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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 4, 2016 12:30pm-2:31pm EST

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any other topics you want to talk about as far as congress? i watch you all day long. thank you for c-span. host: let's go to gabriel next. caller: yes, good morning. i am an independent. i was a republican for many years. are calling on the republican line, was that a mistake? yes, you can jump on the phone lines and try to get in. host: while we have you, you say you are a former republican, when did that change? probably, i would say about nine years ago. i joined the military. [indiscernible]
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caller: i was isolated in a world that only focus on one thing. i was interested in going forth and seeing other perspectives. militaryinto the really change that. i started to look a lot about what america was doing. the connection is not the best, we will hang with you as long as you can. do you have a question? caller: i do. i am a medical student focused on the health care sentiment here. i don't get upset anymore when i hear about what the right is , i amor the left is doing
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working on understanding the political process. but right now we pay three times what the u.k. pays for their health care and we get some of the worst results. -- it goes into our food products. earlier at the start of the program, the individual who came on and said that there should be no tax on prescription drugs because these things help people, i am appalled by that. i just want to ask the panelists you have their today, i am in north carolina. we are part of the states that opted out of obamacare. what i want to find out, is there a difference in premiums,
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the rise in premiums between states that embraced obamacare, like kentucky, or in north carolina? is there a difference that we see? host: thank you for calling. can you respond? erica werner: one thing i do know in response to the caller is that these states that expanded medicaid under obamacare, there are a lot more people covered versus those that didn't. many of the people that were targeted or intended beneficiaries of the health-care law still remain uncovered. there are obviously political the states why expanded medicaid and set up their own exchanges.
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but as jeff mason was talking about earlier, we have a huge federal program. politics, thathe is never going to happen. there is a polarized argument where the republicans are pushing the appeal. the white house will veto it. there is no ground in the middle. jeff mason: i don't have anything to add, i don't have the context of what the caller is asking for. but there is evidence that shows a lot of people are signing up obamacare, both in the states and on the federal system. big measureat is a to say that this program is something that is needed and is providing a valuable service, and not a political standpoint. host: we talked about a repeal, but is the word replace still out there? what is the republican replacement for obamacare?
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that is something that the gop has been promising for years, to replace obamacare but without the us far coming up with a unified program that republicans have agreed on. not easy to dois and once you start attempting to do that, you end up having to argue details that in some cases are very favorable to republicans because they cost a lot of money. however that is something that paul ryan has promised to do. to finally come up with a gop obamacare replacement this year. we will see whether he can make good on that. , an: michael from new york independent caller. caller: good morning. is, the president is coming back from hawaii and the first thing he is going to do is
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make some sort of executive action on gun control. i'm wondering why i am never talk aboutresident the number one form of criminal homicide. i would like to ask the panelists if they know what the number one form of criminal homicide is. jeff mason: he is asking a question but i don't know the answer. caller: the number one form of criminal homicide in the is dwi. host: what does that mean to you? caller: that means they are looking at a problem that is less of a problem than the first problem. very quicklyfixed that if you get a dwi huge do not get another driver's license.
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it is is your -- it is more 2000 poundo have an vehicle then gun violence. jeff mason: this is a policy that i'm sure there are people on both sides of the political aisle -- i can't comment on whether there are initiatives underway but there are different laws on that and it is obviously a difficult issue. , this isca werner about the budget. deficity get the budget under control? a big question. as to the latter part of the question, probably not entirely. however, the new speaker has that the budgeting process will follow regular
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order this year and he is going to be under a lot of pressure to deliver on that. order" meansular different things to different people. it can be in the eye of the beholder. host: from louisiana, good morning emily. caller: good morning. good morning. and jeff mason. is that you, paul? pay. -- hey. sorry about that. i have been enjoying this program this morning. i usually call once in a blue moon. i am in south louisiana. i decided i was going to call because it is a panel of
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somebody from reuters and somebody from the associated press. you, want to say thank thank you, because i can trust trust ap and- i reuters. i know i'm getting a fair deal. and ilmost 60 years old am sorry i am nervous. and thent to thank paul producers who got these beautiful people on. year. you a blessed host: do you have any questions about the policies or anything you want to ask? caller: 100,000 but that isn't
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what i planned on doing today. this has put joy in my heart today. host: thank you for calling from louisiana. we will let that stand. , hes take a call from john is on the republican line. caller: good morning, how are you. said thewho called and white people are angry, that the black people are angry too. i think a lot of people are angry. and i think it is this administration. a lot of presidential administrations in the past, what had this much gun violence? i would like to know that. -- not control issue want to restrict the second amendment. i think people should look at
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the issues in work on as to what people are protecting against. that is all i have to say. i would like to hear your comments. host: you put several topics out there, would you like to respond? jeff mason: the question of gun violence. history shows that gun violence has been a problem under many residents. -- under many different presidents. that back to columbine high school, many other shootings we have seen in this country and in our history, it isn't happening just under certain presidents. say something about one of the previous callers about white people being angry. and he said black people, i think that is an unfair statement to make. i think it is true that a lot of people are upset because of their race but
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it isn't one race that is burning our cities. erica werner: i second just comments. s comments. host: can you remind us of where we are with the trade deal and what is going to happen? erica werner: the obama administration will submit it to congress probably at some point this year but as to whether it will actually come to a full vote, it is not certain. the senate leader, mitch mcconnell, has made it clear that he thinks prospects are not good. and i think because of the timing, it is likely to be later in the year when it could come. at which point, it would be near theresidential election -- presidential election and hillary clinton opposes this. jeff mason: you made a good
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point mentioning mitch mcconnell. yeareal was agreed last with the united states and other pacific nations and it was a big victory for the obama administration. then the fact that mitch mcconnell said he wasn't in a big hurry to take it on is something that the white house will be pressing on. i think the further they get it pushed back into the year, closer to the election, the harder it will be politically for it to happen. but it is something the president really wants. a piece of his legacy in his final year, so i think you will see a push for it. erica werner: i should make the point that paul ryan, the speaker of the house, is a big free-trade proponents. and while he has held back from saying where he is on the deal, he wants to read it, but he has parted ways on it with mitch
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mcconnell. so that may be a way the white house has an opening on it. alfred ins hear from phenix city, alabama. caller: i was listening to you earlier. you were talking about the gun control and executive powers and those things. the problem with the attack on the second amendment is that not all of the gun violence has been done by people who are mentally sane. if you look at most of these things that happen, it is mostly people who are mentally deranged or sick. and i don't hear any politician take on the mental ole miss factor. illness -- the mental factor.
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we have closed two mental hospitals in alabama. they should take on mental illness and do something about that. host: let's hear from jeff mason. jeff mason: the caller raises a good point. some of the major shootings that we have seen, the one in newtown comes to mind, with the connection to mental illness. the caller int saying that it is something that the white house is aware of. and they are trying to take action. becausetricky issue there is a desire by policymakers to address the issue of mental illness but also not create an incentive for they are get help when ill. in terms of a way that would reduce their ability to get
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access to guns. it is a tricky issue. i can assure the caller that it is on the radar in washington. erica werner: and in fact, it has been the top republican response in washington in response to the latest shootings, the need to address that. congressman murphy from pennsylvania, he says the house leadership rallied around his proposal and we may see that move this year, but how far it gets, it is maybe not likely to pass the senate. probably unlikely. but it is an area that the republicans are talking about that. the democrats are talking about that. host: chris murphy has been on this program over the past number of years.
