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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  August 6, 2009 1:00pm-4:59pm EDT

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this would be the only factor so stated in the law if senator coburn's the amendment is accepted. i want to ask you to think about whether you would submit to the committee a broader rewrite which would list a series of factors that the arbitrator should consider. you know what i am saying? .
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>> any arbitrator would have to consider the fiscal condition of the employer, but you are considered this is the only factor. i don't need a particular response now unless you want to give one. i want to ask you whether it one way to reach common ground is for us to list a series of factors that the arbitrator would consider as part of a binding arbitration, including others that are more acceptable to you. >> it certainly has possibilities. we would be happy to submit a list. >> i will also think about what you had to say. i take it that both of you, worth this amendment not in our legislation, would support this legislation. >> yes. >> so you feel so strongly about
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the amendment, that that would lead you to oppose something you think is good for the postal members, if it were not for the amendment, correct? >> correct. >> did you want to say something? >> i have every confidence this congress that will not pass the legislation that includes an anti-union amendment. >> i hope we can come to a point, because it is so critical to get -- not just for the postal service for everybody who pays for it gets mail, but to your workers that we get this passed, and we figure out a way to find common ground. i thank you all very much. i think it is important to say this probably will go to the floor of the senate in september. i know the leadership -- no opinion i have heard from about
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this amendment, but a very strong concern about the fiscal condition of the post office and wanting very much to deal with this in september. we should reason together during the weeks between now and then. >> i think he may have stumbled across a very constructive proposal. we look forward to exploring that and we welcome your willingness to provide us with some other ideas. >> before you leave, while this issue is still fresh in our minds, qualifying free and open rights under our constitution, it is very dangerous and fraught with all sorts of problems to try to include, for everything you include you are exploiting something else. that is the duty of free collective bargaining, it is the
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parties back and forth in one specific set of negotiations. we tried to qualify that given my best effort at it. it is fraught with danger and i would be hesitant to put pen to paper to try to identify what the party should or should not consider. >> i just want to say, and i will do it briefly, my hope here is not to interfere with free collective bargaining, but it is typical of public employees generally. as part of the right to free collective bargaining, people except in binding arbitration -- people accepted arbitration. do you want to give any standards to the by the arbitrator not to interfere with free collective bargaining,
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because right now they think -- they could do what ever they think is fair. we will continue the dialogue. >> thank you mr. chairman. to the committee, this is an eye opener for me because i was looking at it as senator lieberman just said, but i voted for that amendment as that is certainly a natural process for the arbitrator to look at the financial condition of the circumstances of the postal service. to not have knowledge of the history of the collective bargaining situation. mr. burris had no knowledge that that was an agreement that would be free collective bargaining. i understand you just said that that would cause your union to oppose the amendment.
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that is very interesting. could you all just back up and ask some specific questions from me, because i have some limited knowledge of the postal service. i ask the postmaster general about the process in technology. would any of you say then your membership has been exposed to the best available technology and processing in mail that has been on the market? what comments could you make of that the technology that has been brought in and naturally it will hopefully improve the process, and perhaps eliminate some positions, but i understand you supported a
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project that was posed out of chicago a few years back and the postal workers did. i am wondering to your knowledge, as the postal service kept up with technology -- has the postal service kept up with technology? >> yes, we have the most advanced technology anywhere in the world. my members are the most productive processors anywhere in our society or any foreign country. as a result, we have the lowest postage in the world. we have the most efficient service, the most highly recognized and accepted by the general public and the lowest postage in the world. it is not a question of whether or not we have become more productive. my criticism is we have the capacity in this country to handle the world to volume of mail.
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we could take all the mail that is processed throughout the world and process it in the american postal workers system. that is how the fishing we are. -- that is how efficient we are. because we are so efficient, i cannot except or understand why we pay others to reduce postage to perform our activities for discounts. we are paying private companies that perform the same work we do four times our wages. we are paying $200 an hour for people to do the same thing we do, so when the mail gets to us it has already been processed. >> i don't understand that. >> they have discounts attached to their rate system, so if the
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private companies are performing some of the postal functions, they get a reduction in their rate based upon the value of the functions they perform. they are avoiding our processing system. it is the most efficient in the world, the most cost-effective. we are paying private processors four * our salary through rate reductions -- we are paying them four times our salary. we have a system operating by private companies, lockheed martin. they had a private system that is located within miles of the postal processing systems. workers are pertaining -- are performing the same equipment under the same conditions that my members perform, but their rates are adjusted four times
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our salaries. >> dozen lockheed martin sell some of this equipment to the postal service? -- doesn't lockheed martin sell some of this equipment? >> yes, they do. >> you have the reader, because i heard the postmaster general say the male is not touched by the human hand until it is delivered. -- the postmaster general said the mail is not touched by the human hand. >> we call it lights out facilities. >> will some of the -- >> we did that in florida, and it has not been expanded nation- wide. we still have workers' hands on interfacing with mail through the process.
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they do not do it one at a time. >> if i can comment on this. what mr. burris is talking about is a process of producing mailing catalogs, whereby we decide who will receive our catalogs. it is all done electronically, and we are processing our customers' names and addresses. the most efficient way of deciding who will get those catalogs involves sorting the mail into sequence that verifies the addresses, and puts the mail into the sequence into which it will be delivered. we are doing that, but we are doing it in computers before it even touches a catalog. we produce the customers' names before it is even printed. i would like to also comment on the technology.
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one thing that has not been mentioned is the standard flat. at the beginning of -- the postal service is introducing new equipment throughout their system called fss, that will sort catalogs into the same system similar to the way general potter described first- class mail. >> if i could say something on that. we do have the technology. our concern, especially for the managers, is that we can have all the technology in the world. if we don't have the volume the technology is useless. a lot of times what has happened with the technology is we have the best, but we also need people to run it. when you have the best technology, if you do not have
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the manpower, it hurts us. >> my time is up, i will refer -- i will defer to you. >> my question is to mr. burris. as you both know well, many of your sector brothers and sisters had been forced to accept wage and benefit cuts as a result of the economy. proponents of this arbitration amendment argued that public sector employee groups need to tighten their belts in order to meet our economic challenges. my question to you is, over the
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last few years, how has a difficult financial climate affected negotiating benefits through the regular arbitration process? >> the last contract we had in 2006 through 2011 did not involve arbitration. it was negotiated between the parties and both sides felt it was a fair contract. we look forward to doing the same in 2011. >> the last contract changed the contribution rate between the employee and employees on health benefits. all the parties agreed to shift my union 4% from the employer to the employees. a major shift, most unions over the years has resisted very heavily and have employees pay a greater share of health benefit costs. in bargaining, we voluntarily
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negotiated -- we agreed to shift the cost. we are constantly in discussions with the postal service in and out of negotiations. what can we do together? how can we make changes in this time? there is significant volume loss, how can we be of assistance? i am in discussions on a proposal that could save the postal service over $1 billion. it has not been finalized so i cannot share any details, but we are always in that mode of postal management to find some way we can come up with a way to make them more efficient to respond to the crisis we find ourselves in. >> i know you asked that question to my two colleagues, but to say that management has
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agreed to the 1% increase over the year. we shifted from the employer to the employee. we have seen that even before the recession hits, that we were moving forward to those types of things now. my testimony i said that there is another sector of the postal service that needs to be looked at. there is a sector with free life-insurance and health- insurance, and that needs to be addressed. >> it is important working between contracts on issues together. we have been working with the postal service to adjust our roots. we are doing all routes twice to adjust to the current fluctuations. -- working with the postal service to trust our -- to adjust our routes. just to comment on the negative reference to the 80% labor cost
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in the postal service, if you look at the dedication of the productivity of those employees, i believe the postal service is getting a great return for their costs. >> i want to follow up on a question that i asked general potter about the five-day delivery week. reducing a six-day week with most likely to save money by reducing staff hours on the street delivering mail. my question is, do you believe buyouts or attrition alone is enough to reshape and reduce the mail delivery work force to a five-day rotation? >> the postal service is doing a study on that now and we have asked for the data that led them to that conclusion. we have not received that data
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yet, so is difficult for me to comment on that. i will say producing from six days to five days would save costs, but until you look at the overall effect of your ability to generate new revenue using the network as we know it, it is silly to make any type of structural changes. >> mr. burris, can you tell me more about the impacts you would expect on post office workers if the delivery week were shortened? >> i think it would be the demise of the u.s. postal service. there would be no postal employment. if you go to five days, what follows is the relaxation of the monopoly. american citizens will demand
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receipt of important items or routine items on that day. if the postal service does not deliver it, somebody else will. you will have entrepreneurs that will start in major cities where it is cheaper. you will have our entrepreneurs that will see an opportunity to have home delivery access to the mailbox, access to individuals holmes with items that individuals are expecting -- access to individual homes. it will be the first set down a road that says if someone else can do it on saturday, why can they not do it on friday or tuesday? it takes us down that road and the postal service will become irrelevant. >> in the remarks sent he made earlier about the study, there is a study going on. . first comment is we oppose the
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five-day delivery for several reasons. in the last three hearings we have heard three different figures as far as what the savings would be. which figures are correct? we heard a different figure correct as far as the savings. just the point they're convinced me that we all had -- if we had the same figure we may be in favor of this. what concerns my constituents is we have problems now in smaller offices, especially in rural areas, hiring people to replace the postal master. what has -- what will happen is that nobody would come in to replace them. the trouble we are going into hiring people, this would just prolong it and it would do something even more drastic. i think it is the demise of the postal service. i don't want to see this
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institution go away. i am convinced it will be here 200 years from now, but some of the things we have to look at and i think senator carper asked what would happen after the third day? i said let's not take the approach of being an ostrich, let's not bury our head in the sand. come out and see what happens on us the day after a holiday and when we are trying to make up. we have the overload from the weekend that is there. it is a different story if you are out there doing it. >> mr. burris? >> that is where i was going with the postmaster on that production. he said we have holidays, but this would be a regular process every day. i am wondering what impact would that have on the processing and letter carriers having to carry
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that every monday. >> the concern we have is that the savings we would have by not delivering on saturday, it would make up the savings we did on saturday or go above that savings by monday and tuesday trying to catch up. >> do you all pay over time? >> yes, there is. >> is a double or time and a half? >> we have a sliding scale. we have penalty pay, that if you violate certain limitations, then it is double time, twice the salary. we have time and a half and double time. >> i am wondering how they calculate this $3.2 billion savings by going to five days a week and cutting out 577 stations. i don't even know how that will take place, because he said they
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are still studying it. >> i think it would be incumbent upon us to see the final product of this study. maybe all the parties came up with a different figure will come close this time. until the stakeholders are included in that study, then we will not get a good figure. >> it is interesting that the postal regulatory commission put the savings closer to $1.9 billion. whichever figure you pick, but in light of cutting out much of your service, it seems a silly road to go down. >> i had another question. in terms of the cost of the first-class mail, i don't mean catalogs, but i would assume if
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you go up from 44 cents to 50% increase, that that would cover the cost -- then it would be 50 cents. i heard you make mention about a 50 cents stamp. >> i did but that was printed in jest. they were having a joke with my predecessor. >> do you think the american people would pay it 50 cents? we get an increase every year now. >> we don't get an increase every year. the law permits an increase every year. prior to 2006, the law provided the postal service to break even over time. we did not raise rates during -- from 1971 to 2006. we raised rates every three
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years. the first year to make money, the second year they break even and the third year they lose money. the law said they had an obligation to break even over time. >> we get to go to lunch. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. i want to thank all of our witnesses today for your testimonies, your responses to our questions have been helpful. the hearing record will remain open for two weeks for additional statements and questions from the members of the committee for witnesses. again, thank you very much. this hearing is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
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>> this afternoon the senate plans a final vote on judge sonia sotomayor to be a justice on the supreme court. that vote will take place at 3:00 p.m. eastern on c-span [applause] . over 60 senators -- that will take place on c-span2. she will be the first hispanic justice to sit on the high court. that vote is at 3:00 p.m. eastern.
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following the vote on the judge, harry reid revises the senate will take up $2 billion in additional funding for the auto trade in program. the senate is expected to vote on that and leave for the august recess. senate coverage is on c-span2. >>"book tv" the future of the american conservative union -- american conservative movement. this weekend on c-span2. >> frank reflects on 15 years of political columns for the "new york times." including the whitewater hearings and his column falling 9/11. >> a discussion from this morning's if "washington
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journal" on the plan to deal with at risk mortgages. it runs about a half an hour. host: andrew is the associate director for housing and economics at the center for american progress, which is a progressive think tank. we will focusing on the report that came out from the treasury department. guest: this is the first of what will be several monthly reports on the program. host: what did we learn from the first one? guest: it has been slow to start, even greeting on a curve there is still a wide disparity between some of the best performers. you have saxson at the top of the heap and j.p. morgan doing 20% of their mortgages. down towards the bottom, you have bank of america and wells fargo at 4% and 6%.
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host: let's put the basics backs on the table. it is called what? guest: under the umbrella of making home affordable, at the peace we are focusing on is the home affordable modification program. it is what buyers do if they are running into problems. they call their letter and say they want a hempo modifications . the servicer will figure out how much you can pay. the point is to get your monthly payments down to 31% of your income. host: how much money was set aside for this and how was it used? guest: they set aside a certain amount. there are several pieces to this. there is an incentive payment for each loan that gets modified
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that is successful. then there are annual payments of $1,000 as long as the lone state's current. the bar were actually gets money towards their payments going to pay down their principal. -- the bowerer actually gets money towards their payments. the servicer will reduce their payment to 38% and the government will split the difference with the servicer. there is a piece of that money that is the incentive payment to the servicer to participate in a program that subsidizes some of the payments. host: what is the estimated universe of foreclosed home owners that might be eligible? guest: they are projecting 3 million homeowners being helped. host: how many going into foreclosures? guest: foreclosures are getting higher, but assuming
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unemployment peeks around 10%, we're down to 9.5%, but we assume about 9 million homes over the next four years. host: from my reading i have been reminded that there are four companies that have the bulk of the mortgages. guest: j.p. morgan chase it is the largest. you have citibank at the low end. in the middle you have wells fargo. bank of america is the largest, j.p. morgan chase, citibank, and wells fargo. host: of those who are processing the most, and to the least? guest: j.p. morgan jay's doing 20% of their pool. citibank at 15%, and at the low end you have bank of america and
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wells fargo. host: what are those last two telling treasury? guest: nothing yet. they probably are some that they're working on it and ramping id of. it is interesting that there were both before congress a couple of weeks ago and both testified that the radically increased their staffing since this time last year and were really trying to target all of they're eligible borrowers. the said some were ineligible, and another 15% did not qualify. of their loans they think about 55% are potentially eligible. so, that we have only seen six% of that done is not very encouraging. host: here is a commentary piece
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from the philadelphia paper. the author is a managing partner of the new york investment bank. the headline is that banks must be pushed to deal with bad mortgages. he explains the accounting and reserve issues. let me have you comment after i read it. banks typically lose money by for closing them buy it renegotiating the principle of a loan. as time went off and run 12 up to 18 months, the loss takes far longer to show up on their balance sheets. as a result, banks are pushing the mess and attendant losses well into 2010 while they maintain the fiction that bar waorrowers will be able to repay loans in full.
