tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 8, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
>> while congress gets -- back to work this weekend after being off for five weeks, we will have live coverage of the house at 2:00 msn also at 2:00 on c-span two. challengesut new facing obamacare's second year. the health insurance exchanges are set to reopen for enrollment in two months. federal health officials are bracing to see if there are any fresh technical problems. the whole team is focused on avoiding the chaos last year when it was not able to handle even a small number of users.
your screen, will be speaking this morning at george washington university here in washington dc. c-span2, we will have live coverage in about a half-hour. on c-span3 at about the same time, david cameron will be reporting to the house of commons about the recent nato summit in wales here at the live coverage should get underway at about 10:30 eastern. robert mcdonald will be holding a news conference this morning and will be talking about the to v.a. facilities around the country and outline country.ound the we will have that here for you on c-span. here are just a few comments we have recently received from our viewers. >> i am so glad and thankful for c-span. and the book reviews, and especially books like last night, you had a book called "lift up your heart." work here atood i'm not crazy about book discussion. i am also grateful you have a phone line we can call because citizens --s see if
senior citizens can work the computer. >> i watched the show on c-span, i do not remember if it is c-span one or two. what i thought was very nice about the way they conducted the meeting was when somebody got up to the microphone to ask a question, whoever the moderator said,t was of the event they told the person, the audience member who is asking the question, stay the microphone and do not leave. then they would go and say what they were going to say about whatever that person's question or statement was. then the person who asked the question got to have an actual conversation with them to clarify the actual intent of what the question and the issue was about. with the way it is where most
people call in and you hang up on them and then a panel of speakers speak out of left field and do not really get to the details and meat of what the question the caller was talking about was. >> i am talking to tell you about c-span3. your program on the weekend. thanks for reminiscing on nixon and all the different things you do with history and everything. i sure do appreciate it. thank you very much. know about to let us the programs you are watching. call us, send us a tweet, or e-mail us. join the c-span conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. the house and senate return to her today following the august
recess. two congressional reporters joined us this morning on "washington the journal -- "washington journal." we are joined by christina -- rson kristina peterson of "the wall street journal," and from "national journal," billy house. people can find this at majorityleader.gov. 12 legislative days the house will be in. i heard they may not get into twelve days. guest: the aim is to get out as fast as possible. they're due for a third week, the end of september and early october, they're trying not to come back. host: their major goal is what?
guest: messaging. the major goal is to keep the government running and not be blamed for a shutdown. messagin. the major goal is to keep the government running and not be blamed for a shutdown. you have to pass at least a stopgap spending bill. they have not agreed on any appropriations bills. the october 1 start of the new fiscal year will require mechanisms to keep the government operating. that is the and, to pass that. whether that will be a simple procedure, everybody says they hope so. things do not always turn out as people hope. host: billy house talking about messaging. the senate will take up getting to a constitutional amendment. what is that all about and what is the purpose of this though? -- this vote? guest: this is a political vote?
democrats want to enable states to put restrictions on campaign finance. and that is a constitutional amendment, you need 2/3 of both chambers and three quarters of the states to approve. it is more about getting the message out. the firstpend half-hour asking viewers about their message to congress. one of those without unemployment insurance. what with the house and senate leaders say about what they are doing our jobs? guest: republicans on the house would say they have past 30 or so bills the senate has refused to shake up. they will take that as one of their messaging themes. guest: they will vote on them again. in new mexico last week, in a district on the border where you would think the immigration crisis was the top issue. jobs andto tell you, the minimum wage, those were two really big issues that seems to compare. host: the senate has acted on
the minimum wage, the extension of unemployment? guest: yes, on both of those. they might bring them up again. senate democrats support raising the federal minimum wage and extending long-term jobless benefits. they have not been able to get enough republicans on board in joblesste to get benefits. they have not been able to get enough support in the house. hammering onp on these issues. they do not have the support minimum wage. republicans say that that would hurt businesses and overall reduce unemployment. host: kristina peterson and billy house to talk about congress returning today for a short session ahead of the midterm elections. join us on the phone, (202) 585-3880 four democrats. (202) 585-3881 for republicans. for independents and all others, (202) 585-3882.
area code 202. on twitter, @cspanwj. the continuing resolution, the short-term spending measure. that it will be drama free. these things never wind up being drama for a. -- drama free. how long would it last and what are potential stumbling blocks for getting it through? guest: the leaders have kind of let it be known they are looking at a december 11-14 end run. host: a lame duck session would pick it up? guest: right. guest: -- there are members of congress who start wondering if republicans take over the senate on election day, why would we give outgoing majority leader harry reid leverage to do a new continuing resolution after that. could be discussion about
whether we should extend this into the next session, past december into january. whatever party controls the senate will have the leverage to discuss the ins and outs that. the other issue is what is a clean cr? they promised a clean bill, in other words, no policy riders. there is talk that there will be things added. your definition of clean comes up to question. the reauthorization of ex-im,m the export import bank. also, terrorism risk insurance, that might be a longer shot. senate, terms of the let stumbling blocks for getting the continuing resolution through their? is the problem in the house? guest: it is largely in the house. if the house were to add controversial measures, you could have a ping-pong v
olleying. if the house were to pass a pretty uncontroversial bill, the be quick to accept that. neither party wants to be blamed for a shutdown or anything resembling or creating that risk. chance the senate shortens their session, as we are hearing possibly from the house? with theey're on board here and minimum of days. the house is a little bit more anxious to get out early. sureenate is going to make the government does not shut down and get out-of-town. host: an article you wrote last street "the ostrich owall journal." what are you hearing from republican leaders in the senate? what direction with a goal in
within to take control of the senate? as an they see this opportunity to prove that they can govern. they shall are to blame for the shutdown. they see this as an opportunity to show they can steer the country to the right without creating a lot of drama. republicanssenior passalking about trying to legislation that already has the support of some democrats -- improving keystone xl, making some changes to the health law, energy policy. you can get some democrats on board, they can pass legislation that would land on obama's desk, he might have a tougher time choosing to veto it. host: problems with the more conservative elements in the house. they would object to some of the things that senate democrats agree on with their republican colleagues? guest: absolutely. in fact, what you might see is a
two-year period where little gets done. with vetoing and maybe two budget reconciliation bills. if you look at president bush's term that, weto get to might have to wait until december. one of the fascinating things, what happens if we get to november 4 and then the morning of november 5 we do not know who controls the senate. split, republicans ahead. notmary landrieu's race is decided until september. host: the houses back a week after the election. guest: the house can do their thing and vote on new leaders. whether anybody will want to do anything if nobody knows who controls the senate the next year, that's another question. host: a quick take on the new leaders. kevin mccarthy came in as they
were gaveling out for the august recess. what is the biggest challenges that he faces? guest: same as the old challenge. it is the right wing of the party, they appreciate kevin mccarthy as a nice guy who is willing to talk to them. as we saw in the first vote whene they left town, and speaker boehner had to keep him here to finish the vote on the daca, they do not go along because they are buddies. they have their priorities and stick to them. host: callers waiting. baltimore, dorothy on the democrats line. caller: i wanted to talk -- i had other things to say but i have a few questions. one, about the keystone pipeline. is she talking about the
keystone pipeline? will beo ideas how they making jobs, canada is not interested in making us jobs. anyway. the other thing i wanted to talk that, you all keep saying the republicans have all these jobs, nobody ever says what they are. if they had the jobs bill with infrastructure, if republicans and democrats could agree, why can't they agree on that? it would put millions of americans to work for real. why can't they agree on that? was the problem? host: let's go to billy house, the house is taking up this question. she mentioned infrastructure, that would seem like an area of common agreement. there there would be if were a lot of jobs bills regarding infrastructure. on the house side, and a lot of it is to cut red tape for
