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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 1, 2014 2:00am-4:01am EST

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arlene is calling from trenton, michigan. i wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that i was at thego mayo clinic in rochester and told everyone in michigan that if the example was set by the mayo clinic by every hospital and every doctors organization in this country, we would have much healthier people living here. i am quite cynical of the medical profession. i have to say the courtesy and while myposition friend was finally being diagnosed with fibromyalgia -- i think everyone should take the opportunity to walk through the place and see how it was. i accompanied her on those appointments and they were met to the minute.
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thehe diagnosis was made, treatment was given, and five days later her disability was accepted and approved first time out. i cannot say enough about it. it is too bad every medical facility does not practice they owe's particle -- mayo's medical practices. that means a great deal to us. we can always do better. if we try every day to do better. we appreciate those comments. a tweet -- guest: i think you can have both.
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we want to be certain that we are taking advantages of everything that is known and knowable of biomedical research. the practice of medicine continues to move forward. they are getting the right care for them dialed down to the individual level. we cannot agree more. we have a center for individualized medicine. choiceto make the right for that individual but to really engage them in that decision. here are the options for you. here are the pluses and minuses of those options, try to help the patient make a good decision. i think that is what i am hearing here.
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as a system across the country, we want to make sure we have a high standard of efficiency and quality. accurate, they are made quickly, and we get people back to work as quickly as possible. in medicine and you want to prevent the disease if you can. if you haven't illness you need that right answer so you can take advantage of what is available to you to give the best chance of being well again and getting back to work. i think we are seeing the same thing. nick is calling from pleasanton, california. you are him with the ceo of a mayo clinic. theer: i like very much how clinic is run. a lot of them are in it for
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profit and our local hospital here, talking about the expansion of the service to accommodate people who cannot afford it. it is up to the individuals to take more responsibility. mail,ecently i got in the ,rom two different doctors pushing nutritious foods and how to prepare foods. is getting problem allright information and the nutrients and everything we eat. every doctor has their own opinion and everybody is pushing
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for something else. have my own i health problems and if i am lucky i will be around for a couple of more years. we are going to leave your comments there and see what the doctor would like to say. there is an awful lot of information out there and you are experiencing that. i think it is important to get trusted information that has been filtered and focused. there are ways of doing that. is aayo clinic website good website to go and confirm or deny some of the questions that you are struggling with. it there are others that can help you with that. you are absolutely right. you want to know which information to believe and when they are different like that you can ask your doctor or your clinicr go to the website or in other high-quality websites to help you.
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what is your biggest frustration with the u.s. health care system? we are frustrated when our patients are frustrated. our patients are struggling with their health care bills. the country is struggling with the health care bills. the inefficiency in the system that we have talked about, the fragmentation of care, the unequal and uneven quality around the country. whenever our patients or families are frustrated, we are frustrated. that is why we are working so hard to reduce the fragmentation, share what we quality, helpour others improve the quality so the citizens in this country get what they deserve. is highly efficient safe care that is affordable and long-term. jeff in pennsylvania, we are low on time so be quick. caller: thank you for taking my call.
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you have mentioned nuts and bolts. can you zero it down to two on the field, like 10 or $15 for a field or like a is two cents to make up a they charge you $15 for a little plastic tray. you are right. we are frustrated by that, you are frustrated by that. this is a system that needs to be refined and change. you need to look at what is the cost of care. what is the value of getting the care right? how do we drive more efficient and safe to care -- and safer care? very old-fashioned system of itemizing health care costs.
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reformation and a very complex web that you talked about. how do you help patients ?nderstand their bill we are all struggling with the same legacy system that is put in place. it is highly regulated by the insurance and by the hospitals. we need more transparency, we need more clarity. at the moment no one has this right in this country. there are new models that are coming forth. this one is badly broken. being patient and going through line by line on a bill makes
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patients frustrated wherever they are getting their care and making providers frustrated as well. we need to have this national conversation. it is not about the price of the bolts. it is about did they do the right thing? did they do it efficiently, did they do it safely? did i get out of the hospital in an efficient way? it comes down to is the diagnosis right? wrong, thisosis is tremendous human suffering, as the patient goes from pillar to post trying to get the diagnosis right at tremendous cost, meanwhile they are taking medication that may not be helpful. it is a complex question. how do we provide higher-quality care? that will be lower-cost care.
