tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN June 8, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
ultimate and state for afghan national security forces, the target, as you know, is to have them, police and army combined, at the 300,000 level by this october. to me, that's not a number that is engraved in stone and would never change. we have to see how circumstances develop over time as this first transition of seven districts and provinces take place. how they do. farther down the road, 2014 and 2015, the afghans may decide they do not need a security force this size. >> another factor to sustainable progress was not just reconciliation but the reintegration of more than
100,000 through the program. reintegration of the taliban is going slowly. it is not proceeding at anything like the pace if you were able to accomplish in iraq. do you think reintegration will be critical? the size of the security force requires -- is correlated to the size of ongoing insurgency or taliban or other extremist activity. >> it is a great question. you're right. we have not talked that much about this so far. the afghans are focused on two elements to bring this insurgency to an end. one is reconciliation. kind of big r and reintegration, little r. both are premised on a concept
we would share. it cannot kill your way out of an insurgency. there have to make a political solution and reintegration as part of it. i am told there are 2500 former insurgents that are either process or in process. it is an afghan process and i think afghan capacity is an issue here about how fast they can move. there is another element that is significant and that is the afghan local police initiative. not quite like the sons of iraq. sons of iraq as you remember is say -- some more insurgents and some were not.
the afghan local police initiative focuses on individuals who want to stand up for their community and were not part of the insurgency. their numbers are 6000 and we expect to be able to expand that. in the lessons learned category, the sons of iraq were never tied to the iraqi government. the prime minister made some undertakings to incorporate some into the security services. the afghan local police have started out linked to the ministry of interior. you have got all three of those in play. all three afghans supported and
afghan-led, clearly would like to see their reintegration process move quickly. that will be my focus because as it was in iraq, it could be an important component of a broader process. unlike iraq, the ultimate solution will come through as a successful process and we will see what effect the death of osama bin laden may have on taliban leadership and to what extent that linkages personal rather than institutional. we do not know the answer. it will be an important question. >> i would ask our distinguished ranking member, do you have a second round? >> i wanted to ask one question. there might be a follow-up as
well as the senator. we can amplify this, you can am -- amplified this with responses but i wanted to ask you about a related question, i ask you how the american mission give the mission and goals and how we define it. one way to analyze that for not just for members of congress but for the american people is to have metrics, measurements reporting and there is probably a good debate about whether they are adequate enough. we learned a lot and that is to recall to measure and report. we have metrics like that in place. i want to get your assessment about where we are and some of
what the senator talk about with accountability.t to is there some way to measure progress? >> it is an important point and again, i think it is part of that accountability process. how do you measure progress? that can be hard in certain areas and other areas, it is easy. in education, we know how many kids are in school. 2.5 million are girls. we consider our costs and
options and we would like to take a minute to comment on crowells and women in afghanistan. one of the first things usaid did in 2002 when we reopened the of the sea is to start them -- educational programs for girls who were shut out of the educational system under the taliban. in the middle of january on a freezing day, i took then- senator biden to the girls' school that we have established. we visited a first grade class that had girls whose ages range from 6 through 12 because the 12-year-olds had to become of school-age when the taliban took over. i remember asking a 12-year-old whether it bothered her to be in there with little kids and she
said, i am just so happy to have the chance for an education. i was touched at the time and i still am. as we consider again hard options, it certainly is my intention to see that there would be nothing in my recommendations over decisions i might have input or control of that could put at risk in half of the population oin afghanistn who face significant challenges but who are in school and government. it does touch that metrics. these are things we can measure. i take the point. i am not far along in to this to
be able to give you large quantities of statistics and not everything is measurable. i'd take the point that which can be measured and metricized should be so the people and congress have a sense of what is happening. >> center? >> thank you and thank you very much for that commitment because that is what i was going to ask as we talked about the potential for reconciliation and reintegration of the taliban. insuring that women's rights are not traded away in any negotiations and i think for all of us who have watched what is happening in afghanistan, one of the biggest concerns i think about, what happens after the u.s. leaves is what happens to half of the population with women. i very much appreciate your commitment to ensure that those
[unintelligible] and what initiatives you think we can or should be taking to engage new delhi in this and realign with the biggest -- pakistans. is. >> i would imagine my colleagues from which side of affairs would say if you are not the nominee for pakistan -- it is an important question. the pakistanis have been engaged against militants and the launch -- we lost a large number of forces fighting them. it is problems of the haqqani problemsnd the
persist. in recent weeks since the death of bin laden, we have had a number of senior visitors who have engaged the pakistanis, including the chairman as well as secretary clinton, admiral mullen, and others. they have made some statements and it is clearly important to follow through. with respect to india, i am pleased to see from my possible future perspective in afghanistan that the dialogue between the foreign -- has resumed. that is an important step and broaden it. clearly, the degree to which india and pakistan start to
seize some capacity to work together. this to the benefit of the region and the benefit to us. that falls to the purview of others as it relates to india. >> thank you for your input and your willingness to take on this vital mission. >> thank you. be leaving and turning the gavel over to senator menendez. thank you for the testimony and with that, i will turn to senator menendez. >> thank you for your service past and a willingness to serve in the future. we had a good discussion and i want to pursue some of the things we talked about. i know you do not determine war
strategy, but i do wonder what your role will be as the ambassador in terms of information to the congress about where we're at. i am one of those who believe that we would be more successful in afghanistan by reducing our troop presence in the south and support for institution building in the north. it seems that a counterterrorism strategy versus a strategy, having the wherewithal to stand up and govern itself, it would maybe consider it a policy if we had a partner which we do not have a solid partner in this regard. so that present policy has had an enormous toll on american lives, on american treasure, and
i do not think we have won the hearts and minds. do you believe we're making sustainable progress in the south? we're hoping but after that, sustainablea sustainablas forest to be able to stay. what happens on the follow-on? >> thank you, a senator and thank you for the time you give me in your office. that was valuable to me and trying to get my mind around the issues. we are clearing and holding in the south and west and we're going to transition seven provinces and district in july to afghan security control. i do not have a list in front of
me but some of those are in these areas. it would be an important step. that ultimately is our goal and their goal for the entire nation. they are assured they can do this. i never -- i understand that we are confident they have the capabilities in the seven districts to do it. and if successful, that will be and not a bad start to the transition that we and they are committed to to cover the country. will you play to win over pashtuns and others in the south? >> again, at this stage in the process, i cannot answer that
with exact certainty because it will be part of a process of consultation with others who are involved. as the afghans move towards a concentrated reconciliation effort, i would see the role for the embassy working closely as we do with pashtuns in the cells. basically we would talk to anybody who would talk to us and not ask a lot of questions. as we entered those conversations at least initially.
whether i can get away with this in afghanistan or not i do not know but i do think it is important that we know what pashtuns are thinking as well as those to the north are looking at especially as a tricky reconciliation process moves forward. >> let me turn to a field you do have a lot to say about. that is what is the continuing use of taxpayer dollars for an assistance mission. lander standing is the president is shifting from a military mission. that mission is to create a functioning government. from 2000 to through 2010, we
have spent $19 billion in this system. much as us -- that is subject to endemic corruption and i know there is a report about to be released suggesting we have had only limited success that this huge attempt at nation-building not survive in american withdrawal. it is a real concern to me. is this a good use of u.s. taxpayer dollars? >> [inaudible] we have had some significant successes with our assistance and i understand report touches on some of those. that would include education. we were talking about before you
came in the provision of basic health services. what i can tell you is ththat im committed to insuring the assistance we provide makes an important, positive difference, can be implemented, and it can be sustained. i would agree with the three basic conditions that i saw in the report and we have never had the chance to fully steady. our assistance projects should be necessary to my table, and sustainable. the administrator shaw and deputy secretary niknight have
responded from their respective offices and they are the ones to speak authoritatively. if i am going -- appointed, we have to make a difference and it has to be sustainable. >> quantify in the context of $19 billion what is success? >> in education which was an early priority for us this excessive, getting over 7 million kids in to school. half of those being girls. that would be a metric of success. >> if you put a dollar figure on that, what would that be? >> i could get that for you. >> i would appreciate that.
i consider that a success but i do not think that is $19 billion. i admonish the audience that we appreciate your attendance but we're not subject to comments. my point here is that -- i will support your nomination. the point is you will be in a role that is yes, diplomacy and foreign-policy. right now, i do not believe we are being good fiduciaries to the taxpayer. moving forward, do you believe that the karzai government is doing what it needs to do to be an effective partner, to be an
effective and transparent partner? >> there are several elements to a very important question. i will start with the last. i noted in my statement i got to kabul 10 days after president karzai had been named as chairman of the afghan interim authority. i worked closely with him during those early days. i believe he is committed to a unified combustible afghanistan. i look forward to renewing the relationship. i am going to make every effort as the ambassador to have a
>> president obama announced the expansion of his workforce training initiative for the u.s. manufacturing sector. the program is called skills for america's future. including leaders of companies like groupon, and motorola and discovery communications. this is 20 minutes. >> the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. everybody please have a seat. thank you. it is great to be back. i come here often enough that i should be an apprentice. i have been in with dr. biden and her husband owes me big
time. it is wonderful to see everybody here. we have some special guests. our outstanding labor secretary is here. congressman jim grant is here. -- rand is here. the mayor of alexandria, bill euille is here. i have the chance to see where students are trading, led by a teacher who was here who spent almost three decades at ford motor company. can i get him back here? there he is.
