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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 26, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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>> i would just take a moment to echo those comments. 7-year-old children are grateful people like you are on the job. that would conclude today's hearing. thanks to our distinguished witness for attending. thank the audience here. without objection, all members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witness or additional materials for the record. with that, thank you again, detector comey. this hearing is adjourned.
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tuesday morning here on cspan 3, ashton carter and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on u.s. military strategy in the middle east. they'll testify before the senate armed services committee. that's live here on cspan 3 starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. on wednesday, attorney general loretta lynch, goes to capitol hill. she'll answer questions from the house judiciary committee. that hearing wednesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, also live here on cspan 3. also this week, the house of representatives votes for a new speaker of the house. wisconsin republican, paul ryan, has locked up support from various groups within the republican caucus. republicans meet wednesday afternoon to pick which candidate they'll put forward to
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be the speaker and house votes thursday to elect a replacement for boehner, who is resigning. cspan has your coverage of the road to the white house 2016. where you'll find the candidates, the speeches, the debates and most importantly, your questions. this year, we're taking our road to the white house coverage into classrooms across the country with our student cam contest. giving students the opportunity to discuss what important issues they want to hear the most from the candidates. follow cspan student cam contest and road to the white house coverage 2016 on tv, on the radio and online at having business before the honorable the supreme court of the united states admonished the draw near and give them their
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attention. >> we have not seen court overturn a law that was passed by congress on a economic issue like health care at least since lock ner. >> the case in lockner was whether a majority rule can take away your life and liberty without due process. the court rules now. i think it's a wonderful decision. >> this week on cspan's landmark cases, we look at lochner and new york. passed the bake shop act restricting the hours to ten hours per day or 60 hours per week. the owner violated that law and was fined $50. refusing to pay, he took his case all the way to the supreme court. find out why he is known as one of f the most controversial decisions in supreme court history as we explore this case with our guests. randy barnett, professor of constitution law and author and
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paul kens, political science professor at texas state university and author. economic regulation on trial. landmark cases. live tonight at 9:00 eastern on cspan, cspan 3 and cspan radio. on the next "washington journal," oklahoma republican congressman tom cole on this week's election to choose a new speaker of the house. and we'll talk with california democrat, john garamendi about highway and mass transit funding. also, bradford fitch on how congressmen pay for expenses such as automobile mileage, air fare and office decorations. every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. in our regular your money segment today, we're going to take a look at debates going on over the federal budget,
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specifically how it could affect weapons programs at the department of defense. joining us for that conversation, marcus, their global business supporter, good morning. how is the dod looking at current budget negotiations going on? >> well, they want a budget deal quickly. right now, the big problem for them is that the continuing resolution is is happening and programs have to continue at the 2015 level. what does ta that mean? that means they can't up productions of planes. controversial plane and a plane that has been very much overbudget that the pentagon says it needs to start buying more of to get the price down, so, economies of scale and what not, so, you have issues like that. it's just the f-35. apache helicopters, around 25 in 2016. those are actually being used in afghanistan and iraq, so, very much needed. so, you have that aspect of the economy of scales and the other
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big problem is acquisition reform. president obama's veto of the ndaa last week doesn't push through a lot of acquisition reform initiatives and that's more of a hill thing that nart mccain and representative thornberry, they were the ones that pushed that through. >> when you say acquisitions, that means what? >> policy. how the acquisition system works. it's been very much criticized for everything from being overbudget and behind sket. this takes away a lot of o the bureaucracy, but essentially with the veto right now, none of it goes through and the status quo remains in place. >> how much of the defense department budget is currently comprised. if you take a look at weapons systems, how much of the dod is comprised of that that. >> the pentagon budget for '16 and the budget that hasn't been passed yet is about $600 billion. that's total. now, a lot of that is for
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operations and maintenance. that's fighting the wars in iraq, afghanistan, air strikes in syria. for acquisition, $100 billion for stuff like buying planes, ships and tanks and trucks. >> currently being manufactured, but those that have to be purchased in the future and upgraded, does that fall into that one pot? >> it falls into that one pot. a lot of the ground work for the future programs tharks where not having a budget hurts them. a lot of the groundwork for these programs is starting to get laid now, so it may not be you buy a tank this year, but you tart buying the equipment this year and it takes multiple years to get to the pointy you buy the full tank or fighter jet or the full ship. >> those future programs, those future puchlss, is this new equipment to replace outstanding equipment? does it work alongside it?
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>> tgs boit's both. a lot of what the pentagon had been doing has been improving stuff it has. it's been taking f-16s and f-15s, stuff that's been around since the '70s and '80s, putting new engines and sensors so they can see more in them. >> and so, all that depends on a long-term budget that possibly has to birth down here on capitol hill. >> right. without that budget, the pentagon says it's going to be forced to tread water. >> our guest is going to be with us not only to talk about the budget, but specific projects within that program. if you want to ask questions about the process, 202-487- -- for democrats and you can tweet us at cspan wj and send us an e-mail. you brought it up. the f-35. first of all, it probably is an obvious question. what is it and why is it a
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controversial product pto some? >> it's a fighter jet of the future for the military. now, the military in the past has operated all sorts of different planes. right now, say the air force has f-22s, the navy has f-18s. what the f-35 will go do, it's same plane. it's been purchased by the air force and the marine corps and they do different things. the marine one can take off from very, very short runways and land vertically. basically, this is the most complicated fighter jet ever built because of the types of sensors and cameras and types of spy equipment if you will that's inside of it. planes over the years have had this type of stuff added. bolt on, if you will, but the big problem with this one is everything is is, everything is is being built in this from the
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beginning. the problem is it's never been done before and there was very optimistic and rosie protections for this plane and it's had a lot of trouble in development. in recent years, it's gotten better. still at the pentagon and people on the hill an elsewhere would say it still has a long way to go. >> in some cases, the term being used in development was the opposite of something called fly before you can buy. can you explain that? >> it's just that. you need to do a test drive and see if this stuff works and do some sort of prototyping. they have the most expensive programs for planes. they're about to buy a new bomber. they haven't bought one in 30 years. the b 2 was the last bomber it bought. they were going to buy 100 of them, ended up buying 21.
