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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 11, 2013 12:30pm-2:31pm EST

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looks like it going to come back in 2014. it's going to be different about the relations between the two ends in something avenue? >> well, i think we have a lot we want to get done and there's a lot of commonality of purpose. i do not die a little over five months. i've met with over 700 business leaders. but i don't want is they are
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quite clear that is an important part of of their feeling confident. that's good for job creation. so that is what is enough diverse. >> we also want to welcome her c-span viewers around the world. the front page of "politico" about the budget deal being reached country is reached. undersecretary, the headline is she'll bring stability to your budget. we can get a little carried away, go a little too far up with the deal means. it's not a big deal. >> but as we were talking about, evidence is there can be regular order. it means we could then proceed. a budget is a big deal. frankly, we've been letting far too long without the kind of budget and ability to predict.
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imagine if you don't know what your budget is come here not sure what the budget is for a year or two for now, how do you know if that be what you can get done quiet i do think it's a big deal. >> i'm wearing a boot. you're wearing a button that says open for business. that's also assign you having your offers. something that came from. speak that when i took this job, the president to be a bridge for the business community. it was very important to me that i signaled the business community that we are open for business, that we are there to work with them on an agenda. that led us to be open for business agenda through the department of congress when we focus on trade and investment. we're focused on innovation. we are focused on data. as well as building all of that on a good management platform. we've got a lot we've got going on. the sign is a reminder to
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anybody who walks into my office, whether it is the ceo, had he or the person cleaning my office that this is what we've got to get done, our agenda. >> is part of this, you win on the road. he took office in june independent post a six-month period he took 13 cities, 12 states. what did you learn? >> i learned so much. and learned with on the mind of the business community first of all. we were all over the country. as he said, 13 cities, but geographically quite dispersed. there's a commonality commonality of what people want to get done. they want to see implementation of the president's growth agenda. they want to see investment in infrastructure. they want to see a trade with the number one issue. trade and investment is number one issue business leaders
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brought up. they want to see us get trade agreements done. even small businesses were so interesting, whether you talk to a large multinational or guys running small bicycle manufacturing jobs, they all are interested in trade agreements because with the relay is the supply chain alice goebel. arts are coming from all over. getting what you need in order to create your product, whether it's a good or service requires integration around the world and that requires more trade agreements. immigration reform is huge. uniformly business leaders are in favor of immigration reform. this is again talking about what do we have to get done? minitour or their friends on capitol hill to get that done. >> immigration is important, but there's no sign of it getting done by this house. >> i'm an optimist and i believe
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there's a recognition of how important it is. >> recognition by who? >> recognition on the hill but how important immigration reform is for our economy. and obviously addresses a lot of other issues that border security and a path to citizenship. immigration reform is worth $1.4 trillion to our economy over the next 20 years. that is huge and we cannot afford to be leaving these things on the sideline as we move forward. we need roads in this country. >> something you fertilize during the president's first term was teeny to get a ceo in there. he needs somebody who knows business. you heard a lot about that from your friends during the reelection campaign. now you are here. you start by companies. event and executive chairman of trans union. what do you bring that somebody who has not worked in business but no?
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what can you tell the point of view you bring? >> what i can bring to the table for other stakeholders, the president included is the perspective of the business community because i've lived there. but also, i can translate back and forth. with the president asked me to do is be a bridge at the bit is community. another is come to bring to the administration the point of view of the business community and be able to explain why that's important and how it fits into a growth agenda, jobs agenda, et cetera, that are it. also it ran to the business community, look, we have to take into account consider not just about business growth, but a much bigger agenda the administration responsible for. >> as you were sitting in chicago the last four years come you must've been shaking your head about some of the things you read about, so appeared with
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the biggest thing that surprised you're not a concealed from the inside? >> you know what i think is not well, how well people work together and get along. the cabinet has been really terrific. the kind of partnerships going on throughout the cabinet. i'm working closely with the secretary of labor and i joined at the hip when it comes to a skills agenda for our country. it's absolutely imperative for him and our business community that we have a skilled labor force that can help witnesses grow and is great for americans if we can get them the training they need that they can take the good jobs available. we have 4 million open jobs in this country. that's crazy at a time when we still have 7% unemployment. to me, one of the big surprises has been the people. the way we get along and i find
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the coordination collaboration has been very positive for me. the second thing i'm surprised about and i'm a believer in old is the quality of the people that work at the department of commerce. terrific. whatever preconceived notions existed and is this community about people working the government out of sight talent, there's a lot of talent here. >> what kind of author you? >> that's a good question. i tend to try and surround many
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only 1% of american business support coming 60% of them to one country. there's a huge marketplace out there. we need to help -- that's right in the wheelhouse of the department of commerce. we have our foreign commercial service. we have -- we can help you locally as a business figure out where products are competitive and we can introduce you in those markets to the right distributors, suppliers, or financiers, et cetera. so this is the kind of thing we will get done. >> as i delved into your record and talk to colleagues much agenda, the most exciting to me is unlocking data. this goes back to the first company you started to tell us
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about that. >> so, my first company was in senior living. and what we needed all kinds of information about where the seniors lived -- spent back at. you grew up in business. he worked for your father and uncle, very successful family corporation. when he started senior living you started it with -- >> myself and a secretary. so it was a start a business and i was trying -- this was before senior living today isn't industry. 25 years ago there was no industry. there were a few of us around tried to figure out what -- that's a marketplace of aging americans, what kind of housing and services might service them. and i can almost all my data from the senses. i did know it was coming from the census department but it was about who lived where, what their age was, whether income was, what kind of housing they had, et cetera. one of the things that struck me
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coming into this job is the department of commerce is a treasure trove of data. we are full of -- to give you -- national weather service. every day we create 19 terabytes of data at the national weather service. we only use two terabytes a day. we make available to the public. what's in that other 17 terabytes of data that could industries or businesses or information our decisions based on that. so that's just one part. we have census data, we have american community service survey data. we have economic data that we collect. so we are full of information that is not easily available to the public. we're trying to figure out what do we do with that. what we know from the whether data is huge industry, multi-billion dollars industries is built using our data.
