tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 19, 2013 7:00am-10:01am EDT
sun."oss vegas sas vegas host: good morning, it is monday, august 19, 2013. president obama returned from his weeklong vacation yesterday and is scheduled to hold meetings today at the white house am including one with his leave financial regulators. later he will hit the -- later he will hit the road with a two- day bus tour. meanwhile, political situations in egypt remained tense. looming on the horizon is another debt ceiling and budget battle and the implementation of the country virtual health care
law. with so money issues on his plate we want to hear from you about what you believe is the most important issue facing the president. what should his top priority be right now? phone lines, our are open. republicans can call at -- we want to take you to this front page story. --ma returns to tough agenda
comments are already coming in on her facebook page on this issue. we ask you what is your priority with the president's agenda right now? a few comments coming in. darrell writes in it doesn't matter what the public wants, -- we will be taking your calls and comments on the subject. we want to go a bit over the president's schedule this week. deputyjoined by the white house editor for politico.
start us off with this bus to or in -- this bus tour. educationis on higher issues but he will be talking about other issues as well? republicans are coming up now very quickly. this particular spring is going to be focused on colleges. he's going to take care of upstate new york. he is going to be stopping in president biden -- in vice president biden's hometown on friday. host: he has made a few other proposals already, including one on corporate tax reform for stimulus dollars. where has that gagne go where have some of these proposals see, thist: as you
tourist taken him across the country. -- this two were is taken him across the country. proposal will take the form of executive actions that the president can take on his own without congressional approval. other proposals that he is running by congress -- we are not expecting any particular action from this congress. this covers the full spectrum of the economic agenda, including healthcare spending, student loans, home costs. and all of the different array of economic issues are all tied up in this matter. host: how important is this time for the president?
congress is away from washington, members are in their home district. in the last couple of weeks of august, what can he do having the stage to himself here in washington? guest: this is a usual trend for the president over the summertime. his approval ratings have dipped. is -- right now he has the stage to himself. it is critical and hard to overstate the importance of framing the message ahead of these fights. we have seen the polls over the summer. when it comes to the budget showdown president does have an advantage. it it is important for the white house to hold onto this advantage ahead of the fight with congressional republicans. negotiations continue over the budget and of course the debt ceiling. host: she is the deputy white
house editor for politico. give us the latest on the white house and the situation in egypt right now. is -- the president only public statement he gave is about egypt. we are seeing the white house handing a no good options for the president, increasing congressional pressure to cut off age up entirely. we are continuing to see this piece mailing approach from the white house. the apache helicopter shipment is another element that ways in the balance right now. anynecessarily expecting dramatic moves from the white house, but at the same time, continue to see these messages being sent to egypt. thank you so much for getting up with us this morning on the washington journal. we are taking your calls this morning, comments and tweets as
about the president's agenda. we want to hear what you think is priority should be right now. phones are open. we will go to our republican line. joe is waiting from georgia. the morning to you. thank you for c-span. i have been a follower for 30 years. , presidente to do obama's agenda ought to be the deficit. great conservatives , whose number one priority is to reduce the deficit. the key is getting the president to focus on the deficit. doug collins is a good congressmen. we are really excited. we think the answer is more conservatives and we think the president has done a poor job. is joe from georgia.
we will go to our independent line, nick is waiting from dickson, tennessee. good morning to you. what do you think the president's priority should be right now? caller: what they should be and what they is are two different things. his number one priority is the desolation of the constitution of the united states. and focusing more power in washington to create this he myth that sits on the chest of everybody, suffocating the economy and our rights, instilling political correctness in our children. these are not religious freedoms. it goes from amend didn't juan -- from amendment one, article two, amendment 4, 5, 10. this is what his main objective is. it is to create a socialist ideology out of a constitutional republic. host: nick from dickson,
tennessee. our democrat lines are open. texas --role falls, from marble falls, texas, good morning. my tea party cousin asked me if i did not have the money to buy what i wanted, what would i do iago i said i just would not buy it. he said that is what our government should do. i were the most wealthy person on the face of the earth, which the united states is, and i needed things and i have lots oft credit and options, i would borrow the money until i got on my feet. i think that is what we need to do. we need to get on our feet. know who belongs to --
that is american legislators exchange council, i want to know who belongs to that. i understand all republicans belong to it. i want to know if the members of the judiciary belong to it to. are you going online on their website or where are you fighting in -- where are you finding the list? caller: bill moyer did an expose. it has been around since reagan. it is a secret organization. it has anynk business in our government. i want to expose and i want to know who belongs to it. host: i think you can go to their website. we are talking about the president's priorities, what do you think the top priority should be? tweet coming in --
shutting down the government is a small price to pay for killing the president's signature bill. that is this week's christian science monitor. we are talking about all of these issues on the president's plate. we want to hear what you think the top priority should the. carl is from berkeley springs west virginia on our republican line. good morning. caller: i think he should do more to bring the two parties together. i have learned a lot about myself over the past five years as a republican. adid not know that i was
racist, that i hated little kids, that is their agenda to divide and conquer. i think more should be done to bring the parties together instead of trying to make us hate each other. what would be a step in that direction? stop beating us over the head. i have been married 53 years, i do not hate women. i have five kids, i do not hate kids. that is what i hear from the democrat party, all republicans hate women and they are racist. they hate little kids. this is ridiculous. it is getting ridiculous.
he is artie been reelected. trying to bring us together a little bit and maybe get something done. we will go to our democratic line. larry is in memphis tennessee. good morning to you. caller: good morning. the president has an agenda to help a lot of people in america that are suffering. there are a lot of people the president has an agenda of health care for everyone. the president has an agenda to bring all the jobs, they were against the health care. the president has an agenda for jobs and business. republicans are against it. is going to move forward we have to vote all of these republicans out. -- they are against it.
i want to play you a bit of john mccain on cnn's state of the union yesterday, talking about the u.s. credibility when it comes to egypt. [video clip] we dohave no credibility, have influence, but when you do not use that influence than you do not have that influence. we could be cutting off the aid, spare parts, and maintenance of these military equipment that we have given the egyptians. it is important to their capabilities. tourism, economic assistance, business, the imf loan. there are areas where he can exercise influence over the generals. you're not doing any of it. we are not sticking with our values. >> when you argued earlier, trying to give the military leaders a chance, you argued that cutting off u.s. aid to egypt might harm israel.
others also add that wants to cut off aid you have lost any kind of leverage, there is nothing after you have cut off usa. at that particular time that it was not the right thing to do because we wanted to give them an opportunity to get back on the path to democracy. obviously that is not the case. as i say, our interest and values, there are consequences of failure and of any action we might take it for us to sit by and watch this happen is a violation of everything that we stood for. when we threaten something as he then youhen not do it, lose your credibility and influence. the generals now are acting with confidence that we -- >> they will not do it?
>> there will be no reprisals. senator johns mccain talking on cnn yesterday about some of the egyptian subsidies. today's washington times has a chart then notes some of those subsidies over time. it notes that back in 2002 the economic aid and military aid to egypt totaled almost $2 billion. you can see that chart on down the years. in 2011 it was at $1.5 billion. for the 12 creeping up toward $1.6 billion. this issue of u.s. aid to egypt was on several of the sunday shows yesterday. we want to show you democrat jack reed from rhode island yesterday on nbc's meet the press, talking about the situation in egypt. [video clip] >> the acts are completely unconscionable and i do believe we have to change our aid.
i think also we have to have, included in the legislation, a waiver. we have to give the president not only responsibility to deal with the government of egypt and also the flexibility. he have to recognize that this is not just for the moment. this is a long-term process. one of the obvious facts of the transition from an authoritarian government should democracy, it takes a long time and it is not a straight line. we have to have a policy that expresses our outrage at the military, but also gives the president the tools to engage them. moreover we have to engage them tea -- they provide significant aid and also economic aid. finally we have to recognize that there are's -- there are other strategic issues, including the safety and stability of israel. i do believe we can send a strong signal i suspending the
aid. he suspended our military exercise. if we do pass legislation, it has to have a waiver so the president can be able to engage or attempt to engage the egyptian government. host: we are taking your calls this morning on what you believe president obama's top priority should be right now with so many issues on his plate. phil is on the independent line from maryland. he have played a couple of clips just now about the situation overseas in egypt. how much of a priority should some of these foreign affair issues before the president? my suggestion is that the president should seek the highest level of the american people's confidence. priority, especially
with this sleek coming out of the fukushima tower -- this sleek coming out of the book oshima powerplant -- out of the -- shima powerplant with all the wars and the economy and all of those things it is very important. warre not going to win the or anything else. one other factor. we need to take money out of politics. we need people who are not politicians there for their own opportunity. they have to be there for the people. we need people like george washington, martin luther king.
