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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 28, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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would answer the door, and she did. she invited him in and that is the beginning of the formal courtship in 1910. >> continuing the series on first ladies, live at 9:00 eastern on c-span >> a discussion now on the earned income tax credit. a recent report from the treasury department director general found that part of the eit see amos last year should never have been made. we will show you as much of this as we can before the white house daily briefing which is scheduled to begin shortly. host: we're going to be focusing on a program that offers tax low income earners from thees. a report
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treasury department specifically looked at the program. joining us on the phone is michael mckinney. he is with the treasury inspector general for tax equation. he serves as the deputy ig for audits. guest:ep for joining us. -- guest: sure. host: what was the intent of this report? guest: we are required to review this process for reducing improper payments. the iris issues a report to us and with 120 days we issue a report. the earned income tax credit is really the largest program it has where they make taxpayers. that is the program we assess. host: you specifically looked at
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tax credits put out in 2012. what have you found out? guest: one of the main provisions in the executive requiredthe agency is to set reduction targets as well as a plan to achieve those reduction targets. 20%ad a pretty high rate of to read but the irs has not set any reduction targets were a plan to achieve those reduction targets. that is a major concern. when you say him properly pay, you mean payments that should not have gone out in the --st place customer guest: should not have gone out in the first place? guest: yes. host: talk a little bit about why this happens then. there are a number of issues that cause that. primarily there are two main
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issues. one, people misreport their income because they want to maximize the credit or they are reporting dependents. there are several problems the recognizes as contributing to improper payments. a lot of this has to do with the complexity of the requirements, confusion among eligible claimants. there is high turnover, so every year there is a group of new people who have not claimed eitc before. repairers whotax do not exercise due diligence before they claim the credit. problems you listed, how high is fraud on that list? i would say all of those factors factor equally into that. i do not think anyone has come to the conclusions that any of
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those factors are primary factors. they factor in equally. the first timeot it has happened. this is a regular occurrence? guest: right. we have been required to assess this for at least three years now and the irs has not set those reduction targets. one thing the irs was hoping to do was to put in a regulatory scheme for tax preparers. that there was an injunction recently against them implementing that program, so that has been a set act for them. -- a setback for them. indicated theyrs will step up the process of making sure these payments do not go out? workinghey have been with the office of management of the budget to really identify reduction targets. one of the concerns about setting reduction targets is setting themselves up for failure to examine a lot more
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returns than they do not have the resources to do that. how did the iris respond to your findings? agree with us. they are working with treasury to set up alternative compliance measures and with omb. host: will there be a follow-up? guest: yes, we will be reviewing this annually. nney, that is michael mcke at theig for audits treasury department. thank you. we are a research organization that has been around for 75 years. we researched tax policy as a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit and we are a reliable source or tax policy at all levels of government.
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host: before we go into the details -- the earned income tax credit. could you offer our viewers an explanation of what it is? guest: sure. i believe it is the oldest funded tax reddit program. i believe it goes back to 1975, the ford administration. it is a supplement to the working poor. you have to have income above zero and some amount of income below a threshold that is somewhere around the poverty threshold. and so, the thing that has happened to it over the years since the 1970's, it expanded and enlarged and was made more generous in stages and made more complex. so now it is dependent on the number of children. in 2009, the most recent expansion of it to a third child
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benefits, depending on a third child. and that is dependent on the income level and the number of children reported. a tax credit, but for people already working. how does that work? guest: that is right. that was the design. it is meant to supplement the incomes of the working poor. that sounds in passing -- it does have the effect of bringing more people into the workforce then otherwise would not be. it is paying for the workforce in essence. that was the design. that is what made both parties agree to it and ever since both parties have championed this tax credit row graham. the problem is, the way it was designed from the beginning and continues today -- it phases out over some income range at about -- depending on circumstances,
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income, it starts phasing out. at what ever level apple are incentivizing -- whatever level people are incentivized to come into the work worse, that goes away. so, the incentives are awash or on theative, depending productivity of the workforce in those income ranges. says if you make $45,000 $60 -- the irs says if $45,060, if you qualify, you can get it. if they do not pay enough in taxes, do they get money out in return? guest: absolutely. the refundable aspect of it is the biggest part. refundable becomes a spending item at that point. it is booked by the federal government as a spending item. that is about three quarters of
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the $60 billion a year spent on the earned income tax credit. about $40 billion or so is spending. that is spent on recipients who have no tax liability. so it is much like spending at that point. >> so if i make more taxes, i get a credit. if i do not make enough in taxes, i get cash back? guest: that is correct. host: some people do not know how to apply for it. some people send the wrong information. explain a little bit about that. he cited the complexity of the program as well. guest: the problem is there's not enough awareness of the program. taxe is the earned income credit awareness day, sometime in february a think. the problem structured in a complex
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way. i would have difficulty explaining to you all the nooks and crannies of this, the phase- in range of income, the plaxo, the phaseout range, the number of children. even professionals have a ethical time predicting what the amount will be for the circumstances -- a difficult time predicting what the amount will be for the circumstances. recipients will be at a total loss. they are then reliant on professional tax preparers, and this is where the unscrupulous comes then, that the ig's report referenced. you have a lot of tax preparers as a cottage industry recruiting taxpayers, tax filers, generating some income for them, sometimes fraudulently, to meet the notability requirements. they fill out the paperwork and take care of the details.