that is what my sleeves rolled up. do you want me to work on your car? i will do it. i was so impressed not only with the skills of the young people who work but also the enthusiasm and excitement of what they see as their future. all across america, students like the one here. they're learning a trade and working hard to move a to the profession they have chosen or take a chance. we saw that look like a teen- -- 18-and 19-year-olds looking to go back to work. david started, and a car
dealership as an apprentice and he was at the low end of the totem pole and he entered the gm automotive program, started picking a new skills that led to better and more challenging work and proved himself as a technician and after he graduated, david is hoping to work hard enough to earn a management position where he was an apprentice a few years ago. what happens here at this place? david said whatever he ends up doing, the training program was the sparking needed to get his start. the spark he needed to get his start. lighting a spark. that is what this is about. learning a new skill. training a new field.
that is the reason we're here today. we have to light more sparks across america. that is the difference in the futures of individuals who are looking for a better life and in the difference of america's people. i set a goal that by the end of this decade to why you are going to -- we are investing in community colleges. the goal is not just assuring that someone has a certificate or a diploma. the goal is to make sure that your degree helps you get a promotion or raise or job. that is especially important no. obviously, we're slowly recovering from a very hard time. there are people who are out of work carried without a job.
that is unacceptable to me and unacceptable to all of you. we have to do everything we can and everything in our power to strengthen and rebuild the middle class. we will be able to test new ideas. we will have to have all hands on deck and that is why last year which brought together major companies and community colleges to launch a new campaign led by business leaders across the country called skills for america. the idea was simple. we could match of schools and businesses and create pipelines through the classroom to the office where the factory was. this would help workers find better jobs and would help companies find the highly educated and trained people they need in order to remain competitive. we're announcing today several
new commitments by the private sector, colleges, and the national association of manufacturers to helmick these partnerships everybody. -- to help make these partnerships a reality. half a million community college students will get a industry- accepted credentials for manufacturing jobs. the irony is even though a lot of folks are looking for work, a lot of companies are looking for skilled workers. there is a mismatch. that we can close and this partnership is a great way to do it. you will know exactly what kind of training went to a degree. if you are considering attending a community college you might be able to know that the diploma you learn -- earn will be valuable. a lot of that is happening.
if you participate in the gm program you can count on being prepared to work on gm cars. we're also thinking -- taking additional steps. the new research on the internet so workers can sign on and see what jobs their skill sets allow them to access all across america. i was talking to burnie and he was saying a lot of the young people in this program, they think they can only get a job at the dealership and they realize there are a range of possibilities out there. you might end working up for company that -- like ntsa, making sure, bill safeties is practiced all across the country. part of what this web site will
do is give people a better idea of the scope of the opportunity available. a new push to make it easier for high-school students to get a start on other degrees and 35 other participating schools because part of our task is making sure that young people on high school -- in high school see relevance between what they are learning. the new mentoring programs and scholarships for taking back careers in engineering. something that is vital to our manufacturing. and motr colleges and -- more colleges and organizations are joining. where all these steps will lead to is this. right now, people across america -- out jon ir job is to lighten.
and we know that we have to rebuild the middle class and this has to do with how well we do with a manufacturing and with those jobs that are related to making products here in the united states. will understand what it takes to build a stronger economy. we know it will require investigative research, technology that will lead to new ideas and new industries. we know that it means building the infrastructure, roads, bridges. manufacturing and new products. that requires training and educating our citizens. that is why we passed the work force investment act to build all this progress.
[applause] to build on this progress with new and innovative approaches and to figure out what works. we have a lot of program time. if the program does not work in training people in jobs for the future and giving them the jobs, we should eliminate the program. if the program is working, we should put more money in. we have to be ruthless in evaluating what works and what does not in order for folks to get a job and for the industry to get the workers they need. that is how we will make our economy stronger and more effective. let me make this clear. if we do not decide to do this, -- we can choose to walk away
from our community college system. we can say to ourselves, you know what, for competition and low wages overseas, manufacturing is out the door and there is a much we can do. we can decide about the fiscal problems. those of us who have done well do not have to pay more taxes in order to fund these investments. but i want to make it clear that is not the history. that is not who we are. we continue to be the world's leader in discovery. i see a future where we train workers who make things here. folks working with their hands,
creating value. not just shuffling paper. that is part of where -- what has built the american dream. if anybody doubts that, they should come to the school and talk to the people who are doing the training. that to go to detroit where auto companies are coming back and hiring. that is a lot of people. we have to travel across the country , men and women who are starting businesses and bringing new products to market and helping this company come back stronger than before. you are in a tough fight. we have been in a tough fight in a crippling recession. but also, dealing with the problems of help -- happened before the recession.
" the middle class was treading water. i do not think the answer is to turn back. the answer is to stand up for what this company is capable of doing. that is how we will win this fight for all those who are participating including the national association of manufacturers and the companies who have participated in this process, thank you. america is ready to win. fink you very much and god bless you. -- thank you very much and god bless you.
an2010this is 55 minutes. >> welcome. i would like to begin with a recap of president obama's video about president karzai in afghanistan. facebook for approximately two and a half hours to discuss a number of things including the death of osama bin laden. their shared -- and the transition to afghan leadership. the president's expressed his sorrow over casualties in helmand province. they agreed every loss is " a tragedy and undermines our
state they agreed to what continue going forward. >> [inaudible] >> of the president's -- they discussed that. and agreed to continue those conversations. there was not a discussion of specific numbers. it will have discussions with -- in the coming days and weeks and will make his decision soon. >> in the past day or so, there
was a drop in momentum created given all that, can the administration say you are providing all the answers that congress [inaudible] >> this president takes very seriously. in is his obligation to consult with card -- congress i can tell you those consultations are extensive and constant. i went over the list of engagements on conversations they had on libya and that is 40
engagements. we will answer the questions in that resolution. consistent with that we will fanter questions. >> will you do it in a way the house has asked for her? >> i do not have a format for you. >> would you characterize that as necessary? >> if it is similar, our reaction to it would be the same. we would support and appreciate expressions for the mission. i think the goals the president shares are the goals the present
has regarding libya are widely shared. that is to allow the libyan people to choose their own future. with regard to the nato mission to enforce a no-fly zone. >> there are calls for anthony waited to resign. what is the position? >> we have a position. >> i was wondering about the white house reaction to the opec meeting rate. has the u.s. been putting pressure on any member for an increase? cit >> let me take those questions in order. the president for his very concerned about high energy prices when and the impact the energy crisis has on prices at
it is also starkly at odds with history. history has shown that reform motivates more businesses to offer insurance. health reform in massachusetts, for example, uses a similar structure with an exchange, a personal responsibility requirement, and an employer responsibility requirement, and a number of individuals with employer-sponsored insurance in massachusetts has increased. we are confident the act will strengthen our existing employer-based system going forward. we simply disagree with those conclusions. >> [inaudible] >> [laughter] >> the bay state, home of my beloved boston red sox. let me continue with jay. >> do you agree with the report's conclusion that the requirements of law will increase medical costs for many companies? >> we believe that the affordable care act will reduce cost overall.
that was one of the reasons why the president pursued insurance reform, because he wanted to address the burden that costs were placing on individuals as well as businesses. so, yes, we disagree with the conclusion of the report. >> in light of recent events, is inappropriate for obama -- >> as you know, he is holding a rotating presidency of united nations security council. it is an importer of position. moreover, he has voted in ways that we consider very helpful on issues like took the ball, libya, and iran. he's been an important ally in
those missions. yes, we do think it is appropriate for the president to meet with the leader of the bonn, and we obviously, as we are in a number of countries, concerned about human rights issues. the country is playing a more important role as a leader. we think it is definitely a worthwhile meeting. >> and number of people in the country think he is seriously corrupt and will be able to use this meeting with president obama as a way of building up his popular support. >> i think that the president of the united states is meeting with the president as he does with other heads of state who have less than sterling, perhaps, records.
first of all, the president is making reform efforts, and as i said, the country has been very important with security issues regarding libya, iran, and other issues, and it is important for the president to have this meeting, for that reason. yes? >> what is the president's reaction to this report from senate foreign relations committee democrats, basically talking and efficiency in the way aid is being spent and the threat of a severe economic depression? >> we welcome the report, even though we do not endorse all of the conclusions of it. it is important to note that afghanistan has made significant progress and the presumption that our assistance has contributed little and that afghanistan has made no progress is simply wrong. we disagree with that. as president obama noted this
week, we're trading afghan forces with the goal of turning over security lead to the afghan forces between the drawdown that begins in july 2011 and 2014. civilian assistance is important, but it represents a small portion of the overall cost of our mission in afghanistan, but it is an essential component of critical national security strategy in afghanistan. remember, if the goal is to transition more and more responsibility to the afghans and afghan security forces, it is important that the civilian assistance part be affected so that it builds capacity. it allows us to do just that. on sustainability, we agree that as an issue. that is why our focus is that
afghans can sustain the progress that has been made the last several years. >> the president is concerned there could be major economic repercussions. is that what you're saying? >> the president is very clear with the country about the challenges it faces, and that is why the assistance we provide is aimed at improving the chances that afghanistan can sustain itself as we begin to draw down our forces. >> i guess the question is if the white house does not see eye to eye with all the findings in the report, which findings is there disagreement on? >> i do not have a -- i think that -- while we obviously agree with aspects of it, some of the challenges that afghan faces, -- that afghanistan faces, we do not believe the assessment of
overall progress is the same as ours or that its potential for sustainability is the same as ours. we welcome the report and read it with interest. we are constantly adjusting, at a tactical level, how we engage in our civilian assistance programs as well as our military programs to maximize our success. >> what did these points mean as the president considers a drawdown of troops? >> while we welcome the report, it is not news to anyone in this room, and washington and -- anyone in washington, that afghanistan faces and the challenges. we are very aware that. that was something the president focused a great deal on from the beginning of his presidency as he began to review policy in the region.