host: you bring up the nuclear waste issue could stick around for our last segment. we will be talking about a nuclear waste depository that work onosed and then that. that will be in our segment of the washington journal. he will discuss your money and government programs that your money goes to. stick around for a third segment today. the caller also brought up the on ournd politics facebook page. rescinding citizens united, they get the dark money out of politics should be the top priority for the president. to rose from new philadelphia ohio on our republican line. thank you for taking my
call. yesterday you had robert reich asking why americans are so angry and divided. the presidenty himself tells us why we are so angry and divided. did it himself. read it in his book, the audacity of hope. a polarized electorate works. i think he has intentionally , anded us, holy divided us it is a very mean thing to say but i thought his first priority should be to bring his family back from martha's they neared and return to wherever he came from. you mean coming back to
washington d.c.? just come back to wherever he is being president and go away from being president. the other caller said he should perhaps resigned. that is what i think. rose brought up the division in politics, that is the subject of today's lead editorial in the wall street journal on a different potential candidate, hillary clinton. her racial politics is the headline there. the next piece notes that she makes a polarizing pitch that ignores trends in voter turnouts. that opinion piece notes that
over the past half-century, vice presidents who ran invariably capture their parties nomination -- the last president to fail the nomination was out in berkeley, who suffer -- who was under harry truman. he was 74 and his age was cited as a reason for defeat. stir biden will be 73 when the 2016 elections roll around. his handicap is not an age so much as the formidable president -- talking about republican potentialal -- presidential candidates, here's a story from boston, scott brown exploring run for president.
the issues associated with people of property and people of low incomes. i think that should be a priority. we have had a long history where individuals who are on the lower -- of the economic scale particularly in the last 30 or 40 years people with influence have caused many of the individuals with political affiliations to think and develop these rifts between one person and another based on their economic, ethnic, or racial status, and has created a situation where people are living in poverty and having all kinds of problems. i think that is the basis for the problems with obamacare and those attacking the president. it is best for many individuals
to castigate low income people and fill their heads with poison with half-truths and innuendos regarding immigrants and others. america has lost its bearing in that respect. priority needse -- the american citizen works hard every day. they do not have any money. you have worked all their lives. those kinds of things need to be eliminated it ought to be in the public priority. we have to recognize issues to foreign problems. we have to maintain our presence in the foreign lands. that should not be the priority. the priority ought to be america.
david is waiting from san raphael, california. good morning. your thoughts on what president obama's priority for his agenda should be right now. caller: thank you for taking my call, i appreciated. i think his number one priority should be getting an understanding of central banking. keep the federal reserve out of the country. restore the constitution, stop all spying. and obama care and the like. and that he should address the articles of impeachment. david from san raphael, fonda. on twitter -- on foreign-policy, --
there will be more on that story in today's new york times. on our democratic line from pennsylvania. pat, we are talking the president's priorities. we have gone over a few foreign- policy issues. what do you think the top priority should be, foreign or domestic policy? the top priority should be foreign-policy. in particular, a complete disconnection from the state of israel, which we are now finding is a nation leading israeli intelligence officers. these are the american
equivalent of the fbi director, cia director, who are now creating a state of israel like not to germany. when secretary kerry detained the leading state department ,fficial of the united states the statement was, at least i can go where i want now. host: where are you getting your information? caller: i know this for a fact. there are photographs of netanyahu on the walls. host: how do you know this as a fact? explain where you get your facts from. caller: friends of mine in the diplomatic service. when do you think -- you obviously want to break
relations. you thinkly, when do they stopped becoming a friend of the united states? caller: they stopped becoming a friend of the united states when they began to see the -- in the united states, he began to see the massive structure of the economic infrastructure. and you take the federal reserve of the united states and turn it into a private entity, with zero ability to audit, you set in motion a level of insidious behavior that is literally beyond comprehension. this is not just the united states, either. theyis canada, europe -- have used a truly diabolical financial system to create a -- globalcarry totalitarian state. host: we are going to stick with
the president's agenda. we are going to go to doug from chicago, illinois on our independent line. good morning to you. caller: thank you for taking my call. i think his top priority should be domestic. our economy is getting a lot better. , think with his leadership along with poor leadership , i thinkt of congress a lot of work can be done. we have unemployment that is real high. that should be a priority. we need to do everything we can overseas. our focus needs to be right here in the country. if we make our sales stronger we we'll become -- make ourselves
stronger we will become a began. if we are not focusing in on our own priority, the countries that want to become democracies, they look at us and think, how can they help us and be a light to us when they cannot even get their own act together? we have a lot of issues here, voting rights issues. defund thents to affordable care act. i think it definitely needs to be domestic. i wanted other story to point out to you this morning, a piece by former president bill clinton in today's usa today. talking about the upcoming anniversary of the president's cream -- of dirt and mud -- of dr. martin luther king's dream
in this segment of "washington journal closed quote this morning. we will go to west virginia on our republican line read your thoughts and the president's priorities right now. caller: i think is priority ought to be jobs in getting these people off of welfare. how are they going to support the people on welfare and disability? as far as the health they realized it did not work. that is a lot different. is a hundred things. i do not understand what is happening in this country. i think obama is trying to separate people. that in thee on things he needs to do. ally and our greatest that little old country is so tiny.
it is in the bible that this would happen. people would read the bible, they would realize what is going on. host: we will go to bette and our turkey new mexico this morning. caller: kudos to one of your previous callers for a beautifully articulated suggestion. jobs needs to be our number one our president needs to educate people as he is going around the country as to why he has not been able to achieve what he has wanted to achieve. you had someone e-mail about infrastructure bills. he had that right all along and he needs to educate people on what his chief impediment has been. that has been the congress.
our congress has had the lowest approval ratings in the history of the country. the so-called republicans ought to change their name to remnants or retread, the cause that is what they are. the leftovers of a once decent party. they haven't made it their job -- they have made it their job to stop everything the president tries to do. his inauguration was comprised of 14 republicans, corker was one of them, and newt ingrid is even brought on board, announcing on radio that this actually occurred. their chief ambition was to impede everything this president
tried to do to the detriment of the american public, in other words millions of people could have been back to work a long time ago were it not for these people trying to prove a point. that was to the detriment of americans who were anxious to get back to work. host: thank you for the call this morning. that is point do for our first segment here on "the washington journal." up next, robert bixby on the recent that decline and what the deficit means. and later julie appleby will be here to talk about the obama administration's decision to delay limits on out-of-pocket expenses for consumers. you'll be right back. ♪
>> we are standing inside hardscrabble, which is a two- story log cap and grant built for his family in 1866. she founded crude and homely. best of it,e the true to her nature. -- sheung married woman thought he could have built something as nice as whitehaven. have rocked with her finer things. as a privileged child she would have had fine china, fine .urniture that was comfortable she would have five people eating in the dining room. what is important for them, even
though they did not live in this lot, is that is represents their very first home together. would gain great -- a great deal of confidence. encore week, the presentation of our original series "first ladies: influence and image." this year -- this week, julia grant to caroline harrison. >> "washington journal" continues. host: a new statistic from the treasury department shows that the u.s. budget deficit is down nearly 38% this year compared to last year. take us through the reasons why, we are joined by robert pixie the -- robert bigsby. we are looking at a $607 million deficit -- $700 billion deficit.
is a good news? guest: yes, it is. 600 billion, probably more by the end of the year. it is still a large deficit, about four percent of the economy. in terms of getting to a place of more stability, we still need some work. the deficit is coming down. host: for those confused by terms, take us through deficit versus debt. we are looking at a shrinking deficit but the federal debt is still creeping up. the federal deficit is the amount the government spends more than it takes in. those deficits add up to the total national at. includes some money the government owes to itself.