regulations that many democrats and many other americans feel are necessary to protect workers and labor. they are described as jobs bills, their parameters are sometimes reaching. have not beenlls past, they've not even been brought to the floor of the senate. guest: that is the mantra from the house republicans, they -- 36 is a number -- host: she talked about keystone xl, that would be an area where the senate could sort of set the pace on that and could come to some agreement. there is some bipartisan support on keystone. the problem in the senate is that everything gets caught in this vortex of procedural politics. and the bad blood between democrats and republicans derailed a lot of stuff in the senate. doingis some support for something around keystone, but he gets caught in fights over amendments and they are not able
to agree. host: marilyn, independents line. caller: good morning. can't wait for the beginning of congress. it is a lowbrow comedy about to recommence. i am a 66-year-old blue-collar guy. earning social security wages for 45 years. i cannot imagine working just 12 days out of the next 40 and earning a six-figure income. so predictable and lamentable, we need to hear the next speech by steve king, gomer, tea baggers lamenting everything our president wears, does, or says. real politics.n i am a child of the 1960's when people actually got arrested and
got killed for civil rights and fighting against the vietnam war. we will now go to san antonio. democrat line. what would you like to see done over the next 12 days? caller: let's get something going. somenot understand why people are concerned about congress being taken over by if thecans when president vetoes, it is going to take a two thirds majority to override his veto on other side of congress. one more issue, we have four borders, we don't have one. i would like to see on tv the border patrol tracing and illegal russian or illegal spanish guylegal coming through canada. how come i don't see that on tv? host: on the issue of immigration, the president is delaying implementation of executive action. the headline here, immigration
delay in. activists. what does this mean -- infuriates activist. what is this mean for lawmakers like representative gutierrez? does that change the political dynamic or their relationship with the president? guest: he is their lead point guard and all this, they cannot distance themselves completely. although many of them expressed anger in the last couple days over the president's decision to delay. largely on immigration, you are not going to see anything done, probably even in the lame-duck. it will not be tackled until a new congress, if them. i was on the border, i was where they were keeping some of these kids in the holding center. is aose areas, immigration
big issue but jobs and the economy is paramount. guest: -- host: sarasota, florida, mike, republican line. caller: i'd like to ask your guest, what is the true unemployment rate? we can't extend the truth thing to immigration and to he althcare. that people are being able to access health care in spite of high co-pays and deductibles. what is the true unemployment rate? it is a problem in florida. host: any idea? guest: it is true that there are people who have given up looking for jobs. the straight unemployment rate does not reflect all the pain people feel in this economy. that is likely to hurt democrats, given that it is hurting president obama's
approval rating. people hold democrats accountable for the weaknesses that are still there and the economy. piece, back to a the agenda. mccarthy memo on september agenda. this is in the house, and that's the ex-im bank. why are they leaving that often agenda? the agenda,t off he's a lawmaker who said he did not think it would be taken up, too much going on. there's a lot of pressure to do it. bank,s the export import it helps provide subsidies for foreign companies to buy american products. conservatives in the house think that is manipulating the free market. they are upset with that and they think it puts taxpayers on the hook for things it should not. however, many other republicans, as we found out over the last few weeks, have districts with companies that rely on this. so there is the clash.
it expires, its current charter reauthorization is at the end of this month. i think they are going to punt it for a few days. a few weeks, if not months. lame-duck, if not forever. and come back to it later. they will do a temporary extension. guest: yeah. republicans see the senate as a prize in their sights and they do not want to do anything to create a ruckus before the election. the timing of the export import bank reauthorization falls squarely in that path. even conservatives who do not they arehe ex-im bank, saying for now i will be willing to do a short-term extension to get this off our plate. host: georgia, tony, independents line. i have 35 years and finally learned something. i have found the common ground i have with the republicans and the democrats.
ifs is what i've learned -- congress and the president and the supreme court and the conservative republicans and conduct their business the way i would like you to conduct your business, i will be happy. that is the common ground i have found in almost every call that i have listened to over the years. it does not matter how much civics or whether i read the constitution or anything. or i just have got an opinion. is, conductround your business the way i want you to conduct your business, and i will be happy. that is my comment. host: thank you. memphis, tennessee, david, good morning. caller: hello. two things i wanted to ask about. legallyt, i am actually blind. i've been legally blind for years. i've always had a problem getting a job. not because i did not like to
work but because of my disability. what would you do as far as helping disabled people who live on their own get jobs and make it to where they do not have to use the government for social security or any kind of disability check? that is my first question. my second question, if you guys are trying to put more jobs out here in the u.s., why don't you redirect some of the money into military? the ones that we're not sending out, i know they still have to be paid like everyone else. you redirect some of the money, maybe you can put some of the jobs back out here and give some of the people who are on disability or on them plummet a little bit of extra money. host: another issue that the president will address on wednesday, the issue of how the administration will respond to islamiccal militant state. the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, diane feinstein was on the sunday
shows yesterday and in "usa today" saying the isis threat cannot be overstated. house and, will the senate work on any sort of measure dealing with isis? guest: there's been a lot of reluctance to send troops on the ground. people are wary of taking steps like that. at this point, members of congress are saying we want more information. this is a threat that there has not been commitment to specific action. now they are saying we want the white house to tell us more about what they plan to do. we read nice this is a big danger but last year there was a lot of hesitation to vote on syria, we could see a repeat of that. guest: hearing that there are resolutions brewing. is one from virginia representative frank wolf. i agree, i don't think it's going to go anywhere in the next couple weeks. the lame-duck maybe a productive one in that regard.
think most members i'm not quite sure where they want to go on this and they certainly are not sure weeks before an election. were in new mexico last week. did people ask steve pederson about it? he is one guy who at one point said all i hear about from liberals is that we need to be more compassionate for these people coming over the border. he says what about the people in the middle east? what about the people being beheaded, why can't we be more compassionate. he thinks we should be doing something. what that is, who knows? of differentt opinions. the overriding concern is to get through the campaign. practicalof the things, i think it has been passed and the house but not the senate, defense authorization has not been taken care of. guest: that has not been passed by the senate.
since it passed the house, there have been some events nationally -- there was the unrest in ferguson -- that have led some lawmakers to potentially add some new things to the senate version of the defense authorization bill. there is discussion of reviewing the defense department program that provides access military to local police department. you could see some changes they would have to hash out with the house. host: chicago heights, illinois. caller: hi. i'm a registered democrat. congress isme that not aware of how the american people really feel. the american people understand that republicans do not want to work with president obama. ande are republicans democrats who are suffering, who have lost unemployment benefits. my question is for christina,
why is it that she sounds so that republicans are going to win in november? everyone is suffering. you guys should not be so quick to say we are going to win. we're going to take the house in the senate. a lot of people know what is going on. and they are not naïve. they see that there is so much hatred for barack obama. and they know why he cannot get anything done, it is because republicans hate him and they do not want to do anything for the american people. host: her article was about what if the gop gain control. is definitely the biggest question in november. i don't think anyone knows who will take the senate. elections,w republicans had a lot of momentum going in and it looks like they had a really good shot at taking the senate and democrats held on. that is a huge question mark. host: we have not talked about
numbers changes in the house, what is the common -- what are people thinking? guest: i think what they are shooting for, the republicans may be a pickup or six or eight seats at best. the democrats are hoping to maintain what they have got. they know they're not going to take over the house. then the question becomes, long-term, for democrats in the minority, how long do you stick with minority leader nancy pelosi and the sort of stagnant number two spot they've been in? host: billy house and kristina peterson, 15 minutes of your calls. (202) 585-3880 for democrats. (202) 585-3881 for republicans. independents, (202) 585-3882. this is ida, michigan. caller: yes. i'm calling, i was a democrat
became989 when clinton president. ever since clinton became president, it has been nothing but health for black people. you are shooting black kids in the back. i will be glad when the day comes when they shoot you in your back so you can see how it feels. host: ok. president clinton was elected in 1992. there this summer, were some events, ferguson being one of the most vivid. interesting two-seat why that lawmakers respond given that this is something but this is something that cat losed the country.