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in home loans and additional tens of trillions of dollars in debt, along with the collapse of real estate prices makes it unlikely any of these houses will recover their value soon enough to mitigate the losses. stretching out the time during which banks will continue to have their capitalization hit by losses means banks cannot fulfill their mission of providing new capital for growth for the economy. fearing for their own solvencies, banks aren't putting away record reserves. -- banks are putting away record reserves. guest: one piece is how much do you lose in foreclosure? let's say you landed -- s.a. you let $200,000. -- let's say you leant $200,000.
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it will take a while for -- to be able to unload that property. the discount on real-estate loans by banks is concerned -- insignificant compared to other banks. he is touching on the timing of the loss. banks need to reserve money against these losses and don't necessarily have to book those losses until they are ready to take them. they have gotten some leeway in that. from that perspective, because they don't realize those losses, they have to maintain funds against this potential future losses. that limits the amount of money they have available to landing. to the extent that everybody says we need to solve the housing crisis, i think that is true and that points that up. host: we just saw good and earnings reports from banks. this might suggest that the
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accounting sheets have put toxic assets away. guest: there is a lot of flexibility in terms of when they get to choose. host: let's go to a caller from coconut grove, fla.. caller: yes, andrew, what is your 1-800 number? i want to say if we are disabled, retired, and have a high mortgage i need to speak to someone. host: that is great. it is a good question to ask. his organization does not do it, but you can put people in touch. guest: the best place to call is 1-88--hope. you can also check out the website for the government
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which has several members have and can help you determine your eligibility. another place is for hud- approved counselors at hud.gov. it has intermission on local councilors. they can work with you. -- it has intermission on local councilors. they can look at your budgeting and help you to figure your best course of action. host: is that a better first stop then immediately calling your mortgage lender? guest: to the extent you want to make sure that you have your ducks lined up before you ask of the mortgage lender, it is a good idea. but if you are facing notices of foreclosure and have other threatening letters, i would make the call to the servicer first. i would tell them i'm working on this and ask for their assistance. host: las vegas, the republican
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line. caller: just recently we called bank of america and ask ed for the modification. guest: the modification program. caller: apparently, we answered all the wrong answers to their questions and did not fit into them all. we have the savings and checking account. the checking account is depleted. my husband who is a plumber has been unemployed for about three months. i am a hairdresser. the numbers to not add up between the net and gross numbers. we want to pay our line. she said to call back tomorrow. i do not know the answers they want. we are trying to be honest.
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we are not sitti -- we are not g into the mold. can you help me? guest: yes, it is definitely a black box and greater transparency is needed to let people know how they might qualify. i understand your frustration. i would call back. depending on who you get at the other end of the line, the answers you get can be different. but the truth is, they should not ask about your checking or savings account, or anything other than your income. the program is specific as to what the input that the model they use to figure eligibility are. they include your fico score, unfortunately, which is often not entirely correct. there will look at your house price and income, and then figure out if you qualify. but i would call them back.
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i would call a local housing counselor to see if they can help you. people definitely want to stay in their homes. people are scratching to make mortgage payments. help is available in many instances. it is a matter of getting banks to agree to the contract they have already signed. host: the lead story here says that the rate of owning homes is plunging. the rector says that the rate of homeownership is forecast to keep tumbling in the next decade. we already have a home loan modification program called for closure. why subsidize people who cannot afford their home? guest: foreclosure is incredibly
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costly, not only to the homeowner and to the banker who have put up the money, but as foreclosures rise, local property values decline significantly. your neighbor may go into foreclosure, and you will feel a hit on your home. if you need to move, that you will not be able to get what you paid for that house out of it. foreclosures are costly to the lenders and to this neighbors. if you think about what that has sent to housing prices, local property taxes will have to rise to meet the demand for local services, because with the less home value, as tax revenues are tied to the prices come up rates will have to rise. if we keep people in their homes, we can get the economy up and running. foreclosures have a very high social cost.
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some people actually choose to foreclose come up but most people want to stay in their homes. -- some people choose to foreclose, but most want to stay in their home. caller: i and a consumer advocacy -- i am a consumer advocate. you have the media that is [unintelligible] i personally [unintelligible] you have people on the fund who are unqualified to even take these calls. we cannot battled with them over and over again. that is incompetent. that is not the homeowner doing it. when you say hope, they are part of the problem, too.
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they are not educating the homeowners to protect themselves. some of these people could have orchestrated this should be in jail. it is like immigration, we are not processing error laws. -- we are not processing our laws. how can you tell people out there do not use a third party to help you out? you could not go into a courtroom and represent yourself, that is crazy. find someone who is qualified who can kick you informed. stop listening to the media, they're giving you have troops -- they are giving you half truths. host: i agree with you in terms of service or capacity. while they have a ramp up staffing, if you look at the
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fact that bank of america has only done four% of their mortgages, they are not particularly qualified. i don't think they should be foreclosing on anybody until they have determined that the borrower is ineligible for the program. that is something the administration said when they rolled out a program and it doesn't seem to be in place. in terms of the servicer capacity, there should be mandatory mediation prior to foreclosure. it is working very well in philadelphia, conn., nev.. -- it is working well in philadelphia, connecticut, nevada. if you're in negotiations there is a third party to say what documents to you need to make
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this work, can you provide those documents? you also require the service or to provide what fees and charges they have decided to attack on that are ineligible under the program. bringing people together is a solution to this problem. you are right that the capacity is not there yet. host: the associated press story reprinted today, money to help homeowners goes in that users pockets. billions of dollars the government is spending to help homeowners avert foreclosures are passing through and enriching companies accused of preying on those they are accused -- preying on those they are supposed to be helping. they collect money from homeowners and funnel the money. the industry has a checkered history. the ap found at least 30
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servicers are accused of imposing illegal fees and have been criticizing for not helping homeowners quickly enough. these lead to more fees for homeowners and profits for homeowners. -- and profits for servicers. we need to see bigger sticks and all this. the bad actors should be severely punished for these activities. under the program the fees they are allowed to pass on into modified loans are only those that returned to investors. suddenly, there are compliance issues that need to be addressed in the entire process. people wrongfully denied, people given incorrect information.
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flagging those people before they get further into debt is crucial. caller: thank you, i detected last month of bias and i'm glad to see you have a more center or leftist organization on this morning. yesterday there was a news report on deutsche bank that projected by 2012 that 48% of all u.s. mortgages will be under water. host: is that 48%? caller: yes, bush a bank said that many by 2012 are projected to be under water -- that is a door to bang. for me there are three problems. -- that is due to a bank that
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said 48%. the banks are not willing, they're not willing to ride on the principle. my understanding is that these banks cannot really tell you which they are adjusting that actual principle of. they are not able or are unwilling to write down principles. there were so many homes that sold for $300,000 that were only worth $200,000. they want be worth more than 2 minutes thousand dollars for another 10 years. the banks and not willing to adjust down. -- there will not be worth more than $200,000 for another 10 years. the banks do not want to do this now. they are holding money which is causing the credit crisis to
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worsen. all these small businesses are going out of business as a result. the banks have bad assets on their boats and will not write them down. host: that mirrors the story that we read earlier. guest: you are absolutely right in terms of the principal balance right down. the bank says ok, at this is no only worth $150,000 as opposed to $200,000. they have created a waterfall. principal reductions would go further towards alleviating, i agree. there is an effort to match the homeowner modification program with hope for homeowners, the earlier initiative which transfers the mortgage from the existing holder and refinances
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based on the current value. it then converts it into a fha mortgage. the investors get whatever they will out of the mortgage today and are free to reimbursreinvesd fannie mae secured. but you get to the homeowner out from under their problems of being under water the interesting thing is that the investors more and more are coming down on the side of principal balance prodtion. they do not want the risk long term. they decide to take the losses today and move ford. to let you know, on american progress action fund, the website, we had senator durban over on monday. he spoke about some of these issues.
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we had a panel with different experts. you can watch the video where they discuss these issues in the till. host: here is a message from twitter. guest: million-dollar homes are not modified. you might be eligible, but is subject to many unknowns in the model. host: the next question comes from washington on the republican line. caller: hello, how are you, c- span? i personally have experienced four family members, one of which is my mother when my father died. all of them have loans through countrywide. it happened prior to this huge housing disaster. i personally saw paperwork involving countrywide credit
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would not take late payments to get caught up, one payment at a time. they wanted it all at once. all the loans made through countrywide -- they had appraisers cannot and over- appraise. i have a three grandchildren with families, who have that three children each. they are getting foreclosed on. they all make good incomes. but they are upside-down in their mortgages. they are all dealing with countrywide. given the facts on countrywide and their illegal actions -- it is borrower beware. you get young families who are looking for the good life and they make a good income -- this happens to them. i agree that these people should be punished. as far as the intermission
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coming today on c-span about this -- and has not happened. -- as far as the intermission. this is a small fishing village. we're watching high-raises. -- as far as thisinformation out today on c-span. these are all minority people. we cannot build on this. host: i would jump in. guest: you are right. the fact that house values have fallen is a large driver, both of the problems we have, as well as a reflection of those problems. it is a negative spiral. i would encourage them to reach out to countrywide who are in the program. if values have declined and they did tonight, i would challenge, asking for specific documentation. but when most people get enough
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for modification, you do not get a letter explaining exactly why. it simply says, sorry, you are not eligible and we will proceed with foreclosure. because it yourfico score goes into it, it seems that the fair reporting act would require them to give you details. the appraised value of the home goes into that model. i would try to read-apply if you can provide documentation. an appeals process for the program is critical. if you have that intermission going in the cannot expect good info coming out. caller: how are you doing? i had heart surgery and a severe blockage.
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i had a bypass about 11 months ago. i'm 61 years old and probably can never work again. i'm trying to get disability. my mortgage company is wells fargo. three months ago i knew that we were getting into trouble because we were paying bills from savings. we took my wife 401k because it was losing. wells fargo said it would help on a hardship alone. that was three months ago. they said first would take three weeks, then six weeks. it kept on. to date they still have not said that they will help me. they keep saying they are working on it. their customer service people have lied several times. you cannot get above the customer service the permit to complain to anyone else in that corporation. it is frustrating.
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host: let's find out how common this experiences. guest: unfortunately, it is all too common. we hear this from many folks. the call in their promises. the person you call to follow up with has never heard of it. you give form letters back. -- useget form letters back. -- you get form letters back. wells fargo has 1600 people and their department. apparently that is not enough. i do not know where their problem is. it is certainly pressure them. continue to call. the job to a local housing council. see if they can help to get through. if you can, find a local attorney ,pro bono.
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simply to get what they have promised you. if you have written documentation saying wells fargo will offer you the following -- that is the kind of thing they should be made to make good on their word for. host: jerry? caller: sir, i would like you to address the healthcare issue in the country with the 45 million people who do not have health care. understand president obama, what he is trying to do with this program, is that he is not trying to take away, for instance, people who already have insurance. host: let me interrupt. we're not talking about health care in this segment of our guest is an expert on housing policy. let me turn to question by twitter here to get back on
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topic. it is a comment that suggests we are repeating our mistakes of the past. how would you respond to that guest:? we cannot all own houses and it is important we maintain affordable rental housing for whom home ownership is not appropriate at this time. but the answer to do nothing is certainly not the correct response either. because of the high costs of foreclosure, to individuals, lenders and their neighbor is, the option of doing nothing is not the correct path to take. if we want to learn from history, the right place to look is the high rates of foreclosure during the
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depression, were we established institutions which refinanced or words -- which refinanced borro wers. that is the type of model we are moving towards as well as modifications we would like to see under the modification program. i think we should be looking towards history, but my reading points as torus the direction we are currently going towards. host: in our last segment we have a caller wanted to know if there are programs for first- time home buyers. are there opportunities for financing? guest: there is in a thousand other first-time home buyer tax credit that you can claim on your next year's tax return. that is out there and it makes home ownership more affordable for folks on the cusp. >> about one hour away from the final vote on sonia sotomayor to
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be a supreme court justice. the senate is in and final debate is set for 3:00 p.m. eastern. over 60 senators say they will vote for a sonia sotomayor. 3:00 p.m. eastern is on c-span2. this will include a reaction to the vote. democratic senators will hold a news conference. we hope to have that live for you at about 3:30 p.m. .
