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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  January 28, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

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[ cheers and applause ] now, that legislation is not free. it costs money. it will cost the average worker about a dollar-sixty-eight, a week. i think that's a good investment for people to be able to take care of their children. [ cheers and applause ] in this campaign, i have talked a lot about the realities of american political and economic life -- >> our road to the white house coverage of bernie sanders and other candidates is available at c-span.org. we leave the rest of this event as vice president joe biden is addressing the house democratic caucus issues conference now in
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baltimore. live coverage on c-span3. ♪ i like what it says. we've got your back. you always have had mine and i hope you know i have yours for everyone but steny. i'm only joking. i'm only joking. thank you very, very much. i guess i'm going to make a few opening comments and then i get to get to do some questions, right? >> right. >> all right. first of all, thank you for the totally unwarranted introduction, but i loved it. [ laughter ] >> he's trying to get out with the silverware. it's a scranton thing. it's a scranton thing.
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[ laughter ] [ applause ] >> for matt and i there's not even seven degrees of separation. our families have been tight for a long time. look, folks, nancy, thank you for having me here. and, elizabeth and matt, it's good to be back. and i mean that sincerely. what i'm going to do with your permission, leader, is i'm going to spend about ten minutes telling you what i think we should be focusing on. and i want to make it clear that the political wisdom far exceeds anything i could bring to bear on this conference, but i do have like that old joke, you know, the guy said i don't know much about art but i know what i like. well, that's kind of where i am right now.
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and it is true no one ever doubts i mean what i say. the problem is sometimes i say all that i mean, which is not always a good thing to do. but guess what, i'm too long in the tooth to change it all now. and i'm not about to change it. so, you know, i think really the distinguishing feature of our party and the other team, they're not all bad guys, they're the opposition, that's all. is our notion about opportunity. i was -- nancy's heard me say this before. i was in -- i've gotten to know president xi fairly well just because i've spent so much time with him. and i've spent according to staff 24 hours or 25 hours of private dinners with him. and i was having a private dinner with him and he turned to me and said can you define america for me? i said, i can, in one word.
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and i really mean this. the distinguishing feature about america is possibilities. it's all about possibilities. and what frustrates the devil out of me now and the debate in washington and the nature of politics nationally is the other team talks about things that don't bear much resemblance to reality. and secondly, i don't think they understand why we always talk so much about the middle class. we democrats don't talk about the middle class because of just equity and fairness. we talk about the middle class because we know when the middle class stops growing, the very fabric that is bound this country together in difficult times, socially and economically, has been a growing middle class that actually had an expectation that anything was
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possible. anything was possible. when middle class does well, everybody does well. the wealthy do very well and the poor have a shot. and the way the other team looks at this right now is different than the 36 years i spent in the congress and the seven years i've spent as vice president. so my view hasn't changed since i got to speak to you in philadelphia. i think the best way to win, and i do believe we can win, i think the house we can win [ applause ] no, i really mean it, but i think we have to focus, we didn't do it enough last time in my view, the best way to win is run on what we've done. and what we stand for. and run on what more we are trying to do, make it clear what we think we have to do to finish the agenda. and then contrast that to what they are for and what they
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oppose. we don't do it nearly enough. they get us debating with ourselves about what we're for and we never talk about as a practical matter nationally, we never talk about what they're really for. they opposed every single solitary initiative you've supported over the last seven years, those of you there that long, to deal with this recovery. the result is unemployment is at 5%. we're at a situation where wages are slashed grew 2.5% not enough but finally beginning to get some wage growth. we found that they told us the automobile industry was dead, we could never sell more than 7 million vehicles. we sold more vehicles last year than any time in the history of the united states of america. [ applause ] we cut the deficit by two-thirds. i could go on. all those things. but here's the deal, we're all about doing one thing. and i think we got to make this message clear. we're about restoring the basic bargain. there used to be a basic bargain
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in the country, not a joke, between democrats and republicans. at least from the mid -- late-'20s, early '30s on. and that was if you contributed to the profitability of the enterprise you're engaged with, you got to share in the benefits. you got to share in the benefits. that has changed. that has fundamentally changed over the last three decades. and particularly the decade before we came to office. you know, a study out that american corporations made $4.8 trillion from '03 to '12. that's a very good thing. a great thing. but they spent 54% of that buying back their own stock. 37% in dividends to their shareholders and 9% less for everything else. the corporate culture in america, and i come from the corporate state of america, has changed in the last 10 to 15
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years. they're not bad guys, but it's changed, the culture. it's all short-term. it's all what the next quarter's going to bring. it's all the pressure on what has to happen in terms of dividends today. corporations have -- they have a responsibility to all of their shareholders, their shareholders, that includes their employees, the communities they live in and so on. and so that culture is changed. along with a lot of other culture that the new republican party is -- runs on. you know, we're for more education. we're for providing people with pre-k -- universal pre-k, for free community college. i know you all get hit when we talk about that and they say, my god, all these democrats all they want to do is spend money. guys, when reagan was president there was $600 billion a year in tax expenditures.
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there are now $1.2 trillion in tax expenditures. find me a responsible economist that can justify more than $500 billion to $600 billion of those tax expenditures having any social redeeming value, any. so how do we pay -- we should be making a fight and use this illustration about community colleges. 9 million people is estimated would go if it was free, would be there, and that would cost us $60 billion over ten years, $6 billion a year. you know how much money we spend on a tax expenditure for what they call stepped up basis? stepped up basis is if your father or mother are wealthy enough to leave you $10 million in stock that in fact is valued at ten when they die, they bought it for two, you sell it for 20. you only pay a capital gains on
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ten. that between two and ten that $8 billion in capital gains never gets collected. you know what that cost us a year? $14 billion a year to benefit two-tenths of 1% of the population that is already very wealthy, does not need it, does not indicate they will invest it in any way that will improve the economy differently. and for that we can send every kid to community college for free and cut the deficit at the same time, at the same time, by $8 billion more. why aren't we talking about these kinds of things? all that we're for can easily be paid for without punishing anyone. without raising the deficit. without doing anything, anything other than increase american productivity. but we don't make the case enough. we're for worker protection.