the deficit this year's projected to be $640 billion. the debt is over $16 trillion. host: here is a chart showing the debt picture from 1972 to 2012, just over 16 trillion here is where we are today. thisther chart talks about episode picture, this showing the change in u.s. episode over the last couple of years am a back in 2000 eight we were looking at a $459 billion deficit. that ticked up in 2009 2 $1.4 ofllion, that was about 10% gdp. 2010 through 2012, all over currently in -- all over a trillion dollars. the project deficit this year is
dollars.ion is this a sign that the economy is improving? it is. a lot of that was caused by the great recession. what happens there is revenues go down because fewer people are working and earning less money. he also cut taxes in an attempt to help the economy. recession, a spending goes up on programs like medicaid and food assistance. people are in need of government assistance. these are called the automatic stabilizers. that means that automatically during tough times, revenue goes down and spending goes up. that means the deficit goes up. when the economy begins to recover, those effects stayed and the deficit begins to come down again. that is what we are seeing now. host: we are going to take your
calls on the segment. our phone lines are open. if you want to talk debt and deficit, republicans can call in -- our lines are open now. we want to take you through a chart, breaking down the numbers a little bit more for us. the federal deficit for fiscal -- revenues are up 14% and spending is down about 2.9%. this reduced is deficit more of a function of the spending side or the revenue side? it is a combination of both. what we have this year is a fiscal cliff deal. if you remember back to new eve,rs -- to new year's
revenues went up because the and we tax had been cut will allow that to go back up to its normal level. some of the bush tax cuts were allowed to expire for upper income families. that boosted revenues. the congress also imposed caps on discretionary spending. that helps to control spending. revenues have grown faster than projected. wages have been higher for one reason or another. there has been -- there have been a combination of good factors that have brought down the deficit this year. it is important to look at longer-term trends. we tend to get focus on the one- , and our two-year longer-term trend is still unsustainable. host: in terms of where the yes,it is going? guest:
the deficit is projected to be around 640 billion this year. the fiscal year ends on september 30. next year it will probably come down again and possibly again in 2015. the projections are that it will 2016 to drift up again by and continue on an upward trend if we do not do anything about it. of babybecause a lot boomers will be qualifying for social security and medicare. track that isding not able to be supported by the revenue track. numbersre are some provided from the congressional budget office, put into a nice chart form for us. 2016, 2017, 20 18, we are still looking at deficits in the $600 billion range but that begins to take up again in 2019
and up to almost $900 billion in 2023. this is leading some confusion in recent weeks. eric cantor said that the deficit is growing. there are folks who'll are in favor of the president's financial plan. in your mind as the deficit shrinking or growing? the deficit is shrinking. the cbo is projecting a deficit of $641 billion. it is just a coincidence that
that has happened. that is compared to what? it is these lines. we sometimes get hung up on that in washington. look at where the deficit was last year and this year, it is coming down. if you look at our debt, that continues to grow. if the deficit grows faster than the economy, then the at will grow faster than the economy. what we need to do is make sure that the deficit is not growing faster than the economy and that will stabilize the growth of the debt to gdp and eventually would bring it down if we continue to lower the deficit. is that thefficult economy is still very slow and still very sluggish. classic economic theory is that you do not want to cut the deficit by two much in a slow economy because government spending and lower taxes help .he economy
the trade-off is it does keep the deficit high and that grows the debt. term it isnger hurting but in the short term it is helping. host: a question on twitter -- guest: that is always an abstract question. there are public policies that have an immediate effect on people. the deficit is more of an abstract thing and people wonder what earthly effect it has on them. actually be ay help to people because it may keep their taxes lower or keep spending on programs they like higher. eventually the government has to pay for all of these things. it is an expense we all bear. is if thepart government is running a debt of
this too high, eventually what happens is it begins to have a bad effect on the economy. too much of the government's investment is going into bottling for consumption rather than investment. it does have an effect. both in terms of higher taxes, the need to cut programs, will we think are beneficial. ultimately on a slower economy. it does rack up a big burden for future generations. one can sit around saying it isn't a bother to me. if people in their 20s and 30s are going to inherit a much larger debt they -- that that they are going to be a on the hook for, it is going to be a concern. we are talking with robert bixby. what the concorde initiative? we advocate
responsibility, do a lot of exercises around the country and monitor what is going on here in washington. is a first on our democratic line. you're on with robert bixby. caller: can you hear me? host: yes. caller: i have several comments i want to make. , more deficit goes down people are getting poor and poor. the government says they are doing something when they break about the deficit going down. it is killing a lot lower class and working people. paid $13 million per $13 and crying about paying per hour. the poor people do not get a bailout.
budget caps on discretionary spending. just a little bit in the weeds here, one third of the bedroom -- of the federal budget -- it does include the depth fans department, education, all of the federal agencies and commerce. effort to deliberate reduce the deficit by imposing those caps. plan effect, to have those caps going to effect and help ring the deficit down. one of the controversies right now is whether or not those caps, the second round, is to tight and is cutting programs by too much and perhaps effect of the economy. it is a good legitimate debate.
they will say that we should change that. into the to get mandatory spending, the entitlement programs, the substitute cuts their for cuts in the discretionary program. democrats will insist that revenues will be part of the package. there may be some sort of grand bargain or a many grand bargain that puts all parts of the budget on the table. let us go to clearwater, florida on our republican line. you are on with robert bixby. caller: what would the effect be of requesting social security and medicare temporarily until we get the budget in check? see moreike to competition in the healthcare field so we can bring the cost down on the quality up.
i think it is a disgrace we are spending the most than any country in the entire world. security,not have when you're making six figures, who will have security? guest: the caller raises two good points. orking at deficit reduction any sort of grand bargain on a long-term sustainable fiscal plan, we should target the spending cuts as much as theible on people who need least government support. when you look at programs ike social security and medicare, they are a major part of the budget.
guest: the congressional budget office has scored the affordable care act as actually using the deficit. doubt that it increases spending and the premium subsidies are going to be a major impact. act alsodable care included some cuts to medicare, which were controversial and talk about in various lyrical campaigns to pay for the new subsidies and also raise some taxes to pay for the new subsidies. and all of the new spending the spending cuts and tax increases, the congressional budget office says that their best estimate to actually lower the deficit -- it comes out as a wash. nobody really knows.
i think they would be the first to say that this is what we think but we are not quite sure. and thecial projections spending cuts and tax increases that have been programmed to pay for them. up next from san diego california on our independent line, good morning. i first ran into the concorde coalition about two years ago. they were forecasting this doom and gloom that i am hearing again today. if we do not keep our tax rate services, we are going to crash.
at the meeting i was at, there was a coalition survey and i comesd that the funding from a lot of different groups, including the heritage foundation. lowave to keep our taxes and what particularly bothers me is that mixed or -- that mr. is social prediction security is having an effect on our deficit and my understanding is i have been paying separate social security taxes and there are $1 trillion in the bank.
the concorde coalition spoke out against with the bush tax cuts when they went to affect. thought they should concentrate more on paying down the debt at the time. when we had new expenses for the war in afghanistan, we thought it would be appropriate to raise taxes to pay for that. we have other circumstances. we took a position against enacting the medicare prescription drug benefit without taxes to pay for that. that is not our agenda, as you described it. i am not sure what else it was. social security is contributing to the deficit. separategh it has a accounting system which is off budget, we account for it separately.
guest: the government spends a certain amount of money. the payroll taxes are no longer sufficient to cover the benefits that are going out. contributing to the deficit and will for the for suitable future the payroll taxes is no longer sufficient to cover the benefit payments. the payroll tax will stay the same. they are more than a fisheries. a longer-term problem is this gap between the social security payroll tax and the amount of benefits that will be paid out. director at the concorde coalition.
then i was the field director. practice law in virginia and was the chief staff occurred the of the -- attorney of the state of virginia. host: good morning. caller: good morning. has heldury department 25 billion dollars below the legal limit held by congress for the last 56 28 days. i was wondering if you could comment. guest: we are at the debt limit already. i do not know the specific report. probably the treasury department is required to report on how they are staying below the debt
limit. and aree various steps referred to as extraordinary measures. is not in making the usual credits to the federal employees retirement fund and things like that. government toe stay below the debt limit. aree extraordinary measures authorized by law but they only last for so long. there are so many tricks in that bag and eventually those measures will run out by the end of some time in november and september. becausereases the dad the treasury bonds that normally
would increase the debt because they're issuing debt -- the funds do not need them right away. it allows them to issue other debts they need to spend right away. they can credit these funds so nobody loses anything. it is a bookkeeping maneuver. host: you mentioned we might hit the debt limit. explain i that is a floating deadline. guest: the government has cash inflows and expenditures that cannot be predicted, particularly on the revenue side. you're never quite sure exactly when the debt limit is going to be hit. you do not want to hit it. robert.is is from
over $200is a little billion annually and it goes to bondholders. sum of a very large money. it is more than that. rate, as they begin to right now the government is borrowing at low interest rates. they are still low by historic standards. it is going to cost more and more to service the debt. that is a charge to the federal tax player and will add to the budget. it is under the baseline
predictions and we are looking at interest cost 10 years from now at more like $800 billion a year. that becomes a huge sum of money. if you spin this out even longer, if we keep running big deficits, interest becomes the highest cost of the federal budget. we are a long way from that right now. the growing amount of interest cost is something to be concerned about. host: salem, massachusetts, gail. good morning. caller: good morning. coalition? i think the debt has been brought up with congress not voting for a budget every year. guest: the concorde coalition
was cofounded by one of your former senators and one of my former senators, paul tsongas and warren rudman, a senator from new hampshire. they were a democrat and republican and both concerned about the growth of the federal budget deficit and the debt and on effect of long-term dad our future generations -- and the effect of long-term debt. founded in 1992. we are in our 21st year. we are a nonpartisan organization. we are not a lobbying group. had, ier question you think you are right.