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anyway, it is too complex for most recipients. the vast majority and abusing a tax preparer because they are not aware. they do not know how to do the paperwork. they're not sure how to meet the requirements. income taxarned credit, our topic for this your money segment. you heard the inspector general talk about improper payments. we will talk about that and other aspects of the program with our guest william mcbride. if you want to give us a call and ask a question about it -- you can tweet us as well. let's start with lee in norman, oklahoma on the republican line. go ahead. you are on with william mcbride. hello, sir. on the bottom of the agi form,
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where we sign that, especially the federal tax reform, you are stating that you understand the behind the form, the agi limit. we were looking at this. i have a copy up on my screen here. i met $45,000. i'm retired. i claim my mother. she is a waitress who does not own a home. she does not have children, which is understood. when we put laws out there and say, is this something that will 45 or less,s at starting at the bottom, but we are not holding people accountable. and i see, like you said, these live by night tax preparers with
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signs on the roads. that is what bothers me when we come back to hold them accountable. i have been held accountable to the military for ensuring aircraft for flight worthy. the license goes on with my name on it to ensure the pilot's safety. i don't see the difference. host: thank you. there's only so much -- there's only so much you can expect from a tax filer. they only have so many hours in the day to fill out a tax return. nd it has gotten only more complex. know all the stories about how complex tax filing has gotten. filers cannot keep up with this stuff. the accumulation is really mind- boggling. is not surprising that
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recipients are having a difficult time understanding this. they don't have the time to devote to it, so they rely on tax preparers. they are sometimes sought out by tax preparers. leave washington journal to go live to the white house daily briefing. here is the white house spokesman jay carney. >> wow. tough weekend, huh? thanks for being here. i hope you had a great weekend. the red sox won last night, in case you missed it. heck of a season -- heck of a series. the whole team. very exciting. for baseball fans everywhere. was not as good. [laughter] before i take your questions, a couple announcements.
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first, tomorrow the president will meet with ceo's from financial, energy, information sectors to defense discuss the implementation of the president's executive order improving infrastructure cybersecurity. this meeting is part of the administration's ongoing dialogue with the private sector on cybersecurity. second announcement. this went on a different subject. the centers for medicare and studies announce major savings for seniors and people due tosabilities measures by the affordable care act to strengthen medicare. next year, premiums and adaptable spore medicare part b, which covers items like physicians visits, outpatient hospital services, and durable medical equipment, will not increase.