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and so what should we be doing? this is a taxpayers asset to we should figure out how to make more available to we get more return? >> inches but i will call on paul from alluded to was a question. first i will ask you what is the biggest impediment in governme government? >> i think that you have to have real will to move forward. and you have to bring a lot of people with you. that that's what government is. that's what a democracy is. it takes a group and it sometimes takes a very large group called congress or the president and congress to get something done. and so i think that's not always appreciated that when you want to get these complicated things done, you have to really convince a lot of people. having said that, that's the
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kind of government that any country should have and so that's what we do. spent ask the same thing a little differently. if you were mckinsey some of the consulting firm coming in looking at the u.s. government, the executive branch, what would you say needs to be change or fix, smarter, more efficient, more effective? >> i'm sure if i were mckinsey i would have thousands of ideas. what i would say that is actually functioning well, that has been really positive thing for me has been communication is really pretty good. in other words, we are communicate well. it's complicated. think about the fact, i don't know, 15 or 20 cabinet secretaries. in many of these issues cross many boundaries. when i get up in the morning, my job is to work about how do we grow the economy, how do we
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achieve opportunity in this country through economic growth. that's what i'm supposed to do. you know, and in the department of commerce we have 45,000 people recover is aspects of that, whether it's giving you a patent or it's giving you the weather service, or whether information. you know, and the department of defense much, much larger, much different a week issues that overload. we have countries would work with that overlap. so the challenge is, government exist in this very three dimensional aspect. so the challenge i think the biggest challenge is making sure we are coordinated. and i think we're doing a pretty good job of it. that's the part, i'm sure there are lots of things that we could fix, but we also have to remember we have a limited budget. >> how optimistic are you that
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something will happen on tax reform before the president leaves office? >> i am optimistic that we have a good shot at getting corporate tax reform done. the recent -- >> how come? >> the reason i say that is the first, to me the first ingredient necessary to get corporate tax reform done is the business community. you say the business community, there are thousands of industries in this country, right? with everything from bicycle manufactures semiconductors manufacturers to songwriters, right? if you really step back and think of the breath of the american economy, you talk about like it's a whole. it's not a whole. it's made up of lots of different pieces. to get corporate tax reform, all of those pieces have to come together and say we will compromise. because otherwise they'll go to capitol hill and they will
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fight, at which point why would you do it is the business energy isn't in favor? there seems to be more agreement that in order for america to be competitive we need to bring our corporate tax rates down and we need to change to different deductions to pay for it. that seems to be -- that hasn't really existed at least that i can tell. for sure over the last decade and probably much longer than that. so i think that, therefore, i am optimistic because it requires all those different industries to realize we're going to have some people are going to get, have a better deal in some people are going have such a good deal. at the all-state as a positive deal. speak so as someone who is a cabinet mirror, key member of the president's economic team, the face of business for the president, somebody who knows business, what can you personally do -- you know you're being set up your. what can you personally do to
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help make that happen? >> i think what i can do, a couple of things. be very clear with the business community. what you're asking for is not free. right? we have to pay for, if we want to bring rates down, we have to find ways to pay for it. that means people are going -- the rules are going to change. do you get that? >> do you get that. so you think that needs to be sublimely? >> well, i tend to be a pretty straightforward person, and so i tend to approach things in that fashion. and i think it's really important -- >> excuse me, does business not get that or they don't want to believe? >> when we say business, it isn't a model. some people understand, some people don't. i think we have to make it clear so that, and that's something i can do, right?
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that's not, that's an important communication role, that i can play in here and so it depends on who you talk to, whether they completely have internalized the implications of what they want, right? and how it will affect -- and, of course, everybody has, different people house their parochial interests, right? and then they have the better good interests. and some killed more in one place. some killed more any other and certainly if you're a ceo, you have a duty to your business. but many are looking and saying okay, i'm willing to sacrifice this because i think it's better in the long run for competitiveness. >> you think that's a growing view or you would like to grow that you? >> i think it is a growing view, and we have to keep growing it. >> tom copeland from politico has a question. i think he has a microphone. >> moving to more of a bit of your personal background. you're a very prominent chicago
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and with president obama and michelle obama. they mentioned they might actually not move back to chicago after their time in the white house depend on their daughters of schooling. i was wondering how you feel about chicago and what you own plans are, whether you would go back? >> i will start with myself because i can speak about my husband and i. we are thrilled to be here, and we're all in here in washington for our tenure here, and i serve at the pleasure of the president so i will be here as long as he wants me to be. but, you know, chicago is, is where we have lived for 27 years and i have every intention at this point to go back to chicago, be a part of that great community which i really love chicago. but it's a great honor to be here and do this job right now.
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vis-à-vis the president and the first lady, i'm a mother and so i appreciate the stresses that, when you have a very busy life and that you like your children, and to try to balance what's in the best interests of their own activities and in your children. so i totally respect the fact that they see their daughters as wanting to make sure that they get to high school and are well settled. so i think it's absolutely -- i completely understand the calculus they are going through. >> so in just a second i'm going to come to one tweet for question. for i will ask about a store that's on the front page of your hometown paper, the "chicago tribune," and a lot of papers around the country today, gm named its first female ceo. we are both blind up your. mary barrett. what do you think this means? what is important symbolism of the point? >> for so i think it's
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fantastic. she's obviously extraordinarily qualified. came up through the company, 33 years, and knows the company inside and out. and for any business to promote from within, it's just an incredible statement about the strength within a corporation, that you feel you're able to grow your own leadership. so i think that's really wonderful. it's a statement not just about her it's also about where the company is out. a company that was in serious trouble five years ago. so this is i think very good news. judy woodruff said something that really rings true to me. we have an extraordinary country with great talent, and we need to use 100% of our talent. making more women leaders in all different fields, and particularly in the business community i think is something that is really important. we should use 100% of the people who are available to lead.
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>> of the fortune 500 companies, 23 of them now have women ceos. is that a lot or a little? >> that's too few. i mean, as i said, women are greater than 50% of college graduates today. we are at least, we are roughly half the population and we are less than 5% of the leadership of the fortune 500? what's wrong? >> and also out today, some of you saw this in playbook this morning, faceting study by pew the kinetic midnight and talked about the closing wage gap for women, younger women, will anyone making 90% of what men make. certainly much closer than that gap has been over the years. what accounts for this and what will it take for it to be 100%? >> it should be 100%. let's start with wants fairness, let's go to fairness first of all.