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>> the meeting with president barack obama and bipartisan senators and the white house was a chance to get an update. here is an update from robert gibbs from a short while ago. >> all right? >> how did it go? >> i will tell you in a minute. >> can you tell us the current plans of getting president barack obama together with president clinton? >> we talk about this this morning but when president
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barack obama spoke yesterday morning with president clinton, president barack obama expressed his desire to get together fairly soon. that was so the two men would have a chance to talk. as we have described to you all, the members of the nsc, former and -- and briefed president clinton prior to his trip, there has been and will continue to be a formal debriefing process on the back end of that trip. there were some communications between the former president and the and estate yesterday. -- and the nsc yesterday and that will continue over the next several days. we are trying to coordinate the schedules of a reservoir -- rather busy manfred >>
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>> the nsc staff will talk with president clinton and gather information and after that point, the two presidents will get together? >> there is nothing currently scheduled. i would put these on two different tracks. they can certainly happen time -- simultaneously. obviously, it is our desire to get whatever impressions president clinton has. >> is that happening in person or on the phone? >> last night it happened on the phone. i don't know if future ones will happen in person. i will say this -- obviously, i was not part of the debriefing last night. if you look at where, historically, president clinton has been, and i don't have any knowledge of what was debriefed or talked about but i can only
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imagine that given his history on this issue, that he would strongly encourage the north koreans to set aside their renewed pursuit of a nuclear weapon, come back and live by the agreements they have been party to before. , and to encourage them to understand that the acquisition of those weapons is not going to bring international prestige but further isolation. that is based on his history. >> one more quick question -- do you have any indications either through the start of the debriefing or other channels that the north koreans want anything in return for the pardons? >> i have not been party to these negotiations and have not heard anything. >> can you give us an idea as to
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the administration's timetable on reforming fannie mae and freddie mac? can you give us any details on the way they will do this? >> obviously, as part of financial regulatory, gse reform will be part of that. these were mentioned in the white paper that the administration released on regulatory reform. ,opages 41 and 42 of that refo. the story out today is light years ahead of any decision making process here. there is no meeting that is scheduled and it is safe to say that many senior administration economic officials learned of this proposal sometime this morning at the foot of their
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driveway. >> does that mean there is not a proposal? >> the staff are aware of the problem. they are working on it as a part of financial regulatory reform. it is safe to assume that this is at a point of -- that this is at a point of senior economic officials is way ahead of itself. >> is there a time frame in mind for those two companies? >> i don't have a pacific timetable. -- specific timetable. i can look into that. it is part of a broader financial regulatory reform. both play an important role in the president's home loan modification program. this involves the housing policy, as well. >> some foreign policy experts have wondered about the
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precedent set by president clinton's trip to north korea. this is about whether it would mean that other rogue states making a similar request in a similar situation, and you could see a close parallel with iran, whether that would merit a visit from someone of his prestige. i was wondering if that was a concern before you guys signed off on this trip and what your response would be? >> i have described this as separate from the concerns that we have about north korea and its nuclear policy. they have provocative international actions. our policy to ensure that u.n. security council regulations are
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implemented is no different today than it was monday before president clinton left. this was a private humanitarian mission with only the goal of bringing back two journalists to safety. i do not read a lot of precedent into it. the president is enormously grateful and thankful of the work that president clinton did on this, his willingness to undertake such an important mission that is what this was about. the administration has taken very strong action relating to and responding to the actions of the north koreans. what happened in the u.n. security council, the unanimous passage of those resolutions,
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and the impact they have already had on insuring that the north koreans are unable to move weapons out of their country, quite frankly, is the best response for anybody's criticism. >> you were sent a letter expressing concern about what you were seeking in terms of disinformation i got a statement from linda douglass earlier. i assume that you guys will not be setting the names or addresses? >> nobody is collecting names. we have seen, and thus i have discussed from this podium, a lot of misinformation around health care reform. some of it is spread purposefully. we have used, on many occasions,
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the website to debunk things that are not true. we ask people if they have questions about health care reform and about what they are hearing about its effects on them, to let us know that we can provide them the permission to show that is not true. no was -- no one is collecting names. >> is it true that president barack obama in 2003 supported a health care system? >> if you look at the statements that have been put up on other internet sites that splice a bunch of stuff together and if you look at the answers barack obama has given on that, we hope to provide people with a full and accurate picture, not something that only be worse opponents might want to say. >> the president meeting with the six senators, what was his message to them and what is the expectation? >> the president invited the group to come to the white house
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today to provide an update on a status report of sorts on their negotiations amongst themselves and the committee. the president's message to them is to continue to work and find a consensus on an issue that we know they have been working hard on. it is very important to the american people. the president wants them to continue to work and make progress and wanted to hear directly from them on where they were. it was not a negotiating session. the meeting just recently broke up. i do not have -- i did not have a chance to talk to the president since the conclusion of that. >> there is no sense of how close they are? >> i don't have that information. >> it was suggested that it appeared that the president is losing patience when it comes to bipartisanship and getting the kind of bill that can be supported by republicans and democrats. is he losing patience, pushing bipartisanship?
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>> the president's actions today, the invitation that came from him to a bipartisan group of senators to come and discuss where they were on health care the notes that he is serious about getting something through congress and the is serious about doing so in a way that brings about a large coalition. if you look at some of the finance committee statements from earlier in the year, they had wanted to come to some agreement in june. obviously, we have reached warmer months than june without that. the president simply wanted an update. the president is very serious about getting something done. this year. that has been his goal all along. yes ma'am? >> d.c. any potentiality for
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relations with north korea? how come we don't know anything that led up to it if there is a quid pro quo? >> there was no quid pro quo. a call went through in exhaustive detail, step-by-step, how the invitation came for president clinton to go when we were notified about that. >> how about showing all the announcements and all the pictures? >> i have less control over the north korean television cameras than even i had hoped. obviously, we took great care
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while this was going on to ensure that our ultimate goal was success. obviously, the president' and hs team more anxious to get that. i think what is crucially important to understand is whether or not north korea wants a better relationship. we will find out. they have the power to change that relationship. they have the power to come back to the set of agreements that they entered into to de- nuclearize the korean peninsula. that is our goal. we think that is the international community's goal based on their reaction to some of the provocative if not outlandish statements and actions that the north koreans have taken. they have the ability and the
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power to do this. regardless of this mission, we certainly hope that they will come back to implementing the agreements that they entered into while at the same time, we will continue to take the steps necessary to enforce security council resolutions to ensure that weapons of mass destruction are not spread by the north koreans. >> in terms of the policy, are we only against people who might get weapons and not against those who have already gotten them and could use them? >> the president has said numerous times that the spread of a weapon of mass destruction, the spread of nuclear material and nuclear weapons is our number one worry and cause of concern for national security. he has outlined a series of very
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aggressive steps as it relates to nuclear proliferation. we will continue to work toward that and implement those. that will be over the course of the next many months and years. obviously, we have great concern in a nation that would try to acquire as we would a group trying to get a hold of a weapon inside of a nation that already has one of those weapons. >> back on health care -- you said the president does not want to draw lines in the sand on a public auction. doesn't that put democrats in a quandary when they go home and have town hall meetings and talk to constituents and our efforts where they stand on a public auction? they don't know what to say because they do not know where it will end up. they don't know what the president will do? the comeback in the fall and it is not on the table and they have put themselves out on a limb for no reason. are you making things politically difficult for them
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by not saying there is a public auction? >> we have outlined our principles. what is most important is we get choice and competition in what continues to be a restrictive market for private insurance. i have not noticed down the street a short as a personal opinion. if somebody is asked about where they sit or stand on that issue, i have no doubt that each member up there as their own opinion. >> for blue dogs, it is a delicate issue. they will not want to go out on a limb on a public auction and then have that limb sawed off when they come back. >> if we continue to work and make progress, we will be able to go home, by the end of the year, and explain to every constituent the steps that we
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are taking to get health care reform for every single american. i think that is the most important discussion. we want to see progress continue to move forward. that is what the president had a meeting today, to get an update on where the senate finance committee is. there are a lot of different opinions on a lot of different issues. we will continue to work for those, as we get closer to health care reform. >> to you have anything on the unemployment benefits numbers that came out today -- do you have anything on the unemployment benefits numbers that came out today? how much work is being done behind the scenes and have dedicated is this white house? >> let me take those questioned separately. a lot of the statistics that come out each week, you can see positive sides and you can see continued signs for concern.
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for-week average for first-time -- four-week average for first- time unemployment claims is down. it is less than the market expected in first-time weekly claims. it is important to look at some of that four-week average because it smooths out some of the seasonal differences. at the same time, you continue to have a growing number and record number receiving the long-term benefits. that brings this to your second question which is, over the course between now and the end of the year, you will have different people, based on the length of time on each of the receiving unemployment insurance, you will have people exhaust that benefit. we are very concerned about that. that has been a big part of the recovery act. it is something we want to say. i think there is bipartisan
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report -- comes -- support that wants to continue. we're seeing benefits that were extended as part of the recovery plan itself. it was a short term and medium to long-term issue that the administration is concerned about and wants to work with congress to ensure that we are continuing to help those that are victims of a struggling economy who are looking and actively participating in a job search, to help support thei$8รก+ families. we are definitely committed to that. >> that as a roof your? >> yes. >> the president has said that the unemployment rate will top 10%. does he still believe that? >> yes. whether that happens tomorrow, i don't know. for my friends on the council of economic advisers, i don't know
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anything on the specific numbers. i expect we will see several hundred thousand jobs lost. i expect we will see an uptick in the unemployment rate. that will be tomorrow. >> your economic advisers on the talk shows on sunday talk about the economic growth rate needing to be around 2.5% to see some of this -- these same jobs being billed back into the, grid is that the operating threshold? >> what they were talking about was historical, mathematical conclusions. there have been articles as well. you have to see a growth rate at a certain level. you have to see job creation go to a certain level to maintain an unemployment rate.
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if it were to get to 9.6 or 9.7, you would have to continue to create jobs. that is what the president believes this will creep and hit and exceed 10. we are obviously working to do all the weekend to create growth and lay the foundation for long- term job creation in order to see jobs created in on employment rate come down. >> i am new around here. >> so am i.. >> is the president opened to the possibility of utilizing the processes in place and getting 50 votes for his health-care plan instead of 60? >> the president meeting with democrats and republicans means the president is interested in doing this first and foremost by -- through regular order.
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obviously, the action -- the option for reconciliation is in the budget and we will certainly cross that bridge when we come to it. >> what about the senate negotiations? >> it is unclear how it is hanging. >> the president is open to a bill that does not include a public auction? >> the president is open to a bill that increases choice in competition. i have to figure out how many times you have that and i have said that there is great discipline on both our parts. >> you said that this meeting is not a negotiation. hopefully, we'll get an update. is he planning on weighing in on his views on any of the issues that are on the table? >> i don't have a debrief from him or the team on what happened exactly in the meeting. i have no doubt that they discussed where everybody is on
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certain issues. that includes the president. i am sure they discussed continued discussions on how to bridge some of those differences. i am trying to say that there were not three envelopes were reopened all three and figured out how to get from one to three and that issue was solved and now on to the next issue. this was a president trying to figure out and continue to monitor the progress that is being made throughout now and hoping to add them to continue to work throughout august. >> negotiations are active but are they saying this is where we are in place for the update? >> presumably, what that would
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entail, i had to get of it read out because i have not gotten one myself. i do not doubt that discussions continue did on many of those issues. you guys need to get better ring tones. >> does the white house anticipate putting any new issues on the congressional agenda that are not -- is just health, energy, financial regulations. will that do it for the remainder of the year? >> i have not talked to our peoples of about this. we have a decent amount. we have appropriations bills that we have to finish. we have to get through the next fiscal year. let me get a better update from them. i think there were a number of issues, whether they make it to
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the floor or not, we will continue to monitor and work on and negotiate so that -- i will take a passive and the active voice. >> to clarify -- it is unusual for you to characterize someone other than your boss, based on his history. do you have direct knowledge that he urged north korea? >> no, i hope i previewed that another. if you simply look at where he has always been on this issue and on the agreements and the work that he did with kim jong- il's father on denuclearization, i am simply extrapolate from that. -- extrapolating from that. i have not heard the debrief on this is the the conversations or what impressions of former president left north korea with. >> i have a cleanup question.
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is it fair to say that obama will be getting his clinton briefing before he leaves for mexico? >> whether he will see president clinton? >> cdm, hear him, have the briefing -- have the debriefing before mexico? >> i don't know whether president barack obama will meet with president clinton prior to leaving for mexico. i do believe that extensive debriefing of the former president will happen very quickly. president obama will be brought into the dialogue to learn what former president clinton learned as quickly as possible. i would assume that will happen before mexico. >> we assume they will talk to
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each other? >> i am sure the want to see each other at some point. i seriously doubt that will happen between now and sunday. that is because of the coordination of their schedules. >> a couple of months ago, the white house and drug manufacturing industry reached a deal to cut drug prices. ""the new york times" reported on this. how is the administration going to handle the house demand to cut drug prices further and not blow the deal? >> i will go back to the passive voice -- i will not get ahead of negotiating in a conference committee. i appreciate the hopeful status update on where the negotiations are. >> you could if you wanted to. >> it would be brave of me.
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the goal of all of those at the table, particularly the president, is to see costs come down. we want progress made. i don't want to get ahead of the differences. >> what you think the status would be of additional cuts? >> cheverly shares the goal cutting costs of health care. >> christina romer left the door open to a second stimulus in 2010. will the administration wait before making a concrete decision about a second stimulus? >> timing aside, the good doctor said exactly what we have all said witches -- which is the
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recovery is primary. secondly, we will continue to monitor the economic situation. if there are ideas that the president or the economic team believe can and should be taken in order to accelerate the recovery and to lay that foundation, we will certainly take a look at that. obviously, i do not anticipate anything new in the near term except the implementation of the recovery plan. >> christina romer was also asked whether the president will raise taxes on the middle class in his first term. her initial reaction was,"can i go now/" ?" at no point did she say he would raise taxes. this would now be the third economic adviser who has not
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said that what happened. i am asking you to help us understand why three people who are in every meeting with the president on the future of economic policy would say it will not happen and they pointed all three times. >> in fairness to her and to me, i will look at the transcript. i am not questioning the veracity of the statement. i appreciate the ability to look at what the good doctor said. i will give you the same after that i give you on monday witches -- which is -- >> >> this appears to be repetitive disconnect between the president and his advisor. >> have a better answer to that when i get a chance to look of the transcript. >> would be more likely that the
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white house will be curious about people who e-mailed them about things that they consider disingenuous or inaccurate to keep in touch with them as part of an ongoing dialogue about their support for the white house efforts on health care? meaning you're not looking for -- meaning you are looking for people will e-mail you? >> i am not sure what the question was but let me put downs and fence posts in the speech. ofa and the white house website, as you well know, are not in any way connected. i think jay "about for the veracity of my statement in saying that i was pretty clear
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that we're not collecting names from the e-mails. >> i heard that. [applause] [laughter] i like that jake is the arbiter >> >> the step that to have assembled is very capable of detecting all sorts of conversations in america about all sorts of issues and responding. >> we a stuff that is 7 fox news all the time. >> what is the particular goal? >> the goal is to get misinformation and to clarify for everybody what the misinformation is. i hope that is not new.
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it doesn't seem to be. >the white house looking to correct misinformation. when you make a stake in your report, sometimes i e-mail you. vocationally, i call. sometimes i just throw something against a wall. occasionally it is all three. let's not put taken a position. we have discussed singers have a game misimpression of what is contained in a bill. -- we have discussed seniors having a misimpression of what is contained in a bill. we're asking people that if they are confused about what health care reform will mean to them, we are happy to help clear that up for them. nobody is keeping anybody's names. i have your e-mail. >> as i have yours.
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>> that is because of probably my future mistakes. i will not say that. nobody is collecting information. everybody is trying to give people only the facts around what we all understand is a complicated issue. >> you said you haven't talked to the present about the meeting today but did you have any sense of going in about what he thought about the proposal taking shape? >> we have heard various reports. part of what he wants to do was to get the update on where they were on different aspects of the legislation and see how that comported with the principles he has outlined. as you said, i have not gotten a full degree. >> -- a full and debriefed. >> the president is not frustrated?
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what did he mean yesterday he said there is not an agreement by next month, he will have to reassess. >> we have to get health care reform. we've had this debate for four decades. the issues are not different. they are the same period the cost continues to skyrocket for families and small businesses. people lose their health insurance and people fall prey to insurance companies that discriminate against preexisting conditions. the key to what your insurance when you become too sick. all of those things the president wishes to change. to do it this year is his goal. >> it is frustrating. >> he is frustrated with the fact that millions of people are watching their costs go up. they're watching their insurance company dictate whether they will get medical treatment. i think that is a frustration to the president, members of congress, and members of the american people. >> do you know how many e-mails
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have been sent to the white house e-mail address and is in the white house required to save all correspondence? >> i did not understand your question. the national archives documents correspondence with the white house. >> so the people whose e-mails have been forwarded, have they been informed that that has been forwarded to the government? >> maybe i missing something. i am sure you are patching a nefarious plot but i cannot figure out. >> to go back to the 2003 video, there's a question whether there is a mischaracterization of the legislation. present, said in 2003 that he happened to be a proponent for a
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government -- a single payer system. he mentioned there are other countries were working very well. is that the president's preference? >> the president's preference on health care, he had an opportunity to outline debate and discuss, in an almost two- year campaign for president, >> you said you were still expecting an unemployment rate for america to raise. >> i don't know what the number will be. i think we have done briefings on this in terms of recovery and expected the unemployment rate will continue to rise for all
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americans. i don't have the specific number for african-americans. >> there is a reason why the black and on one and read a single out. do you suspect -- the black unemployment rate is singled out. >on the issue of supreme court, what is the white house doing for the next possible obama pick for other justice for the supreme court? >> i don't have any news to report on what happens next, if there is another vacancy. i do know the president, as we talked about this morning, you will hear from the president today directly if, as we expect, judge sonia sotomayor becomes justice today.