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zero percent growth from 2013. in fact the average growth for part b premiums over the last five years was slower than nearly any other five-year period in the program's history and health care spending has grown more slowly in the last two years than in the last 50 years. today we learned that since the affordable care act became law, more than 7.1 million seniors and people with disabilities one $8.3 billion prescription drugs in the ofghnut hole, an average $1167 per person. and over the last four years, the stronger antifraud measures put in place by the affordable care act have helped to recover nearly $15 billion to taxpayers. rewardsrdable care act
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doctors for the quality rather than the quantity of care provided to patients. hospital readmissions have begun to drop after being stuck for years. these lower costs and better care are great news for taxpayers, and really great news for people on medicare. with that tom a i will go to your questions. scott? >> thanks. there is a report out from the the resident that did not learn until this summer that angela merkel's phone was tapped. has the president then get out of the loop? i am not going to get into an internal discussion. the president feels strongly that we are not just collecting
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information because we can, but because we should. i noted the other day a readout from a phone call that the president had with chancellor merkel. we have and we do not monitor the chancellor's communications. it isroadly, i think worth stepping back and looking at a couple of things. today's world is highly interconnected and the flow of large amounts of data are unprecedented. there are communication methods we had not conceived got 10 years ago we are adapting to. we know innovation will continue. if we are going to keep our citizens and our ally safe, we have to stay ahead of these exchanges and that's what our intelligence community has been doing extraordinary well. these databases are part of the reason we have been able to foil numerous terrorist plots and securitya post-9/11 environment. at the same time, with new capabilities we recognize the
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need to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence and it is in the context of this dynamic thenology environment that president has directed us to review our surveillance capabilities. we talked a little bit about this, but this is good in the context of stories we have said of late to remember that the president called for a review early in the summer. this review is being led by the white house and includes agents from across the government. there are also important efforts underway that would enable others to review how we strike the right balance, including the on communications and intelligence he technology and the privacy and civil liberties oversight board. we are looking across the board at intelligence chattering to -- intelligence gathering to ensure as we gather intelligence we are accounting for the privacy shared by americans and citizens around
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the world. we also need to ensure that our -- that we are more effectively weighing the risks and rewards of our activity and focusing above all on threats to the american people. we need to make sure we are collecting information just because we can't, but because we should. because we need it for our security. too long. not go on but i think it's important to contextualize some of these revelations to look at what the administration is doing to review our intelligence activities and to look at how we balance the need for security and the completely transformed world we live in because of the technology advances that have occurred. earlier,, as i said
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the clear and real type of concerns that americans have around the world. sure that ourmake intelligence gathering above all is about protecting security. allies thatre our the u.s. is not using the nsa intelligence gathering capabilities to promote america's economic interest? use intelligence capabilities for that purpose. we use it for security purpose. first of all. second of all, it's important to recall, too, that we have extremely strong and important intelligence security relationships with our allies and those relationships are help keep american safe, to help keep american safe abroad, and to help keep our allies safe.
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that kind of relationship, those are key relationships to the security of this nation and our allies. again, we are conducting a review. disclosuresul these have caused tension in our relationships. we deal with those issues diplomatic channels. and we are in direct communication with a number of countries on these matters. ,he president is very serious as you heard him say in august, about making sure when these reviews take place, that we strike that balance, that we remember our intelligence people who dohe extraordinary work to keep us we areery day, and that from assessments
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about what went wrong in our intelligence capabilities and collection. remember that the gathering occurs for a purpose. that is why the review has to look at that issue. we need these extort very technological advances that give us greater capacities. we need to make sure that we advance our security needs, and that we don't just do it because we can. sebelius hold up the data service as an example of what was working well with hub crashedhe data and took down the entire functionality with it. problems emerging, how should americans be confident these problems will be fixed at the end of october?
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verizon as you know, successfully resolve the problem overnight and as of 7:00 a.m. eastern time this morning, the data services were fully operational. the team continues to troubleshoot the issues with the account creation theess and has opened enrollment tools back up to consumers. this was a part of the website that led to the website shutting down. it is now up and running again. problemsre are new emerging, separate from what we learned about in the first few weeks, doesn't that make it more likely that these problems will not be solved in the time limit -- now. we have several teams, many qualifiedighly experts addressing the identified and isolated problems that do exist and have existed