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it out so he needs to be that way. i don't understand how you can run any kind of business and not pay an equal wage for an equal job. so to me, and certainly i've done that throughout my lifetime and it's extremely important. women are just as capable of leading, if not more capable, of leading and running any kind of organization. and if we have, we do, i was in business we're not getting enough women into the senior leadership positions of our largest companies. why is that? well, our women given the opportunity to run divisions that have serious p&l responsibility? are they being channeled into areas where that's not a path to ceo ship? obviously there are many, many organizations.
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the other issues mentorship. frankly, i was very fortunate i was meant toward by members of my family. men who were very successful, had leadership positions out their own. frankly, as you might imagine i was a bit persistent and tenacious about it, wanting them to help me. and i went out and sought out the kind of mentorship but mentorship is a big part of it, too. so opportunity, mentorship, equal pay, outsold all important to achieving these goals. >> a couple twitter questions that are coming in at #playbookbreakfast. let's hear from you. this is from eric. will the jcct meeting with china lead to for a timetable for the bilateral investment treaty talks? >> the jcct is an upcoming meeting we have next week as you know. between the u.s. and ambassador from the, our u.s. trade rep. i will go as well secretary
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vilsack. we have a very robust agenda. the bilateral trade agreement is on that agenda. and we are working to push many different issues forward. >> what's the biggest thing that you think that you hope the joint commission on commerce and trade meeting will accomplish? >> i think, you know, we have many issues back and forth, and it's a negotiation and in advance of negotiations are not going to pick one thing that we're going to try to get them. >> when will you be not meeting some as permanent director of the u.s. patent and trademark office? >> very soon. first of all i don't nominate. the president of the united states nominates. but we are -- let me just say, we are in the process with the white house and selection. so i'm hoping very shortly.
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>> have you recommended someone? >> we are in that process. >> good morning. i want to follow up on the question just to clarify on the question from the chicago homecoming came up. to talk about the president's tenure and was in a very short term about the calculus. some highs -- my question is what do you see in the long-term future if there is a homecoming? and what do you see, do you agree with a lot of people in chicago who think an obama presidential library should be in the city? where should it be? >> all politics is local. >> all politics is local. you know what, i am very hopeful. i have no inside information on this but i am very hopeful that the presidential library will be in chicago.
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i think it's very important, and i know that the leadership in chicago, both local and lay leadership in chicago for much would like that. it would be a tremendous asset and a great legacy for the city. so i'm very hopeful that that would happen. and you know, i respect the president and the first lady. if they decide what they want to live. they are young and -- first of all, i wouldn't focus in which right now on where they're going to live afterwards. i focus on we've got three more years. that's a long time. so i'm not really planning or thinking that much about everyone's future after the three years. we've got a lot to do in the meantime. >> another twitter question. from d.c. wildcat 90. it says it's a good bit of infrastructure is a priority with experience of map-21.
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how will the commerce department encourage this? >> well, yeah, we've been part of the proposal, part of the corporate tax reform that way they would be increased resources put towards infrastructure. we have trillions of dollars of what i call defer to maintenance in this country. we need to be investing from broadband to bridges. at the department of commerce, we have put in about 100,000 miles of broadband over the last several years. so that's a place where we played a very much a functional role, but we also played a role in helping. i'm working closely with secretary fox on different structures about how to finance infrastructure. we are very much involved in this. it's doubtful invested in order for our country to stay competitive. and let me tell you, it's not just bridges and broadband. we have a travel and tourism
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agenda. this is the first president hu ever created travel and tourism strategy for our country. we have a goal to reach 109 visitors a year to the united states. -- 100 million visitors. our airports have to expand for us to meet that goal. in order for us to accommodate people in the fashion they used to around the world, we need to invest in our airports come in our broadband and our bridges. so very important. >> in a minute i will come to catherine from the "chicago tribune." but first another twitter question in. how can nonprofits be bolstered to grow the economy and create job opportunities? >> well, there's a great opportunity in the skills area. we created a nonprofit in chicago called skills for chicagoland's future, where they are working with glenn tilton,
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the former ceo of united and now with jpmorgan chase is the chairman of the board. they are working with local companies, everyone from united and jpmorgan to small businesses, to help the unemployed get the skills they need in order to move into jobs and to local companies. that's a great opportunity for nonprofits to play. is around skill string. identifying job opportunities through business leaders, finding the individuals, making sure that the right skills and helping them get into those jo jobs. >> another twitter question. what role do you see the you -- the u.s. epa play as we move forward on economic and regional level speak with the economic development minister he is playing an important role. i announced last week something called imc p. it's an effort where we are working with regions to identify regions of because you have the
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best strategic plan to attract manufacturing. so this would be manufacturing community partnerships. and in order to be designated a city or a region as a manufacturing committee partnership, you apply and we're going through that process now, and judged on your regional strategy about infrastructure workforce development, six different criteria you would be judged on. we will designate 12 different regions. that designation gives you a preference for federal dollars whether they come from the transportation labor or across 13 different agencies and it makes you eligible for about $1.3 billion. that's the category strategic role epa template. >> one more twitter question. you been a proponent for public education. how have you been and will you be working your connections in
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education to help drive the economy? >> again, it goes back to secretary duncan, our secretary of education, secretary perez and i working together. because in order to have a skilled workforce that we need, it really starts with k-12 education which obviously secretary duncan, that's his area focus and he does a terrific job of really promoting as well as the race to the top i think has been unbelievably influential in getting us to have common core standards and really raise the level of our k-12 aspiration. >> madam secretary, yesterday we learned another chicago president is coming to washington. the president of the chicago symphony. you are a former board member, trusty at the kennedy center. what you think about her appointment and what do you think are priority should be a what is the nation's largest
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performing arts center? >> i think first of all the appoint a fantastic. i'm so excited. another chicago in here is always good news. but she's a great leader. it's a very complex organization, $180 billion a year annual budget. and it's everything just those who don't know, the kennedy center is everything from theater, opera, symphony, and i think a big part of the agenda is also making more available to the public. there's a repeat element of the site that will include addition of more space that will allow performances to be shared with the public, as well as they need more rehearsal space and more administration space. david rubenstein is taking every lead in this as the lead donor to the capital campaign, but the capital campaign will be the number one priority. but very exciting to another