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he is up the quality of health fewer readmissions, fewer inappropriate operations, providing safer care at a much much lower cost. integratedre these systems are working together with the patient at the center and we stand the best opportunity of reducing the cost of care in a very meaningful way. last call comes from michael in byron, minnesota. caller: i am wondering if it will be effective in rochester or the other places in florida. host: the dmc? caller: the designation medical center. this is the legislation i
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referred to. that a minnesota bill provides up to 20 years of infrastructure support for growth and the economic development, centered in rochester and the surrounding community. the growth of rochester and the -- to your question, it is a minnesota legislation. host: some final tweaks --
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thank you for coming on the washington journal today to be, but political questions. you are a great spokesman and very patient with us. we will leave it there. dr. john knows where the -- dr. john >> on the next "washington journal" sheryll cashin and sophia nelson on african- american history month. then nathan hultman. he talks about energy policy, the growth of hydraulic fracturing, and whether the u.s. should approve the keystone xl pipeline. "washington journal" is live at 7 a.m. eastern with your calls, e-mails, and facebook comments.
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>> we are very focused on the sochi olympics and we have seen an uptick in the threat reporting regarding sochi. as is what we expected, given where the lyrics are located. there are a number of extremists in the area, in particular a group that is probably the most prominent terrorist group in russia. the leader of that group last july announced a public message that he would intend to carry out attacks in sochi in connection with the olympics, and we have seen a number of attacks stemming from last fall, suicide bombings and folder grout that took a number of lives. >> the terrace are becoming more sophisticated and they're going to school and the repeated disclosures of leaks. it has allow them to burrow in and it has been much more difficult to find them and address the threats they pose. the threat at relative to 9/11, we has a country have done a great job of
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addressing some of the vulnerabilities that exist in our system and putting together an information sharing architecture that allows us to move information quickly, but you never know what you don't know. >> the probability of attack leastompared to 2001, at for me, is a very hard question to answer because principally this very dispersion and diffusion of the threat. ,e are very focused initially typically in that time on now kind of. the al qaeda core. now we are facing a much more dispersed threat. this weekend, the top intelligence chiefs on worldwide security threats. saturday morning at 10:00 eastern. c-span two, your calls and comments for women's studies professor bobby morse. on book tv.oon
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and on c-span three american history tv, tour the reconstructed winter quarters of the south carolina general samuel gallon. today president obama and vice president biden met with ceo's of small and large businesses to talk about people who have been unemployed long-term. then the president spoke at the white house about a new labor department initiative that would support partnerships and hiring by nonprofits and businesses. his remarks were about 20 minutes. [applause] >> good morning. my name is eric. it is a great honor for me to be
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here at the white house today with the president and vice president, especially since, three years ago, i was unemployed and homeless. i am very happy to report that my story has a happy ending, but for a long time, my path forward was very unclear. i spent six years in the united states army where i proudly served my country as a combat infantryman. the work was hard, the hours long, and the duty was dangerous. after my honorable discharge from the military in 2008, i returned home from california to begin a new life with my wife and daughter but was quickly met with the realization that there was no work for a skilled heavy equipment operator and i was struggling to make the transition to a new career. i cannot find work in the construction industry, so i started to apply for fast food restaurants and retail stores.
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with no luck, i was motivated to work and i wanted to work, and i knew i could contribute to society like i had in my military service, but i felt helpless, lost, and more importantly, a disappointment and failure to my family. i was very fortunate to find online a new program started by pacific gas & electric company in california called the power pathway program that offered job training and skills to people who had no experience in the utility industry. i quickly applied and was accepted into a 16-week program in san francisco and i'm happy to share that i graduated the pg&e power pathway program in 2009 and was hired in 2010, where i currently work as an apprentice electrician in eureka, california. i want to thank pg&e for giving me this opportunity, and the work they provided me restore purpose in my life and gave me a sense of direction once again.
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i am glad that pg&e is expanding the power pathway program to address long-term unemployment and for signing on the president's initiative. let me end my remarks by thanking president obama for bringing companies together to help on work for thousands of americans who only want the opportunity to succeed. now it is my honor to introduce the president of the united states, barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you, everybody. first of all, let me thank erick for being here and sharing his
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story for his service to our country. erick, everyone recognizes what a great success story this is, but also the notion that someone with this kind of skill and talent was having this kind of difficulty finding a job indicates the challenges we face. i want to thank all of you, business leaders, philanthropists, elected officials, all members of my cabinet and administration, not only for coming, but for committing to more success stories for more people like erick, making sure that everyone in this country who wants to work as a chance to get ahead, a paycheck, and the structure that a job provides to people.
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i said in a state of the union, while the economy is getting stronger, businesses like yours have created 8 million new jobs in the past four years. unemployment is at the lowest it has been in five years. we all know we have more to do to build an economy where everybody who is willing to work hard and take responsibility can get ahead. we have to do more to restore opportunity for every american. the opportunity agenda i laid out the gains with doing everything we can to create new jobs here in america, jobs in construction and manufacturing, american innovation and energy, steps we can take to streamline our tax code, incentivize companies to invest here, things we can do to make sure that we are continuing to lead the world in innovation and basic research. we have a whole lot of infrastructure we can build that can put people to work right away.
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we have a couple trillion dollars worth of deferred maintenance in america and the ramifications of us taking that on would be significant. we have to roll faster and put more shoulders behind the wheel of expanding economic growth. step two is making sure every american has the skills to fill those jobs. step three is we have to guarantee every child access to a world-class education, from early childhood, to college, to a career. [applause] step four, we have to make sure the hard work pays off, with wages you can live on, savings that you can retire on, health insurance there when you need it. today we are here to focus on that second point, connecting more ready to work americans
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with ready to be filled jobs, so folks out of work can apply the skills they have already got. getting people back on the job faster is one of our top priorities, but i have to confess, last month, congress made that harder by letting unemployed insurance expired for more than a million people. each week congress fails to restore that insurance, roughly 72,000 americans will lose their lifeline. for our fellow americans that have been laid off through no fault of their own, on implement insurance is often the only source of income they have got while they look for a new job. when erick was out of work, it is a lot harder to look for work if you cannot put gas in the gas tank. if you are worried about whether there is food on the table for your kids. if mom is not making the rent and paying her phone bill, it is
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a lot harder for her to follow up with a potential employer. on implement insurance offers that security is about losing your livelihood does not mean that you lose everything you worked so hard to build. that is true whether you have been out of work one month or six months, but those that have been unemployed the longest often have the toughest time getting back to work. the longer you are unemployed, the more unemployable you may seem. this is an illusion, but one that unfortunately we know statistically is happening out there. according to one study, if you have been out of work eight months, you are likely to get called back for an interview only about half as often as if you were out of work one month, even with the identical resume. so we are here tonight to say
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that is not right. we know there are folks like erick all across the country who have enormous skills and talent and capacity, but they need a change. i invited a mother of two boys to my speech. she was employed since college, never collected on implement benefits, never dependent on the government. impressive young woman. when she lost her job to budget cuts, she could not find another and turn to unemployment insurance to make sure she and her husband could keep the new home they just spend their life savings to buy. as i said on tuesday, she wrote to me and said i am confident i will find a job. i will pay our taxes and raise our kids in the home that we purchased in the community we love. please give us this chance. i thought that spoke for so many americans out there, just give
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us a chance. they are our neighbors, friends, young and old, black and white, men and women, phd's and ged's. interestingly, the long-term unemployed are often times slightly better educated, in some cases better qualified, then folks who just lost their job. just because you have been out of work for a while does not mean that you are not a hard worker. it just means you have bad luck or were in the wrong industry or lived in a region of the country that is catching up a little slower than others in the recovery. i have heard from too many of these folks that show up early they will outwork anybody. they fill out 200 applications, sending out resumes, still finding time to volunteer in their community or at a church. sometimes they have more
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education or skill than newly employed americans, but they just need that chance, someone to look past that stretch of unemployment, put it in the context on the fact that we went through the worst financial and economic crisis in our lifetimes which created a group of folks who were out of work longer than normal. it does not reflect on all of their abilities or values. it just means they've been dealing with the aftermath of this really tough job market. all they need is a fair shot. and with that shot, and out of work young person can get the critical experience he needs to improve his employment prospects for the rest of his life. with that shot, someone with decades of experience could show someone with less experience the ropes. that is what today is all about. we really do not have an alternative because giving up on
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the unemployed will create a drag on our economy that we cannot tolerate. giving up on any american is something that america cannot do. erick made an important point in his remarks. often times, folks, no matter how skilled or confident you are, you get discouraged, and that affects people's physical health, it affects their mental health, and over time, you can have a negative feedback where it becomes harder and harder for folks to get back in the game because they are getting so many discouraging messages. that can have long-term impact, particularly, if it is early on in a young person's career. so while congress decides whether or not it will extend unemployment insurance for these americans, we are going to go ahead and act. we know it works.
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we're going to go ahead and see what we can do without additional legislation to make some serious dents in the long term a plumbing problem. we know what works for employers and employees alike. i spoke on tuesday about the head of the detroit manufacturing system. she was with us at the state of the union, sitting with first lady. she worked with the local american jobs centers, early funded, to hire people that were out of a job but ready to work. on average, they were out of work for 18 months. today she says they are some of her best employees. greg is here today. greg has been working in sales for 30 years when he lost a job in december 2011 for the first time in his life, found himself struggling to capitalize on decades of work experience. after months of pounding the pavement, is on implement
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insurance ran out, and began, as erick described, darted to feel hopeless and useless. then last year he got hooked up with a program called skills for chicagoland's future, thanks to the work of our secretary of commerce and my former chief of staff rahm emanuel, and so this intermediary trains greg with the skills they need to be employed in a local company. two weeks later, he was back on the job helping people get signed up for health insurance they need. he said it made him feel relevant again, like i have something to offer. so today, more than 80 of the nations largest businesses, over 200 medium and small sized businesses, are now making their commitment to set best practices like greg and misty and erick,
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can access, and feel as if they can have a partner in getting back on the job, making the contributions that we know they can make. so i want to thank all the companies who have made this commitment. [applause] with the support of andrew and ursula burns chairing the business council, randall stephenson of the business roundtable, the society for human resource management, we have engaged in companies all around the country, including here today, to commit to inclusive hiring policies, for making sure screening practices do not visited it folks that
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have been out of work, to expand the open door policy that encourages all qualified applicants, and of course, it is only right the federal government lead by example. today i am directing every federal agency to make sure we are evaluating candidates on the level, without regard to their implement history. because every job applicant deserves a fair shot. i just had a chance to meet with some of the ceos who are making these commitments. some of them are already participating with what is going on in chicago. they have some great ideas of what works. one of the things we will need to look at is the impact of credit histories on the long- term unemployed. if you have been out of work 18 months, you have met -- you may have missed some bills. that cannot be a barrier of entry to you getting to work so that you can pay the bills. unfortunately, we are setting
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up, in some cases, perverse incentives and barriers, but in some cases, what i heard was, just pay attention to this. let's see if we are doing everything we can to look at every candidate on the merits. i was really grateful to all of them for stepping up in this way. i am confident that as a consequence of what we did, we will see progress across the country. going back to greg, his life was turned around because of a partnership, not just because he got a fair shot, but because he had advocates that helped him earn the skilled than he needed to land a job that made sense for him. that is why we are excited to have programs like chicagoland's future platform to implement, and many others are presented in the room.
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as important as it is for the businesses to make this commitment, it is great to have these intermediaries and on profits who are also able to show success, even with folks who have been out of work for a long time. my administration will partner with the business community and the nonprofit sector. i have asked joe biden to lead an across-the-board reform of all of our training programs, working with secretary of labor tom perez, secretary of commerce penny pritzker, to make sure our job training programs have a single mission. that is what we have to prioritize. [applause] today, i am announcing that the department of labor will put forward $150 million in the ready to work partnership competition, to support more
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partnerships that we know work. innovative collaboration between local governments, major employers, nonprofits, all designed to help workers get the skills they needed to build bridges to the jobs required. even though the economy is getting stronger, it will not be enough until those gains translate enough into better opportunities for ordinary folks like erick, who have skills and the desire, just need a chance. we are going to keep knocking down barriers to reemployment so more of the nearly 4 million long-term unemployed americans can regain the stability and security that a good job brings their families. and by the way so they have more money to spend on local businesses, which will lift the entire economy up, creating a virtuous cycle, instead of a negative one. we will keep encouraging employers to welcome all applicants. you never know who will have the
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next great idea to grow your business. we will keep building ladders so that every american can join the middle class. we are stronger as i said on tuesday when america feels a full team. i want to thank you for the business commitments, the nonprofits here for the work you are doing on the ground. we are going to scale this up and make it happen. most of all, i want to thank erick and some of the other folks that have experienced success. before we came out here, i said, when folks see him doing well, that gives them hope, and it reminds us that we cannot afford to let such incredible talent the wasting away. we have to get those folks back in the game. that is what i am committed to doing and i know joe is as well. thank you. after this, i think you guys still have some more work to do.
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[applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] there we go. [applause] >> after the meeting, the
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commerce secretary on a labor secretary spoke to reporters outside of the white house. they spoke for about 10 minutes. >> thank you for being here today. we had a terrific meeting with a group of ceo's, a number of people long-term unemployed, and a number of providers of services to help our long-term unemployed help find employment. what we are talking about here is to make sure all of the programs we have here are industry led. this is something i'm passionate about and i have been working on this for years. it is something to see programs and i have spent years working on being highlighted in the kind of enthusiasm we see around the country for replicating efforts to bring solutions to those who have not been able to find jobs mostly because there has been a
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bias in hiring those who have been unemployed. this is really encouraging. we had over 100 companies sign on that they would review the hiring policies to make sure that those who have not had a job for 6, 8, 10, 12 longer months would not be discriminated against. this is an enthusiastic and exciting day for those making sure those who want a job are able to get a job. >> it's an honor and a pleasure to work with you. it is an all hands on deck enterprise and it is a top priority for the president. it starts with making sure that the congress extend long-term unemployment benefits.
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they have gone from crisis to catastrophe and losing the benefits. this is an all hands on deck enterprise. the president is using every tool in his arsenal to help the long-term unemployed get back on their feet. we had a dialogue about the barriers to inhibit getting a fair shake. the fact that their credit record may not be perfect. it's not perfect because they can't afford to pay the bills. they need a job to be able to afford to pay the bills. we talked about eliminating barriers. the president wants to do what he preaches and so we're doing our level best to provide opportunity to these group of people who have tremendous talent and simply want a fair
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shake. the department of labor will be issuing a $150 million grant competition to help identify innovative processes across the country and we heard them today in our session together. there are private intermediaries in we want to take those to scale, learn from them. the president is investigate -- and investing in this program and we will continue working 24/7 and we are happy to take any questions you might have. >> you have 4 million long-term unemployed, the most optimistic area and 300 businesses are agreeing to
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making these commitments. what percentage of that huge number do you think you can reach and help? >> this is certainly a down payment. when you talk about fortune 500 companies you're talking about force multipliers and thousands of survivors -- and thousands. this helped over one million people get a job last year. we are working with particular focus on the long-term unemployed with programs such as a wage subsidy. between 50%-90% of the cost and that is an incentive for them. we've been able to help thousands of workers get back on their feet. we're confident they will be signing up and they will be going around doing their level best trying to increase this
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number. these are the most vexing challenges for the helping the long-term unemployed getting a fair shake. >> they went back and they were unaware of what was happening in their own companies being considered for jobs they were very qualified to fill. this is a very positive step and i think it will go viral. your hearing that they are going to back -- go back and ask them to do the same helping to find
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them and help find new talent. >> how do you hold them to that? should the government take their role? >> the companies are pushing themselves. it is an issue for many of the businesses we met with today. frankly, from my own experience traveling around talking to business leaders in my first seven months, i hear about a shortage of skilled workforce. we don't need to hold people accountable. we are offering to find them a workforce they have been desperately seeking. >> look at the work we've done in the context of hiring.
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tremendous congress has been made in those areas as their result of progress made. it is really a model that we can replicate. >> you have had companies already signed to the principle of that point? >> 100 signed up today and they are now going back to their communities and encouraging them. they're going to go back and say they have gone back to look at their own practices in determining and hearing from one bank, they are turning away
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someone who might have a chink in their credit. it doesn't mean they are not qualified. they're sitting there with open jobs and cannot find people. it has been a great revelation to many ceos. >> the retraining programs, where will the skills in greater need going forward or how about working? >> these programs you heard discussed today exist in the workforce investment system. when this was in the partnership we have been working with community colleges. i hope as people out there see the success of these programs, one of our goals is for congress to see that same success. for every person we are helping
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get a ticket to the middle class, there are other people who want to get into these programs. because of the unavailability of funds we are not able to do it. i'm confident and hopeful we will see more success because success begets success. >> i have worked intimately with chicagoland. the training they are doing is geared towards the jobs that are open. they secure job opportunities first and then do the training geared towards those jobs so sometimes it is very specialized towards that particular opportunity. >> time for one more. thank you. >> the state department released the final environmental assessment of the proposed keystone xl pipeline project concluding it would not significantly alter global greenhouse gas emissions. officials are still weighing
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whether or not he would meet the test of the president's broader climate strategy angle. you can find the report at the state department website at state.gov. on sunday, the chair of the senate agriculture committee is our guest on "newsmakers." she talks about the five-year farm bill that just passed the house and what the u.s. should do when they hit the debt ceiling next week. >> very soon we're going to be in a situation where we are not going to be able to pay our bills. shame on us if that is the case. we need to make sure that everybody is responsible and we need to do that as a country. to me, the cost tuition requires us to do it in we need to make sure we are paying our bills. i don't think you negotiate on paying your bills. we can negotiate for a lot of
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things. i've been negotiating on three years for agricultural policy. >> could you tolerate offsets or do you want a clean and ceiling raise? >> we do not negotiate about paying bills. >> watch all of the interview on "newsmakers," sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. next, the chair of the white house council of economic advisors provides a look at the economy for the year ahead. speaking with reporters at the christian science monitor breakfast for about an hour. >> he was someone who grew in the office. from the bayburned of pigs experience. he listened to the experts. the cia, the joint chiefs of staff.
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and he went to see charles de france, may/june of 1951. charles de gaulle said to him, " you should surround yourself with the smallest possible to them, hear what they have to say, but at the end of the day, you have to make up your own mind. and kennedy remembered what harry truman had said, "the buck stops here." pigs heafter the bay of was absolutely determined to make up his own mind, here with the experts had to say, weigh what they were telling him, but at the end of the day he was going to make the judgment and he was the responsible party. and you see that. that was abundantly clear when those and readll the transcripts of all of those tapes during the cuban missile crisis. he was his own man. he was making up his own mind.
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joint chiefs at arms length. they wanted to bomb, invade, and he did not want to do it. look at the kennedy administration sunday night at 8:00. next, jason furman, the chair of the white house council of economic advisers. he provides a look for the economy for the year ahead. speaking at the christian science monitor breakfast for about an hour. >> thank you all for coming. our guest is jason furman. this is his first visit with our group although we have been honored to address a number of his right assessors starting
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with herbert stein. this came into 1996 during the clinton administration when he was still a graduate student at harvard and was hired as a staff economist to counsel. since then he has served as the cheap condiments of the world bank, a special adviser to president clinton for economic policy, and a senior fellow at economic study and drafter of the hamilton product at brookings. he has earned three degrees including one from harvard. he has been a visiting scholar at nyu. and a visiting lecturer at yell and columbia. he was the principal deputy director of the national economic council before being named to his current post in june of last year. no introduction will be complete without the obligatory mention of our guest youthful ability to earn money on the streets of new york. great training for spending your
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life is rising about tough economic choices. that is the end of the biographical portion. we are on the record here. no live blogging or tweeting or other means while breakfast. if you would like to ask the question, these send me a subtle, nonthreatening signal and i will happily call on one and all. let me offer the guests to make some opening comments and then we will open to questions from around the table. thank you for doing this. >> thank you so much for having me and for the long tradition of this breakfast. i want to talk very briefly about where we are in the economy and where we are in economic policy. yesterday we got gdp for the fourth quarter of 2013.
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it grew at 3.2% that followed a strong third-quarter and event that for the four quarters of 2013 as a whole the economy expanded at a 2.7% rate. that was the fastest rate in three years. one of the important things to understand about the economy in 2013 was that it was with the sequester. it subtracted from growth. with the shutdown which subtracted from growth and with other fiscal drags for things like the payroll tax. if you look at just the private component of gdp in 2013, they grew at a substantially faster rate, the fastest rate in a decade.
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that is important. as we look to 2014, we think that the fiscal drag is mostly behind us. the budget agreement in december is a substantial portion of the sequester. it will put fiscal policy and a much more neutral stance. if congress does its job and sends the president a debt limit without ransom or hostage taking, then we will be in a position that if the private sector can repeat what it did in 2013 that we could have strong growth, -- potentially stronger growth in 2014. at the same time that the economy is picking up, we continue to have a number of challenges. we have short run cyclical
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challenges and longer run structural challenges. probably our biggest short run cyclical challenge is long-term unemployment. if you look at what has happened to the unemployment rate, it has come down from 10 to 6.7%. 1.2% reduction. it has come down very steadily. now the short term, 26 weeks or less, is lower than the average of the previous economic expansion. the entire elevation in the unemployment rate is now due to the long-term unemployed. the unemployment rate is 2.5%. it has more than doubled them what it was generally prior to the great recession. the president today at the white house is having a group of ceos, foundations, and long-term workers over to illustrate just what you can do with his phone and with his pen to a deal with our economic challenges.
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over 300 companies have signed a pledge to have best practices in hiring the long-term unemployed. that is the phone mobilizing all of the companies. we found $150 million that can be used to challenge competition for best practices in dealing with the long-term unemployed. that is something the president can do. then we have about 10 foundations that have made a range of specific, tangible commitments to do things they would not otherwise have done. that again is the phone. that is an example of how the president is putting what he talked about in the state of the union into action to deal with a short run cyclical problem. our longer run structural problems is the challenges we face in terms of opportunity for american workers.
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you have seen several things the president has done in that regard including announcing that he would be giving a pay raise to federal contractors as the new contracts come online, establishing my r.a. accounts through the treasury and finally a revamp of skills and training. this builds on the strength of the economy we have. it deals with the outstanding challenges that we still need to make progress on. >> thanks for doing that. let me just pick up on what you are saying about prospects for a better economy coming along. moodys expects a growth of about a 3% pace, accelerating to about 4%. does that sound reasonable to you?
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>> when the budget comes out we will have a new forecast for 2014 and 2015. broadly speaking, there are a lot of things that are unpredictable in the economy. there is always a lot of risks. they're constantly reminded of event and the rest of the world can have a big impact on the u.s. economy. broadly speaking, the thing that is the most predictable right now is the fiscal policy. last year we cut the deficit by 2.7% of gdp in a single year. it was a big headwind for the economy. the private sector muscled through. in 2014 we will not have anything resembling that deficit reduction. we will continue to see the deficit coming down and to be stabilizing the debt. we will be in a much less contractionary stance. >> 2015 as well?
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>> 2015 as well. in terms of the private sector of our economy, housing. we saw that decline in the fourth quarter after several years of increase in residential investment. there is a lot of fluctuation from quarter to quarter. it is also something fundamental in the housing sector. it is just because of a growing population and appreciation of the housing stock. we are going to need to build about 1.6 million houses a year. we are only building about one million houses a year. you know you're going to make your way out for one million to 1.6 million. that is about 2% of gdp that will be added over the time that that happens. >> you're talking unpredictable things. there are unpredictable people including harry reid. on wednesday he said i am against something the president came out for in the state of the union. what is your reading on the fate of the trade deals that are
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pending? >> i think his views on this were not a surprise to anyone. they were not really his in that sense. the president called for is that trade with our specific partners, trade with our atlantic partners can be enormously beneficial to our economy. it can increase our growth. it can create more high-paying jobs. it can get more opportunities for consumers. for the united states in particular, we have lower tariffs. we have fewer nontariff areas. with many of the countries we have higher labor standards. that means we have a significant potential to gain in terms of improving trade, reducing the nontariff barriers and a race to the top in terms of labor and environmental standards.
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that is the economic case the president was making in the state of the union address. in terms of what we need from congress in order to implement the agreements, we have always said that would be a process. it is something we would work with them on. it is something that will be an ongoing effort. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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