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why are we for worker protection? because it increases productivity. it increases productivity when in fact you have child care, increase the total participation of the job market by 2% because women would be back in the market. increase the gdp by -- i mean by seven-tenths of 1%. increase gdp by 2%. why does it not make sense to increase, increase, child care? child care tax credit. it's overwhelmingly in the capitalist best interest of america. it increases productivity. ladies and gentlemen, i could go down the list. i'm not going to. infrastructure, progressive tax code, restoring the corporate culture. look, we can make these cases in each of our districts and suit them to our districts and they'll be honest and real and straightforward. right now a lot of places
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americans are so confused they're basically still this pox on both your houses. we shouldn't apologize for what we're for. and we should point out what they're for. paul ryan's a lovely guy. he gave us such a gift. he passed the ryan budget. no, no, no. i'm being deadly earnest. i'm being deadly earnest. you guys don't have to make anything up. they have to. no, you really don't. just say exactly what they've done. they cut education on a per capita basis by 46%. do you think americans think that's a good idea? but do you think they know that they cut it by billions of dollars? do you in fact think they fully understand that these guys go out there and want to cut medicaid by almost a trillion dollars, $900 billion? it's still their policy. that's what they voted for.
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they don't want to talk about it. note they don't want to talk about anything they are for. i mean this sincerely. think about all that they are for that they passed in their budget. cutting financial aid for 8 million students. making sure there's a minimum $500,000 -- $50,000 additional tax break for everybody making over $1 million and raising middle class taxes. you don't have to make this up. it's real. that's what they passed. that's what you voted against. and i know i am a broken record both with you guys and with the president, but i don't know why we just don't keep pounding at this in our electoral process. you know, we're talking about dual wage earners getting tax cut, paid leave, occupational licensing, this doesn't cost us anything in terms of what is
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going to raise taxes on the middle class. it doesn't punish the wealthy in any way. it eliminates absolutely obscene expenditures that are tax expenditures in the budget. and so i always say, well, we can't get it passed. that's not the point. the only way you can get it passed is keep pounding at it reminding people who they are. challenge your opponents. are they for the republican budget? are they for what's being said? and by the way, we may be given a gift from the lord in the presidential race here. i don't know who to root for, cruz or bush -- or what's that guy's name? he's having a fundraiser for veterans tonight i'm told. but all kidding aside, folks. you know, it's been a tough last couple cycles. but we should get up.
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he'll help run the democratic senatorial campaign committee. i'm confident we'll win back the senate and maybe win back the house, but no one expects it now. but we got to make the case, guys. we've got to make the case about what we're for and what they are for. and i'll say one last thing and then go to questions because that's what i'm most interested in talking about. you know, foreign policy. the talk about how we have lost respect around the world. they don't travel the same million 200,000 miles i travel. how many of you now, and i understand why you were worried and concerned, but i think that history's going to mark down that barack obama began to change the fundamentals in the
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middle east with the iran nuclear deal. it's consequential. [ applause ] those of you, and i've worked with many of you in the hemisphere when the president said, joe, why don't you do the hemisphere, you make friends easily. that was his comment. and in the same time zone, so why don't you do it. but all kidding aside, cuba has changed our opportunities all over the hemisphere. for the first time we're looking at a hemisphere that has the possibility in the near term of being middle class, secure, free and at peace. there's notable exceptions in venezuela being isolated, there's notable exceptions other places, but this is a game changer where we are. and by the way, all this talk about isil, those of you who deal with this know that daesh -- we've taken back collectively 40% of the territory they occupy.
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we're in the process, i promise you after ramadi, watch what happens now in raqqah, in syria, and what happens in mosul by the end of this year. you know why it's changed, the president's finally gotten the attention of the europeans to pony up because they haven't been doing much of anything. and all of a sudden i spend too much time probably with president erdogan, but erdogan has seen the lord. things are changing. because of self-interest. and when you can take advantage of self-interest to move it in to a consortium that can actually do something and that's what's happening in iraq.
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all kidding aside from a strategic foreign policy standpoint all kidding aside china has no option if we pass this -- i'm the new kid on the block, my grandfather would say i didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday. but there really is gigantic opportunity. this one economic point, europe
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and the republicans have gone the same way in terms of what they would do in the great recession. and look where they are now. look where we are. relative to the rest of the world. by far the most powerful economy in the world. what you've done has worked. we're not there yet. we've gone from crisis to recovery. and we're on the verge of resurgence. we've got to win this election because if we do, we can put in place the things that will nail down for the next -- better part of the next generation. america supremacy across the board. economically, politically, in the energy world. so there's a lot we can do. i just am looking forward to working with you all. and as i've told matt i'll come to your district and campaign for you or against you, whichever will help you the
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most. but all kidding aside, folks, i am bullish on the possibilities for the house as well as the senate. and i really think the key is don't run away from what you've done. make it clear and contrast it what they're for. you don't have to make it up. you don't have to make it up. and, any way, let's get the questions. thank you. [ applause ] >> we're just going to wait a few moments for the press to leave before we call upon the members for questions. >> press, don't worry, they'll give you the recording on a cell
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phone after it's over. [ laughter ] president obama is also scheduled to speak to the democrats group this evening in baltimore. the theme of their issues conference is unity for opportunity. live coverage of the president starts at 7:10 p.m. eastern on c-span2. and this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. senator rand paul will be speaking to voters at a campaign rally in des moines. afterward we'll take your calls. he'll be part of a debate tonight among the gop presidential hopefuls that will also be on c-span. the event with senator rand
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paul. skipping tonight's debate is donald trump. and he instead will hold a rally at drake university in des moines. that's live scheduled for 9:00 p.m. eastern. c-span's campaign 2016 is taking you on the road to the white house for the iowa caucuses. monday february 1st our live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern on both c-span and c-sp c-span2. we'll bring you live caucus coverage taking phone calls, tweets and texts. at 8:00 p.m. eastern we'll take you to a republican caucus on c-span and a democratic caucus on c-span2. see the event live in its entirety. stay with c-span and join in on the conversation on c-span radio and at c-span.org. on tuesday democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton spoke to a crowd of about 400 voters in marshalltown, iowa. she talked about education, economic opportunity and the
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need for voters to make it out to iowa's first in the nation caucuses. afterwards she met and greeted attendees. >> please welcome hillary clinton! [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you all so much! thank you! oh, you are great. thank you. oh, my goodness. i'll tell you, it was worth it trying to get here. and you have been so generous with your time. i'm so grateful to be back in marshalltown and to have this chance to talk with you now less than a week until the caucus on monday night. but it's just really meaningful to me that you would be here and be part of this process. and i really am grateful to each and every one of you.