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later from chicago. >> david rubenstein's involvement is amazing. >> extraordinary. >> what do you make of the role he plays, the civic role he plays? >> i think the fact that he has really focused on helping washington, whether it's the washington monument, bringing the magna carta here, or the kennedy center. these are iconic assets of our country that need to be presented in absolute best fashion. and the fact that he's willing to underwrite or support these efforts is something that is add -- >> you mentioned mentor in earlier. when you talk to a young person you're speaking about going into business, what do you tell them about how to succeed? there's a lot of people who are here and on live stream went on c-span around the world who want to be you. >> well, i think that the first thing to think about is, you
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know, i grew up in a household where my dad was starting a business, a hotel business. and what i got to see were a couple of things. one is the excitement at building something. but the other thing that i saw him was a real recognition. you don't do anything alone. you have to surround yourself with the best people. >> i apologize for my tardiness. i cannot use sleep deprivation as an excuse. something my colleagues candidate to return from a very eventful and long trip to south africa. i have a quick announcement that i want to ago that you may part about already. today, the department of health and human services reported the number of people enrolled in federally run marketplaces in november was more than four times octobers enrollment. evidence of the technical improvements that were made to
1:11 pm today we're highlighting the investments made by the affordable care act to expand access to high quality health care for millions of americans by strengthening committee health centers across the country. for more than 45 years, energy health centers delivered comprehensive high quality, preventive and primary health care to patients. today up roughly 1200 health centers operate more than 9000 service delivery sites that provide care to more than 21 million patients across the country. health centers are also an integral source of local employment and economic growth in the committees but they put more than 108,000 workers nationwide and and more than 35,000 jobs over the last four years. as communities or decisions, health centers are well-positioned to put a wider role in providing health care to the committee as millions -- as millions more americans begin gaining health insurance under the affordable care act. to expand the capacity of health centers to provide health care, the affordable care act includes
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approximately $11 billion to strengthen and grow our community health centers including by astonishing new sites, renovating existing health centers and hiring more staff. is one of the many ways the affordable care act is expanding access to quality health care for people across the country. so with that important announcement, i'll let you get started. >> thanks, josh. those health numbers, although that's i believe more than three times the october tour, still one-third of the 1.2 million that the administration originally planned to have by november. and today, secretary sebelius said the backend of the system that's part of the system that pays insurers and assesses what the tax subsidies will be won't be ready until mid-january. so can the administration guarantee that anybody who wants to have insurance on january 1 will be able to get it?
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>> if they signed up by december 23, that's the deadline that's been put in place for individuals who would like to be covered by january 1. that's the deadline to have to meet. spent but everybody wants to sign up by january -- december 23 will be able? >> we certainly as you know, jim, have had significant capacity to the website where we can handle much higher traffic to the website to a comet in the interest of people all across the country. that have been numbers that have been provided by cms that indicate that the trust of the website has spiked after reports that it was fun things going for the vast majority of users. that's an indication there strong interest all across the country are on behalf of people are interested in getting access to the affordable health care coverage that is now a fable through so the improvement of the website allow it to a comet more traffic and significant interest that is out there. and according to the numbers that you seem to hhs that were
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released today, there is a significant increase in the number of people who are actually following through and enrolling. the numbers that were released today all predate the most important and most tangible of the improvements to the website. so it is reasonable to assume while i can't provide you specific data, that the number of people who are enrolling in health care over the last 10 days were implemented, that there are more people signing up. the trajectory of many in the right direction. that's something that we are encouraged by but there also is this on your palm that i think you're referring to that relates to the so-called 834 forms which is the information being accurately conveyed from the website to the individual insurer who will be providing the insurance. and there are a range of fixes put in place to iron out the
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kinks in the process and they have made tremendous progress in eliminating some of those problems. and they also have in place a system for going back and confirming that individuals who signed up very early on in the first six or eight weeks, when they were having the most problems with the 834 program, to confirm essentially on both sides, those with the entrance, and with the individual, that both sides have done what you need to do to ensure that person is covered and will be covered as of january 1. so we are confident we put in place the kind solutions that are required to confirm that individuals who sign up animal in a health care plan by december 23 will be in a position to have that coverage take effect on january 1 spent a separate issue, reports today the u.s. -- [inaudible] operating in northern street.
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wondering is the u.s. losing faith in the ability of rebels to fight without islamic extremists? >> well, jim, as you know, a significant portion of our policy towards syria has been dedicated to providing support to those elements of the opposition that are moderate, that are committed to respecting basic human rights, that are committed to respecting the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and even political minorities in that country. so that has been a focal point of our efforts, particularly when it comes to provision of -- [inaudible] we have seen reports that islamic front forces have seized the headquarters in question, and warehouses belong to the
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supreme military council. we are concerned by those report. we are still consulting with general interests to inventory the status of u.s. equipment and supplies provided. as a result of the situation, as you point out, the united states has suspended all for the deliveries of nonlethal assistance into northern city. at the same time it's important for people to understand that our humanitarian assistance which is distributed international and nongovernmental or decisions including the united nations is not affected by this. >> the militant opposition? >> what we are interested in doing is trying to coordinate, courtney and lift up the moderate elements of the opposition. that has been a challenge from the very beginning both identify and the moderate elements of the opposition and to provide them the support that they need to try to bring about the kind of transition that reflects the will of the syrian people. that is been a challenging proposition from the very
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beginning and that continues to be challenging. >> can you comment on the sign language interpreter that stood next to the present yesterday? >> i've seen those reports. i would refer you to the south african government about who that person was and what the responsibilities were. i think my only reaction to that is that it's a shame that you had a service that was dedicated to honoring the life and celebrate the legacy of one of the great leaders of the 20th century, has gotten distracted by this and a few other issues that are far less important than the legacy of nelson mandela. [inaudible] >> i would encourage you to check with the secret service to see if they had any concerns. they are ultimately responsible for the presence security. our give you the next one. way in the back. looking at you, next.