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with the website. and they are fixing them incrementally. that work continues. the improvements are happening every day. the consumer experience on the website will continue to improve incrementally, as those changes are made. more changes have taken place that make the website more efficient and effective, as we speak. the separate issue -- essentially the company that hosts the site having trouble that cause it to shut down -- is not linked to the troubles we are identifying and working on and fixing. so, we are glad to see that the site is up and running, that the issue has been resolved. we are obviously continuing to work, making improvements to the site, as we make it more apparent to americans across the country that there are four ways for them to get information, for
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ways to sign up, and for ways to enroll. that is in addition to online. this is work, as we said, comes as the website from october 1 on has not functioned at a level that meets the president's standards, has not functioned at a level that meets the secretary fails standards -- the secretary's standards. it is important to remember, too, however that americans have been able to get information, to sign up, and to enroll. because in the end, it is not about a website. it is about making sure millions of americans have access to affordable health insurance, many of them for the first time. yes? >> the report that josh citing officials -- it sounded as though the program had been underway for a number
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of years and when the president learned about it, he ordered it stopped. does the president continue to have full confidence in general alexander? has confidencet in general alexander and the leadership at the nsa and the rank-and-file at the nsa who do extraordinary work on behalf of every american citizen and on behalf of our allies, keeping them safe. the issues that are part of the review look at how we can better andnce our security needs the security needs of our allies against the real privacy concerns that we all share. top, thereted at the has been extraordinary change, technological change in the last 10, 20 years. the last 10 or so years since
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-- i mean, it has affected the whole world in the sense of how the world transfers information and that has brought about changes in the way that those in the world who want to do harm to americans and our allies operate. so, that has meant we have had to adapt. adapted, and as we adapt, we need to make sure -- the president is in sense and -- the president is insistent -- that we strike a balance that protects our security. >> the revolution of the eavesdropping has caused damage with our allies. when do you expect a review to be done and do you expect a scaling back of monitoring of phone conversations by our
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friends? >> the entire review being led by the white house would be completed by the end of the year. there are other efforts, as you know, underway by the review group for telecommunications and technology as well as the travesty and civil liberties oversight board. in tandem, the president also announced the administration would work with congress to introduce reforms to section 250 of the patriot act. thatresident believes there are steps that can be taken to get the american people confidence there are additional safeguards against abuse of these programs. for greater steps oversight, greater transparency, and greater constraint on this authority. the administration is also working with congress to improve the public confidence in the oversight over the foreign intelligence surveillance court.
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moreover the president has directed the intelligence community to make it look as much information about these programs as possible, mindful of the fact that these are very sensitive security programs. the administration has a classified unprecedented information about the activities of the nsa and we are continuing to do so. there are a number of efforts underway that are designed to increase transparency, to work with congress for reforms of the patriot act, to look at ways we can increase oversight, increased constraint on authorities provided by these programs. separately there are reviews that we can look at on other issues. some of the very specific things with regard to intelligence gathering, including dealing with heads of state and other governments. these are all important issues. for the president to talk about them, and i think reflects and
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what's he said, that they are important in his view and we e steps.take thes when it comes to the relationship we have with various allies, obviously, it is something of concern and we are working to address those concerns diplomatically, through diplomatic channels. >> [indiscernible] >> i'm saying the programs are legal, obviously, through the patriot act, but in these reviews that are underway, the president has talked about the fact that we can take steps perhaps to put in place greater oversight and transparency and constraints on the use of this authority. so, ways to ensure the program achieves what they were designed to achieve in terms of gathering intelligence and protect the united states
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and our people and our allies, but does so in a way that strikes a balance when it comes to matters of privacy and other concerns that we share with americans and others around the world. >> september 8 in stockholm, the president said that he could give assurance to people around the world that we are not looking at e-mails or snooping on phone calls. resume of lee that would include -- presumably that would include the german chancellor. is that's a bit still operative? -- is that statement operative? >> we do not and will not monitor those communications. that we arefact engaged in a review that will look at that issue and other issues through the lens of oning sure we are focused
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using the tools available to us to gather intelligence we need, not just intelligence because we can. making a distinction about --. persons >> i think you are conflating two programs. >> he said we are not listening to your phone calls -- >> i'm not sure what question you are asking. when it comes to matters of 202, it315 and section is metadata versus other types of collection. the president, i think, in all he has said about this issue, not just since the disclosures, as statedefore then, his commitment to ensuring we do everything we have to do within the law to keep americans safe and our allies safe, but that we do so in a way that reflects the
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need to find a balance and 2 -- that recognizes privacy concerns that americans have and that others have around the world. journalall street article mentioned in this briefing -- the thrust of it is the president was unaware of this kind of surveillance was going on of foreign leaders. the interview that the president if i'm excuse me grouping a couple of things -- but in the interview with sergey gupta of cnn,jay he said he was not aware of the problems with before the launch on october 1. among the concern white house, a concern in the administration that the president has been kept in the