>> did the president tell president karzai that the united states will continue to engage in creditor strikes? >> i'm not going to go into greater detail. the president shared concern with president karzai about civilian casualties, but, as i have said in the past and so many others elsewhere have said, our mission in the region is to -- our goal is to disrupt, dismantle, and the ft al qaeda, and we are prosecuting their mission. >> are you able to say if president karzai decided to stop all the predator strikes? >> i am not able to characterize
the conversation. >> on libya, senator luger a couple of days ago said consultations with congress were not enough. he said the president needs to ask congress specifically to authorize u.s. a engagement in libya. what does the president say to that? >> the president says threw me that he believes he is acting -- that his actions have been consistent with the war policy resolution and furthermore, the consultations are very important and that we have been in extensive consultations with congress about our mission in libya, the goals of which we believe are widely shared by republicans and democrats and house members. >> does that mean he will not seek specific congressional consultation? >> we would support and welcome
expressions of support from congress similar to the resolutions put forward by senators mccain and kerry and other republicans and democrats, but i do not have anything more to say beyond that. >> polls by fox and the gallup showed widespread disapproval of the president on the economy. yesterday, a poll by "washington post" and nbc indicates most people do not even believe the economic recovery has begun. how do you explain this? >> i explain it by saying we are still struggling to emerge out of the worst recession since the great depression. a jobs whole of 8 million -- a tremendous loss of jobs. we have over the past 15 months created more than 2.1 private
sector jobs. that is an enormous amount. but it is not nearly enough, and the president is aware of that. obviously, if you are an american who is still struggling with the reality that was true for the decade prior to this president getting here -- certainly the eight years prior were middle-class incomes have stagnated and in some ways reversed, even as upper incomes expanded dramatically, you have been experiencing that squeeze for a long time. and maybe you have a job, but you are being hit by higher energy prices. you are worried about your mortgages. you are worried about sending your child or children to congress -- to college. you do not feel that the economy is strong enough. you may not feel all that great about the economy even if you do have a job, which, obviously, is the most important thing. so we understand and the president understands and focuses on this precisely because he will not rest and
will not be satisfied until every american who is looking for a job can get one. that is the number one priority of his presidency. he continues to be focused on it. that is why he is all about making sure that training and education that americans are getting can match up with the kinds of jobs that manufacturers in the united states are looking to fill. it is his number one priority. >> [inaudible] and government regulations and that are like putting on the emergency brakes for a company. do you disagree? >> i certainly feel that the president feels we need to get our fiscal house in order. we need to reduce our deficits and debt and do it in a balanced way. we do think that the $10 trillion debt he inherited is a drag on the economy. including a significant portion of the debt that we have now.
a debt incurred in part by two substantial tax codes that with substantially -- disproportionately to wealthy americans that were not paid for, that were put on a credit card. guess, the president is very concerned about it. you have to remember, however, that when he came to office, we were in an economic free fall, and we had to take dramatic action in order to prevent the great recession from becoming the second great depression. we did that, and we have experienced positive economic growth for the last seven quarters. we have experienced significant private sector job growth for the past 15 months. we are headed in the right direction, and we need to continue to do things like invest in those areas of the economy that have the greatest potential for growth and job creation. we need to get our fiscal house in order, and we need to do it in a balanced way, including, for example, deciding that going back to the question about gas prices, that the $4 billion we
spent subsidizing the oil industry could be better spent elsewhere, like investing in and clean energy technology. >> [inaudible] >> austin goals we left because he needed to return to chicago. -- austan goolsbey left. the very close adviser to the president, friend of the president, and he will continue to advise the president from the outside and i'm sure will assist with the campaign. >> last question -- david axelrod and robert gibbs were here today. >> we're focusing a football -- we are focusing on a football team this year as well. i do not know particular beyond robert's presence here to celebrate the national championship of his beloved football team. beyond that, i did not know
specifically what those meetings might be, but obviously, there is ample reason. again, i do not know that there are any meetings. for all i know, ax was here having lunch with somebody. >> the president said he does not expect another recession. the chairman of the federal reserve yesterday discouraged the notion of a qe3 or any further monetary easing. there is a perception today that there is sort of a stand back attitude on the economy coming from washington. do you dispute that perception? >> i would. again, whether it is free trade agreements or making permanent the r&d tax credit the president supports, and then taking the serious approach the president
has taken towards deficit reduction in these very important meetings and negotiations being led by the vice president, which resume again tomorrow, there's a lot of activity here driven by the desire to continue to grow the economy and continue to create jobs. again, the president focused on this as his highest priority. >> again, going back to the inability to agree raising output. how big of a concern is the lack of agreement -- >> i think i answered the question. we are in regular consultation with the iaea as well as oil producing states. we believe that supply is not aligned appropriately with demand because of a number of factors, but including obviously unrest in the middle east and specifically the disruption caused by the removal of about 1.5 million barrels a day from the market because of libya. and then, having said that, the
president has also made clear that we add all of us in this room through our lives have been through this cycle before where gas prices spike. politicians expressed great alarm and demand that action be taken. gas prices go back down, and nothing happens. this is a long-term problem that requires a long-term solution. that is the approach the president has taken, which is why he has taken measures to increase domestic oil production, why he has passed a significant car rule, which will ensure that more fuel-efficient cars are rolling off the assembly line and populating the highways and streets of our country. it is why he has sought to diversify our energy supply from a broad array of sources so that we do not depend on the importation of foreign oil to the extent that we do now. because it makes us highly
reactive in the face of spikes in a global energy market that we cannot control. >> final question. yesterday, former governor pawlenty unveiled his economic plan. 5% growth annually. i'm sure everyone would be happy with that, but he also wants to raise the social security retirement age. what is the president's position? >> the president said in his state of the union address, and i have nothing more than that, that we need to look at ways to strengthen social security. i did not have any specifics for you. without cutting benefits. and with regards to 5% growth, we could not agree more, that would be very beneficial to the economy. we think providing expensive tax cuts to the wealthy, which we did last time, added tremendously to our debt and resulted in as president inheriting a massive deficit and debt in 2009. probably not the best approach.
>> is anyone closer to naming a director [inaudible] >> i am not going to comment on any media speculation about who may not be under consideration. the president is looking at a broad array of potential candidates. he does hope to fulfill -- fill that post relatively soon. i do not have any more on that for you. >> the other thing is the first rating agency weighed in on u.s. debt. wondering what your response is to that and how that impacts -- >> it adds, as it did with the one prior -- i think it makes clear the case that we have been making, that there is no alternative here to raising a debt ceiling. this is not about additional spending. it is about honoring the
obligations that the united states government has made, and the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling as some of these rating agencies have suggested, would be severe. the alligators for that opinion are -- the validators for that opinion are numerous. it is simply incontestable that we need to do this. we think that congress will do it because they recognize the urgency and significance of this vote. >> there have been calls for the president to get a little more involved. do you think it makes him feel like it is time for him to go to the negotiating table? >> the president appointed his vice-president, who, by the way, has some experience with these kinds of things, to oversee these negotiations. call people to the table. for dissidents in those negotiations appointed by the leaders of congress, including the speaker of the house, senate minority leader, senate
majority leader, house minority leader, had been making progress. so do we share the desire with those -- that the socks produced in relatively short time a positive result? absolutely. that is what the president but the vice president in charge of them. he gauges on this issue daily, and i'm sure you will in terms of conversations with leaders and members as time progresses, but, you know, it is a demonstration of the seriousness with which he takes this issue that he asked the vice president to lead these negotiations. >> [inaudible] has not received a recommendation. has any of that changed? >> that has not changed, and it looks for to discussing with general petraeus, secretary gates, his entire national security team is thinking about the variety of options that he will consider in terms of the pace and slope of the drawdown, but there is no formal
recommendation or recommendations at this point. yes. >> when will he do that? >> i will quote him in saying he plans to make a decision soon. >> in terms of meeting with them, do you have anything on? >> i think it is important, first of all, to step back and remember that as part of the process that he put in place with his strategy announcement similar to 2009, he had been engaged in this issue at great depth with regular monthly meetings that he shares, on afghanistan, pakistan, with weekly meetings with secretary clinton and secretary gates where afghanistan is a frequent topic of conversation and discussion. as you know, the national security staff did a comprehensive review in december of our policy, and obviously, we consult with allies. this is a process that they are not going to begin tomorrow.
it began a long time ago. is an ongoing process. i do not have a format for you, but he will be consulting with secretary gates, general petraeus, the rest of his national security team and others about this decision and review the options that he has and make a decision relatively soon, as he said the other day. yesterday, i think. >> what led him yesterday to warren against panic and overreacting? to what extent is he concerned that that is happening? >> i think the way i would answer that is to make a point that austan made the other day. when we have very strong jobs are boys for three straight months, and in at least two of those cases, much higher than expectations, we did not pop the champagne corks or celebrate here.