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i've learned a lot in the last months. and i really think that spending all this time in small groups and big ones is going to make me a better president. so i thank you for everything you've done to make that possible. and i really want to thank mark smith for his endorsement. i'm thrilled. thank you so very much, representative. and i have a -- i have a plan that i hope will come to pass that effects mark, and that is i hope that we will be able to make him the majority leader of the house of representatives in the state legislature. think of all the good things that he could do for you and for people across iowa. well, it's getting close.
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and when all of you decide to go caucus on monday, you're going to be the first people in the world to get to express an opinion about who should be the next president and commander in chief for our country. and i know how seriously iowans take this because i've been talking with you and listening to you. but i want to just spend a few minutes really discussing what's at stake because this is one of the most consequential elections than we've had in quite some time. when you think about it there are some very big differences between us and the republicans. and that puts a special responsibility on you and voters to try to decide where you stand. well, i will tell you where i stand. i believe that the republican policies that are being promoted by this crop of candidates that
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are traveling across our state and country would set our country back, rip up the progress we've made and undermine our future. and that is true across the board. but let me just pick a few of the most important issues. let's take the economy. you've heard from them they are spouting the same failed economic policies, trickle down economics, cut taxes on the wealthy, get out of the way of corporations. we have tried that. it does not work. and it's important to know the facts. and the facts are that our economy does better when we have a democrat in the white house who cares about creating jobs and raising incomes for americans. and the last two democratic presidents we've had, both of
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whom i know, which i kind of am proud of. they each inherited economic problems from their republican predecessors. you know, in my husband's case it was a recession, a huge national debt that had been quadrupled in the prior 12 years and a big deficit. so when he got to washington people said, okay, so what do you specially bring to washington that can make a difference? he said, well, i guess i bring arithmetic. we're going to make it add up again for the american people. and at the end of eight years, we did. 23 million new jobs, but most importantly, incomes went up for everybody. not just those at the top. hard working middle class families, working families, poor families, more people were lifted out of poverty than any recent time in our history. and we ended up with a balanced budget and a surplus. we were on the right track. well, back came the republicans.
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and back came trickle down economics. george w. bush slashed taxes on the wealthy and got out of the way of corporations to the extent that the man he put in charge of keeping an eye on wall street took a chainsaw to a big stack of regulations and had a great big smile on his face. now, we know what happened, don't we? we went into the greatest financial crisis since the great depression. and when barack obama became president, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. i don't think president obama gets the credit he deserves for digging us out of that big ditch that the republicans put us in during their administration. [ applause ] and it was not easy. i know. i talked to him about it when he asked me to be secretary of
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state. he said, we got to focus on the economy here at home and we got to fix all the problems that we also inherited around the world. and what did he do? well, we're back on track with 14 million new jobs, the affordable care act was passed. we're now at 90% health care coverage in america for the first time. he passed and signed the toughest regulations on wall street since the 1930s, the dodd frank law. he saved the auto industry, which was on the brink of collapse which would have taken another, you know, couple million jobs down with them. we ended up losing 9 million because of that great recession. 5 million homes were lost. and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out. now, if you want to go back there, you got a lot of folks including one who was here today who were spouting that same stuff because that's where we'll end up again.
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in fact, you are four times more likely to see a recession in america when you have a republican in the white house. so the economy is going to be at the core of this election. so you should ask everybody who's running what they're going to do about it. i got to tell you i'm proud of what we've been doing on the democratic side. we have our differences, but we have differences over issues. and that's what we talk about. not insults, which is what happens among the republicans. so i've put out a plan. here's what i think we need to do. we need more infrastructure jobs, our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our rail systems, our sewer systems, our water systems, we have work to do in our country and those are jobs that can't be exported. they need to be done right here. and put americans back to work building our economy making us more competitive. and then we're going to take the tax system and get rid of the
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incentives that actually encourage people to take jobs and move them overseas, take factories and build them overseas, we're going to reverse that so we start investing in america again. advanced manufacturing, i know it can be done because i've been to some of your community colleges. i have seen the work that is happening there, the training that is going on. i also know it can be done because while we are going to combat climate change, we're going to create more clean renewable energy jobs. and that will be a huge economic opportunity that is directly linked to what iowa's been doing. you know, the republicans when you ask them about climate change they all say the same thing. well, i don't know, i'm not a scientist. you know, there's an easy way to remedy that, go talk to a scientist. listen to a scientist. learn about what's going on. and, you know, that's bad enough that they're in denial.
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what really is troubling is they're missing this huge economic opportunity. and when i tell people that i see, you know, sometimes folks around the country have a little bit of skepticism on their faces, and here's what i tell them. i know we can create those jobs. because look at what iowa has done. and i want you to thank representative smith, thank you. and it started with tom vilsack and the democrats making a commitment. iowa now gets one-third of your electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind. you have 7,000 people already working in the wind industry in this state. you are doing research on advanced biofuels that the defense department thinks may be able to fuel navy vessels and air force planes. so iowa's in the forefront of the energy revolution because some country is going to be the
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21st century clean energy superpower. it's either going to be china, germany or us. i want it to be us. and we need to make up our minds it is going to be us. and we're going to be doing the technology, the innovation and exporting to the rest of the world. we also need to be focusing on small business because that's where most of the jobs come from in america. and i want to be the small business president. my dad was a small businessman, so i want to clear away all the underbrush so people can start businesses again. and especially young people, a lot of young people tell me they'd love to go into business. but they can't get credit. part of it is they have such student debts they can't get credit. we got to fix that. so we need to make it easier to start and grow a small business. now, there are two ways we can raise incomes real quick. one, we got to raise the minimum wage. people who work full time should not still be in poverty. there should be a ladder of
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opportunity. and the other way is to guarantee equal pay for womens work. and that will raise incomes and families will be better off, the economy will be. now, everything i've just said to you the republicans don't agree with. every bit of it. they don't believe in any of it. they don't really tell you what they will do except just, you know, get out of the way and let corporations do whatever they want and let their, you know, big donors do whatever they want. well, that's not going to work. we know it won't. and we can't be sold that bill of goods again. the other thing we have to do is to change the tax system so that it is fairer. and i'm the only candidate running on either side who has made this pledge. i will raise your incomes, i will not raise middle class taxes. i do not think it is right to be going to people who suffered
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because of the republican recession and asking for you to help us make the investments for the future. i want you to take advantage of them, but i want to go where the money is. and the money is at the top. and that's where we need to be shifting our tax system. so we need to close the loopholes and the special gimmicks that corporations and the wealthy use, like this thing called the carried interest loophole that i've been against for years. we also need to do what warren buffett suggested. i was really very happy that he endorsed me. and i went to omaha with him. and we were standing there and he said, you know, i'm not too popular among my rich friends these days. because i think people like me should pay more money into our tax system to support our country. and he has something he calls the buffett rule. anybody who makes a million dollars should have to pay a 30% effective tax rate. so i have adopted the buffett rule. and we're going to go right at
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it and try to get that done. and then i want to go further. i want to impose what i call a fair share surcharge on incomes of $5 million or more. now, there aren't very many of those, but there's a lot of money there. because i want to use that money to make college affordable. i want to use that money to invest in clean energy. i want to use that money to move toward paid family leave so that families get more support to be able to do their work at home and take care of their family. i want to use that money to help bring down the cost of child care which in some states is as expensive as college tuition. there are things we can do that will relieve the burdens on middle class families. and the money should come from those who have it. now, people say to me how are we ever going to get that done? well, i do have a political strategy.
