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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 23, 2015 12:37pm-1:09pm EST

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anniversary of the confederate surrender. more on the two generals who surrender, ulysses grant and robert e. lee. and a look . this holiday weekend, american history tv on c-span 3 has three days of featured programming. beginning friday evening at 6:30 eastern, to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of president dwight david eisenhower, his granddaughters gather for a rare family discussion at gettysburg college to talk about his military and political career, as well as his legacy and relevance for 21st century americans. then on saturday afternoon at 1:00, 60 years ago rosea parks defied a city ordinance on a city bus. had he stand helped instigate
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the montgomery bus boycott. we'll reflect on the boycott and see what role lawyers played in that protest and the civil rights movement, as we hear from fred gray, attorney for rosa parks, and demonstrators. then at 6:00, william davis on the little-known aspects of the lives and leadership of union generals grant and lee. sunday afternoon at 4:00 on "real america," a progress report on nasa's projects including the manned space program and the mariner 4 fly-by of mars. writer and award-winning documentary maker rick burns about how the public learns about history through film and television. american history tv, all weekend and holidays too, only on c-span 3. three days of featured programming this holiday weekend on c-span.
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friday evening at 7:00 eastern, honoring former vice president dick cheney at the capitol with the unveiling of a bust. >> when the critics were going off the deep end, he asked lynn, his wife, does it bug you when people refer to me as darth vader? she said, no, it humanizes you. [ applause ] >> saturday night at 8:30 eastern, an in-depth look at policing in minority communities. speakers include former st. louis police officer hudson, and washington, dc police chief cathy lanier. >> most people get defensive if they feel like you're being offensive. so being very respectful, you know, in encounters and requests, if it's not a crisis or dangerous situation, requests
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versus demands, those things change the dynamics a little bit. >> and sunday afternoon at 2:00, race and the criminal justice system with valerie jarrett and others. at 6:30, portions of this year's washington ideas festival, featuring former vice president al gore and author ann marie slaughter. >> we've got to banish the word, "he's helping at home." helping is not actually taking the burden off you. you are still figuring out what needs to be done, and you are asking him to help. he is not the agent, right? he's the assistant. and if we're going to get to where we need to go, men have to be lead parents or fully equal co-parents. >> for our complete schedule, go to c-span.org. a discussion now on veterans and military issues from a recent edition of "washington
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journal." this is just over 25 minutes. joining us is bill rausch, political director of the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, here to talk about veterans issuance. mr. rausch, let's begin with what the white house is announcing today, they want congress to pass measures that would easy access of veterans to healthcare. they also want to do work on education. then you have several cities, states, announcing that they have dealt with homelessness of veterans today. what do you make of all this? >> it's an interesting week for us. it's veterans week. and it's a special time for the veteran community. and part of that is state, local, even the federal government stepping up and putting forth many initiatives. the white house is not only pushing for legislation, as you mentioned, they've gathered veterans and family members of the white house this morning. the mayor of new york city just
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yesterday announced a new department of veterans affairs within the city government. so this is the week where there are all kinds of exciting conversations about how to serve those who have served us, how to give back to the men and women who have fought for this country. and those are all great, exciting things. from our perspective, it's what happens next week, after veterans week. it's what happens next month. it's what happens next year when not everyone is paying attention to these types of issues. that's where it really, really becomes a critical conversation. that's where, frankly, we can gauge and judge how much success we're having in washington. it's not just this week when everybody is paying attention. it's the hard work when the lights and cameras aren't on. >> what's the state of affairs in the department of veterans affairs? >> the va is in a turbulent time. our policy priority is to reform government for today's veterans.
