we shouldn't have laws. what we need is something more than laws. we need something that civilizes a nature. that is virtue. what america needs is not just a politician. whatparic really -- what america really needs is a revival.
200 years ago thomas payne wrote these are the times that try men's souls. the question is now as important as it was then. will you be sunshine patriots shrinking gone when the going gets tough or will you stand shoulder to shoulder to defend the republic? as your representative i swore an oath to defend against enemies foreign and domestic. now that i have been to washington and i have seen the belly of the beast i can tell you that i have met the enemy and the enemy is too often right here in this town. in congress and frankly many times in both parties. in bipartisan fashion congress defies its own rules. they are supposed to publish the bills in advance so we can read
the bills. reading the bills shouldn't be too difficult. the president acts like he is a king. he ignores the constitution and arrogantly says if congress will not act then i must. these are not the words of a leader but the exclamations of an autocrat. in the face of war the president is just as arrogant. we are faced with a crisis in the middle east that does require action. i am one who is hesitant to be involved in the civil wars of the middle east, isis is a threat to our consulate and our embassy in baghdad. we should act but within the rule of law. the constitution says that only congress may declare war yet this president has in libya and then this week in syria committed our sons and daughters to a war that is not authorized
by congress. had i been president i would have called for a joint session of congress. i would have laid out the threat and i would have requested congressional authority to respond as the constitution dictates. failing to follow the constitution this president missed a chance to galvinize the country. he missed a chance to become a great american leader. how did we stray so far from the constitution? how do we find our way back to the traditions of our founders? don is a friend of mine. he wrote about how freedom and tradition are intertwined and said freedom needs tradition for law, toerd andinse separation.
tradition needs freedom. the great achievement 069 institution's frame were in framing a need for synthesizins. america needs to revive traditional. america needs to rerive the hope that springs eternal from the teachings. government can supply bread but can't mend a broken spirit. mother teresa was once praised for social work in india and replied we are not social workers. we do this for jesus. no secular government, no social worker can claim the same motivation. no government, no law can force a people to be virtuous. our churches, schools, parents must fill that void. this isn't the norm now. speaking of a revival, speaking of our values is sadly
considered nonconformity here in this day and age? in other words, i think we should just do something, seek god. we left no room for the seeker. maybe our country's revival depends on seeking and rediscovering the synthesis of freedom and tradition. some believe you must choose either liberty or virtue that you can't have too much freedom. liberty is absolutely essential to virtue. it is our freedom to make individual choices that allows us to be virtuous. government can't impose this. we must impose it. this doesn't mean the government shouldn't or can't reflect values. the first amendment is not only about keeping religions people out of government but about keeping government out of
religion. [ applause ] some seem to separate the issues of our day, separate our debt from the issue of life, separate our charity from our education, separate our values from our government. this doesn't work. obamacare tries to force us to separate our faith from our business. fortunately, the supreme court thought otherwise. reagan understood this unity of message when he wrote we do not have a separate social agenda, a separate economic jaepd and separate foreign agenda. we have one agenda as surely as we seek to rebuild our nation's defenses we speak to protect the unborn, end the manipulation of school children and permit the acknowledgment of our supreme being in our classrooms.
as christians we should stand with the most defenseless. i believe no civilization can long endure that does not respect life from the not yet born to life's last breath. the debate isn't really about whether government has a role in protecting life. the debate really hinges on when life begins. i have held 1.5 pound babies in my hand. i have seen them sucking their thumb in an ultrasound and i have seen surgeons operate babies still in the womb. don't tell me babies have no rights simply because they are not yet born. i am one who will march for life and will continue to stand up in defense of life as long as i am
privileged to be in office. another way we as christians should stand up is in foreign policy. reagan in his first speech to the u.n. said the record of history is clear. citizens resort to force reluctantly. reagan believed in strength and peace. he said as for the enemies of freedom they will be reminded that peace is the highest aspiration of the american people. our foreign policy has too often accepted war instead of peace leading to a host of unintended consequen consequences, toppling dictators led time and time again to chaos and that enabled and abetted the rise of radical islam. as secular dictators if fell in libya, egypt and iraq and syria radical jihad exploited the
vacuum and christians have been forced to flee. where will the syrian christians go? across the middle east the story is the same. christians are either persecuted or on the run. in sudan miriam is on the run but i understand she may be here today. for her beliefs she was sentenced to death by the muslim courts of sudan. she was raised by a christian mother and married a christian man. at the time of the arrest she had a young son who was pregnant. islamic law considers miriam and her son to be muslim. when she was arrested they were taken to prison. she was forced to give birth in prison shackled to the floor. when her muslim brother was asked about her sentence he replied if she repents and returns to our islamic faith
then we are a family. if she refuses she should be executed. after her conviction she was given a chance to recant her christianity and save her life. she refused declaring i am a christian and will remain a christian. that is true bravery. [ applause ] luckily she was granted asylum and is now here in the united states. there are many more like her across the globe christians are under attack as if we lived in the middle ages or under early roman rule. in libya once gadhafi fell radical jihaddests rounded up hundreds of christians accusing them of being missionaries. many were tortured and one christian died while being tortured. in pakistan a christian sits on death row for blasphemy.