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i've seen a little bit of this in the last 20-plus years. there are not that many people who make $5 million or more in america. and i think we can make a very clear case, mr. congressman over there, are you in favor of clean energy and affordable college? are you in favor of early childhood education and the way we're going to get it is to tax the two people in your district who make more than $5 million? or are you going to deny that to the 350,000 people who live in your district? we're going to make a very tough case about why we have to make the tax code fairer. you know, you can talk about it, but i have a plan to do it. not just a plan on the substance but a political plan. because i want you to know what i aim to do for you and what it will cost you. and i want everybody to be able to look at that and make your own judgment. i also have what has been described as the toughest, most
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efbtive comprehensive plan to go after wall street. now, i totally agree with my two esteemed opponents, senator sanders and governor o'malley that we have to keep our eyes on the big banks. and no bank is too big to fail and no executive is too powerful to jail. but we already have the authority to go after them. that was in the dodd frank bill. we don't have to do that. we just have to implement it. and i have said if they pose a systemic risk to our economy, i will go after them. and i will use the process that president obama signed into law. but here's where i differ with my two friends. that is not enough. and this is what we've been arguing about on the debate stage. you see, it wasn't just the big banks that caused our problems. it was an investment bank like lehman brothers. it was a big insurance conglomerate called aig. it was a mortgage company called
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countrywide. it was another bank not one of the big five, called wakovia, and others who are in what is called the shadow banking sector. so what i've said is we're going after risk wherever it is in the financial system. and paul krugman, the nobel prize winning economist, said i have the best plan. barney frank who's actually the frank in dodd frank said i have the best plan because i'm trying to look not just at what happened in the past to prevent that from happening again, but what could happen in the future. and, you know, the best evidence i have that i have the best plan is that the republicans and their billionaire allies are running ads against me. you know, it started a few weeks ago these two hedge fund billionaires formed a super pac to run ads against me to convince democrats not to support me. and then along came karl rove,
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the errand boy for the billionaires. he's now running an ad against me. and now another billionaire has jumped in. and he's now running an ad against me. you got to stop to think why are they spending all this money to try to convince democrats not to support me? well, i think you know the answer, because they know that i say what i mean. i do what i say i will do. and i know how to get it done to take after them to prevent them from pushing an agenda on us that hurts the economy. [ applause ] another area where i have very strong feelings and share exactly the same goal as senator sanders is health care. i believe in universal health care coverage.bç oq(q&ieve ever have it. before it was called obamacare it was called hillary care in
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'93 and '94 when i was trying to get universal health care and i was not successful. that was really disappointing. i mean, the drug companies, the insurance companies spent millions of dollars against us. so we didn't succeed. and then i got to thinking, well, what can i do now? because, you know, my view is when you're knocked down, you share the human experience because everybody gets knocked down about something. the real question is whether you get back up. so i started thinking what can i do that can help somebody make a difference in their lives. and i remembered when i was traveling around the country trying to get universal health care, meeting so many people who did not have health insurance, they couldn't afford it,
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go ask them. he said we don't insure burning houses. he said this man called my little girls burning houses. that stuck with me. that and the stories i heard. i started to work with democrats and republicans and we created the childrens health insurance program and it now insures 8 million kids. because when you encounter an obstacle, you run into a problem, you've got to keep going. you can't ever stop if you're trying to accomplish something that will help other people. and i was thrilled when the president passed and signed the
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affordable care act. we've been trying to get that -- the democratic party's been trying to get that accomplished since harry truman. and now i meet people all the time who are benefitting from it. i want to build on it. and i want to improve it. you know, the republicans want to repeal it. and that's what they'll do if they get the white house back. we can't let that happen. here's what i want to do. i want to decrease costs, out of pocket costs, decrease prescription drug costs, i want to make sure that we get the authority from medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs with the drug companies. i want to go after the predatory pricing that drug companies are using to raise the price of drugs. i want to take away their tax benefit. they actually get a tax benefit for advertising all that stuff on tv to us that we never -- i can't understand what they're talking about. they have people walking through fields of wild flowers, walking on beaches. they have the name of the drug
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which, you know, is unpronounceable. and then in a low voice under the music they have somebody saying if you take this drug, you know, your nose will fall off. i mean, it's -- it drives you crazy. and they spend more money on advertising on tv than they spend on research. so we're going to go right at them. we're going to take them on on this. but i don't want to start over, my friends. that's the disagreement i have with senator sanders. i want us to build on what we have and make it better. and go from 90% coverage to 100% of americans. i don't want to start at zero and have to fight it all over again. have to have the national battle that we've had on health care over the last 25 years. so i'm determined that we're going to make this work for everybody. and i know it's the right thing to do. and i hope that, you know, we will be able to get your costs down, your co-pays, your deductibl
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deductibles. a lot of people are telling me you're starting to pinch again. i also will defend social security against privatization. the republicans still want to privatize it. they're still talking about that. it's a terrible idea. and you know the worst part of the idea is they want to turn the entire social security trust fund over to wall street. that's what this is all about. take all that money that people have been paying in for, you know, 75, 80 years and turn it over to wall street. i will never let that happen. that is the worst idea that is imaginable. i will also not let them voucherize medicare, something else they want to do. and i will not let them privatize the v.a. we have to fix the v.a. but we are not going to take away guaranteed benefits from our veterans who have earned them through their service. that's not going to happen. [ applause ]
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and when it comes to foreign policy and national security, well, i think we have a lot to do to keep our country safe. and i have some ideas that i've been putting out based on what i did in the senate after 9/11, based on my work as secretary of state, it's imperative that we do everything we can to defeat isis, to stop the flow of foreign fighters and funding to fight them on the internet where they're quite effective. without putting american troops back on the ground in either syria or iraq. that will not happen. it's not going to happen on my watch. and then we have to do a better job working with federal, state and local law enforcement to keep us safe at home. and we have to do a better job sharing intelligence, getting intelligence that will help us prevent attacks. when i was a senator after 9/11
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i'd be kept up-to-date on all the threats that still were facing new york. and we had a very dedicated group of police and federal law enforcement and everyone who worked together. but, you know, one of the best things we did was a campaign which said if you see something suspicious or you hear something suspicious report it. and so people were picking up the phone and telling the police, or maybe calling the fbi. and it really provided kind of the eyes on help that we needed. and people could then follow up. and we prevented attacks, we foiled attacks. well, the reason i mention that is because of this. the republican candidates led by their front-runner have been attacking muslims, right? you've heard that.