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we like to say that secretary bob mcdonald, who is on the job for a little over a year, probably has the most difficult job in washington, dc. i myself go to the va for care in the dc medical clinic. i know your guests later today are going to talk about some of that work. but the va over time, what we found, has completely lost the trust of the veteran population. just over this past weekend, a member of iava reached out to us who said, you know, i'm feeling comfortable going to the clinic in philadelphia where he lives. he reached out to us, and we encouraged him to go back. we sent that information up the chain to va. and in that specific individual's case, they had a good experience for the first time in a long time. and for us, at iava, that's what we achieve to do for a membership perspective. then simultaneous to that, in washington, dc, we're pushing for new policy to modernize the va, passing the clay-hunt save
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act at the beginning of this congress, helping the va recruit more mental health professionals where there's a shortage, helping the va to conduct an assessment on which mental health programs are working, which aren't, and those types of activities we can continue to build on, frankly to make sure we can fix the va, restore trust to veterans. because at the end of the day, the va's design, the va exists to serve those who have borne the battle. and it's our job to make sure they get the job done. >> bill rausch is taking your questions and comments. we have a fourth line set aside for those active and retired military. bill rausch, let's talk about action in the senate yesterday. the senate approved an $80 billion spending bill for veterans' programs and military construction projects. what can you highlight from this legislation that serves veter s
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veterans. >> yesterday was a busy day on the hill. there are a few things that we want to highlight. we're talking about veterans issues. a lot of these issues also apply to the men and women in uniform. and one of the things that we were very pleased to see come out of the congress was, in the budget deal specifically, some relief from sequestration. we think that's significant because what we've seen on the dod side is because of these forced cuts across the board, individuals specifically in the army are being forced out, they're getting pink slips. they're deployed to afghanistan, and while they're there they get a pink slip saying, hey, thanks for your service, it's time to go. so from the funding perspective, that's a significant win, we believe, for the community. there are many, many other things that can be done. senator donnelley, who we met with yesterday morning, he has been a champion of mental health issues for the community. he continues to work in the senate to represent the veterans and military families that
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struggle with these issues on a daily basis. and he also has a package that he'll be putting forward in the near future that we think is encouraging and will have a real impact on the community. >> mike from white plains, a democrat. >> caller: i'm live? >> you're on the air. >> caller: let me put it this way. in the revolutionary war, the vets got land. they couldn't forward to pay, they got ious. the people bought up the ious, then lost their farms. the only vets who have ever made out were world war ii vets. all the vets have got a royal screwing. we're told to mind our own business, and we should never have been in iraq and afghanistan. >> mr. rausch? >> mike, thanks for your call. i'll speak on behalf of iraq and afghanistan veterans, which are
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our members, but also from a personal perspective, i feel very fortunate and blessed, frankly, as a veteran that i've been welcomed back to this country in a way that many of my predecessors and mentors have not. just yesterday in our office here in new york we had a vietnam veteran who is a remarkable ladder within our community talk about the challenges he had when he came back from vietnam. i think back to where i grew up, in ohio, a small town where members of the local community, bill grady, who was a high school teacher of mine, bill young, larry daniels, other vietnam vets who talked about a very different experience that they had compared to what i had. so i feel like the post-9/11 generation has benefitted, frankly, from the vietnam veterans, especially their work and the trailblazing that they did, frankly, which i believe built and created this sea of goodwill that we benefit from today. there are certain challenges in congress, you know, we talked about a funding package just a
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moment ago, fully funding the va has been a challenge. but by and large, most folks on the hill and in communities across the country that i've been in have been very supportive of the post-9/11 veteran. from my perspective, i feel that we've been very fortunate and blessed by a country that truly has been able to separate the war from the warrior, to allude to your last point. >> and in our last hour of today's "washington journal," in the last half of our program, the last half of that hour, we'll be talking with veterans only this morning, and asking them about what the transition to civilian life was like for them, as we continue to mark veterans day, 2015, here on the washington journal. bill rausch, who about unemployment? a headline, "jobs are now in reach for recent veterans, the rate almost identical to civilians." what's going on?
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>> to tie it into veteran employment, many years ago, the veterans community, administration, business leaders, made a commitment to address the challenges of unemployment within the veteran community. and like most things in america, when we make an all to action and we put our mind to doing something, we can get the job done. so we've seen those unemployment rates go down. in some instances they're below our civilian counterparts. it's a really, really remarkable story, a good news story. one of the challenges now, though, is rather than just focusing on getting that veteran a job, making sure they get the right career. when we talk to our members and look at our annual survey, what we find is a lot of veterans after they transition end up, you know, changing jobs multiple times, say, within the first three to five years of separation. and so we're looking at retention. we're looking at getting folks in the right space.