we also think that while this jobs report that came most recently was under expectations and disappointing, it is important to look at the long- term trend, and the long-term trend remains positive. the outside forecasters for economic growth in the remainder of this year remain positive. there is a lot of reason to believe and ample evidence to suggest that this economy is growing, will continue to grow, will continue to create jobs. never fast enough, and not enough job creation, as far as this president is concerned, until every american who is looking for a job can get one, but the point he was making was that we need to look at long- term trends and not just one day or one week's series of economic data. >> [inaudible] panic or overreaction? >> no, i think his point was
just the opposite. we have faced some headlines. some of them, of course were temporary, like the tsunami in japan and the impact that had on supply chains. the fact is that we have continued to grow. we believe we will continue to grow, and we will continue to create jobs, private-sector jobs. the private sector is the engine of job creation, and that is positive. we need to remember that, even as we acknowledge that much more work needs to be done. yes? >> [inaudible] with the unemployment expected to be above 8.5% for several months, what other tools as the president considering? >> there are a variety of things we need to consider about what has already happened in terms of the payroll tax cut, the extension of the middle class tax cut. that is putting money in people's pockets, and it is helpful in terms of promoting
economic growth. there are measures like the president talked about today in terms of matching these -- these private/public ventures that match vocational and educational goals with employers who are looking for specific types of employees. then, we need to -- the president talked a lot about the need to extend the r&d tax credit because this is an area of significant potential economic growth and job creation. three free trade agreements that could create or support 70,000 jobs. very important. we continue to work on those and get those done. the president is focused on this constantly. the fact is the policies that he has pursued and is pursuing have reversed the catastrophic
economic decline we were in when he came in in 2009 and have led to seven straight quarters of growth and 15 months of private sector job creation. we need to keep our nose to the grindstone and keep working hard to continue that growth and continue that job creation. >> [inaudible] is there something new on the table? >> first of all, some of the things i just mentioned are new. they have not been acted on and need to be acted on. secondly, we believe, done properly, an agreement to substantially reduce our deficit in a balanced way that will not harm economic growth will be a net positive for economic growth and could in fact be a big boost for economic growth and job creation because of the confidence it can create. that is why the president is so focused. he is not approaching deficit reduction and long-term debt reduction as an esoteric
exercise. it is not a good in its own right. the focus is on growth and job creation. >> >> [inaudible] in libya and even help with the exit strategy. has the administration been in touch with the russians? >> the president met with president medvedev i of france. the vice-president met with him i believe in italy. we are in constant consultation with our russian counterparts and partners and with other allies and partners who are interested in a positive solution to libya so the libyan people can decide their own future. i did not have anything specific on different proposals by different countries, except that we support the idea mu that beforeammar -- the idea that muammar gaddafi needs to step down.
was saying or suggesting that this was the focus of their conversation, the vice president did meet with him when he met with the prime minister in rome. i do not have a readout of that conversation. >> the president going to russia this year, does he have any plans to -- >> i did not have any trouble announcements to make? -- i do not have any travel announcements to make. there is no deadline. the transition will begin in july 2011. the drawdown, rather. the transition has already begun. you heard it from the best source possible. the president said he would make that decision soon. >> will he get it will take at least a week before july to think about it? >> soon is pretty soon. soon as spoken by the commander in chief. i think you can expect that to be soon. >> you suggested it spoke of germany about taking a role in libya. what other plans is the u.s.
making for what happens in libya after a get off the departure? >> [inaudible] was planning to consider the future we have helped to bring about with the very actions we have taken, both diplomatically, economically, unilaterally, multilaterally, as well as militarily, so, yes, we are consulting with our allies, with the contact group that has been stood up, consulting with and talking with transitional council about libya's future, but beyond that, i do not have specifics about how that will unfold once get off the leaves. >> it be left in the next 10 minutes, is there a whole list of things that would immediately clicked in place? >> i do not want to get ahead of myself or the administration, but you can be sure that we are obviously thinking about and planning for that contingency.
>> the senate foreign relations committee report seemed to be a very critical assessment [inaudible] i wonder if it is raising new questions about that policy that was adopted back in 2009. i know you have said a number of times, what they are talking about now is not new policy, but in the pace of drawdowns, that is a big celebration of that policy -- that is a recalibration of that policy. is the white house reading it that way? >> again, i think we welcome the report even though we disagree with some of its conclusions. first. second, you have fallen back on shorthand that -- and you have and i have had this discussion
offline and number of times that i simply do not agree with because i do not think it represents the consultations and review that the president took with that policy and it certainly does not represent the outcome. this was never a binary choice between counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency. it was always about getting the right mix of approaches to insure that we had the best possible chance of succeeding and achieving our goals. trucking, dismantling, and ultimately defeating al qaeda and stabilizing afghanistan, sufficiently self afghanistan would not again become a harbor for terrorists -- international terrorist who seek to america and our allies harm. again, those goals are very important. because of what is included within them and what is not. the policy the president shows has been -- and has been amended since december 2009 is not --
you cannot describe it for the manila by calling it counterinsurgency or counter- terrorism. there are a lot of different elements that are part of it. they were specifically decided on because of the president's belief that they would maximize the chances of success. >> does the question that the report raised help those arguing right now for a faster drawdown? >> let me stop you there. we welcome the report. it is -- it has a lot of information in it. it is certainly worth reading and reviewing. we spent a lot of time here. on afghanistan and pakistan. the national security staff, national security team, and, obviously, our personnel, both civilian and military, in the region. we are again very clear right
about the challenges in afghanistan, about the progress that has been made, but also about the setbacks we have experienced at various times. i'm not suggesting that we know everything already and therefore do not need outside input. we obviously do and welcome it, but we are not learning a great deal of information about the challenges we face in afghanistan here. all of that is part of how the president has been thinking about afghanistan and pakistan since he got into office and even before. it was all part of how he viewed the process when he settled on the strategy he is and limiting now, and i would go back to what i said before. emblem of the drawdown, beginning the drawdown is and limiting the policy he decided on in december 2009. it is not a change. it is exactly what he said he would do. there is a certain amount of consistency in terms of how this
president operates. he said what he would do, and he is doing what he said. very deliberately with his eye on a long-term goal here. that is what this process is about. >> this is a resolution that the british and french have proposed today, condemning the regime for the crackdown. will america bolster that? do we agree with the british and french that the president is losing his legitimacy? still, we need to get field was going on. >> we are obviously aware of all the reports and sometimes, information, depending on the region of the country, can be hard to, or hard to verify, but i put it precisely. president assad can either lead the transition that has to happen, or he has to step aside. how we do this is pretty clearly stated in the sentence. i did not have a position to give you on the resolution that you mentioned. i think the fact that we have
strongly condemned with the syrian regime had been doing, the murders and arrests of some people, speaks pretty clearly about our position. and the actions we have taken in terms of sanctions, including targeting president assad himself, i think, are very clear. >> is there a pending humanitarian crisis in northern syria? >> i did not know. maybe in the state department, you might ask them, but i do not want to speculate about that. >> secretary gates in afghanistan has called for a troop composition that would rely on shooters. is that if we are going to withdraw personnel, he called for keeping a maximum combat capability in afghanistan, called that a no-brainer. does the president agree with that? >> the president speaks with the
defense secretary all the time. i'm sure that the president shares that opinion that the reductions we need to make -- that he will make, the drawdown that will begin will ensure that we can get the maximum success out of the mission here part of the mission and part of the strategy is to begin this drawdown as we transfer responsibility over to the afghan national security forces. but in terms of the composition of the block of troops that will begin the drawdown, i do not have an opinion to convey to you because, as you know, the president is reviewing or will review his options and make a decision in the near future. >> is part of the decision that the president will make that also becoming whole or reassigned, whether they will be combat people or support people?
>> i think in terms of a force the size of which we have in afghanistan and what the breakdown is -- i think anybody in that zone in an american military uniform is combat- trained and fully capable of using a weapon, so i think there is a little bit of a misnomer. we went through this when we were withdrawing troops from afghanistan, the suggestion that because we were ending our common mission, somehow that meant that the truth -- the troops that remain were not combat troops, and obviously, every u.s. soldier and military personnel is highly trained. again, i think the breakdown of how that works, a proportion of either support or logistical or analytical strength versus front line, a string, i do not know, and i think the pentagon is better suited to answer that question. >> as the president spoke about
how he is allowed to [inaudible] the deficit and debt, the economy shifting too much toward cutting government spending and given up grounds -- does he need to push more of necessary? can you react to that? if the president has gone too far in favor of republicans, with the debate is on their terms, especially in light of this jobs report? and second, whether because of the jobs report, he sees a need to reevaluate his goals? in light of the report, is there any need to change? >> one, going to the point about we need to look at trends, not just one piece of or several pieces of economic data, the trend remains very positive. 2.1 million private-sector jobs -- in excess of 2.1 million private-sector jobs created over 15 months and sustain economic wrote for seven quarters.