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you would command democrats and republicans -- command the democrats and republicans for getting her, hopefully, confirmed in a very timely way in order for her to participate in the court's activities in september. there was work their will do before the session begins. they will pick the important cases the work on next year and we are proud of the bipartisan support that she is likely to get. >> is it possibly something -- i understand what is happening in the transition. >> the transition is pretty clear. >> even before you guys announced the transition, before he was even president-elect, we
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understand you guys were working on possibilities. is it just a continuation from prior to arriving at 1600 pennsylvania avenue from work you did that until now for a possible next pick? >> i am not trying to the squirrelly. i have not heard about work that has happened above and beyond work that had happened prior to the president's announcement of judge sonia sotomayor in anticipation of the possibility of additional picks. there were a number of names out there. >> the middle east -- as did ministers and asked israel to freeze settlements for one year to encourage the arab states to offer concessions and normalization? >> without getting into any
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specifics, the president has been clear in outlining the steps he believes that her israelis and palestinians and arab states should take in order to achieve a lasting middle east peace. that includes a freeze on settlements. >> ahead of tomorrow's on employment report, i want to make sure i understood something you said before. you are very concerned about helping everyone find a job but when you describe the unemployment figure, you don't use the higher figure that reflects those very workers. isn't a real unemployment rate that reflects people who are really struggling and can only find part-time work, about 16%. ? \ >> i think the other question was based on -- since he was asking me whether it would go to 10%, i assume the figure he was
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using the one that had not eclipsed stand. that would be a little redundant. understand that unemployment figures only to note -- denote people that continue to look for work and don't consider themselves so on likely to find work that they have stopped looking. i do not know that one figure, whether it is those that have stopped or are underemployed, those that wish to be working full time and are working part- time or those that simply, the bureau of labor and statistics they are employed or unemployed, i don't know that one number in an of itself can tell the story of economic devastation we have seen and the concern that the president has for getting the economy back on track and creating jobs.
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>> is the higher figure more accurate? when you're out of work and the only thing you confines 20 hours per week, that is not a full- time job. >> it is not for me to say or judge the efficacy what each figure delineates. the president will be concerned about joblessness for as long as there are people that want to work and cannot find it. whether that number is an unemployment rate, whether that is the number of people that can only find the 20-hour job at starbucks in which they could find a 40-hour a week job, the president will continue to be concerned about job loss. >> i want to take another whack at"a the new york times" article
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about the drug companies. the cost saving measures are being put in place by the house for it is the white house willing to do anything? >> we have not laid down in the sand and we have not drawn in the persian -- not drawn in the sand. there are ways that we need to cut costs for seniors. the senate finance committee, supported by the white house, entered into an agreement that would cut the cost for seniors who fall into the hole of the medicare portion of the legislation that was written in several years ago. that will fill level for many
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people and some of the money will be used for health care reform. that is the goal of that agreement. as the goal of our white house. >> will you extract money from pharmaceutical companies beyond that? >> we feel comfortable with the amount of money that has been talked about, at this point. >> there is some unhappiness on the hill among democrats at the pace at which senator baucus is moving and the way he is moving. does the president share those feelings? >> can you be specific? >> that somehow, in the end, republicans will not be there and he is being strung along. >> i think the president's main goal is to do all we can to move forward. it has a goal of getting something done for families, small businesses, poor people throughout this country this year.
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i don't believe the president thinks -- i know that he does not believe that he thinks that not meeting this august goal for the finance committee in perils health care reform. it gives us all a chance to continue working toward progress. change will not happen overnight. we certainly understand that. >> do you know anything about the plans for the swearing in of judge sotomayor? >> i will look at that and try to have something tomorrow. i would also encourage you to contact directly the supreme court. they may have a better sense of when she would be sworn in. thank you, guys.
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>> robert gibbs wrapping up with a question on when sonia sotomayor would be sworn in it is one small step to be taken care before that and she needs to be approved by the u.s. senate. they will vote on her nomination in about 50 minutes at 3:00 p.m., eastern very live coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span 2. at 3: 30 eastern, we will bring you live coverage of democratic senators and their reaction to the vote this afternoon. that will be here on c-span at about 3: 30. the senate will continue to work after the vote on judge sonia sotomayor. following that, the majority leader harry reid advises that the senate will take up the $2 billion in additional funding for the cash for clunkers although trading program. there are seven amendments to be dealt with, after which the senate will recess for the month of august. the phenomenon of facebook.
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the author of a new book on the subject and how to or friends apart. afterwards, part of the cspan book weekend. sunday, a look at british politics from the bbc, including the mp expenses scandal and debate over military operations in afghanistan. that is sunday night, 9:00 eastern on c-span. >> the chairman of the present's council on economic advisers, christina romer spoke this morning on the impact of the economic stimulus package, passed in january. she also talked of health care legislation and unemployment. from the economic club of washington, this runs about 50 minutes. host: caller>> can i have your a moment? thank you. we will start right on time.
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the ambassador from india is here. [laughter] [applause] but councilman jack evans is here. [applause] we have representatives from different embassies, as well. let me begin this morning by introducing our special guest, dr. christina romer. as many of you may know, she is the chair of the council of economic advisers. that position was established by the employment act of 1946 where it was decided that the president of united states needed independent, objective economic analysis and advice. from the time that the council was greeted the late 40's, it has had some of the most distinguished economists serving in that position.
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it has had a long history of very distinguished economists and dr. romer is within the tradition. she is what the best known economists in the country and one of the best known macro economist in the country. she served for 20 years as a member of the faculty of the university of california, berkeley. in that position, she became an expert on the depression, the causes and consequences, and how the u.s. government responded. she came -- she became an expert on fiscal policy and what affects it had on the economy by changes in tax policy. she did a lot of this work with her husband who is also an economist at the university of california, berkeley. that shows an enormous amount of interpersonal skills because the mayor is difficult enough. being married to someone in the
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same department is difficult, as well writing articles with someone who is your stuff and raising three children together is very difficult. she pulled it off with aplomb. her children are not likely to be economists, she tells me. the eighth grader may go into economic skirted the other ones are a natural sciences. and the position she has now, she actually has a unique role in this respect -- historically, people put in a chair of the economic advisers have fought with time -- to see the president and so the chair of the council often doesn't get to see the present as much as the chair would like. in this case, dr. robert has had more time with the president than any of her predecessors over many years. that is because she participates in the daily briefing with the president on economic matters. she sees the work president
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almost every day. she is also a member of the economic council and she plays a leading policy role in helping formulate the economic policies of this administration. she would like to talk about the fiscal stimulus program that we have in the country and the consequences of it. after she has done her remarks, we will have time for questions from the audience. thank you very much for it is my honor to introduce the council of economic advisers' chair, dr. christina romer. [laughter] [applause] >> i think you took my speech. [laughter] >> thank you. it is likely to be here. it is an honor to speak in front of such a distinguished group. a couple of weeks ago, we had a
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five-month anniversary of the american recovery and reinvestment act. the recovery act provided $787 billion of tax cuts in government spending or 5% of gdp, making it the boldest counter cyclical fiscal stimulus in american history. it was a central piece of the a ministration's wide-ranging program to rescue the economy from the worst recession since the great depression. it was to build a foundation for a stronger, more durable prosperity. over the spring and summer, there has been a lot of chatter about what the recovery act was doing and how well it was working. i would like to spend a little time this morning presenting a clear-eyed assessment of what it has accomplished and what we can expect going forward. this week is a natural time for such an assessment, coming on the heels of last friday's gdp report. this report it was our first look at overall economic performance in the second
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quarter of this year. it gave us a clearer sense of the death of the recession of the past five quarters. in a whimsical moment, i named my talk "so, is it working?"\ it is absolutely working. the recovery act, together with the actions taken by the treasury and federal reserve is helping to slow the decline and change the trajectory of the economy. it is providing the crucial lead to aggregate demand and a time when the economy needs it most. we anticipate that the effects will build through the end of this year and the beginning of next. let me begin by discussing the motivation for the fiscal stimulus and the logic behind its design. the u.s. economy slipped into a recession in december of 2007.
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the initial downturn was relatively mild. real gdp declined at an annual rate of 7/10 of 1% in the first quarter of 2008 and job loss was about 100,000 per month. well * temporary tax rebate that went out last april contributed to positive gdp growth in the second quarter of last year. unfortunately, worsening declines in house and stock prices late last summer led to a fall in consumer spending and sent shock waves through our financial system. the collapse of lehman brothers last september set off a genuine financial panic and lead to a devastating freezing of our financial system and the collapse of lending. by the time president obama announced his economic team just before thanksgiving, it was clear that the economy was deteriorating rapidly. how sick the economy was and how fast it would fall, we are still
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unclear. new data on the u.s. and world economic conditions was coming in each day there was no question in our minds that the economy was in its most precarious position since the great depression. at a meeting in chicago in mid- december, we urged the president elect to get the financial crisis and the burgeoning recession with as much force as possible. the cornerstone of our suggested response was a bold fiscal stimulus. our reasoning was simple -- the federal reserve had done a great deal to stimulate demand and help ease the credit crisis, following the lehman brothers collapse. by mid december, but that was running low on ammunition. the federal funds rate was near zero and the fed had created a multitude a special lending facilities. with the dramatic fall in household wealth and the rapid spread of the downturn to our key trading partners, there was no realistic prospect that the private sector which generates a turnaround in demand anytime soon.
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although stabilizing the financial system and helping distressed, it was essential, it would not be enough. we need to bring in the other main tool that the government has to counteract a cataclysmic decline aggregate demand. it was fiscal stimulus. in the past few months, some have tried to portray fiscal stimulus as an exotic tool with a questionable pedigree. it is a tried and true remedy, supported by economists across the political spectrum. fiscal stimulus is the well- tested antibiotic, not some newfangled gene therapy. the economic theory of how tax cuts and increases in government spending can help counteract a recession is almost as widely accepted as any in economics. it is practically out there with supply and demand. fiscal stimulus has been used to help weak economies by presidents in both parties. franklin roosevelt increase public works spending greatly as part of that new deal. dwight eisenhower expanded the
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interstate highway program and accelerate other types of spending to try to counteract the 1958 recession. both gerald ford in 1975 and george w. bush in 2001, used tax cuts to help brand -- end recessions. there is also ample evidence that fiscal stimulus works. many studies have been done over the years to try and measure the effects. these studies show strong impact from tax cuts and changes in government spending. this says that the fiscal stimulus is the obvious step to take when the economy is in decline and conventional policy has been exhausted and it is borne out by the actions of other countries. this figure shows the size of fiscal expansions in a number of countries in 2009. virtually every country has an active fiscal expansion during the current crisis. they have done so because it works.
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the fiscal stimulus that the administration work with congress to create was not only bold but well conceived. the president in for a package that was large and got good employment bang for the fiscal block. it was designed to provide a lift for at least two years because we knew the economy was likely to face an extended period of weakness. the president insisted that the spending be genuinely useful. it was at a time when the budget deficit was already a large, we cannot afford to create jobs by digging ditches and filling them in. government spending and dissatisfied genuine needs and leave us with useful public investments. the final legislation was very well diversified. some of our critics seem to love missed the fact that roughly 1/3 of the $787 billion took the form of tax cuts for american families and businesses. another 1/3 was aid to state governments, to keep state workers employed and not raise taxes.
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as state budgets have gone into extreme deficit and unemployment rates have risen smartly, both of these types of spending look more crucial than they did back in december and january. finally, roughly 1/3 of the stimulus package was for investment. much of this spending was for conventional infrastructure, roads, bridges, water projects. some was more uniquely 21st century, investment in r and d, help information technology and a smarter -- let me turn to the questions start with. so, is it working? .