she says it began when she drew water from a muslim villager's well. she said the crowd formed chapting death to the christian. she pleaded for her life and was pelted with stones, punched in the face, drug through streets. the local imam said if you don't want to die you must convert. the crowd descended on her and the police stopped her attackers only to arrest her. for several years now she has been on death row for the alleged crime of blasphemy. until she is freed pakistan should not receive a penny of u.s. aid. [ applause ] not a penny should go to any
nation that persecutes christians. i can't imagine why we would do this. you would think -- i believe the american public believes this, there is no way we should do this. you think your representatives would get it, but they don't. this summer i introduced legislation to stop foreign aid to any country that has the death penalty or life in prison for christians or other religions for making religious freedom choices. both republican and democrats voted against this amendment overwhelmingly. the committee voted 16-2 to continue this indiscriminate aid to countries regardless of whether they persecute christians. that is why you really have to stand up and send a message because they are not listening. our foreign policy also must let us stand with israel. this year i introduced a bill to cut off aid to the palestinian
authority and hamas until they lay down their arms and recognize israel's right to exist. [ cheers and applause ] the irony is impossible to escape. our tax dollars, your tax dollars may well end up funding hamas allowing them to buy more missiles with your money. my bill was opposed by republican and democrat leaders. instead this week congress voted to arm the islamic rebels in syria. one group of the so-called moderate rebels stated when they are done with assad next they are coming for israel. that is next on their list. i ask on the senate floor last week to those of you who wish to arm thez islamic rebels tell me
who among them will recognize israel's right to exist. silence. not one of the islamic rebels will think about recognizing israel. in country after country mobs burned the american flag and chant death to america. congress's response. congress responds by sending more of your money to these haters of christianity. i say not one penny more to a nation that is burning our flag. it's time to put a stop to this madness. reexamine our foreign policy, halt all aid to islamic radicals and take a good hard look at what our foreign policy has done. we must and should stand with our fellow christians in the
middle east around the world but that does not necessarily mean war and arming both sides in every conflict. as christians we have to play it out. as christians we understand that the right to life and freedom of religion preexists all government. these rights are not granted to man by other men. these rights are granted to us by our creator. god help us in these troubling times to make wise decisions, to make moral decisions and to listen to the voice of god that lives and breathes and resides in us all. i try to remember each day. i hope christians everywhere remember where there is liberty
there is always plenty of space for god. thank you very much for having me. ♪ right here right now there is no other place i want to be ♪ ♪ right here right now watching the world wake up from history ♪ ♪ thank you so much, senator. i love the fact that he had the courage to look hillary clinton in the eye and say if i had been president you would have been relieved of your duties from benghazi. and when later asked about that he said even bill clinton would have fired hillary clinton. folks, in 2006 our next speaker would become the first republican woman to be elected to represent minnesota in the u.s. house of representatives. you know where i'm going.
2010 she founded the house tea party caucus that helped fire nancy pelosi and gave barack obama his biggest defeat. 2012 she ran for president of the united states of america and in between these mile stones she has become a tireless worker for issues that we all hold sacred in america. after eight courageous years of service she is stepping down from the house of representatives. folks, this is your chance to not only welcome our next speaker but to say thank you to a true warrior for your values. would you please welcome michele bachma bachmann. ♪ >> thank you. hi, everyone. thank you so much. god bless you. thank you.
i love you, too! thank you so much for that warm introduction and as you know i'm not running again for my seat in the united states congress. so the first question everyone asks me is this. what is it you are going to do when you leave office? i have to tell you the most important thing i need to do is take a vacation. and so i am planning to find the most secluded spot i possibly can to rest and that's why i have decided ongoing to msnbc primetime. it has been an absolute incredible privilege for me to serve in the united states congress. it really has been the thrill of a lifetime. it's why i am so grateful for that opportunity. and when i came to congress i
took the dice and i rolled them for everything that there was because i was a normal real person when i came to congress. i am still a normal real person today. because because when i came here and was sworn in in 2007, i decided i was going to give it absolutely everything i had and that's what i did, because i think, why else come? why come here? why else serve the public and office if you're not going to put absolutely everything on the line. because i absolutely believe, as everyone in this room does, in the greatness of the united states of america. and what do i mean by that greatness? you see, it's an idea. it's the idea that the nation was founded upon. i've talked about it before from this podium, and i'm in love with this idea. the fact that there was a creator god who thought so much
of the individual, he created us in his image and likeness and he created us equal. that's what the declaration of independence says. and so it isn't the government or some nare do well politician. it's the crater who gives us our rights. so basic, since it's the creator who gave us our rights, the good news is, no man can take them. they can never take them away. it is the phenomenal fill o. life, liberty, pure suit of happiness. it is the ultimate social contract that governments were instituted among. why? to secure life.
to secure liberty. and to secure your right to the fruits of your own labor 37 not a bad deal. what a concept. that's why i decided whatever issue came my way, i was going to stand for those founding principles. and i did. i kept the faith during these last eight years. that's why i don't know whether nancy pelosi is going to miss me more or john boehner. one or the two. i don't know. along the way came the wall street bailout and i helped put together a group that said no to the wall street bailout. and we brought down that very first vote. it passed but we brought it down the first time. then the automobile bailout. i gave a speech. it was viewed 2 million times. i called it gangster government because it's gangster government when your government issues 3400
pink slips to privately owned automobile dealerships. then there was the trillion dollar stimulus. i guess that didn't work so well. and, of course, obama care. and i introduced the very first repeal bill the next morning. the bill passes at midnight and at 9:00 in the morning, i'm in there introducing the repeal bill. four years into my term, i was privileged to serve on select house committee on intelligence. we deal with the classified secrets and we also deal with terrorism. during the course of these last four years, i did a deep dive into the leading foreign policy and national security issues of our day. and during my time on the intelligence committee, i had a front row seat to a world set on fire from islamic jihad. and what we've seen is one disaster after another from the
obama/clinton foreign policy team. and in their fantasy world, a smaller, diminished, less powerful united states is somehow supposed to bring about global tranquility. well, mr. obama, mrs. clinton, we want our 1980's foreign policy back. we don't want your failed russian reset. we don't want four americans dead in benghazi. it was a tragic to release the five top taliban leaders from guantanamo bay. perhaps nothing will change the world more than your foolish lifting of sanctions on iran as they are racing toward completing nuclear weapons. and they will if we stay the
course as president obama and hillary clinton have laid forward. and unthinkably we have the first anti-israel president in american history. that's the obama/clinton legacy. it's no wonder hillary clinton couldn't think of an answer when asked on her book tour to name her accomplishments as secretary of state. i have one. permanent retirement! quite frankly because she failed to inspire confidence in anything and never forget she will be barack obama's third and fourth term as president of the united states. stay the course. what an exciting message for her 2016 campaign. but one slogan she won't be able to use, al qaeda is on the run. remember that one in 2012?