congress does not have a budget. the house and senate have enacted a budget. they have made no attempt to reconcile these budgets or to come together on a long-term plan. both sides seem content to run into a crisis. nobody wants to talk to each other in this town. do a budget is step number one. host: did you have another question? did we lose you, gail? we will go on to marry from massachusetts, boston. good morning, mary. caller: hi. host: go ahead. caller: hello? host: you are on with mr. bixby. fromll move on to richard
have hem massachusetts. caller: i am an old fan of the concord coalition. i am talking here? i am getting interrupted by somebody. happened tohatever the engine that cap american going, the manufacturing? that was a great thing. tsongasan and senator and you guys talked about the engine that drove america. guest: right. paul tsongas did talk a lot about that. that is the engine that drives jobs. without a properly functioning manufacturing sector, it is very
difficult to provide the good jobs and keep the economy rolling. one of the things we need to do that federal deficit that are hiking crowd out the increasets we need to manufacturing and to make manufacturing more productive so that we can invest in workers and plants and equipment. that is one of the consequences of debt when it gets overly high. i think you are right and that is one of the economic the reasons, one of we talk about bringing the deficit under control. saying, the economy
is bad and now is not the time to worry about the deficit. is not that a recession the time to worry about the deficit. there may be times it is the government making the investment. there is no reason that government cannot make investments. -- you haveontinue to target those investments and you do not want to deficit financed them over the long term. economy is inthe recession. we think about the budget deficit and the economy. the best policy is to run a deficit in the short term but to be taking steps now that will phase in to bring the longer- term deficit under control.
roomnk there would be more -- the credit markets would be fromcompetent that steps the government to assist the private sector in the short term would be more effective. a long-term deficit would be under control. host: todd on twitter wants to know -- guest: well, defense spending is going to be cut. it should be, like everything else. it is subject to the budget caps. one of the reasons that the deficit has been up in recent years is that we did engage in military conflicts. comeefense spending should
down to about three percent and went back up to about 4.5% or during the peak of the military conflicts in iraq and afghanistan. that has come down quite a bit. looks like it will continue to come down. recedingspending is back to a lower level, around four percent of gdp. defense spending will be part of the solution longer-term. it is not subject to the same health care pressures that the entitlement programs are. part of the pentagon budget is subject to those longer-term structural issues. i worry more about medicare and medicaid and social security
than the discretionary programs because we control those annually. they are not necessarily growing automaticly as the entitlement programs do. host: a tabulation that you write in your column. the keygoing to be players in this grand bargain? there is a story from earlier in august from "the washington post" that talked about key departures of folks. there could be an impact on whether folks are willing to compromise. the grand hope for something isat
going to have to happen. they cannot keep the government they cannotkeep -- overstep the deabt limit. they are going to have to arrive at some compromise. once they enter into that process, i think there is a chance they can get a acre deal rather than a smaller deal. the most immediate conflict is what you do about next year's appropriation bills? they are about $98 billion apart. that gets back to the sequestration issue. negotiation about that, it is going to require substituting mandatory spending cuts for some of those
discretionary spending cuts. if you get into the mandatory programs --medicare, farm probably have to also get into revenues. subsidieseducing some and closing loopholes. that puts all of the pieces in play to get to a grand bargain. you need to consider all three. there might be a chance that maybe new year -- year's eve. there is some chance they will do a grand bargain. by not unless they are pressed by a crisis. but a crisis will be upon us if we run up against the debt limit.
host: daniel from new york on our democratic line. you are on with robert bixby. caller: good morning. i appreciate your show. i am retired. now i get to watch c-span. i would likehings to talk about. remember --at i we have these -- i remember the headlines that projected we would have no deficit by 2010. i remember that headline. i watch the new administration. they are going to get rid of pay-as-you-go.
if you're paying out $200 billion and issuing treasury bonds, who buys these and what percentage are they getting? back awhile.go any.not own host: i want to give robert bixby a chance to answer your question. pension funds buys them. them.t: pension funds by ownednot broadly generally speaking. the caller may be part of a fund that invests in treasury bonds. that is who buys them. foreign investors by them.
is held the debt through foreign investors. therestory of the debt, is a couple of things going on. deficit expanded because we cut taxes and increased spending. recession. a major host: robert bixby is the executive director at the concorde coalition. you can check out his work. thank you for joining us. benext, julie appleby will talking about the decision to delay limits on out-of-pocket expenses for consumers. later, a look at what to do about the ongoing controversy about whether to build a nuclear waste build in nevada.
but first a news update. >> new jersey is about to become the second state to ban so- called conversion therapy, which attempts to turn gay teenagers straight. the governor plans to sign a bill today. california is the other state to ban the practice. inp demographic differences how parents see teachers, schools, and their own rules in their children's education. minority ands that low income parents are more likely to see serious problems than those who are affluent or white. a majority of black parents think they have a lot of influence over their child's education. 34% of white parents think the same. chuck hagel holds his first pentagon meeting with his
chinese counterpart this morning. issues include chinese cyber attacks and china's handling of edward snowden while he was in beijing. you can hear live on c-span radio. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> retransmission consent is hugely important to my television numbers. you pay for it through advertising model or a growing stream is retransmission consent. it will find its level. right now cable pays itself far more for its content than it pays to broadcasters. the truth is our content is the one that people watch the most.
look at the hundred top talk shows and 94 are broadcast content. it is important that we fight on win this battle retransmission consent. congressal if the wants us to continue to provide all of the things that we do to earn our licenses every day. you have to have a way to finance it. >> the head of the nab on issues facing the broadcast in history, tonight on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. guest: we continue our series looking at the new health-care law with kaiser news and today we are joined i robert bixby to talk about the decision to delay limits on out-of-pocket expenses
for consumers. this is a subject that you were writing about acting in april. what is being delayed here? guest: it started in february with a document that the obama ministration put up on their website. it talked about questions that employers might have about implementations in the law. law thathe health defines out-of-pocket costs. these are costs that consumers pay out of their own wallets. you pay a deductible. e athealth law caps thos about $12,700 for a family. the administration delayed the need to cap for one year those out-of-pocket expenses.
wrote andmer groups were concerned about this delay. they thought it would disproportionate affect people likechronic illnesses diabetes who were spending a lot of money. they urge the administration to not delay this provision. that was back in april. host: did the obama administration respond to those groups? guest: this all started happening last week. the administration was not going to reconsider its delay of this provision. it caught a lot of attention last week because it comes at a time when delays are all in the news. they delayed a bigger provision of the health-care law that says employers of 50 or more workers
have to offer health insurance or pay a penalty. now this is part of that discussion as well. host: our phone lines are open. we are changing them up from the usual phone lines. if your employer provides your insurance, you can call us at 202-585-3880. if you by your own insurance, 202-585-3881. if you are uninsured, give us a call at 202-585-3882. we will keep those numbers up on the screen. we are talking with robert bixby of kaiser health news. how did he get included in the original health-care law? guest: some plans have some high out-of-pocket costs. unusual to see annual
deductible and copayment that could be $10,000 or more. congress wanted to create more it atniformed cap and set a certain amount. the premiums would be lower. some people choose them and do not know they might be vulnerable to a lot of expenses if they do fall seriously ill. this delay only affects employer plans. it will not affect those who buy their own coverage. these caps will be required. was it one of the more controversial pieces? guest: i do not think so. host: here is the document from
the department of labor in which this announcement was made in there frequently asked questions. take us through the reasoning for delaying this cap. what what employers say to the government about needing more time. guest: this only affects the plans that have separate policies for medical care and a separate policy for drugs. some may have separate out-of- pocket caps. employers said it was difficult to coordinate and make it one single cap. they needed more time to do that. the administration agreed and said there would be a one-year period that they could do
that. host: the political impact of this delay. it gets a front page story in "the new york times" last week. talk about the political situation now and with this delay has meant for the debate. guest: there has been talk about the employer mandate. they have given the employers a one-year delay. republicans and some other opponents have said other parts of the law should also be delayed. the requirement that all individuals carry coverage or perhaps face a fine. has addedt discussion to that mix. the other pieces of the law be ready to go? will the marketplace open on
time? it has entered into the whole mix. host: we have split our phone lines up. host: we go to dave from north carolina on our buy yourow own line. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. a lot of folks find a need for supplemental plans like cancer or critical illness. w was curious about the -- hopw it will affect supplemental
plans or will the be a need once there is a cap involved. i will take your answer off the air. guest: he is talking about a plan that covers a certain illness or disease, like cancer. theink what will happen is new policies that will be sold on the individual marketplace will be required to cover a range of essential benefits. they will have these out-of- pocket caps. there will be deductibles and co-pays. these plans are much more comprehensive than plans that are currently sold on the individual market. there may not be a need for these individual supplemental plans. that may mean they might be more expensive than what people are purchasing on the open market. be what he isight
going to see on the marketplace. host: we are speaking with julie appleby. a nonprofit health policy communication organization and not affiliated with kaiser permanente. talk about your specific area of coverage. guest: we all cover the health- care law. i cover what happens to employers and consumers. lot.ve written about it a i was at "usa today." julie appleby is here to answer your questions. david from florida. good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead.