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attacking american-muslims, attacking muslims around the world. that's not only shameful, it's dangerous. we need everybody in this country to be on the same team when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks. and we need people -- [ applause ] -- who are in the community who hear something, see something, to report it. and not feel like they're being demonized, defamed, insulted, pushed out. and certainly if we're going to defeat isis, we need a coalition that includes muslim nations. now, i can tell you i built the coalition that imposed sanctions on iran. i know a little bit about how you do this. you don't start by insulting people's religion and then ask them to be part of your effort to defeat a common adversary. that's not the way it works in the real world.
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[ applause ] so we have to be smart about how we protect ourselves. and that will be my highest priority. i also want to continue to move toward comprehensive immigration reform, which i think is in the best interests of our country and our economy. and i want to let you know where i stand on a lot of the issues that the republicans have taken positions on because they seem to be against so many of the fundamental rights that i support. i am for woman -- a woman's right to make her own health decision. and i'm against defunding planned parenthood. i am for marriage equality. and against discrimination against the lgbt community. i'm against citizens united, which is a terrible decision that has opened the doors to floods of unaccountable money
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from the koch brothers and others. and i would do everything i can to reverse that decision. i also want to keep pushing for criminal justice reform and reform in the incarceration system and i want to fight for commonsense gun safety measures that will help keep americans safe without infringing on gun owners' rights. we are a smart -- we are a smart people. we can do this. and what i don't understand is how when we know we have, on average, 90 people a day dying from gun violence, 33,000 people a year, we can't figure out how to protect people, protect first-graders going to school, people going to a movie theater. churchgoers going to bible study. we can do this! we can't stop every murder, or every suicide, or every tragic
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avoidable accident, but we can stop a lot of them without infringing on anybody's rights. 92% of the american people agree with that, and 85% of gun owners agree with that. so we need somebody who will stand up to the gun lobby and stop them from intimidating commonsense reforms in our count country. so we have a lot of work to do, my friends. and you have been really patient. the children who are still here have been especially patient and i don't want to keep you any longer. i just want to say a few closing comments, and then, for those of you who want to stay, i will shake your hands and take pictures and you can ask me questions but everybody else can go home and not feel bad about it because i need you to get up tomorrow and help work to get more people to go to the caucus
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next monday! and i'm all about -- i am all about making progress against the odds. i am all about working with people. i worked with republicans as first lady, as senator, as secretary of state. i worked to get results for the people i represented in the senate, as well as our country. i worked when i was secretary of state to make our country safe and to have our values and our interests promoted. and i know how to find common ground. because i've done it. i don't think that -- i think i do believe that probably every republican i served with at one time or another sponsored a piece of my legislation. actually, when i'm not running for something, they say nice things about me. even in the case of mr. trump, they give me money because they think i'm so good as a candidate and a senator. so, this is politics. this is all that that goes on. but once the election is over, i
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will work as hard as i can to find that common ground, to get good things to happen for you, for your families, for your country. and make it possible for young people to feel like i felt, that really, the american dream was available. you had to work for it, but if you did, you could get ahead and stay ahead. that's what i think about when it comes to my granddaughter. i'm the granddaughter of a factory worker. she's the granddaughter of a former president. i think it shouldn't matter. the grandchildren of everybody should have the same opportunities in our country, and that's what i'm going to stand up for and fight for and with your help, starting at the caucus next monday night, that's what we will do together. thank you all so much!
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♪ coming up this afternoon at 4:00 eastern time on c-span, senator rand paul will be speaking to voters at a campaign rally in des moines, iowa. afterward he'll take your calls. he'll be part of tonight's debate among the gop presidential hopefuls. skipping tonight's debate though is donald trump. he instead will be holding a rally at drake university in des moines. we'll cover that live scheduled for 9:00 p.m. eastern, also on c-span.
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w.h.o. radio, des moines, iowa, simulcasting with c-span. >> here in the state of iowa. >> here in iowa. >> god bless the great state of iowa. >> hello, iowa! >> the republican party of iowa. >> in iowa. >> in iowa. >> in iowa. >> in iowa. >> in iowa. >> here in iowa. >> in iowa. >> i'm so pleased to do this with wonderful friends in iowa today. >> if you had told us one year ago that we were going to come in third in iowa, we would have given anything for that. >> it is good to be back in iowa. >> people didn't know much about the iowa caucuses. ♪ >> was this an average caucus? >> that's hard to say. it is the third one i've been to. they're all different. ♪ >> it is good to be back in iowa. >> thank you, iowa, for the great sendoff you're giving to
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us. >> you have to show great respect for iowa, discerning voters. >> i wlant want to thank the people of iowa. >> iowa is the first. >> i love you all. now if i love iowa, i will never speak to you people again. ♪ a live look at the pentagon briefing room. coming up in just a moment, defense secretary ashton carter talking to reporters about military personnel reforms. live coverage on c-span
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we are live at the pentagon waiting for defense secretary ashton carter, delivering a briefing today on military personnel reforms. it should get under way in just a moment or two. this story from "the hill," the wounded warrior project is pushing back against a cbs news investigation that sends the organization spends excessive amounts of money on lavish employee retreats. the executive vice president of communications for the wounded warrior project said in a letter posted on january 27th, "we demand that cbs immediately correct the record, issue a retraction of the false statements, and issue an apology to the public and the tens of thousands of wounded veterans and their families who have been offended by these false statements. we expect your prompt attention to this urgent matter," she
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wrote. cbs news reported earlier this week that the charity brought in $300 million in 2014, but spends only 60% of those funds on veterans. tax forms show that the group spent $26 million on conferences and meetings in 2014. about the same as it spent on combat stress recovery, cbs news said. cbs also said the charity spent $3 million on a four-day conference in colorado for 500 staff members. the news outlet said it spoke to more than 40 former employees who said that spending was out of control. the ceo of the organization reported coming down on a segway, and even riding a horse. that story again from "the hill" today. live at the pentagon waiting for defense secretary ashton carter and a briefing that should get unway in just a few moments. live on c-span3.