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>> the budget deal reached last night did not include an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. could the president signed a budget deal without those? how does he intend to push forward? >> i believe the president's statement last night indicated that he was pleased with the budget agreement that was reached between senator murray and chairman ryan. and that is an indication the president would sign that agreement if it passes both the house and senate, which is what we expect. in terms of unemployment benefits, the president feels strongly that those unemployment benefits should be extended. there's a very persuasive humanitarian case, if you will. there are 1.3 million americans right now who stand to lose their unemployment benefits if congress doesn't act by december 28. that obviously is a terrible circumstance. it also has significant consequences for our broader economy, that some analysts have
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found that the extension of emergency unemployment benefits would actually provide a significant boost to our economy, released a perceptible boost to our economy. in the form of a creating about 240,000 jobs, having a positive impact on gdp, on the order of two, three, four-tenths of 1%. so the president will continue to advocate for this. there had been a few previous occasions where we have come down to the wire like this and to the president's controlling and advocating we've gotten some congressional action. it remains to be seen if they'll happen in this case but that is something we are advocating for. this is something we talked about quite a bit. there was a report from the -- this is something that the president believes is a priority. both for the economy but also for the 1.3 million americans who stand to lose their unemployment benefits in the holiday season.
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>> the white house has remained somewhat in the background of these budget talks. contrary with previous rounds of budget negotiations. is at the white house is the sense that by remaining in the background you have lowered the temperature of the talks and thus contributed to getting an agreement? >> well, in terms of sort of defined all of the different influences in that process i think i will leave that to you guys. what i think is important about this process is that we so a genuine commitment from leaders in both parties to the regular order budget process. we saw a lot of lip service paid to that notion in previous years, but i think it's just in the last couple of months that we have seen a commitment on both sides of the regular order budget process. that means that you essentially had the budget leadership on the senate side and the budget leadership on the house let's get together in bipartisan fashion and hashed through these issues and do it in a way that
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leads to a vehicle for genuine legislative action that actually addresses some of the problems. all of that was done in consultation with the white house that senior white house officials who were involved in those conversations but ultimately this was an agreement that had to be struck between the leaders of the house and leaders of the senate. that's the way the founding fathers designed the system to work. we are gratified that they have reached a bipartisan agreement that is good for the economy. look, we spent a lot of time over the last so because talking about budget agreements and trying to find common ground and striking bipartisan compromises. the way the president routinely evaluates these kinds of budget agreements is my take a look at the impact it would have on our economy. there are two important ways this budget agreement has a positive impact. the first is that it does repeal parts to this question at this a question for significant drag on our economy over the course of the last year.
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and the president is pleased that congress will be taking away at least some of that drag. and it will give us the opportunity to invest in and things are so more of our long-term economic growth. particularly early childhood education, head start programs stand to benefit from this. there's also the postulate of destroying some funding to research and develop which the present into so critical to our economy. so taking away some aspect of the sequestered is a positive step. the other thing that we are seeing, something that again the people have stood at the podium have expressed concerns about is this propensity congress has had lately to lurch from one crisis to another. and in this case congress is able to reach what even i would describe as a modest agreement. but they were able to reach that modest by parse a group without the threat of a crisis, without threat of the fall, without the threat of government shutdown but by working through the regular order by didn't find common ground and striking an agreement.
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that is not just good for the political process and might restore some faith in the ability of unites its congress to get things done on behalf of the american people. it will also provide some certainty to the private sector. this is something republicans have said is really important for our economy. the president agreed and that is another way which our economy will benefit from what is a modest but important budget agreement. >> an international issue. there is renewed violence in ukraine. in spite of the white house and u.s. -- [inaudible] what leverage does the chinatown to try to calm things out there? >> i do have some prepared comments on this. i'll start with that and they get to direct question. united states was appalled by side by what happened. ukrainian government response to peaceful protest our last two weeks has been completed unacceptable as difficult to
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understand why they ha have decd against their own people repeatedly with force rather than engage in a real dialogue with the opposition. the right to peaceful protest and simply must be respected. violence is a sort we've seen on the streets of kiev is impermissible in a democratic state. we are concerned by credible reports and security services rating the office of opposition parties in the organizations in the last few days. political repression is not the way to respond to legitimate grievances of the ukrainian people. vice president biden urged their president and a monday phone call to avoid violence and take steps to de-escalate the situation. he has grown up in the. this is his moment to meet the aspirations of ukrainian people or disappointed. it is past time for leadership in ukraine to listen to the voice of its people and restore a path the european integration and economic health. >> it's fair to say the lines of sanitation between semesters and leadership in ukraine remain
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open. and i think the sentiments i've just read to you also reflect broadly the opinions of the international community. there is a pretty clear choice of facing the korean government right now. and were hopeful they will choose a path that reflects the will of the ukraine people and reflects an opportunity for reconciliation and to restore some civility and peacefulness to that dispute. and hopefully find a way to resolve that dispute peacefully. >> follow up on when they asked about earlier. speaker boehner a daily said today -- [inaudible] to extend long-term unemployment insurance. can you respond to that? house the president made a proposal? if not, why not? >> a specific or detailed proposal in this case probably
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isn't required. we talked about extending a program that has been in place for several years now. it was originally signed into law by president george w. bush in 2008. it's been extended at least a couple times in the last few years. so we are simply seeking to see the program extended in the same way that has been in the past by this congress. there are important consequences for 1.3 million americans who are at risk of losing their unemployment benefits in just a couple of weeks. and important consequences from our economy that would benefit. that's what we are hopeful congress will do. let's go to the back here a little bit. jarret? >> josh, we're expecting -- the most recent numbers, the next numbers middle of january, will we get into report about the population of people who have signed up a gun and under this summer 23rd deadline, said that population will be transmitted to the insurers?
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>> and you are asking? >> what kind of information around christmas? >> what kind of information? [inaudible] >> and so you're asking it will have a list before january 1 of the people of side up by december 23? >> or january 15 or gender and 11? >> i would not anticipate additional enrollment numbers until the middle of january which has been our custom the last couple of months. that's when we get that additional data. >> and on the sign language question, i know you said mentioned the south african government, but if the president had been translated into another language incorrectly, another audible language incorrectly, wouldn't that a been a breach of protocol? weaponizing a different reaction from the white house? >> that's a hypothetical. it's difficult to evacuate because for two reasons.