caller: can you deduct your annual premiums for government- provided insurance? guest: i do not know the answer to that. i suspect not. i am not a tax report are. host: let's go to tom from arlington, washington. good morning to you. caller: hello. why i i do not understand obama health care wants to affect me. i am 69 years old and have never been to a hospital. be i cannot say why i should required to pay money into this to take care of people
who have been to the hospital, who are always sick, like all the ads on television. everybody sounds like they are dying in this country. host: stick around for a second. guest: i wonder if tom is on medicare. medicare provides coverage for folks over 65. he may be on that program. caller: i am not on medicare. purchasingu plan on insurance under the new health- care law when it comes out? do you plan on taking the penalty? caller: it depends on what the cost would be versus the penalty. host: if you could take us through how that works. guest: it looks like tom could
go to these new marketplaces that are being set up in all of states and look at the cost of coverage and decide whether they want to enroll. he can go online to make a phone call. cost woulde what the be for a person of his age and where he lives. he may well find it is affordable or not. aboutearns less than $46,000 a year, there is going to be a sliding scale subsidy to help people purchase coverage. he may find that it is less than he is paying now if he has insurance. it would depend on what he is currently purchasing. caps a question on these and these out-of-pocket expenses. all these caps only affect
employer-based insurance? guest: yes. the exchange plan will have these caps in place. $12,700 for a family. lot.sounds like a plans that are affected, these are plans that have two different policies. a policy for the medical and a policy for the drug program. this light affects those kinds of plans and giving employers another year to create a single cap. i saw some statistics that show about 2% of covered workers have a policy that has a $6,000 a year out-of-pocket max or more.
most people get their coverage through their jobs. people get their coverage through their jobs. obama.nn is from al -- from alabama. good morning to you. caller: thank you for the show. -- do you support the health-care law? do you have any biases? guest: i am a reporter. about thingswrite that are happening with the law. how is it going to affect employers and insurers? supporter or as a opponent of the law. caller: i am covered under my
wife's employer's policy. will the health-care law allow her employer to just cover her them toished or allow kick spouses off the policy and send me to an exchange? employers have always been allowed to decide what they -- your wife's employer could kick you off. nothing in the health-care law changes. that would be something that the employer could decide. you would be able to go to the exchange and shop for coverage. many offer benefits because they want to retain and recruit workers they see it as a benefit and a perk to keep workers.
it is a business calculation they make. up?t: did you have a follow- caller: my wife works at a hospital. they have laid off 150 to 200 people in the last seven months? obamacare has forced them to make decisions about their health care that they did not have to make decision on. this act makes them make --isions that affect whether i do not think they're worried about having employees are not. they are forced to do things that otherwise they would not
do. host: can you talk about what companies are doing to prepare for the affordable care act kicking in? guest: maybe some reductions in their payment updates. sequestration has also affected a number of hospitals. broadly we are hearing and reporting some employer saying they are reducing hours for week so theyow 30 would not fall under the requirement to offer insurance or paypal to. --to paypal to. we don't know how may that will turn to be. we will have to see what happens. massachusetts, we do not see a lot of that here it we saw more people taking coverage through their jobs as a result
of the law in massachusetts. we are hearing some employers say they are cutting back right now. host: we are talking with julie appleby of kaiser health news. a provision that will extend when that cap would kick in. april. your story from if you could talk more about these caps themselves. how do they determine the cap levels? guest: the cap levels will be tied to the health savings account limit. it is set at about $6,300 for the first year. it will slowly go up. yourwanted to combine deductible and your copayments. right now when you buy coverage,
there may be an annual deductible of a certain amount and these copayments. some plans include your annual deductible and some do not. this says you must include the annual deductible as part of your annual maximum you have to pay. it is clear for people shopping. host: debbie from florida on our uninsured line. thank you for calling in. caller: good morning. my daughter is in adult who has a plethora of autoimmune disorders including lupus. she has no income other than what my husband and i provide. we pay all of her medical expenses. she is uninsured. i am wondering what options she will have in order to obtain insurance. guest: can i ask how old she is?
caller: she is 30. guest: starting in october, these new marketplaces open across the country where people go to shop for insurance. available inhat is florida for a 30-year-old and check the prices. insurers can no longer reject people with medical conditions. they cannot say, we will not take you because you are sick. they cannot charge people with medical conditions more than someone who does not. the states are expanding medicaid to more people. dependentn't have children, they are not eligible for medicare. aret half the states expanding eligibility. the states have chosen not to do
that would not be an option for your daughter. you might not all fought in a state like that. starting october 1, you could go into the exchange and it will be a federal change. you'll be able to see what she might qualify for in terms of a subsidy. there will be a sliding scale. caller: she has no income. probablye would qualify for the maximum and you would find out how much that would be. the question would be in your state about whether she would be able to qualify for medicaid. caller: i do not think she will. host: talk about the difference the doing the federally run exchanges and the state-run exchanges. guest: about 34 states decided they will let the government run all or part of the functions of these new marketplaces.
they do not want to anticipate in the health-care law. they are allowing the government to run the marketplace. the other states are doing their own. they could do more governance of their plans. that is a split in terms of the states. 17 states are doing their own. there are different funding streams for both. the states doing their own will be getting money for outreach and enrollment programs. host: those outreach efforts, we have a chart navigator. this is a story from last week. explain navigators and what they are going to be doing. guest: last week they gave the
money to about 100 organizations nationwide. are groups like hospitals and universities that will be training and hiring something called navigators. they will help people go through the enrollment process and figure out how they apply for a subsidy and help them get enrolled. the money is going to those 34 states that are leading the government do their exchange. the other states have gotten some funding. they have quite a bit more. million. about $11 they are letting the government do the marketplace. that was one of the biggest grants. is spending $37 million or maryland is getting $24 million. they are doing their own
marketplaces and they can do more outreach. host: how much training are these navigator folks going to have? do they advocate for certain policies? how do they help people understand the program? guest: critics are concerned the might be enough time between now and october 1. will they be adequate he trained? they must have 20 hours of training. some states may set some additional rules. they need at least 20 hours of training and be ready to go by october 1. they are not supposed to steer people to any particular plan. they should help them through the process of enrolling. host: robert from baltimore, maryland.
caller: they refuse to pay anything towards that in the bluecross blueshield expired. that policy was a waste of time. anybody who buy those type of policies should read very carefully the effectiveness of it. >> -- guest: they posted some rates in his states. in baltimore, some of the prices have been posted so far for 50-year-old, i don't know how old he is, for 50-year-old they range from 267 a month to 470 a month on this new exchange. he can look and see what's available. sound like it's little less than the 800 he's paying now.
the way the subsidies work, it's a sliding scale. by the end of the scale, you're expected to spend about 2% of your income towards the premium. after you spend that amount towards the premium and then the subsidy kicks in and pays the rest. he could be looking at a policy a couple hundred to $400 a month in baltimore. host: how does robert find out those policy numbers that you just cited? guest: he looks for the maryland health exchange online. some of the states posted a price. if he wanted to go to the kaiser health news website, we have a premium watch portion of our site where he can click on that and under the different states, we've posted the rates that the states who have made these public have put out there.
host: catherine up next on gainesville, texas. you're on with julie appleby. caller: good morning thanks c-span. i am a retired federal employee with federal employee health benefit plan right now and i also have medicare part b. i do not have medicare part a when i worked for the government, that was not a part of my plan because i retired on disability rather young. i need to know how is this obama plan going to affect me under federal employee health plan? guest: very good question. i'm not sure about the medicare part a how that will affect you. you can go to that health insurance website. you can call the number they set up. there's an 800 number that's set up that you can give a call.
in general, we did just hear about this discussion about capital health staff and congress folks about whether or not they're going to -- they will get a subsidy now from the government as they continue. they already had the subsidy where the government pay a portion of the premium about 70%. they pick up the rest. that will continue under the new health plan although certain congressional staff and congress folks are going to be buying through these exchanges as well. there is a bit -- the administration said they have the authority to continue to authorize this. host: jeff sun next -- jeff is up next from uninsured line. caller: good morning. my name is jeff. i have bad knees and i've had
five surgeries on my knees. on he fourth surgery when i went to the hospital, they told me if it happen again the next time if i deputy use mier insurance, it's going to be cheaper on me. this time it happened, i went to the hospital and i was a self-pay and so that $24,000 bill that i paid 20% of plus my premiums every week, all of a sudden came down to my total out of pocket cost was $4000. that was for my anesthesiologist and that was for the hospital. i need somebody to explain to me why we need insurance company and without the insurance companies the hospital will do the work without the rate and a better cost for the individual? thank you. guest: jeff you were very lucky most of the time hospitals charge people without insurance more money than they do with folks with insurance.
what they do insurers negotiate rates with hospital and each insurer negotiate separately. these charges that hospitals have, there's a base rate they start out with. when somebody comes in either uninsured or has only some kind of partial insurance, generally they get stuck with the bill at the higher end of that because they don't have anybody negotiating for them. it sound like what they offered you a bundled rate. it's almost sounds like buy one get one free. it sound like they bundled everything together say if you pay us in cash, we will give you this in certain amount. that's generally not the case when you go in without insurance. host: we talked earlier about what companies are doing ahead of the implementation, affordable care act on that same subject. can there be a law to ban company from cutting back hours
from employees to stop having to pay for healthcare? explain this situation. guest: i really doubt that congress will pass any kind of laws requiring employers to offer a certain number of hours. there is a discussion how do you define full time work. that's been the debate in congress because the health laws, regulation have defined it as 30 hours a week or more. there are a couple bills in congress that will define it as 40 hours. are we going to see more people getting cut back below 30 hours because of the health law because employers want to avoid the penalty. in answer to the question, no, we will not see a lawyer requiring 40 hour workweek. there's a lot of discussion how do you define it. host: a question from twitter. talk about group rates and how the affordable care act will affect them?