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ended up costing $2 billion y r each, so the big thing with this new bomber, it's a classified program and the pentagon claims it hasn't actually flown a plane yet, but it tested a lot of the equipment and systems that are going to be on the plane to hopefully keep it on track. >> what's the price tag. >> right now, we're looking at $400 billion. that includes and this is an estimate. this is way out. projected on buying 2500 of these for the united states military. and that's out to 2030s, 2040s. 400 billion. that includes development and production. of the plane. zbr and so, if there is no long-term budget deal, does that affect how much gets purchased by the -- >> exactly. it does. in 2015, the department bought as a budget, 38 planes. supposed to ramp up to 57 and again, with that economy of
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scale, when you ramp up, the cost goes down. continuing resolution for the whole year, guess what? they're going to cost more. marcus, our guest of defense one talking about weapon systems at the department of testifies and how it could be affected by the budget. make those calls and post on our facebook pages and twitter pages as well. let's start with mary ann. in south carolina. our independent line. good morning, go ahead. >> good morning. i was wondering, i had heard -- for our new jet to china. i was wondering if that is true and also, military because i feel like we are right now in a cold war. i'm really worried about china
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and korea and you know, i just feel like we need more defense. >> is it your thought that we don't have enough weapons to meet those challenges? >> yes, i feel that everything is very old. my son was a navy man and he had told me long ago that our military, our ships, everything, was so outdated and i feel like we're in great danger right now. i think everybody knows that about us. >>. >> to the point of the f-35 and leaking of the plans, it's more believed that it's been acknowledged that china had hacked defense contractor to get some of those plans and you see it. the chinese are testing a fighter jet of their own that looks very much like the f-35. the big thing with china is they try to reverse engineer a lot of our stuff. a lot of corporate espionage, if you will. less of actually being able to
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penetrate into the pentagon network, but getting into the contractor network. now, what they, for what they're able to do very rapidly, they have a lot of trouble with making engines and types of sensors, basically, what's under the hood of the jet, so, yes, they have stolen stuff and yes, it does very much concern the pentagon. >> jason from washington, d.c. go ahead. >> hey. the military procurement stuff seems a little backwards to me. it seems in places where we're needed in battling isis, the a-10s would probably be the less cost effective solution, but the military has been trying to kill the best way we have of combatting these situations over and over and over again. the idea is that there's a number of people that just keep coming out every year trying to keep this in existence where ten or 15 would equal one of these
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advanced systems. the future of avenue onices has to do with not having a man in a plane. let's be honest here. what we can do with a $10,000 drone or a million dollar drone is is going to be the future of aviation and we're pouring money into a lot of these systems that for all intents and purposes, you can do with robotics. >> so, he brought up the a-10. a great point. >> might want to explain. >> it's a 1970s, vintage plane that can fly low and slow close to the battlefield. it's made to get shot at. it can take bullets. the pilot's producted by a titanium bathtub is the way it's been described to me so that the bullets can't go into the cockpit if it's being shot at. it's main role is to help soldiers on the battle feed. if they need somebody to a plane the actually, if they're getting shot at, to fire at the bad
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guys, if you will, the a-10 does that better than any plane out there. the controversial thing is the air force has said you know, it's been around, we love this plane a, but we can't afford it anymore. we need to go and, we need to take that money, we're under the sequestration and we're under budget caps, so we need to take the money and invest it in the future because we haven't been buying lots of new equipment. we have to buy more new high-tech congresswomen. so, right now, congress won't let them retire the a-10. it's actually deploying now to turkey to conduct air strikes against isis. so, it's still very, very, very much used in the current war. so, you could see why it's controversial that a they want to get rid of it. to the point of aif onices and unmanned aircraft, very much a big debate in the military. especially in the air force and navy, you have the navy secretary in the past say he
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doesn't view any plane after the f-35 being manned. and you know, there's people out there who say, no, you still do need to have manned platforms because nothing can replicate a pilot in the dock wit pit. in reality, you're going to see more of a shift toward unmanned aircraft. more stealthy aircraft, like something like your b2 bomber which can evade the enemy on the ground, can speak up on them. you'll see more stuff like that, but you're probably still going to see manned aircraft for a long, long time. >> here is is gus in florida. >> hi, just call iing to find o, anybody does a budget. how much of it is labor. the cost for the uniformed soldier. future, present and past. you know, we you them if they're injured or anything like that nature. what is the true cost, say
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social security is this and this. isn't that going to be the biggest part of the budget, the labor cost? >> gus, you're right. the personnel costs and the budget are a huge cost. about a quarter of the defense budget right now. and the big thing is it keeps the cost of personnel, the cost of health care, just taking care of soldiers and troops who have been constantly deploying, that number has been going up. at the same time, the number for buying new equipment, the procurement accounts, that's been going down. it's been getting crowded out particularly right now with those budget caps. personnel costs keep going up from more than ten years of continuous war. >> a viewer on twitter, political end fighting, defense and intelligence costs and sites ndaa as the most recent example. >> there's always been fighting
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over amendments. two controversial things in this budget right now are the reason why president obama vetoed it is because they're like i said earlier, the budget's capped by the budget control act. everyone knows about that and the congress took the money that the pentagon had requested, the obama administration had requested. put it in this war budget. the war budget's not subject to sequestration. not subject to budget caps and it took us $38 billion and took it over there. the obama administration says you have to come wup a plup wit to fix the whole federal budget, not just the defense department and also, the administration was angry about that a they weren't given legislation to be able to close the military prison at guantanamo bay. >> marcus, our guest with defense. walter up next with new orleans. hello. >> hello. morning. >> good morning. i appreciate your taking my call. my question is how about just
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military weapons industry and the fact that united states right now like with the f-35, if we don't buy those planes, are they eligible to be sold to other countries? i mean, can boeing and all those big companies, they can very well sell them to china, can't they? >> well, they can't sell them to china, but for example, a plane like the f-35 that's being purchased by a number of allies t plane was designed to be exported from the beginning, so, they are about a dozen nations already that are going to buy the f-35. thing is, there aren't a lot around, so, if the program, if that program ever was canceled, it's not going to sell, they're not going to sell the ones they have so someone else. but that doesn't mean they can't sell the stuff that you have now. so, stuff like f-15s and 16s, they will, the u.s. military will retire them and they are
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old, but they might come in useful for other countries. lots of countries, more than 30 around the world, fly the f-16. so you could take a plane like that and export it, but the u.s. military can't sell, the united states as a whole can't sell weapons to places like china or russia, north korea, iran, the obvious ones. our money segment, the resent election in canada, does that affect the f-35 program? >> it will. they are supposed to buy about 60 planes and the pledge to cancel the program. now, immediately, it's not going to be the biggest problem. the economy to sale issue where
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you'll just have fewer planes coming through, but there are countries like israel and japan and south korea who are not part of the original partners on the program, but have signed on and said we want this plane and we're going to buy this plane. so in my opinion, they'll move some planes around and it won't impact it that much. but you have a key ally, who has been with you from the beginning on the f-35 program. now saying it's not going to be there. >> the argument says they can come wup a cheaper plaep, the super hornet, which will work better for their current system. >> it can. see, canada doesn't do what the united states terms first strike. it's coming in and actually being the first planes to come in to a war. taking out radars and airfields and surface to air missiles, that we use to united states uses stealthy planes like the f-22 and b2 bomber, to do this.
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to do this type of mission. canada doesn't do that. so you don't necessarily need a stealthy plane to for your air force if you're not conducting that kind of mission. so in way, for canada, a plane like the f-18 are probably even better. the f-15, which is more money, would probably suit them better because they want a long range plane that can intercept when the russians come and fly it down the coast. but they have f-18s. this is just a newer version of it. >> let's hear from earl in st. louis, missouri. >> hello, good morning. >> morning. >> you brought up two things i was very much interested in and one was the 8, which is for i think as combat troops go, in the last 30 years, the apache helicopter, the cobra for the marine corps and the a-10s, probably been the best airplanes that have come from america.
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and the reason why they keep bringing the a-10 back because it's almost impossible to do -- i've also wondered, is there a -- for military costs overrun which seems to be only happening in america, nowhere else. that's what i want to ask. >> so like you said, a-so, apache, cobra, they're ones that directly support the toops and on the ground and they do it the best. can can you do what's termed close air support, the actual helping the troops in combat on the ground. yeah, you can, but they do it from much higher up. the f-16 e, they have guns and
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can do -- they can do a streaking run. as slow as the a-10 and that's just the best one there is. to the point about penalties for cost overruns, there really aren't any. you have to go through a whole lot of bureaucratic proceeder if your program goes over, this program's essential for international security and that always happens. they go and congress essentially says okay, you can continue with your program and it goes on its merry way. they change the budget estimates, make them higher or shrink the number of platforms you're going to buy to make up for the cost overrun. now, one thing that in this acquisition reform legislation that senator mccain has proposed this year, he did take, he did say if your program's overbudget, you should have to pay a penalty, so he wants the individual military services,
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that's overbudget, they have to pay 3% pebblety on that program. on the overbudget program to the office of the secretary. going to what's called a prototyping program and where they can do advanced research for the future because a lot of those prototyping and science and technology budget has been hit hard in recent years with the budget cuts, so he sees this as a way to make up for the lost time there. >> from georgia, this is harvey. go ahead. >> yes, good morning, how are you? my question is why is it the pentagon ordered it? >> well, that's been a lot of people are upset that the pentagon can't audit itself. it's supposed to get there soon. 2017. the latest. there have been plans to speed it up, but from what i understand right now is it's still tracking toward that 2017 time frame.
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it takes a lot and a lot of the systems and computer systems that they have can't communicate with each other and a lot of back end bureaucratic type stuff and until that's all fixeded, it's unable to audit itself, which a lot of lawmakers say is unacceptable. talking about f-35, there was a hearing on it on capitol hill last week. one of the people who asked questions of department defense officials was martha mcsally. she talked about concerns she has about the plane itself. i want dwrou listen to it and maybe expand. >> this airplane is is replacing all of our legacy fighters and the jack of all trades master of none and specifically, replacing the a-10 in the close air
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support missions that bring to the fight. when we talked in april, we had a discussion about some limitations in that replacement of the unique capability in close air support and i'll just run through them as a reminder, in the a model, some were night capability, data, time on station being 20 to 30 minutes. but then even in the follow on capabilities, ammunition is only 180 bullets. 45 minutes and dr. moore agreed that the f-35 would not be able to survive a direct hit. and like the a-10 can. >> talk about that list. >> she's saying about the f-35. it can do -- won't be able to do as well. for instance, he was talking a lot about time on station.