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again, we're live at the pentagon waiting for a briefing to get under way with defense secretary ashton carter on military personnel. meanwhile, on the c-span networks, c-span2, the senate is in session today. the house is out all week thanks to the blizzard that hit last weekend. but the senate is in session today. working on an energy policy bill and a number of amendment votes. you can watch that live on c-span2. meanwhile, on c-span today, several road to the white house events. 4:00 this afternoon, senator rand paul will be speaking to
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voters at a campaign rally in des moines, iowa. afterward, we'll take your calls on c-span. he'll be participating in that gop debate in iowa tonight. but skipping the debate is donald trump. he instead is planning to hold a rally at drake university in des moines. we'll be live with that on c-span. that's coming up at 9:00 eastern time. here on c-span3, we're live at the pentagon waiting for ashton carter, the defense secretary, will be holding a briefing in just a few moments.
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again, live at the pentagon waiting for a briefing to get started with defense secretary ashton carter on military personnel reforms. the associated press meanwhile reporting that president obama's nominee to be the next u.s. commander in afghanistan said today the security situation in the war-torn country is deteriorating and assured senators he'll do a thorough review of american troop levels needed to stabilize the nation. army lieutenant general john mcmickelson told the senate armed services committee he'll have a et aboutbetter sense of conditions in afghanistan in a few months if he's confirmed by senate. he walked a fine line during his confirmation hearing. he supported the obama
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administration's exit strategy which critics have derided as politically driven, while also promising the senators his decisions will be grounded in sound military strategy. again that from the associated press. while we wait, we're live at the pentagon. ashton carter, the defense secretary, expected to brief reporters in just a few moments.
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sorry to keep you waiting. i assume everybody's gotten dug out of the snow successful. thanks for being here. really appreciate it. you know that over the last several months i've been laser-focused here -- we all have been laser-focused. and i've spoken many times on accelerating the campaign to defeat isil. defeating it first where it took root in iraq and syria, and elsewhere in which it is
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metastasized and protecting our people and our homeland. what we must remain absolutely focused on delivering isil a lasting defeat, we do not for a moment lose sight of america's leading role around the world, and, additionally, certain long-term imperatives of this great department of defense, and particularly what we must do to build the force for the future. when i became secretary of defense, i made a commitment to building america's force for the futu future, an all-volunteer military that will defend our nation for generations to come. i've proudly stated that today's military is the finest fighting force the world has ever known. but that excellence is not a birthright. it has to be earned again and again by investing in what matters most, which is our people. by drawing from the best america has to offer, and from the
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broadest possible pool of talent, we can ensure that the force of tomorrow remains as great as the force of today. that's why i announced in december we're opening up all remaining combat missions to women so 100% of americans who can meet our exacting standards can contribute to our mission. that's why in recent years we allowed gay men and women to serve openly. that's why we're developing new approaches and incentives for recruitment so that we can reach and draw from a broader cross section of americans. and clearly, fairness is important, but always, always the mission effectiveness of our force comes first. we are not google. we are not walmart. we're war fighters. but that doesn't mean we should not be challenging ourselves just like the private sector.
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to modernize our workplace and workforce, to retain and attract the top talent we need so that our force can remain the best for future generations. as you know, last year i asked my team to come up with a set of proposals and reforms to help us build the force of the future. the military service chiefs and secretaries supported by one of the department's most innovative minds undersecretary brad carson have brought their ideas to bear in working groups led by the deputy secretary of defense work and vice secretary salva and integrate feedback. especially secretary of the navy mabis has been a leader in so many of these issues. i introduced our first link to the force to the future in
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november, a set of reforms helping connect our men and women in the military in structured and career advancing ways to our most creative industries and to our culture of innovation. and as i say then, that was just a beginning. today, i'm announcing the next link in the force of the future. a set of several initiatives with a singular focus -- strengthening the support we provide our military families to improve their quality of life. these reforms focus on family issues that impact three critical areas for the force of the future. recruiting, retention, and career and talent management. it's something that's been said so often before, but is so true. while you recruit a service member, you retain a family. so what we do to strengthen quality of life for military families today and what we do to demonstrate that we are a
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family-friendly force to those we want to recruit is absolutely essential. our future strength. we all know that our all-volunteer force is predominantly a married force. 52% of our enlisted force is married, and 70% of our officer force is married. we also have another 84,000 military marriages. 84,000. with 80% of them stationed within 100 miles of each other. while we often speak of commitments to family and country in the same breath, the stresses of military service on our families are heavy and well known. among the stresses military families face, having and raising children is near the top. and we know that at ten years of service when women are at their peak years for starting a family, women are retained at a rate 30% lower than men across the services.
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we know that a high level of work -- excuse me -- of family conflict -- a work and family conflict is one of the primary reasons they report leaving service. to build the force of the future, tackling these problems is imperative, especially when the generation coming of age today places a higher priority on work/life balance. these americans will make up 75% of the american workforce by 2025. nearly 4 in 5 of them will have a spouse or a partner also in the workforce, twice the rate of baby boomers. these americans wait longer to have children, and when they do have children, they want to protect the dual earning power of their families to provide for their children accordingly. we will address these generational changes in how we continue to recruit, retain and attract the best america has to
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offer by setting a more competitive standard across our joint force for parental leave, by making quality child care services more accessible and more flexible, by helping our men and women meet current career demands while preserving their ability to start a family down the road, and by making an option available for troops to trade the ability to remain at a station of choice, at their commander's discretion, for an additional service obligation. each of these initiatives is significant in its own right. taken together, they will strengthen our competitive position in the battle for top talent, in turn guaranteeing our competitive position against potential adversaries. the first initiative i'll outline today involves providing a more competitive standard for maternity and paternity leave across our joint force. today, i am setting 12 weeks of
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fully paid maternity leave as the standard across the joint force, doubling this benefit from 6 weeks when i entered office. this puts dod in the top tier of institutions nationwide, and will have significant influence on decision making for our military family members. certainly offering a more generous standard for maternity leave is imperative for attracting and retaining talent. we see the same phenomenon year after year, women at peak ages for starting a family leave the military at the highest rates. additionally, medical data also indicate this offering 12 weeks of maternity leave is also imperative to military mothers themselves. they show -- these medical data show that spending more time with infants and recovering from their pregnancies is, as a medical matter, very valuable to mothers to facilitate recovery, feeding, bonding, and more.