as the rise of radical islamic jihad, although that's redundant, dominates the headlines, we are seeing this enemy as pure evil as they are cutting off the heads of innocent people. that in august buried literally women and children alive. these are christians -- christian brothers and sisters. these are yazidis, tonight who are on mt. sinjar and they are continuing to suffer. i recently got an e-mail from a past ther week who told me, there's a missionary working with yazidis who are barely clinging to life. they're sleeping in the cold mountains. they don't have blankets. it's a whole different world now and we can't forget them. we can't forget the others who are persecuted around the world. just because of their religious beliefs. and why is that? it's because we have jihadists who are subscribing to this
radical ideology that believes dying in the name of islam gets them to heaven. this is a spiritual warfare. and what we need to do is defeat islamic jihad, sadly. sadly our president has the wrong prescription. he even fails to acknowledge their motivations for bringing about jihad. yes, mr. president, it is about islam. [ applause ] and i believe that if you have an evil, the order of this magnitude, you take it seriously. you declare war on it. you don't dance around it. just like the islamic state has declared war on the united states of america.
you kill their leader. you kill their counsel. you kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. that's how you win a war. and you don't preemptively take anything off the table. you don't advance signal your enemy as to what your intention is. the president asked congress to follow him in a vietnam style slow walk response. and i said, no, because either the united states chooses to decisively defeat this brutal evil with every resource we have or we're going to have to answer to the next generation. why we failed to defeat the totalitarian evil of our day. and i also believe the
president's decision to train and arm the so-called vetted moderate syrian rebels is a tragic mistake. because here is the ugly truth. they will never be vetted. they certainly aren't all moderates. there is a british intelligence service study called james. nearly half of the syrian rebels today we've trained have already taken up the cause of islamic jihad, half. so, why in the world arekl we giving them american weapons? it is complete madness. one thing we could do immediately to keep the american people safe is this, we could strip from the terrorists the passports of any u.s. citizen who joins the fight with islamic state or any other terror group.
i can't believe we're not doing this now. a terrorist should not be allowed to enter the united states once they have voluntarily chosen to be a terrorist. that's about like a 100% issue. after we remove their passport, then we should begin the process of removing their american citizenship from them as well. the rise of the islamic state appears to be a shock to president obama. it wasn't to me. it wasn't to those of us who sat on the intelligence committee. i watched the up tempo of islamic jihad. i knew what was going. earlier this summer i asked the
fbi for a classified briefing. i asked if there were any minnesotans who are fighting with the islamic state. because many of you know the tragic nexus that minnesota has with terrorism. it was classified information earlier this summer. i couldn't reveal it to anyone. but now everyone knows there are, including the first to americans who died fighting for the islamic state. both of whom were minnesotans. what i asked is, once they are done fighting with the islamic state, what will happen if they don't blow themselves up, if they don't get killed? what will happen if they try to return to the united states? i was floored when the fbi said to me, well, they can come into the united states. they're still u.s. citizens. i said to the fbi, are you kidding me? so that's why i introduced the legislation to prevent them from coming into the united states. it's just coming sense.
because our first priority is national security. every american has the right to feel secure in their own home. every american deserves the right to feel secure in their own community. but for all his leading from behind on the world stage, president obama is also ignoring a national major security threat here at home. you know what it is. it is our open southern border. i was there for four days in august. i will tell you, i was floored. i thought i knew a lot about this issue. i was floored to see how wide open in the midst of all of the heightened terrorism and all the foreign nationals that are streaming across our borders how porous it is. it's the understatement of the year that our border is not secure. when i visited the u.s./mexico border, what i saw was people
processing, not border security. you would be shocked to learn that virtually 100% of foreign nationals who want to come into the united states do. they're not stopped. when a foreign national illegally enters the united states, they're taken to a processing facility. i've seen them. where it's determined whether or not they get to stay in the country. that's the ones we catch. in order to keep the american people safe, we have to secure the border. build the fence. deport on the spot! don't wait four years. send them back on the spot. we have to know who's coming into our country. i was at laredo and they said so far people from 140 different countries tried to come in this year. including yemen, sudan, syria, iraq, iran. i could go on.