guest: group rates. the affordable care act affects them in a couple ways. if the question is about how does it affect employer coverage it varies whether you're working for a large company and small company prepare the congressional budget office estimates earlier said they don't think that large employer premiums will be affected very much by the health law. for small groups, it actually may lower the rates in some cases and other cases it may go up a little bit. for group rates, that's one thing. on the individual market where people buy their own coverage, the law actually does require more of a pooling effect. instead of being part of a smaller pool where your rates my go up every year, insurers are required to pool all of their business into larger groups into all of the products they're selling. so that the rates may not as volatile. host: peter is up next from valley cottage, new york on our employer insurance line.
peter good morning. caller: good morning. actually two questions. number one it's been reported in the media that congress has exempted itself from the affordable care act for their staffers and also federal labor unions 92% do not want to participate in the acu. and the second question that i have is under medicare part b, are senior citizens going to be eligible for subsidies to pick up the 20% that medicare doesn't pay? host: if out to loop back on that for us. guest: congress is not exempt from the law. elected representatives and some staff members are going to be buying through the exchange. just like some individuals and small business as well. in terms of the part b that's a good question. not sure exactly how that's going to work out.
host: on this issue, you talked about the out of pocket cap. here's your story from april of this year about the postponing of the out of pocket caps. gaz on twitter ask where does president get the authority to push off some of these aspects of the law? guest: other folks are questioning whether or not they can do this without an act of congress. both sides are saying they have the authority. obama administration said they have the authority and some people in congress are saying they don't. at this point, these are moving forward. there could be lawsuits but i haven't seen any yet. host: why can't we delay the healthcare act until we can find out why we need to delay so many different part of it? is there a concern about further
delays and calls for a full stop here? guest: you heard yesterday on television when the president talked about the healthcare law and republicans came out with their response. the republicans are concerned and they want to see the individual mandate provision of the law delayed just like we saw the delay in the employer requirement. i have not heard in talking with my sources any indication that would happen. that is a rather key component of the health law. this is a requirement that says, nearly our americans need to buy coverage or they can potentially face a fine. the fine the first year is $95 or 1% of income. that will be the fine for not carrying coverage. this was. into the law because insurers are saying they're going to be required to sell to everybody whether or not they have a medical condition or not. in order to do that, they also need most people to buy coverage
because they're worried that people -- only people that will sign up will be people who have health problems. the insurance industry really wanted both pieces of these if they're going to have the one that said everybody got to buy it as well. we're hearing this discussion about a delay and individual mandate. host: joe ann is up next on our employer insurance line. good morning you're on with julie appleby. caller: good morning. my question because i understand that you were talking about the congressional employees health benefit plan. i'm a postal retiree on disability and my question is, will i also have the benefit of the affordable care act and do i have to leave the federal employee's health benefit plan in order to go to the exchange? guest: don't know exactly about
that. you are in the federal employee plan. you might want to see on the exchange and see what the options are. you may have to leave. i'm not sharely sure -- entirely sure about that. host: julie appleby with kaiser health insurance. parents parent -- patients can be hit with high pocket cost. lot of press last week after a front page "new york times" story on the same subject. why wasn't this noticed back in april when you did your story about politicians who were tracking this or other groups who are jumping on these delays? guest: it was a consumer story at that point. it was groups saying, national health council and more than 50 different patient advocacy groups that wrote in letter to the administration and urged them to delay -- to not do this delay and really put this out of pocket cap in effect. it did not generate a lot of
discussion at that time outside of policy circles. fast forward a couple months and we've had the delay in the employer mandate. we're hearing calls for delay in the individual requirement and it becomes more political. it's much more in discussion now. host: julie appleby with kaiser. really appreciate you coming on to talk with us this morning. up next we'll take a look at the latest federal decision on what to do about the ongoing controversy over whether to build a nuclear waste dump under yucca mountain in nevada. first news update. >> european union foreign ministers agreed earlier to hold an emergency meeting this week to forge a joint response to the recent violence in egypt. that's left nearly a thousand
people dead. the meeting of ambassadors comes a day after top european union officials said the block will review its relations with egypt. some officials calling for aid to be suspended. the e.u.28 member nation will meet wednesday. egyptian former president hosni mubarak could be freed this week after court ordered his release. the former president has been held in a corruption case alleging he and his two sons embezzled funds. texas republican senator ted cruz released his birth certificate today exclusively to the dallas morning news. it showed that ted cruz was born in canada to an american mother becoming instant u.s. citizen. under canadian law he also became a citizen of that country the moment he was born.
senator visited iowa twice and he head to new hampshire another early voting state this friday. that's another sign he's eyeing a bid for the 2016 presidential run. those are some latest headlines on c-span radio. >> last few years, the left decided that the political debate is worthless. they are not going to debate policy, they are not going to provide evidence. they are going to label us morally deefficient human beings unworthy debate. >> in the month ahead, october 6, civil rights leader congressman john lewis, november 3 from jackie o. to nancy reagan, your questions for biographer kitty kelly. then december 1, feminism critic
kristina and january 5, radio talk show host mark levin. in-depth, live the first sunday every month on c-span 2. >> each week in this segment of "washington journal" we take a look at how your money is at work and a different federal program. this week we're joined by las vegas sun correspondent to talk about the federal proposed nuclear waste storage site yucca mountain in nevada. this already cost taxpayers $15 billion already but never actually opened yet. can you exchange the history here and why? guest: this whole question started in the late 1970's. the senate said we will do this and you got nine sites to pick
from. so basically what we've been doing since then is digging a hole under ground, and finding out whether it's scientifically viable to have the space to host the nation's nuclear waste products. now, we're in a bit of political standoff really because representatives of congress oppose it. nevada refers to that law of screw nevada bill. the obama administration has basically sided with nevada on this one. we think yucca mountain is a
starter. we saw earlier this month, there was a court decision said you really can't make that call. the law is what it is. host: we'll get into a bit about that decision from last week as we get through the segment here. talk about yucca mountain a little bit about what it was chosen. 100miles north of las vegas. we've been showing our viewers some pictures of yucca mountain. why is it the site picked back in the 1980's? guest: it depends on who you ask. we were first looking at various potential site for nuclear waste. the proponents of yucca would say it's in the middle of desert. nobody was in five miles from there. you don't have a real resident center. it's in the middle of nowhere.
it's a wasteland. you ask people from nevada, they say because we have no clout in the 1980's that's why we ended up with a site. this is always been a two part process part science part politics. they've never managed to actually clean up which one it's going to be. host: yucca mountain by the numbers for you about $15 billion has been already spent on studies and on the site there. $2.6billion in legal claims paid by taxpayers to utility companies at about $19.7 billion in potential future claims through 2020. this according to g.a.o. talk about the legal claims paid to utility companies and what that money is? guest: when this all started,
the agreement was before yucca was named, that the producers, the nuclear waste companies, the nuclear reactor companies will pay a 10th of a percent kilowatt hour what they were producing. that will go into a nuclear waste fund. this was basically like pay -- it was suppose to come online in 1998. we suppose to be making good on our money. our money put in which now interest occurred up to $30 billion which is sitting there in obligation for us and your not doing it. now the obama administration said you're in the planning on really hard into doing it.
they're saying, the most recent one being, you still have a little bit of money in the bank and you're not spending it on the project. you -- you have to go ahead and do that. host: we're talking with karoun demirjian of the las vegas sun, the washington correspondent. talking about yucca mountain. if you have questions and comments, give us a call. our standard lines republican, democrats and independents can call. i want to show you a chart of states with the most nuclear waste. this according to the nuclear energy and institute in bloomberg news. illinois with over 9000 tons of waste, pennsylvania just over 6300 tons, south carolina 4210 tons, new york 3720 tons,
north carolina 3670 tons. you mentioned that yucca mountain was suppose to be open by this point back when it originally planned back in 1980's. what is happening with the nuclear waste that was suppose to be in yucca now? guest: it's sitting in cooling pools in the backyards of the reactors. states like illinois and south carolina, we're talking about dependency. 50% of the state electrical power comes from nuclear reactors. when we're talking about waste, yucca mountain was designed to hold between 70 and 80,000 tons of nuclear waste. we as a country produced almost 70,000 at this point. there's a lot of stuff there. if we continue producing nuclear
energy in this country, which we probably will, there got to be more places to store it than what there is now. anyway, you're ask about what's happening now in these cooling pools, the rods and things are become packed close together before. especially since the fukushima disaster, you saw something going on. you got those cooling pools. host: we're taking your calls in this segment. we will go anthony on our democratic line. caller: thank you for taking this call. from my understanding it was the law when they built most of these reactors the law was that yucca mountain was start to receiving this stuff in 1996 i thought. the fact of the matter is,
they're saying it's not safe to store the waste in yucca mountain. why is it safe to store it on the ocean front. more importantly from my understanding, most of these reactor suppose to be running for 30 years or so. they actually refueled them. there by using the holding tanks. they now they actually doubled tear capacity and they don't even have holding tanks because they're all occupied. you just pointed out a moment ago, they're packing the rods closer and closer together to maximize space. that's what happened in fukushima and made it more difficult to keep it cool, to keep the storage tanks cool. i just wondered, where we headed with all of this and when you see the blackout in the media and the technology devastating effects that it's going to have on this planet in the long run.