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what does that mean? how long the plane can actually fly around in circles and help those people on the ground without having to go refuel. the f-35 burns fuel much, much faster than an a-10. a-10's engines are much different. they're more of a commercial type engine like you'd see on a jet liner. and also, the point about not being able to take a direct hit. f-35 hasn't gone through a lot of tests that she alluded to. of whether or not it could, it can withstand it, but it doesn't have the titanium bathtub that the a-10 has to protect the pilot, so there is a lot more protection for the pilot in the a-10. >> was there ever discussion about the a-102.0 so to speak? >> the air force has talked about this. it went through a lot of upgrades to bring it into the
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mod esh age. over the last ten years, to be able to use smart bombs and be able to she was talk about this nine lines of code. basically, those are coordinates for a target on the ground and in the past, the a-10 pilot would have to take out a grease pan and write on the canopy. modern plans, it's like your iphone. you could pass the code from one plane to the other through the computer system. there would been talk of a 2.0, the problem is there's no money r for it and if you're going the start from scratch, the track record of military weapons programs, usually overcost, overbudget. a-10s here right now, the reasoning is we'll keep it for the next few years and we'll get rid of it and we'll use something else, but the idea is very much alive within the
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military. >> austin , tight end, here is gary, hi. >> i have a question. since the equipment is getting so expensive, have they thought about renting the equipment? thank you. >> there are a few things in the military where it's least if you will, i can think off the top of my head, ariel refuelling. this is critical on the battlefield to keep planes in the air for a long time. very, very much being used right now over iraq and syria. for the planes conducting that mission. that's all done by the u.s. air force and allied air forces who have similar type military tankers that are military has. now, state side though, the navy leases this. there is old jet liners and they have the refuelling apparatus that's needed specifically for the navy. it uses a one type of refuelling
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system, reseptember kl on the f-18 and other navy aircraft that it can, uses something called the boom that hangs off the back of the plane. there aren't commercial operators of that now, but some stuff is leased and even in combat, some stuff occasionally gets leased. i could think again, there was some trials done with the company owned aircraft to the previous point of an a-10 type replacement just to do some type of operational tests. >> how many years between the drawing board and production and is it a problem? >> it takes a long time to get from that drawing board to protection and that's a huge problem. the pentagon and senator mccain and representative thornberry
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have proposed that tries to get to that and they claim congress claims it's a lot of bureaucracy tas in the way here. with the budgets being tighter like they are and the actual meeting of equipment quickly, it doesn't behoove you to go through to use these old acquisition methods to get equipment out quicker. there's ways of getting around that. this bureaucracy, if you will. there's rapid acquisition. office of secretary of defense, they could actually get around some -- they take a lot of bureaucracy and get something from the battlefield. which has been in development for more than a decade and still
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isn't on the battlefield. >> if there are current weapons systems being worked on, does that mean there's not enough money for the one year to advance the program significantly or does it put a hold on the program? >> it could. say for instance it limits you. a lot of programs, some are consistent. their budgets are relatively flat. take for instance, the air force buying gnaw tanker from boeing. that development project grows as it gets closer to actually entering production. if the budget stays the way it is and the cr stays for the full year,s there's going to be problems there and that makes a program is another issue because there's a fixed price contract for it. so, the contractor's expecting a certain amount of money and if the air force can't ramp up to that, then they open themselves up to legal issues and everything else associated with having to break a contract.
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>> this is harry from hurricane, west virginia. hello. >> hello, how are you? >> good morning. >> i guess my statement, is an f-35, this new fighter in the mid 2000s, it was going to be the cheapest fighter the u.s. has made. and now, it's going to be this expensive, possibly several trillion dollars to buy over the next several years. the helmet alone costs $400,000. i mean, how can we justify that with what we're doing in the coun countiry? 148 million for the air force. 251 for the marines. 337 for the navy. that's the cost of each fighter. it's just, it's staggering. >> well, you are right. it is staggering. one thing, one thing that's a lot of times that the pentagon
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likes to point out, probably not the best argument for them to use, but they always say that if they were to have developed an individual plane for the air force, an individual plane for the navy and an individual plane for the marine corps, it probably would have cost more than that. experts say there is some stock in that, but lib you say, it was supposed to be the cheapest why? because it was supposed to be common. more than 75% common. in reality now, it's about 25 to 35% common. and on the outside, but inside, these are very, very, very different planes. >> from michigan. here is david. our independent line. >> yes, good morning. i was listening to one of the designers of the f-35, he said that it's probably one of the worst aircrafts ever built. the guy was kind of representable because he helped
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design the f-16 and a-10. if i remember correctly, he said he had to sell to canada, great britain, new zealand and australia and he said this is your tax dollar, people, for junk. thank you. >> yeah, you're referring to pierce bray, a very outspoken about the air force's decision to kill the a-10 program. and to the design of the f-35. his views are shared by many, but on the flip side, you'll have a will the of others tell you that when this plane actually is done, the big thing that the f-35 will be able to do if it works, is it will be able to see other planes before they can see it. so, it's to use a top gun analogy, you could fire this missile from 100 miles away
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essentially with the f-35, you'll be able to do that and the other plane wouldn't be able to see you. the other thing to think about here, u.s. aircraft are not getting into dog fights very often, so, a plane that can actually do that and be able to kind of act as the quarterback, if you will, in the sky because it will be able to do all these things that it used to take a lot of other different planes to do, so to be able to process intelligence, see intelligence with its cameras and be able to talk to the other planes around it and pass information along, kind of like a router if you will. to use a computer term and if that all works, it will probably be revolutionary, but it's going to take a long time to get there. >> are there issues with the helmet? >> there are. the helmet has has issued from the beginning. the big thing is it allows you to see through the plane. there are cameras positioned around the outside of this
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aircraft and what the helmet does is allow the pilot to say look down and instead of his legs, we'll see through to the ground below him. the problem that there's been with this helmet is it's really trying to push technology that wasn't there yet originally when they started building it, so the technology just hadn't advanced to the point of where the military had wanted it to be. so, it was very, very expensive to make and it had problems such as jitter was the big thing, if you hit turbulence, the image would bounce around and be disorienting to the pilot inside. >> who's the contractor? >> prime contractor for the program is lockheed martin near d.c. and maryland, but the actual supply chain is massive. dozens and dozens, hundreds of companies. the other big thing, those companies are in lots and lots
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of districts. not only around the united states, but around the world. >> maryland, here's bob. hello. >> yes, good morning. that comment you just made about hundreds of companies around the world. goes probably right to the issue about why these sophisticated system ts are going to experience quality issues and capability issues because it seems it's no different than what you see going on in the auto industry today. you have more recalls in the last decade with junk in the cars paying full value than you've seen in the last 30 years. cars made in the 1960s were far better than the crap they make today. so, my feeling is is what you're witnessing is no different in the pentagon than what you're seeing going on in the auto industry. and my last comment and i'd hike your thought on this, is what's going to happen if marietta
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keeps merging around all these big companies keep merging like wall street wants them to do. for shareholder value for the next quarterly report, how the hell is the pentagon going to be able to get fair pricing when there's consolidation and mergers and acquisition. that's something wall street seems to be hell bent on and that may be at the expense of national security. thank you. >> to your second point, that's actually a huge issue, these mergers and acquisitions. basically defense companies in the '90s after the end of the cold war, lots of them merged. ones went out of business. they got out of the defense business because there was supposed to be this peace di dend and now, what you're seeing as the budget, you saw actually an expansion over the last decade of war and now as the budget contracts, you're seeing stuff like mergers and acquisitions.
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you've had a number of them this year. the big one is lockheed martin, the largest defense company in world by revenue more than $40 billion a year. it is purchasing the helicopter maker makes the blackhawk helicopter, one of the most famous helicopters, known helicopters around the world. tas $9 billion deal. what you see happen about a month ago, frank kendall, the number three guy at the pentagon, he said this is -- this is troubling that now that you're, that this trend of more and more companies merging, basically he's questioning is is it going too and he's talking about getting legislation and
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trying to explore as a way to maybe find ways that the government can step in and stop mergers and acquisitions of this magnitude. >> frank kendall put out a report in september and said this. in my view, our new product pipeline is not as robust as it should be at a time when our superiority is being challenged. not all cost growth bad. we need to respond to changing and emerging threats. >> he put out this report basically grades how the pentagon's doing with acquisition reform. >> useded to be the defense secretary, they made a number of changes over the years that actually, frank's report shows that those changes they made are helping. the pentagon's getting more bank for its buck essentially.