in terms of measures that are helping fuel economic activity and growth, he fought very hard for and achieved compromise in december, extension of unemployment benefits -- unemployment benefits and, obviously, the middle class tax cut, as well as the payroll tax holiday. that is, in terms of the discussions you are talking about -- that is direct stimulus through tax reduction. in the payroll tax cut, which we believe is much more efficient in terms of causing economic growth and giving build it -- very wealthy americans -- and giving wealthy americans more tax cuts. the president also believes -- and this is not choosing between i'm going to go more democratic than republican -- the present
-- the president believes that balance deficit reduction is in the interests of americans, in the interest of the economy. he is not apologetic about that. the things we need to do it and in a balanced way, a way to protect important investments, that protect our seniors, and disabled children and others, and he thinks if you do it in a balanced way, you can protect our core commitments, the key investments we need to make, and bring down our deficit by $4 trillion over 10 to 12 years. >> payroll tax cuts [inaudible] >> i think the president put this in broad terms the other day about what discussions might be in the future about that. i'm not going to go beyond what he said yesterday. >> [inaudible] >> i don't want to expand beyond what he said on that. >> you have talked about policy
performance in the middle east, but i wonder if you could tell us specifically what it is about syria that leaves the president [inaudible] for assad to steop d -- step down. >> the administration has stated and i just stated that he needs to lead this transition or get out of the way. i think that is a pretty clear statement of where we stand. the comparison games are not -- they are specific countries what specific circumstances with different things happening in terms of the expressions of dissatisfaction by people on the street and the reaction that the governments have had, and each country deserves a specific response, all geared towards our hope of the best possible outcome, and that can be condemning actions, putting pressure on leadership -- i'm talking broadly, depending on the country you are talking
about -- offering, you know, different forms of support to the opposition. again, not talking about syria, but the different options available to us, taking actions multilaterally with allies, unilaterally to sanctions and that kind of thing. there is not a one-size-fits-all response here because, as you know, the region is very diverse. the nature of the regime and the countries is extremely varied, and we have taken that into account as we develop policy with regard to each country. >> what i'm trying to get at is what is there specifically about syria that leads to this particular policy? >> we are pursuing an approach towards syria which we hope will help lead to a positive outcome, which is either the current regime changing its behavior dramatically engaging in political dialogue, seizing the violence and leading the transition, or in the transition taking place under different
circumstances, and, you know, we -- that is the approach we're taking. >> there would be a lot of people that will be skeptical. he has just killed more than 1000 adult people. why does the white house thinks he can suddenly change? >> we will see. one more in the -- yes. >> ok. yesterday, the spoke broadly about payroll taxes and manufacturing, etc., but right after say iraq, he said he was interested in exploring with congress continuation of these policies -- right after saying that. >> what i said was i will let the president's words stand. i do not have anything to add to that. am i just wondering, in 2009, the department of home led security issue a memorandum of
deporting signal is a little worse of u.s. citizens. at the time, her homeland security secretary-general the college, said smart immigration policy balances strong enforcement practices with common sense, practical solutions to complicated issues. yet, when asked about request by advocates on moratorium on death deportation, similar to the 2009 moratorium, he said the president cannot just wave a north and -- way they -- wave a wand and change the law. >> i think that was in response to a broader set of issues peer the president has called for comprehensive immigration reform for a reason. things we need to look in a comprehensive reform -- in a comprehensive way to get there and because the kind of approach has in the fast enjoyed bipartisan support, and he
believes that if we talk about it in the right way and push for it and pulled out in the country push for it, that we can return to a situation where there will be bipartisan support for it again in the future. thanks, guys. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> cia director leon panetta has been nominated by president obama to succeed robert gates as the next secretary of defense. ahead of his hearing tomorrow, mr. panetta said that if confirmed, he would play a large role in a comprehensive review begun by secretary gates to assess options for reducing spending by 2023. you can watch that conversation tomorrow here on c-span. that, british prime minister david cameron takes questions from the house of commons. the opposition leader challenged
the prime minister over the government as a sentencing policy and reforming the national health service. members also questioned the prime minister on syria, a teenage gang killings, and changes to retirement entitlement. from london earlier today, this is about 30 minutes. >> questions for the prime minister obviously. jack e. doyle price. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'm sure the whole house will wish to join me in paying tribute to the brave servicemen who died in afghanistan since we last met. [reading names] all of them were dedicated professionals serving our country. their deaths are a reminder of the very high price we are
paying to stop afghanistan from being a haven for terrorists. we honor their memory. we will support their families. we will not forget their service and their sacrifice. in addition to my duties in this house, i shall have further meetings later today. >> can i associate myself with the prime minister's trivia to our fallen soldiers? we do indeed 0 them a great debt. mr. speaker, we are reminded on a daily basis that not everyone enjoys the freedoms we enjoy in this country. i would like to highlight the absolute horror of a boy torture by forces of the syrian government in recent weeks. will the prime minister give me his assurance that he will use every influence he has to ensure the international community condemns the activities of the syrian government and demand that their reign of terror and? >> i think he'll honorable lady has spoken for the whole house in what she said about those
dreadful pictures about that for boy. there are credible reports of 1000 dead and as many as 10,000 detained and the violence being meted out to peaceful protesters and demonstrators is completely unacceptable. of course, we must not stand silent in the face of these outrageous, and we will not appear we have already frozen assets and ban travel by members of the regime, and we added weassa -- added president assad to the list. but in will be tabling a resolution demanding accountability, and if anyone votes against the resolution or tries to veto it, that should be on their conscience. >> mr. speaker, can i join the prime minister in paying tribute to the fallen soldiers?
they all showed enormous bravery and courage. as the prime minister said, the number of deaths once again demonstrates the bravery of all of our forces in afghanistan and elsewhere are around the world. mr. speaker, we read in our newspapers that the prime minister has called up the justice department's policy on sentencing. what we want is tough sentences for serious offenders. this government's -- which produced a consultation paper that had a wide consultation paper, widespread support for many of the proposals it made -- >> we read in the newspapers today that the prime minister has torn up the justice secretary's proposal, and i can
see why. it is rife with public of energy there is widespread public concern around the country about this proposal to cut by 50% the sentencing for those who plead guilty. again, the consultation ended in march. the justice secretary was advocating a policy two weeks ago. have you torn up? yes or no? >> i think we ought to do something more useful than just read the newspaper. one response to the paper came from his shadow just a secretary, the man sitting next to a number said this in response to the consultation paper -- he said this, "is a perfectly sensible vision for a sentencing policy entirely in keeping with the emphasis on punishment and reform that labor follows in the government began -- governments." why the sudden u-turn?
>> he knows and the whole country knows he is in a total mess on his sentencing policy. i want to ask about another area where he is in a complete mess. can the prime minister tell us why he has made such a mess of his health plan? >> i am not surprised he wants to move on because on the first subject, he was found guilty. but we all know on the issue discounts, it was actually the last government that introduced a 33% discount on sentences. there is more than a whiff of jumping on a bandwagon. anyway, bandwagon one hit a buffer. let's turn to bandwagon two. we are having a review of the plan we announced in terms of health. we want to get these right. i have to say, again, widespread support for the review of our health plan.
this is what he said -- looking at the evidence of what works, listening hard to those who know the nhs and learning from the views they get -- that is not rocket science. it is simply good government. what he calls a shambles, he calls a good government. he is not even in good command of the ship. >> mr. speaker, i asked him why he has made such a mess of this house proposal. the first reason he made such an ass of his health proposal is because of promises he made before the election. we all remember the prime minister touring around the country promising no more top- down reorganization. what did he tell the royal college of nursing a year before the election? there will be no more of those pointless top-down reorganizations that aim for change and instead bring chaos.
why did he say that? >> the royal college of nurses said yesterday was ashley to welcome the speech that i made. the point is this -- the reason we are able to improve the nhs is not only are we committed to reform, but we are also committed to more funding. the labor party is in favor of cutting funding. if you want to look at what is really happening, there's only one part of the country now that is controlled by labor, and that is wales, were waiting lists are massively up and health spending has been cut. that is what labor would do -- what labour would do to the nhs. >> i will tell you why he made promises -- because he is completely shameless and would say anything. and the second reason he has
made a mess of the whole service is because he did not think the policy through. last june, he ordered the nhs to stop enforcing the 18-week waiting time target. another result of that, the number of patient waiting more than 18 weeks has gone up by 69%. why did he drop that instruction to enforce the waiting time target? >> the best thing that can be said about his performance is obviously a -- quite rightly, he was not thinking about politics on his honeymoon. the point i would make is waiting times -- what actually matters is the time people away. medium waiting times are down. that is what has happened. that is something he misled the house of commons about a fortnight ago. >> i know the prime minister will be a follower of parliamentary protocol and withdraw that remark.
>> what i meant was because he gave an interesting use of facts in terms of waiting times, which are down in the nhs. what we are seeing today is simply of the opposition and weak leadership. that is what we get from labour. >> he is making a complete mess of the health service, and everybody up and down the country knows this. what is the most important reason? because however much he says he loves the nhs, however many times he says it, the truth is he has got the wrong value. you wanted to put a free market free-for-all at the center of our health service. any changes he makes now -- any changes that he makes now are not because he wants to make the changes but because he has been
found out. mr. speaker, we know all we need to know about this prime minister from what he has gone on the nhs. he breaks his promises. he does not think things through. he is reckless, and he has the wrong values. after a year, he has proved the oldest tricks in politics -- you cannot trust the tories on the nhs. >> i will not take lectures from a person that when in government paid 250 pounds to private-sector companies for doing nothing. that is what happened. all we have had today is a series of ben wagons, and anyone knows it is this government's goal we making reforms in the public sector dealing with the deficit, reforming welfare, and what do we get for the party opposite? where is his plan for the nhs? there's not one. what is his plan for reforming welfare? nothing. all we get is empty opposition
and a weak leadership, and the country can see it. >> mr. robert walker, thank you. the long-term underfunding from the government formula -- the money needed to make ends meet cannot be spent -- can the prime minister assure that this government will not just consult on the formula but reform it and correct the problem that has been to run for too long? >> he makes a good point, which is a serious problem in our country. he is right to welcome the game, which will put more money in all of our schools, particularly those that have many children from preschool but runs, but the current problem of the discrepancy of funding means that actually, at present, you can get a difference of 1,800 pounds per people between the best-funded school and the worst. . a difference of 1,800 pounds per pupil
between the best-funded school and the worst-funded school. we want to reform the school-funding system. we want to do it in a more fair and logical way and i'm determined we'll make progress with this. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i have come here from meeting with the family of my 18-year-old constituent. he was fatally shot outside of his block of flats on monday and i'm sure the whole house will want to send their condolences to his family. i had the similar case to the prime minister last year. and the sense of loss of life is completely and utterly unacceptable and yet it continues and rightly or wrongly there's a perception on all sides of the house we're not getting to the grip problem, which is plighting in our inner city streets. what can the prime minister give my constituents and the country th the government can do all it can to stop this senseless loss of life? >> well, i think the honorable gentleman is absolutely right to
brg this case to the house of commons and i join with him in sending condolences to the family of his constituent for their amauling loss. he's absolutely right. the gun crime and knife crime in our country particularly in the inner city areas is unacceptable. i don't think there's one single answer. of course, we've got to make sure that the police do everything they can to search for guns and knives and have a zero toleran policy and -- but we have to look where this problems are coming from. the growth of gangs in our cities and in too many cases people are looking to gang rather than family and community and i think it's incumbe on all of us to try to work out to strengthen the fabric of our communities starting with our families. >> could my right honorable friend the prime minister advise me who to listen that to on the u.k.'s economic policy? should it be -- should it be the experts of the international monetary fund or should it be the lettuce page of the guardian. >> my honorable friend was being