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one is maybe he was translated incorrectly in some other language in his speech yesterday and we don't know about it. that possibly does exist. secondly, it's not clear to me that this person mistranslated the president at all. i think the point is that he apparently was not translating him in anything but was enjoy the opportunity to be on the stage. [laughter] so that makes it difficult to answer your question. that's why i deferred the question to the south african government. at the same time this was an historic event. in which the president delivered some very powerful remarks about the personal impact that president mandela had on his own life and his own commitment to public service. he talked pretty eloquently i think about the impact that president mandela had on democratic movements all across the globe. it would be a shame if a distraction about an individual who was on stage in any way detracted from the importance of that event and the importance of president mandela's legacy.
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alexis spent josh, i the question. will you follow first of all on the budget. did the president find -- [inaudible] does not become the president's template for his budget submission in february? what does he do with that in his own budget in the coming cycle? >> i do want to get head of the budget process. you would expect is a sum that involves a lot of planning and a lot of technical expertise to design a budget submission reflects the presence of policy pretty. i would want to get ahead of this process. but suffice it to say the president is pleased we been able to find common ground as it relates to this entry budget agreement that sets some parameters for what the budget will look like in fiscal year 2014 and in fiscal year 15 and, therefore, provide some stability and certainty for the private sector. just to follow-up on that one question, would we expect the president to take that forward
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and say, i'm signed this but i'm still like to get rid of sequestration over a ten-year period of? >> well, i'm confident our budget proposal will include some of the presidents own ideas about investments that are so critical for us to make to strengthen our economy, expand economic opportunity for middle-class. those ideas will be reflected in the president's budget. >> can you clarify why -- [inaudible] we feel the need to recuse himself on keystone when all -- and windows jon as being so linked with -- [inaudible] very nonpublic use on many, many policies? >> i'm glad you asked this question because i do want to take advantage of this to clarify some of the leaked out late overnight. the word recuse here is not the right word. there's no suggestion of who is sort of conflict of interest, financial or otherwise as it relates to mr. podesta's opinions, views and positions on
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the keystone pipeline. so recuse is not the right word. what is a true is that mr. podesta approached the chief of staff and suggested to him that mr. podesta shouldn't work on the policymaking process related to the keystone pipeline. the reason for that, there are a couple of reason. versus this is appalled process that -- mr. podesta's coming to work at the white house, not the status. the second thing is this is a policy process that's been in place for several years now, and having him into the process at the very end, or new the very end doesn't seem to be the best way to carry out the process and to move across the finish line. the third thing, and this is, this is important, too. and it relates to your question. his views on this are well known. but there are people who have on this for a number of years and
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who are looking at this from a variety of perspectives and want to make sure that this policy outcome reflects the president's views and can't approach it in an impartial way. the comments and views of mr. podesta as express have been done without the benefit of or without the reality of him working directly for the president of the 20. so in this case he felt it was most appropriate to basically send a signal army on this is not something that would be part of his portfolio. he communicated that desire to mr. mcdonough. >> a follow-up to that is to say is there any other policy terrain or topic that the president incoming counselor would feel or express to the president or the chief of staff that he should not or does not want to work on? >> not that i'm aware of right now. [inaudible]
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do you have those figures, how many of those people signed up today and? >> that is also a question -- you and alexis must be courting because this is the second question in a row i'm pleased to have the opportunity talk about. it's important people evaluate the affordable care act, that measuring the success of the program cannot seem to be done based on the number of people who have signed up. it would be nice if the world worked in that simple of a fashion to instantly dozen. i understand the desire for people to want to try to reduce the metric to a simple number related to people have enrolled in the health care. but that will not determine the success or failure of the affordable care act and exchanges that are set up, the marketplaces that are set up under the rubric of the affordable care act. [inaudible] >> what we need is the right mix of individuals in these individual exchanges.
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my point is you can't evaluate the success or part of the affordable care act a solely on the number of people who sight of all across the country. what you should do to evaluate the success of the program is to consider the mix of people have signed up in each of the individual market places. that is a task that is hard to reduce down to one number. but that is the best way for you and others to get by with the overall success of the program. what our goal is, is decided as many people as possible, to give as many people all across the country as possible the opportunity to go onto the website, to work with the navigate in the community, to call the wind 800 number and to find what options are available to them. many people find that they will qualify for tax credits. some of them will qualify for expanded medicaid coverage. there's a lot of ways in which individual find that they will benefit from the affordable care act and wha one of the people as possible to do exactly that.
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>> i understand you don't want to give specific never spent hhs said last of their on track of something he bought signed by april 1. a lot o of the industry insiders questioned and said the pace really needs to pick up if you're going to get that many people. not dealing with a 7 million people, does the pace need to pick up and can you guarantee you will get the right mix and the right number in the end? >> what we've said about the website before the website was even rolled out was that they would not be a linear relationship between the number of days that have gone by since the website open for business and the number of people who would cite a. we anticipated there would be some spikes in this process. we anticipated that there would be a spike shortly before the deadline in which people, that people needed to meet in order to get insurance covers by january 1. the deadline has been moved. we do in this beta will be a spike in defense of december 23. for all we know there's a spike going on right now.