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the other thing he raises in this rort, they're not pushing the envelope as much. they're scared if they push, the cost is going to go up and any type of cost nowadays, especially when you have reduced budgets looks very, very bad. so, he wants to make look at ways that they could push that envelope more. >> here's chuck from new mexico. on our republican line. our last call. go ahead. >> hi. i had a question about the army versus the air force. with the a-10. i was, i know that the army wants the a-10. i've seen it demonstrated on television and it's spectacular. but the air force has always pushed for it to go away. how much is this about the territorial fight between the air force and army and like a toef pipe or shovels type of thing because i don't know why or could they turn this airplane over to the army to fly? because i don't think the air force wants to be sub serve yent to the army.
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that's my question. >> you know, chuck, you do raise a great point. there's always fighting among the services. and this case, i've talked to a lot of senior air force officials, the chief of staff of the air force for example. and this one is, it seems it's not that, there is not a malicious competitive competition, reason for this. that it's purely a budgetary issue. now, another thing that to bring up is that the when this decision was made, there was no air war against isis. so that's now happening. and it's actually the a-10 is even more valuable than it was say a year or two ago. to your point of can the air force turn it over to the army? it sure can. if the army really, really wanteded it, army could make a play for it. they haven't. they're under their own
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constraints and they want to preserve their ground fighting capab capability, their tanks and armored vehicles and stuff like that, so, it's unlikely you'll see the a-10 flown by the army soon. >> wrap it up as far as what happens if a short-term deal goes through instead of a long-term budget deal. how's the pentagon looking at this? what are their most concerns going forward? >> they would welcome a short-term deal. one thing they don't want is the year long cr. that just gums up everything. as they would tell you, it's an inefficient way of doing business, for example, it can't stop projects it wanted to stop in 2016 because if it was paid for in '15, you have to continue doing it. that's probably the least efficient way you can manage. >> the global business correspondent for your money segment. thank you. >> thank you. >> on the next "washington journal," oklahoma republican congressman tom cole on this
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week's selection to choose a new speaker of the house. and we'll talk with california democrat, john garamendi about highway and mass transit funding. also, brad fitch on how congressmen pay for expenses. "washington journal" live on cspan every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. cspan has your coverage of the road to the white house 2016. where you'll find the candidates, the speeches, the debates and most importantly, your questions. this year, we're taking our coverage into classrooms giving stupts the opportunity to discuss what issues they want to hear the most from the candidates. follow cspan's student contest and road to the white house contest on tv, on the radio and online. at
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tuesday morning here on cspan 3, defense secretary ashton carter and the chairman of the joipt chiefs of staff on u.s. military strategy in the middle east. they'll testify before the senate armed services committee live here on cspan 3 starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern. on wednesday, attorney general loretta lynch goes to capitol hill. she'll answer questions from the house judiciary committee. that hearing, 10:00 a.m. eastern. also this week, the house of representatives votes for a new speaker of the house. wisconsin republican paul ryan has locked up support from various groups within the republican conference. he faced daniel webster. republicans meet wednesday afternoon to pick which candidate they'll put forward to be the speaker and the house votes thursday to elect a replacement for john boehner, who is resigning.
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>> having business before the honorable, the supreme court of the united states are admonished to draw near and give their attention. >> we have not seen a court overturn a law that was passed by congress on a economic issue like health care at least since lockner. >> the case is whether a majority rule, a state legislation can take away your life and liberty without due process. the court rules now. i think it's a wonderful decision. >> this week on cspan's landmark cases, we look at lochner and new york. in 1995, they passed the bake shop act, restricting the working hours of baking employees to ten hours per day or 60 per week. a bakely owner violated that law and was fined $50. refusing to pay, he took his
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case to the supreme court. find out why he is known as one of the most controversial decisions as we explore this case with our guests, randy bar nette. randy barnett, author of the book "restoring the lost constitution," and paul kens. "landmark cases," live tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span, c-span 3, and c-span radio. at today's white house briefing, press secretary josh earnest answered questions about the presidential campaign, a deployment of the u.s. troops to cameroon to counter boca haram and the transpacific partnership agreement. >> the trip to harvard was excellent. i enjoyed it. they treated me very well. spent some time on thursday and
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friday at the institute of politics at harvard. lot of ambitious young minds who are looking for inspiration. hopefully i provided at least a little bit. we'll do that during his briefing, i guess. good. yes, i'm very excited about the royals. i see somebody up here was looking to have a good time, which i appreciate. so i'm glad this was waiting for me at the podium when i walked out here. i'm glad somebody is having their fun before the series star starts. i intend to have my fun after the series is over, so we'll see how it goes, but that should be a fun tuesday. but today is monday, so let's eat our vegetables. josh, do you want to start? >> sure. wanted to start with this deadly earthquake in northern afghanistan that's killed more than 150 people in afghanistan
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and also pakistan. do you have any details for us on what the u.s. might be doing to assist in that effort? >> we offer our deepest condolences to those affected by the earthquake in afghanistan. the u.s. government has been in touch with the governments in afghanistan and pakistan. and we stand ready to provide any additional support that may be needed. this is an area of the globe that is plagued by these kinds of incidents, so it's not the first time that these governments are responsible for responding to these kinds of situations. the one thing that is relevant here is there is a substantial u.s. aid presence in both of these countries to try to assist their needs and there are a number of prepositioned emergency shelter and supply kits in warehouses throughout
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afghanistan. and in pakistan, u.s. aid has existing partners that are ready to respond, if necessary. so we certain do have some assets that could be helpful, and we stand ready to do what we can to help the governments as they respond to this terrible situation. >> two big deadlines coming up, the debt ceiling and the budget. speaker boehner has been pushing to finish a two-year budget deal before he leaves in next few days. can you give us an update on how those negotiations are going? >> josh, as we have talked about, republicans over the course of this year have devoted significant time to trying to pass budgets strictly along party lines and those efforts time and time again have failed. and what we have been saying -- and when i say we, i mean the white house and democrats in congress, is that republicans need to negotiate with democrats around budget agreements and try
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to find common ground in a bipartisan way to ensure that the government can be funded. and over the last several weeks there have been bipartisan conversations taking place on capitol hill. the white house has been a part of many of those conversations as well. we have worked asidiously to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those discussions principally because they're based on the principle that nothing is agreed to in the context of discussions until everything has been agreed to. as i stand here today, not everything has been agreed to. that means nothing has been agreed to. we continue to urge republicans to continue to engage constructively with democrats to identify common ground and do the right thing for the country. the good news is there's a template for succeeding in this
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endeavor. after the last government shutdown, democrats and republicans on capitol hill did engage in a process that was led by paul ryan and patty murray to find bipartisan common grounds that would ensure we're making necessary investments in our economic and national security priorities. and we're hopeful that democrats and republicans will pursue a similar template to reaching a budget agreement this time, but it's not going to be successful if republican leaders think they can do this strictly along party lines. they have tried that and it has failed. the good news for them is there are democrats on capitol hill who are willing to engage in a process that would yield a budget compromise where neither side gets 100% of what they want, but both sides have something they can point to that reflects their priorities and reflects their view about the best future for the country.