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>> it turns out that it was for 760,000 pounds of ham in two- pound packages that went to food banks and soup kitchens. we think are pretty good value at $1.50 per pound. i can tell you that the vice- president is a man on a mission, and is determined to get every dollar -- every dollar will go out quickly to the high value projects it was designed for. and the program is working. millions of unemployed workers have seen an extra $25 a week
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in their unemployment insurance checks. 95% of american households saw a tax cut in their paychecks starting april 1. my father and all the other social security recipients and veterans got their $250 stimulus check in may. state and local government employees like teachers, firefighters, and police officers, who were scheduled to be laid off, are still working because of the increase in federal spending to the states. 2500 road construction projects are under way. i believe that sooner the recovery act signs that we see popping up everywhere will be as ubiquitous as the nra blue eagle ones were back in the 1930's. even if the recovery act is working in the concrete, on-the- ground cents, there is still a question of whether we can see it in the overall performance of the economy. here i cannot resist pointing out the fallacy in a common critique. throughout the spring, i
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frequently heard people say that the unemployment rate is even higher than you are predicted without stimulus. that means that the policy is not working and it is actually making things worse. well, that argument is, to " our recent "new york times" editorial, just plain silly. suppose you go to the doctor for a strep throat, and he or she prescribes an antibiotic. sometime after you get the prescription and maybe after you have taken the first bill, your feet for spikes. do you decide the medicine was useless? do you conclude that the antibiotic costar infection to get worse? surely not. the all this was more serious than you or your doctor thought, and you are glad you took the medicine when you did. that is the situation with the economy. it is true that the u.s. and world economies went down much faster than we and other forecasters expected. the revised gdp statistics show
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that the actual decline in gdp growth in the third and fourth quarters of last year was about twice as large as the preliminary estimates we had at the time indicated. and the rise in unemployment rate has been exceptionally large, even given the large fall in gdp that we now know occurred. the fact that the economy deteriorated between january, when we were giving our forecast, to the end of march, simply reinforces how crucial it was that we took action when we did. having gotten that off my chest, let me return to the question. a little more than five months after the recovery act was passed, can we see the effects on the macro economy? again, the answer is almost surely yes. the reason i say almost surely is because the recovery act has only been in effect for five months. that means that we only have one quarter of economic data, or did on economic outcomes. if there is one thing i've learned in the past six months,
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it is not to read too much into any one number. but with that disclaimer in mind, let me show you a graph of the growth rate of real gdp. what you see is after falling considerably, and indeed, progressively more deeply in each of the three quarters before the most recent one, the falling gdp moderated substantially. after declining at an annual rate of 6.4% in the first quarter of 2009, it fell at a rate of 1% in the second quarter. to be sure, the economy is far from healthy, and we obviously have a tremendous distance to go. real gdp, after all, is still declining. but economies don't switch from a rapid decline to robust growth all at once. given what we now know about the frightening momentum of economic decline in the first quarter, it would have been hard for the
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economy to stabilize much faster than it has. this graph shows you the growth rate -- shows you the change in the growth rate of real gdp for the last 25 years. the rise in gdp growth from the first quarter to the second was the largest in almost a decade. the second largest in the past quarter century. this picture shows the change in payroll employment over the recession. a key indicator of just how brutal this recession has been is the fact that in the first quarter of this year, we lost really 700,000 jobs per month. in the second quarter, we lost on average for the the 6000 jobs per month. -- 436,000 jobs per month but this rate of job losses were in this, but the change suggests that we are on the right trajectory trade this shows the change in the change in employment. a movement in job loss from the
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first quarter to the second was the largest in almost 30 years. after we administered the medicine, the economy that was in free fall stabilized substantially, and now looks as though it could begin to recover in the second half of the year. of course, identifying the effects of the recovery act and the behavior of just a few data points is inherently difficult. we don't observe what would have happened in the absence of fiscal stimulus. one way to try to add rigger to the analysis -- rigor to the analysis is to to a more formal econometric exercise. let me describe the results of a typical one. we forecast to the usual behavior of the gdp and employment jointly using data from 1990 through 2007. what we are going to do is forecast gdp growth an average jobless in the second quarter of
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2009 using actual data from the first quarter of the year. what this picture shows is that the forecast of employment change, the light blue bar, and using this procedure -- but the baseline forecast implies is further substantial drop loss in that second quarter. based on just the past history, the implied average monthly decline that you would have predicted for the second quarter was about 600,000 jobs. what you see, the dark blue line, is what actual job loss was in the second quarter. it came in substantially lower than forecast. these calculations implied employment is 485,000 jobs above what it otherwise would have been in the second quarter of 2009. this is similar to market zandi -- mark zandi's estimate that
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stimulus added roughly half a million jobs in the second quarter than otherwise would have occurred. the approach we use is just one of a number of sensible ways of predicting what would happen in the absence of stimulus. other methods could lead to somewhat different estimates of the jobs impacted in the program's for the quarter of operation. but the clear implication is that the program is working. the results for the forecasting exercise for real gdp are shown here. again, the dark blue line for actual data, the light blue line is our forecast, and what past history says, based on the usual behavior of employment and ged, real gdp would continue to decline at a substantial rate in the second quarter. the projected decline is 3.3%, substantially worse than the actual decline, which was 1%. this way of specifying the base line confirms that something
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unusual happened in the second quarter. gdp growth was 2.3 percentage points higher than the usual time series behavior of gdp would lead one to expect great private forecasters across the political and methodological spectrum attribute much of the unusual behavior of gdp to the recovery act. this table shows you that analysts estimate that the fiscal stimulus added somewhere between two percentage points and three percentage points to real gdp growth in the second quarter. if you look at the different pieces of gdp, you can see telltale signs of the recovery act's role in stabilizing the economy. this figure shows you the contribution that each of the main components of gdp to overall growth in the first and second quarter of this year. at the role of the recovery act is clearest in state and local spending. sharp falls in revenues, a
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balanced budget requirements, have been forcing state and local governments to tighten their belts significantly. state and local government spending rose at a healthy 2.4% and will rate in the second quarter of 2009. no one can doubt that the $33 billion of state fiscal relief that has gone out into the recovery act is a key source of this increase. another area where the will of the recovery act seems clear is in business fixed investment. firms purchases of everything from machines to software to a structures. a key source of the more modest decline in gdp is in the second quarter is that this type of investment, which had fallen a mind-boggling 39% annual rate in the first quarter, fell at a much more moderate 9% rate in the second quarter. one important component of the recovery act was investment incentives, such as bonus
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depreciation. this is is received about $14 billion in -- businesses received about $14 billion in tax relief in the second quarter, and this may have contributed to this low investment decline. the personal consumption component, the picture is more nuanced. consumption fell sharply in the second half of last year, but has largely stabilized, despite rising unemployment and falling gdp. the making work pay tax cut and the improvement in confidence as a result of the recovery act, and the administration's other actions, almost surely contributed to this civilization. at the same time, the fact that consumption fell slightly in the second quarter after rising slightly in the first quarter could be a sign that household are initially using the tax cut mainly to increase their saving and pay off debt. obviously, we are monitoring the behavior of consumers closely as we move forward. because the evidence from the
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path of the economy over time cannot settle the issue of what the effects of the recovery act have been, it is helpful to also look at other types of data, in particular, two kinds of comparative alliance. -- comparing it outlines. the first involves comparisons across countries. one can ask the question of whether countries that have responded more aggressively seem to be recovering more quickly. to get evidence, we started with a set of four paths of growth in the second quarter of this year that were made way back in november after the crisis had hit, but the four countries had formulated a policy response. -- but before countries had formulated in their policy response. we made the best guesses of what the second quarter growth would be in those countries. what this figure shows is the relationship between how countries' second quarter growth prospects of change from what was expected in november, and
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the countries discretionary stimulus in 2000. the fact of this points lie along a slope line shows that on average, things have improved more in countries that have adopted a bigger stimulus packages, and the relationship is sizable. on average, a country with a stimulus that is larger by 1% of gdp has expected real gdp growth in the second quarter that has about two percentage points higher relative to the november forecast. a second comparison that we examined it involves individual states in the u.s. the largest portion of aid to the states under the recovery act so far has taken the form of additional matching funds for state medicaid spending. but this figure shows you is that the correlation between employment growth, from february to june, in a state, and the size of those extra matching funds per-capita. what you are supposed to see is that on average, states that received more funds lost fewer jobs.
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there is an obvious element of perverse causation that is pushing the relationship in the other way. states whose economies are weaker tend to get more of these funds. a preliminary analysis by several members of my staff addresses this issue by focusing on a subset of the spending that is not a response to state's economic conditions. they find that the results hold up well. more spending is associated with less job loss. obviously, this is a preliminary analysis of the data across countries and states. it does not account for all the factors that may be at work. but our first look at these numbers provides further evidence that stimulus spurs recovery. what i focus on so far focuses on the role of the recovery act. moderating gdp decline in saving jobs in the second quarter of 2009.
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the obvious next question is what we can expect going forward. first, the impact of the recovery act will almost surely increase over the next several quarters. we expect the fiscal stimulus to the roughly $100 billion in each of the next five quarters. the impact of the steady stimulus will increase over time, because the multiplier effect tends to rise for a substantial time before it begins to wane. also, the composition of the stimulus will be taking towards components with larger short run effects. the early stimulus was weighted heavily toward stacks -- towards direct physical relief, and there will be more government investment. they have a short run affect roughly 60% larger than the tax cuts. second thing we can expect going forward, because of the recovery act, other rescue measures we have taken, and the economy's natural resilience, most
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forecasters are now predicting that gdp growth is likely to turn positive by the end of the year. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke seconded his opinion in recent congressional testimony. however, as is always the case, especially around a turning point, there is substantial uncertainty to this forecast, and there is even greater uncertainty as to how strong the recovery is likely to be. third, it is important to realize that job growth will almost surely lag the turnaround in real gdp growth. the consensus forecast is for the employment, unemployment statistics that we get tomorrow, to show that the u.s. economy continued to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs in july. given that gdp growth was still negative in the second quarter, this is all but inevitable, and is unacceptable. unfortunately, even 1's gdp begins to grow, it will likely take a still longer for
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unemployment to stop rising -- for employment to stop falling and begin to rise. fourth, and crucially, given how for the economy has declined, the recovery will be a long, hard process. even if gdp growth is relatively robust going forward, it will take a substantial time to restore employment to normal and bring the unemployment rate back down to usual levels. but the president is committed to job creation, and this is and has been the focal part of our efforts. the bottom line is that we are no doubt in for more turbulent times. the actions we have taken, particularly the american recovery and reinvestment act, have clearly changed to should -- have clearly changed the trajectory that we are on. the top priority is restoring the economy from the edge of the second great depression. i firmly believe that when the history of this time is written,
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the recovery act will be seen as the beginning of the end of this terrible economic crisis. the focus of my talk this morning has been on the recovery act as a life saver. and it is a central part of our strategy to rescue the economy. complementing our efforts to stabilize the financial system, restart lending, and help homeowners in distress. the president as always made clear that rescue is not enough. the u.s. had problems even before the current crisis. for this reason, the administration is working with congress to help rebuild the economy better. it is as if when you went to the doctor for the strep throat, you discovered you have high blood pressure as well. the antibiotic was great for the infection, but he prescribe other medicine, a better diet, and a healthy dose of exercise for the blood pressure. that is what the president is trying to do for the economy. he is urging health care reform to slow the growth rate of spending, it came the budget
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deficit, and provide all americans would secure help insurance coverage. we are working with congress to pass a financial regulatory reform and make sure that we never -- >> we are going to leave this recorded programming. as you see on the screen, judge sonia sotomayor has just been approved for the next justice of the supreme court. the chairman of the judiciary committee, patrick leahy, and others, speaking at the capitol, live on c-span. >> here we have somebody who has a distinguished career as a trial court judge, prosecutor, appeals judge read more experience on the federal court that anybody nominated or confirmed in decades.
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this is this is the american dream. it is a dream that we all speak about when we campaign. what we have done now has made it real. ok, we have several members of the judiciary committee here, as well as the leaders. >> i just want to say, first of all, thank you to our chairmen, who drove the judiciary committee through these hearings. now finally, here we are true we have a new supreme court justice. i think it is truly a great day for the united states supreme court, a great day for law, a great day for justice, a great
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day for every young woman out there that says "yes, i can, i can do it if i work hard." that is the message of this particular justice. as has been said, she brings 29.5 years of legal experience to the supreme court. she has seen every aspect of the law, as a prosecutor, as a business lawyer, as a district court judge, as an appellate court judge. she knows the federal court and she knows what justice is come up close and pertinent, when someone has a case before her. she visited close to 90 senators. she had a broken ankle. i know a little bit about what that is like she sat behind a table with a leg propped up and in pain a day after day after day. she did not lose your cool. the questions were hard. the probe andd and pricked and
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tested and she did not take the bait. i think she will be a wonderful supreme court justice. i think our nation will be really well served, and at the supreme court is really lucky to have her. >> well, thank you. as new yorkers, we are so proud. as americans, we are so proud. this is a great day. a great american story. i am glad that she was voted on by more than two-one, approved by more than two-one. that will say something about the best of america. i want to salute our nine republican colleagues who had tremendous pressure on them. this was not a free will decision on their side of the aisle. it was all kinds of pressure to vote no. nine had the courage to do the right thing and vote yes. and that is important as well. i believe that sonia sotomayor
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will become a great justice of the supreme court. why? well, this actually was the idea what i talked to the president about her -- he said what makes the leaders of the court are their experiences and their power as personalities, and she has got it. she is not just going to be another vote, not just going to be another voice. she is going to be a real leader that will lead the scored back to the mainstream -- lead to this court to back to the mainstream, which is what this country needs. i thank chairman leahy, who explicitly led this fight, leader reid, for being undaunted for making sure this happened before the august break. it is just a great day. >> senator menendez has joined with me in any talks about this. >> thanks, chairman leahy.
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let me start by thanking chairman leahy and all the members of the judiciary committee for the incredible work they did in making sure that the real judge sonia sotomayor appeared before the committee in terms of what her experience was, and to our leadership as well for being undaunted in making this happen in an appropriate time frame. for hispanic americans, today, the metal over the supreme court that is equal justice under law becomes one step closer to reality. sonia sotomayor and i were born in the same year. we live on opposite sides of the hudson river. i raised in a tenement, she raised in a public-housing project. if you told me today that i would be one of 100 united states senators passing a vote for sonia sotomayor, and you ask her, would you be a supreme court justice, we probably would have told you at that time that it is highly unlikely. but it is the promise of america fulfilled. it is a promise that we move one
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step closer to making this the more perfect union. it is the coming of age in america. she will be cut because of her intellect and experience, i believe, one of the greatest supreme court justices we will see in the history of the court. >> member of the judiciary committee. >> chairman leahy, thank you for your skillful leadership in the committee and your determination that sonia sotomayor get her day before the committee in the right hybrid i want to congratulate the republican members of the senate judiciary committee agreed to handle themselves with dignity and professionalism. that is how we all hope to take such a serious responsibility on. in just a few days, the doors of the supreme court will open for the new justice, sonia sotomayor. when those doors open, the door of opportunity will open a little wider in america. each generation gets a chance to open that door a little wider.
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today in the senate, we use that opportunity to give sonia sotomayor a chance to serve our country at the highest court. >> are there other members of the judiciary committee? i want to thank everybody here, and i see senator franken, kaufman, senator klobuchar, senator feinstein, senator murray, senator white house, and of course, senator durbin. i really appreciate the members of the judiciary committee who sat through all of these hearings and worked hard on them, and if anybody has any questions, this chairmen, is a very happy day.
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>> i would like to hear senator schumer and senator menendez on the political question of whether such a large number of republicans voted no will in fact her to the gop. one expert has said that he considers this a bellwether. >> i will let others speak to the political aspect, but i cannot help but think as i listened to the hearings, and i have been here for hearings on every single member of the supreme court, including two who are no longer there -- if she had been nominated by a republican president, she would have won virtually every vote in body, republican and democratic alike. this was, i felt, the wrong vote, those who voted no. >> let me just say that today is a day of celebration. i will say this -- for the hispanic community, which is not
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monolithic, it was monolithic about judge sonia sotomayor. would you were mexican-american, puerto rican american, myself as a cuban-american, it was united, not just because of the pride, but because of the pride in someone who was eminently qualified, and who showed her abilities before the judiciary committee. but what it says to us as a community for so many of our republican colleagues, and i do appreciate those who joined us in this vote -- i think is an exemplary example of what the process should be, to look for the person, not just the partisanship -- for hispanics, we often get told you have to work harder. when we have someone who graduates from princeton phi beta kappa, ghosted yale -- goes to yale, becomes a prosecutor in
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the city of new york, and exemplary in her work, goes on as a corporate litigator, goes on to the district court with great distinction, then goes to the appellate division, appointed by republican president, and then purge the barrier to be the supreme -- bricks. to be appointed to the supreme court, if you need all the -- you meet all the challenges and still be told no, it sends the tough message to us as a community. that message is one that will be seriously viewed in today's ahead by the community. >> the fact that three-quarters of republicans voted no -- will the president go ahead to nominate whomever what he wants -- >> i advise the president to do
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exactly what he did this time, take the most qualified person possible. that is what he did and that is what he will do if there is another vacancy. this is not a political -- this is he nominated the most qualified person, a very good person. i am delighted to see another woman on the court. i am delighted to see a hispanic on the court. but most importantly, as senator menendez said, i am delighted to see somebody eminently well qualified. there were some, i have the feeling, i said before, that president obama nominated moses, they would have voted no. what it says to the president is just keep doing what you are doing. he was a constitutional lawyer himself, proffesor.