reflected comments by a piece in politico. ugly summer hounds congress. you mentioned militarization of police. coming up on ing the senate side. race or the of incident in ferguson likely to in any other house or black office, the half unit of members will make their voice known over a number of event over the past two weeks. known in a number of events in weeks, whether that spills to actual legislation that will move in this area. structured two weeks. i kind of doubt it. host: go ahead. uest: i heard some lawmakers having more policed to wear body cameras. seeing that translate to passes any time soon is going to be a big lift. caller: i've been calling this
network for 35 years. withe ear seeing in georgia an exciting thing. i'm a businessman. got david purdue running as a businessman and a libertarian running for governor. businessman. we see a tremendous amount of business. nd i see people getting involved in politics. asking the panel. we've got people who are going a get together for -- the barbecue for david purdue running for senate. you, do you see a trend towards more business leaders? nd i hope the answer is yes, getting more involved in politics. host: thank you, joe. guest: i don't know if i see a trend. there are high-profile usinessmen in this year's senate campaign on the gop side. but there are a lot of lawyers who come to congress. guest: yeah, the georgia race is another one to watch. a clear majority, we might not have a decision on that race until january. adding another complication to a
potential lame duck. obama was asked yesterday on the interview of "meet the press" about the retaining majority in the senate. here's some of what he had to say. elections matter, i votes matter. fact that punditry overwhelmingly felt it was going be -- >> pointing at me. a that this was going to be good year for the senate epublicans because the seats states that were in were tilting and significantly with significant republican majorities. democrats hold the senate, i hink that should get republicans to once again -- >> you think that sends a message? what it does is sends a message to republicans that
people want to get stuff done. middle-class families. to create ladders of opportunity people, that's the agenda people reject. host: retaining that majority, democrats retain the majority, does that -- does for provide an opening bipartisanship? guest: i think we end up see ng a lot of what we're right now. it maybe gives the president two ore years to get some of his agenda through that maybe there's an opportunity to do something on immigration with 2016 election around the corner host: a tweet from jan who going to passing? or let the government shut down something after the election. heard of the government shutdown. any chance of that? guest: democrats would like you verge of a're on the shutdown because of something
republicans are angling to do. happen.ot going to hat's pure host: bob in baltimore on our bob.blican line, go ahead, caller: i'm just calling. i wasn't sure -- i wasn't clear this continuing resolution that's coming up. but i'm guessing that means that he appropriations bill haven't been passed on either side. and i'm -- i'm asking that to billy first. guest: good question. house has passed i believe seven, maybe six. the senate hasn't passed a single one. and clearly they haven't agreed on any of them. appropriations bills that oversee the various parts of government, this congress has not agreed on a one of them. so that's why we need a stop -- at least a stop gap funding bill continuing resolution to keep basically funding levels
are now way they through the start of the fiscal year. host: why haven't they passed senate bills. guest: comes down to the fights they keep on having. they haven't been able to bring quick nd do it in a manner. but there is a desire on the senate side both in the republicans to pass some of the spending bills before the end of the year. so you could see in the senate agreement at least on a few of the 12, some of the less controversial ones. because appropriators feel that if all you do is extend your funding every time their role is diminished. so even b republicans want to bills passed ese in order to get some of the priorities reflected. host: this may be above our pay grade. above mine. how do we get out of the cycle. year after year, it winds up at the end of the year congress is passing a continued resolution. has finished e much of the work that the senate this year has not.
break it going to take to that? guest: a good question. a lot of people thought when atty murray, the -- in the senate budget chairman and paul ryan, the house budget chairman made this two-year agreement on that it would be simple to just -- not simple, easier to do the annual budget appropriations bills. host: we're in the first year of that agreement? guest: we're sliding to the second year. guest: i think this is easier. they have agreed to the overall that we're not sealing a huge dustup right now, the nk it's indicative of fact that that agreement has eased things a bit. host: made it more difficult for the agencies whether it's uman services or the pentagon to figure out what they're doing. guest: not to make steve pierce, the new representative from southern new mexico the but he's the universe, one guy who said you can't
budget for your house, home, and two-month, three-month chunks. federal agencies are a lot like that. they like to do some planning. they'd like to do some longer term planning. if you have no idea what's from now, our months it could be difficult. host: next up, scott on the columbian line. hello, scott. caller: i want to take a moment to speak two points about the militarization of the police force around the country. host: yeah. aller: as a soldier, i've been in the army for 10 years. i want to point out one man's and perspective. in that after 13 years of war, thousands, if f not more, soldiers, veterans, etting out of the army, or the military. and being pushed out. a lot of them will go to look almost the very structured environment in which you know, pull apart the team. and i think with that it brings
a way our shift in split forces are being conducted. wrong.or in ferguson -- i was a little unnerved by what i saw having 2006 and 2007 in mosul and again in 2009 and 2010. the second point i want to make s when we talk about the militarization of the police, i ironic if you impose the actions of the military perators overseas and around the world to detain people to bring them back for trial.
odd and a bit counterintuitive for me for a law enforcement purpose around the globe. >> you have some libertarian republicans and democrats on the same page. that's odd bedfellows alliance. rand paul and senator elizabeth commentshoing the same they're concerned with the militarization of police. at may see some action there some point given the bipartisans to do, to do something. guest: i think when people hear some of the equipment that's going to local police some of which have 14 members, some of the heavy military equipment that even the most avid police
supporter can scratch their heads. >> again, this goes back to the defense authorization, correct? they can change that policy or policy through the passage of the authorization bill. senator carl levin, the chairman of the armed services committee said they the program before the defense authorization bill comes to the senate floor. there is going to be some in the senate. miami, florida, chaz on the independent line. caller: we need to get back to working.ess is not we need to stop with the farce. a conspiratorial thinker. they're not doing the people's business. their job is to stay in office. more than 80% of their -- 80% of their time recent book called
by two ex-senators, their names now.pe me right they're trying to stay in office. they're not doing the people's usiness, republican nor democrat or what have you. and i think it's a farce. i think that we -- i think we're complicit in making believe representing us. this is how much money do you have. can you run for office. say one more thing. 'm -- my parents were immigrants from cuba. my father tried to run for ffice when cuba was a democracy. he said, listen, if you don't have $100,000, you simply can't run for the congress. host: how recently was that when he -- when he was told that? caller: before the revolution, 1955.ng about but before -- but before batista basically his coup d'etat, in
of nationalism, similar to what we're feeling now. keep at people wanted to immigration low, high inflation after world war ii, they wanted to change things. that's one of the reasons why they came in and took over the government and basically defecated on the constitution. ost: cecil who is in carrie, north carolina, democrats' line. caller: hello. cecil, go ahead. caller: yes, i have an answer to this thing here. we've got a divided government. going to ly way it's on whetherit depends republicans gain -- gain the the senate, which will actually make the situation worse. and that's not an improvement.