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>> would the white house support a budget deal that raises spending for the pentagon through that overseas account that you've previously opposed if it all finds a way to increase some spending on the domestic side that the president has called for? >> well, i don't want to engage too much in hypotheticals, but i think there are some principles that are relevant here. the first is the president vetoed the military authorization act. they were created to be temporary. again, they're called contin n
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contingency operations. the idea we're going to use a temporary fund to fund the ongoing day-to-day year to year needs of the department of defense is just irresponsible. the secretary of defense wrote an op-ed that ran last week that articulated this concern. how is the department of defense going to engage in planning if their funding is subjected to this temporary vehicle, so that's the first concern that the president has articulated. the other principle that's at stake here though is a commitment to ensuring that any funding above sequester levels is done on a dollar for dollar basis making sure we can both invest in defense priorities, but also in some economic
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non-defense priorities. now one thing that often gets lost in this debate is they're described as defense priorities and non-defense priorities. but in those so-called non-defense priorities are a range of programs that are necessary for our national security. something even republicans would acknowledge are national security priorities. that's why this administration has fought aggressively to ensure this dollar for dollar parity principle that is arcane. the reason this is important is that that budgetary gimmick that is cooked up by republicans was merely an attempt to try to increase funding for national defense for those defense priorities without a
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corresponding increase in non-defense priorities. and i'm not the only person who believes that. i know that this is -- i just want to read this quote from a man who expressed his concerns about the ndaa. again, he described this oco funding as a gimmick. he said this flawed bill once again uses budget gimmicks to get around the spending caps established by washington by adding an additional 38 billion in off budget spending. congress is avoiding its responsibility to follow the laws that it passes. i think this is a very rare instance in which he is expressing a concern that is generally shared by the obama administration. the fact is our view is that congress should take these concerns head on. if there's a view that there are certain defense programs that
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are worthy of increasing spending for, then we need to stick to the dollar for dollar principle that ensures we're making similar investments in economic priorities but also priorities that aren't included in the defense budget but are critically important to our national security. >> i want to make sure that i understand because this is a negotiate so you know you're not going to get 100% what you want. >> you understand that. i hope republicans on capitol hill do. >> you don't want to use this oco account to fund the military for long standing operations. you don't want increased pentagon spending that doesn't also have increased domestic spending that you've been calling for. so if you get one of those two, which is the higher priority? >> well, i don't want to -- i do think that's down the road of hypotheticals. at this point, we've been clear about what our principles are, and we have acknowledged that any sort of budget agreement is
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going to include -- it will be a compromise. that means that there will be things included in that bill that we're not very happy about, so i won't game out at this point which principle is more important than the other. i'm willing to spend this much time talking about should be an indication to you that both those principles are important to this administration. >> the israeli prime minister said they're going to take another look at the status of palestinian residents in jerusalem that could take away residency rights for people who currently possess them. >> josh, i haven't seen those report repor reports. someone on our national security staff had read through those reports. it's not our understanding of
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the u.s. government that this is a policy that is being actively considered by the israeli government. if it were, it would obviously be of some concern to us. what i'll just take this opportunity to reiterate is the importance of all sides avoiding p provocative actions and rhetoric. julia? >> back to the budget. right before the briefing there were reports from the hill that congress was close to a two-year budget deal that would also raise the debt ceiling. it sounds like the white house that agreement to be a little further out. can you tell us a level of involvement the white house has in these conversations that you have heard and can confirm that there is, you know, progress being made and they're close to a two-year deal? and also there are reports the deal would call for cuts on medicare and social security disability benefits. can you tell us where the white
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house would stand on that? >> well, julia, we have worked to protect the privacy and confidentiality of these discussions. i don't have an update for you in terms of the progress that's being made in those discussions. we have said all along that a budget deal will only be yielded if republicans and democrats sit down on capitol hill and work together in good faith to reach a compromise. the white house has been involved in a substantial number of those conversations both to provide some technical advice and assistance to those who are engaging in the negotiations, but also whatever financial agreement is reached will require the signature of the president of the united states before it can be enacted into law. so we have a stake in the outcome, so that's why white house officials have been present for many of those conversations. >> how about touching medicare and social security disability benefits? >> i know there are a number of
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reports coming out here, but i'm not going to entertain those until we have something more definitive to discuss. >> he'll still be meeting with president obama but will not be going to the west coast and the reason is the haze from the fires. will that be discussed at all? will the u.s. offer any kind of enforcement or monitoring to prevent deforestation in indonesia? >> i am aware he will have to cut short his trip to the united states. given the significance of this issue, i would anticipate that it will come up in his discussion with the president today. the united states has already
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made a preliminary commitment of some financial assistance to the indones indonesian government. this was announced earlier today by the u.s. ambassador to indonesia, but i'm confident that there'll be discussion about additional assistance the united states could provide and we stand ready to have those discussions. a lot of the assistance will be provided through u.s. aid. have you guys said you want a clean debt ceiling increase? and if you are negotiating a resolution to these budget issues, isn't that the definition of strings attached and not clean? >> no, it's not. the principle that we have made clear is that the administration will not negotiate on a debt limit increase. the full faith and credit of the united states will not be subjected to a political negotiation.
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congress has a fundamental responsibility to ensure that bills that they have authorized get paid fully and on time. that is in some ways the dictionary definition of fiscal responsibility. and it is the expectation that the american people have for congress that they will fulfill this basic function. congress' failure to do so does risk significant economic volatility or increased economic volatility not just in the united states, but around the world. so the stakes are high, but our expectation is that this is something that congress understands and hopefully cause them to fulfill their basic responsibility to do this. jim, i think the other thing that's important to understand is that it is not at all uncommon for a debt limit
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increase to be attached to a piece of legislation that we know will pass congress and be signed into law by the president. that's something president obama has done on two other occasions. in 2013, the president signed the no budget, no pay act. this was a piece of legislation that essentially said that congress -- members of congress would not get paid if they didn't pass a budget. obviously, that was a bill the president signed into law, but it also included a provision that would raise the debt limit. in twi2009, the president signe the recovery act. that included a provision to raise the debt limit. in 2008, president bush signed the emergency economic stabilization act. that included a provision to raise the debt limit. so the principle here has been
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that it can sometimes be a useful strategy to tack the debt limit onto legislation that will be passed into law by the president. the question of whether or not the debt limit will be raised when needed is not something this president is willing to negotiate on. >> i take it on the fact that you have that extensive history of debt ceiling negotiations at your fingertips. >> let's say i can anticipate your questions these days. >> it appears that that is the process that is playing out right now, and are you hopeful that that process will play out to a resolution where you'll have this taken care of before speaker boehner leaves town -- i should say congress. >> the negotiations that democrats and republicans on capitol hill have been engaged will ultimately be successful. as i mentioned to julia, there's
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no agreement that's been reached at this point. >> and i'm curious if you think -- i know we haven't really had a chance to talk to you about vice president biden's announcement in the rose garden last week, but do you feel his decision not to run for president and the withdrawal of two democrats in the last week has essentially cleared the path for hillary clinton to be the nominee, nominee of your party next year? >> i think that senator sanders and governor o'malley may have something to say about that. so it certainly reduces the number. it certainly reduces the size of the field, but it doesn't eliminate it. i think senator sanders in particular has demonstrated an ability to energize a substantial portion of the
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democratic electorate. i think it makes him by all accounts a serious contender. i don't think it's a controversial notion. and the president has long believed that these kinds of primary debates are not just good for the party, they're good for the country. the president himself went through a highly competitive highly contested primary process in 2007 and 2008. he has acknowledged and i think you acknowledge that that process made him a better, more effective candidate. i think that's why nobody in the white house is losing any sleep over the prospect of a vigorous democratic primary campaign. >> did the president have a chance to view the testimony that secretary clinton gave before the benghazi committee
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late last week? is there a reaction from you guys to that? >> yeah, i haven't spoken to him about it. i know he saw some of the news coverage of it. our expectation was that in this kind of setting secretary clinton would perform quite well. you have republicans in situations where they were pretty desperate to justify their existence while at the same time try to convince everybody that it wasn't a partisan exercise, at least in the eyes of donald trump they failed because i think he observed that it seemed to be a pretty partisan exchange of views. when you have the republican presidential frontrunner essentially defending the democratic presidential frontrunner from attacks from fellow republicans, it strikes me as a situation that doesn't speak well of republicans who are serving on the eighth
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congressional committee that was formed to investigate the tragic incident of benghazi. francesca? >> thanks, josh. >> calling on a fellow royals fan. >> thank you. i was tweeting about that. two questions on a related note. you know, i think a lot of us had a chance yesterday to evening to watch the vice president's interview on "60 minutes." it was very moving. he opened up for the first time about his son's death in a way we haven't seen. i was wondering if you had a sense why he decided to do that now and in the setting that he did? >> i'm sorry. the very last part. >> why he decided to do it now and in that particular setting. do you have a sense? >> i think he was responding to the genuine interest that people have in the decision that he announced last wednesday not to run for president. so he did this interview to
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discuss his thinking behind that decision. in that regard, it was timely. he's had a number of other occasions to talk about the impact of son's life and death on his own thinking about this. there's no doubt that when the vice president has talked about this issue it's been incredibly powerful. last night's interview was another example of that. >> and to end on a slightly lighter note than that, as you probably know as well, today is hillary clinton's birthday. katy perry gave her a necklace. i was wondering if the actual president of the united states got her any special gift or if maybe he gave her a call today? >> i'm not aware of any phone calls at this point. >> i had to try. >> there you go.