where do we go from here? is this going to end or is this going to be the end of all human kind and life on this planet because of this technology that we really should not have gone down this path. it seems the cost of producing it and gone through all of this. god forbid accident happen and you see these accidents do occur. guest: your caller is definitely speaking there is a community that doesn't want to see nuclear energy at all. these concerns were heightened after the fukushima disaster. you saw more depend i want companies in europe saying we will pull back on this. you brought up some points about the safety questions. yes, a lot of these reactors were built to have a 30 or 40 year life span after which they can be extended up to longer than that. also the nuclear regulatory
commission recently said that it was pretty safe to have that sort of fuel stored on site for about 60 years after one of the reactors is decommissioned. right now you've got the average life span currently active reactor about 104 in a country about 32 years. that 40 year mark is an estimate. it's not a dead drop rate. our oldest reactor is built in 1969 i think that was in new jersey. it's still running today and it suppose to be decommissioned in 2019. this is actually a point of dispute between nevada and between oath states which is like other states are saying we don't want this stuff sitting any place near your drinking water supply. nevada argument is like at least you have water to cool it down and we don't.
at what point in the storage point -- host: have you had a chance to tour yucca mountain and what's on site now? guest: unfortunately i have not. that's the problem in d.c. most of the time. in that time they have opened it up for certain congressional tours. it's been shut down. the lights are off now and this is a dispute. it's $11.1 million in the bank. the court said you got to start spending that and spend it until it's gone. it's not going to do very much. host: we put a site out there $15 billion already spent here. what does $15 billion buy? guest: i haven't seen it
firsthand. it bought a five mile tunnel going underneath the mountain. about 800 feet below ground. about 2-mile tunnel going in, it bought ventilation system, electrical system, it paid for a few thousand jobs. then it paid to shut much of that down. you've been doing this -- you've been citing this process with yucca mountain since 1987. they have hundreds of people reviewing that. when it starts to add up all the factors over time, you start to see how you can get close to that 15 billion number. when you're talking about thing, we're talking about expenses. to put a nuclear reactor online, it's going to be about $6 billion. we're talking about big sums of money.
it's not cheap. host: jim is up next from vermont on the republican line. caller: good morning, let me shut off my tv. thank you for taking my call. i appreciate it. what i want to know why don't we reprocess fuel? we used to do it and then carter stopped it. there's many other country that's reprocess it. from my understanding, we can reprocess approximately better than 90% of the fuel. we still got that hot 10% or 5% but that can be stored in the fuel pool may be for a hundred years. by then we can find a better idea on how to get rid of the five or 10% of the hot stuff. would you please respond to that? thank you.
host: something you come across in your reporting? guest: sure. it's true many other countries do a lot more reprocessing than we do. the government has the capacity to do the reprocessing. we don't really do it. that was a conscious decision made. really it was mostly driven by the fact that there are some safety concerns. you're talking about reprocessing, you're talking about using stuff -- yes you're replenishing and recapturing the uranium. we are actually looking at building a reprocessing facility in south carolina. i think that's been in the works for a few years now. it's not up online yet. there's discussions about the weather. we're talking about safer -- it's two sides. when we're talking about reprocessing, we're talking
about getting more mox and that can be a way of using weapon grade and materials towards energy. also we're talking about using things that are potentially more dangerous and that was kind of the conscious decision that was made. very our safety. it's safer to just leave it as it is. host: let's get back to that decision made last week by the federal court that the obama administration actually broken the law when it delayed a decision on using yucca as a nuclear waste dump. how did he break the law according to the judge's decision? guest: basically they made their decision very much based on basic separation of powers constitutional question. it's an act of congress, it's a law that the administration cannot reinterpret that law because congress has not appropriated funds to see it out
for the last several years. host: was it? guest: the nuclear waste policy act, it's the law. the designation of yucca in 1987 is the law that everyone is referring to on the books. the argument that the government is making we haven't gotten any money to actually carry this out in the last several years. that's been like harry reid majority leader extremely opposed to this yucca mountain. he made himself a human shield against any dollars flowing to continue this siting process to or to get to the point of more construction. that was the argument that the government was making and the court said that's not your call. if you have money in the bank, you have to spend it. if we said you didn't have to because we think it's impractical, what would we be saying for the future that the
administration can interpret acts of congress and what money is there whatever they want to. host: what does this mean for the future of yucca? guest: right now probably not much. $11million is not going to be enough to finish the citing process. we're talking about $99 billion project to see it all the way through. but, it kind of is a psychology for people in favor of having yucca mountain online. they have been arguing that this is a politically politically motivated decision. they say strictly let the science decide and stop wasting time. it won't bring about their goal. it says basically, you can't stop us if we put the money there. the money there it's another problem because reid is not
going to let that happen as long as he's majority leader. host: state from the house energy and commerce committee. when that decision was made last week, part of that statement said these are two republican members up in michigan and john shimkus republican from illinois. the obama administration rejected the law. congress and the courts have spoken out to prevent billions of taxpayer dollars and three decades of research for being squandered. last year 335 house members including majority of the democrats voted to reduce funding and the water appropriations bill. great system of checks and balances will ensure the law is carried out and we will know once for all if yucca mountain is safe. a statement came out after that ruling last week. we're taking your calls as we talk telfers washington correspondent karoun demirjian.
ralph is up next from nevada on our republican line. good morning ralph. caller: good morning. i like to know how we've managed to ship nuclear waste from tennessee and idaho as reported by the huffington post this week. guest: this is an ongoing issue where there has been shipments. it's not the same sort of concentration or intensity is what we're talking about. that's from tennessee to the nevada test site. it's something starting to raise red flags. nevada government and nevada representative currently it's an ongoing discussion with governor sandoval whether they have permission to do that.
but it is a separate issue from yucca mountain. host: on that issue, twitter ask, doesn't the risk of accidents increase with the movement of nuclear waste over many states for the yucca mountain storage site. guest: i'm glad you brought that up. that is one of the most intense forces of the opposition in nevada. there's concerns about what if the radioactive materials reach into the ground water. the biggest concern is how are you going to get it there. what if there's an accident. if you have tip over of freight car that's are carrying fuel rods and giant terrorism and you have 40 million people coming through every year and what is that going to do for us. that is a concern and that
becomes security and transportation safety concern. it shows how related these things are and how it goes beyond just this likely confine in the desert. host: tom is up next from carter springs georgia on our independent line. good morning thomas. caller: good morning. i've been watching you all since about 1983. first time i ever called. here's my question, i have been doing for the last 11 years, i made my living helping to repair nuclear power plants around the country. there is a very specific difference between nuclear waste and fuel. nuclear waste is a much bigger by weight size problem but it's not a big problem because it's much lower level. stint fuel is a very serious problem but it doesn't take up much space and it can be reprocessed. you keep saying, nuclear waste and i'm wondering could you kind
of separate those two when you're talking to people? you can really confuse the issue and panic a lot of folks that they think nuclear waste. it's not nuclear waste. it's got a little bit on it. host: thanks for the call. guest: when you take these laws ousts of the reactor, it's not like you're saying, there are various stages of this. that's the stage one. these things do get less radioactive over time. when you are taking -- that's why they stay in the cooling pools for a while and you can use the rods to reprocess and let them cool down of a decade and put them in dry caps storage. when you get to the point where you're talking about waste, you're saying, we can't or don't
want to use this anymore and we're going to put it in a giant hole and wherever it's going to be i don't want to say desert. i got to find a word with in current dispute on yucca mountain. when we put it in the the depository, we expect it to stay there for years. on seat storage for the first level stuff and we want to have interim storage facility for there after. then we'll get to the final stage of depository stuff. right now, the energy department is saying, we see the court decision, we'll keep doing what we have to do. the energy department is looking at the product of this blue ribbon commission that came out about two years ago.