but i -- at this point, we're water.n the i think the country is not able operate like it ship that has less power at sea. go back to beginning on the political messaging on the republican side. messaging about the in terms of the bills that they'll bring forth. what about the democratic side? what sort of message will they try to get in floor debates, in hearings, etc. guest: that republicans don't care about the average person, the average worker. minimum wage, they don't care in t women, it's reflected their membership and their issues and their legislation. republicans are overly emphasizing deregulation, attacks on obama, rather than and ng your government seeing that your life is better. host: we talked about the amendment.onal later, what other senate messaging is harry reid going to
his leadership team guest: they may bring up some on the y voted on minimum wage, on the hobby lobby supreme court decision. get to the really core group that they're going after. in the midterm elections, women, voters, trying to show that they really care about them. one more call. rochelle, georgia is next. john on our democrats line. caller: hello? host: hi, john, you're on the air. caller: yes, this is the vote -- about cans don't care regular people and all of the people need to get out and vote. word, you'll get the last john. thank you for your call. thank you for your comments. peterson of "the wall st one would reach -- restrict the
epa under the clean water act. another bill would criticize the president for not giving congress advance notice of the u.s. taliban risen or exchange. live coverage of that will start at 3:00 eastern. you will see it on c-span3. with congress back in session, here is the message in congress from one of the c-span student competition winners. >> water, it makes up 75% of our body. take water away, and humanity would perish within a week.
water is the most vital substance to a human body, yet it is because of us humans that nearly 50% of all streams, lakes, and bays and estuaries are all unsuitable for use due to dilution. in the u.s. we have learned to take water for granted. faucets, bottled water and flushed toilets reinforce the same idea. water is an unlimited resource. step outside to the local waterways and the diminishing condition tells a different story. what are pollution kills marine life and disrupts an already fragile route change and animals are not the only ones that suffered the negative effects of water pollution. congress, and 2014 you must provide federal funding to wastewater treatment agencies across the country. .nd it must stop here >> join us wednesday during
washington journal for the theme of the 2015 c-span student documentary competition. more now from this morning's washington journal, which includes a segment from the c-span school bus as part of the college tour. we can untilas secretary mcdonald's news conference gets underway at 11:00 eastern this morning. >> here we kick off the first of our big ten college tour. with visits to each of the big ten college campuses and talking to presidents of colleges and universities. visited to big ten college campuses and talking to the big ten colleges and universities, the colleges that educates a half each-year and allocates some $10 billion a throughoute research the country and beyond. we're joined this morning in is esota by eric taylor who the president of the university of minnesota.
tomorrow we'll hear from interim linder of the university of nebraska. friday, sally mason, president of the university of iowa. bus ng us on the c-span eric the napolis is kaler. on ks for joining us here washington journal. >> glad to be with you. host: tell us about the system.ty of minnesota is it a public system, a land university? uest: five campuses, minneapolis, st. paul, duluth, morris, rochester. students, $75 million a year in research spending. a big operation. how long have you been
president? guest: well, less than that, for sure. i'm starting my fourth year. i'm the 16th president of the university. this ple tend to serve in job for a good long time. some of your priorities as president? guest: well, it's simple for me. i'm interested in accessibility affordability and i'm interested in the university roviding a truly excellent education for those students. also interested in being sure that we help to drive the state of the minnesota, that we're the home innovations innd medical care, science, engineering. and we have a critical important maintain the to liberal arts and make sure that creative work of all kinds takes place. a pretty broad span. t the end of the day, we're interested in undergraduate students to make sure they get to ducation they can afford pay for host: the next couple of weeks,
the bus will visit all of the campuses.llege rate does the university in terms of size just on size alone. guest: really glad you started with minnesota. appreciative with that. campus, e twin cities the fourth, fifth, sixth largest campus in the country. one that is nly physically larger than we are is ohio state. again, an important breadth across our system as well. the twin cities campus is about 51,000 students this year. big for c-span viewers, ten college alumni, they can look on our website for our stops. just a quick snapshot in terms the total ndance, number of students at the university of minnesota, spring plus. 48,000 that's 28,000 undergraduate,
12,000 graduate. 3800 postgraduate. ook at some of the college degrees. first on campus versus on campus. campus students, the total is $25, 374. off campus, 19,326. the in state versus out of in minnesota, if you're $19,310 , $12,060 and for out of state students. seeing in preparing for our conversation that you -- that system has frozen the tuition for this year. is that? guest: we had the legislature n with the governor by the bianium.g of the last
if we're able to get appropriate the state of minnesota to make that happen. we're able to do that. by the beginning of this, we saw the first increase in state appropriation to the university of minnesota in six years. heavy cut in the great recession. as a consequence, we had to aintain the quality of our programs. the state this time around let us reverse that. to have ate beginning the public land grant able toions and we were deal. it's important thing to do. student debt is something we'll talk about this morning. important to have them leave without a huge amount of debt. tuition freeze is an
important step in that direction. host: we've broken the numbers down. if you're a parent, call 202-585-3880. parent of a student. 202-5585-3881. 202-585-3882. 202-558-3880. minnesota residents we set aside a line as well. 202-585-3883. issue of college costs and universities, tuition freeze. will you talk to your colleagues in big ten and other universities, what is the number priority in terms of keeping those costs low? number one tool you used to keep college costs low? guest: well, it's clear that
great institutions, state institutions have an historical relationship with their state. or years, the state of minnesota and the big ten supported their universities as well. hen i was a graduate student, the state of minnesota provided over 30% of the state university's budget. they provided 16% of the state budget. investment has meant a shift of cost to students. so as we look at ways to make students easier, the first conversation is with state government. the other side of the coin so to speak is our ability to control our costs. industry that requires us in order to be hiring great faculty and great staff to do do, those personnel costs are expensive. e need to drive the costs as low as possible. we need to operate as
effectively and efficiently as we can. the dollars that we do have are moved to the primary missions and not spent on the costs and we're working hard every day to make that happen. maintaining a cost structure that's sensible. paying for the quality that we staff, our faculty and and being in partnership with he state to fund the whole enterprise. >> for the student coming in, conversation t begin on afford about and how is tracked? off, a third of our students graduate with no debt at all. they're able with their resources and family's resources to appropriately pay for college. the students that graduate average debt is $28,000. debt.s students with that is a the price of the car.
that u need to make balance of your life decisions an investment in yourself. getting the college of education versus doing something else with money. so i think students and their families have that conversation. last year, provided well over $3 million in financial aid. help qualified students who don't have the means to come here to be here with us. balance of financial aid, taking some loans, and at the end of the day, a young making ad their family decision to invest in college, outcome that e produces the 5500 first year tudents that we welcomed to campus last month host: president taylor 75% of students getting financial aid. sports with 25 varsity teams in the university of minnesota system has campuses in morris, corkstown, and in rochester in terms of the
athletic ms and scholarships. per any do you give out year? guest: 750 student athletes at minnesota in of the twin cities and additional student athletes in duluth. them receive some kind of financial aid ranging from a scholarship to a partial scholarship across all sports. the gain, you know, revenues that support that are to a very m great extent, media revenues, philanthropy, and other sponsorship rights. the overall budget $1 million or $2 million this year. host: he's aboard our c-span bus in minneapolis as we kick the c-span college tour this time through the big ten
conference starting with the university of minnesota. parent, a parent of the student, minnesota or elsewhere, 202-585-3880. for educators, 202-585-3881. for students, and that's college students or others, 202-585-3882. we'd love to hear some high students who are planning to go to college next year or out.ng to figure that and for all minnesota residents, 202-585-3883. hear from capitol heights, maryland. school?o you go to caller: hello. host: where do you go to school? go to the university of maryland. host: go ahead with your job. caller: what are universities doing to help students that may high school the that really isn't -- didn't have the resources to help students who want to go to college?