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that's because -- that simply is a scribal to nothing other than human nature, that we are compelled to take action when they get close to a deadline. i wouldn't is that we'll see another spike in mid-march before the deadline for the open road. road. road. expires. we've always insisted there will be spikes in the process. it would be more traffic and a greater rate of enrollment at certain periods than others. that's what's difficult to assess exactly what we are on pace for. what i can take no companies what i can say though, let me say one less thing which is because the improvements we made to the website we now have the bandwidth to accommodate about 800,000 or 1 million people a day to visit the website. that means they should be ample opportunity for people are interested to go check it out for themselves. >> just to be clear these figures put out today on the number of people have signed up, not actually involve? in other words, not message was sent in their checks of? >> my understanding is they actually provided two different
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numbers along those lines. didn't they? let me take a look here. i think they did put out an album members to they said 365,000 people through november had enrolled. [inaudible] >> well, that they have enrolled, that they have signed up for proposal. i think the payment option is something that is responsible for the individual insurance company to execute. but in terms of enrollment the date made a commitment and selected a plan that they like and would allow them to get coverage by january 1. >> can i get you to respond, does the president in response to these latest poll numbers which show, well, highest disapproval rating ever? does he feel like it's time for a reset? is that part of the reason for bringing in jafa doesn't? >> we don't spend a lot of time looking at these individual poll
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numbers. -- bringing in jon podesta. there's another poll that suggests something different but the fact of the matter is what we've been looking at and i think what i would encourage you to consider is that while purple was in the field there some important priorities that we made progress on. mel watt got confirmed to be the director of hfa. patricia millett got confirmed to the d.c. court of appeals, right? the volcker rule got voted on and approved and is now being implement a. something that six month ago you guys thought i would've increased if i suggested it would be done by the end of the. we got a bunch of agreements to the congress. is a priority square focus on and all these things happened yesterday to think of your announcing results of your poll. >> fair enough. [inaudible] >> the truth is, you could say that anytime over the last three years when it comes to these
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polls. the president has made clear that the president has pursued a difficult topic of health care not because it would burnish his pull-ups but because it's the right thing for the custom expand affordable, quality health care to millions of americans who probably don't have it. and it would be good for our economy, creating jobs. that's the reason we pursued health care reform and that's the reason we are working so doggedly to intimate it in a way that will maximize the benefits for people all across the country in despite of the poll numbers. >> first, kathleen sebelius and yesterday she is past the ig to invest it would happen with website. presumably the ig is supposed the independent of what kathleen sabonis wants or doesn't want. is going t to do that himself. is that adequate? is that enough? >> i think the reason for my notebook, a couple other things
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that she and its. she did ask the inspector john to take a look at the process related to the department of and to examine what mistakes that occurred, and to offer up some solutions and suggestions for how to improve the process moving forward. a couple of other steps that she announced her get also announced that she directed the cms administrator melanie stafford to create a new position and avoid the cms chief risk officer who will focus on mitigating risk acros across the program. basically if i would the ongoing progress or lack thereof at cms programs and to try to intervene before they result in significant problems like the rollout of the website. see also announced a new training regime that would update and expand the training process to get cms employees more information about the best practices for contract and procurement management rules and procedures. so there are a number of things that sector announced today that
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would address some of the problems that were exposed by the website rollout. and i would anticipate that if there are other ideas that she has about what we can do to strengthen the process, the intro processes over at hhs, that she will propose those, too. i would anticipate that -- >> do you anticipate more action? >> i would be open for the possibility. i don't know of anything else planned right now but i would leave open the possibility. >> nonlethal aid, a lot has been made about lega lethal aid finay being sent after the chemical attack. what is the moratorium only on -- >> for questions like that i would refer you to my colleagues at the national security staff. i do that details about any occasion to other systems that might of been provided by the administration.
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>> on the question to mike was asking about a candidly with secretary sebelius. on the podesta higher, you've added others as well. is the president planning to subtract anyone from the equation? >> i don't have any personal announcement at this point. >> but you don't expect at the end of the year with you don't expect it will be any change is? >> having covered this for the past five years you are aware years you are where at the end of the year is a traditional time for people to make some decisions about their own personal lives and to make decisions, to leave the administration and pursue other opportunities. that means other people from outside the white house abroad and. you know, that is not, that is neither combination or accommodation of the white hou house. >> you referenced that you don't look it in the individual polls. november 25, you said the same about the poll that vincent 53%
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of the public thought the president was not trustworthy and you said you don't follow the ups and downs but you look at both the broader trends. since november 25 there's been a fair number of polls that suggest a trend that the president's honesty and trustworthiness has taken a hit and whole range of polls. will you at least acknowledge that the health care issue has damaged the president's credibility? >> i don't think i agree with that conclusion. i recognize there may be some polling evidence to indicate that but just looking of polls i don't think it gives you a good read about what the president's priority is our antidumping to get you a good -- [inaudible] >> "the wall street journal" poll says a lot of people i think 75% think the economy is going to be good or better next year. that's good for the president and yet they're not giving him credit for that and saying that his disapproval has reached a new high. not about his but the public mood seems to be very sour. >> look, i think it's perfectly
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legitimate for your news organization and other students at all other public data out and to draw assessments at what the public mood is. i think that's a perfectly legitimate enterprise. i think i'm making the case that's not what we're focused on, that there are other priorities that the present was is more bored and trying to figure out within a particular statistical office integral what his polling others are. what we're focused on right now is the president's core priorities related to expand economic opportunity for the middle class. if we can make progress by extending emergency unemployment benefits, if we can raise minimum wage, if we can put in place policies that will ensure that every child in america has access to a quality early childhood education program, those are the things will have a material difference on our economy and if we can make progress on those, the poll numbers will take care of themselves. >> on the website, at the top you were saying that everyone signs up by december 23 they
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will be quote any position to get insurance. but his question was, are you guaranteeing that they will get it? not that they will be in a position but if you signed up by december 23 our you guaranteeing you have insurance by genuine? >> that's the deadline established or individuals. if people sign up by december 23 that's what they need to do in order to qualify for insurance coverage by january 1. we have individuals, a team of experts, more than just individuals who are in place to make sure that the proper linkages are connected between the insurance companies and individuals who are enrolling. >> sound the. >> we are confident that by december 23 we will have hired out these problems. we are confident that past and future 832 issues will be resolved. >> paul ryan is saying he said
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it is a new president. it's all spending cuts, no tax increase. the president ran on singer has been a balanced approach. that's a guiding principle. he won the election and said that some were going to do. paul ryan says now there's a new deal. spending cuts, no tax increase. does that suggest h his guiding principle is no longer valid? >> the president continues to be -- let me answer your first question and then i get to the second one. the president is committed to a balanced approach and that is something you will continue to advocate for. this deal does reflect a balanced approach. the president is committed to making sure we're not a position where asking middle-class families or medicare beneficiaries or people who rely on social security income to pay the bills. we're not going to ask those people to make sacrifices but we will not ask the oil and gas countries to make sacrifices or for hedge fund managers to make sacrifices. the president will continue to pursue a balanced approach.