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dark on some of these issues? >> it's extremely true that you have conflated a bunch of issues. the fact of the matter is, the president believes the work done by our intelligence services is important and it is focused on -- when it comes to the nsa -- gathering foreign intelligence that is designed to help keep america safe. the president has also initiated a review, because he believes we need to look at this, the fact that the world has changed so much in the last 10 years in terms of the technological innovations we have seen in the way that we communicate and the way that our enemies communicate wewell as the capacities have available to us to gather intelligence. and basically to run a review
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that looks at all of these issues, that ensures these programs are designed to gather the intelligence that we need to protect ourselves and our allies, but doing so while mindful of the privacy that we all share. when the president brings up the full scope of the surveillance issues -- >> i am not going to get into it aboutdual reports specific programs. there are several reviews underway. there is one being run by the white house. review ishite house complete, we will be able to share more information with you and provide a little more detail about the decisions the president will make after the review has been completed. after the review has been undertaken, some of the best have been made, and those decisions are being made to improve our intelligence
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gathering operations and a way that is consistent with the balance the president believes is necessary for trust. republican critics are making the case that the president appears to be in the dark about ready significant stories swirling around this white house. >> republican critics say a lot of things. -- is itroadly conceivable, believable that the know aboutould not surveillance of the head of state of a close american ally? effort to ask this in a different way. i know the wall street journal probably does not appreciate the suggestion their story is wrong. i would say we're not going to comment on these activities reported in the press.
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clear that the president spoke with chancellor merkel. we have a shorter that we do not collect intelligence on her communications. the whole operation, operationce gathering is being reviewed by the white house as well as these other two bodies and the purpose of those reviews is to look at what we do, look at the tools and capabilities that we have, look the businessabout of gathering intelligence in support of our security and in support of the security of our balancend then to against the real privacy concerns that we share. there's no question in the world the rapidity of change in our technological capabilities has created possibilities when it comes to
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communications i those who would do us harm -- by those who would do us harm that merit periodic reviews so we can make sure we are doing things in a way that reflects the balance the president seeks to establish. >> i would like to get at this question about what the president should know about or be informed about. are.s. intelligence listening in on phone calls of a close american ally, if they had been doing such a thing, with the president not expect to meet -- to be made aware of that? is that something he should want to know about? >> i think we can assume from what the president has said in , he is in favor of reviewing but we do and working with interested parties to make sure we're doing it in a way that strikes a balance with the privacy concerns of americans and others have.
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the other piece of this that is important to remember is the protectsg done here the united states and protects our allies. stationedts americans in very dangerous places around the world. should not be lost on anyone, as we look at these issues and they are real and the concerns are understandable and merit being taken seriously, that we remember what the requests of these institutions and these programs -- we remember what the purpose of these institutions and these programs and the hard work by those in the intelligence community who do this work on behalf of the american people. >> when you say something like that, the question that gets is listening to the phone call of a close american
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ally saving american lives? >> john, as much as i would like you to comment on an operation, i cannot do that. i will tell you, the reviews underway are serious work. the white house review will be completed by the end of the year. done,s that work is being some decisions have been made that reflect the president felt desire to find the proper balance. say -- >> son you when you say we don't monitor monitor, you are begging the question that we did. that we need to do this to save lives, you are still begging the question. can't you come up with something better? >> i think there is no question
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in this room or in kitchens and living rooms across the country that the work done by the intelligence services for text american lives here in the -- protects american lives here and abroad and that is important work that is done without recognition, necessarily, because of the nature of the work. so, that is important. is, i amof the matter not going to get involved in a colloquy about specific reported , past activities, or even present activities. these reviews are underway. that process,t of endeavoring to make available more information about what the nsa does and programs that have been discussed a lot of late, and we are reviewing these
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programs because the president feels it is very important that even as they work to keep america safe, they do so in a their sincerects concerns about privacy that americans have and that our allies have. make this public? >> we will make the information public that we can make public and we will be more transparent then we have ever been in history. that is already true. we have released more information about what the nsa ever before -- than ever before. keep in mind we are talking about very sensitive programs that are secret for a reason. >> have you got anything on the ee you meaning? >> -- have you got anything on meeting? >> i didn't think someone else would be asking about the eu meeting.