but the legislative battles we're fighting are only part of the effort to revitalize american values. that's why i'm grateful for the valued summit. we have to do more than move legislation. we have to move hearts. that's what faith does. that's why we have to remind our fellow citizen what it is that makes us so exceptional. we don't apologize for that. we brag about it to the rest of the world. you see, we have been such a force for good for about the last 100 years, the world was safeguarded by what was known as packs britannica. england was the world's economic super power but as we all know, things didn't stay that way. somewhere in the middle of the 1940s we moved from what was called packs britannica to packs americana. why? because in the mid-1940s the
united states of america became the economic super power of the world. and when that happened, we also became the military super power of the world and we're a force for good and brought peace to different regions of the world. you see, i think it's time that we wake up because that mantel is slipping away. and i will tell you, sometimes it is absolutely depaspairing t serve here in washington, d.c. at at same time we're told as believers, very clearly, we are not to despair. we are to look up, whether to reveal it or not, we look up. whether we want to or not, we look up. whether it doesn't seem like it on the evening news, we look up. we light a candle. that's what believers do.
and while it's true that i'm leaving congress, i want you to know, i am not leighing the fight. because too much to sit on aski have your voice be heard. we are 39 days away from having our voice be heard. our leaders need to hear from you. and that's why it's more important than ever that conservatives take control of the senate away from harry reid in 2014. we need to expose hillary clinton's record of failure and we will defeat her in 2016.
of that i have no doubt. that's that's why together we have to do something very important. that every generation has had to figure out and do. we have to focus on returning this nation to what made it great. our founding principles. the constitution, the declaration, and understanding what those principles are, because, you see, it is never too late to save the country. don't buy into defeatism. it is not too late. i'm encouraged. be encouraged. that's what faith can do. you are like a phoenix that rises out of the ashes. i'm there with a smile on my face because i know we serve a god of the possible who can make it happen. and with people like yourselves, we cannot lose. so, thank you, values voters. god bless you and god bless the united states of america.
[ applause ] >> thank you. >> thank you, congresswoman bachmann. only one of a kind and the liberals are glad of that. well, our final speaker this morning is a combat decorated u.s. marine, a number one best selling author. in fact, he has his brand new book available by oliver north called "counterfeit lies." he'll be doing a book signing right after he finishes speaking so you want to be sure to pick up a copy of that. also a successful businessman with three u.s. patents, a syndicated columnist and host of "war stories" on fox news channel. he is also the founder of
freedom alliance, a foundation providing support to injured military heroes and college scholarships to the sons and daughters of u.s. personnel killed in the line of duty. ladies and gentlemen, would you please join me in welcoming colonel oliver north. >> thank you. thank you, i appreciate the opportunity to be with you this afternoon. actually, it's still morning. no, it is afternoon. my mission is to get you out for lunch. close to on time. the photos you see on the screen were taken by chuck foelten, my combat cameraman, who by the way that final shot is of the next
commandant out of the marine corps fighting joe dunford taken in iraq. for the last 13 years it's been my privilege to report on the finest military force the world has ever known. during our 57 imbeds in the shadows of the hindu kush, philippines, central america, the stars of my reports, documentaries and books have been the bravest and best of this generation. and they truly are america's heroes. i speak to young people and i say the word heroes, very often i know i have con jurored up in the minds of those who are there in the audience the idea of someone who catches a pass in the end zone or sets a new mountain climbing record or even
someone wearing a spandex suit and a cape in a comic book. that's a hero. my heroes where flat jackets and combat boots and combat boots and they go to work in some of the most difficult and dangerous places on the planet earth. real heroes, you see, are selfless. they put themselves at risk for the benefit of others. and because the main stream media won't tell the truth, and because i'm the chairman of the nra's veterans and military affairs committee, they put together what you're about to see, a video of what this generation's great american heroes really look like. look at this. >> since 9/11 more than 2.5 million young americans have for fitted the comforts of home,
have centered themselves from the affection of loved ones and gone into harm's way to protect us. the very first time in history since the american revolution, every single person serving in an american uniform in time of war is a volunteer. hasn't happened in any war since the one that gave us our liberty. they came because of some terrible events. this footage right here just shows some of what they can do. you can see more if you go to olivernorth.com or the nra website, life of duty, and you can see what they look like doing the things they do so very, very well. these are truly remarkable young people. they deserve better than what they are getting from this administration.
from the miles of footage we shot over those imbeds my producer picked out footage. even the ones i interviewed last week out at walter reed national military center, who are in great school when this happened, what you're looking at on the screen, they came because of this. they came because they know what happened that terrible day 13 years ago this month. and they don't want it to ever happen again. we were promised when this administration came to office in 2009, that they were going to, quote, end the war responsibly. speed up those slides, guys, because we have to get through it. don't want to short sight them because they're the best thing i've got for sniffing out a
bomb. the young americans came because they wanted to fight for our country. they wanted to serve our nation. they wanted to make sure that terrorism was wiped clean. they wanted to make sure that it couldn't be exported to this country again. and they were told in administration was, quote, going to end the war responsibly. these youngsters became the protectors of muslim women and children. these frames are not staged. this is real. this is what they do. and those youk youngsters who you see gathered in prayer circles, those youngsters you see huddled up saying a prayer didn't come because they were told to. i want to see the aclu go after those youngsters for praying on government time.
they are brighter, better educated, trained than any military force in history. they volunteered to protect us from an enemy that is dying to kill us. when you see them gather together like that, they know they're not going out on a football field on friday night. they're going against a mortal combat against an enemy that intends to die. they deserve better from a commander in chief garbed as a nobel laureate, cowtowing to foreign leaders for americans. americans have nothing for which we need to apologize. we saw it happen again this week up at the united nations. don't we deserve and don't they who sacrificed so much who deserve a commander in chief who knows america, the greatest force for good in the world, that the world has ever known, doesn't need to apologize for the sacrifices made by them and their families to protect us and
offer others the hope of freedom. i think we do. the members of our armed forces and our families deserve better than being treated like laboratory rats and a radical social engineering experiment. christians in iraq and syria who have been killed by thousands over the course of the last six months are paying the terrible price for ineptness and incompetence that have run this country into the ground for the last six years. that's something we need to resonate across america as we look forward to replacing and hiring a new commander in chief. and in 39 days electing a congress that understands it as well.