guest: i didn't quite get all of that. do to es the university provide resources for a student ho needs help to come to college. we have a broad spectrum of financial aid, both need and based. we work hard to make the university affordable. if you come from a family who has an income of or less, that means that the expectation is your family will not contribute cost of your education. nd we package financial aid grants and scholarships that more than cover the cost of tuition. affordable for students from -- from very low income families. we grant that up and give need-based financial aid to grosses who have adjusted enemy of up to $100,000 a year.
like many competitors, the cost of college is a burden to families. and we're making it possible for students to come to the university of minnesota host: what about the academic help forerms of we provide $1000 of additional financial aid to students in the first year and $1000 in the fourth year to make sure they get over the finish line. variety of programs
for students who are the first generation of the family to come to college or who were not familiar with a college culture. we have a great program around financial literacy. students can stub their toe when they get away from home. >> good morning. i'm bob mcdonald. thank you for coming this morning. i've been looking forward to talking with all of you. this is going to be one of many media engagements going forward. i want to thank deputy secretary sloan gibson for his leadership is acting secretary and his continued work as deputy secretary and more importantly for his 40 years of friendship. sloan and i went to west point together. we went next to each other --
lived next to each other are senior year. the leadership, integrity, ethics that he has brought to this department has been fantastic. we look forward to working together. i'm proud to be a partner with soloan for this important work. i've been on the job for just over a month. i've seen how we deliver health care at our newest hospital in las vegas, at a mobile clinic in memphis, and in outpatient clinic in charlotte. atatched the claims process the reno regional benefits office. i've seen dedicated workers in memphis who make said v.a. cemetery the national shrine that it is. on friday, i watched a we care for the most vulnerable at a homeless stand down in philadelphia. i've talked to schedulers in phoenix, nurses in palo alto,
medical residents in durham, north carolina. i've met with academic partners at the university of pennsylvania and the duke university of medical school. i have met union leaders, government workers, and thousands of advocates at conferences. with every group i engage, i i make this point. our mission is clear. it is to serve veterans. there is no higher calling than that mission. veterans are our customers. that means effectively and efficiently providing them the high-quality care and benefits that they have already earned. havewhere i have gone, i found v.a. employees overwhelmingly dedicated to the mission.
they are enthusiastic to be a part of the solution to our current challenges and they are excited that we have an opportunity to improve care to veterans in ways that did not exist before. are driven bys our strong v.a. institutional values. advocacy, commitment, respect, and excellence. all of that is summed up in the acronym i care. here is something i have heard in our employee town hall meetings. i met a woman who works in radiology and has been with the a for 10 years. for 10 years. she pointed out we have to make it easier for medical professionals to come and stay
at the a -- v.a. as a patient.a. he liked it so much, he decided to come and work for us. i always ask for and want to hear honest feedback about how we can improve. whenever i talk with veterans in waiting rooms or having lunch in the canteen or when i am walking the halls or talking to them in the parking lot, my question is the same. how is v.a. treating you and how can we improve? in memphis, i met harry. he is a member of the vfw. his job allows him to get health care anywhere he wants, but for the past 20-30 years he has been getting an mba because it is the because it isv.a.
the best. i received enough from a veteran who lives in new jersey. he has a prosthetic leg. while visiting family in california, he went to the palo alto medical center, where the physician told him that his leg was infected. three time zones away from home, he needed a new prosthetic. the doctor explained how to soak his leg to beat the infection. later, he received the new fabricated prosthetic leg from the veterans administration in palo alto. in every v.a. facility, physicians take ownership of their patient needs and treat them with dignity and respect. i have talked to family members. dotty in las vegas. that the local community emergency room would not take her husband when he was quite ill. the went to the v.a. emergency
room and she said that v.a. saved his life. her message was simple, thank you, keep it up. i have heard patients call their nurses angels and tell me that their doctors understand their needs and give great care. i also hear that veterans are waiting too long to be seen and that is simply not acceptable. from those who have experienced the worst of the bureaucracy. it willran told me that still take as long as a year for v.a. to verify her dependency status for benefits, even though she has been receiving tuition assistance from v.a. one widow said she received a call to remind her veteran has been to get his flu shot and her husband had passed away months before. that v.a.ember shared
who a letter to his father had passed away 20 years ago and was buried by v.a.. that is why we are looking at every single thing we do. we are looking at it through the eyes of the veterans. that perspective makes every decision, every right decision, absolutely clear. personally apologize to all veterans who experience unacceptable delays in receiving care in phoenix, arizona or across the country. said at my confirmation hearing that i will put veterans at the center of everything we do at the v.a. i am working to right the wrongs and institute reforms to tonsform and modernize v.a. better serve veterans. i'm committed to consistently
fixing the problems and provide high-quality care that veterans have earned and deserve. we will begin regaining veterans' and the american people's trust. we have been taking a hard look at ourselves, listening to veterans, employees, service organizations, members of congress, and our other partners. their insights have been invaluable. they are using their insights to chart our path moving forward. to address our immediate challenges, over the past several months, we have prioritized getting veterans off wait lists and into clinics. we have added more clinic hours. we are recruiting additional staff. we are deploying mobile medical units. we are having high-performing facilities share best crack us is to help facilities --
practices to help facilities rise to a new level. as of september 5, the veterans hospital administration has reached out to over 294,000 veterans to get them off wait lists and decrease the number of veterans on the electronic wait list by 57%. v.a. has developed the initiating care access. to decrease numbers on the electronic wait list longer than 30 days. community inased non-v.a. care. we have made a most one million referrals for non-v.a. care. over 246,000 more than the same
period in the year 2013. access measure was removed from all employee performance plans to eliminate incentives for inappropriate scheduling. over 13,000 performance plans were amended. we are simultaneously updating our antiquated appointment scheduling system and working to acquire a comprehensive, state-of-the-art, commercial, off-the-shelf scheduling system. the v.a. medical center direct heirs and network direct others are creating face-to-face audits of their facilities, scheduling press is is -- scheduling practices are to be completed by the end of the month. we have conducted 3000 audits nationwide. we are restructuring vha's office of the medical inspector to better serve.
we are building a more robust continuous system for measuring patient satisfaction to provide real-time, site-specific information collaborating with veteran service organizations in an effort and learning what other leading health care systems are doing to track patient access experiences. based on the valuable feedback i have received from my travels, i directed v.a. health care and benefits facilities nationwide to hold town hall meetings by the end of september to improve communication with and hear directly from veterans. about veterans. it is the only reason we exist. we need to become more focused on veteran needs and recognize and reorganize around the idea that we want every veteran in this country to think of the a asthere's -- of v.a.
therirs. -- theirs. create anking hard to environment that welcomes critical feedback and ensures compliance with legal requirements. mandates commitment to whistleblower protections to all employees. i told employees that i want every employee to criticize what , and, help us improve everybody to become a whistleblower in their own way of helping us on this road to improvement. we have established and introduced and accountability accountability related to patient scheduling and access to care, witness -- whistleblower retaliation, and related matters that impact public trust. we will continue to work with the office of the inspector general to ensure
accountability. accountability is more than just personnel actions. we must focus on sustainable accountability. i sent a note to all employees. sustainable accountability means insuring all employees understand how their daily work every single day supports our mission of caring for veterans. they have to know how their daily work ties back to our values and this mission of caring for veterans and it requires that their supervisor provide them daily feedback. together, they need to discuss how they can improve our work ross this is going forward -- processes going forward. we want to improve our current operations so we do a better job caring for veterans.