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olivia? >> did master sergeant willard die in combat? >> there is no denying the fact that our men and women in uniform who are serving in iraq in a train advise assist role are serving their country in a very dangerous place. in the situation that occurred at the end of last week you had american military personnel who are serving in advisory capacity as iraqi forces carried out a dangerous operation. when those forces that are backed by the united states came under fire and were pinned down, our special operators in the field made the decision to respond and it put them in a situation where, yes, they were
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exchanging fire with the enemy and tragically one u.s. military service member was killed in that incident. and i think that is why the president has long acknowledged the commitment and service and bravery of our men and women who are currently serving in iraq. however, that service is quite different than the mission that our military was pursuing in 2003 and 2004 in the aftermath of the first -- at least the iraq invasion from 12 years ago. that is not at all an effort to diminish the risk that our service members are taking, but i do think it is important to differentiate between the set of responsibilities that they're given when they travel over
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there now. >> i understand, but i've seen different comments from different people at the pentagon, including the secretary in one briefing saying first it's train and support, advise, then later saying this was combat. a military spokesman in baghdad called it combat. someone in d.c. said we had no boots on the ground. it's been a mishmash in the administration. that's why i'm trying to get you to cut through that. >> i'm trying to describe exactly to you the situation that exists there now which is a dangerous place. and also to help you understand the mission that our military service personnel are pursuing in iraq is different than the mission than they were given when president bush ordered them to invade iraq back in 2003. >> okay. on a separate note, there's a report today about a program in which the pentagon used
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humanitarian ngos as cover for intelligence operations. is that something the president believes is an appropriate policy? >> i haven't seen that specific report, but let me see what we can get you on that and we'll follow up. >> isn't that a little bit of a false distinction josh to say just because it's not the same as the operation in 2003 and 2004 there's not a larger space now being created by the secretary of defense for combat operations because he authorized this without the president signing off on it. he said at the briefing last week more operations like this are more likely than not to occur in the future, meaning if there is a need for rescue operation, he'll authorize them and we should expect them to happen not frequently, but we should not be surprised if they happen in the future. there does seem, to me, space being created for combat.
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it's hard to see that operation as following in the advise category when they landed, they tried to rescue people, there was likely fire, and they engaged. that doesn't make it any less of a combat situation. >> i think that the president since the very first speech that he gave to the country when laying out this strategy acknowledged the significant risk that our men and women in uniform would occur by being deployed to iraq. there are a number of missions that could be described similarly, so there was the mission that u.s. military personnel undertook early this year to take an isil leader off the battlefield and to exploit significant intelligence assets there. there was a raid that the
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president ordered last year inside of syria where the united states put boots on the ground inside of syria to try to rescue american hostages that were being held by isil. that was a dangerous situation and certainly looked a lot like combat. and i think the point is that, yes, our military personnel are going to encounter risk when they're in iraq, even in the course of carrying out a train, advise, and assist mission, but i think what we're trying to go to great lengths to help the american people, the world, and even the iraqi people understand is that this is a markedly different mission that our men and women in uniform were given in 2003. >> i'm trying to understand the reticence that combat is part of this mission. you seemed and the pentagon seemed resistant to acknowledge
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that there is a combat component to what we are engaged in trying to accomplish in both countries. >> i don't think we're trying to resist anything. i think we're trying to be as clear as we can about what exactly their mission responsibilities are. >> on the question of endorsement, you said and erica said the president will have a primary vote in the illinois primary. is that the only way in which express his preference and wait until this nomination process runs its course? or do you envision and does the president envision announcing something before then, or can you tell us definitively he'll say nothing until the primary process has run its course? >> right now, there's no plan for the president to make a
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public endorsement in advance of casting a ballot. once he's cast a ballot, there's no specific plan to make that ballot public. we'll keep you apprised of the president to express his preference in the race. right now, the president thinks it is important for democrats -- >> he's not going to put his thumb on the scale and move things one way or the other. >> i think he's always going to reserve that right to weigh in publicly. >> so for the budget deal, is the focus entirely on raising the debt ceiling and getting the sequester resolved? are there any other issues that you're currently negotiating with that? let me just ask you that. >> i'm not going to get into a
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lot of the details, but let me clarify a couple of things. raising the debt limit is not in any way a part of the negotiatio negotiations. that's an option, but that's not something that's being negotiated right now. we're not going to negotiate about whether or not congress should raise the debt ceiling. they can attach it to something else that may pass if they'd like. they have to get it done by the 3rd. so that's the first thing. the other thing that has been -- what has been the focus of those discussions is ultimately trying to arrive at some bipartisan common ground about how to fund the government and the fiscal year ended almost a month ago now. and the president agreed to sign a continuing resolution through december 11th, but the president
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made clear that he wasn't going to sign another continuing resolution like that. december 11th should give congress ample time to find bipartisan common ground and keep the budget of the united states government funded. >> follow up on josh's original question. can you see overseas contingency operations and the flexibility they provide will not be used as a mechanism to fund increased domestic spending or defense spending? >> it is the position of this administration, a view that is shared by a man from kansas -- to a point, i think even in principle we have this position for different reasons. the reason that republicans are
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seeking to exploit this oco loophole is because they don't want to adhere to the budget caps. now, this man believes we should adhere to the budget caps even to the detriment of our national security. we should raise the sequester caps so that our military personnel can engage in the kind of midterm and long-term planning that i think we would all acknowledge is prudent and necessary to our national security. so that is our position, and we made that position quite clear not just in public, but also in private. >> it is not going to be used for either domestic or defense? >> we've made clear what our principle is. this is something that -- this is something that we've made clear is our principle in the context of these negotiations. >> are you saying the president
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would veto it if it came with any overseas contingency operations? >> i didn't come prepared to offer any veto threats today, but what i've tried to describe is to help all of you understand exactly why the president so strongly opposed this gimmick. there are republicans that oppose this gimmick as well. our view is that a responsible budget approach would include direct consideration of raising the caps and not using some sort of accounting gimmick to evade them. kristin. >> josh, thanks. the mission to rescue the prisoners that claimed the life of sergeant wheeler. do you stand by that and if so, why? >> yes, i stand by that. and the reason is the approach the president has taken to
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implementing this strategy is to look for opportunities to capitalize on those elements of our strategy that have been particularly successful. so one example is something that the department of defense announced a couple of weeks ago, which is a decision to increase the amount of support that the united states is providing to some elements of the syrian moderate opposition, particularly those elements in northeastern syria. we've done that because we saw that the preliminary support that we provided to them was support that they used to make important gains against isil in northeastern syria. so the president looking at this broader strategy that we have identified this as an element of our strategy that's worked particularly well, and so his team has worked to provide him some options to essentially ramp up that element of the strategy.
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another thing that we have found to be useful is our efforts to build up the capacity and performance of some iraqi security forces, including peshmerga forces. they have taken actions with the advice and assistance of u.s. military personnel in a variety of ways. and so what you say in the carrying out of this specific operation was an effort to capitalize on our success in advising and assisting forces to carry out operations. so again this isn't an example of mission creep as much as it is an example of the administration taking a look at our strategy and trying to capitalize on those elements of the strategy that have been particularly successful. >> given the scope of that
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particular mission, given the fact you had the first ground engagement, if you want to use the word combat or don't, since 2014 is this not a ramping of the military's engagement there? >> you know, kristin, i have described some other operations in iraq and syria previously. the mission to try to rescue american hostages. the mission to take one isil leader off the battlefields. those are a couple of examples of missions where u.s. military personnel did put themselves at great risk to try to further a high priority objective. th this situation is obviously a little bit different. they did that with the support of u.s. military personnel who given the way the operation unfolded moved in to provide some direct assistance to these iraqi fighters.
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so again, i think this reflects both a willingness on the part of the military to carry out operations in pursuit of our broader goal that does result in our military personnel being in very dangerous situations. again, i think that's why we've been quite candid about the amount of risk that our military personnel are encountering and not seeking to diminish it anyway, but helping the american people to understand what our strategy is to destroy isil. >> fbi director james comey seemed to suggest there is something to the so-called ferguson effect. part of the explanation for an increase in violent crime maybe because you have police officers who are hesitant to engage.