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eu ministers will be meeting with the department of homeland security, the national director of intelligence, and administration staff. these meetings are part of an ongoing discussion of privacy issues -- look, i think we have been very thehright in acknowledging tensions that these disclosures of cost. the president talked about it. the secretary of state has talked about it. the national security adviser and others have talked about it. i have talked about it. we are in discussions directly with countries that have been the subject of some of these disclosures because we take their concerns seriously. they have been disclosed, but you won't talk about the disclosures? necessarily the case, depending on the question you're asking. tensioncknowledging the this has caused. we understand this has caused concern.
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countries that represent some of our close relationships internationally. and we are working to allay those concerns and discuss these issues and we will continue to those because relationships are so important for so many reasons, including security. >> witching to health care -- online, people are reacting -- switching to health care, online, people are reacting, saying that they see an improvement in their ability to log onto but in the federal exchange, they are getting the sign that says the system is down as you speak. how can you say at 7:00 a.m. this morning it was all back up and running as to mark -- back up and running? >> i'm not online right now, ed. what verizon terror mark has announced his they -- what
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ark has announced his they resolved the issue over night. >> [indiscernible] not say i said i'm sure the people working on this issue are addressing the kind of issue you just raised, if that is in fact the case. i think more broadly, we have acknowledged that .as not performed adequately the president is not happy about that. secretary sibelius is not happy about that. dedicatedy we have these resources to fixing the existing problem and getting the program at a level that will allow americans to have the kind of user experience they deserve to have when they are shopping for affordable health insurance and enrolling in affordable health insurance plans.
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that is the mission. the mission is not to build the best possible website. is to provide information to americans about the health care choices available to them, health care choices that were not available rider to the passage of the affordable care act. clicks on the website, the president when he was trying to get the law passed, repeatedly he said if you like your health insurance you will be able to keep it. this morning david axelrod was pressed on that point. he said that the vast majority will be able to keep it. ae president said if you have plan, you'll get to keep it. might that not occur? >> what the president has said all along is there will be changes to create a minimum standard of coverage. minimum services every insurance provider has to provide. an individual shopping for insurance, he or she purchasing
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ist insurancematernity care covered, mental health care is avered, that there is not lifetime limit, that there are out of pocket expenses capped and for a lifetime. it is true there are health plans on the individual market that do not meet those minimum standards and would not qualify for the of federal -- the affordable care act. there are some that could be grandfathered. what is also true, americans who have insurance in the existing individual market will now have numerous options available to them and six out of 10 will pay ins than $100 a month premiums for better insurance. it's not even an apples and apples comparison. this is qualitatively better insurance coverage than what was available in many cases to americans around the country.
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in many areas where it was so lightly regulated you did not know what you were getting. you would pay a lot of up front rhenium's, out-of-pocket, and then find out because of the fine print, it did not cover the condition you had. i know what the effort here is, but the fact is -- >> you are admitting that not everyone will keep their plant. they will wind up with probably better insurance in the long run. be eligible. that should be said. but the president sold that as if you have a plan, you will get to keep it. and that's not true. i appreciate what you're trying to do. 80% of the american people already get health insurance through their employer or medicare. they do not have to change anything. those remaining individuals who do not have insurance at all
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will now have it available to them or do not have insurance at all and get it through the individual market will now have throughable to them standard medicaid services in states that have accepted the expanded medicaid program, as well as through the health care marketplace. >>.s i take your point. it is >> that substandard plans that don't provide minimum thatces -- it is correct substandard lands that don't provide minimum services, that leaves consumers in the lurch with lifetime caps, those are no available. health care is not a privilege. it is a right. there should be a minimum standard of plans available to americans around the country. it here said it will be better for people. at 56-year-old woman in florida said she was aimed at the sixth
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dollars a month in health insurance -- $56 a month in health insurance. now it's going to be $500. she just was to know why she can't keep what she has. what is your response to that? >> again, individual cases, i do not know that woman's circumstance. it is not necessarily reflected when they just look at premium prices. remember when the affordable health care rolled out on october 1, premiums were published at a level set rider to write you would be paying -- at a level set prior to what you would be paying if you got the subsidy. secondly, again, i don't know the individual experience, but the fact of the matter is millions of americans are going to have available to them insurance coverage they have never had. quality insurance they have never had. notrance coverage that does
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either, you know, contained annualit caps on your expense you missed in the small print, caps on your lifetime expenses, or that covers mental health services rather than --uses to cover or provides does not charge women double, which is often the case. maternity coverage, which is a basic element of even the lowest level plan under the affordable care act. that we arethink going about the business of making sure information is available to millions of americans across the country who have expressed an interest in the fact that coverage is available to them, and we are going to work day by day to improve access to the information to the online site and the other means available to americans, because this is so important that americans have this insurance available to them. yes?