accountability requires we do a better job of flatteningr leaders, the hierarchical culture, and encouraging innovation and collaboration from the bottom. we must realistically rate the performance of employees. everybody can't possibly be rated the best. one key provision in the new law seems widely misunderstood or misinterpreted. it does not allow v.a. to fire senior leaders without evidence or cause nor does it guarantee that v.a.'s senior executives will be fired even if v.a. is seeking to remove them. thehe new law does shorten time a senior executive proposed for removal by v.a. has to appeal v.a.'s decision. it does not do away with the
appeal process. , when to make clear evidence of wrongdoing is discovered, we will hold employees accountable. we will take the actions as quickly as the law and due process allows us to take. there are over 100 ongoing investigations of v.a. facilities right now by the office of the inspector general, the v.a., the fbi, the department of justice, the office of special counsel, and others. theach case, we will await result and we will take the appropriate disciplinary action when all of the facts and evidence are known. we have made significant progress in recent months. there was a lot more work to do. to whats now is turning we intend to accomplish over the next 60 days. we call it the road to veterans day.
this is our first a 90 day plan in many ways, although the time between my confirmation and veterans day is slightly more than 90 days. our purpose is to put together a plan of some quick action steps we are going to take to better serve and take care of those who , theirrne the battle families, and survivors. we are calling it the road to veterans day. our mission is the mission that the veterans organization has had. it comes from president lincoln 's second inaugural address, when he said that we have to care for those who have borne the battle, their families, and their survivors. we have three strategies that we will be following. the first is to rebuild trust with veterans and other stakeholders.
the second is to improve service delivery, focusing on veteran outcomes, access, and care. the third is to set a course for long-term excellence, looking at the department from the lens of the veterans and deciding what we need to do to reorganize to deliver better access, better care for the long-term. the firstenergy -- first strategy is to rebuild trust with veterans and other stakeholders. under this strategy, we have a number of tactics. the first is to reinforce veterans affairs core values and mission and reset the culture to
be consistent with them. weoughout the department, have done a leadership exercise with all employees where we talk about the mission and the corvette use and we have asked all employees to recommit wemselves -- core values and have asked all employees to recommit themselves. that has been done. we will do this every year to make sure we don't lose sight of our mission and core values. we need to build relationships and strong lines with stakeholders. later this week, we have a breakfast that includes veteran stakeholders, veteran service military service organizations. we have been reaching out to members of congress. senatorsh 67 different , members of the house veterans affairs committee. out,e trying to reach
establish relationships, learn about what is going wrong, and figure out what we can do to improve. we want to increase transparency and we want to hold people accountable when things go wrong . we are busy working on our strategic communication plan. this media event is going to be one of many in the future. two is to improve our service delivery. this is the crux of everything we do. it is about improving effectiveness and efficiency and focusing on veteran outcomes. we want to reset and redeploy the veterans affairs department strategic land -- plan. it is a pretty good strategic plan, but it has not been deployed entirely. towould like every employee
be able to know what they do every single day and how it ties back to our mission and how it is consistent with our values. we are going to go through the process of that. we are going to look at each one of the strategies, make sure they are robust, make sure we have the right tactics, the right action plan. as we go through this, we are going to be looking at work that does not add value to the veterans. if we have work that does not add value to the veterans, we will stop doing it so the week and redeploy resources more toward the veteran. be using digital technology to improve our systems. as we are able to free up people through improved digital technology, we are going to take those people and redeploy them. we want to reorganize to better align and simplify service to veterans. right now, if you go to any veterans affairs website, you will find that there are 14 different websites that require
different usernames and a different password for veterans to access the v.a. that is just flat wrong. we have to make it easier to access the v.a. through one website, one username, one password. if you look at the structure of , you, you would --v.a. would find we have nine different geographic maps. a differentas geographic map, a different hierarchical structure. so do we reorganize the v.a. that when the veteran looks at it, the veteran knows how to connect and how to get things done. we are too complicated from the veteran standpoint. we want to engage federal, state, and private sectors to partner and best capture best practices. we know we cannot do the job alone. we have to partner with members of congress, the veteran service organizations, the military
service organization, state governments, private sector or's. -- sector. on many of my trips, i met with the governor's. governors. we want to do what we can to partner and to learn best practices and pass along those best practices. strategy three is to set the course for the long-term, for excellence and reform. we want to accelerate access to care, while implementing the axis choice and accountability .ct of 2014 - we have a team that will be meeting every other week to make sure we execute this act with excellence. assess keyt to programs and either affirm that they are appropriate, adjust them, or eliminate them entirely
in order to move resources to a different activity that we are more confident will affect veterans. here is a summary of the three strategies and the mission of the veterans affairs department. we will judge the success of all of these efforts against one single unified metric. that metric is the satisfaction of the veterans we are trying to serve. we should not punish veterans for having nine different geographic maps for the veterans affairs department. we should not punish them for having 14 different websites. in other words, we want to look at everything we do through the lens of the veteran. exists to, the v.a. serve them, to serve veterans. whether it is those veterans i
whobreakfast or -- with told me that the v.a. care and treatment has given them the ability to climb mountains, right horses, and accomplish things they never thought possible when they were first injured. with those veterans i met when i was in phoenix, who were being scheduled for the next appointment. i'm convinced we will come out of this process better able to meet the needs of our veterans because we will be looking at everything we do, every service we provide, every customer interaction we have through the eyes of the veteran. thank you very much for your attention. i would be happy to take any questions that you have. yes, please. if you don't mind, would you please start with your first name. i'm bob. you talked about sustainable accountability.
there is more to accountability than just the personal actions. when are we going to see personnel actions? we have seen the phoenix report. there is a report with problems in minneapolis. hovering up, data manipulation. see should we expect to some firing, personnel action, accountability on that side? >> you have already seen it. we have publicly announced some. about theto congress actions we have taken. i have a meeting tomorrow with .ongress we proposed disciplinary action against three senior executive service employees in phoenix. at the american legion convention, we have had 30 plus actions already. scs employeeswo
resign or retire. we have three on administrative leave awaiting actions we have proposed. we have over two dozen medical professionals who are no longer working for the v.a. having a resignation or someone leaving the job is not the same as them being fired. proposed discipline is not the same as actual discipline in place. i would like to follow on. having run a major corporation before coming to the v.a., the procter & gamble company, arguably one of the most admired companies in the requireersonnel actions
a value of respect for the individual. there is a process that needs to be followed. whether it is in private industry or whether it is in public government sector, there is a process, a due process, that needs to be followed. attorneys are involved. in the case of union members, union leadership is involved. when i say that we have proposed three actions in phoenix, that is what has happened and the processes going. the process is started. having said that about phoenix, right now in phoenix, we have an acting director who comes from ohio. he is off to a great start. he is doing a great job. we have an acting regional director in lisa friedman who comes from our palo alto facility, for the -- one of the best facilities we have. she is busy improving there.
we are as impatient as you are while we wait for the due process. we have 100 investigations ongoing. to takeot allowed definitive action while those investigations are going on. but we are doing all we can. i wanted to ask you about the phoenix ig report. because the sentence was worded that they could not conclusively assert that veterans died because of the delay of care that that absolves v.a. of problems. do you think that is too high of a standard of them? would it be more likely to say that there were people who died while they were in care and they are people who should have been taken care of? sorry for thely
andlems with access to care with the timeliness of care and with the quality of care that occurred in phoenix. i don't think that any investigation could make us feel any better about that. we feel terrible about that. we have embraced the report. we cherish the feedback we have been given. we have worked on remedies for everything that they have pointed out. we have concurred with the report. already, three of the 25 remedies we have taken have already been actuated, executed in phoenix. we are very sorry for what happened in phoenix and we are working very hard to learn from it and pass those learnings around the entire system, so that this does not happen again.