i maintain we're all paying a terrible price for america's, if you will, leadership deficit disorder. the utopian rush to total disarmament. we don't need a commander in chief or head of state who guts our defenses, draws phoney red lines with a pink crayon and then fails to stand up and keep someone from crossing it. a leader out . between now and 2016 when we hire a new commander in chief, we need a majority in congress who understands the rule of law and the constitution of the united states. if you'll allow me, i want to make this personal. our children and our now 14 1/2 grandchildren are threatened by a mountain of debt uncon trakund
spending and higher taxes and socialism. our congress must be held accountable for what they are supposed to do to hold an administration accountable. one that offers the protection of our constitution to our enemies but strips those same protections from the american people. we need a congress that will stop this administration from perpetrating frontal assaults on free enterprise, private property and the civil liberties enshrined in our bill of rights. we need a congress that will use the power of the purse to defend our national sovereignty, our borders and stop the o-team fromsubordining. the obamacare debacle is but the tip of the incompetence and corruption rampant in washington. we, the people, the first three
words of our constitution, must demand accountability for a string of horrific scandals and cover-ups. fast and furious, benghazi, the irs enemies list, government spying on american citizens. some of that began yesterday when eric holder, thank god, decided to get out of town. the wortsdz we the people is not a political slogan. it's a way of life. commitments aren't just what we say. commitments are what we do. thesv framers who crafted our constitution were counting on we the people to hold government accountable. some say, it's okay to ignore the so-called social issues, like marriage, the sanctity of life or religious freedoms. i say those aren't social issues
at all. deeply moral and spiritual issues and they should matter in every election. i want you to understand, i know this is a nonpartisan organization, so let me put it to you this way. in the 1850s a political movement began on a great moral issue. it was founded on a great spiritual issue of the day. the abolition of human bondage. slavery in america. if we cease to be a home in that particular political party, for people of faith and those who believe strongly in moral and spiritual issues, that party will cease to be a political force for good no matter who our candidates are and what they stand for. in short, that party has to be a
home for those of us who feared god and the wrath that will follow when we reject him. our greatness was built on the shoulders of people who stake their lives and sacred honor on a creator who endowed us with enailable rights and responsibilities. they made a commitment. well, let me show you a contemporary definition of commitment. what you're about to see is marine captain named matt lampert. on his second tour in afghanistan. i put a microphone on him and we put this in the file because fox didn't necessarily think it was appropriate for a young audience. this is a measure of commitment. watch matt lampert. >> i am captain matt lampert, my second combat deployment to
afghanistan. i just wish america people would understand there's a lot of people here that still believe in what we're doing out here. and willing to come back again and again to prove that point. [ applause ] we couldn't put it on the air and we couldn't tell people that matt lampert's wife -- matt aye's a graduate of the small
boat and barge school, the trade school i attended to the banks of the river. he had been an enlisted marine, went to the naval academy, on his second combat tour and is he married to a marine helicopter pilot. quite a commitment. i'm asking you to make a commitment here today. i'm not going to ask you to make that kind of commitment that matt did but i am asking you to make a commitment. when you go back home to inspire our countrymen, to reject ideas like unilateral disarmament to achieve peace, to dismiss the concept of spending our way out of debt our regulating our way to prosperity, i'm asking you to inspire here's we might elect those who we know cannot ensure sovereignty. i urge you to make a commitment
today to assert the moral authority of a free people. the next election is just 39 days away. make a commitment now, here, to elect a congress to preserve freedom in america. who will stand up for the liberties, granted to us by our creator and protected by our constitution. we owe that much to the young americans who risk their lives for us, difficult and dangerous places. i started this afternoon talking about heroes. the president that i was blessed to serve told us that we have a rendezvous with destiny. he asked us to commit ourselves to assure, in the words of abraham lincoln, that we would ensure government of, by and for the people that it will not perish from this earth. . we often hear that we don't have heroes anymore.