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>> what percentage of individuals on the individual market will in fact lose their plan? we'll have to change or lose their plan? that question, i will have to ask you to participate in the regular briefings held at cms. haveance companies that existing products, that do not meet existing standards, notously those products do fit under the affordable care act anymore. there is a minimal level of coverage. ande insurance companies -- i have seen executives speak about this -- are providing similar plans with the additional coverage, basic coverage, but without the cap on lifetime expenses or annual expenses, without some of the ther onerous aspects of plans on the individual market that are now available to those folks who want to have insurance through the same provider that they have.
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otherwise obviously people can shop and find it even better deal, potentially if they mollify for subsidies, or higher levels of coverage. >> does the white house concede there are winners and losers in this plan including one individual in north carolina who will have to pay 430% more than on their present plan? >> again, i do not have specifics from your networks. what i can tell you is goingelmingly people are to have affordable health care available to them that was not available before. i understand there are existing plans that are so bare-bones they don't provide adequate coverage. they may have enormous premiums. they may have carveouts for pre- existing conditions. there may be lifetime and annual caps purchasers do not even know about until they get the bill.
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so, it is not a fair comparison to compare those kinds of plans ofwords were -- those kinds plans, which were part of the problem, to the insurance provided under the affordable care act. >> is the president still using his blackberry? >> i have no change to announce in terms of the president's mutations. >> he fought so hard to keep it when he became president in 2009. i wonder if any changes have been placed in terms of per cautions to protect him from being surveilled from some other country. >> you are asking me about security precautions taken to protect the president's communications from foreign surveillance? >> i'm not asking for his phone number. -- addingne things precautions to protect the president?
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>> i would address the question to be secretary of defense. >> [indiscernible] >> i have no information to provide about specific reported intelligence activities. i can recite some of the answers i gave to prior questions, but you probably don't want me to do that. thank you. >> [indiscernible] mean a highly classified sensitive document and briefing that i will not -- it might come in pdf form. [laughter] >> [indiscernible] [laughter] >> ok. that's good. >> [indiscernible]
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>> again, margaret, i can speak ofthese specific issue germany and the chancellor because of the conversation they had that i read out and the assurances the president made to chancellor merkel, but i don't have anything more for you with regards heads of state or other matters. these are issues, broadly speaking, which are under review and as that review continues and comes to its conclusion at the end of the year, even as it continues, there are decisions being made with regard to how we conduct our intelligence activities and i'm sure more will be made as time goes on and they will be included. when the president has made assessments, we will provide as much information as we can about that and decisions when we can. so -- the general story
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suggests the president did not know about it until he knew about it and asked it to stop? >> i think it is fair to say the president did not know about and -- did not know about it until he knew about it. >> [indiscernible] you are saying you are not going to answer questions about -- >> about specific operations that have been reported in the press. you do not have to be vague. we are actually talking about -- >> no, i'm being specific. can't talk about specific operations reported in the press. i can talk about the issues that surround us them of these reports and the review that has been underway, in part because of these reports. and what president believes we ought to seek as we do this review and what our goal ought thee in terms of finding
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necessary surveillance that we must conduct, that other nations must conduct to protect americans and the nation and our allies and the privacy concerns that many of us have, understandably, both here and abroad. since january 2000 9 -- [indiscernible] >> i am not going to address specific reported information. potential tother trueults intelligence -- or false intelligence operation that might be reported in the press and imagine whether or not i or any other official could discuss that openly like this. the point is that we are very mindful of the concerns that have been raised i, in particular our allies on some of these issues, and the president others conversations and
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have had conversations with their counterparts. continue conversations through the appropriate diplomatic channels. obviously when it comes to germany, we made it clear we do regardk information with to the president's conversation with the chancellor. >> we will leave the white house briefing to go live to the house. at this briefing continues on our website, www.c- the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in rder. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. eternal god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. on this day, we ask your blessing on the men and women, citizens all, whose votes have populated this people's house. each member of this house has been given the sacred duty of representing them.


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