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we're looking at veteran entrepreneurship. on our staff we have a woman veteran, iraq war vet, who opened up a crossfit gym with her husband in northern virginia. we have a member, emily successful small business owner who stood up at an incubator in northern virginia, capital post, that allows veterans to come in and get assistance and mentorship from other business leaders. so we've tackled a lot with the unemployment challenge, and so what we're doing now is starting to refine that approach to support veterans in an even greater way. so we think it's a good news story. but the other piece to this, which is also one of our priorities in our policies agenda is we have to defend the educational ben fitz, frankly, that have allowed and facilitated veterans to join the work force. there are a lot of folks that want to do different things with the new g.i. bill which has been one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation that's impacted the post-9/11 community and we
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need to make sure we protect that so we can set veterans up for success through the right educational benefits. >> steve in stantonville, tennessee, a republican, also on yretired military, steve, good morning to you. go ahead. >> caller: yeah, i'm a vietnam marine. i just want to say something here. there's nothing going to change at the v.a. i started going to them when i was 40, i went for about 10 years, i couldn't take it no more. i have a private clinic that i go to now, i pay for my own medicine. i'd like to tell the federal employees union, it's not your v.a., it's a veterans' v.a., ma'am. nothing will change until you get the corporate dirty stinking unions out of it. it's the veterans' v.a. you understand? >> mr. rauch? >> well, two things, one, steve, you're a marine and i know yesterday was a marine birthday, happy birthday. as far as your experience going downtown for care, i do the same thing. i have private health insurance as well as insurance at the v.a. and i agree completely that it's
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the veterans' v.a. and we are constantly reminding the v.a. of that. we're a non-partisan organization and we work with other private nonprofit partners to make sure veterans are receiving the care they deserve that we've earned and i would just highlight to your point, you know, the more veterans that we can get in to the v.a., i think would help us transform it. and i don't know your personal experience but i do share similar challenges with the v.a. from my own personal experience. but i'll say this and it's not just because i'm an optimist. i remember when i deployed to iraq in 2006, may of 2006, we were losing well over 100 folks a month. there was a civil war happening after the samarra mosque bombing earlier that year and when i left in september of '07, american deaths were below 100 a month. things had gotten better is my
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point. so regardless of what you thought of the situation in iraq, i know my experience led me to believe that no matter how dire a situation, that when we come together and put mission first and work together we can fix it. so for from my perspective, we don't think the v.a. is a lost cause. we've seen improvements at the v.a., the veterans' crisis line is one of most remarkable good news stories of the v.a. we have a case worker program, rip -- rapid response referral program -- and they work with the veterans' crisis line when an individual is in crisis facing challenging mental health issues. we give them a warm hand off on the veterans crisis line. so there's good news stories at v.a. but the challenge is based off of our annual survey and what our members say is there are inconsistencies across the board and i'll give you a quick example. the v.a. medical center in washington, d.c. when i moved from ohio to northern virginia i went into the medical center and i missed my first appointment -- and this may sound silly -- but
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because there wasn't a parking spot available. so i didn't even get to experience whether the care was good or not because the access or the barrier to entry was so high. and they have a parking garage now and they've addressed that issue. but that's one example where it's not just about the care it's about the other barriers that exist and one of our jobs and roles and responsibilities is to hold the v.a. accountable so when our members come to us with an experience that's not acceptable, we raise that. and i'll say this about the secretary bob mcdonald, one of the reasons we've actually had faith in bob is because, frankly, he's been responsive. i can't tell you how many members we have sent directly to bob and he fixs the problem. that shouldn't have to happen, frankly, and that's not scalable. that shows us and it shows our members he not only cares but to the previous caller's point, it is the veterans' v.a. so we're going to continue to
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work hard and push hard to make sure the v.a. continues the reforms. one of our big priorities, reforming government for today's veterans and military members. >> let's get to travis in dayton, ohio, independent, active military. travis, thanks for hanging on the line. go ahead. >> caller: my point has to do with the fact that the health care system is very redundant. we have a civilian health care network. we have a d.o.d. health care network, we have a v.a. health care network, we have obamacare, we have medicaid, we have medicare. we have five to six government health care organizations with billions and billions and billions and billions and billions of overhead costs and management. is the v.a. health care system even necessary? if you want to provide health care to veterans, you can give them an insurance policy that allows them access to the civilian health care network. the v.a. system appears to be redundant in my opinion. any comments? >> yeah, absolutely.