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private sector data also strongly suggests a direct benefit on retention and that employees who have access to, and make use of, parental leave perform better whether they return to work. they stay with their organizations longer and are able to make greater contributions. i reviewed studies, surveys, and inputs from across the services, and evidence and perspectives from all parties concerned with this issue, and particularly the views of our joint chiefs of staff. i've taken time to consider the diversity views and different data points on this important subject. i concluded that 12 weeks of maternity leave across all of the force establishes the right balance between offering a highly competitive leave policy, while also maintaining the readiness of our total force. and i didn't take lightly the 12 weeks of maternity leave represents a downshift from what the navy spursued last summer,
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but i believe that we will be at the forefront in terms of competition, especially as part of the comprehensive basket of family benefits we're providing across the joint force. and i should just note that for navy mothers that are currently pregnant, we'll ensure that they can take their 18 weeks of leave. we also realize, whether in raising a family or caring for an infant, this is not just a mother's responsibility. which is why this year we will seek authorities to increase paid paternity leave for new fathers from 10 to 14 days, which they can use in addition to annual leave. for those who want to become dads or about to, i want them to know this leave is available to them and i want them to make full use of it. second, and next, to build the force of the future, improvements to quality of life for military families must
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extend beyond the first critical months of parenthood. with the investments we're making in child care, we will provide the men and women of our military greater flexibility to meet the demands of modern family life. now many within our force already benefit from some of the highest quality child care available. dod subsidizes the cost of child care to ensure that it is affordable across the force, no matter what your rank. it's one of the many areas where the military already stands apart. but today, nearly half of all military families have to rely on an additional child care provider to meet their needs, in part because the hours we provide don't match their demanding schedules. in some respects our child care options today reflect the needs of a different era, of a time when, for the vast majority of military families, only one
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parent worked outside the home. that's a problem we need to address, and as we looked at this issue over the past nine months, we saw a link between dissatisfaction with child care and difficulties with retention. whether for single parents, for families where both parents work outside the home, or for every mother or father in our military, child care hours should be as responsive as possible to work demands. based on feedback, therefore, from surveys and pilot programs, and in the interest of responding to typical work hours at our installations, we will increase child care access to 14 hours a day across the force. by providing our troops with child care, they can rely on, from before revoli to after taps, we provide one more reason for them to stay on board. we show them that supporting a family and serving our country
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are by no means pin compatible goals. third, we can also make relatively inexpensive improvements so that our workplaces are morning accommodating to women when they return from maternity leave. with a focus on making it easier for them to continue breastfeeding if they choose. to make the transition between maternity leave and returning to work for military mothers smoother, to enhance our mission effectiveness, and to comply with standards that apply to nearly every organization outside the military, i am requiring that a mother's room be made available at every facility with more than 50 women. which means the establishment of some 3,600 rooms across the country. this is an issue, by the way, that my friend cheryl shaandber illuminated for me. i'm sure we will provide better options and choices for mothers across the force. fourth, we can also be more
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creative about making reasonable accommodations for members of our force who face difficult family geographic situations. while at the same time, as is here, as elsewhere, preserving our force's effectiveness. data and surveys show that allowing family members to trade the ability to remain at a station of choice in exchange for an additional active duty service obligation is one approach that could increase retention while preserving readiness. only in extreme circumstances are such arrangements currently made. but for a family who has a son or daughter who receives treatment at a particular hospital or suffers from a particular disability, we may need longer in location where their specialized high-quality care can make a world of difference. other families want to remain in one place longer to allow son or daughter to finish high school
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in one place with friends, teachers and teams they're close to. or perhaps to be close to grandparents or other family. these are all important. when the needs of the force permit a service member to stay at their current location, we will empower commanders to make reasonable accommodations in exchange for an additional service obligation. finally, as a profession of arms, we ask our men and women to make incomparable sacrifices. we ask them potentially to place themselves at risk, of sacrificing their ability to have children when they return home. pits's clear that the benefits we offer our troops can better account for this. we can help our men and women preserve their ability to start a family even if they suffer certain combat injuries. that's why we will cover the cost of freezing sperm or eggs through a pilot program for active duty service members, a
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benefit that will help provide men and women especially those deployed in combat with greater peace of mind. this investment will also provide greater flexibility for our troops who want to start a family but find it difficult because of where they find themselves in their careers. particularly for women who are mid grade officers and enlisted personnel, this benefit will demonstrate that we understand the demands upon them and want to help them balance commitments to force and commitments to family. we want to retain them in our military. we're also committed to continuing to look at how we can provide advanced reproductive technologies like ivf to a wider population. today we provide reduced cost treatment at six locations across the country, and will study how to broaden this coverage in the future. by providing this additional peace of mind for our young service members, we provide our force greater confidence about
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their future, while providing one more tool to make the military a more family-friendly employer. an employer that honors the desire of our men and women to commit themselves completely to their careers, or to serve courageously in combat, while preserving their ability to have children in the future. there's no reform that we can make that will meet the particular circumstances of every military family, and ultimately there is no way to separate service from sacrifice. military service will require uncommon dedication in every generation, including the coming generation. but i'll mention just one story that helps capture the commitment of our service members and the complexity of starting and supporting a military family today. when they met in japan, lieutenant jack eaves was a young service warfare officer. lieutenant hanna foster was serving as a judge advocate general in the navy.