shouted down because the party opposite do not want to hear what the international monetary fund said about the british economy and they said this, strong fiscal consolidation is underway and remains essential to achieve a more substantial budgetary position. he asked me to read the rest and i will read the rest. they put the question specifically. this raises the question whether it is time to adjust macroeconomic policies. the question put by the party opposite and they say this, the answer is no. they couldn't be more clear in backing the policies that we're pursuing to get this country back on track. >> thank you, mr. speaker. what message does the prime minister have for the hundreds of women in my constituency in their mid-50s who feel they have been unadjusty thwarted by extending the retirement age in the country to the coalition agreement? >> what i would say is this, is th the first decision was taken in 1995hen it was an
all-party agreement that we should equalize men and women's pension age. and the second point i should make i think it is right to lift the pension age for men and women to a higher level more rapidly than the last government decided. but the key fact is is that 85% of the women affected are going to lose one year or less in terms of their pension. the last point i would make because we've link joad the pension to earnings, people who retire today will be 15,000 pounds better off than they were off the policies of the government. >> why do magistrates have to retire from the age of 70 when the lord chancellor who appoints them is 71 this year? [laughter] >> the point -- the point i would make to my honorable friend is it is important, and i speak as someone whose mother
served as a magistrate for over three decades, it's important you get turnover so new people come in. and to be fair to my right honorable friend the lord chancellor he has only been in his job for a year. he's doing a superb job and there's pretty more fuel in his tank. >> the prime minister has an aspiration of making his government the greatest ever. in the meantime, proven energy, a small wind turbine company in my constituency is making 10% of its staff redundant. not because they don't have a great all over the united king aboutdom. will the prime minister meet with me and the members of the proven economic team to discuss how we can find a solution? >> i'm very happy to make sure someone from the business department or indeed debt speaks with somebody of his constituency. what i would say we are planning the reform system to try to speed up these processes. we want to make sure local people benefit when turbines are
built so they have a share in the success of that scheme and also the government is taking action to attract manufacturers of wind tur bipolars by putting 60 million pounds in our ports structure and personally i'm talking to those manufacturers to try to bring them to britain. >> thank you, mr. speaker. not somebody affected by the current pension proposals i would like to as him to personally review the particular proposals because at the injustice and discrimination to women. the group of women affected who were born between certain dates in 1953 and 1954 will be asked to work to an extra two years over and above for which they planned for; whereas, men will only be asked to work an extra yea year. >> let me just make this point. first of all, in general the
reason for raising pension ages is twofold. one is we are seeing a huge increase in life expectancy but the second point is we want to make sure we can fund really good pension fund forhe future and if we won't do that, we won't be able to. let me repeat the statistic four-fifths of the women affected by these proposals will have their state pension age increased. it's difficult because the two things are coming together. the equalization of the pension age and the raising of the pension age but it's enabling us to link it with earnings thus meaning that people will be 15,000 pounds better o than they were under labour's plans. >> thank you, mr. speaker. given 1200 job losses and further job losses in the private and public sector in north lincoln, will the prime minister meet with the tas force chair and the local mp's so that he can understand how, government can help the local economy face these demands
positively and respond positively to future challenges? >> now, i'm very happy to do that because i'm extremely disappointed as i know the honorable gentleman is and others are by the job losses. i spoke personally about this decision. i think that is highly welcomed. it's not welcomed and do everythi we can. and we can mitigate the local impact of local jobs and local communities. >> i'm sure the prime minister will agree with me when i say there should be no place for corruption in football given the re-election set fifa even further into disrepute will he voice his authority. >> personally, i've seen
football governance at the international level and i wasn't that impressed by what i saw. what i would say is this, fifa's reputation is now at an all-time low and obviously the election with just one candidate was something of a farce but it has to become more transparent and more accountable. they've got to prove that they are actually capable of doing the job that they're meant to but ultimately change has together come within football and i'm sure that the faa will want to play a very mainly role in helping bring this about. >> thank you, mr. speaker. love my local hospital, the heal hospital, i was delighted to see that the prime minister also thinks highly of healing hospital and chose it as a place to deliver his speech on the government's reforms. given his personal expience of the high quality of services that healing hospital provides, committee give the house an assurance that healing hospital faced with the budget pressures and merger proposals will not
close or lose its a & d and other items? >> i visited the house and there's no plans to close ely hospital. the maternity unit has a phased development in progress. as he knows, any proposals in terms of any hospital have to go through a proper process, snd clinical evidence, support by the gp commissioners and support for patient choice. that is the process that has to be followed. as i say, there's no plan to close the hospital. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister will be aware that 1 in 7 couples in the u.k. suffer from infertility problems notwithstanding that fact, three-quarters of pcts do not provide the recommended three cycles of ivf treatments. will the prime minister join with me in calling on all pcts to follow the guidelines and
provide sufficient treatment for inrtile couples? >> i'll certainly do that. and i think my right honorable friend is right to raise the issue that affects a huge number of people in our country and i think we all had constituency cases where people are frustrated by local guidelines so what is going to happen is the deputy chief executive of the nhs is writing to all primary care trusts reminding them of the guidance and the recommendations. i think it's very important. ; -- of course, some have a more difficult process to follow but we want to make everyone has access to this treatment. >> after four years, 15-year-old alice pine in my constituency is losing her battle for cancer. she's posted online her bucket list, a simple wish list of things she wants to see before it's too late. she wants to own a purpose ipod and enter her dog in a labrador shore but a call to make everyone to be a bone marrow
donor so will he work with the leader of the opposition and me to address why too few people are on this life-saving regist? >> i will certainly do that and i'm very sorry to hear about the situation facg alice and what she's going through. our thoughts go out to her and her parents. she sounds like a very brave and admirable person. we do want to get as many people on the bone marrow register. we're investing more money to improve processing and services for nhs patients but it's partly about a cultural and population change that would need help to drive and i'm sure the leader of the opposition can discuss this. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the there was a terrible explosion at the rinery in people brook where four people died and one person was seriously injured. would the prime minister join me in their colleagues and commend the safety word of the chevron in what is a pretty difficult industry? >> i would certainly do that.
this was an absolutely tragic incident and on behalf of the whole house can i join him in paying tribute to his constuents and showing us our deepest sympathies to the families who havbeen affected and i'm sure there is lessons to be but i think there's a good safety record in an industry which are e some really inherent risks and i'm really very happy to discuss the issue with him. >> thank you, mr. speaker. prime minister, what does it say abouour society when a bbc on child poverty ends with the words of a child when she says, and i don't want to grow up. >> well, it says, frankly, that we need to do far more to tackle child poverty, not just here in the u.k. but als around the world and that is one of the reasons why despite difficult spending decisions we have maintained the pledge to keep the budget of and to increase the national gross income that
is a difficult pledge to make but at times a difficulty we shouldn't break our promises to the poorest people in the world. in terms of child poverty here in britain, i think the biggest challenge today is not just looking at benit levels but actually looking at mobility. how do we help people get out of poverty and stay out of poverty? that is why this government is putting so much emphasis on things like the pupil premium because it's things like that to help people build themselves a better future. >> i have the represent the only town for the football and you understand the union code the home nations are preparing for the world cup later this year. will the prime minister join me in express gratitude despite the recent earthquake and join me in hoping that the end tournament the trophy will be making its way bk home? >> well, i certainly endorse what my honorable friend says
and i will do everything i can to support our rugby team. i very much hope the trophy will be coming home. calm down. i very much hope the trophy will be coming home to one of the nations of the ukite kingdom. i have to say when i met the -- when i met the prime minister of new zealand he very kindlyave me an all-black shirt but he said whatever you do, don't be seen wearing this and i think i'll take that advice. >> as the prime minister has previously said the quarry should go where the evidence takes it. the metropolitan police are in position of paperwork which details the dealings with criminal private investigator jonathan reese. it strongly suggests that on behalf of news international, he was illegally targeting members of the royal family, senior politicians and high-level terrorist informers. yet, the head of operation has recently written to me to explain that this may be
outside -- this evidence may be outside the terms of reference for the inquiry. prime minister, i believe powerful forces are involved in a cover-up. please, please tell me what you intend to do to make sure that doesn't happen? >> the point i'd make to the honorable gentleman i know who takes a close interest in this thers a police inquiry which doesn't need term of reference. the police are free to investigate the evidence and take that wherever it leads them and then mount a prosecution with the cps if the evidence supports that. and in the case, which has been illegal and wrong there have been imprisonments and that's where the evidence takes them that is what will happen in the future. they're able to look at any evidence and all evidence they can find. >> sir mars james. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister will recall visiting the town center on several occasions. they have compare actively low level of vacant premises but our
town centers are facing a vital and difficult challenge from the out of town stores and the internet. given those challenges, can my right honorable friend assure this house that th government will be a supporter of our town centers? >> i can. and i think the honorable gentleman speaks powerfully not just for on eaton but for all town centers and all of those -- all of those constituency with vibrant town centers we want to keep those rather than see everything go to out of town. and there's two steps we need to take. one is to make sure that local people have a real say in the planning process so they can decide where future development goes. and secondly, we should be continuing the steps which my right honorable friend the chancellor has been pioneering in terms of rate relief to help local shops in our high streets so that we don't end up with identical high streets. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the chairman of the georgian parliament is in london this week and he's indeed following
our proceings. some members of this house went to george george during the recess and will he stop the violation in georgia. >> i will remember going there when the georgians were under so much pressure from the russians and standing up with them recognizing that georgia is a country that wants to be a democracy. it wants to be an economic success story. it wants to join nato. it wants to be able to look west as well as east and it wants to have good relations with its neighbor. i'm glad she's meeting with members of theorn georgian parliament and i'll certainly make my views clear on the issue of georgia if i visit and when i visit georgia this year. >> does my right honorable friend agree that the key challenge facing the national health services how to convert this government's welcomed commitment to year on year
growth of real resources into improving productivity and improving quality of care for patients? and is not key to delivering that -- did he not lie in my right honorable friend's speech yesterday in his advocacy of more integrated and less fragmented care? and will he continue to build -- >> i think we've got the thrust of it. the prime minister. >> my honorable friend -- my honorable friend's support for the reforms is hugely welcomed and i know he follows these issues very closely. and it wasn't just he that welcomed the speech that i set out yesterday, also, i had expressed support from the royal college of nurses and royal college of nurses, the miller cancer sponsor and breakthrough supporters. and professional bodies in the health service whokz that this government is listening, is getting its changes right and will add the money that's
required that only we are committed to with the reforms that are necessary to make sure that the nhsan go on and thrive in the future. >> ian timing, the efforts and the monday so as we can get to the truth and find out how those two police officers were dastardly murdered? >> well, i will certainly look very carefully at the issue that the honorable gentleman raises. there are still on all sides in northern ireland and indeed in the republic huge concern about things that happened in the past where people want -- often they ask for an inquiry or a process
but i think in most cases what most people really want is the truth and i found with the issue of the salvo inquiry was not the 120 million and the five years. what most people want the unvarnished truth so they can come to terms with what happened in the >> you can see british prime minister's questions again on sunday night. and now a discussion on u.s. food safety and the potential for an e. coli outbreak in the united states. food safety director at the center for science in the public interest. good morning and thank you for being with us. a lot of attention to what has been happening in germany. 24 deaths and hundreds hospitalized. it appears right now to be
centralized in the northern parts of germany. what can you surmise the cause is? what are the lessons for the u.s.? guest: i think the most important lesson that the u.s. needs to take from this very serious outbreak is that we cannot afford to have our food policies frozen in time. the bacteria are evolving. in this case, they have gone extraordinarily their land. -- virilant. we cannot afford to have the food policy just frozen in time. we need to be moving forward with new standards, with new methods of testing and preventing these types of out bricks from occurring. host: we were talking about this issue yesterday. everyone of us either has experienced food poisoning or knows somebody who experienced it.