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what is the president's take on that, and does he think it was appropriate for him to make those comments? >> i haven't spoken to the president about it, and i don't know if director comey has communicated those views to the president directly? i would say evidence does not support that law enforcement around the united states are shying away from fulfilling their responsibilities. a lot of local law enforcement officers have indicated that law enforcement officials are dedicated public servants who on a daily basis are putting their lives on the live. >> sounds like the white house disagrees with the characterization by the fbi director. >> i think what i'm merely citing to you is the evidence we've seen so far doesn't support the contingent that law enforcement officials are somehow shirking their
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responsibility. in fact, you hear law enforcement leaders across the country indicating that's not what's taking place. what this administration is, however, concerned about is making sure in those communities where there has been an uptick in violence and crime that this is something that merits serious consideration. that's not something we're seeing in every community across the country, but there are some communities that are dealing with a serious uptick and i know that even here in the district of columbia there have been meetings convened to try to assess exactly what can be done to stem that uptick in violence and it's something that local law enforcement officials take quite seriously and they can count on the support from the obama administration and the fbi as they consider the range of responses to address any increase in violence in their communities. >> finally, josh, the last time
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the president weighed in on the black lives matter movement, i wondered why he wanted to do that. why did he feel it was important to weigh in and can we expect to see more of that? >> i don't have any meetings at this point to announce. the task force that he convened, it included some activists as well as some leaders in law enforcement. as the president said in his comments by assuming the best in people, that we can sit around the table and try to come up with some solutions that are in the best interest of law enforcement, that are in the best of communities across the country, and the results would actually lead to lower crime rates, which is a goal that we all share. so i don't know of any additional meetings that the president has, but i think his
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approach to this is one that is consistent with somebody who is seeking an honest answer to a legitimate problem. julie? >> can i follow up on that as well? mr. comey talked about the mass incarceration phenomenon. he said he didn't feel like that was something that had contributed to the -- had been a problem in our society. in the 80s and 90s didn't think that was something that was a crisis. i wonder if the president heard that portion of the speech and what he thought about and whether he agrees with wh what comey was suggesting that incarceration in that area promoted safety in a lot of communities and had contributed to a fall in crime. >> julie, i haven't had this
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direct conversation with the president, but what i can tell you what the president is focused on right now is making sure we have a criminal justice system that works for the united states in the 21st century. maybe there's an academic discussion that can be had about the impact of sentencing policies in the 80s and 90s had. the fact is there have been legitimate concerns that have been raised about the way that these policies have been implemented in communities across the country and that has had an impact on crime rates, but it's also had an impact on perceptions of fairness and justice in the united states. these are values that are critical to the success of our country. >> the fbi director seemed to push back on the idea that mass incarceration was a phenomenon
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to begin with. >> again, i think what the president has been focused on is building bipartisan support in an era of congressional action not characterized by bipartisanship, we have seen democrats and republicans offer up a piece of legislation that would address some of these challenges. i can't speak to the range of director comey's views on this topic, but i can surely confirm for you that the president is confirmed to working in bipartisan fashion to try to address some of these problems that have been raised and he's been pleased so far by the reception he's received. >> he does believe that it's a problem? that mass incarceration is a problem? >> i think the president believes there are certain elements of our criminal justice system that are not serving our country and communities across the country well. that should precipitate needed
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preforms that would have the effect of making our communities safety. >> when you say nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, so right now nothing is agreed to. that makes it sound like some things have gotten closer than they were when you started these discussions. >> i think what i would just say is that these are negotiations that have been taking place over the last several weeks. i think it's fair for you to assume that the conversations wouldn't continue if no progress was being made, but at this point i wouldn't characterize the amount of progress that's being made primarily because there are no agreements that have been reached. so i think what we have found is that there actually democrats and republicans on capitol hill that are interested in having a
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constructive discussion in this regard, but we do not at this point have an agreement to announce. >> can you shed any light on the president's visit to the metropolitan club earlier today? he strolled across to the restaurant. did whatever he did, came out. >> he looked relaxed? >> he looked pretty happy. can you just give us a sense of what was the nature of that visit? did he make public remarks? why was a contingent of the press not allowed to attend? >> the president did attend a lunch that included at least a couple of dozen former united states senators. i believe this was a group that was organized by two former senate democratic leaders, tom dashel and george mitchell. this was an opportunity for the
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senators to get together in a social setting and enjoy lunch. they invited the president to attend because it is just across the street. he went to see some friends and to engage in some socializing. the plan was not to make any sort of formal remarks. the plan was for the president to walk over there and shake hands and visit with some friends. okay. all right. april? >> i want to follow up on one question on black lives matter. tomorrow the presidential addresses the international association of chiefs of police. i guess this is a largest gathering of police chiefs. this is coming days after chris christie made his statement that president obama is supporting the lawlessness by not supporting the police justifying black lives matter. what do you say about that as the president is meeting with these police officers who some are still upset about some of
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the comments from this podium and from other people in the black community as it comes to black lives matter? >> i think the president covered this at some length in his interview, so i'd refer you primarily to his remarks as it relates to governor christie. i think we might all have reason to suspect that he would say something outrageous about the president. i think that's why you find me not taking them particularly seriously. >> i hear you loud and clear when you say it is political, but doesn't it come at a bad time. >> no because i don't think i'm the only one that doesn't take it very seriously. >> okay. thank you. >> josh, thanks. what can you tell us about the president's meeting this morning with teachers and secretary duncan? >> i did get a read out of that gathering.
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the president did have the opportunity in the oval office today to meet with teachers and representatives of states and contradi school districts to discuss their shared efforts on redundant or low quality tests. the president led a discussion about how the federal government can be a good partner with states, districts, and teachers in assessing student learning in a smarter way. many of you probably saw the facebook video that the president released over the weekend where he raised his concerns about the amount of testing to which our students are subjected. the president acknowledged that there is more that the federal government could do to make sure there isn't too much emphasis on testing. being able to measure students' progress in the classroom is important and we do need tests, but we need to make sure students aren't spending too much time focused on those
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tests. there are a variety of ways to measure student progress. there are a variety of ways to evaluate that progress, but most importantly there are more important ways for our students to learn than just by filling in a bubble, assuming that students still do that. i might be dating myself unwittingly there, but i think the point the president is making is something school districts and teachers and parents welcome. >> this is a change in approach. how long has it been in the works and are you going to try to incorporate this attitude in the legislation on the hill that's still being negotiated? >> well, dave, i actually think it's -- it is accurate for you to say it has been a long-standing principle of the administration that it's important for us to measure student progress, but the president has always made the case that standardized testing
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is not the only way to evaluate student progress and that an overly time consuming focus on standardized testing is not the best way to ensure that our students are getting a good education. so i think those principles in general are principles that the president has long championed, but i would acknowledge the president believes there's more we can and should do even as the federal government is a partner to these local school districts as they try to tackle this problem. >> how is that related to legislation on the hill? >> well, the president made clear that he believed that education legislation would be an appropriate venue for steps to be taken to reduce the amount of time spent on testing in the
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classrooms while evaluating student progress. i think the president has made a pretty forceful case about why that is the best approach, but this is something democrats and republicans on capitol hill will have to consider. i think this principle is one that democrats and republicans should be able to agree on, but i've said that about other things that doesn't make much progress on capitol hill. >> i want to ask you about the word mission again. i want to make sure i'm understanding you. is it the administration's position that any mission by its very nature would not be enga engaging in a combat mission moving forward? >> i think, kevin, the president has been quite clear about what exactly our strategy inside of our iraq and syria. this is a strategy with many components, that includes everything from shutting down
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the flow of foreign fighters, but it also includes a military component and that military component is focused on building up the capacity of local fighters, both in iraq and in syria, to take the fight to isil on the ground. our coalition partners have uniq unique capabilities to support those ongoing efforts on the ground. the president has made clear in terms of on the ground this is not a fight the united states can make for them. in iraq, we have forces operating under the iraqi government that we can support as they take the fight to isil. inside syria the situation is a little more difficult because there's not a central government that's focused on fighting isil, and that means the united states and our coalition partners have looked for ways to support moderate elements of the syrian
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opposition to take that fight to isil. in some cases those forces have made progress thanks in no small part to the support they've received from the united states government in terms of equipment and air strikes that have been carried out in advance of their operations that have been made their ground operations more successful. that long explanation is necessary because it helps to differentiate between the train, advise, assist mission that our military personnel are currently undertaking from the long-term sustained ground combat operations that u.s. military personnel were involved in starting in 2003 and going all the way up to 2010 or 2011. and so the reason that we have -- describing this approach may not lend itself to a
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reasonably sized bumper sticker, but i do think it is important for people to understand precisely exactly what our men and women are doing inside of iraq. now, let me just end by saying this. this long explanation is no way intended to diminish the service and bravery and professionalism and skill of our men and women in uniform. it also means that our men and women in uniform on some occasions are going to encounter some very dangerous situations. in the case of master sergeant wheeler it cost him his life, and there's no diminishing his contribution to our country's safety and security and certainly no diminishing his sacrifice. but he was part of a different mission than the military operations that were carried out under the orders of president bush in 2003 and 2004.