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nominate the best person you can find. he will get them to. -- get them, too. >> i think, at sheldon -- >> chairman of the judiciary committee, patrick leahy, and in the democratic committee members, talking about sonia sotomayor. the vote was 68 us 31, nine republicans joined democrats in supporting the nominee. here is how the ap reported it. "the senate confirmed on
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thursday sonia sotomayor as the first hispanic justice on the supreme court. president barack obama's first high court nominee becomes the 111th justice and just the third woman to serve democrats praised sotomayor as a mainstream moderate, but most republicans voted against her, saying that she would bring a personal bias and a liberal agenda to the bench. she is not expected to alter the court's's ideological split." the right thing of the associated press this afternoon, as that -- writing of the associated press this afternoon, as the senate approved sotomayor, 68-31. we will take you live to the white house. he is expected to come out and give some thoughts to reporters in just a couple of minutes. we will go there live once that gets under way. in the meantime, some comments today from robert wood at the
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state department, the daily briefing looking at bill clinton's north korea trip and hillary clinton's trip to africa. we will show you some of this, and when the president comes out, we will take you live as well. >> i don't have anything else, so why don't we go to your questions? >> south korean and japanese officials are saying that bill clinton urged north korea to
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free the detained south koreans and make a plea on behalf of japanese citizens. can he substantiate any of that? -- can you substantiate any of that? >> i cannot. he may have had discussions about various issues with the north koreans. but i will have to refer you to his office. i don't have any details on various conversations. >> briefed reporters the other evening and said that president clinton did bring up the issue of japanese abductees and south korean detainees. >> i am not necessarily disputing that. i'm just saying that i was not privy to those conversations. >> did he have a license -- after all, he is an experienced former president -- did he have license to discuss whatever he liked to jong-il?
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-- whenever he liked with kim jong il? >> this was a humanitarian mission, and that was his brief and mandate. he is certainly capable of talking about those issues in detail, but he is not carrying or sending any message on behalf of the u.s. government. >> on the two journalists, have they had any debrief with state department officials thayet? do you know when that might take place, who would do it? >> as you know, we had a representative in los angeles for the office of secret services who obviously had conversations with the two journalists. with regard to our briefing from the state, i don't think anything has been arranged at this point. we will let you know if and when those have taken place.
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as far as i know -- >> is there an intention to do that at some point? >> i would imagine so, yes. >> the office of democracy and global affairs of put out this fire -- has put out this fire, programs to address human trafficking. going back to the original mission, so to speak, the journalists were photographed in for current tv, apparently looking at the human trafficking from north korea into china. have you spoken to the chinese at all? what can you say about this trafficking from the north korea? in this fire -- flier, they are not even mentioned. >> i have not looked at that particular flier.
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with regard to what the journalists were doing, that is something you have to talk to them about, or the network they are employed by. >> we leave this now for comments from president obama. >> i am pleased and deeply gratified that the senate has voted to confirm sonia sotomayor as our nation's 111th supreme court justice. i want to thank the senate judiciary committee, particularly chairman leahy, as well as its ranking member, senator sessions, for giving judge sotomayor a thorough and civil hearing. i thank them for doing so in a timely manner so that she can be fully prepared to take her seat when the court begins work in september. the members of our supreme court granted life tenure. they are charged with the vital and difficult task of employing -- applying principles to the controversies of our time.
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members of the senate judiciary committee and the full senate have assessed judge sotomayor's fitness for this work. they have scrutinized her record as a prosecutor, a litigator, and as a judge. engaged her respect for the proper role of each branch of our government -- they gauged her respect for the proper role of each branch of our government, and determination to protect our core constitutional rights and freedoms. with this historic vote, the senate has affirmed that judge sotomayor has the intellect, the temperament, the history, the integrity, and the independence of mind to ably served on our nation's highest court. this is a role that the senate has played for more than two centuries, helping to ensure that equal justice under the law is not merely a phrase inscribed above are courthouse door, but a description of what happens every single day inside the court room. it is a promise that whether you
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are a a mighty corporation or an ordinary american, you will receive a full and fair hearing, and in end, the outcome of your case will be determined by nothing more or less than the the strength of your argument and the dictates of the law. these core american ideals -- justice, equality, an opportunity -- are the very ideals that have made to judge sotomayor's on a uniquely american journey possible. they are ideals she has fought for throughout her career, and the ideals that the senate has upheld the day in breaking another barrier and moving as another step closer to a more perfect union. like so many aspects of this nation, i am filled with pride at this achievement and great confidence that judge sotomayor will make an outstanding supreme court justice. this is a wonderful day for judge sotomayor and her family, but i also think it is a wonderful day for america. thank you very much, everybody
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. >> president obama commenting on the nomination and approval by the senate of sonia sotomayor. the judge -- the vote was 68-31. she becomes the 111th justice. no word yet on when she will be sworn in. we will get you details as soon as we learn them. we know that likely her first case will be september 9 on the court. the court's official from gets under way monday, october 5. a chance for you to see the floor debate the debate on the nominee, saturday on "america and the court's" at 7:00 p.m. eastern. we will take you back to the state department briefing. robert wood briefing reporters on a bill clinton's to north korea and hillary clinton's to to africa. it is about 30 minutes.
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>> as you know, the secretary is in africa right now, on her way to johannesburg. she looks very much forward to your trip. i don't have anything else, so why don't we put your questions? >> south korean and japanese officials are saying that bill clinton urged north korea to free detained south koreans and make progress on the issue of adopted japanese citizens. can you substantiate any of that? >> i cannot. the president was there on a private humanitarian mission. he may have had discussions on various issues with the north koreans. but i would have to refer you to his office. i don't have any details on those conversations. >> officials briefed reporters the other evening and did say that president clinton did bring up the issue of japanese abductees and south korean
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detainees. >> i am not necessarily disputing that. i am just saying that i was not privy to those conversations. >> did he have license -- after all, he has an experienced former president -- did he have license to discuss whatever he liked with kim jong il? >> the most important thing to remember is that, as i said many times, a humanitarian mission. that was his brief and that was his mandate. as you said, he is a very experienced individual, a former president. he is certainly capable of talking about those issues in detail. i just want to be clear that he was not carrying any message or send any message on the part of the u.s. government. >> on the two journalists, have they had any sort of debrief with state department officials yet? do you know when or where that might take place, and who would do it, and who from the state
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department has talked to them already since they have a right or left north korea? >> we have officials in los angeles from the office of citizen services who had conversations with the two journalists. with regards to briefings from the state department, i don't think anything has been arranged at this point. we will let you know if and when those have taken place. as far as i know right now -- >> is there an intention to do so at some point? >> i would imagine so, yes. >> the office of democracy and global affairs has put out this precaution flier, an example of funded programs addressing human trafficking. going back to the original mission, so to speak, of why the two journalists were photographing for current tv, they were apparently looking at it trafficking from north korea
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into china. have you spoken to the chinese at all? and also, what can you say about this trafficking from the north korea? in this flier, they are not even mentioned. >> i have not read that particular flier. the details of what the two journalists were doing -- that is something you have to talk to them about, or the network they are employed by. our policy with regard to trafficking of persons as well known. the secretary has spoken to the issue quite a bit, as have other people from this podium. we want to do what we can to cut down on the trafficking of persons. as you know, the report be issued annually -- we issue annually states out very clearly the countries where we have concerns, countries that are making progress in dealing with the issue. >> robert, the thai government
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has said it is looking into that report that came out last week about the burmese factory plant, complex, whatever it might be, supposedly built with the help of north korea. it is it fair to say -- is it fair to say, without addressing intelligence on this, that the u.s. government is also looking into that report? >> i said yesterday that we are looking into reports about military cooperation between burma and north korea. there is nothing i can really say hear from the podium, but we certainly would be concerned about really close cooperation between the two. >> this report was not serious enough or substantive enough for any branch of the u.s. government to actually look into it seriously? just cannot address it?
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>> i just cannot address it. >> on mexico, can you talk about senator leahy a holding of u.s. aid to mexico until the state department -- holding up u.s. aid to mexico until the state department gets a more favorable report on the human rights record? >> we are currently reviewing information we have received over the last week for inclusion in the 15% report. i want to be very clear here -- our goal is to produce as comprehensive report as possible. congress can fully understand the steps that the mexican government is taking with regard to expanding and protecting human rights in mexico. for those of you not familiar with the report, it is a report that the mexican government's -- reports on progress that the mexican government is making in the fields of rule of law and
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human rights and security forces in mexico. that is what that report is about. >> what he is complaining about is he feels that there is an overemphasis on the military strategy and not enough on the rule of law and the human rights and other things make up a strategy. >> we have had conversations with the senator and his staff. i know that there are those concerns out there. certainly, we believe that president calderon is doing everything he can to improve the situation in mexico with regard to human rights, particularly as it concerns his security forces. what we are trying to do is, as i said, get as comprehensive a picture for congress so that they can understand the steps that the mexicans are taking. we take this report a very seriously. we want to make sure that it is comprehensive. we will do what we can, and as i
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said, it is still in the draft stages. we hope to be able to bowl that out at some point in the future. >> but don't you think it presents a kind of challenge or embarrassment for president obama? he is going down to guadalajara to meet with leaders there. at this time, he cannot claim that the u.s. is delivering on its eight promises. -- aid promises. >> we are looking to deliver aid as quickly as possible to mexico. the merida initiative is very important for the united states. but goes on -- what goes on at the southern border is very important. we are having to deal with the challenges and we want to do everything we can to support our friend. we also have responsibilities with congress, and we take those very seriously. we have been working with a senator and his staff to see what we can do.
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the report is in the draft stages. we are going to make sure that we can provide a comprehensive report as possible to show congress exactly what the mexican government is doing with regard to the rule law and human rights. >> there is a similar report this morning that the assistant secretary has written senator lugar to say that the u.s. is softening its stance on the honduras code, does not want to place any sort of lasting penalties on the government. how would you best characterize -- >> we are not softening our position. as you know, we have been working hard to try to get both parties to take up seriously teh san jose accords. we think it is the best way
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forward for resolving the crisis in honduras. we believe that this is the best mechanism for it. we continue to convince both parties and go from there. a coup took place in the country. >> you have not legally declared it a coup yet. >> we have called that a coup. what we have said is that we cannot declare it a military coup. >> why does it take so long to determine whether it is a military coup or not? >> there is a lot of legal issues that have to be examined before we can make that determination. information needs to be shared among parties and we need to look at information and make -- >> it seems to be taking a very long time. >> things take time when you get into these sensitive legal issues. >> have you made a decision on
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whether to impose additional sanctions on the defacto government? >> no decision has been made to do anything other than support the san jose accord. >> have you made a determination not to impose sanctions? this report to senator lugar suggests that you have made the decision not to impose sanctions. >> i am certainly not going to talk about details of correspondence we had with a congressperson or center. i am not going to do that from here. what i can tell you is that the united states is doing everything it can to support the return to constitutional democratic order in the country. we will do what we think is best to move that process forward. >> my question was not about a letter to rid my question was about whether you have made the decision to impose new sanctions on honduras. >> where we are focused right now is that process and getting
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the two parties to come to some sort of political settlement w. >> an israeli newspaper is reporting that the u.s. has asked israel to freeze settlements for a year as a way pressuring or encouraging parents to normalize -- or encouraging arabs to normalize relations with israel. has there been a specific request to freeze settlements for a year, a sort of trial after? -- sort of a trial effort? >> i appreciate the question, but it would not be appropriate for me to discuss those things going forward. i'm not going to talk about private discussions that we have with the israeli government.
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>> what about senator mitchell? is he planning to travel to london to meet with the is really a minister by the end of the month? -- israeli prime minister by the end of the month? >> he is planning to meet with a netanyahu in europe. once we have the details, we will share them with you. >> called the response to the u.s. week -- weak, and the criticism by latin america on the presence of military bases in columbia. >> with the response on honduras, i just don't agree with that characterization. we have been very robust with a criticism of what took place on the ground.
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it was clearly a coup. we condemn that. " we're trying to do now is restore democratic and constitutional order. we are working through oas, the appropriate mechanism to do that. but i would take issue with that characterization of our response being weak. the second part of the question, the united states has no plans to put bases in colombia. >> the secretary met with president of somalia and a transitional government today. i saw what she said and i am trying to understand something -- hopefully you can help me. during the campaign, both secretary clinton and the president obama criticized the previous administration's somalia policy.
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i am trying to see what the difference is now. she is talking about more support for the transitional government. she is not being specific enough. there were things done in terms of peacekeeping, eritrea and ethiopia over the last few years. what is new about u.s. policy on somalia that is different from the previous administration? >> well, this administration has made extremely clear that the transition federal government in somalia is really the best hope that we have right now for restoring stability to not only somalia but to the horn region. much of the instability in the horn region is because of what is going on in somalia. we are providing the transitional federal government with ammunition and
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weapons to support the efforts of the government to try to provide security. i hate to get into comparing one government with the other, but this government has demonstrated, by the secretary meeting with the president, that the united states is committed to try to improve the situation on the ground in somalia, not just for the purpose of improving the life of somalians in the region, but we are quite concerned about a number of problems in somalia, including the issue of privacy. the people have been without stable government and peace and security for way too long. we and others in the international community will do what we can to support the government in somalia. it is really right now the best hope for somalia. we need to give as much support as we can. >> can you update us on any
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efforts of the u.n. in terms of sanctions or any penalties for those who continue to support the terrorist group there? >> i have no updates in terms of what may or may not be happening at the u.n., but we want to see the eritrean government stop providing weapons, and we will continue to call on the government of eritrea to do that and we encourage other governments to do that as well furnishing those weapons for this instability in the region and terrorism, and it is important that they cut off the supply of weapons. >> do you feel that other countries in the region have not been as helpful as they could be to resolve this and address the issue? it seems that you have been saying all these things for months, not years. -- months if not years. except for the eritrea
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involvement and the peacekeepers, who are not authorized to do much -- >> certainly there is much that the countries can do. and we will see what we can do, providing a certain amount of weapons and ammunition. we may decide to increase that amount at some point. .