why is it so common? guest: today, the cdc estimates that one in six americans will get sick over the course of the year from something they ate. that means in and the family household, probably at least one person will experience an illness. it is really important that consumers take steps to protect themselves, but the government also cannot sit still. that is what the agencies that are working here to prevent outbreaks from occurring are very important. host: 128,000 people hospitalized every year, and 3000 americans die from food- borne related illnesses? guest: that is right. it is a very serious problem. every year, we have that number of deaths. they are entirely preventable.
food board on this is one of the types of public health problems that is actually easy to fix. we have commitments by the food industry, by the public health officials that are in charge of this program to work hard. consumers need to do our part, but we need to also make sure that the agencies themselves have the funding they need to do the job. host: as always, we welcome your purchase a patient. our phone lines are open. -- we welcome your participation. the numbers are -- our twitter account -- is the u.s. doing enough? it is -- is it the responsibility of local health agencies to make sure restaurants and to crush restores abide by local rules?
guest: for the u.s., the general policy is that the u.s. food safety system has been antiquated, but last year, congress passed and then president obama signed a new legislation that would modernize an important segment of our food system. but the food and drug administration, which regulates 80% of the food supply, has a new law in place, and their job is to implement that law. the u.s. department of agriculture is still dealing with a 1906 statue. they have a relatively unaffected program but one that could be improved. host: i was out at a carry out restaurant the other day. they were making sandwiches bought their hands or not covered. guest: for restaurants, the
regulation is done at the local level. again, these state and local people who are really essential players in our public health system have to be in those restaurants and actually checking those practices. they recommend the food code which governs how restaurants prepare food safely, recommends that all workers be wearing gloves. host: what is e. coli? guest: it is a very common bacteria and lives in all warm- blooded animals, even humans. there are some strains like e. coli 157 and this new strain that have evolved into very high toxic pathogens. we know a lot about 1057 because we have been dealing with it since about 1993.
it lives in cattle, in bovine animals that have specific stomach characteristics. at the end of almost every outbreak, we are looking for that type of animal, usually a cow. has developedin some unique characteristics. if it does not have a specific gene that normally associate with these very severe cases. it is also a multi-drug resistant, meaning the antibiotics at some point in its life cycle has been exposed to a large number of antibiotics that are also important to human medicine. host: we have heard about the e. coli outbreak, but the latest one is a from bean sprouts or lettuce. what do you attribute that to? guest: they have had a lot of
false starts so far in identifying the specific cause. german officials initially thought it was cucumbers. most recently, they said they were testing sprouts from the area. at the bottom line is, as of right now according to my information, they do not know what the cause is the pri that they suspect it is lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or maybe sprouts consumed by people in northern germany. the good news is all the illnesses are associated with illnesses are associated with people who were in that area of germany at the time when the opera started. the bad news it is continuing. we think the numbers are declining, and we hope this outbreak is ending. if you recall, the outbreak of salmonella a couple of years ago went on for several months. host: we are talking to caroline
dewall, the food safety director at the center for science in the public interest. she is familiar with capitol hill. hill. we invited her on in part because of the situation in northern germany and lessons that can be applied to the u.s. our first caller is from philadelphia. caller: my question is for caroline dewall. how are you this morning? i was wondering about if e. coli can get into it. i have a friend who loves orange soda. guest: soda is a highly processed beverage and it is unlikely that e. coli could get into the process. i do not think it could happen. it is highly processed per the e. coli is typically associated with a price of either meat or raw vegetables.
the good news is that cooking doesn't eliminate e. coli. host: one of our viewers saying -- guest: the person writing it is generally correct, that large outbreaks actually often are associated with production systems where a single accident, a single failure in the food system, can contaminate a large volume of food which is then put on trucks and circulated widely. we have had some of bricks linked to poor handling in restaurants as well. some large outbreaks. one i recall was actually e. coli that direct onto i think it was watermelon and some other fresh products that were eaten at a salad bar.
at the bottom line is we need to have the controls in both places, both at brought co- production and at the local restaurant level. host: steve is joining us from orlando, florida. good morning. caller: good morning. i was aware about a month ago of a bill passed, i think it was the [unintelligible] bill saying that american citizens cannot grow unprocessed food. there was a show or video on youtube that was showing that [unintelligible] host: we are getting a little bit of feedback. guest: steve, the bottom line is i think you have been exposed
to an urban myth. there is no law that passed that said that people could not grow fresh food. i have a garden in my backyard. i feel confident that nobody is going to be stopping by to check on your garden. the issue was that in regulating -- in creating a new system to regulate the food and drug administration food items, things like raw produce, causing the spinach outbreak in the 2006, and seafood products and some other high risk products, a number of local growers got very concerned about whether that would impact their ability to sell to local farmers markets. at the end of the day, the law has a number of protections to ensure those growers can sell their products locally. we are not interested in seeing
internet businesses in fresh produce, but people selling to local farmers markets, they can abide by state law or by the new federal law. host: matt has this point -- how do you respond to that sentiment? guest: i wish there was a simple way that we could ditch the dirty food. the bottom line is, organic production is excellent for avoiding things like pesticide residue and even animal drugs or the use of antibiotics, for example, in animal production. we recommend consumers purchase organic food if they want to avoid those chemicals, but the e. coli bacteria can show up in both traditionally produced foods and/or organic.
the good news is organic growers have been under restrictions on they cand of menanure use to make sure it is properly composted. so i think organic production is therefe as a candy, but i is no guarantee that you are going to avoid the problem -- safe as can be, but there is no guarantee that you are going to avoid the problem. host: linda is doing us from okeechobee, fla.. caller: good morning. caller: good morning. i work on a vegetable farm, about 2,600 acres, and we are required to produce clean food. we processed about 11,000 acres of the cabbage last year.
our vendors put us through a myriad of steps that we have to provide and show them that we are doing the process properly. the biggest thing with food is when you are preparing it you keep your kitchen is clean. guest: linda, i could not agree more, that it is a shared responsibility. just as you are taking all of those steps in your production system to ensure your vendors, the people who are buying the food from you, that you are doing it right. we also need to help consumers understand the steps that they need to take. i think we all recognize that it is not one person's responsibility, but we also need to understand that part of the reason why the vendors have such strict standards is because they do not trust that the government programs are strong enough or
robust enough to protect their customers. we would like to see that changed. we do think a strong, national regulatory program would help consumers and the companies that buy on behalf of consumers, the retailers, to trust that the underlying food safety system is stronger. it would be nice if you could avoid some of those audits if you could just have one inspector coming to your farm and checking instead of 20. host: what advice do you give parents or any food prepared in the home? guest: is critically important that everyone preparing food treat raw meat or seafood like it is contaminated. you have to assume that in the juices that touch in the service juices that touch in the service could spread bacteria onto foods like lettuce or other foods that
you plan to eat raw. use separate cutting boards. go ahead and wash it down with soap and water and then let it soap and water and then let it dry before you use it again. some cutting boards actually can go right into the dishwasher. i used those four things like chicken and things that i am most concerned that could spread the contamination. we recommend consumers wash their vegetables unless they are artfully packaged. if they are packaged and triple washed, your kitchen might actually contaminate them. it is really a personal choice for bagged that's the bulls like triple washed lettuces, but for most produce, you are going to want to watch it and trim out in the soft spots because that is where the bacteria may have penetrated the fruit.