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>> is there video that you're aware of that rescue and raid? >> well, there is -- you do know that some kurdish officials have released some footage of -- from i believe one of the helmet cameras that was worn by a kurdish iraqi fighter, so i know that some of that footage has been released already. >> and is it your view, is it the president's view, that is video that should be widely consumed and what's your reaction to the fact that it's out there? >> this is obviously video that was released by kurdish officials. this was video that was collected by an iraqi fighter, so that's a decision for them to make. i think what they were hoping to illustrate, it seems, is the capacity and professionalism of
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those fighters. they were operating in a dangerous situation themselves. they were carrying out an operation that resulted in the rescue of i believe 70 or so prisoners, including 20 members of the iraqi security forces. this is an operation that resulted in five isil terrorists being detained by iraqis and a number of other isil fighters being killed. in addition the united states recovered important intelligence materials and assets about isil and after the operation was completed, there was an air strike against this isil facility that destroyed it. so i think this is a testament to what was accomplished in the course of this particular mission and was accomplished by iraqi fighters with an important
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and some cases necessary support of the united states military. >> couple quick ones. i'm reaching out to the pentagon through my colleagues on this one. >> okay. >> the navy, according to reuters, sending warships within 12 nautical miles in the south china sea sometime in the next 24 hours. why wouldn't the chinese consider this a provocative action? >> for those kinds of operational matters, the department of defense is the right place to check. let me discuss the policy principle that's at stake here. without confirming any sort of operational decisions have been made, but the president -- actually when he was in the rose garden indicated that the united states would operate, fly, or sail anywhere that international law allows. that certainly includes the
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ability of our navy to operate in international waters. this is a critically important principle, particularly in the south china sea as well are billions of dollars in commerce that flow through that region of the world every year. maybe even more than that. ensuring the free flow of commerce and navigation of vessels is protected is critically important to the global economy. and that's the principle that's at stake here. but for any sort of operational updates, i'd refer you to the department of defense. >> last point. is it your plan -- and you haven't announced anything specifically, but should we expect the secretary to come here in the coming days? >> he just works next door -- >> we would love to have him here. we have questions, and it would be easier than walking down
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pennsylvania. if that's something you'd consider, we'd appreciate it. >> i know he did an interview with fox business in the last week or so. we'll entertain that option. thank you for the invitation. jim? >> from "chicago tomorrow." the president has seemed frustrated about gun control recent recently and been criticized for perhaps giving up on any new initiatives. is he going to talk about new initiatives at all tomorrow about gun control? and are there any new initiatives about a national gun control initiative for from this white house? >> well, jim, i think it would be difficult for the president to go and address the gathering of the international association of the chiefs of police. in a city like chicago that has been dealing with a plague of gun violence of late, and not talk about steps we could take to reduce gun violence. i do think you can expect the
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president to touch on this. the focal point of the president's remarks tomorrow will be on some steps that we can take to reform our criminal just system and try to advance an ongoing bipartisan debate about the best way to do that in a way that's consistent with keeping our communities safe. and the president's view, has has been articulated by him on a number of occasions, is that they're locking up a large number of nonviolent offenders in our prison system for a long period of time is not consistent with our goal of trying to reduce crime. so that's a point that the president will make again. as it relates to our effort to pursue common sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them, you know, i don't have an update for you on the administration's ongoing efforts to scrub the law, as the president described it, to see what sort of authority he may have to try to implement some of those
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solutions. we already know some of the common sense things that congress could do. those are common sense things that would make our community safer, make gun violence at least a little less likely by keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them we can do all of that without undermining the basic constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. i think these are measures that are so common sense that the majority of americans support them. a majority of democrats, majority of republicans, even a majority of gun owners support them. but we haven't seen congress take the kind of action that we'd like to see. >> the president's hometown and a place i worked for nearly 30 years is, in fact, often used as a reason, evidence against gun control because of -- it has strict gun-control laws. >> it does. >> is the president frustrated by the fact that people can go outside the city limits and buy guns, and does he want to do and will he still try do something about that before he leaves
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office? >> as you point out, the city of chicago is good illustration for why allowing local jurisdictions to put in place these gun safety laws doesn't work. it's too easy for those with bad intentions to just cross the city line or cross the county line to go and approach it, make a handgun purchase that they're prevented from making in some other jurisdictions. often somebody who is teaki ins -- is seeking to evade gun law is someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place. someone who has a criminal record, someone the subject of a restraining order, maybe someone with a mental problem. that is -- i think chicago ends up being a pretty good illustration for why these kinds of national laws are important to the safety of communities across the country. >> finally if i could, on the issue of abortion, dr. ben carson brought up over the
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weekend. he said that -- he likened it to slavery. was wondering if the president heard those comments and has any comments himself on that? >> i haven't spoken to the president about this. i think i'd sort of put this in a similar category as the comments from governor christie. you know, maybe at the next news conference somebody can ask the president about it. if he wants to weigh in, he will. >> thanks. >> juliet? >> you talked about criminal justice reform. obviously this is something the president is pushing for. i'm wondering if you could lay out in greater detail what the president has been doing to support the legislation that's being under consideration in the senate and house, and also there are some democrats who have raised concerns about the senate judiciary committee bill which the white house endorsed saying that by expanding, which offenders are eligible for mandatory minimums, that there's concern that it won't reduce the kind of mass incarceration that the president has criticized. can you talk about that?
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>> uh-huh. well, i think what we've juliet, is a good start by republicans and democrats in the senate to come together around a set of principles that we believe would be in the best interests of a fairer criminal justice system but also safer communities across the country. some of the principles that are included in the bill would reduce mandatory minimum prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, would provide current prisoners the tools and incentives they need to turn their lives around. there's also proposals in there to give nonviolent juvenile offenders a second chance and reform of the juvenile justice system in this country is also a priority of the president's. and the benefit of these kinds of proposals, there are many benefits to these kinds of proposals. one of them is that it would yield some savings for the
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government who pays a lot of phone money -- lot of money to lock people up. you could save money and invest funding and some proposals that would contribute to public safety. those are a broad set of principles. they've gotten strong bipartisan support. i think the president would be the first to acknowledge we're in the start of this. there would have to be a similar process in the house of representatives. but i think the president's convinced that if we continue to pursue these policy priorities in bipartisan fashion, that we're much more likely to yield both a positive result and it can be signed into law by the president of the united states and implemented to make our criminal justice system more
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fair. >> how is the white house going to get the bill to the president's desk to sign? >> we've got a long way to go. making predictions it partisanship on capitol hill, are not usually good bets. i think most would say this is off to an unusually good start. we have seen a genuine commitment on the part of democrats and republicans to try to work together and identify common ground. there actually is common ground to be seized here. we're hopeful that democrats and republicans will be able to seize it in advance. j.c., i'll give you last one. >> josh, how closely is the white house following the election that's took place yesterday in ukraine? especially the fact that although the initial reports from international observers is that they're pretty much moving on their way to democratic process, they have not totally complied, needless to say,
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because there are areas, conflict zones, et cetera, in ukraine where citizens have not been able to practice their franchise? >> yeah. i do have a statement on this which is that the united states congratulates the people of ukraine for exercising their right to vote in yesterday's local elections. according to initial reports, this largely reflected the will of the ukrainian people and generally respected the democratic process. there were 132 political parties and many government and civil society groups participated in pre-election preparations and election day observation that contributed to a largely successful election day. local elections are an important step as ukraine moves forward with difficult reforms to decentralize political power. and we look forward to a second successful round on november 15th for mayoral raise in which a single candidate did not achieve a majority yesterday. we do hope that citizens living in the conflict zone internally
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displaced persons and refugees, will soon have the opportunity to exercise their right to elect their leaders. elections can take place in those controlled areas as soon as possible. okay? thanks a lot, everybody. all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states admonished to give their attention -- >> "landmark cases," c-span's special history series produced in cooperation with the national constitution center. exploring the human stories and constitutional drama behind 12 historic supreme court decisions. >> number 759. petitioner versus -- >> we'll hear argument number 18, the


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