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>> i don't want to get ahead of where we are now. we are in the process that that delivering that 40-tons to the government. >> before you know it, you have a lot of tons. >> yeah, exactly. >> can you comment on the trip to seek sanctions against. >> ries supporting that group. >> what are they dog wrong? >> they are giving support, and
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we said we want that to stop. the secretary is frustrated, as all of us in the government are with what eritrea has been doing, for the interest of somalia and the region. we don't want terrorism to spread further. we need to deal with the root causes of what's going on in somalia so piracy doesn't continue, and eritrea contributes to cut be off funds, et cetera. >> can you provide any particulars of the assistance? >> not beyond what i just said. >> washington hosted a conference for former generals
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of somalia. are you aware of this. >> the pentagon might be familiar with that. >> the state department has been training somalia forces. is that true, as well? >> i don't want to get into the type of assistance we are giving to somalia. we are looking for ways to help bring stability to that region, which is an important policy goal. >> do you have any information on the meeting with the counterpart. >> let me read what i have. the united states and
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republicans of korea held productive consultations in hawaii to follow up on north korea issues discussed by secretary clinton. am bass door for the korean peninsula peace affairs and am bass door kim participated in these consultations. these meetings were part of an ongoing regular periodic consultations with officials from the republican of korea. these consultations reflect the close cooperation between the united states and the republican of korea. yes, sir. >> did the ambassador meet with them? >> my understanding ambassador bosworth did not participate in
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those althoughations that ambassador kim participated in, but met with ambassador wi on the margins of the meetings. >> did they cuss about bill clintons meetings with kim jong-il? >> i'm not aware of that at all. >> can you explain the economy between ambassador bos worth and ambassador kim. >> ambassador kim is our ambassador to the six party talks. we feel we need a number of envoys. >> to deal with north korea? you have ambassador kim, i don't understand what ambassador
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bosworth's goal is. >> he understands the issues very well. she values his contradictions, as does the president. the reason that we have a number of people working on that portfolio is because it is a very complex one, very important to the united states. the nuclear proliferation issues, it makes sense to them devoting their time to these particular issues. they work closely together and in cooperation and consult, so we have a very good cohesive. >> why are we spending all this time on one issue? >> it sounds like ambassador kim is doing the day-to-day working level work on north korea, and the six party talks and bosworth
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provides big picture strategic guidance? he does, he also gets involved with other issues. they're a very good solid team that is working on these matters. the fact that we have a few people working on them shouldn't lead you to day any conclusion, other than this demonstrates the important we put on dealing with the north korean issue. >> the was he in hawaii in his official capacity or in private. >> this was in connection with his work at tuf. >> do you know when this meeting with bill clinton and the national security folks are supposed to happen, to get his thoughts on things. >> i checked a little earlier this afternoon about this. they are working to try to
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schedule that, some kind of a session, whether it be a meeting or a teleconference, so that's yet to be determined. one thing i do want to mention that i did not mention yesterday, and it was my fault, we really want to thank the ambassador who had been working on this issue to help try to get the release of the two journalists, includes the swedish ambassador, who played a very important role, we want to thank him and the government of sweden for all the effort that they put in that led to the release of the two journalists. i want to make sure that i mention that. that work was instrumental. >> anything from the swiss on the three americans yet? >> no. i did check on that. we're still trying to get our
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protective powers trying to get more information. we have not been able to get that information up until now. we're working hard to get it, but we're unable to confirm that the three are in iran, but we've seen the report and have no reason to doubt the verasity of the report. we want to have that information available to us. last question. >> with various people such as what happened to journalists in north korea, that incident, of course, the three hikers going now into iran, there's modern technology that can perhaps designate borders. are you thinking of implementing some of this new technology to go out via blue tooth, and blackberries and such when people are close to borders,
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that they could go in, and look on their internet on their p.d.a.'s to actually make those inquiries? you've mentioned many times you put out all the warnings on paper, or telling people to go up on your internet site. we're a little more sophisticated with this newer technology. would that be something the state department would want to implement? >> well, certainly the department is moving forward on utilizing a number of new technologies. with regard to being able to use those technologies to determine where people or may not be held, you know, there are lots of improvements in the field of technology that will help our intelligence agencies and others as they go about trying to deal with issues like this, but beyond that, i don't have anything more i can add to that.
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thank you all. >> sonia sotomayer has been cleared by the u.s. senate to become the 111th justice, the third woman to serve on the court and it's first hispanic. she is likely to hear her first case on september 9th, the court officially begins its term monday, october 5th, your chance to see some of the floor debate from this week saturday, seven eastern. all this month, revisit the fairs and vest very wells we've covered this year. this weekend, panels from the literary seminar. go to book t.v..org for the full schedule. >> sunday, frank rich reflects on 15 years of political columns for the new york times, including his look at the future of the internet from 1995. the white water hearings.
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q. and a. sunday night on c-span. >> this is a senate hearing on climate change and energy technology. we'll here from interior and energy department officials and environmental groups. barbara bach chairs the group and the committee. it's two and a half hours. >> very happy to see all of you here. today's hearing will focus on insuring that america leads the clean energy transformation as
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we address the threat posed by climate change. i want to thank our witnesses who will share their expertise on this critical subject. we are facing two historic challenges in america today, a deep economic recession and the threat of unchecked global warming. we'll examine ways in which federal initiatives are addressing both of these challenges, and about additional steps we can take to provide incentives for clean energy development to transform the american economy. this country can, and should be a leader of the clean energy revolution. clean energy and climate legislation provides the certainty that companies need and the signal businesses are looking for to harness the greatest source of power we have in this country, american ingenuity. clean energy legislation is job legislation. it will create millions of new
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jobs in america, building wind turbines, installing solar panels on homes and producing electric and hybrid vehicles. every time we have one of these hearings, the republicans and democrats put different studies into the record proving their point. i want to again refer to the few charitable trusts study that shows that the creation of jobs in the clean energy sector is the one bright spot in our economy, the major bright spot in our economy. and noting that a charitable organization, i believe, does come to the table without bias. legislation that provides powerful incentives for the development of clean energy technologies will put america to work, and unleash u.s. investment to create innovative technologies and whole new industries right here in america, reduce our depends on foreign oil, and protect our
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children from pollution. so, i do look forward to hearing all of hour witnesses today about how we can work together to rise to the clean energy challenge, and to transform our economy. >> thank you for holding this hearing. i think it might be a good time to kind of assess what we have learned from these hearings. madam chairman, since i turned the gavel over to you, this committee has held over 30 hearings on global warning with testimony from numerous experts and officials from all over the country and world. these hearings explored various issues associated with cap and trade and i'm sure my colleagues learned from them. over the last two years, it was not from these hearings, at times arcane discussion that we got to the cab and trade.
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the departments cut to the choice, and exposed what cap and trade really means for the american people. we learned for example from president obama that under cap and trade, electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket. we learned that cap and trade is a tax and a great big one. we learned from democratic representative peter defozio that it is prone to market manipulation and speculation without guarantee of meaning have greenhouse reductions. it has operated in europe for three years, and is largely a failure. we learned that the cap and trade system, and i'm quoting now, the wall street crowd can't wait to sink their teeth into a new dollar and trading market in which hedge funds and investment funds would speculate. in no time, they'll create
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derivatives, swaps and more for that new market. in fact, most of the investment banks have created carbon trading departments, and are ready to go. i'm quoting senator dorgan. we learned that cap and trade programs might allow wall street to distort a carbon market for its own profits. we learned that unilateral united states actions, referring to the bill that is on the table now, to address climate change through cap and trade would be futile, that u.s. action alone would not impact co2 levels. we learned there is no way the united states acting alone can solve this problem. we have to have china and india. we learned that if we go too far with cap and trade, then all we are going to do is chase more
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jobs to china and india, where they've been putting up coal fire plants every 10 minutes. in some, we have a slew of hearings in three unsuccessful votes on the senate floor, actually, i'd say four, because we rejected the co2 in the beginning. off we go into the august recess, secure in the knowledge that cap and trade is riddled with flaws and the departments are seriously divided over one of president obama's top domestic top priorities. we also know that according to a recent polling, the american public is increasingly unwilling to pay anything as polls have shown to fight global warming. all this does not mean cap and trade is dead and gone.
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it's alive, as democratic leaders did in the house, eager to distribute pork in unprecedented scales to secure the necessary votes to try to pass this thing. so, be assured, we will mark up legislation in this committee, pass it, and then it will be combined with other bills from other committees, and we will have a debate on the senate floor. throughout the debate on cap and trade we will be there to say that the american farm bureau, the vast majority opposes it. it will send jobs to chain in a and india, destroy over 2 million jobs. it would not reduce our depends on foreign oil, according to e.p.a., it would do nothing to reduce global temperature. when it's all said and done, the american people will reject it, and we will defeat it. thank you, madam chairman. >> you really started my day off with such excitement.
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>> that's not the first time. >> i know. i'm sorry, i apologize. senator bond was here first. >> i want to continue to brighten your day. as we talk about clean energy and climate change, and there's been a lot of charges that have been thrown around with that republicans of not willing to do anything. i want to point out that the republicans are yes when it comes to wanting clean affordable energy. we support harnessing nuclear power, the single greatest source of zero carbon, zero air pollution, base load energy is nuclear power. nuclear power will create tens of thousands of productive jobs, and that's in contrast to the so-called green jobs of wind and energy, which can only be bought
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with up to $100,000 of taxpayer subsidy that we as taxpayers get the privilege of subsidizing at the time it blows, of course. republicans support clean hybrid, and electric plug in vehicle technology. last week we celebrated a a new assembly plant in kansas city missouri. we had on the mal, totally electric plug-in vans with the private sector partners, including at&t at that coca-cola, frito lay, madam chair, your pacific gas and electric, and my kansas city power and light will be rung
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these totally electric power zero emission vans. i'm also working in missouri with our universities to develop economical ways of producing bio mass to generate electricity with less emissions. we are using algae combined with carbon dioxide to reduce transportation fuel. i also support as my fellow republicans do harnessing the oil and gas lying under our shores and lands. environmentally friendly drilling technology allows for oil drilling in an ocean that was safe enough to with stand hurricane ca cat arena. we are going to continue to need it for the at least the next 20 years. estimates are that we have
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144 billion-barrels of oil if we tap it. the american west grand corporation estimates america has over 1 trillion-barrels of recoverable oil, more than 2,000 years worth of imports from saudi arabia. government estimates, 200 years supply of american coal, and a 95 year supply of natural gas. allowing ourselves to use america's abundant supplies of energy will promote affordable energy. abundant supplies of american energy will help keep prices down, help families stretch budgets and keep good-paying jobs. we will oppose proposals from the other side that will hurt america while helping our competitors in china. we oppose with put ago price on carbon as environmentalists like to say.
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instead, democratic proposals to impose pain on american people to force them to use less energy, which will not do anything for the climate, we support allowing america to harness it's own clean, affordable energy. finally, the reports of cap and trade legislation, that the chair intends to introduce will omit key details vital to determining impact on family and workers. that troubles me a great deal. if families are going to pay higher utility bills and farmers higher production costs, drivers face pain at the pump, and workers face job loss depending on how the cap and tradal locates. we ought to consider that over the august recess. i think the american people deserve to know how legislation affects their energy bills and jobs. we can't leave that he is allocation provisions blank with place holders if we're going to give americans a fair, honest open and to answer parent view of the legislation. i wonder how we can hold
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legislative hearings without reviewing its key provision. i urge the chair not to try to force the committee to do so. i thank you very much madam chair. >> i totally agree with you that when we mark up, we'll know exactly. >> will we know before the recess? >> before today? no, we won't see that until after. but we're going to have many, many more hearings before we mark up. >> will we know those provisions when they're developed. >> of course. >> ok. that's what we -- ok. >> senator alexander. >> thanks, madam chairman. i look forward to the witnesses. they know a lot about the subject matter we're discussing. i like that the title, clean energy revolution, senator bonn's actually described a republican proposal that we believe is consistent with a lot of democratic senators, as well
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with that 100 nuclear power plants, clean plug in vehicles, i believe we can electrify half hour cars and trucks. i learned that from one our witnesses here today, over the next 120 years. exploration for gas that's low carbon, and mini manhattan projects on things that we need to learn about, like capturing coal from existing -- carbon from existing coal ambulance. if all that were implemented, we would reach the goals by 2030 without a cap and trade, and do it in a low cast way. my questions today are going to have to do with a separate part of the bill that is coming fromle house of representatives. there's a renewable electricity standard that requires states to create 20% of their electricity by 2020 from a narrowly defined
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group of renewable energies, wind, solar, geo thermal and new hydro, a continuation of a national wind mill policy that we've had since 1992 when we began to subsidize the building of wind turbines as a way of powering our country. so, if the title of our hearing is clean energy revolution, my question then for the witnesses and to others, why don't we have a clean energy standard? why do we leave out, for example nuclear power, wimp produces 70% of hour carbon-free electricity today? i congratulate mr. sandoval for mentions nuclear power, which is rare for this administration. we had a very good meeting earlier this week about nuclear power, that it's safe and we have ways to deal with the
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waste. if this is so important that we need so encourage wind, why don't we encourage nuclear power? ford, i would like to include this chart of comparisons, two different options to make another 20% of the united states carbon free. the administration said that it wants and it's mentioned in the testimony today, let's make 20% of our electricity from wind. why not at the same time try to make 20% of our electricity from nuclear? both are pollution free and carbon free, and hear the comparisons. with nuclear, you'd need about 100 new reactors about the number we have today. to do it with wind, you'd need turbines covering the area the size of west virginia. nuclear produces 20% of our electricity today. wind is a base load power.
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maybe what we need is a base load clean energy standard, and a renewable clean energy standard. wind is intermittent, only available when the wind blows. nuclear is available about 90% of the time on average, that's why we call it base load, wind is available about a third of the time. in our part of the country, tennessee, it's only available about 19% of the time and the only wind farm in the southeast, so the net effect of the renewable electricity standard is to force us to pay more to buy wind from south dakota when we'd rather be using it for nuclear or conservation or buying scrubbers for our coal plants. the 100 nuclear reactors would be built object existing siting. wind would require thousands of miles of new transmission lines. the subsidy cost would be about $17.5 billion over 10 years, including the nuclear production
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tax credit. for wind, it would be 10 times that $170 billion over 10 years, which is the production tax credit. the chairman mentioned green jobs. there would be more underbuilding nuclear power plants, a lot more, than there would be under building wind turbines. nuclear plants last 80 years, win turbines 20. we have 47,000 abandoned mines in california. the cost of believe both is about the same according to the national academies, and the visual impact is 25,000 square miles pore wind. my question will be why not have a clean energy standard or base load standard that includes nuclear? madam chairman, i'd like to ask permission to include this chart following my remarks. >> it will be done, sir.
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>> thank you very much. >> senator. >> thanks, very much, madam chair. i'm glad to see the witnesses, and tom. today's hearing is our sixth in the past month in the need to fight global warming by the economy of the future. during these hearings, we've heard from business and industry leaders that the u.s. needs to act fast to catch up to other countries that are leading the way on clean energy. right now, for example, china is investing 10 times more of its gross domestic product on clean energy than the united states. we've heard from military leaders that global warming is a serious threat to our national security. as many as 800 million people are going to face water or crop
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land scarceity in the next 15 years, setting the stage for conflict and breeding the conditions for terrorism, according to the c.i.a.'s national intelligence council. during today's hearing, we're going to hear more about science-based options. we have to reduce emissions, create jobs and grow our economy. last month, the house passed a landmark bill that would fundamentally shift how america uses energy, and compares the challenges that we have. all eyes are on this committee to see if we are going to do our part. we've got to award innovative companies and workers that are building the clean energy economy, and make producers pay for the damage they're doing to our planet. we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 to get on the track that we need to ultimately ever by 2050.