let me close with this from that commander in chief who called me a hero, who i never thought of myself as one. here he speaks of real heroes and the kind of leadership we need is reflected in what he is going to say. >> if we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, no other people on earth, it was because here in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. freedom and the dignity the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. the price for this freedom at times has been high but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. those who say we're in a time when there are no heroes, they
just don't know where to look. the sloping yules of arlington national cemetery with row upon row of simple markers, bearing crosses or stars of david, they add up to only a tiny traction of price that has been paid for our freedom. each one of those markers is a monument to the kind of hero i spoke of earlier. their lives ended in places called bella wood, the argon, omaha beach, salerno and halfway around the world,.alcoholic hill, the chosen reservoir and in 100 rice patties and jungles of a place called vietnam. under one such marker lies a young man, martin treptow, who
left his town in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to france with the famed rainbow division. there on the western front, he was killed, trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire. we're told that on his body was found a diary. on the fly leaf, under the heading, my pledge, he had written these words. america must win this war. therefore, i will work, i will save, i will sacrifice, i will endure. i will fight cheerfully and do my utmost as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone. we must realize no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the
world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. it is a weapon our adversaries in today's world don't have. it is a weapon we as americans do have. let that be understood by those who practice terrorism and prey upon their neighbors. as for the enemies of freedom, those who are potential adversaries, they will be reminded that peace is the highest add spir rags of the american people. we will negotiate for it, sacrifice for it. we will not surrender for it now or ever. we are americans. [ applause [ we americans have the chance
to fix it. we americans, if we want our nation to remain the land of the free, we are going to have to take a stand and make a commitment and show our friends and our adversaries that we are still the home of the brave. god bless you and thank you for being here today. semper fi. ♪ here are just a few of the comments we recently received from our viewers. >> i just finished watching q&a. jenny martin, the most offensive thing about that whole hour was the fact that was the daughter
of a methodist minister. i was a methodist for years, many years. and you just got to wonder, what in the heck is the methodist church in the south like, you know? and i wonder what her parents' positions are and how did she -- you know, i heard the whole hour. how she got to where she is. >> i just want to first start off by allowing c-span to know that i do not watch any other channel on my cable selection besides this. and c-span1, 2 and 3. so i really, one want to show my appreciation for this, you know, for services there and your ability to really keep it mixed
up and really, really lively and all-around interactional viewpoints. >> i just watched what do you think of the global warming show? and i would like to say, it would be nice if c-span would hold people at least accountable for the nonfacts that they spew out and you could have put everybody's mind at ease about trying to explain this if you had put the picture of the huge trash swirl that's in the pacific ocean right now. that is the size of texas. you know, c-span, put the information out there. you know, when you do your read, make sure you put pictures up also because that would have just ended anybody's denial. we have a big trash swirl the size of texas. i heard it's 90 miles deep. i don't know how wide it is in certain -- for texas, but you need to put that on. >> and continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400.
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past and real america featuring our educational films from the 1930s through the '70s. c-span 3 created by the cable tv friday and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, "like" us on facebook and follow us on twitter. veterans affair secretary robert mcdonald and acting veterans affair inspector general richard griffin recently testified before the senate veterans affair committee. they discussed overall state of va health care and detailed the findings of an investigation into the phoenix va medical center where employees altered patient waiting lists. senator bernie sanders of vermont chairs the veterans affairs committee and north carolina's richard burr is the ranking member.
good morning and welcome to what i believe will be an important and productive hearing. today we will be discussing some of the very serious issues facing the department of veterans affairs on the heels of the inspector general's findings related to long wait times and poor patient care at the phoenix va. the ig's report has troubling details about a fa sill failing to provide highly, high quality care to veterans. what happened in phoenix is inexcusable and must never happen again in any va facility. i was especially disappointed to learn the extend to which phoenix va executives and senior clinical staff knew about inappropriate scheduling
practices. in a telling exchange, when asked by a physician in hawaii to share best practices about how the phoenix va have presumably been able to reduce its patient wait time from 238 days down to 7 day, quite a feat, the chief of primary carry e-mailed one of his fellow colleagues in phoenix and stated, quote, wonderful. not sure how to answer this. can i just say, smoke and mirrors, end of quote. and, of course, that's what it was. it was all smoke and mirrors. that individual is no longer with the va. the people who lied, who acted dishonorably, who manipulated data in phoenix and elsewhere clearly must be held accountable. the indemocrmnic problem of thi
nature cannot be tolerated. the ig's report detailed numerous cases of poor care. raised concern about two of phoenix's specialty care clinics. review of patient files found problems with continuity of mental health care, delays of assignment to mental health practitioner and limited access to psychotherapy. additionally, the ig also discovered the urology service failed to provide timely care. in fact, the ig launched a separate investigation into this service. a report regarding the findings will be released in due cause. while it paints a troublesome picture, the ig was unable to, quote/unquote, conclusively assert that patients died. i also understand as a result of the attention focused on phoenix, the ig has opened additional investigations at 93
sites of care as a result of receiving approximately 445 allegations regarding manipulated wait times at other va facilities. this committee will continue to monitor the results of these investigations and use this information to inform the committee's oversight efforts in the future. like most americans, i have concerns about the inability of veterans in various locations across the country to access care in a reasonable period of time. i won't go through all of the data, but the bottom line is, that the reports worked on by the va, worked on by the ig, tells us that tens and tens of thousands of veterans were unable to get the care they needed in a timely manner. and what i hope we will learn today from our new secretary, ms. mcdonald and the ideas of
the inspector general, mr. griffith, is, in fact, how that problem developed. i don't believe that anybody joins the va in order to manipulate data. how did it happen? what were the causes? how do we make sure that this never happens again? what do we do and how quickly do we get rid of dishonorable employees? we gave the new secretary tools. we want to find out how he is utilizing those tools. maybe most importantly, we want to learn how we go forward into the future to make sure that these problems never occur again. i noticed in the paper yesterday that the secretary held a press conference talking about -- and i want to discuss it with him -- his need to aggressively go out and bring new physicians, new nurses, new medical personnel into the va so that we don't have these wait times again. and during this hearing, i look forward also to talking with our new secretary about who's going to implement the legislation
that was recently passed. so, there's a lot to go over in this hearing. we thank the secretary for being with us. we thank the inspector general for being with us as well. senator burr. >> well, good morning, mr. chairman. i'd like to welcome secretary mcdonald and acting inspector general griffin. and i thank them for being here as well as the other witnesses for today. today the committee's holding another hearing on the state of health care within va, specifically focusing on the final ig report, as it relates to the -- the release last month as it relates to phoenix. and when i say final, mr. griffith, i realize there are many more yet to come and this will be absolutely crucial to the agency's ability to continue to get a handle on the problems. since our last hearing on the state of va health care, congress has moved forward with historic legislation that will
help improve access to care for veterans across the nation. again, it was signed into law in august. this legislation is a first step in providing veterans with the ability to choose where they receive care. if va is unable to provide care within a timely manner or they live without -- outside of 40 miles from a va facility. while this is an essential first step in addressing the systematic issues facing the department of veterans affairs, there's still much more work to be done. the work of this committee has just begun. as we move forward, it will be crucial for this committee to conduct aggressive oversight to ensure that veterans are able to receive the health care they need, and more importantly, they deserve. the ig report is constructive instructive because it demonstrates critical breakdowns in the system that allowed systematic issues to take root, not only in phoenix, but throughout the entire va system.