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first of all i'm from ohio so good to hear a caller buzz in from dayton. in terms of the v.a. versus private care, you know, this is a really important conversation especially in the context of your previous segment where we talked about the presidential debates last night from our perspective there's this false narrative, this false choice of you either need a v.a. because government provides the best health care or you need to privatize it. the fact of the matter is is that the v.a. already facilitating care in the community. it's already happening. i think roughly this year there are about four and a half million more appointments with private physicians than there were last year. so it's an interesting challenge to integrate that and i'm going to talk about that in a second but so the viewers understand and the presidential candidates need to talk about this, it's not as simple as privatize the v.a., give vouchers out or protect the v.a. because it
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provides the best health care in the world. the bottom line is that veterans just like every american want to receive health care based off of their own calculus. whether it's where they live, how far they have to travel, how far they have to wait and those things are made with themselves, their family, perhaps they physician and so for some folks it does make sense to go to the v.a. again using my own personal experience, i go to the v.a. for some things, not all things. i go to private physicians for other things that i feel more comfortable with. but as far as is the v.a. necessary? we see from our members, we know from the research that rand and others have done that there is a huge gap between physicians at d.o.d. and v.a. physicians and private physicians when it comes to understanding not only the culture of the men and women that say see who served but also the conditions. if you look at morbidity rates, for example, amongst veterans, a much higher morbidity rate at a
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much lower age. the v.a. is accustomed to that. the v.a. looks at the veteran not only from a health care perspective but if you have a disability claim that you're also receiving from the v.a., your health care conditions, your health care experience informs that disability claim. so it's an integrated model, system, and i know from personal experience, again, the v.a. isn't perfect, i don't work for the v.a., but i know that when i've gone downtown to talk about serious issues related to trauma and other experiences that are unique because i'm a veteran, my private physicians typically have no idea what i'm talking about. i take my medical record and they look through it and are flabbergasted by the immunizations i've had an they don't understand it and they want to talk about it. they ask why i was tested for certain things. it becomes very complicated from my own personal experience so we also have to look at educating the private physicians on, for
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example, pain threshold. on a scale of 1-10, the pain threshold is typically different for someone who served, whether we're bull headed or not, for various reasons. but we need to educate those private physicians so when we look to integrate care because the caller mentioned these different programs and systems and he's right, it's a waste. it's inefficient, confusing. the v.a., for example, has up to a dozen ways to receive care in the community. it makes flo sensno sense. physicians don't understand it, physicians are disincentivized to use certain programs because of reimbursement rates. veterans don't understand it, v.a. employees don't understand it. so one of the things iava has been doing is calling for a consolidation of care. the choice program that's into effect and expires in the near future we think is an opportunity for the v.a. to consolidate these different programs to make it simple and easy for veterans first and
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foremost, for v.a., for physicians, the fact is that 70% of veterans who use the v.a. have another form of insurance and they're already seeking care in the community so we need to make sure that care is integrated and that we're serving the veteran as best we can. that's what we do at iava, we hold folks accountable and push the ball forward in washington, d.c. >> hillary clinton yesterday on the campaign trail was talking about veterans issues, she said she would not privatize, accusing republicans of wanting to do that and then in the "washington post," also a statement from senator john mccain who chairs the arms services committee saying this about what hillary clinton had to say. "for her to accuse me and my republican colleagues of wanting to privatize the v.a. is, of course, inaccurate and offensive." he said "secretary clinton should know the overwhelming majority of veterans not only don't consider the choice card privatization, they want this reform and consider it necessary to expand their health care
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choice." let's go to eric in jacksonville, florida, a democrat, former military, eric, good morning to you. >> caller: good morning. i wanted to touch on my experience that transition. i received the g.i. bill and also 12 months of post-member g.i. bill. i was there from 2002 to 2006. i think they need to do a better job at telling us who's hiring and what jobs are going to grow because i'm in training now doing a post bachelor program for a job that i could have gotten with an associate's degree but nobody told me. also i had to deal with out-of-state tuition hike when i went to georgia for school. but i'm glad they're getting rid of that. also with the troops for teachers. they told me you have to do it within three years, but it takes four years to get your bachelor's degree so it seems like they're not doing a good job informing us what's hiring. you know, we end up going back to school and back to school and back to school.