which is basically saying, the whole problem we didn't have a consent basis process to begin with. we should have a new agency to over see this from start from scratch. that's when you saw energy secretary do goodwill tour of the hill in july. what is to stop any state from saying, absolutely not i don't want to do this. because it's a consent basis process. we have 33 state that's have these reactors already. none of them are saying, it's okay, i'll take it and i'll keep it here. none of them are saying that. that leaves you with a giant question mark who's going to
want this and it's a fair question. the energy department said they've heard from certain counties and read certain counties might be interested. it says in that bill, it's going through its congressional process and the state has to agree. if we're talking about state agreement, that is the problem in nevada too. the governor doesn't like it, the congressional delegation doesn't like it. if you ask the people in the county do they mind, they're okay with it. you had a lot of nuclear testing happen in nevada desert. they're like we're still here and we can do it again. the state saying absolutely not it's not about you. that's a real tension that it will be easy find other places too. host: dennis is up next from phoenix, arizona on our democratic line. good morning dennis. caller: good morning. there is an alternative to start nuclear waste. you can backwarders engineer it
to zero and use it to generate electricity. you can do that and it was approved. you can do this. host: something you read about? guest: i'm not a nuclear physics. it's not just about the projection of energy but about the safety of materials through reprocessing capacity. it's also a question of economies of scale. right now, we're talking about the whole show was to write " -- about the money question. to get that up and running is probably something that
businesses can answer better than i can. host: dave is up next from michigan on our republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i like to say that i have a family member who's a doctorate in nuclear physics in mexico. in his opinion, he's a nuclear physicist. we spend much too much money on these attempts to fuel our nation with nuclear power. what we have in our hand, the coal mines of this country, we're trying to shut them down. a wise man, he learns by mistake of others and a fool learns by its own. it seems like we're constantly
being fools because we all we have to do is look in the past and see that accidents will happen. they will happen. not may be, they will happen. when we are confronted one of these accidents in our country, just are we going to do then? we don't need to be spending all of this money on nuclear power when we have coal mines throughout this country and we want to put them out of business so we can create this monster called nuclear waste. guest: what your caller is referring to now is a giant debate in congress and across the country about what type of energy we want to produce. there is a big argument against coal because of the carbon by-products and the carbon emission that's come from that
process. there's in push to have cleaner energy. will have renewable energy it's very clean and it doesn't go away. then in between, you have this nuclear energy, which is more powerful than renewable energy but it's much cleaner than coal. he's right that it is costing the government a lot of money. it's not just the yucca mountain expenditure. although that is significant. nuclear energy has been getting subsidies for a long time. the subsidy per kilowatt is much higher than the fees they pay into nuclear waste fund. there is insurance but the government is basically the last guarantor if something goes wrong. industries do pay in several billion dollars. there was a big problem or accident like your caller was referring to, the government will be on the hook for that too. it really is a question that the country is struggling about what do you want to spend the money on because everything cost
something. if we do push into an area where the climate change is gaining steam and it's something that the country is concerned about and we want to move away from coal. what can we move into that will keep up our level of energy use but be cleaner. there's always something every several years that happens that does raise legitimate concerns. host: eleanor is from dayton, ohio from the democratic line. caller: good morning. my question is about really the nuclear waste. when i was in the 1950's in college, they said don't be concerned. our scientists will have nuclear waste settled and be able to neutralize that and it won't be
a problem by then. i'm thinking that -- i heard it can be neutralized but it's a very expensive project. i don't understand why the corporations or the utility companies or whoever is wanting to build the nuclear plant can't incorporate that neutralizing waste into their cost at the beginning of the project. i know it's a very expensive deal but they're willing to put out the money to make the plant. why not put out enough money to neutralize the waste? guest: first of all, actually the companies behind nuclear reactor do already pay some money up front as they get online as they are producing or decommissions of these sites.
when you can't use the reactors anymore. this is a deal that the n.s.c. enters into. it cost i think approximately about $300 million to decommission one of these sites. now that's not reprocessing but it is something the companies are paying into it. if you want to continue what the previous caller talking about, to get more out of the rods. the structure for that sort of arrangement is going to extend in place. host: talk about harry reid's role here and what happens to yucca if and when harry reid leaves the senate. here's an opinion piece in the "washington journal." after the decision last week harry reid yucca bluffed that
piece. notes, mr. reid isn't the nation's nuclear regulator. the d.c. circuit court has given congress a new chance to remind him of that. guest: harry reid was elected to congress in 1982. he made it his fight when he got to the senate in 1987 to stop this nevada bill from going through. it didn't work. he has dedicated large part of his senate to try to pull back and redirect the funds intended for yucca mountain and since he's become majority leader because been much more in-depth do doing that. he can be a stopping point and barrier to any of the appropriations to keep this going. since obama has been president, he's had help there and he's managed to get that new funding streams down to zero. there have been direct threats
made. mark kirk told me a year or two ago, once harry is gone we're going to get this through. that's the way republicans feel. senator mark kirk, obviously john shimkus is a huge advocate for pushing yucca mountain. they point to votes you cited which is the house. not all democrats are opposed to this. democrats who harry reid made to convince it's a good idea, democrats made some arrangement with harry reid and they will back him up on think, will help him stop a bill. in the house, you asked the question should we go ahead. 335-81, that has to include a lot of democrats. it's a local issue. host: if nevada dent have the majority leader in the united states senate, would it have the clout to stop yucca mountain? guest: well look at the history. in the 1980's, did it have clout, no. could they stop the funding from
coming through before harry reid was majority leader, no they were still funding. that's why we're funding $15 billion in this process there is a new law passed that says let's do this by state consent, which is what the energy committee in the senate is trying to do. there is a concern once harry reid is gone to go ahead. one of those backstoppers is harry reid. host: time for a couple more calls. paul is waiting from indianapolis, indiana on our independent line. caller: i had occasion to talked to an engineer who previously worked for nasa where he called snap batteries which is radio active waste to produce energy for satellites.
he was look into using nuclear power plant in ohio. they had a plant to make very large batteries where they built the battery and it would generate electricity pretty much in-depth from the heat. i guess these things are very expensive but on the other hand they produce electricity for a long time. i was wondering if you heard anything about using -- probably nasa has snap batteries from using radioactive waste for producing electricity quite safely for 45 or 50 years they used to test for power voyage for example. guest: i will make one point. what nasa and the government have the capacity to do is very didn't what the country is okay licensing with commercial activity. the levels of safety thresholds is very different because you're talking about priority companies
operating these commercial plans and not the government. i am not well versed on that particular point but i will point out there are distinctions what can be done in one room and what can be done in another room. host: jim from republican line. caller: this has nothing to do with safety. this is politics. harry reid knows every democratic leadership know that's nuclear power can wipe out the democratic party as it did in japan. japan was leveled in 1945. they built 50 nuclear reactors. they had energy speed up, no democrats. in taiwan they have four nuclear reactors. there's no obama and no harry reid. against coal too for the same reasons. energy causes jobs, jobs cause
prosperity, prosperity democrats lose, 1952, 1956. they didn't lose because things were bad. they lost because things are good. they got to stop coal. they also lost indiana which is a coal state. they rejected obama. west virginia rejected obama because of coal $67 a ton alongside ship in new orleans. all the democrats are not afraid of nuclear power, they are afraid of prosperity because harry reid is going to lose. it's a losing part. i will be 70 next year, i feel sorry for the american people. host: talk about the politics of this. specifically was this an issue in harry reid's last campaign in nevada? guest: he's always made it an
issue in every campaign. your caller felt very passionate about his position on it. like i said, this process has always been very tightly linked with politics. from the official naming of the yucca mountain to the funding process to this current fight we're having on the sideline about this court decision about what should happen next. because, representatives represent individual state that's have individual interests. when one person with individual interest is in charge of the party, that is a larger mega phone. there are connections also how we want to go forward with energy production in this country and nuclear is a big part of that and that splits the party. never not had politics regarding this issue. host: john is from montgomery,
alabama on the republican line. caller: i want to mention if we do go into reprocessing fuel, we will take and get the fuel we need from the nuclear power plant. the longest high price, most of it is 30 years. guest: your caller brings up an important scientific point to oint pout -- point out. you're talking about millions and billions of years. it sounds very scary. but that means it's emitting
less radioactive activity. thus can be much more dangerous to have. host: a question from brandon b. e-mailed in. i live in southwest michigan 30 minutes from lake michigan in the cook nuclear power plant. there's a recent report of leakage from the plant from lake michigan. why would we risk retaining our great lakes when we can put this waste in the middle of nowhere? guest: this is the heart of the problem. people that have nuclear reactors, often times it's large bodies of water because that can help cooling down the reactors if something goes wrong. that raises concern what if it gets into our water supply. people in nevada will argue against that because they're saying you're carting the fuel
in. even though it seems like a big desert, there are issue there is too. basically, it's funny, you see term wasteland thrown around a lot. in you go to nevada, the yucca protest say nevada is not a wasteland. host: karoun demirjian is a washington correspondent for the las vegas sun. thanks so much for joining us today. you can see her work at las vegas sun.com or on twitter @karoun. that's our show today on "washington journal." we will see you back here at 57:00 57 -- 7:00 a.m. hope you have a good monday.