we're trying to pass the microphone around. i'm sorry, josh. was earning one issue or complaint that stood out from the conversations? >> it is a good question. the biggest take away for me from talking to employees was that we need to open up the culture. when i was going around, it seemed to me that employees v.a.ht of the hierarchy of is a pyramid. being the secretary, everybody would rise when i enter the room. everybody would call me sir. it was very formal.
as a result, i got the employees that thought of the secretary like the ceo of the company, on the apex of the pyramid. and that the veterans were on the bottom of the pyramid. i don't like that idea. one of the things i'm trying to do is create in on higher are the coal -- hierarchical organization where the veteran is on top. the organization we are trying to create looks like this. top.eteran is on all of the people who worked against the veteran and work with the veteran every single day are the ones that need to support the organization. i am on the bottom. i am trying to help those people in the organization.
while i'm asking you to come and buy my first name, i'm asking everybody in v.a. to do that. i need to create a much more open culture where every employee feels comfortable telling the secretary what is wrong in the organization and how we can improve. i have sat down with the union leadership throughout the organization. i have demanded that the union leadership be in all of my town hall meetings. i have also had in my town hall meetings veteran service organizations, military service organizations, members of congress, staffs of members of congress, anybody who wants to come i want to hear from. i also do my own e-mail. my own ask someone to do e-mail. people know how to contact me. i have given him my cell phone number. if you saw my confirmation hearing, you will see that i gave my cell phone number for members of congress and i have
asked for theirs in return. we need to open up the lines of communication in this organization and get rid of some of the hierarchy and bureaucracy. we are in the process of doing that. it is all about customer service. any customer service does the sorts of things. we have done it here -- we have got to do it here. what does that actually look like on the ground? you're talking what changing the hierarchy, getting rid of the hierarchical system. what does that actually look like at a v.a. facility? how do you change that on the ground and do it quickly? >> we have got to get more
people with the veteran. i think it was nashville where we had 12 customer service representatives that were redcoats a when the veteran walked in the door, they could immediately who was there to help them and that person could navigate them through our system. ipad so they could contact doctors nurses, whoever they needed, immediately. we have gone from 12 of those people to two. we have got to get people back against the veteran. we have kiosks in the waiting room. when the veteran comes in, they can tell us what they need. we are piloting a project with the health arm and the benefits arm will get together and go to little rock arkansas and do mall at shopping
one-stop. it is very simple. you look at it from the standpoint of the veteran. what do they want? do they want to have to go through bureaucracy? do they want to have 14 different usernames and passwords? do they want to worry about nine different geographic maps? do they want to worry about a hierarchy? no. they want service. that is what we want to provide. it is going to take time, but we are going to do it. isp one sound simple, but it every member of the organization committing themselves to the mission and the value of the organization. where we have members who have not committed themselves, then you have to question, are they really going to be able to get this done? are you worried about your ability to recruit and retain
talented senior executives given the new provisions in the lot regarding firing and the temporary ban on bonuses? actually, i am worried about our ability to recruit and retain talented people. worried. we need tens of thousands of new doctors, new nurses, new clinicians. because of the importance of that, last week i started a recruiting campaign. my second week i called the chancellor of duke university medical system and said, could you set up a time for me to talk at duketudents university medical school? i went a week or so ago, i sat down, i did grand rounds. i had all the doctors and nurses
there. i spoke to them about what a great place the v.a. is to work. how many of you knew that the v.a. had three nobel prize-winning scientists or doctors? how many of you knew that the v.a. had seven plaster awards? how many of you knew that the v.a. invented cutting edge technology? it was a nurse at the v.a. that came up with the idea of using the barcode that is common on procter & gamble products another products to help patients get the right medicine and the right care in a hospital. how many of you knew that? how many of you knew that the v.a., the government will repay student loans or will help you get loans or help you get into medical school, nursing school? how many of you knew we had a program for nursing? we have to do a lot of recruiting. philadelphia last week, last friday, i met with
the university of pennsylvania. we have a great partnership with the medical school there. we were asking for those doctors, those nurses to come join us. i think we have an inspiring story. what i have heard from our doctors and nurses is there are no better patients than the veterans. we have to get that inspiring story out. i have asked members of congress , i have asked chairman miller of the house veterans affairs committee, chairman senate -- sanders to come recruiting with me. we need to get the story out. they have agreed. we are going to do this recording -- recruiting together. there is no way we can do this without everybody's help. >> you just said that you need tens of thousands of new doctors and nurses and clinicians. did the legislative
package in august get you toward that? does this mean you'll have to go back to congress and ask for a lot more to get you where you need to be on that? the legislative package was efficient. sloan and the team did outstanding work. we have the position, now we have to find the people. i was on a plane flying into phoenix and i was talking about the v.a. the individual behind me asked me if i worked for the v.a. i said i did proudly. i was wearing my button. he had retired from the air force. he was an employee of lockheed martin. he said, you have a challenge. he said, i'm retired from the air force. my daughter is a lieutenant in
the air force. she goes to the medical school, the government medical school, the u.s. institute for medicine in washington dc. he asked her about working for the v.a. she said, haven't you been seeing what is going on in the media? why would i want to join the v.a.? i said, give me her phone number. her name is alexandra. i called her three times. see this -- she set up for me to go recruiting at her medical school and i think we're pretty close to convincing her that the v.a. is a great place to work. when i was in charlotte, i talked to two individuals both leaving the service. both physicians assistants. i talked to them about coming to work for the v.a. it is a great place to work. all of you need to help me get the message out that this is a great place to work, we have the best patients in the world.
we have great resource in which allows us to do the kind of research we need to do, the innovation we need to do, and be on the cutting edge of medicine for our country. >> when we were down in augusta and we talked to a household director down there who talked about some kind of wage freeze on medical staff and indicating that all the medical wages in the private sector are effectively 20% higher than those in v.a. and you talked about nurses who would be at v.a. for a year and then crossed the street and go to work at the teaching hospital for thousands of dollars more, is that freeze in effect and is that a problem that needs to be addressed? >> there are two issues you
described. that opm has evaluated some of our positions and downgraded them and they which are positions the staff positions, which are closest to the veterans. i told all of our operations that we need to take a look at if those people are our front-line working with the veterans every single day, we need to seek exceptions to that evaluation. athink we might not have done great job of presenting the importance of those people. in any corporation, the people on the front lines serving the customer are highly valued. we are going back now and we are looking at that. we are going to take exceptions where we need them. is second point you raised the compensation of medical personnel. i have heard this at every site i have been at. we have had it freeze for over
three years. i have gone back and with the help of others we have identified all our different positions and we benched marked them with private industry. whenked to the president we went together to the american legion convention in charlotte and we are in the process of evaluating potentially raising those salaries to a level where we can be competitive with the outside. it does us no good to recruit people if we cannot retain them. compensation is a part of that. that our say too employees don't do this for the compensation, they do this for the calling of serving veterans. but we have to get the compensation competitive. i think i can do one more. i wanted to ask you how many
vets currently work for the v.a.? is there currently exist or will the be a thrust to hire veterans as part of your desire to bring on more medical clinicians, particularly those from iraq and afghanistan? >> currently, we have about 340,000 people. of that, about 35% or so are veterans. we have a hiring preference for veterans. yes, we want to hire veterans. at palo alto, i met a young lady who was one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country. she went to stanford medical school. her undergraduate alma mater is mine, west point. she was a few years after sloan and me. an outstanding orthopedic surgeon. we are looking for everybody with talent.