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-- i'm sure it is going to come up. san diego, it is early for anthony, a republican. are you there? caller: yes. host: go ahead. turn the mute volume on your set. we will hear you much better. anthony, in san diego. do you have the sound down? caller: it is on you. hello? i see him talking to somebody else. this woman is talking. host: try again from the beginning. turn the sound down on your set fully before you make the call and maybe it will work better next time. let's hear from joseph from
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florida. democratic caller. caller: good morning. i am a retired educator. i am now working in florida as an adjunct professor part-time. i have had a lot of contact with young people and i have come to the realization that they, as many americans, are frustrated and somewhat indifferent to our political process. i would like to address two issues regarding matt. the philip -- regarding that. the filibuster. it is a kind of invention of the senate based on their right to make their own rules. i believe that they should not be able to make a rule that goes contrary to the constitution. the founding fathers never
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intended the senate to be a super majority vote senate body. that is obvious because they five things state that should be a super majority. namely, declaration of war, impeachment and two others i cannot remember right now. filibuster is clogging up everything in the senate. everybody knows that. the president made this speech previously on your program about gun control. why couldn't they get anything done? matt miller wrote a piece in the washington post about 3.5 years ago which is probably still available. the title of it is "it's the filibuster, stupid." a great history of the ,ilibuster and also tom harkin great man in my eyes.
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spend most of his career trying to make dangers to the filibuster and he was very frustrated. those ideas are still out there. i think the senate has to wake up. america is frustrated and part of their anger is nothing is getting done in government. host: let's let erica werner take this. the caller has a lot of people who agree with him including some senators. there have been some changes to senate rules over the years. senators,ost including leadership in both parties, do not want to change the filibuster. i think it is unlikely to be changed and those who oppose wholesale changes would say it protects the rights of the minority, whoever happens to be
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in the minority. and that has changed over the years and will change again and for that reason even those in the majority at the moment do not want to see the filibuster done away with. host: lonnie is in maryland. good morning. caller: good morning. i am a data guy. i love numbers and measures of things. dwi was there is less than 10,000 people killed a year in the united states. around 9800 people killed a year from dwis. believe it or not suicide in the united states are the largest murders or whatever you want to call it. 41,100 as a matter of fact. let's go to the middle east.
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there are 24 million kurds. they are spread around mostly in northern iraq. some in turkey. some in northern iran. -- i cannot revert the other country. this gets to joe biden's suggestion that the country be split into three pieces. in any case, let's pick a winner , let's support the kurds like crazy, get our soldiers out. please just give up on afghanistan. during theuntry crusades no one -- and since the crusades and the empires come of the british empire and all of the other empires, they never
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took afghanistan. who wants the rocks? ,et out of afghanistan strengthen the kurds, bring them back together. a strong country that is generally reasonable. that is probably enough. host: you left a lot on the table. 's strategy this final year, where is it headed? jeff: it is interconnected with the fight against isil, islamic state, depending on which name you want to use. it is a major topic for the white house. no white house will continue to wrestle with u.s. policy on that. overall the president wants to stick with his campaign promise
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of not putting boots on the ground or more soldiers or troops into the middle east. iraq, or afghanistan. it is unlikely that there will be a shift of that. erica: that has been heavily criticized on the hill by republicans and will continue to be who want to see more engagement including in some cases some republicans want to see boots on the ground and think that is necessary. the white house looks unlikely to change course. i don't see that being a major focus on the hill despite criticism from republicans. host: an extension of that is the refugee issue. the hill has the headline this morning, six bytes to erupt in congress. one of them is the refugee issue. and you remind us of where congress has been on this refugee issue?
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erica: shortly after the terror attacks in paris where the suggestion came out, never totally proven, that at least one of the attackers had some movementhe refugee from syria. the house took action, passing the bill that clamped down on the ability of syria and refugees to enter the u.s. which they do in small numbers anyway. was opposed very strongly by the white house and the president. butsenate did not ask senator mcconnell has promised that the senate will act this year. the senate will do, whether they take up the house bill, not yet known. topic fors a tricky the white house. the president wants to give
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support to allies like angela who has let inny hundreds of thousands of refugees from syria meanwhile the state is taking in maybe 10,000 so there is a big disparity but obviously it is a difficult political question because of questions of terrorism, of screening. the white house is walking that line carefully trying to issue support to its allies to show that the united states is open. it is worth mentioning as well fighting back against rhetoric ufc on the campaign trail from toald trump about wanting prevent muslims from entering the country, that is clearly something the white house takes objection to on the political and moral ground. host: charles, ann arbor michigan. good morning. caller: good morning.
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--ould like to address host: i think we lost charles. caller: can you still hear me? host: i think we lost you for a second. caller: i would like to make three points that we r we take you live to the white house briefing room for the daily briefing. >> good afternoon everybody, welcome back. i'm glad the new year has you in good spirits. you can join in on the ribbing of some of my colleagues. i don't see too many hands in the audience today, i suspect -- is many of you got
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suspect because many of you got time off to spend with your family. i enjoyed that opportunity. i'm sure many of you did as well. this will be an exciting year for a variety of reasons. we are starting off fast. we have a lot of work to get through so let's start with questions. >> let's start with one of the things the president is doing. the president is speaking with loretta lynch on gun control. is it your expectation he will announce what he is planning to do or is that later this week? >> i understand that the president will have an announcement soon where he will discuss some steps that his administration has concluded and he has included. are within his executive authority that would keep guns out of the hands of those that shouldn't have them. there are steps you can take using his authority that do not undermine the rights of
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law-abiding americans. but we have to do something in this country to aggress -- address the consequences of congresses value to act. there are more than 30,000 americans that die every year as a result of the gun. we are not going to feel the pass a law or executive action that would prevent every incident, but if there is something we can do to prevent one, i wouldn't wait -- why wouldn't we? as he prepares to announce. >> a lot of executive action has been done on other things. you are already seeing republicans talking about things turning out unconstitutional, is the white house prepared for these legal fights and the expect whatever he announces might be something that will be
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incremented right away or will be tied up in courts? speaker ernest: the part of the work that has gone on behind the a look at what the president can do using his executive authority, has been grounded in the knowledge that and republicans in congress who do their bidding are going to look for ways to stop it. trynow they are likely to and pursue a creative legal theory to prevent the implementation of these rules. that's why the president once to be sure the recommendations he has received and the executive actions he has carried out are going to stand up in a court of law. a lot of work that has gone on has been to ensure that we would have confidence in the legal
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basis of these actions. i feel confident in telling you that what the president does announce will be the kinds of actions in which we have in the legal ability of the united states to carry out these actions. itsaudi arabia and some of allies have either cut off or downgraded diplomatic relations with iran. how concerning is this to the white house, not just the the iranianslving but also diplomatic efforts in syria and the situation in yemen? speaker ernest: we do continue to be concerned about the need for both the iranians and the saudis. two de-escalate the situation in the middle east. we are urging all sides to show restraint and to not further inflame tensions that are on
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display in the region. secretary kerry has been in touch with his iranian counterpart. u.s. diplomatic officials in saudi arabia have been in touch with their counterpart to convey this message. i would anticipate that secretary kerry will be in touch with his counterpart in saudi arabia sometime soon to deliver that same message. a lot of volatility and instability in the middle east has a tendency to break down along sectarian lines. it is not a coincidence. we believe there's more to be done on all sides to try to bridge those divides in a way that advances the interests of countries all across the region. i think the example in syria is the most vivid. succeeded states has in leading the effort to bring all sides together to try and
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bring about a political resolution inside of syria. >> do you worry what is happening between the saudi's and iranians that this could influence the effort and cause it to break down? speaker ernest: we hope that it won't. one reason we are hopeful it won't is because it is in the toerest of both countries advance a political solution to the situation inside syria. reason that iran and saudi arabia participated in those conversations that are led by secretary kerry are not out of charity. they do it because they have their unvested interest in trying -- their own vested to and the chaos in syria. they are looking for ways to construct ways to help that process. there was a lot of diplomatic work to bring that to the table the first time and there will always be reasons for them to be suspicious and be reluctant to engage with countries they
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consider to be their adversaries. but the pursuit of this ultimate goal is so clearly within their own direct interest that we are hopeful they will continue to engage but it will be up to them. about efforts secretary kerry has made, has the president made any calls to his counterparts? speaker ernest: as of this moment the president has not made calls to leadership of either of those countries. the president is aware of the situation and the message that secretary kerry and other u.s. diplomats have been delivering is consistent with the president's perspective on the situation. give the white house a heads up before cutting them off? speaker ernest: i am not going to get into all the diplomatic relations of the united states and saudi officials.
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i can tell you the united states regularly has raised concerns about the human rights situation inside of saudi arabia. has done that in his conversations with king salamon. more recently there has been direct concerns raised by u.s. officials to saudi officials potential damaging consequences of following on mass executions of political opposition figures and also religious leader. raised andoncern we
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unfortunately, the concerns that we expressed to the saudi's have precipitated the kinds of consequences we were concerned about. pullbackes the u.s. from imposing sanctions on iran's nuclear program? many have addressed frustration about that. speaker ernest: i think there are a couple things. the first thing is we've been talking publicly for some time. the potential the united states could levy sanctions against iran in light of the missile tests they conducted last year. this is an option that has been on the table for some time and it's one that has been considered by the experts at the treasury department who are responsible for imposing those kinds of financial penalties. we know those kinds of financial , andties have an impact
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they are helpful in countering iran's missile program. but ultimately, we will impose those financial penalties and will impose sanctions at a time and place of our choosing. when our experts believe they would have the maximum impact. those are not subject to negotiation by the iranians or anyone else. those decisions are made based solely on conclusions by our financial experts about ensuring those penalties have a maximum impact. >> is saudi arabia expressing irritation about the sanctions not being levied? speaker ernest: you would have to ask him about that. the decision the united states makes about imposing sanctions against the iranians for their ongoing ballistic missile program are made based on our judgment about when those penalties would have the maximum impact. julie. >> what does the president inc.
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about the situation unfolding in oregon on this reserve? it has been going on for a few days. he thinks theer federal government needs to take action. they seem to be occupying these buildings and not moving. speaker ernest: the president is aware of the situation, i would be surprised if it came up in the context of the conversation the president is planning to have later today with the attorney general. indicated they are working with local law enforcement officials to resolve the situation and we are hopeful that situation can be resolved peacefully and without violence. do these people have a right to be on this land at this point? speaker ernest: i'm not sure the president has spent a lot of time considering the case of the individuals carrying out this.
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local law this is a enforcement matter and the fbi is monitoring the situation and offering support to local law enforcement officials. federalis the government's role given if is federal land? there occupying federal land. speaker ernest: the concern we have is for the safety of federal personnel that work in those facilities. noour knowledge there are federal employees that are at risk or in danger right now. we are aware of the situation and concerned about it ultimately right now, this is a matter that local law enforcement is handling and they are doing so with the support of the fbi. has the administration provided any guidance to the employees of that facility, that should nothey enter or go to their place of work? speaker ernest: i am not aware,
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you might want to check with the department of the interior. up to theo follow court challenges to the executive actions about guns. issaid the president confident the requisitions will stand up in a court of law, but you are a short timer of the administration. it's not a measure of whether you might eventually prevail, it orders the immigration where they can be tied up where the clock runs out. how confident are you that the court will be finished in time for these to go into effect? speaker ernest: i am not going to be in the business of predicting court outcomes. what i can tell you is that the president will only put forward recommendations or only put forward executive actions in which he has confidence in their constitutionality.
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one of the reasons that this particular effort to scrub the law as the president described consider whatever executive order he has to keep , hasout of the wrong hands been rooted in his desire to make sure it stands up in a court of law. we want to make sure the arguments we can make our with not we can make just confidence in their ability to address the issue but also confident in their legal standing. they can't stop the actions merely by tying them up in court. speaker ernest: i certainly would not be surprised if they tried. the kind of arguments we will be able to mobilize in accord of confident willm be powerful and persuasive. a judge will have to decide. distractedld not be
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from the fact that the reason the president is taking these actions is because congress has utterly failed in their responsibility to do so. congress, time and again, has had multiple opportunities to take action that would make it harder for the wrong hands to get a hold of guns. there are steps that congress can take that would not undermine the basic constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. but congress has refused and failed to take those actions. the president will use his executive authority to follow through and take what steps he can. i can tell you that after the president takes those steps, congress will have a responsibility to act in their on right as well. this will not eliminate the response ability that congress has to take steps only they can take, to keep guns out of the
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wrong hands. the president will make this announcement soon and there will be important steps he will take but that will not be the end of this debate. there will be a responsibility congress has to take action. >> you said at the beginning there are some steps the president has concluded our within his executive power. has he made up his mind? is he directing the ag to carry them out? speaker ernest: you will hear from the president when he speaks to the attorney general. i will let him speak in that case. i can tell you there are a number of recommendations the president has considered. , would anticipate that we will very soon, have announcements about what actions the president has chosen to take. is in hisbelieve it executive power to expand the
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number of people -- speaker ernest: there are a range of things that have been considered and we will have announcements relatively soon. rather than speculate on what the president is likely to decide, let's let the president make a decision and announce and we can discuss the pros and cons of what has been decided. >> is this going to be before or after the meeting with the ag? speaker ernest: after, so he will have an opportunity to tell you. fail in the normal course of events or are you going to say it is supposed to work and also the way the system is supposed to work is that kind of congressional action would be informed by public opinion. we have a record of these attempts on a bipartisan basis failing and the public opinion is showing a majority of americans oppose stricter gun laws. are all of those people wrong? speaker ernest: michelle, i
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think the polls indicate there is strong support for common sense steps that congress could take. closing what is often referred to as the gun show loophole. essentially ensuring that everybody that tries to purchase a firearm at a gun show or gun store on the internet undergoes a background check. a critically pull, 84% of voters with households with guns support background checks at gun shows or online. been conducting polls of republicans a lot lately, not sure why that is. he said jokingly. recent polls indicate three out of four iowa republicans support barring people or requiring criminal background checks for all gun purchases. a similar number applies to are republicans, 81% their support background checks on all gun purchases.
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that is at something partisan endeavor. this is also not something being advanced i people who are strong advocates of gun control. gun owners and republicans overwhelmingly support, at least this common sense step, closing the gun show loophole. statisticsimilar that apply to congressional action that would prevent those individuals on the no-fly list from being able to buy a gun. that is a pretty common sense step if the government has determined it's too dangerous for you to board a near point that you shouldn't just a firearm -- purchase a firearm. three out of four republicans surveyed recently came to the same conclusion and agree. i know there is at least one republican candidate for president who has articulated support for that. specificn look at very aspect of this.
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broadly thatsee it a majority of americans now and fewer than a couple of years ago support stricter gun control laws, even after the mass shootings and compassionate statement by the president, to what does the administration attribute the numbers that the majority of americans support it? theker ernest: what president is focused on in the context of this exercise is very directly on what steps this administration can take. to keep guns out of the wrong hands. we are not under the illusion that will prevent every incident of gun violence. but it is possible we could prevent one or two incidents and we are going to eagerly implement those executive actions. any evidence that the president's prior executive actions have kept guns out of the wrong hands?
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is there any evidence that what he does now will do that? criticism inof the the past -- it's possible the reason so many americans oppose stricter laws, maybe they feel those actions would not have any affect. so why do you think whatever the action will be would be different? speaker ernest: let me take that question in a couple different ways. shooting atagic newtown in connecticut at the end of 2012 and in early 2013, the president announced 23 executive actions was taking to try to keep guns out of the wrong hands. some of those steps related to ensuring that federal agencies were providing the necessary records to the system that provides background checks. the result was a 46% increase in
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the amount of federal records that were provided to the background check service. one of the executive actions also had to do with providing an incentive to states and greater clarity to states to make sure they were providing records and that has resulted in a 69% increase in the number of records provided to the background check service. what is the is point of providing the information to the background check services if there are loopholes? that is why the president supports closing loopholes. that is why the majority of americans including republicans support closing loopholes. even with those existing, our background check system over the back decade or so has prevented about 2 million gun transactions. that wereillion guns blocked from going into the hands of people that shouldn't have them.
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more to that we can do ensure that more transactions are subjected to those background checks is a common sense step and we can do that in a common sense way because we know that a law-abiding american who doesn't have mental problems and is not the subject of a restraining order can go through the background checks in a timely fashion and purchase a gun. that is part of the common sense steps we believe should guide these decisions. alexis. last year the president was hethright in his belief that wanted to make this a political issue. aboute of those talking this leading up to it, can you describe what his goals are in the body of politics with his
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concentration on this issue using what you've described, but also beyond that? host: i thuiink he is using every part of his authority to keep guns out of the hands of those that shouldn't have them. that is what's driving the announcement that i think he can expect some time soon. that, i would anticipate the president wants to continue to engage in a aboutue and debate initial steps congress can take that would make our communities safer. not operatet does under the illusion there's a law that can be passed that would present -- prevent every incident of gun violence. but there are laws that can be passed that would reduce the likelihood that guns would fall into the hands of people that shouldn't have them. we can pass those laws and implement them and enforce them in a way that does not undermine
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the constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. i think the president's desire to have this discussion and a piece of evidence. the president should participate at town hall meeting that will be broadcast in prime time on a notable cable-television network . i think that is an indication of the president's desire to not just focus on what he can do himself using his executive authority to keep guns out of the wrong hands, but what he can do to lead an ongoing debate in this country about steps that can be taken and should be taken to reduce gun violence in communities across the country. >> you mentioned mental health and speaker ryan spoke about that. does the president believe a good element of cooperation that can come out of
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talking to house republicans including speaker ryan about what can be done on the issue of mental health? speaker ernest: i will say there's a lot of skepticism thatd in republican claims they care about improving mental health care in this country. when they are prepared this week to actually take their 60th vote to repeal the very law that has done more to it -- expand access to mental health care than any other law in a decade. their claims, that they are interested in investing in mental health care as anything other than attempt to excuse their own in action to do something serious like standing up to the nra and passing a common sense measure that would reduce gun violence. >> the initiative with pakistan. within a week there was
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something happening in india coming from across the border. should we continue the peace initiative? speaker ernest: obviously the leaders of both countries will have to decide for themselves what they believe is in the interest of their citizens. the united states believes warmer relations and more cooperation between the government of india and the government of pakistan would be those interest of countries but the leaders will have to decide for themselves. >> when the pakistani prime issue,r mentioned the pakistanis promised -- do you see any action being taken? speaker ernest: obviously the united states and pakistan have thaturity relationship advances the interests of both countries.
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hundreds if not thousands of pakistani citizens have been the victims of terrorist groups and terrorist actions inside pakistan over the last several years. obviously the government of pakistan has her own interest in -- has their own interest in fighting extremist organizations operating inside the country. the united states has offered our support to the pakistani government. we want to help them particularly in light of that terrorist incident where we saw an extreme is organization carry out an attack against a school inside pakistan over a year ago i believe. that was a vivid illustration for people who don't closely follow this issue. citizens and pakistan and the pakistani government have their unvested interest in trying to deal with terrorist organizations that are attempting to operate inside the country and the united states strongly supports the pakistani government as they do this.
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i'm not aware of any upcoming meetings between the president and the leaders of india and pakistan but if anything like that materializes we will let you know. happy new year to you too. cover twod to subjects. guns and the middle east. we will start with guns. aboutoke in this briefing the confidence the president has in the lawfulness of the measures he is soon to implement. arise? that confidence pretty task people at the office of legal counsel and the department of justice to provide legal memos? speaker ernest: we will have an opportunity to get into more of this work after the president has made no announcement. there have been attorneys both at the white house and at the department of justice that have been carefully
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looking at the law to determine what authority the president has to take action. they are focused as i mentioned earlier, not just on what would be effective in addressing the problem which is keeping guns out of the wrong hands. but also making sure the steps the president is taking are within legal authority. thisttorneys working on were carefully considering both elements. that's what gives me the confidence to assert that what the president announces will be something for which he has full confidence in the legal arguments we can make your -- for it. that thefair to say attorney general has complied question mark speaker ernest: the president did ask the department of justice including the attorney general to play a leading role in what authority was available to him to keep guns out of the hands of those that should not have them.
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does that call into question the independence of the attorney general if the president can call her up like a restaurant and order what he wants? unfortunately, the system for doing that was not quite as easy as ordering from column a or column b. experts at the department of justice had to carefully consider what the law would allow. they bring expertise of two varieties. the first is law enforcement which is understanding what steps can be taken to more effectively enforce the laws on the books and close loopholes that may make those laws less effective than was intended. but they also bring in expertise in understanding what the president can do using his executive authority. and understanding what congress can do after using both of those
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areas of expertise, the president was able to get recommendations from the department of justice. >> previously we talked about the gun laws, the republicans supposedly being in the grips of the gun lobby and their need for republicans and lawmakers to stand up to the nra. i wonder if you don't consider that precisely divisive language that one political party is in the grip of a lobby. is the president not in the grip of any lobbies? youker ernest: i will let make that observation or reach that conclusion. i think the president is, in this case, making a principled stand on an issue in which he is quite passionate. there are certainly groups that --e been formed because of or groups that have been formed the duke share the presidents --
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do share the presidents view and there are groups that do not and oppose the steps he is taking. ishink what we have seen , despite theho preponderance of evidence that i was citing earlier of oppose common sense gun measures that are strongly supported both by gun owners and even members of their own party. are the reallems world consequences of them failing to act. >> to finish on guns, i was going to ask about the evidence you recited earlier. you cited polling statistics as evidence that some punitive majority of the country feels about the subject the way the president does. since you are content with reciting polling statistics, i wonder if you would then, here and now, can see the legitimacy wide body ofof the
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polling available online for us a majoritythat shows of americans disapproving of the president's's, or a majority of americans feeling he is not up to the job of dealing with isis. do you regard those other kinds of paul's not favorable to the president with equal legitimacy? hadker ernest: michelle asked a specific question about pulling she had seen about broad to gun control measures. presidentse steps the is advocating. i was only deploying analysis to all of you. to have agoing discussion about polls, we can do that. pulls related to isil, we can do that. some of the positions taken by the president's critics also
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will not be strongly supported by the public in pulls -- poles. -- polls. >> in your comment in this briefing, i detected a neutrality, calling for both countries to de-escalate. is the united states neutral in this dispute? speaker ernest: that is not how i would describe it. the united states has concerns with the way both countries have carried out their activities in the last several days. about theked earlier confrontation we had with the saudi's about the human rights situation to we have raised
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concerns in the past about mass executions, a judicial process that is not transparent or includes any obvious process. -- due process. those are concerns we continue to have. it applies in this case when saudi arabia announced executions of individuals including a prominent religious minority figure. on the other hand, we are concerned about the failure of to fulfill their responsibility to protect the saudi diplomatic facilities inside of iran. obviously, iran's failure to protect diplomatic facilities is a problem between the two countries. i speak with a special sense of urgency about this. we have been concerned about their failure to do that. the point is there is plenty of blame to go around.
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what we would like to see our -- are all sides begin to kind of take the steps to begin de-escalation and not flame the tensions that are pretty wrought right now. you have these two countries, saudi arabia and iran to it only one can survey the situation and say truthfully, we are an ally to the united states and have a diplomatic relationship to the united states and we have a coalition partner. we have prominent commercial ties to the united states in commercial standing. the other party is a central and engagedrrorism in repeated missiles. why should the saudi's be satisfied to hear the united states speaking with sudden neutrality about the blame going around.
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speaker ernest: there is no denying the united states has a stronger and more effective relationship with saudi arabia than iran. also no denying that saudi arabia's human rights record has been the source of significant concern on the part of the obama administration and previous administrations as well. the two saudi arabia and leaders that he had dealt with in his tenure in -- as president, there are also concerns related to saudi arabia through a variety of channels. testamentsay it is a to the strength of that relationship that we could be quite public and blunt about the concerns we have with their behavior. that our concerns about saudi arabia's actions in both toard are related
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concerns we have about the impact the actions have on saudi arabia's national security, but we also have concerns about the effect this has on this generation. i think it is an entirely legitimate question. we have a difficult situation we are trying to navigate on the situation inside of syria. it is difficult to get everyone around the table and will be have theicult if you saudi's and iranians trading public barbs and public of antagonism between the two countries. the situation to deescalate and for all sides to take the steps that will reduce tensions in the region. chris. polls,going back to your there was another one out recently that showed more people
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thought allowing people to carry a betterlly was response to terrorism and stricter gun control laws. anecdotally, people at gunshots have been saying the threat to terror brought a lot of people into purchase guns. i wonder if san bernardino, unlike some of the other past thetings, have changed equation and is the president doing what he is doing with less support as a result? consider this: after the president has announced a decision about steps he will take, based on the access to public data we have seen so far, there is plenty of reason to be confident the kinds of common sense steps the president will take using his executive authority are the kinds of steps that will beat rightly supported not just by american citizens across the a matter of, as policy, are the kinds of steps
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republicans and gun owners would ordinarily support. will that show up in a public poll if president obama's name is attached to it? we will see. probably not. the president is focused on results and taking common sense steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands. >> how is it determined these things would be supported generally by the public? was it polls in part? no, what i'mt: saying is the president has prioritized taking common sense steps using his executive authority that would keep guns out of the wrong hands. traditionally, and recently according to polls, these are byps strongly supported americans in both parties and even americans who live in households where that includes gun owners. i do not want to leave you with the press it -- the impression
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that what the president has said his poll tested. i want to give you the impression that what is announced is entirely consistent with the a -- with the common sense steps of the american people. this without undermining constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. the other thing i think merits some discussion here is the fact we have actually seen republicans in the not-too-distant past articulate their support for some of these commonsense measures. president george w. bush in the context of his residential and reelection, expressed support for background checks, when he was running for reelection in october of 2004. he said, i believe in background checks at gun shows or anywhere to make sure guns do not get in the hands of people who should
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not have them. this is not controversial. this is something the previous republican president, one everyone would agree is a conservative, a proud gun owner himself, and served as the governor of a state with millions of gun owners, it is a position he has taken. that is what infuses my confidence that there is strong public support as policymaker. >> donald trump would unsigned iecutive order so fast, wonder if the president has had any conversations with or if hec candidates gives a head up about what the plans are in terms of obvious political reality that this is already a hot topic. all theernest:
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conversations prior to the president announcing this, the president is meeting with members of congress, democrats previously made gun safety a priority and said it is a priority. those kinds of conversations are occurring. it is probably worth taking a closer look at governor christie's record on these issues to see if he had changed his positions, in an effort to -- i will leave it up to you guys to decide. >> but. speaker ernest: but the president is taking the steps not be that -- not because he believes it is a particularly powerful political argument to die believe it is. he's doing it to save lives. -- argument. i believe it is.
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he is doing it to save lives. we have seen republicans and democrats refuse to take what they seem to -- see to be clinically tough and the consequences have been tragic. we would like to see common sense steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and we would like to see loopholes closed that would do that in a way that does not undermine the basic constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. the president has got ideas for how to do this. his team has been looking at the law to make sure he has the authority to do this and make sure that the steps he is taking -- the president will make the announcement soon and we will have an opportunity to consider the merits of these individual proposals. what was signed after newtown. 25 total related to guns?
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>> i believe that is right but we will check the statistics with you. now.want to understand why president had his group and he went around the country and talked to people about that. there was a whole study three years ago about what he could do. what he would do this week or now. i know there have been more mass shootings. what happened, congress voted ..5 years ago what happened recently that this is coming up now? aeaker ernest: let me say couple of things about that. we are certainly concerned about the mass shootings that have gotten so much attention. there are also shootings that take place every day across the country. cases, shootings that presumably could have been
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prevented or made a lot more difficult. it is not just high profile incidents that dominate news coverage for sometime 72 hours. but look, there is an organization, the former mayor of new york runs it, every town for gun safety. analysis,to their there are seven children or teenagers killed by a gun in the average day. that is an alarming statistic. they can tell you more about the statistic. i assume this includes suicides and accidents. but it is a tragedy. there is no law we will pass to prevent every single one of them.
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laws and asing failure on the part of congress to act has not helped the situation. that is why the president is determined to act. for theaken some time president's team to scrub the wall and take a careful look at what exactly is in the realm of his executive authority and what exact he would have the intended effect. they have been diligent about carefully considering available options. that has taken time. is fors also taken time congress to also consider their options and yet they have done nothing. the only reason the president is being forced to act is because congress has not taken the common sense steps. >> why did this come up three years ago?
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or the recommendations made three years ago? speaker ernest: we will have an opportunity to answer those kinds of questions once announcement has been made. earlier, todayd is a meeting with democratic members of congress. >> they have made gun safety a priority and they will be meeting with the president today at the white house, separate from the meeting with the attorney general. we will have more information about that meeting. cut -- you talk a lot about how these are common sense steps. what you said about republican opposition, i want to understand. are you saying there is no principled reason for anyone to oppose these actions? speaker ernest: if there is, i have not heard it. again, people certainly have an opportunity to make their case. members of congress will have to make their case about how, in
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the face of these alarming statistics, 30,000 gun deaths in america every year, 20,000 children under the age of 18 have been killed by firearms over the last decade or hundreds of law enforcement officers have been shot and killed over the last decade. in the face of those statistics, what has congress done question mark maybe there is a principal case to be made about why they did not do anything and in the face of those hundreds of police officers who have been killed, congress has not made a step be at i have not heard a principal objection. >> speaker ryan said in a statement this was a dangerous level of executive overreach. could you see the argument that, while you may agree with the policy, that the president, this is an expansion of authority that future lighthouses could well use, maybe they do not agree with the executive
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authority being used here or see it as legal? speaker ernest: we will have an opportunity to discuss this in more detail once the president makes an announcement. i continue to be confident standing here that knowing what the president's announcing is well within his executive authority. that speaker ryan statement notes it is a legislative failure that is haunting the president to act. on that measure, we agree. there is also something else on which we agree. of 2013, shortly after the president announced executive action three years then congressman paul ryan, in an interview with the milwaukee journal sentinel, said that gun show loopholes are a very reasonable issue and it is "obvious that it should be addressed." he said, i think we should look into someone who is not legally allowed to buying a gun, going to a gun show and buying one,
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and let's figure that out. i think we need to find out and close these loopholes and do it in a way where we do not infringe on second amendment rights. that if the speaker of the house talking about this. he has been in congress every day for the last three years and it is not clear exactly what he has done to try to advance legislation that would do what he thinks is obvious and very reasonable. certainly in the next couple of days, we will have some tangible things the president has done to take some common sense steps that keep guns out of the wrong hands. when you talk about feeling confident this will stand a legal challenge, is there anything the president wants to do with executive action that he whatdvised was just beyond the separation of powers would allow? speaker ernest: i have tried to be careful not predicting judicial outcomes based on my own personal experience. i would not predict what the
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courts will rule. i do predict and what i am confident of, is that we will have a strong legal case to make about the actions being well within the president's executive authority. and we will have an opportunity to discuss that once the president is prepared to make an announcement. it comes to things the president has chosen not to do, we could have a discussion about that also once we have discussed what the president has chosen to do. thehere have been reports department of homeland security has begun removal operations. raids against central american families who came across the border illegally over the past year and a half. some of the reports suggest families -- a woman saying her family in georgia, agents came in room to roar -- room to room, shaken with fear. i wonder if it could be
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confirmed and how those operations should be handled and whether there are any concerns about striking fear into the communities and those here legally living with folks who've carry that out. for individual operations, i do for you to the department of homeland security. they can discuss with you individual operations carried out. the i can tell you is department of homeland security recentoritized cases of arrivals, individuals who recently crossed the border into the united states without proper documentation. those, based on public statements, including one recently issued by homeland security, the nation -- nature of operations carried out in the last several days.
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this is consistent with the kinds of priorities the president himself has talked about, that our enforcement efforts need to be focused on deporting felons, not families. with a particular focus on individuals who have only recently crossed the border. but, in general, for these individual actions, i would have to defer to the department of homeland security. i am pointing from -- to the statement of the secretary of homeland security that indicated some operations have taken place focused on deporting individuals who recently crossed the border and that is consistent with the kinds of enforcement priorities the president and the secretary of homeland security discussed more than a year ago when the president announced a set of executive actions. >> the president himself talk at all about the way these operations are conducted, the
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tone they are taking and the way they look for the information? in terms ofst: setting policy, the white house and the department of homeland security have had discussions about some of these matters. when it comes to enforcement issues, those are decisions made by law enforcement professionals and that is what the department of homeland security has been engaged in. >> the department for my security that some of these operations were prompted by the number of migrants coming from central america picked up over the past few months again at the issue over a year ago. was there also concern in the white house at other places, discussions from republicans on the campaign trail and elsewhere about securing the southern border but also worries about coming in a legally, is that part of the motivation? speaker ernest: politics did not factor into these.
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it does want mentioning that in fiscal year 2015, the number of apprehensions by the u.s. order control, of those but -- attempting to cross illegally decreased. it was the lowest number on the southern border since 1972. that is an indication our borders are more secure than they have been in's -- in quite some time, thanks to a significant investment this administration has made in border security. there is more we could have done had republicans in congress not blocked and historic investment in border security. it is also an indication that some of the other work we have done focused on central america has yielded some food in stemming the tide of migrants from central america to the united states. there were over 100,000 of these families that came across in 2014 alone.
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not all of these will be returned to their countries. similar number of unaccompanied minors came across last year and again this year. if these efforts will continue throughout the anr, whether there is estimated cost of this operation and whether the administration -- we talked about focusing your , you are also looking for those other felons. there is a due process where people are and thed, they go to individuals who are the targets of some of these efforts are the subject of final orders of removal. individuals exhausted ,ppropriate legal remedies
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including questions about whether or not they could qualify for some humanitarian relief. there is a judicial and legal due process that the administration is committed to following. who are considering, we have a lot of these discussions 18 months ago. for people considering who are in the country and considering travel from kids to through mexico, to enter the united states illegally, we strongly encourage them to not do that. primarily because that is a dangerous journey. have seen individuals engage in human trafficking trying to prey upon those who are most vulnerable, including children. too many children have been victimized and even lost their lives trying to make that journey. certainly, people should take from this the understanding that
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the administration is serious when it comes to enforcing immigration laws and focusing our efforts on felons and recent border crossers. that will be done in the context of due process. beyond urging restraint and urging iran to de-escalate the situation, what specifically do you plan to do to ensure the growing tension does not hamper any efforts to deal with the crisis? that will be the subject of some discussions secretary kerry be having with his iranian counterparts and presumably saudi counterparts relatively soon. tohink the case we will make them when it comes to reaching a political solution to the situation out of syria, or pursuing that diplomatic political process, will be similar to the case we made in the fall where we got them to
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participate in the process in the first place. in the interests of those two countries to try to resolve political chaos in syria, that neither side benefits from the fromng violence, the flow -- the flow of migrants, and the political instability. that does threaten to spread to other parts of the region. that is not either in the saudi or the iranian interests. we will continue to urge them in the broader international effort to try to bring about a resolution to political differences there. to be clear, does the white house condemn these executions? we have raised significant concerns about the human rights environment in saudi arabia.
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carrying out mass executions, i think, is a prime example of a to anment not doing enough dress the legitimate concerns expressed by the international community about human rights situations inside their own country. the state department put out a report detailing concerns the u.s. has with saudi arabia's human rights record. certainly, mass executions would rate highly in that list of concerns and we certainly would condemn any country carrying out mass executions. >> back to the oregon situation briefly, some call the occupation of this federal facility an insurrection against the u.s. government. others have called the people involved terrorists. has the president agreed with
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either of those? i think itest: mark, is difficult to discern exactly what the motive and intent is of the individuals who are taking this action inside of oregon. our hope is that local law enforcement can resolve this situation peacefully and relatively soon in a way consistent with the rule of law. fdi is monitoring the situation and offering support to law enforcement, and they are hopeful it can be resolved without any violence. >> you don't consider the fact that aren't people have taken over federal property a challenge to federal authority? now, basedest: right on what we know about what has this is a law enforcement matter being handled by local law enforcement officials. obviously, the federal
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government, it is federal land, federal property is being occupied. is closely the fbi monitoring the situation. they are offering their assistance to local law enforcement who is dealing with the situation. our chief interest is ultimately the peaceful and prompt resolution of this matter. rebecca? report: and l.a. times details agents entering a home without a warrant and taking a woman under supervision in custody. why are nonviolent migrants and children being targeted? able toernest: i am not speak to any individual law enforcement action scared i incurred you to check with dhs on that particular incident. what i can tell you more broadly is at the enforcement priorities laid out by the administration are concentrating our efforts on
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deporting felons and i families and to prioritize the case of recent border crossers. the individuals who were the werets of these efforts subject to final orders of removal by name or gratian court. their appropriate legal remedies included claims for asylum or humanitarian relief, have been exhausted. that is ultimately what it means to enforce the law. for how that is applied in individual cases, i encourage you to check with the department of homeland security. shiro, i will give you the last one. theo put it in context, president has taken a number of executive actions over the years. violence bee on gun the last major executive action of his presidency or does he anticipate more throughout the
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year? speaker ernest: stay tuned. 2016 will be interesting. i would anticipate that over the and thef the year president's remaining 12 months or so in office, the president will use every element of his authority he can within the confines of the law to make the , advance the interests of the middle-class, and advance the interests of the united states around the world. we made a lot of progress in that regard in 2015. long-terma number of projects that we have been engaged in that came to fruition in 2016. that included everything from negotiating an agreement to prevent iran from rate -- attaining a nuclear weapon, while we were gone for the iran shipped 25,000 pounds of enriched a rainy -- uranium out.
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that means for the first time in a decade, iran does not actually have the material to build a nuclear weapon. that is a remarkable compliment. a was all achieved without single shot being fired. it was achieved through tough-minded and principled diplomacy that brought the international community together to advance the interests of the united states. it is an example of the kind of work the president will be focused on in 2016. we have a lot of work to do to implement that agreement with iran. additional steps iran has to take and they have to be certified by the independent nuclear at -- experts there. that is one example of the long-term projects that have been in the works for quite some time that the president is determined to implement over the course of 2016. go ahead. question, -- sorry to
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break the news to you, it seems the middle east issue we were talking about earlier, iran, etc., manufacturing numbers in china has forced the shanghai market to literally stop trading today and it has affected u.s. and global economies. how closely is this administration monitoring this situation as we speak today? speaker ernest: the treasury department, as experts said, are carefully monitoring around the world. we certainly make note of this kind of volatility we have seen over the last 24 hours. in some ways, it makes it even more of a priority in the mind of the president for this administration and for congress to do additional things we know would strengthen and here in the economy united states, particularly when
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it comes to middle-class families. it is why the president is going to continue to advocate for the a ratification of the transpacific partnership. we know this would be good for american companies and american workers because it will open up markets throughout the for those high quality american goods. we know there is more that can be done when it comes to investing and transportation infrastructure. congress reached an agreement on a five-year highway bill at the end of last year. frankly, that was the bare minimum, if that. there are significantly more investments that can be made to improve infrastructure and create jobs and lay a foundation for long-term economic strength in this country, and we believe those are worth pursuing. hallmarks ofhe what the president will continue to press. and when we see this kind of
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economic volatility around the international community, it is a reminder of how strong the u.s. economy is right now. it is also a reminder that there strengthencan do to the economy and better position the united states in our economy in the long term, particularly when it comes to the interests of middle-class families. that will be up to the fed to decide. thanks, everybody. we will see you tomorrow. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] @[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] questionsf press -- at the briefings. at 4:00 p.m. later eastern with members of the house democratic gun violence prevention task force. the associated press says at the top of the president's list is an effort to expand background checks on gun sales by forcing them to register.
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we may get video from those meetings per we will show those to you later on the c-span networks. coming up a bit later today, former president bill clinton will make his first solo campaign trip on behalf of his wife, hillary clinton, and her 2016 presidential campaign. anwill be speaking to audience in new hampshire this afternoon. we will have live coverage at 5:15 eastern here on c-span. reporter earlier today about the former president's focus in new hampshire. >> bill clinton, from what we have read, has stood on the sidelines, at least behind the scenes so far. he becomes campaigning directly for hillary clinton. how was the decision made to bring him out at this point, to campaign for his wife? >> i think he always planned to come out and campaign for his wife. inly did in two dozen eight and he remained pretty
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popular. the interesting thing is he is going to start off doing this in new hampshire. the only primary state where there is remotely a contest between hillary clinton and bernie sanders. sanders is the front runner in new hampshire. he has been for about three or four months now. at times hillary clinton has closed the gap but strategically she understands that if she still has a double-digit lead in iowa if she is somehow able to win new hampshire the nomination is basically over at that point and winning iowa in new hampshire. she would head into south carolina where she has large leads. the clinton campaign is trying to make a big push. they act like this is where the campaign is at so they are going to bring in bill clinton who is a very popular figure in the state. fortunately for hillary she's able to get bill clinton on the
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phone or talk to him at the house and bring him back. new hampshire has been clinton country over the years. the place where bill clinton became the comeback kid in 1992. the place where hillary clinton 2008she found her voice in when she pulled off a remarkable comeback victory in the 2008 new hampshire primary that led to the protracted primary. lead weie sanders' are asking if it is still clinton country. and: what kinds of events venues will he be campaigning at? is the message coordinated with the campaign? as bill clinton more or less on his own? guest: these are campaign events run by the campaign. i'm not sure anyone can tell bill clinton what to say except for maybe hillary clinton.
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he is obviously one of the best politicians in the generation. republicans concede this in terms of how good he is on the stump. he will be an exit or and nashua today that she will be an exit -- he willonal today be in exeter and nashua today. exeter is a different type of democrat, white-collar based on the seacoast. both of these events are aimed at rallying the grassroots. one major advantage bernie sanders has over hillary clinton in the state is enthusiasm among supporters. they love him, they want to volunteer for him. they feel like they are part of a cause. hillary clinton has all of the establishment. she has the best will oil machine. she lacks that passion. what they are trying to do with bill clinton and with hillary clinton herself who is in the
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state twice in the last week including a bunch of stops in new hampshire yesterday, is to try and reignite passion in supporters in the final weeks before the new hampshire primary. host: a headline that reminds us of an emerging theme in the campaign. washington times, donald trump says clinton's family past is fair game in the campaign. how do you see this playing out? caller: in a huge way if you want to quote donald trump. trump will be 20 miles away from where bill clinton will be in nashua. this pairing off is meant to bring a lot of headlines as they have been going back and forth over the last week or so about how much donald trump wants to make this an issue. this all started with hillary clinton. she started it in an interview with the des moines register saying donald trump has said some sexist things and he tried to flip it back by using
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her husband. for hillarywaiting to respond on the campaign trail on this. i do not expect bill clinton to bring this up although you know reporters want to ask you about this. host: what else should we be looking out for? guest: we have a number of candidates in the state. chris christie is still in the state. john kasich returning back to the state. we have a number of campaign events. the interesting dynamic is that new hampshire may once again go for the maverick candidate. five weeks before the new have your primary and our two front runners are bernie sanders and donald trump. the interesting thing is going to be whether or not that continues. whether new hampshire will continue with the maverick style campaign or if not, will the campaign make this flip as a traditionally does when you get
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closer to election day about electability. republican say, i get donald trump's anger but we need someone who is electable. or will donald trump say to every poll shows i am more likable -- i am more electable in terms of what republican say so you need to pick me. on the democratic side that may be what we hear from hillary clinton. that she is the electable candidate. that may be the theme along with the fact that the base in both parties are very angry right now. host: james pindell is a political reporter for the boston globe. thank >> bill clinton beginning that and we will have that live on c-span. you can also join the
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conversation online. your thoughts are welcome at c-span's facebook page, live coverage is coming up tomorrow with republican presidential candidate rand paul . we will take you there live tomorrow over on c-span two. c-span takes you on the road to the white house. to the candidates, town hall meetings, speeches, rallies, and greet. we are taking your comments on twitter, face book, and by phone. we cover, every camp is on her website, us, we have josh -- we will be discussing the 2016 elections as they pertain to the house and senate races. good morning. thank you for joining us.
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we have heard a lot about the presidential races. it is a big year for congress. tell us why. guest: the battle for the senate is the underplayed story of the new year. -- control of the senate is hanging in the balance and democrats have a good chance to get the seats necessary. at least four seats necessary to win control of the majority if hillary clinton or the democratic presidential nominee wins the presidency. democrats need to net five senate seats. there are a lot of blue state races that republicans are defending. democrats are fairly optimistic about their chances in states like illinois, wisconsin, even pennsylvania. blue states on the map, republican senators defending their seats in a tough political environment. host: currently in the senate republicans have a 54-46
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majority. is this going to be some sort of wave of election? guest: less likely given that we have a presidential election at the top of the ticket. there most likely to see party that wins the presidency will have coattail affects. if hillary clinton wins the general election, it is a good chance the senate candidates in those blue states will have a good night on election night with a lot of these matchups .aking place hillary clinton would have a chance at bringing a democratic senate along with her in 2016. whoever the republicans and up nominating is going to make a difference. if they nominate a strong candidate and the republican nominee wins it is hard to see democrats gaining enough seats to take back the senate. they maintain a couple seats
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because of the makeup of where these races take place but it is hard to see them getting the five seats necessary. host: we want to get the viewers involved. please call in if you want to talk to josh. we are on the democratic line. you can call at (202) 748-8000 on the democratic line. republicans, (202) 748-8001. ts, (202) 748-8002. let's talk about some of these races. you wrote in the national journal that some republicans are vulnerable to losing their seat this year including mark kirk in illinois. tell us about that race. guest: we ranked him as the most vulnerable republican senator up reelection. one big reason is he is
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representing illinois. he by in 2010. a wave of election for republicans. illinois is the state that reel. one big gave president obama around 60% of the vote in 2012 so any senate nominee kirk will have to win a significant share. with voters resistant to splitting their ticket these days it is hard to see how kirk is going to be able to survive that challenge. the democratic nominee is unknown. the likely challenger is tammy duckworth. she is still in a fight for the democratic nomination but she is considered one of the credit party's best fundraisers, stronger recruits. she has do not make any mistakes . when you have the ability to just when democratic votes and when a senate seat that is a good position to be end. host: another vulnerable republican from wisconsin, senator ron johnson. guest: wisconsin senate race is one of the more interesting ones on the calendar. a rematch between ron johnson
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and ross feingold from 2010. russ feingold was expected to lose that race and initially. he was caught by surprise by ron johnson. what happens in washington these days is whoever is serving, if you are the person who is elected to the senate all of a sudden your caring the hot potato. russ feingold is hoping to run as the outsider as he was when he was first elected to the senate in tried to put that label of the insider on ron johnson. early polls in the race are not encouraging for johnson. marquette law school poll is putting johnson behind by almost double digits at this point. not a good place for an incumbent senator to be. he has time to turn that around but feingold is in surprisingly good shape this early on. host: let's bring our callers in. first up we have david from indianapolis. david you're on with josh
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kraushaar. caller: thank you for taking my call. great debate going on. question. right now it seems that during this political cycle that we are seeing a lot of folks who are saying one thing, the facts don't match with what they are saying, and they are able to get away with that. we can use the example of donald trump and the things that he says that do not match up with the facts. we can use the gun control situation. what is being said on one side of the political aisle does not match up with the facts. the facts are that people want reasonable gun control but we continue to have people on one side of the aisle saying we do
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not want that. you cannot take our guns. raising scare tactics to cause people to vote a certain way. my opinion is that this is going to be one of the years when we will have a lot of people out to vote and this is all going to be proven wrong. even some of the commentary you just made about some of senate races. your thoughts on this. guest: i think the caller alludes to the fact that we are in a polarized political time. issues that may have had some bipartisan support in the past, it is hard to get any republicans to take the president's side or vice versa. republican leaders take support of an issue it is hard to get much -- many members on the other side of the aisle to embrace such an issue. the president is making a pitch to implement executive orders on his own without having the say of congress in the matter. he has struggled in the past and
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failed to get legislation passed on gun control. even members of his own party in the past is not supported some of the initiatives. -- we aren to me bill a very polarized time. the president is not working with congress is he is not he get legislation through a republican-controlled congress. host: does the fact that we have a democratic resident's final year, does that pose a challenge to democrats who are running for reelection in the house and senate? guest: the president is clearly pursuing a liberal agenda on gun control, perhaps, bay. he feels like he can be more than activist president in the final couple of years office. it is not necessarily good for hillary clinton or even some of these swing state senate candidates. gun control is a tricky issue in the state like ohio.
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a lotrickland was against of gun control throughout his congressional career and when he ran for governor the first time. he has become more liberal on that issue as the party has become more liberal and as that has been an issue that energizes the liberal base. is that a winning issue for a democrat in a state like ohio where there are a lot of gun owners andere there are a lot on owners and democrats? host: next up we have a tricia -- patricia from washington dc caller: good morning and happy new year to everybody. gopuestions are, with the being so opposed to donald trump as presidential election, are they going to treat him like they are doing president obama? the gentlemantrol was just talking about, why don't you ever look at the
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manufacturers? people don't make guns in their house. as far as the rapidfire, machine guns that you see like on television that most people have access to. i will take comments off the air . guest: republican leaders, party establishment leaders, people to not wanter, donald trump to be the nominee. they are worried that if donald trump emerges with the nomination a lot of these swing state republican senators are going to have trouble distancing themselves from donald trump and trouble winning reelections. there is a big disconnect between a lot of the activists and grassroots voters who are supporting donald trump in the early states and what the party
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.eaders and senate candidates the politics of the controller almost off the table because the president has decided he's not going to try to get majority support. host: speaking of donald trump, when it comes to the senate and house races, will he -- should he be the nominee or even in the primary? does he have coattails? what effect if any are you expecting his candidacy at the top of the ticket to have? question is a republicans are talking about privately. the washington post reported on a memo that the executive director put out along with memos of other presidential candidates. clearly urged his senate candidates to distance themselves if donald trump happened to be the republican presidential nominee.
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it is hard to see him being a net positive especially given the blue states were a lot of these battleground races are taking place. the question is -- i would not be surprised if some more moderate or establishment candidate emerged as a third-party candidate and i would not be surprised if republicans run the senate candidates use a truck demonstrateo really their independence to show that they are not a member of a party but have their own views and demonstrate with a different from donald trump. host: we're talking to josh kraushaar. we will go to charlene from maryland. you are on. i think we lost charlene so we will move on to our next caller on our republican line. karen from rockaway beach, missouri. you are on.
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i had a question and a comment on gun control. what i was wondering is, you made a statement that if a democrat were to win they would probably take back the senate would win republican presidency. i was wondering how you came to that analysis. if it was more so that the american people are like, they just go with the winners. have came to that conclusion. as far as the gun control issue, you hear talk of wanting to take guns away from the mentally ill. i have heard different statistics on the mentally ill and they say that only 2% 3% of the mentally ill actually commit these gun crimes you are talking about and yet they want to take guns away from -- i'm wondering how far they're going to go when it comes to taking guns from the
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mentally ill. i would like to say, when you consider -- they say they want to do gun control and went you consider the syrian refugees they want to bring in, they flip-flop and say, only a small percentage of those people ever do these crimes therefore we are to bring them in because only a small portion so it is almost like being on both sides of the fence. host: let's give josh a chance to unpack all of that. let's start with methodology for coming up with these rankings. guest: for the first question, voters now more than ever, at least in the last couple of generations vote by party more than they do by candidate. i have covered house and senate races for over a decade now and i've never seen a time in the last 10 years or you have had voters that don't look by candidate. it is harder and harder for a
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good candidate to distance themselves from the statewide or political environment. you can look at the wave of election we've seen over that. period. almost every election has been a wave election for one party or the other. missouri has a long history of electing democrats. -- thatfederal office is becoming less and less common in missouri has a big -- had a race.nate roy blunt is up for election. he has good approval ratings. ,e also has a good challenger one of the better democratic recruits. 20 years ago i would consider them a tossup because the democratic challenger has the political skill to give the incumbent the challenge. missouri is becoming a more republican state that is harde


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