host: james has at this point from north carolina, saying -- guest: some states who are controlling the issue of food poisoning in restaurants has started to look at this question of whether rare hamburgers can be sold in restaurants. your listener can certainly go home and prepare a hamburger however he or she would like, but the bottom line is the restaurants have any responsibility to ensure the product is safe. under-'re serving an cooked hamburger, they cannot give you a check guarantee of safety. a host: caroline dewall is the food safety director at the center for science in the public interest. rosey, good morning and welcome
to the conversation. caller: i just watched recently a documentary called "food inc." and it shows and documents how food is grown in the united states. it was flat out disgusting. in beef, 95% of e. coli could be eliminated if the farmers would feed the animals what the nature once the animals to eat which is grass instead of corn. they do not do it because it is not as efficient as if you feed them that steroid-filled corn. the other thing that they have showed is there are only a few large corporations now in america that control the creation or the growing of food and the animals and all that, and day dictate to these farmers how to grow the food, what to
use, what to feed the animals, and this is why i think when you see an outbreak, it is nationwide because the little farmer is being driven out of business. they also showed a local farmer who did it the old-fashioned, traditional way like 100 years ago, and his level of contamination was with less than that of the big companies that comply with federal law. do you have any comments about that? guest: that is a great synopsis of "food inc." which is a movie. it is a very fascinating story. as with all movies, not all of it is entirely accurate. believe me, if the beef industry could fix the problem with e. coli 1057 easily, they would have done it 10 or 15 years ago.
at this is a problem that in some instances has literally destroyed companies and causes very severe business consequences for these companies. so, there is not just a simple fix. you know, i've had grass fed beef and i think it's delicious. delicious, andry the bottom line is it is probably better for our environment. so there are many reasons that you might want to choose grass fed beef. you made a point about the control of the agricultural system. i think the movie illustrates that some companies have taken perhaps too much control, perhaps over the feeds that they sell. this can be a problem but is one that we need to deal with at the policy level, and consumers can
individually deal with by making good food choices. host: 24 deaths in germany and hundreds who are suffering from the e. coli outbreak spreading in the primarily the northern part of the country. some information on who is responsible for these food safety issues -- local agencies are responsible for any outbreaks and they treat them as local events. then, the centers for disease control get involved or any opera is that involve large numbers of people or an unusual number of cases. a state may ask for help from the cdc. the cdc. the different agencies look at all aspects from a federal perspective. tim is joining us from virginia.
good morning. caller: hi there. i hope i am not repeating something that was already discussed, but i am interested in your opinion on radiating food and whether that would prevent these outbreaks. secondly, it is interesting to me that somebody from the center for science in the public interest is not a vegan. what is your comment about repeating the food? guest: irradiation would destroy e. coli. it does not destroy everything. for example, it would not destroy viruses but it is largely very effective when it comes to e. coli, salmonella, and many types of common food pathogens. so, what is the status of
irradiation? a lot of consumers do not want to buy it. the food industry has been approved to use it, both for leafy greens and for ground beef for quite a while, well over five years and as many as 10 years. but the bottom line is they have had trouble selling it. there is a crucial store chain -- i think it is up in new york state that will only sell irradiated meat. " actually, it is all tover the north atlantic area, but it will only sell irradiation me to. it does not want to assume the rest. most companies that have tried to offer both have dropped it because of a lack of consumer demand.
so, the bottom line is the tool is available, but is not being used today. host: the caller mentioned that you are not a begin, or maybe you are? guest: i am not a vegan. i enjoy a wide variety of food choices. it took a long time to eat -- and not raw meat, i did not eat raw meat, but to serve meat to my children. i think when kids are young, their immune systems are not fully developed. i studied e. coli 0157, and it was not worth the risk to me to feed my children hamburgers, but that was a personal choice. i eat a wide variety of food. host: virginia, go ahead please. caller: is it true you are
allowed to cut ammonia in ground meat, and if that is true, what else are you putting in our food? guest: first of all, i am not putting anything in your food. i work for a consumer organization. host: we have a link through c- span.org. guest: the issue of ammonia -- the meat industry is trying a lot of things to try to increase the safety of ground beef to carry out the bottom line is americans love their ground beef. in some parts of the world, you cannot get a hamburger on as you go to an american restaurant. so, ground meat is a high-risk product. the germs on the and exterior of the meat are ground up into the center, where they can grow and
multiplied, so one company started using ammonia. that meet would be mixed with other meat, and simply reduce the risk for other countries. i think companies are trying a lot of different options, but it is the fda and the usda that would approve that kind of treatment. again, we need strong federal agencies that are reviewing the science behind what the companies want to do. host: let's look of the numbers. each year, one in six americans, or about 48 million people get sick as a result of a food-borne illness. 128,000 are hospitalized. 3000 die of food borne diseases each year. food contamination can happen at any point, during production,
processing, distribution, or preparation. we're talking with caroline smith dewall. phil joins us. caller: i would like to ask the guest the opinion on what she thinks would be the detrimental effects on food safety if in our haste to reduce our deficit there were massive cuts on the food and drug administration or the department of agriculture. guest: that is an excellent question, and one we are very concerned about in washington. the food and drug administration has an important new tool -- the food safety modernization act, but that new law will require many years to implement, and there are at the stage where they have to develop the regulations, the models, and
start to enforce the new laws, which means sending inspectors into the field. this is not a time when the agency can afford any budget cuts, but that has been proposed by the house-passed budget. we are watching this carefully. the usda food safety and inspection service also has inspectors actually there, in every meat and poultry plant in the u.s. today. they have a robust inspection force, but they need to stay there if we are going to make sure we do not have continuing outbreaks and thomases from food. the bottom line here is that this is preventable. if food companies believe they're never going to be checked, that no inspector will walk through the door and ask for them to explain their food safety system, then it will not be as good as it needs to be. so, it is critically important
that we have the agencies on the beat. we need votes on the ground in the plants, to make sure they can enforce the new law, and the older laws that are there to protect us. host: donald has this question. can you speak on the danger of genetically-modified foods and the use of hormones? guest: both are very important issues, both of concern to a lot of consumers. we really look at things from the standpoint of what the science tells us about the rest. we have not identified food safety risks from a number of those practices -- from genetically modified food -- in fact, in some cases, it might reduce the amount of pesticides that are being used and released into the environment.
so, we have not seen safety concerns, and hormones would only pose a concern if they were used in excess levels. now, the use of antibiotics in the production of farm animals and food animals is a major concern, because not only can that result in drug residues that result in drug residues potentially coming into the food supply, but also it could give rise to antibiotic-resistant strains of food pathogens. we are concerned about the use of antibiotics in food production, and we are encouraging companies to reduce their use of antibiotics. we have also petitioned the u.s. department of agriculture to declare a number of new strains of salmonella that have caused outbreaks. host: dog joins us from odessa,
texas. caller: over the last many years, going back into the 1970's, i guess, i first became aware there was such a thing as for -- the chanter of signs for public interest. you guys created many scarce. you created the scare of eggs, which caused a drop in production and consumption in the united states. that was, i suppose, pretty-well served at the time, but i wonder how much money, or your organization, or your buddies make off of depressing a food source price that you can invest in at a lower rate, and then reap the benefit later when it
was found to be baloney? guest: i appreciate your opinion, but i do not agree with that. the center for science in the public interest is funded by 850,000 subscribers to the nutrition health letter. we are not funded through any type of speculation or investment strategies, or anything of that nature. we are funded by consumers. the bottom line is we do not create outbreaks. we will report on them. we will respond to them. we will analyze, in fact, what steps the government needs to be taking to improve its food safety system. we looked at both the local level, with reports on outbreaks, restaurant inspection practices in different states and cities, as well as looking
at federal policies governing food. so, i really do not see that we are creating problems. we are really helping to respond to them in an informed way, and then advising the government on what steps they could be taking to prevent major outbreaks from happening. as you know, there was a major outbreak from eggs that happened last summer, so egg safety is an issue of major concern. host: a robust conversation on our twitter page -- guest: interesting. you had one caller who wondered how the government could allow ammonia to be served up with ground meat, and another saying "how can they tell me?"
i think the bottom line is consumers want to know what is in their food, and they want the government taking action to ensure that the things that are not safe are not being used. people eat every day. this is something that clearly creates interest among your viewers, because it really does impact people every single day. host: next is drew from michigan for caroline smith dewall. caller: yes, good morning. i thank you for your service in this matter. i would like to inquire about minerals and the aspect of ionization after and during the cycling of vegetation as it is naturally done.
ionization that would kill viruses and, in all, and bacteria, naturally, just by adding minerals, or cycling is it in to the water system for growing. guest: drew, i must say i am not familiar with that. if there is a natural process that could help reduce the levels of bacteria in plant reduction -- production, i think that would be no interest to many people. you are in michigan. michigan state university is doing a lot of work on food safety. you should share your ideas if you think there is a simple solution. host: is there any concern based on what is happening in germany that it could happen in the u.s.? guest: our experience is when
these pathogens emerge, they often come back. it does not happened yet in the u.s., but this is clearly a pathogen of tremendous andlence, causing two 0. half to three times the normal rate. this is a very serious concern, and while we hope it does not come to the u.s., it is certainly a pathogen that could come to the u.s.. host: you write that you should treat food poisoning as a potentially deadly matter. guest: a absolutely. there might be as many as three to 10 the number of consumers actually effected.
most consumers that get a case of diarrhea or ms they will treat it at home, self-treat it, and hope it goes away. if you're having severe illness, it is better to have it treated at a hospital. host: our last caller is from greenwich, conn., for caroline smith dewall. guest: i love orange soda. i do, i do, i do. host: another fan of orange soda. what did you take away from this conversation? guest: i am very interested that we had so many callers and so many people. this is an issue that impacts consumers every day. i want to recommend to your viewers that they go back to their kitchen, did it an extra scrubs, and make sure they're
keeping their raw meat, >> thursday on "washington journal" we get an update on the recent challenges to the affordable care act. and that we have somebody from the national association of manufacturers. after that, nora from the center for new american security discusses a congressional report on the successes and failures of the nation-building effort in afghanistan. "washington journal" is live every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern -s