tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN June 26, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EDT
imperative that we assure the basic safety of all women and staff at planned parenthood and other health facilities. we should be expanding access to safe reproductive health care for women, not restricting it. and that is, unfortunately, what today is gh going to represent n the history of health care for women in our country. you, madam president, are a national leader on these issues, fighting for the rights of women. and i stand with you and i stand with the other members of the senate but, more importantly, just ordinary families across this country who, along with planned parenthood and all women in massachusetts and this country, who believe that every woman seeking reproductive health should be safe and protected. and i'm proud that all
massachusetts law enforcement officials will continue to use every legal tool available to ensure the safety and the privacy of women and clinic staff. today is an historic day. unfortunately, it is one that our country should not be proud of. and i yield back >> friday, constitutional law discuss the major cases, including campaign finance, cell phone searches, and presidential recess appointment powers. live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern. >> to matt president obama talks about jobs and the economy at a town hall meeting in minnesota. after that, treasury secretary jack lew announces the expansion of federal housing around.
>> on the next washington journal, a look at the legalization of marijuana in colorado. here is a look. >> here at medicine man on the recreational side of this sort, a lot products or sale and the people who help them through the process are called budtenders. tell us a little bit about the role that you play here. >> i help patients in the direction -- i help guests come in and find the type of pot they might be looking for. >> how did life change after january 1 for you guys? >> amazing. this is one of the largest dispensary facilities and there are two big things. probably 50% of the sales are out-of-state. not just out-of-state, but out
of country. i've had in-state people for the first time coming in not knowing that they might qualify for a patient card. >> if i am a resident, how much can i buy? if i am out-of-state, how much can i buy? is 7 gramstate it legally. >> what is the price like for you guys on the recreational side? >> $290 for announce. we have aces for $30 to $40. on the wreck side come anything that has thc in it were any kind of -- that is taxed at three percent. that is in denver. >> how do people react when they
find out they are paying that much tax on it? >> it is a bit of adjustment. we have rounded off costs to the $10 mark to make it easier for folks because it is a bit of an impact, especially on the medicinal side. you sell a lot of different types of products, especially edibles. what do you do for safety thosees, precisely for that might fall into the wrong hands, your children and stuff like that? it is a completely white pill bottle. tamper-resistant on the top. you can see the candy-like product in their. they may be sweet and tasty but it contains a punch and we don't want someone underage getting a hold of this. >> that is a childproof cap, so to speak. >> childproof. this company has made sure to
put a power proof cap on it. but the regulation is to make sure you cannot see through that product. they would not know it's candy by looking at it. -- oard about >> once again, this is a product you cannot see through. -- itre making sure that is so easily confused that there is no child looking at it have any idea it is medicine. one of the thing i noticed, when people walk out, they walk out with these white envelopes. >> it is required now by state law. when you leave the front door with your controlled substances, it has to be in a resealable, tamper-resistant container.
it required for anybody walking out with materials to have it in these type of bags? >> it is now, as of mid-march. that havecompanies not even caught wind of this. it is a recent change. but there will be auditing and making sure that everybody is following all the rules. >> thanks for your time. >> thank you. >> more about the legalization of marijuana in colorado on the next up washington journal," live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. author daniel shulman on the koch brothers, their rights to political power and their two-decade battle over their father's empire. >> so this lawsuit laid out between the four koch brothers, charles and david on one side,
bill and frederick and other shareholders of coke industries on the other. this culminates in a courtroom showdown. bill and frederick and other shareholders were trying to expand the size of the board. posinguld have ended the charles as the chairman. the end result is bill is tossed out of the company. >> by his brothers. >> and there is a really dramatic moment in the book where, you know, the board has to sit down and decide bill stays. >> daniel shulman sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a." a next, president obama holds town hall meeting in minnesota.
the president meets americans across the country. this is one hour and 15 minutes. ♪ >> hey, hello, minneapolis. good to see you. good to see you. will everybody have a seat. it is good to be back in minnesota. the last time i was here it was colder. yeah, here is just a tip for folks who are not from minnesota. if you come here and the minnesotans are complaining about how cold it is, it is really cold. because these are pretty tough
folks, because they do not get fazed by cold. it is good to be back when it is warmer. i have to begin by congratulating our u.s. soccer team, team usa, for advancing. next round of the world cup. usa! usa! >> usa! usa! >> absolutely. we were in what was called the group of death, and even if we win today, we were in the toughest grouping, and we got through, so we still got a chance to win the world cup. we could not be prouder of them. they are defying the odds, and earned a lot of believers in the process, and i want everybody on the team to know that all of us
back home are really proud of them. let me tell you, i've been really looking forward to getting out of d.c. [laughter] but i have also been looking forward to spending a couple of days here in the twin cities. our agenda is still a little loose. i might pop in for some ice cream or visit a small business. i do not know, i am just going to make it up as i go along. with secret service, i tease them, i am like a caged bear, and every once in a while i break loose, and i'm feeling super loose today. so you do not know what i might do. you do not know what i might do. [applause] who knows? the main reason i am glad to be here is i wanted a chance to talk to folks about their lives and their hopes and their dreams and what they are going through,
and i want to spend some time listening and answering your questions and just having a conversation about what is going well in your lives and in your neighborhoods and communities right now, but also what kinds of struggles folks are going through and what things are helping and what things are not. now, before i do, i just want to mention our governor is here, mark dayton. [applause] and mark gave me an update on the flooding that has been going on across the state, and some folks here are affected by is as well. we made sure that fema is already on the ground here. the army corps of engineers is helping to build up a levee in the area. i told the governor we will be there as we declared a about what needs to be done, and you
should feel confident you will have a strong partner in fema and the federal government in the process of cleaning up. [applause] and you can also feel confident because if we did not help out, then i would have mayor coleman and mayor hodges and congressman keith ellison giving me a hard time. they will hold me to it. they do a great job on behalf of their constituents every day. [applause] i also wanted to mention that up the road there is a memorial service for a person that many of you knew and loved, and that is jim oberstar, who served so long in congress.
i had a chance to know jim. we overlapped before he came back home. he was a good man, a good public servant. he was somebody who never forgot the folks in the iron range that he was fighting for. and in a lot of ways, what he represented was a time when folks went to washington, but they understood that they were working on behalf of hard-working middle-class families and people who were trying to get into the middle class. that fight continues. we have made progress. one thing i remind people of, just on about every economic measure, we are significantly better off than we were then when i came into office. unemployment is down, the deficit has been cut in half, housing market has improved, 401k's have gotten more solid, the number of people who are uninsured are down, exports are up, energy production is up. so in the aggregate, when you look at the country as a whole, by pretty much every measure,
economy is doing better than it was when i came into office, and in most cases, significantly better. we have created now 9.4 million new jobs over the last 51 months. [applause] the unemployment rate here in minnesota is the lowest since it has been in 2007. [applause] but here's the thing -- and i'm not talking about anything you do not know -- there is still a lot of folks struggling out there. we have got an economy that even when it grows and corporate profits are high and the stock market is doing well, they are still having trouble producing increases in salary and wages for ordinary folks, so we have seen wages and incomes flat line even though the costs of food
and housing and other things have gone up. there are a lot of people who have worked really hard, do the right thing, are responsible, but still find at the end of the month that they are not getting ahead. and that is the central challenge that it drives me every single day when i think about what kinds of policies would help. so i have put forward an opportunity agenda that is the continuation of things i have been talking about since i came into the united states senate and served with mark and things that i've been working on since i have become president, making sure that hard work pays off, making sure that if you work hard, your kid can go to a good school, and end up going to college without a huge amount of debt, that you are not going to go broke if you get sick, that you are able to have a home of your own and you are able to retire with some dignity and some respect, maybe a vacation
once in a while. that is what people are looking for. and that means that we got to revert this mindset that somehow if anybody at the top does really well then somehow benefits automatically trickle down, because that is not what has been happening for the last 20, 30 years. we had on monday what we called a white house working families summit, and we talked about bread-and-butter issues that everybody talks about around the kitchen table, but unfortunately do not make it on the nightly news a lot. we talked about childcare and the fact that it is prohibited for too many young families. we talked about -- [applause] we talked about paid family leave, says that if a child was sick or a parent was sick, you could actually go help and take care of them, which is, by the
way, what every other developed country does. we are the only one that does not have it. we talked about work face flexibility so that if you want to go to a parent-teacher conference with your family -- or for your kid, or a school play, that you could balance that and infect those companies, we discovered that the summit, who provide that kind of flexibility, usually have more productive workers, more loyal workers from and companies end up being more profitable. we talked about increasing the minimum wage, which would benefit millions of people all across the country. [applause] we talked about equal pay for equal work, because i want my daughters to get paid the same as men do. [applause] all of these things are achievable, but we have got to make washington work for you, not for special interests, not for lobbyists.
we do not need a politics that is playing to the most fringe elements of politics. we just need folks who are having a commented conversation about what is happening in their lives and how can we help. and then try to take some concrete action that makes a difference. so that is what i want to talk about, and i am hoping that some people in washington are going to be listening. some of them will be, and they will probably be saying i am crazy or socialist or something, but hopefully they will hear from you, some of this stuff will sink in. with that, i will take some questions. i will make sure i do not lose my voice, and i think we have microphones in the audience, and i will just call on folks. the only rule i got is when i call on you, you have got to
wait for the microphone, introduce yourself. if you keep your question relatively short, i will try to keep my answers relatively short. and i am going to go boy, girl, boy, girl, to make sure it goes fair. all right? who wants to go first? this young lady right here. tell me your name. >> i am cheryl hill. i admire you. i worked to protect our students abroad. i support hundreds of students who work their way up through college and are not well protected by any surveillance or laws. they are killed. i'm here because of my son tyler hill. >> so this is like exchange programs or study abroad programs? generally, study abroad programs
are coordinated by the universities and colleges that sponsor them. there should be interaction between those educational institutions and the state department. there obviously are some countries that are particularly dangerous, and in this cases making sure everybody has good information going in is important. tragedies happen when folks travel overseas. unfortunately, tragedies happen here as well. but what i would like to -- [no audio]
>> good afternoon. my name is dan. i question, use with about tragedies at home, and how we can reduce gun violence in this nation and what we can do to team up together and make a difference. [applause] >> well, on my way over here i was talking to a mom i had lunch with, who is wonderful, by the way, but i will not embarrass her. and she has a couple young sons. and we talked about a whole bunch of issues, the cost of childcare, the fact that wages do not go up to meet the cost of living. but one thing she talked about was newtown, and i described how the day that sandy hook happened was probably the worst day of my presidency, and meeting those families just a couple days after they lost these beautiful six-year-olds, 20 of them, and
then some of the parents -- and some of the teachers, administrators that had been affected as well. i was sure after that happened there is no way that congress is not going to do some common sense stuff. and i thought that the issue of gun safety and common sense legislation has been controversial for some time, but i thought that was going to be a breakthrough moment. the fact that it was not was probably the most disappointing moment that i have had with congress. what we have done is we have developed 24 executive actions, things that were in our power, to really try to tighten tracking where guns go, making sure that we are sifting through and separating out responsible
gun owners from folks who really should not be having a weapon. so we probably have made some progress. we have probably saved a few lives. but i will tell you, this is the only advanced country that tolerates something like this. we have what is basically a mass shooting it seems like happening once every couple weeks. kids on college campuses, kids at home, and we are not going to be able to eliminate all that violence, and there is a strong tradition of gun ownership, and there are wonderful folks were sportsmen and hunters, and i respect all that, but we should be able to take some basic common sense steps that are by the ways of supported by
responsible gun owners, like having background checks so you cannot walk into a store and buy a semiautomatic -- [applause] so this is something i am going to keep on talking about, but i was asked about this a few weeks ago, when i said honestly, this is not going to change unless the people who want to prevent these kinds of mass shootings from taking place feel at least as passionate and are at least as mobilized and well-funded and organized as the nra and gun manufacturers are, because the politics in congress are such where even members of congress who know better are fearful that if they vote their conscience and support common sense gun legislation like background checks, they are worried they're
going to lose their seats, and, frankly, there are a number who have, because the other side is very well organized. so i will keep on talking about it. we are going to continue to work with law enforcement and community groups and others to try to take steps locally and at the state level, but if we are going to do something nationally, then we are going to have to mobilize ordinary folks, moms, dads, families, responsible gun owners, law enforcement, and they are going to have to get organized and be able to counter the pressure that is coming from the other side in a sustained way, not in the few weeks after a tragedy. all right. young lady right there.
the one in the orange -- you got a mike right next to you. >> i am an educator with public schools, and i have a son in college who is struggling through college with student loans. i have been an educator for 27-plus years. [applause] i know you are into sports, and i hear they generate a lot of money. we generate a lot of minds, and it really bothers me that i cannot pay for his education. >> i am just curious what your son's circumstances are. is he going to a state school, a private school? >> he's going to a community college, and want to go to a college in new york, in fashion design. >> but he is in community college in minnesota right now? >> correct. >> and is he eligible for the
federal student loans programs, or is he finding that the cause of your income or his family's income it is hard to get some of the lower-interest loans? >> kind of both. >> look, this is something we've been spending a lot of time on. there are a couple components to the problem, and by the way, this is something near and dear to my heart because i was not born in to a wealthy family. i am here only because of my education, but the reason i was able to get that education was because grants, loans, work during the summer, all those things allow me to pay the bills. but college costs were lower than when i was going to school. i know you cannot tell from my gray hair, but i'm getting a little older now, and so i
started college in 1979, and when i graduated, i was able to get a four-year college education. i had some debt, but i could pay it off after one year. now the average student that does have debt is seeing $30,000 worth of debt. and even if they are able to take out loans, that is a burden that they are carrying with them in their first job, it may prevent them from buying their first home. if they got a business idea, that is money that is going to take them a while before they are able to start a business, and as a consequence, it affects now, is really important just to remind everybody a college education is still a great investment as long as you graduate, as long as you graduate, so when you go in to college, you got to be determined, i am going to
graduate. it is a great investment, but not if you take up $20,000 worth of debt and you do not graduate and do not get the degree, which is why we're spending time talking to colleges about what are you doing to retain students. the things we need to do are, number one, try to keep costs of student loans down. we have been working with colleges and universities telling them that the federal government is going to subsidize universities with your student loan program, you need to show students that you are describing for them what their repayment plans would be, that you are keeping tuition low, and that you are graduating folks at a higher rate. he got to work with colleges and universities to lower costs, we got to keep the interest rates on student loans low. right now there is legislation that was presented in the
senate, massachusetts senator elizabeth warren sponsored it, and it just allows student loans that you already have to be consolidated and you can't you can refinance them at a lower rate just like you could your mortgage if the rate goes down. republicans all voted against it. i do not know why. you will have to ask them. but that is an example of a tool we can use. we have also put in place -- this is something that i passed a while back and now i have expanded -- a program whereby you never have to pay more than 10% of your current income to pay back your student loans so that if you decide you want to go into teaching or you want to go into social work, something that may not be a high-paying profession, but a satisfying profession, that the fact that you have had some student debt
is not going to preclude you from taking that position. so there are a number of different steps we are taking. i will tell you, though, in addition to what we are doing at the federal level, you will need to talk to your state legislatures. part of the recent tuition has gone up is because state legislatures across the country have consistently lowered the support that they provide public universities and community colleges, and then the community colleges and the public universities feel obliged to increase tuition rates, and that adds a burden to students. the bottom line is your son is doing the right thing. the fact he is starting in a community college will save his money. it will still be a good investment, so he should shop around and get the right information. we are going to do everything we can to keep it as affordable as possible, and i'm sure he's going to do wonderfully and then he is going to look after his mom.
all right. ok, it is the guy's turn, this gentleman right here. >> mr. president, like you i am the father of two beautiful, intelligent girls. and they are both in stem careers, and i am wondering what we can do to promote and encourage more girls to go into stem careers. >> this is a great question from a great question. first of all, stem stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. america became an economic superpower in large part because we were the most innovative economy. we are a nation of inventors and tinkerers, and we expand the
boundaries of what is possible through science. and that continues to be the case. we still have the most cutting-edge technology, the most patents, but if we are not careful, we will lose our lead. and if things are not being invented here, then they are not being produced here, and if they are not produced here, that means the jobs are not being created here. over time, other countries catch up. so what do we have to do? number one, we got to make sure we are investing in basic science. sometimes people say i do not know what the federal government spends money on, they are all just wasting it. one of the things the government does is it invests in basic research that companies do not invest in. if it was not for the investment in basic research, then things like the internet, things like
gps that everybody uses every day, things that result in cures for diseases that have touched probably every family that is represented here in some fashion, that stuff never happens. you do the basic research and then you move on to commercialize it, and that is often times when the private sector gets involved, but sometimes they are not able to fund basic research. number two, we got to make sure we are investing in working with companies who are doing, let's say, advanced manufacturing, the next phase of manufacturing, linking them up with universities so that once we have a good idea, a good invention, whether clean energy or a new way to build a car, that the next phase of production and innovation is done here in the united states.
we have opened up what we call four advanced manufacturing hubs around the country. i want 15 where we link private sector and universities so they become centers of innovation and jobs get created here in united states. but the third thing we need is we need more folks in engineering, math, science, technology, computer science, and we do have a school system that encourages those subjects, and i was a political science and english major, and you need to know how to communicate, and i love the liberal arts, so this is no offense, but we've got enough lawyers like me, we need more engineers. we need more scientists. generally speaking, we are not getting a good enough job educating kids and encouraging them into these kinds of careers.
we are particularly bad when it comes to girls. and my whole thing is somebody said i was a sports fan. i am. and one rule of sports is you do not play as well if you only got half the team. we do not have everybody on the field right now if our young women are not being encouraged the same way to get into these fields. so this starts at an early age. i've used my office of science and technology partner with elementary schools to first of all train teachers better in stem, then to really focus on populations that are underrepresented in stem, not only young women, but also african-americans, latinos, others, getting them interested early. for example, we know that young girls, i know as a father, they
oftentimes do that or if they are in a team and social environment, so making sure that the structure of science classes, for example, have collaboration involved and there is actual experience doing stuff as opposed to just it eating a classroom exercise, that there are certain things that can end up making a better experience for them, boosting their confidence, and encouraging them to get into the fields. so we are going to continue to spend a lot of time on this. i will close by saying every year now i have a science fair at the white house, because my attitude is if i am bring me in the top football and basketball teams to the white house, i should also bring the top scientists. i want them to feel that they get the spotlight just like athletes do. [applause] and these kids are amazing, except they make you feel really stupid.
the first student who i met, she just graduated. when she was 12, she was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer. fortunately, she had health insurance. they caught it early enough. she responded to treatment. lovely young lady. it did not come back. but by the time she got into high school, and she was taking biology and chemistry, she became interested in, why was it that i got this thing at 12 years old? so she talks to her teachers, and she designs a study where she goes to the surgeon who took out the cancer from her liver, takes samples, identifies the genetic profile and the chromosomes that might have led to this particular kind of cancer, writes up the research in "science" magazine, and now
has a scholarship to harvard to pursue her interest in biomedicine. and as you might imagine, her parents are pretty proud of her. i was really proud of her. but it gives you a sense of the possibilities for young people and young women if somebody is sparking that interest in them and telling them this is something they can do and they should pursue their interests. all right. [applause] ok. young lady right here, in the yellow. >> hi, i'm the university of minnesota student body president. i have a question and a softball question. my first question is, the house
republicans recently released their recommendations for the reauthorization of the higher education act, so i want to know where you think republicans and democrats can work together and what the top priority should be for the reauthorization. softball question, how do you get a president to be your commencement speaker? >> aw. first of all, you have to invite me. that is a good start. i just did my last commencement at uc irvine. they had a campus-wide letter-writing campaign. i think we ended up getting 10,000 letters? something like that. they also have a very cute mascot. it is an anteater. and gophers are cool. gophers are cool.
but the invitation is a good place to start. then we will work from there. in terms of higher education reauthorization act, that is a bill. there is a lot of complexities to it. i will just focus on an area that i think should be the focus, and we've already talked about it, and that is student loan costs and how we can hold schools were accountable for informing young people as they are starting their education what exactly is going to mean for them. we have already started this -- i mentioned a few things. one thing i did not mention is consumer finance protection board that we set up that in response to what had happened during the great recession, when people were taking out mortgages they could not afford, and predatory lenders were getting folks a lot of trouble, the same way you should be protected from a faulty appliance or a faulty
car you should be protected from a faulty financial instruments, to make sure it does not explode in your face. and one of the goals of cfpb was to tackle the student loan issue and what we have done is created what we called a know what you owe program, which pushes colleges and universities not to do the financial counseling on the exit interview, where suddenly they had you a packet and say, here, this is what you owe, hand it to them at the beginning, break it down for them, and that well all young people to make better decisions and their parents to work with them to make better decisions about what college expenses are going to be.
but as i said before, this is true for education generally. the federal government can help, but states and local governments have to do their part as well. in public education, the federal government accounts for about 7% of total costs. the rest of it comes from state and local taxes. and what we have tried to do is leverage the little bit of money that the federal government gives to this to modify how -- to incentivize reform, and experiment with new ways of learning. for example, can we use online classes more effectively to help keep those costs down? can we get more high school students get transferable college credits while they're in high school so that they can maybe graduate in three years
instead of two? we are trying to encourage folks to experiment in those ways. all of that we hope can get embodied in the higher education act. i will tell you if i'm for it, the other side is against it even if originally it was their idea. i can't guarantee you we will get bipartisan support for these ideas. there's nothing that should prevent us doing it because this is making the college education of better value for families. this should not be a democrat or republican issue. gentleman right here in the uniform. >> good afternoon, mr. president. >> good afternoon. >> i'm a recent graduate from
the freedom house ems academy in st. paul. [applause] currently i'm teaching at the academy and i just got hired. i have fought for st. paul fire. have you considered starting any other organizations such as the freedom house for law enforcement, fire, other establishments that could get programs like that going for low income or minorities? >> i don't know enough about freedom house. you need to tell me more about it. since you are an instructor and a graduate, why don't you tell me how it works. >> you go through when interviewing process. there are fire chiefs that interview the candidates. you get paid but it is an interviewing process. you wear uniform and it is a strict program. it is a 14- or 10-week program depending on the time of the year. it is intensive.
you learn all of the skills you need to be an emt. you network. i know people that are going into med school. it started in 1967 in philadelphia. >> it sounds like a great program. who's eligible for it? is it young people who have already graduated from high school but have not yet gone to college? if i'm 30 years old and i'm thinking i want to try a new career? who is it that can participate? >> anyone between the ages of 17 and 30 is eligible. you have to meet income requirements and it's open to anyone who wants to get into ems or fire. >> that's a great idea. you just gave me a great idea. now i'm considering expanding it. [applause]
it's a good example though with a broader issue. not everyone will go to a four-year university, but everyone will need some advanced training. the question is how do we set up systems whether it is apprenticeships, programs like freedom house that you just described, whether it is through the community colleges where whatever stage in your life, if you feel as if you are stuck in your existing occupation and you want to do better or you lose your job and you need to transition to a new industry that you are able to get training that fits you understanding that for a lot of folks they may be working at the same time that they are looking after their kids so there needs to be some flexibility. the programs have to be more
compact. most importantly, they have to be job-training programs or technical programs that actually produce the skills you need to get the jobs that are there. it seems like common sense, but unfortunately for a long time it was not done. going to the businesses first that are hiring and ask them what exactly they are looking for and why don't you work with the community college? why don't you work with the nonprofit? you have the knowledge that they are prepared for the job and conversely the person going to the training program they know if they complete it that there is a job at the other end. that's how we are actually trying to redesign a lot of the job-training programs that are out there. as i said before, you also have
to make sure that you structure it so that a working mom who cannot afford to just quit her job and go to school, maybe she's a waitress right now, she's interested in being a nurse is assistant that has slightly better pay and benefits and then wants to become a nurse but she has the opportunity to work around her schedule, make sure that we've got the ability to take classes at night, on the weekends, online. that's how in the future we have to redesign a lot of this stuff getting away from thinking that all the training is just for 18 and 19-year-olds who've got all day and are supported by their parents because that is not the model that our economy is going to be in for the foreseeable future. ok? young lady in the stripes.
>> hello. my name is erin. i just left a fortune 500 corporation where i had my four year degree and my partner did not making three dollars more per hour. what can we do so that other women are not experiencing the wage gap anymore? [applause] >> i've got all kinds of opinions on this. [laughter] i told the story of the working families summit. my mom was a single mom. she worked, went to school, raise two kids with the help of my grandparents. i remember what it was like for her coming home.
she's dead tired she's trying to fix a healthy meal for me and my sister. that meant there were only like five things in the rotation because she did not have time to be practicing with a whole bunch of stuff. when you're a kid, you are stupid. i don't want to eat that again and she's like -- really? what did you make? [laughter] eat your food. i remember the struggles that she would go through when she did finally get her advanced degree, got a job. she had experienced on the job discrimination because of her gender. my grandmother was rosie the riveter. when my grandfather went to fight in world war ii, she stayed home because my mom was
born in kansas at fort leavenworth. my grandmother worked in a bomber assembly line. she was whip smart. in another era, she would have ended up running the company but at the time she done even get her college degree. she was smart enough she worked her way up to be a vice president at the local bank where we lived. that's why when sometimes i watch "mad men," there is peggy and joan, i'm always rooting for them. i imagine that's what it was like for my grandmother working her way up. as smart as she was, she got to a certain point and she stopped advancing. and then she trained guys how to do the job and they would end up being her boss.
it happened three or four times. so this is something that i care a lot about not just because of my past but also because of my future. i have two daughters. the idea they would not be paid the same or have the same opportunities as someone's sons is infuriating. even if you're not a dad, those of you who have partners, spouses, this is not a women's issue. if they are not getting paid, that means they are not bringing home as much money which means your family budget is tighter. this is a family issue and not a gender issue. so what can we do? the first bill i signed was the lilly ledbetter act. [applause] it allowed folks to sue if they
found out they had been discriminated against, like you found out. back then, lilly ledbetter, this wonderful woman, she had been paid less than her male counterparts for over a decade. when she finally finds out, she sues and the supreme court says the statute of limitations has run out. you cannot sue for all of that back pay. she said she just found out in that did not matter. we reversed that law allowing people to sue based on when you find out. most recently, what i did was we made it against the law, at least for federal contractors, to retaliate against employees for sharing salary information because part of the problem --
part of the reason it's hard to enforce equal pay for equal work is most employers don't let you talk or discourage talk about what everyone else is getting paid. what we have said is, you know, women have a right to know what the guy sitting next to them doing the exact same job is getting paid. so that is something we are able to do. ultimately, we are going to need congress to act. there have been repeated efforts by us to get what we call the paycheck fairness act through congress and republicans have blocked it. some have denied that it's a problem. what they have said is -- you know what, women make different choices. that explains the wage gap. that's the reason why women make $.77 to every $1 men earn because they make different
choices. first of all, that's not true in your case because you are doing the same job. you were just getting paid less. let's even unpack this whole idea of making different choices. what they are really saying is because women have to bear children and a company does not give them enough maternity leave or does not give them enough flexibility that they should be punished. and our whole point is that this is a family issue and if we structure the work place to actually be family-friendly, which everyone always talks about but we don't always actually practice, then women won't have to make different choices.
if they are pregnant and have a child, it is expected they are going to have some time off. by the way, the dad should, too. they should have some flexibility in the workplace. [applause] they should be able to take care of a sick kid without being docked pay. there are some wonderful companies doing this. as i said before, it turns out that when companies adopt family-friendly policies, their productivity goes up, they have lower turnover, and it makes sense. look, if you have a family emergency and you go to your boss and you say, can i have a week off? i have to take care of a sick child, dad, or can i leave early this afternoon because my kid is in a school play and i really think this is important? they say of course. nothing is more important than family. how hard are you going to work
for that person when you get back on the job? you're going to feel invested in them. you will say to yourself these people care about me which means i care about you. if i have to take some extra time on a weekend or i've got to do some work late at night when i'm not under an emergency situation, i'm going to do that. this makes good business sense but the problem is we have not done enough to encourage these new models. this is part of the reason we did this family summit. we wanted to show companies that are doing the right thing, encourage others to adopt the same practices, and maybe get some legislation that incentivizes better policies. in the meantime though, if you are doing the same job, you should make the same pay. period. full stop. that should be a basic rule. [applause] that should not be subject to confusion.
let's see. this young man back here. right there. >> good afternoon, mr. president. >> good afternoon. >> i'm an intern with right track. >> what's that? tell me about it. >> it's a youth jobs or grantor the city of st. paul. >> what grade are you going into next year? >> i'm going to be a senior. >> how did junior year go? >> yeah. >> not "yeah." how'd it go? >> it went well. >> you wanted to get your question. please go ahead. >> i'm wondering how you would propose to address the growing problem of climate change? [applause] >> as it so happens --
this young man was not a plant. [laughter] last year yesterday, i announced my climate action plan. let me just set the stage by saying that the science here is settled. [applause] [applause] carbon dioxide is released by a whole bunch of man-made act to buddies when you release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it traps heat. we are seeing the highest levels of carbon dioxide and, as a consequence, some of the warmest temperatures that we have seen
in hundreds of thousands of years. they are going up. this is not just a problem of polar bears -- although i really like polar bears -- and the ice caps melting. what happens is when temperatures on average goes up, it throws weather patterns into a whole bunch of different irections. so it may mean that's no caps on mountains -- that snow caps on ountains diminished. out west, entire states get their water from's -- from snow caps. you now have the potential for severe drought. agriculture is impacted which mean your food bill is going up. california is going to the worst drubbing gone through a long
time which raises the price of all of the fruits and vegetables grown in california so it hits you in your pocket. wildfires may increase, and we ave seen record wildfires. we are having to spend more money fighting fires now than we ever have. it makes hurricanes potentially more frequent and potentially more powerful. hurricane sandy may not be as unusual as it used to be. you see higher incidence of flooding. coastal states like florida, here are neighborhoods where now every time there is a high tide, there's a flood in these neighborhoods and the problem is it's getting worse. as folks in china, india, and other places the side, they want to have cars, too, and they want to have electricity, the things that we've got. they start building more power plants and they start driving
more. all of that adds to more carbon dioxide and it starts compounding. so this is something we have to deal with. the good news is there's things we can do. we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. by the middle of next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. that will save you money in your pocket book but it also takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. [applause] we've invested in clean energy. since i came into office, we are producing three times as much energy through wind power and producing about 10 times as much through solar power and we are creating jobs here in the united states, folks, installing wind turbines, solar panels. it's good economics and it's also good for the environment. most recently, what i've done is
i said about 40% of the carbon that we e-mail comes from power plants. what we've said is through the environmental protection agency we will set standards. we set standards for the amount of mercury, arsenic thomas sulfur that is pumped out by factories and power plants into the air and water. right now, we don't have a cap on the amount of carbon pollution so we said we were going to cap it. we're going to let states work with their private sector and local governments to come up with what will be best for them. not every state will do the same thing. nevada may emphasize solar power. south dakota may emphasize wind power. whatever it is you're going to do, you have to start bringing down your carbon pollution. this has some controversy. oil companies are not wild about it. coal companies, not crazy about
it. these traditional sources of fossil fuels we will use for a while, but we cannot just keep using them forever. we have to develop new ways of producing energy so your generation is not seeing a planet that is starting to break down with all of the costs associated with it. last point i will make. one of the benefits of asking power plants to produce energy that is cleaner is that when they control their carbon dioxide, they are also putting less so at in the air -- less soot in the air, less particulates. that means your child is less likely to get asthma. those with respiratory diseases are less likely to be impacted so it has a public-health effect that is good as well. we can have an environment that is cleaner, healthy and at the
same time develop entire new injury -- industries in clean engine -- energy but we have to get started now and that is why despite some of the pushback from some of the special interests out there we will keep going at this because we don't have a choice. this is something we have to tackle during this generation to make sure we are giving a good future for the next generation. [applause] quick question. last question. last question. this young lady in the paint. go ahead -- this young lady in the pink. >> good afternoon, mr. president. my name is katie peterson. my coworker here and friend, we've been working for the federal government for almost 29 years. we feel really privileged we been able to serve that way. >> where do you work? >> the federal contract management agency. it's been a great career and we love it. lately, there's been a few rough patches with three years of pay
freezes, sequestration, furloughs. we are wondering what you perceive for the next fiscal year for government workers. >> let me make a couple points. first of all, folks in the federal government, the overwhelming majority, they worked really hard doing really important stuff. i don't know why it is 0- [applause] i don't know when it was that somehow working for the government whether it's state, local, or federal level somehow became not a real job. when you listen to some of the republican rhetoric sometimes you think this is really important work that we depend
on. we have floods right here right now. the federal government is coming in and it's going to be working with local communities that are overwhelmed to try to make sure the people get help rebuilding. those are federal workers. if they were not around after a tornado or hurricane, communities would be in a world of hurt. when you check the weather, even on your smart phone, that information did not just come from some silicon valley office. that came from the national weather service. we put out the data developed by the federal government to our satellites that are paid for and then it is commercialized. people use it to set up things like the weather channel,
eather.com, and websites the folks who help our men and women in uniform make sure that they ave proper equipment those are federal workers. fighting fires lots of times those are federal workers in the orest service. it frustrates me when i hear people acting as if somebody who's working for the federal government somehow is less than someone working in the private sector are. if they are doing a good job hearing out an important function, we should praise them. [applause] the same is true, by the way, at the local level.
i don't know of a job more important than teaching. [applause] those are all government workers. n fact, one of the biggest problems we had in the coming out of this recession, in addition to it being the worst recession since the great depression is that states and local governments were cutting back on their hiring at an unprecedented rate. we still have not seen hiring back to where it was in 2007 and 2008. if we had not lost so many teachers aides in a lot of communities, the unemployment rate would be much lower and the economy would be much stronger. i say all of this just to make a point. historically, it has been the private sector that drew the
economy but it was also a whole bunch of really great work done by agricultural extension workers, engineers at nasa, researchers at our labs. it helps create the platform and the wealth that we enjoy. this whole idea that somehow government is the enemy or the problem is just not true. now, are there programs the government does is a waste of money or not working as well as they should be? of course. i tell you if you work for any company in america, any big ompany, you will find some things that they are doing that are not all that efficient either. are there some federal workers who do boneheaded things? absolutely. i remember the first week i was on the job i talk to my defense secretary, bob gates, who has been there a long time. he said one thing you should know, mr. president, at any given moment on any given day,
someone in the federal government is screwing up. which is true because there are 2 million employees. somebody out there, if 99% of people are doing the right thing and only one percent are not, that's still a lot of eople. so my job as president, working with congress, is to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, efficiently. we should not be wasting one dime. where we see waste and things not working the way they should, like recently these long waits for folks trying to get into the ba health care program, we've got to crack down and reform. we cannot paint it with a broad brush and say somehow stuff not working. even in the v.a. health care system, once people get in the
quality of care, the satisfaction rates for customers are actually better than in private sector health care. we can't generalize like this. the last point i will make, going to your question him a federal workers have generally not gotten raises--going to your question, they have not gotten raises. they were having to pay bills ike everyone else but not have a paycheck coming in. it's very disruptive for them. what's called sequestration, and furloughs, meant to they might be able to come to work three days per week instead of the full five. this all put a strain on their budgets. we been able to stabilize it. when we go on to budget talks with republicans next year, we may go through some of the same problems in part because the
other side have said they want to cut funding for education. they've said they want to cut support for vulnerable families. they want to cut medicaid, which would have an impact on the elderly and families that have folks with disabilities. i said no. and i've said no. y the way, the deficits come down by more than half since i came into office. it hasn't gone up. federal spending has not gone up. if you want to do more to reduce the deficit further, why am i going to take it out on the most vulnerable in our society, and programs we need to grow, when we've got operations taking the advantage of loopholes. in some cases they are ppaying no taxes when a teacher or secretary are paying taxes themselves. before i would start cutting education spending are spending on basic research. [applause] it will be a tough negotiation because everything is a tough negotiation in washington right
now. which brings me to my last point. i don't watch tv news, generally, or cable shows, but i suspect if you are out here going to work, picking up your kids, taking them to soccer, or at night sitting there paying the bills, and you just turn on the tv, sometimes it must feel kind of discouraging, because it doesn't feel like what's being talked about in washington has anything to do with what is going on in your lives day to day. and it must feel as if sometimes your are just forgotten. and sometimes the news that's being reported is really important. what is happening in iraq is
relevant. we've got to pay attention to the threats that are emanating from the chaos in the middle ast. although i want to be very clear, we are not sending combat troops into iraq. [applause] we have done that, we have given them an opportunity, and they're going to have to contribute to solving their own problems here. although we will protect our eople and we will make sure we are going after terrorists who would do us harm. ut sometimes the news that's coming on, these are just washington fights. they are fabricated issues, they are phony scandals that are generated. it's all geared towards the next election, or building up a base. it's not on the level. and that must feel frustrating, nd it makes people cynical and
turned off from the idea that anything can get done. and if i've got one message today, it's the same message that i gave to that young mom that i mentioned who i had lunch with before i came here. she wrote me a letter, just talking about how she had done everything right, her and her husband, she is working hard, raising two beautiful kids and she has a great life, but it's a struggle, and wondering if anybody in washington knows t. what i told her is the same thing i want to tell all of you, hich is i know it. you are the reason i ran for office. i'm not looking for applause. i want to make this point. i grew up not in tough circumstances, but i was you guys. somebody out here is going
through what my mom went through, what my grandma went through. somebody out here is going through what michelle and i went through when we were first arried and our kids were first born. it's not like i forget. it was just 20 years ago when we were trying to figure out how to buy our first home. you guys are the reason i ran. just because it's not reported in the news, i don't want you to think i'm not fighting for you. i'm not always going to get it done as fast as i want, because right now we have a congress that is dysfunctional. we have a party on the other side whose only rationale, motivation, seems to be opposing me.
but despite all that, we are making progress. despite all that, some folks have health care that didn't have it before. despite all that, some students are able to afford their education better. folks have jobs that didn't have them. the green line got built here in minnesota. despite all that, we can make life a little better for american families who are doing their best, working hard, meeting their responsibilities. and i don't want you to ever forget that. and i don't want you to be cynical. cynicism is popular these days, but hope is better. thanks, everybody. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
you can see it live at 1:00 p.m. astern here on c-span. treasury secretary jack lew announced the expansion of federal housing programs to assist potential home owners and low income renters. it came at the close of the treasury department making home affordable summit. it's 10 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure and honor to have the secretary of the treasury with us today to close our conference. please join me in welcoming him and express our appreciation for his support of making home affordable. [applause] >> thank you, tim. and thank you all for being here today. thanks to the staff that organized this important summit.
i am so happy to be able to have all of you here today and discuss these important issues. this summit has been a great opportunity for those who care about housing and what it means to families, neighborhoods and our economy to come together and make our policies and programs more effective. more than five and a half years o a devastating crisis happened. home values were plum metting, construction workers were losing their jobs. the number of americans behind in their mortgages was at a record high and foreclosures were mounting. to stabilize the market the president moved to help home owners. hat came with the making homes affordable. home owners have been able to modify their mortgages and save
$540 a month in mortgage payments. it's not just helping families keep their homes. it's giving families peace of mind. i'd like to grate the men and women who have made this program a lifeline for so many americans over the past five years. [applause] let me say on behalf of everyone here, thank you for your hard work. a home is one of the most important investments a family ever makes. earlier today i met with home owners and counselors and discussed with them how our programs are helping americans get back on their feet. and they were clear while our programs are indeed having a real impact, very important challenges remain. these home owners remain optimistic but continue to worry about what the future will bring for themselves and their
neighbors. the truth is when you work hard, act responsibly and pay by the rules you should not live in fear you are going to lose your home. as we know, our initiatives have not been a silver bullet. but our programs cannot be judged directly for what they've done for home owners. they have become a model for the housing sector setting a standard for the mortgage industry. more than five million home owners have been helped by private lenders who have used a similar framework. our work has triggered new industry norms requiring a single point of contact for the homeowner and letting unemployed home owners delay their mortgage payments for at least six months. this kind of collaboration and collective action has transformed the way the mortgage industry arrest home owners,
spurred the development of new tools to help communities and helped reverse the worst housing downturn since the great depression. making homes affordable is just one aspect. we've taken numerous other steps including streamlining the program to help home owners refinances mortgages and helping more than 3 million people refinances their homes. even as we focused on refinancing, we made great strides to give states and communities surf fered by establishing the hardest hit fund. in april i travelled to detroit and witnessed how it's making a difference. for the first time thund program workers were tearing down abandon build togs revitalize a community. a forecast close sign in front of a home can pull down the value of every home around it. and an abandon building can cause a neighborhood to slip
into a downward spiral. the hardest hit sfund providing families with a second chance. still our work is not done. two weeks ago in a speech i highlighted the plight of the long term unemployed. construction workers are disproportionately represented largely due to the struggling housing market. middle class families find a difficult time finding affordable housing and families owe more on their homes than they are worth. that's why we work to provide relief to responsible home owners and reform our housing finances system. to that end i'm announcing today that making home affordable will be extended for at least another year. [applause] we need to be there for home own whores are facing foreclosure,
those struggling with increasing interest rates and those whose homes are caught under water. we need to develop new solutions for credit worthy families who want to buy a home and continue to get rejected by lenders. there are millions of americans with good credit who cannot get a mortgage. fha have announced steps to help improve lender confidence in making gse and fha backed loans. we have to do more to make sure our markets are effectively serving potential home owners. this includes fostering a safe sustainable private market for lending that can serve alongside government supported options. the private label securities market has been dormant since the financial crisis. we need to attract more capital to the housing market. i've directed my team to bring investors together in the month
ahead to uncover new paths to private investment. as part of this effort we are posting questions on our website to help us better understand what we can do to encourage a well functioning private securityization market. as we make it easier for responsible home buyers to get credit, we also need to make sure families who do not want to buy a home or cannot afford to buy a home have access to affordable rental housing. renting is the right choice for many americans and there is more we can do to support renters. today i announced we are taking an important step to increase the availability of rental housing. between a new partnership, we'll create and preserve quality housing for reducing the interest rate for multifamily housing. this helps drive construction and rehabilitation of rental
housing. until congress takes action on new legislation, i'm directing the federal financing bank to use its existing authority to finances these fha ensured mortgages. and we're working with the new york city housing development corporation to close the first project thund initiative this sfall. with this project we'll help rehabilitate rental housing that was damaged by super storm sandy. while we remain committed to secure affordable housing for all americans, we cannot act alone. congress needs to extend the mortgage forgiveness debt act so families that lost their home to foreclosure or sold their home in short sale are not punished with a large tax bill. at the same time it's time for congress to pass housing reform legislation.
the work of the senate banking committee was an important milestone but law makers need to keep moving forward. we know we can create a better system that proprvidse responsible americans with mortgage credit and provide rentles for those who choose not to buy. we need congress to act. passing legislation is the only way we can achieve meaningful and sustainable housing reform. before i close, let me say that all of you are here today because the on set of the crisis found the financial industry unprepared to deal with millions of troubled home owners. as many of you recall during the depths of the housing crisis home owners were calling lenders looking for help and lenders did not know what to do with those calls. because we worked together we have been meeting the needs of distressed home owners. we must realize treasury's
direct involvement in the mortgage industry will end. we must continue to reach borrowers who need assistance. there are standards that will be carried forward but we need to make sure our commitment to reaching families in trouble lives on. with that let me thank you for coming here today for this summit. we now begin the next chapter of our work together. and i look forward to continuing this conversation and achieving great things with all of you. i thank you for being here today. and with my remarks i close out the summit. thank you all very much for being here. [applause] >> coming up we bring you the oral arguments in two cases
decided by the court on thursday. president obama recess appointments challenged. then the case challenging massachusetts 35 foot buffer zone around abortion clinics. and later president obama talks about jobs and the economy in a own hall meeting in minnesota. >> a look at the legalization of marpe marion in colorado. >> we're inside the denver police department and talking with the police chief and a member of the colorado association of chiefs of police. thanks for joining us. tell us what happened for police officers after the passage of amendment 64. >> amendment 64 changed a lot of the way we do business in the
state of colorado obviously. anyone in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is now legal. and it's legal to grow marijuana in your residence. we also have the commercial retail marijuana industry. really things start changing for us in colorado law enforcement around 2010 with the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state. we've been doing this for a couple three years now. but things have changed for us quite a bit. our focus as police officers is focusing on public safety and how does marijuana legalization impact safety in our communities across the state and that's where we focus our efforts. >> how so? >> concerns around driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. driving under the influence of alcohol is always a concern for us. now with the legalization of
another substance that can impair driving ability, that just increases the risk for the motoring public. we're seeing a lot of issues within neighborhoods across the state butane explosions where amateurs are getting information on youtube and the internet how to extract mayor marijuana oil and they they are creating hazardous environments within our neighborhoods, explosions. we've seen robberies, we've seen burglaries increase particularly marijuana warehouses where the marijuana is being grown. we've seen home invasion robberies where marion and money are being kept in residences. we're seeing increases in crime like that. we've seen seen some homicide
around marijuana trafficking which is concern for public safety. >> is there a way to say crime has gone up, down or stayed the same since the passage? >> it's difficult for us to measure some of this because drug crimes by their nature are not reported crimes. so people that are involved in the distribution of drugs both with marijuana was illegal and other drugs, they typically don't report those type of crimes. so you have to look at other crimes as i mentioned burglaries, robberies, homicides, driving under the influence type of crimes or whatever. we have some difficulty with data collection right now simply because some of the data that we need to collect now isn't data we've historically collected. >> data collection is an issue for the future? >> data collection is very important. >> since you deal wit on a state level, it's a state issue, but what cooperation do you get from
federal concerning this? >> we are good partners with the federal law enforcement and prosecutors. we work well with them. one of the difficulties that we all have is colorado law enforcement officers is we take an oath to up hold the constitution, both the state constitution and the federal constitution. so an issue for us is the conflict between state law and federal law. that is something that is an ongoing concern that hopefully as we move forward can be reconciled one way or the other. > whatever the federal side of it, you have to weigh as far as the local is concerned? >> absolutely. nd ultimately what we hope for is some resolution of that conflict one way or the other that the colorado constitution or the u.s. constitution is in line because it makes it much
easier for us to do our job. >> more about the legalization of marijuana in colorado on the next "washington journal" live t 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> president obama at the beginning of a series of day in the live summer trips, starting out. minneapolis. >> now you can keep in touch with current events using any using c-span audio now. you can also hear audio of the five network public affairs programs beginning sunday at
oon eastern. >> the supreme court ruled unanimously thursday that president obama exceeded his power under the constitution by filling three senate positions on break. justices were politic on whether the modern presidency should retain the right to make recess appointments. now the oral argument from january. his is 90 minutes. >> may it please the court, the interpretation of the recess
appointments clause that respondent urges would repudiate constitutional legitimacy of thousands of appointments are presidents going back to george washington. going forward it would diminish presidential authority in a way that is at odds with the constitutional establishment that the framers have established. the case -- this would be needed to strip presidents of their authority to make appointments and to field pre-existing vacancies. and to fill preexisting vacancies. >> you say that it would repudiate the constitutionality of appointments. you don't suggest that those -- the actions of those appointees would be invalid going back however far you want to go back, do you? >> no, but they -- no, i don't, mr. chief justice, but it certainly would repudiate the legitimacy of those appointments. >> why not? >> how did it affect the -- how many board decisions will have to be redone, or how did -- how is the board coping with that problem? >> well, there are many dozens of board decisions and, perhaps, many hundreds of board decisions that are under a cloud as a result of the d.c. circuit's ruling in this case.
and so, the board will have a considerable amount of work to do in -- if the d.c. circuit's decisions were to be affirmed. now, there would be issues about waiver, there'll be issues about whether there -- there is authority sufficient to justify what the board did under other circumstances or apparent authority argument. so that would all have to be sorted out with respect to the board's role. >> what would happen, under the reasoning of this case, what would happen to the decisions of recess-appointed judges? of which there has been quite a few. >> i think that would be a very serious question, justice sotomayor, and i think it does point up the difficulty with the position respondent is urging. >> well, surely, you would you would argue the de facto officer doctrine. >> yes, we would. >> of course you would. >> yes, we would. >> and we've applied that in innumerable cases. you don't really think we're going to go back and rip out every decision made. >> well, i would certainly hope not, your honor, but it
certainly casts a serious cloud over the legitimacy of all of those actions. and it does point up the fact that the recess power, including appointments during intra-session recesses and to fill preexisting vacancies has been used to fill offices of great importance. >> you started off by saying, you know, it would repudiate so many actions that have been taken. i have a very, very stark question -- suppose i agree with the court of appeals that the only interpretation of the constitution is that the vacancy must have arisen during the recess, just by hypothesis. i agree with that, ok? what do you do when there is a practice that -- that flatly contradicts a clear text of the constitution? which of the two prevails? >> now, i think the practice has
to prevail, your honor, but i do -- and i -- >> so if you ignore the constitution -- >> but i don't think -- >> often enough, its meaning changes? >> but, your honor, of course, in this situation, the meaning of the clause with respect to the timing of the vacancy has been a matter of contention since the first days of the republic. >> now, you're questioning my hypothesis. you have to accept my hypothesis. >> well, i think i've answered the question accepting your hypothesis, but i think -- >> let's assume that the text is clearly against you. should i say, oh, yes, it says something else, but the practice for over 200 years has been something different and it's the practice that must prevail. >> well, the practice has started with george washington, and it has worked through the -- >> yes or no? >> i think i've already answered that. >> does the practice prevail over the clear text -- >> the practice gives meaning to the constitution -- >> you're questioning my hypothesis again. >> no -- >> i am assuming a clear text of the constitution and a practice that is -- is contrary to it.
>> it's extremely unlikely that would arise if the text were so free of doubt. but if -- >> you do not want to answer my hypothesis. >> no, i am answering. i think i already answered it once, justice scalia, but i'll answer it again. the answer is i think, given this -- a practice going back to the founding of the republic, the practice should be -- the practice should govern, but we don't have that here. this provision has been subject to contention as to its meaning since the first days of the republic. >> well, let me ask you about the premise. a vacancy is something that begins at a particular point in time and then it continues for some period. and i was trying to think of some other things that might fall into the same category. one would be an appointment to a federal office. so you were appointed as solicitor general at a particular point in time, and the appointment continues. another example might be a marriage. it happens at a particular point in time, and it continues for a period of time. now, would we say that your appointment as solicitor general is happening today and will happen again tomorrow and
happened yesterday? is that the way the english language is used? >> but the word "happens" may not always be an apt phrase, the phrase "may happen," the constitutional phrase, but it is a natural use. and if i may, justice alito, i'll give you a counterexample. if congress had enacted a statute in the summer of 2008 that said the federal reserve is invested with all powers necessary to deal with any financial emergency that may happen in 2009, if that emergency first arose in november of 2008 i don't think anybody would interpret that statute as denying the federal reserve the authority that congress conferred. and that's because "may happen" -- "may happen" won't cover every situation of a persisting state, but it's certainly a natural reading of it that covers some. and as jefferson said, it's certain this context, it's certainly susceptible of being interpreted to mean -- >> general verrilli, we've taken you off your starting point. your starting point was what is it -- what constitutes a recess.
and your position is that it can be an intra-session recess. but if we look back historically, congress met and they met continuously. and then they went on horseback back home and they were away for 6 months, even 9 months. today, there's nothing like that. the inter-session recess could be, could be an hour. so what do we do with that? there was the vision of a long recess running for months and today, the inter-session recess might be momentary. >> so i think i have two points to make in response to the question of what to do. the first one is that, with respect to the original understanding, we do think that
the term "recess" and the phrase "the recess" certainly at the time of the founding did encompass recesses that occurred during a session of congress, during a session of the legislature, and not just in between sessions of the legislature. i would point the court to jefferson's manual of parliamentary procedure, which describes a recess by adjournment as occurring within a session. i would point to the adjournment clause itself, which says if the -- one house of congress wants to take a break of longer than 3 days during the session, it needs the consent of the other house, which indicates that the framers contemplated the possibility of a break longer than 3 days. i would point the court to the parliamentary practice of the house of commons, where the speaker of the house of commons had authority to call elections when a member died during the recess. >> well, of course, justice ginsburg's question points out that your argument is, it seems to me, in search of a limiting principle.
a lunch break, a one-day break -- you've thought about this -- a 3-day break, a 1-week break, a 1-month break -- how do you resolve that problem for us? >> i think the way we resolve that problem is by looking to the adjournment clause. we think if it's a break that is sufficiently short, that it wouldn't require the one house to get the consent of the other, but that's a de minimis recess and that's not a recess in which the president would have authority -- >> is that 3 days? >> and what about the pro forma sessions, then? they don't -- or correct me if i'm wrong. they don't require the consent of the other house. >> well, but the problem with the pro forma sessions, i think, justice kennedy, is in thinking about the length of the recess. the recess, we would submit, and this is based on the formal dictionary definition of "recess" at the time of the founding and now, which is "a suspension of business," the recess was from january 3 when
the session started until january 23. and the reason i think that -- >> so you think there's no recess during pro forma sessions? >> there is a recess. and the reason is because the senate has issued a formal order that no business shall be conducted and that's a formal >> well, let's just talk -- let's focus on that. what if, instead of saying "no business shall be conducted," the order said, "it is not anticipated that any business will be conducted." does that suffice to eliminate that period as a recess? >> i think that it's a that's a different case and i think, concededly, a significantly harder case for the executive because here -- >> yeah. well, it's difficult and harder, but it also suggests that you're just talking about a couple of magic words that the senate can just change at the drop of a hat. so maybe the point is not that significant. >> well, i think it is significant, mr. chief justice. it's a formal action by the senate by rule saying that no business shall be conducted. and then in addition, there are other formal actions that the senate took during this period that are confirming indicia.
the senate passed a resolution that gave committees the authority to submit reports and report bills. they passed a resolution giving the president pro tempore the power to sign enrolled bills. it passed -- >> general, i think you're not answering the real thrust of the chief justice's question, which is that we could just be back here if we said, well, they didn't phrase this in the right way. well, they'll phrase it differently and we would be back here with the same essential problem, that you're asking us to peg this on a formality that the senate could easily evade, and that suggests that it real is the senate's job to determine whether they're in recess or whether they're not. >> i think there has to be a limit to that point, justice kagan, because, after all, what we're talking about here is a power that the constitution gives to the president, the power in article ii. and the president has got to make the determination of when there's a recess.
>> but why? you're making an assumption, which is that the senate has to take a recess. but the senate could choose, if it wanted to, and i think there might be some citizens that would encourage it to, to never recess. >> sure. of course, it could. >> and to work every day, which -- >> that's true. >> lots of people do. >> that's true. they could decide not to take a recess. >> so -- >> that's absolutely true. but it seems to me that that is the choice that the constitution puts >> so what do you say about the 20th amendment, which says that that january 3 was a meeting? are you saying they violated the 20th amendment? january 3. this says the congress of the united states shall meet on january 3 every year, unless they appoint a different day. >> yes. >> and they haven't. and, therefore, they met in pro forma session. or do you think it wasn't a meeting? and what do you think about the other part of the constitution which says they can't adjourn for more than 3 days without the approval of the house, which they didn't have. so are you saying that the senate violated those other two amendments of -- the two parts of the constitution, or are you
saying that they have different meanings in the three parts? >> i think our view is that it's hard to see how the -- what the senate did with pro forma sessions complies with either and -- >> ok. so you're saying they violated. but if they have pro forma sessions on january 3, they violate the 20th amendment to the constitution. you are saying that if they had a pro forma session on january 3, that since their meeting -- their recess was still on and lasted more than 3 days, it was a violation of that adjournment clause of the constitution. now, that's one way to interpret it. over a long period of time, they have apparently met pro forma on those days. or we could try to make them mean the same thing, which would mean it was up to the senate. they consider that a meeting, it's a meeting. what do we do? >> or there is another option, justice breyer. >> would you write that opinion, saying the senate of the united states has violated two
provisions of the constitution? >> no, no. i don't think you need to write that opinion. >> all right. why not? >> because you might, perhaps, give the senate some deference with respect to requirements that apply only internally to the congress. but when what you're talking about is the senate's use of pro forma sessions in a manner that deprives the president of authority that article ii would otherwise give >> would it -- i mean, that's my basic question really. why is this an important case? i see what you're saying on this one. that's fine for an answer. thank you. >> so why -- >> what my really basic question is why is this an important case, in your opinion? now, you've said, oh, because there are thousands of recess appointments. not on the happen clause. you've listed 7600 or so, really, on the recess part, but on the happen clause, you've only been able to find 102. and moreover, we've had an example of where this court, for better or for worse, said that two members of the board is not a quorum, and we got some more members, they dealt with the
problem. they ratified all those opinions, they dealt with it. it didn't take them too much time. so -- and we have different political parties taking absolutely opposite sides, it seems to me, or some members thereof, depending on the political party of the president. and we have a clause that had to do with the constitution and the problem of intra inter-session recesses when they were 7 months and nobody could meet. ok, that isn't true anymore. so, explain to me. i'm not saying you're wrong. i just want to hear from your mouth why this is an important case? >> so it's important for multiple reasons with respect to practicalities and fundamental questions of constitutional structure. let me start with practicalities and with the happens point, the "may happen" point, that our appendix doesn't purport to be comprehensive or anything like comprehensive. part of the reason why it can't be comprehensive is that there really aren't records of when
the vacancy first arose with respect to huge numbers of recess appointments, and that's because, i submit, it wasn't considered material. but second, i can -- there are numerous practical examples in our history of when it made a very great deal of difference that the president had the authority to make an appointment to a vacancy that preexisted the recess. we have mentioned the 1948 example. the secretary of labor dies on the verge of a very extended intra-session recess by the senate. they're going to be out for a month, back for 12 days, and then out all the way from june -- they go out in june, they're out for a month, they are back for 12 days, and then they're out all the way until december 31. the secretary of labor dies just in advance of them going out in june, and this is -- remember, 1948 is a period of significant labor unrest. we needed a secretary of labor in place.
>> general, would you agree that this clause now is not mostly used to deal with emergencies arising from congressional absence? that most modern presidents -- and i say this sort of going back to president reagan, presidents of both parties essentially have used this clause as a way to deal, not with congressional absence, but with congressional intransigence, with a congress that simply does not want to approve appointments that the president thinks ought to be approved? you know, absence in this day and age this is not the horse and buggy era anymore. there's no real -- there's no such thing truly as congressional absence anymore. and that makes me wonder whether we're dealing here with what's essentially an historic relic, something whose original purpose has disappeared and has assumed a new purpose that nobody ever intended it to have. >> well, two answers. i don't think its original purpose has disappeared.
i mean, the nlrb was going to go dark. it was going to lose its quorum. >> yes, as a result of congressional refusal, not as a result of congressional action. >> and that gets to the second point, which is that it may be true as a matter of raw power that the senate has the ability to sit on nominations for months and years at a time, but that is 100 miles from what the framers would have expected. if you look at what hamilton said in federalist 76 about the advice and consent role of the senate, he said he thought it would be a power that was rarely exercised and would operate, if at all, invisibly or silently. and in the early days of the republic, it was -- advice and consent was a matter of days. >> but you are making a very, very aggressive argument in favor of executive power no, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the senate is in session or not.
you're just saying when the senate acts, in your view, irresponsibly and refuses to confirm nominations, then the president must be able to fill those positions. that's what you're arguing. i don't see what that has to do with whether the senate is in session. >> well, i do -- i think this -- i think the recess power may now act as a safety valve given that intransigence, and that is actually quite consistent >> but it isn't tied then to the availability of the congress, availability of the senate. i think you said throughout your brief that the rationale for the recess power is the president must be able to have the government functioning and staffed even though -- although the senate isn't -- isn't around. but now the -- you seem in your answers to be departing from the senate not available and making quite another justification for this.
the senate, i think to be candid, the senate is always available. they can be called back on very short notice. so what is it that's the constitutional flaw here? it isn't that the senate isn't available. the senate is available. it can easily be convened. >> so let me take a half a step back, if i could, justice ginsburg, and answer that question in this way. you know, perhaps it sounds like this is an aggressive assertion of executive authority, but i'd ask the court to think back to federalist 51. and what the framers were most concerned about was that congress, in the separation of powers calculus, was going to amass authority and drain authority and energy from the executive, and therefore, the executive needed to be fortified against those actions by congress. and one specific way in which fr