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>> mr. rausch? >> i think the caller brings up good points that tie in previous callers' statements. i think the broad takeaway that i'm hearing him talk about is all of the efforts and initiatives buts that have been put forward to help the community and i can't state this enough as a post-9/11 veteran. the support that i've receive at a personal level and professional level in my community, several communities throughout the country, has really, really been remarkable. up fortunately, there's a lot of misinformation, to the caller's point. there's also a ton of information. there's too much information whether it's trying to get care in the community at the v.a., whether it's understanding your benefits under the new g.i. bill. it's very difficult and challengi
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challenging. when we drafted legislation, we have a provision in an act that requires v.a. -- i think i mentioned earlier to bring all the resources together on one web site. as simple as that sounds, it hasn't been done in fact, harold cutler who you'll have on, we've been working with him to make sure they've been doing put what's put north the law. so there's a lot of information out there, a lot of dmnonprofit the, sea of good will is out there. navigating it is very difficult. this is an interesting moment to just talk about the community component. we've talked about v.a. and d.o.d. later today here in new york city iava is going to have 700 folks marching in the parade here in new york city and we're going to be giving each other high 5s, we'll be giving each other hugs. some of us may or may not cry after we see some friends that we haven't seen for a while. i met two veterans last night
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from reno, nevada, caleb cage who does work for veterans in reno is a friend of mine, we were in baghdad together. i mention this in the context of the community component to transition, whether it's getting a job, going back to school, dealing with trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, receiving care, those are very localized issues and we can't ñ power and sues and we can't importance of community, especially when it comes to combatting suicides. many of us when we left uniform felt alone despite these initiatives buts and efforts and programs. we felt disconnected. i ran from the military community. i didn't want folks to know that i was a veteran. for me, one of the motion remarkable things that happened was i had a community, a small town in ohio where very few people served but i mentioned
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bill grady, a vietnam veteran, combat medic. he'd take me out to breakfast and check out me. that sounds silly and anecdotal but it's powerful. i think one of the interesting things we can talk about and should talk about today and everyday not only when the president is making a pro clam mission or congress is saying they support veterans all things are true. but as a community and country, we have an obligation to get to know our neighbors, other brothers and sisters who served in uniform. ask them how they're doing, ask them how their family is doing, invite them for dinner. the bottom line is as a veteran i'm not only proud of my service but, frankly, i have a unique skill set to offer my community. in alexandria, virginia, where i live, an amazing community. like the caller who didn't realize the three year
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eligibility wasn't correct. who better to they will them that than someone who's already gone through the program so we need to focus on the policy, community and culture component to make sure we're supporting men and women in uniform. i wasn't born a veteran. i was born a kid in small town ohio who decided to serve my country and was honored and privileged to do that so now that i'm back in the community, i'm like everybody else with unique and special skill sets that i think have a lot to offer. so the community component i don't think we can emphasize it enough when i think about the hundreds and hundreds of members that we have in new york, we'll have over 150, i think maybe nearly 200 vet togethers across the country in different cities and towns where folks come together and that's powerful. that's when we start to move the ball forward. then we change the conversation and the culture in this country.
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>> we'll be talk to veterans in our last hour and asking them what it's like when they come back and get into their communities and what support they're getting from their communities. bill rausch, political director with iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. that web site is iava.org. if you're interesting in learning more. thank you, sir, for your time. appreciate it as always. >> thank you, have a great day. this holiday weekend, american history tv on c-span 3 as three days of featured programming beginning friday evening at 6:30 to mark the 125th anniversary of the birth of president dwight david eisenhower, his granddaughters susan, ann and mary eisenhower gather for a rare family discussion at gettysburg college to talk about what his military and political career. as well as his legacy and rell
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vaps for 21st century americans. on saturday afternoon at 1:00, 60 years agroa parks defied a city ordnance for blacks to leave their seats on a city bus to make room for white passengers, her stand helped instigate the montgomery bus boycott we'll see what role lawyers played in that protest as we flare fred gray, attorney for rosa parks and montgomery bus boycott demonstrators. then at 6:00, civil war author and historian william davis on the little known aspects on the lives and leadership of union general ulysses s. grant and confederate general robert e. lee. and on "real america" a progress report on nasa's project including the manned space program and the mariner four fly by of mars. just before 9:00, award winning documentary filmmaker rick burns on how the program learns about history through film and televi.

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