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having graduated from princeton and harvard and clerked for justice kagan. within days of first meeting, they were instantly taken with one another. in the next months, you might say their relationship developed quickly. as hanna said, "in the navy it's kinds of accelerated. you have to make decisions. you never know what will happen with your life." she was right to prepare for uncertainty, because a few months after they met, the horrific japanese earthquake struck and both were called to provide assistance at sea. jack subsequently would be ordered home in may. they didn't know when they'd ever see each other. in an exchange between ships, over e-mails, they made up their minds -- they decided to get married. now it wasn't traditional, and it wasn't easy, but they made it possible. and making wedding arrangements was just the beginning. they both wanted to start a family. but planning for when they would
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be in the same place and when they would be at stations long enough to be rated by commanding officers didn't give them much time. they overcame challenges of distance and their limited months limited months together to make it work and today they have two wonderful children. hanna has recalled those critical moments when they were serving offshore wondering, quote, how long we'd be out to sea, unquote. she was referring to share ships. but also their relationship. and whether something enduring was possible. hanna and jack made it possible. they became lifelong partners. they have two kids and their family's off to a great start, but in the life of their young family and the life of their young careers they could have used a little more support and the same is true for each of our military families. at each stage of the game they had to worry about promoting boards which made the first year of family life even more
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complex. as we introduce today's reforms, our calculation is quite simple. we want our people to be able to balance two of the most solemn commitments they could ever make, a commitment to serve their country and a commitment to start and support a family. whether they're soldiers, sailors, airmen or marines, with the investments we introduced today, we want to ensure that no military family finds itself at sea. we want to make sure our troops have our support and first and foremost that our force remains effective and always ready. with what i've announced today i believe our military will be better prepared for the future. and my successor's successors will continue to inherit the world's finest fighting force. we will make it easier to retain the top talent we have and to develop future leaders.
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we'll improve the quality of life for our families and enhance our mission effectiveness. we will ensure the force of the future remains as great as the force of today. and i assure you there will be more initiatives to come. so, thank you very much. i look forward to answering your questions. bob? >> mr. secretary, thank you. a question for you about afghanistan. this morning at his confirmation general nicholson was asked about the situation with the taliban. and he said the taliban came at the afghan forces more intensely than perhaps we anticipated and because of that we did not make the advances we projected that we thought we would make and he also agreed with senator mccain that the security situation is deteriorating. is the taliban, in fact, on a comeback and does the u.s. military need to go at the taliban more directly? >> well, with respect to the taliban coming back, that's
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happened this past fighting season. we expected that as widely observed and reported. and the afghan security forces fought extremely well. they are, however, a force in the making. as you know. so, we expect the afghan security forces to be stronger, much stronger, this season than they were last season. they would have been, by the way, yet stronger this past season had it not taken so long for the political transition to occur in afghanistan, we all know that. and -- but the afghan forces continue to make progress, and they fought hard -- the taliban fought hard, but the afghan security forces fought hard, too, and they did so this season without the level of assistance that they got from the coalition in previous years and they did well. and we expect them to do well this season also because they have a bunch of new capabilities that have gotten delivered and
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they're training on. it will be tough, there's no question about it. i was in europe last week and met with president ghani. he fully understands that as does the ceo abdullah, so we're expecting a tough fighting season ahead. but the afghan security forces are going to be tougher this season also. they fought hard this past season. >> the second part of my question about whether the u.s. military needs to take a more direct role in the combat against the taliban. >> we have rule s of engagement that have been very fought through that allow us to do what we think needs to be done. obviously we adjusted our plans, the president did, months ago in view of circumstances, and you can expect that that will occur in the future as well. he's indicated as much. and i need to emphasize, bob, which i'm sure you know, which is we're in this for the long
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run. that is, the president has made a commitment and all the coalition members have to stick with afghanistan. that's not just for the year 2016. it's the year 2017 and beyond. so, for example, the funding for the afghan security forces and part of the fy-'17 overseas contingency operations budget that we submit. it will -- all of the coalition partners have indicated that they're going to make their contributions to the afghan security forces are a force in building and it's important the investments continue to be made in that. tara? >> be there for decades? just a follow-up for what bob was asking. do you anticipate u.s. forces being in afghanistan for decades? >> i don't know about -- i don't know about decades, but i'll tell you one very positive thing about a presence in that part of the world. here we have a government that welcomes a presence by the
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united states, has a strong posture towards terrorists, has a strong posture towards how it treats its population and how it wants to develop its economy in a part of the world that -- where america has important interests. and so i -- having a friend and a military partner in afghanistan in the long run is a good outcome just like we have with so many other countries around the world, very positive military-to-military relationships. now tara. >> thank you, mr. secretary. one on the initiative and one on libya. to remain at duty station what kind of additional service onligation would a service member have to give and if there was a family where both husband -- both partners were serving, would they both have an additional service obligation? and then on libya, last week general dunford mentioned that the u.s. made the expanding its
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role against isis in libya and wondering if you could expound upon that or is the u.s. considering air strikes against isis? if not, what sort of role would the u.s. have to counter the group's growth in libya? >> okay. first with respect to the service obligation, that is a matter upon which the commander will have substantial discretion. that's an important principle. and i want to emphasize something i said which is we have to balance the flexibility here against our necessity as america's fighting force to send people where they're needed. and that's why there's a trade and that's why there's commander's discretion. so, it's actually going to depend upon the circumstance. we'll give some broad guidelines, we're working on them now, across the services. but it's important that commanders have flexibility here
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for the very simple reason you can understand which is we've got to have people go where they're needed to defend us. with respect to libya, you know, we watch that situation very carefully. obviously i've talked about the need to destroy and defeat isil in syria and iraq, and i've always talked about the other metastasis and one of the ones we watch very closely is the one in libya. and there's a lot going on in libya right now. not of a military sort, but there's a government in formation that the united states is supporting. secretary kerry and his people are supporting. there is a troubled environment on the ground in which we're watching that isil doesn't sink roots. we're not the only ones who are
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concerned, by the way -- by the way, libyans themselves, i should note, don't welcome outsiders intruding on their territory, and that includes isil. so, there are a number -- there is a lot of civil war and disturbance going on in libya. but as a general matter, the populace is not welcoming of outsiders who come there, and that's good. and, therefore, in the first instance we're looking to help them get control over their own country and, of course, the united states will support the libyan government when it forms. i should say we're not in the lead for doing that. the italians are by dint of both geography and history and the level of commitment have indicated that they'd take a lead in doing that. we have indicated we would support them.
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so, we're watching the situation very carefully. and -- and there's a lot going on there right now, but we haven't made any decisions to take military action there. we will continue to protect ourselves, take counterterrorism actions. you know we've taken some actions there in the last year, but it's a situation that i think general dunford has observed really bears close watching and concern. let me see. andrew? >> on the maternity leave, as you mentioned this policy you're announcing today is going to significantly reduce what the navy and marine corps gets from the current 18 weeks. can you elaborate on why you thought 18 weeks was not appropriate for the entire force? >> well, in determining this -- by the way, for the entire joint force.

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