i'd like to highlight two specific issues that were identified in the final ig report on phoenix. first, the ig report describes the care received by 45 veterans who face either clinically significant delays in care or questionable care from the phoenix facility additionally the ig reviewed 77 seven suedes that occurred between january 2012 and may 2014 and found that 9 veterans experienced a delay in care. one veteran experienced a clinically significant delay. and five veterans experienced other substandard quality of care. many veterans experienced obstacles while trying to establish needed care after hospitalization or being treated in the emergency room. the lack of follow-up, coordination and quality, and continuity of care, many of these veterans experienced and
troubling and, quite frankly, is unacceptable. secondly, the most troubling usual described in the report was va's awareness of the ongoing scheduling challenges that many facilities faced. furthermore, the va had opportunities to address the systematic culture of inappropriate scheduling practices. va did not act to address inappropriate scheduling practices or manipulation of wait time data. this lack of accountability was further ingrained by va's decision to delay -- compliance with va scheduling directives. why would the requirement be waived when va knew that there were questionable scheduling practices occurring within fid kl facilities. it's demonstrated by the roughly 225 allegations at the phoenix health care system and the more than 445 similar allegations at va facilities across the nation, that the igs received through
numerous sources including the ig hot line, members of congress, employees, veterans and their families. currently the ig is actively investigating 93 sites as the chairman referred to. in the coming weeks, months and years, va will continuing to take swift and firm action to dismantle the corrosive culture that has taken hold within the va and make sure it's not able to resurface. no matter what steps va takes to address the challenges it faces delivering health care, va will not be able to move forward if this corrosive culture is not effectively addressed. i've said this before, but i want to reiterate that the culture that's developed at va and the lack of management and accountability is simply reprehensible. i commend the work that has been done over the last several
months, however, there is much more work to be done to repair veterans' trust in the system. i look forward to working with you, mr. secretary, as this committee works on implementing and passing legislation that's needed for you to accomplish what i believe is a very significant reform pathway for veterans and for the va itself. i thank the chair. >> thank you, senator burr. senator tesla. >> thank you, chairman sanders. ly be brief. first of all, grit have you here, secretary mcdonald. your first appearance in front of this committee as confirmed secretary for the va. thank you for being here. know the last few weeks have been busy for you, and hopefully productive. thank you for what you've down, what you're going to do, few for the recommendations you're putting forth, i think these are critically important for the va and for us as we look to improve the va. we passed an important bill before we left for the august recess. that important bill was signed
by the president. i agree with the ranking member, it is a first step. and i hope it's not a first step to privatize the va. i hope it's a first step to make the va stronger so that it can give the services to our veterans that they have earned. with that i would say i look forward to your testimony, look forward to the opportunity to question you on that testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator tesla. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman and ranking member byrd, let me just start out and say thank you for convening what i believe also will be a very important hearing today. i also want to express my appreciation for you and mr. griffith and your staff to hopefully offer some insight into the issues we are looking into. mr. secretary, i also welcome you. it's good to have you on board. you've taken over during a very difficult time, but your body of experience, i think is going to serve our nation well.
i do want to say i thank you for your swift action. i hope there's more to come. the inspector general report, we are here to discuss today has confirmed disturbing allegations. about secret wait lists and barriers to health care for our veterans. it's amazing to learn of widespread examples of failures and outright cover-ups by va employees. at present, if i have this right, there are 93 other sites where care is provided that are under investigation. that's amazing to me. that's a remarkable number. i am pleased to see that the va agreed with all 24 recommendations that were made by the office of inspector general. my hope is that the va's plans to address the recommendations
are not empty words. that there will be follow-through on what they've agreed to. without the recommended changes, reports of mismanagement, fraud, substandard care at the va will continue. at the va will continue. while tackling the issues identified in the report, va must also keep in mind other important initiatives. va must work quickly to implement the veterans access choice and accountability act that was signed into law. the choice card provision is critical to our nation's veterans to allow them the freedom to seek care outside of the va if they choose to and it's needed. other programs that ensure va has the space to provide quality care to our veterans are also critical. programs for a construction of state veterans homes and medical centers just to name a few. as i mentioned in this committee
many times, the va construction backlog should be a major concern to all of us. we just simply have to find a solution to replace 1950s era hospitals. we have one in our state. and ensure that these priorities aren't lost in the shuffle. again, i look forward to hearing how the va intends to repair the damage that has been done by this scandal to regain the trust and confidence not only of congress but more importantly our nation's veterans and their families. mr. chairman, again, thank you. i yield back. >> thank you very much. senator hirono. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mcdonald and acting inspector general griffin, thank you very much for being here with us this morning. the revelations over wait times at the department of veterans
affairs and other systemic problems at the va have severely shaken the trust of veterans, their families, and the general public should have in the va health care system. over the last decade, we have sent over 2 million men and women to fight the wars in iraq and afghanistan, and some of the problems we see in the va are due to shortcomings in three major areas as i see it. first, ensuring that veterans are aware of and receive access to va health care and other services that the va provides. second, congress providing sufficient resources, effective oversight, and ensuring accountability for the va. and, third, improving the transition from military service to civilian life. i realize that today we are focusing once again on the veterans health care system. to provide effective oversight and accountability in may of this year this committee convened its first hearing in