there is a question over here. >> later this year, you will be awarding the contract for your replacement scheduling system. do you suspect that you might have to go back to congress for edition all funding to ensure that the entire rollout of that system? will you insist on greater controls so you know who is doing what on that scheduling system? >> we tried to put the money we needed in the act that was recently passed. i cannot predict the future. i think we have done a good job of that. as we work through the scheduling system, we are going to be very eager to find an off-the-shelf product that is proven effective that we will not run into executional difficulties as we move forward. we are making a number of fixes with the current system. we are not waiting for that. we're going to get that right
and do that as quickly as possible. the off-the-shelf product will become very important as we move forward. i thought it was a brilliant thee of work by sloan and team to come forward and say, we are going to take an off-the-shelf product. again, every decision through the lens of the veteran. we don't get rewarded for making a scheduling system, we get rewarded for having a veteran system -- scheduling system that works for the veterans and gets them into care. >> could we have your cell phone number? 513-503-8454. >> that is wonderful. matt have yours? >> sure. >> give it to vicki please. >> we have the money.
we have the breakdown in terms of the classification of people money goes how much to each one. we can give it to you later. heard anme in, i had accusation that we had doubled the size of the headquarters staff in v.a. over the past few years. i hear,cusation everything i read, i try to understand this. we did an analysis and have come to find out that the size of the headquarters staff at the v.a. is actually lower as a percentage of total then i was eight years ago and that the number one classification of people we have hired over the last eight years has been nurses.that is obviously up significantly as we have increased the footprint of who we care for around the country.
we look at this very carefully. through a really microscopic lens to make sure we are hiring the right people and putting them in the right places. of the headquarters is actually lower as a percent of the total than it was before. it includes the fact that we have centralized some functions in the headquarters, like i.t. it is better to have one system across the department then balkanized i.d. systems. [indiscernible] >> we can share that and get you that data. yes, sir. speaking of headquarters staff, when you came on board in late july, you had been affirmed by the v.a. and the ig that this
was a systemwide scandal and problem. when you came in, were you curious at all about whether those in the central office had any idea about these delays, these manipulations? the fact that you could already have 100 places are more that are under investigation, that this could go on without anybody in the central office having any idea? did that spark your curiosity or concern you or is that something you want to put behind and move on? i addressed that, didn't i? i talked about the need for more open culture. i showed you the pyramid that specifically like this, that people think of an organization and they turned it on its apex. as i analyze the organization, my sense was that the culture was to closed. there was to hierarchy.
-- too much hierarchy. >> i'm talking about people who were aware. >> that's why i'm telling you that they may not have been aware. i have not sat down and talk to every single individual. i have a very simple axiom. i have been doing this now for, sloan and i have been doing this in private enterprise for 40 years. organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get. don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out the result to read you know what the result is. figure out why the organization was designed to get that result. what i tried to do in my description of a very closed culture, which robert neighbors in his report called a toxic culture, i tried to explain why information was not getting from the bottom to the top. what may have been the reason why. that is why i have mandated town hall meetings. it is why when i go out i meet with stakeholders.
it is in the strategies i have talked about that we are going to follow in the future. we are going to be transparent. we are going to be accountable. we are going to work to get every employee involved, to get every employee who commits himself to our mission and involvedvery employee in improving care for our veterans. there is no other way to do it. the fact that that was not happening suggests we have work to do. but we have started to do it. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] secretarys affairs mcdonald will be on capitol hill again tomorrow talking about veterans health care. live at 10:00that a.m. eastern. today's white house briefing is expected to get underway at 1:00. we will have live coverage on c-span.
both the house and senate are back in today. they will start work on a bill that would allow congress to limit campaign contributions and expenditures. live coverage of the senate is on c-span 2. the house will work on a number of small bills, including those dealing with increasing federal penalties for identity theft. and a new national mall memorial for african americans served in the revolutionary war. gavels in today, michigan congressman john dingell will not be among them. he was admitted to henry ford hospital after suffering a domino pain -- abdominal pain. he is currently the longest-serving member of congress. he is 88 years old. a look now at u.s.-russian relations in light of the ongoing russia-ukraine conflict. scholars talked about the status of arms control and security
policy as it applies to the state of affairs. george washington university hosted the discussion on friday. >> good afternoon, everyone. a welcome to the elliott school of international affairs. we at the institute are delighted to be hosting this event this afternoon on the u.s.-russian nuclear relationship, in partnership with our friends at harvard university. today's panel is the rollout of a new working paper. the paper which you should have been able to get a copy of is over on the table.
we all know that over the last several months u.s.-russian ovations have been dominated by the -- relations have been dominated by the ukraine crisis. the crisis is not entirely to blame or even mainly to blame for the current challenges in the u.s.-russian nuclear relationship, but it has sharpened them. for now the countries continue to implement the new start treaty that the countries concluded four years ago. it is no surprise to hear me say we have hit a large roadblock in our efforts to find the path to further nuclear arms reductions. some even fear that advances in arms control we have obtained could be rolled back, including with regard to the imf treaty that the u.s. government declared russia in violation earlier this year. our speakers and authors of the working paper were tasked
recently with finding a solution to the many problems at the core of the strategic relationship of the united states and russia. i'm happy to say they have found a solution. it is one of many. it is worth debating. it may -- have its detractors, but i say that as a promising one and a realistic one. in the climate debate the fact he can have u.s. and russian scholars continue to work together to devise attractive solutions to problems of global interests is something we can appreciate. before i introduce our speakers, i want to first give the floor to my colleague, timothy co lton. he is the cochair of the working group on the future of u.s. -russian relationships, and he can share with you more about this endeavor. tim? >> thanks. briefly some of you have been to other presentations of papers, although i don't see as many bases as last time. i will give a compressed version.
our project has been around for several years. we got started in the reset. -- the reset period. i do not think we were primarily stimulated by that, but it did not hurt. and our objective was really pretty simple. it was to bring together a modest resized group of roughly a dozen on both sides of specialists from the two countries, equal in measure, funded by sources on either side of the border, so to say. in our case, the support at least in the last year or two has come almost entirely from the carnegie corporation of new york, for we are rate full. the organizational in for this. on the russian side, our main
partner now is a school of economics, which is one of russia's leading research universities. in terms of putting this together, i guess what we asked our two was moving beyond morning half and analysis or headline-driven analysis, moving beyond also a beat recrimination about -- also maybe about recrimination and the pass, to quit thinking about the future. we did not know what the near-term future held, of course. it has not exactly fulfilled our hopes. we have not given up hope. the group is from equal proportions, and we wanted to have younger scholars, experts, both in russia and in this country. the russian cochairman is sergei kargonov, but most participation is from younger
cohorts. we wanted to do something to bridge what is a certain gap, sometimes i think, and perspectives between university -based academics like me, for example, and ink tank types, especially on the american side. there is also some relevance on the russian side. in terms of problems we have chosen to address, we do this a couple of times a year. we have an extended meeting in moscow or in washington or in cambridge, massachusetts, and we address the single large thing which we select through consensus. and it was put in a very interesting way. what we should be trying to do early on was to untie some of the not in this relationship at. fixing the u.s.-relationship is not a new challenge. but we have been trying to do
this for decades in the late soviet period and now post 1991, and there are certain recurrent problems that never seemed to go away or come back to haunt us in more intensive forms. the current ukraine crisis is a good example of that. in addition to our discussions we produce working papers, and that is why we're here today. that is an unusual characteristic of the project. at our last meeting here, somebody said, i think it was -- from brookings, that we are all familiar, most of us are familiar, at least, with cross-national groups that discuss things, but sitting down and writing something together when you're countries are not allied politically is quite a challenging thing in a rather rare thing endeavor -- rare endeavor.