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that is the science-based achievable goal, and a major new report by mckinsy and company found the united states can reduce energy use by 23% by 2020 by becoming more energy efficient. we need to invest in research and development to create jobs in the short term, and give our country the tools to compete in the long term. right now, the house bill only devotes one and a half percent of the allowances to research and development. a fortune 500 company like johnson and johnson spends about 12 percent of its revenue's on its research on r&d. we need to improve the house bill to provide the investments necessary to match our technology with our goals. if we accomplish these objectives, factories that are now dark and empty can find new
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life building wind turbines, solar panels, or any of the thousands of components that generate renewable energy. i hear our colleague from tennessee, senator alexander continue to ask why not more nuclear, and i think the question's a fair one. i remember when nuclear was a dirty word around here. now we've seen applications come in from people who want to make the investment. i think certainly we have to look at that more seriously. just look at what's happened in new jersey. more than 2,000 clean energy companies employ 25,000 people. when we return to washington in september, we need to take what we've learned from these hearings, get to work building our clean energy future, and i
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will hope that we will have added sufficient debate and volume of air pass so that we can turn that air into renewable energy. >> thank you very much, senator. >> senator. >> madam chairman, unemployment has now hit nine and a half percent in america, and it will continue to rise, despite promises that the president's $787 billion stimulus bill would prevent unemployment from reaching 8% and create jobs. vice president biden has said the administration misread the economy. he is correct. misreading the economy is a serious mistake, given the billions we borrowed from china to pay for that stimulus bill. the people paid the price.
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now, some in the majority want to pass a 1500 page cap and trade scheme. with the failure of an economic stimulus package to create the jobs, should the american people believe the cap and trade bill will work? supporters advocate the largest energy tax in the history of america with the burden of the bill falling on the backs of working marries at a high time of unemployment. they are rushing to do it. in an article in investors business daily, they ask why the urgency, why not more time for thorough cost benefit analysis? why hurriedly push a bad bill just to get something passed? why no acknowledgment that the countries that take the best care of their environment are the richest? why not tap more of our nations abundant natural fuels in ways that are more environmentally friendly than other nations?
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advocates ever tried to sell the american people on the idea that we can be energy secure by having less energy, but making it more expensive. >> claiming the approach will create jobs all across america, leaving no worker behind, claiming that this cap and trade strategy will wean america off foreign sources of energy. they claim it is critical for our national security and will make us competitive in the world. i ask the question, why are saudi arabia and our middle eastern countries so vital to our energy mix? they have vast amounts of oil. if america had the same reserves, would we be in a better position to win the energy race with china and india? the answer is yes. we well, we have that in america, oil reserves throughout the west that rival saudi arabia's deposits, also ail in
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alaska, and other states. do the authors of cap and trade want to tap into that? no, we have coal reserves that have been referred to as the saudi arabia of coal. these are in kentucky, ohio, west virginia, montana and wyoming. do the authors of cap and trade want to tap into that? no america has that and more. we have the uranium, wind, solar, bio mass and hydropower. we have it all and can develop it in a responsible way. the authors of cap and trade don't want to develop all american energy resources. they want to start the energy race with china and india two laps behind as opposed to three laps ahead. the more energy america can produce, the stronger the american economy will be. energy development creates jobs, not just green jobs, but real
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red, white, and blue jobs. we need to keep all the american jobs we can. we need them all, and the solution rests on our shores. thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator. >> as i was looking over your testimony, it's clear there's a central message that we have here in the united states right now, the technology, row sources, know how to build a clean energy economy that will create jobs and cut our dependence on foreign oil, reducing pollution. this sounds like a triple win. i look forward to hearing the details from all of you. thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator. >> first of all, i'd like to see thank you for this hearing, and echo the words of my friend from tennessee that if you look at where we get our energy in this country, we are only getting
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about 1.4 percent from wind. we need to look at nuclear, we need to look at coal. seems to me if we really wanted to reduce our emissions in this country, we would move very quickly on the nuclear, and move very quickly to find a technology that would capture carbon so we could continue using coal. we know those people overseas are going to use it. i think the senator made a good point where he said that we need in terms of oil, we need more, we need to find more, and use less. the public interest in private sector communities agree that the crucial factor that will determine whether we have an effective climate policy is the extent to which the policy incurs the development and employment of needed technology. yet regulation without sufficient available technology will result in high cost for american consumers while offering little hope that developing nations will answer the call to reduce their
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emissions. tackling the climate change problem is not something we can do alone. i agree that the u.s. should be a leader, but while carbon caps are difficult to sell to the developing world, access to new technology is not. i have introduced a bill to create a new committee in the asian pacific partnership for cooperation on clean energy technology and commercialization to help speed the wide acceptance of these policies. that technology development is needed in the areas of carbon capture and see quest reaction. recognizing the disconnect
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between what technology delivers and the bill's objectives, the authors include provisions that mask the strength this compliance burden will have on the economy. if all these provisions don't work out at planned, and government programs rarely do work out at planned, the costs could be northerly must. e.i.a.s recent analysis offers a devastating critique of a proposal who's ethic kaz hinges on a range of impacts that may accompany the bills limitation under a variety of technology and offset available assumptions. even in areas where low energy technologies are employed, there are significant costs. if offsets are more limited, the legislation could devastate the economy to increases in electricity prices of up to 77%,
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gasoline prices up with 33 percent, and natural gas of up to 75% resulting in a cumulative hit of 6.2 trillion by 2030. senator said let's face it, the bill we now consider is a tax bill. i agree. it's not possible to look at putting a price on carbon any other way. the government's imposing a mandate with the intention of increasing prices to achieve a certain outcome. accordingly, the costs associated with the bill should be considered with a seriousness that any tax measure is given. against this backdrop i'd say that i do support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission but our policy approach musting reasonable, north korea economic stability by not causing fuel switching, rapid rate increases or economic dislocation. this is contingent upon requirements that are consistent with the development and deployment of source ever have
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low carbon energy during a time when the national unemployment rate is at nine and a half and the national debt. my goals are to keep this nation's economy, and that of ohio under sure footing while decreasing emissions. climate change requires a long term solution whose strategy is fully cable of accomplishing the time necessary in a manner that is consistent with low carbon deployment. >> thank you. senator. >> thank you. let me thank our witnesses today. i would ask unanimous consent that my entire statement can be placed in the record. let me summarize by saying clean
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energy's important for this country for many reasons. it's important for national security, as we become energy self sufficient here in america. it's important for our environment. we know the impacts of global climate that change and carbon emissions. it's important for our economy. this is where the growth in jobs will be in america. g.e. understands that, honey well, understands that motorola understands that, do upon the understands that. they are prepared to move forward with new technologies and energy, creating jobs here in america, saving jobs here. the difficulty is we have a level playing field. we don't have one today, because for dirty energy, we don't calculate the true costs. we don't put into the cost equations the health dangers created by the pollution, we don't put into the equations the environmental damage being done, the cleanup that will be required in cleaning up our air and water. we don't put in that the fact
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that there are built in subsidies today for dirty energy that new technologies, clean energy, does not enjoy. that came home to me when b.p. solar, located in frederick marry land was planning an expansion. they took it to spain rather than america, and we lost jobs because we were not as aggressive as we should have been in moving forward as other countries are doing today. we don't want to be left behind. let me just point out, i come from a proud manufacturing state, the maryland and particularly baltimore has a rich history as a manufacturing hub. we want to have a future in manufacturing in our community. when i take a look at the turbine propellors, motor witness transmission lines that are going to need to be
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developed, it's an opportunity for us to save and expand manufacturing jobs in america by expanding clean energy technologies. i'm bullish on clean technology for clean energy. i think that that is where we'll be having the job growth in america. i was proud to be a supporter of president obama's american recovery and reinvestment act. this committee worked very hard on that act. madam chairman, you were critically responsible for many provisions in that act that dealt with moving forward with our infrastructure, including our infrastructure to improve clean energy technology. yesterday, the department of energy announced $2.4 billion of grants from the recovery fund supporting the developing and manufacturing of batteries and electric vehicles. now, part of those funds are going to go to general motors
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facility in maryland, a facility that has a future, but now a much brighter future in keeping jobs. we've lost manufacturing jobs in my state. that recovery bill will create jobs in my state, and a good future for the people of maryland. we're going to develop the type of battery power and electric power so that we can have the next generation of vehicles in america that can compete anywhere in the world, and help us with an energy policy that makes sense for our country. it's good for our environment, and good for our economy. thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator whitehouse. >> thank you, madam chair. you ever assembled distinguished witnesses. i think i may be the last person between us and them. i don't want to go on, but i do want to emphasize briefly the
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points that were made. it's important that we reset our economy towards a clean energy future. the consequence of failing to do that are manifold, national security consequences, economic consequences, jobs consequences, quality of life consequences,en environmental consequences that will become very real if we fail to act. the second point that i want to leave us with is i don't believe that our present status quo is some ideal state of nature from which any variation is anomaly, or interference. the status quo right now is riddled with government hand on the levers of our economy. it just happens to put those hands in places that benefit dirty, polluting industries.
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to move government's hand in a way that supports a better clean energy future is not a disturbance in the state of nature that some of thigh colleagues appear to presumesthe status quo represents. it's actually just making better decisions with the same government power we use right now. right now, government's hand provides incentives to pollute. right now, government's hand creates a failure in this country to meet the international market that exists for clean energy incentives and investment. right now, government's hand lays subsidies all over dirty fuel. really, all we're doing is resetting something that we've just set in the wrong place, rather than taking an ideal market, and adding government interference. i think that that's kind of a basic fact we need to acknowledge in this debate. i appreciate the hearing, and would be delayed to get to the witnesses. >> thank you, senator, very much. so, now we turn to our panel.
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the title of today's hearing, in case we forgot, climate change and nortand insuring that ameris the clean energy revolution. we'll hear from federal energy commission, otherwise known at frc. >> if i could have my full written remarks placed in the record. >> yes. >> and i will summarize from them. >> thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. the federal energy regulatory commission and many states are using existing authorities to remove barriers to the development of low carbon renewable resources to encourage greater efficiency in the electric system. these efforts are helping to reduce the emissions produced by the generation of electricity. our nation, however, has a much
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greater ability to reduce emissions in the usage of electricity. studies indicate we could add gigawats. >> on an economy wide basis, energy efficiency alone could reduce our usage by 25%. a major reason why energy efficiency are not used more extensively are that greenhouse gases are an extern turnality. certain types which coal production currently cause significant emissions of greenhouse gases. resources such as win turbines and energy efficiency do not. climate change legislation can change this. this legislation is a way to recognize the energy marketplace the effect of greenhouse gases. doing so will encourage more
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energy efficiency and use of low carbon renewable resources allowing us to reduce gas emissions while maintaining our quality of life. let me describe commissions efforts to reduce barriers to new energy development. the commission has limited the charges proposed on win generators for deviating from the amount of energy they schedule to deliver energy to the grid. they have often limited ability to control output. we have also approved rates to fund the development of transmission facilities needed to deliver resources such as hydroelectric power from canada and wind power from the upper midwest and montana and wyoming. i would note it is highly unlikely that all of the transmission facilities needed to deliver theout put of renewable recourses will be constructed without additional cost allocation authority. the commission is supporting the development of emerging hydrocan
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i nettic technologies using the ocean ties and river currents to generate electricity. in april of 2009 an agreement was signed clarifying jurisdictional respondenting for leasing renewable projects on the inner continental shelves. similarly, we have signed agreements with the state of washington, and the state of oregon to coordinate the review of projects in the waters off those states. in addition, the incorporation of consumer energy use management also called the mann response into the operation of the electric grid will reduce consumers costs and carbon foot print are our electric supply. the commission is required the countries transmission organizations and independent system operators to make filings
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that will ultimately reduce barriers to demand response. the commission recently issued a national assessments of demand response potential after the year 2019. that assessment found the potential for peak electricity demand reductions across the country in as much as 181 gig watts. these savings if realized can reduce carbon emissions by over 1 billion-tons annually. congress recently tasked the commission to adopt smart grid standards. the commission identified several priorities for the development of standards for smart grit technologies. the department of energy and national institute of standards and technology have major roles in the development of smart grid. we are working closely with those agencies and states and fostering our deployment of smart grid technology. in conclusion, the commission is using its statutory authorities
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aggressively to eliminate barriers to renewable resources and consumer energy use management to produce efficiency in the system. with those efforts and the efforts of other agency while helpful are not enough to prevent the growing accumulation of greenhouse gases. climate change legislation is the key he to altering this trend, and will set an example for the leadership of other countries and help our nation change from an importer of energy to an exporter of energy technology. congress should enact this legislation now. thank you again for the opportunity to testify today. i'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you so much. our next speaker will be the honorable david sandoval from the u.s. democratic of energy. >> thank you for the chance to
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testify today. i've traveled to china twice in the past two months. during those trips, i've seen the impressive investments that country is making in clean energy. they are investing in advanced clean toll technologies, developing windfalls and building high voltage long distance transmission lines and launching electric vehicle programs in 13 major cities. in europe, sustained investments in clean energy has created widespread economic opportunity. denmark with a land area less than west virginia and a population smaller can chicago is the world's leading producer of wind turbines. the industry employs more than 20,000 people and earns more than $4 billion each ear. germany and spain are the top installers of solar panels, accounting for three quarters of the global market worth $37 billion last year. in brazil, more than half of the gasoline supply has been
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replaced with ethanol made from sugar cane. cars sold last year were flex fuel. the world is on the custom of a clean energy revolution. whether the united states is a leader or lagger in that revolution depends on the decisions we make in the months and years ahead. the obama administration has started to lay a strong foundation. the american recovery and reinvestment act provides more than $80 billion in investment, creating jobs, and money to make our electric grid more efficient, and $3.4 billion to accelerate deployment of capture and storage technologies. the largest improvement ever was announced in the vehicle fleet. president obama announced $2.4 billion of investments in american battery and electric vehicle industry resulting in
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thousands of jobs while reducing our dependence on oil. these steps will not be enough. transforming our energy economy requires work over a period of decades. we must get in the game and play to win. we should start with energy efficiency. today, american families and businesses are burdened with energy waste. a study co sponsored and released last week identifies potential opportunities available to could reduce fossil fuel emissions by the year 2020 by more than 10% while saving the economy $700 billion. let me repeat that, while saving the economy $700 billion. as we work to improve efficiency, we should work to enhance our renewable resources. a recent report concluded wind could provide 20%

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