response to the allegations of wait time irregularities in the va, and in response to testimony from that first hearing and other hearings from this committee, the veterans access choice and accountability act of 2014 was passed, and once again i want to commend the chair for his efforts in getting this law enacted. and our goal in passing this legislation was to provide va with the tools needed to address the serious problems veterans were facing in accessing care. this law not only granted the va money to build internal capacity in the form of additional hiring but also provided the va the authority to lean upon the private provider community to ensure timely access to quality care, and i'm sure secretary mcdonald, you will tell us how you are implementing that part of the new law. during the august recess, i held a field hearing on the state of va health care in hawaii, and during that hearing i heard from veterans in my state, local va
staff, and washington-based va staff what they were doing to improve veterans' experience with the va. the lack of providers was a common refrain heard throughout my hearing. the va must do more to recruit and retain high quality health care professionals within the va system. you know that the veterans are a unique patient population with specific needs. based on my field hearing and the previous hearings this committee has held this past summer, the inspector general's findings in his final report were not a surprise. we know that problems relating to patient wait times at the va have been reported on by the ig since at least 2005 without major action by the va until this year. va granted medical directors waivers in certifying compliance regarding wait times. so while congress for its part has continued to increase va's budget, clearly congressional
oversight is critical, as is va's efforts to increase accountability within its system. for example, the lack of national standardization and procedures and practices while not in itself troubling has led to this decentralized control leading to a broad avoidance of accountability within the va system. i look forward to working with my colleagues, the inspector general, and secretary mcdonald in ensuring we make the appropriate improvements. thank you. >> senator hirono, thank you very much. senator hell other. >> i want to thank the secretary and also mr. griffin for being here today. thank you for taking time and updating us. in the many times we have met in my office and in this committee and in reno just a few weeks ago, secretary mcdonald has shown he's committed to bringing
new vision and reforms to the va to better serve nevada and the nation's veterans, but the task ahead will be va's most difficult challenge after having failed our veterans in delivering quality health care and timely benefits. the gross mismanagement, poor treatment of veterans, long delays revealed in phoenix and elsewhere has shocked congress and our nation and is a significant crisis to overcome. my hope is that the secretary's goals will not get lost in the bureaucracy, and i expect consistent communication and honesty about what the va needs from congress to restore faith in the va and achieve the best care possible for our veterans. just last week i had the privilege to meet with our veteranses in nevada. in the past 15 years it has grown from a small town an opportunity in 36,000. there are about 9,000 veterans which is why this community has fought long and hard for a larger va clinic has more
veterans flock to this community. when visiting i told them about the promise i made to you, mr. secretary, when we first met, this and was every time i see you, i will always bring up several key issues to nevada veterans, of course, building the va clinic, improving las vegas v hospital, and eliminating the disability claims backlog we have in reno. bob, you deserve credit for quickly approving the clinic as soon as you were confirmed and i also appreciate director duff and associate director karen for working closely with my office. but there is a lot of work to be done on this clinic. a contract must be awarded. the clinic must be constructed and then it must be fully staffed. i'll be looking closely at each of these steps to determine if there's unnecessary bureaucratic barriers and will hold the va accountability. i also hope to see improvements in the las vegas va hospital. there have been discussions about how to do this and i would
like to share a few key improvements. first, members of the disabled american veterans in nevada want to improve transportation of rural veterans to this hospital. right now the dav, disabled veterans, have a transportation program, but they are not allowed to take veterans confined to a wheelchair. now, stop and think about that for a minute. disabled veterans, their transportation program is forbidden to take veterans confined to a wheelchair or utilizing an oxygen tank to the hospital. there needs to be greater partnership and coordination with the va to expand the va's own transportation service for these disabled veterans in rural areas. secondly, appointment wait times in the vegas hospital must be improved. new patients in vegas wait 25 days on average for specialty care appointments, 16 days on average for mental health appointments. director duff has assured me her team is working to improve these wait times and part of this improvement will be an enhanced
scheduling system the va. is currently seeking. every va hospital needs modern processes and technology that will give directors the information they need to determine where resources are missing. and lastly a point that the secretary has brought up to me and the differences in regions and management structure among the three va admissions, health care, benefits, and cemeteries. i look forward to working with you to improve the current structure and believe that reorganizing these administrations should be a positive step forward for enhancing coordination and prudent care to our veterans. and finally, i remain committed to addressing the va disability claims backlog. for years now nevada is the worst in the nation with claims being completed in 334 days on average. as co-chair of the va backlog working group, i will be hosting a round table later today along with senator casey to discuss the needs to overhaul the outdated claims processing
system. i believe there's no better time to reform the claims process as the va transforms under secretary mcdonald's leadership and the working group's legislation is a strong platform for some of the changes that need to be made. i look forward to hearing more about the changes and progress of improving care and benefits at the va and thank again you, mr. secretary, and the inspector general griffin for being with us today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing today and to the ranking member as well. thank you to secretary mcdonald and inspector general griffin. we're here to listen to you, not so much to talk, but even more important is that we listen to our veterans across the country who have firsthand experience beyond the inspector general reports, beyond the polling, beyond the hearings that we conduct here. i had a town hall