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what's also important as the president considers these budget agreement is he wants to make sure that the priorities that are included in the budget reflects what should be our core priorities which is expanding economic opportunities for the middle-class and that is something, this is a modest budget agreement but it does reflect those priorities. moving forward at the president will continue to make the case for budget agreements that are focused on middle-class parties. the president will also continue to make the case for tax reform that reflects middle-class produce. that is something that we should be able to find common ground on. and if this is a president for find common ground with republicans, where we're going to compromise on something where neither side will get everything they want that both sides can point to something they think is positive about the deal, then i hope it is a president. >> following up on alexa's question, why would mr. podesta feel a need to remove himself if
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he knows already i assume that the process -- [inaudible] >> well, because he doesn't work at the state department i guess is the first thing. so this is a process that is there. at some point there will be -- [inaudible] >> because the process will eventually shift to the white house. there will be some white house involvement in the process. the president has talked about that pretty extensively. he felt like that it was in his best interest the policymaking process could not insert himself and hi volunteers at the very ed of the process. >> no, financial or the conflict of interest besides the previous stated -- >> not that i'm aware of. but suffice it to say that mr. podesta whatever else who works are will be the most stringent ethics requirements in the history of the present put in on the first day of office.
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[inaudible] the president spoke pretty -- and today he was named person of the. have they spoken at all recently? >> i don't believe that there. i think the president said in india he has not had a chance to speak with india. i think of a -- the president spoke publicly about what an important figure and what a really important message pope francis has sent to the world in just the six or eight months that he is held that important position. major? >> could you also argue that the new president -- the budget control act has been rewritten for two years an years and sequn him to change and there will be more spending than it was under the past agreement that was also bipartisan and also signed by the president? >> you guys are interesting in drawing president to an interest in the impact of the budget deal on our economy. that's how the president made --
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[inaudible] >> i just said, do you? >> i'm not rubbing your nose in it. >> what i'm suggesting is that what we have reached is a compromise agreement. the president did not get everything he would like to see, and mr. ryan i think as you said a couple times publicly now didn't get them he wanted. whether it will do is put aside differences and focus on some common ground. and strike an agreement that is in the best interest of our economy. that's what the president is pleased that. putting aside partisan differences, focusing on common ground and demonstrating a wins to reach a couple must, we are all for it. spent let's go down that road a little bit. the president said, to use one year or very short term these another minor-league revenue increases and adjust spending upwards, this seems to be not a
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small step towards a grand bargain but a complete step in the opposite direction. none of the structural things are dealt with because the politics was either too difficult for both sides to even discuss, let alone speed i don't agree with that at all. a couple things. one is are not comparing this to a grand bargain et al. that's the first time anyone in this room has said that. i didn't say that. >> overhang for all these -- >> it has. and the presence proposal to the grand bargain continues to sit on the table right now. that is an option that is available. i think we're coming up on the year anniversary of that initial proposal. it was codified in the president's budget as well. what we're focused on right now is trying to strike a budget that reflects the best interest of our economy. it is our view a so called grand bargain based on the outline of the president put forward we do good things for our economy to a more modest agreement like the one reached yesterda yesterday o hopeful things our economy and that's what the president is
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pleased -- [inaudible] spew well, i'm about -- spend why did you demand a result of resolution for the same datatype or at least another bit of time? >> well, the fact of the matter is senator mcconnell has been pretty outspoken ever since the end of the, shut down back in october that we're not going to be in position, republicans will not be a part of pulling the economy hostage and not will be part of threatening the false. we at the white house -- [inaudible] >> are confident senator mcconnell is right. we are confident they will without any drama. >> let me put the two things you said about december 23, gender first covered and what secretary sebelius testified to. because i think there's a fundamental disagreement. she said the backend of the website, which is the part to
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which insurers are and guaranteed payment is confirmed, will -- won't be done into mid-january. how can you so assertively predict with confidence that those who sign up on december 23 will have actionable coverage on january 1? because they have to -- as a customer does, has to go to the back into system. are you literally could have people sort of monitoring everyone who falls in the category of december 23 and gender first coverage? if you don't i don't see how -- >> as i was getting rid for the reading i wasn't able to watch every minute of her testament to my extending of those references to the backend meeting to be fixed or still need to be built. that relates to several other processes related to health care. not necessary to this one. that's the first thing. the second thing is that the problems we had with the
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program, were much worse very early on. so in october and november we saw that the 834's were not functioning and not being transmitted with a lot of accuracy. there were concerns about information being left off the forum, they were duplicates being sent. because of some the technological fixes that have been implemented over the course of the month of november, a lot of those problems -- the rate of those problems has dropped significantly. so now at the same time, there also were many fewer people who were enrolled in health care because of th problems related o the website. so the universe of people who could potentially be affected by some of the 834 problems is relatively small. we have a team of experts working to both technological fixes but also through some elbow greece going through and
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confirming that information has been conveyed accurately and completely. and to confirm that they will be signed up for health care and eligible to get coverage on january 1. >> first question, it seems amazing to me that you will not and hhs will not commit as far as possible a discussion of these numbers on january 1 or very soon after. because that is your very first acid test of people who sought coverage and update. and is the entire country and those consumers themselves going to have to wait until the middle of gender to find out if it all works? >> and they will have signed up by january 1 to we will tell you as this again and i think waiting a couple of weeks to make sure we scrub the numbers and have gotten that information accurate that we are sure there are no duplicates of all. we are combining information from 14 different state run exchange is.
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we are combining information they didn't go to the website but also went through either in person science or through the call centers. there are a variety of ways people can find a. compiling all the information, scrubbing it, making sure that information is accurate, considering the numbers that we're expecting, the fact that process might take 10 or 15 days, i don't think it's an inordinate period of time for you to wait and be able to evaluate what kind progress we've made and to reevaluate the success of the program. >> i have to confess i was not confused about podesta refusing desperately describe the reasons for it. you say he asked to recuse, -- >> that such a recuse. he would not work on. go ahead. >> because it state but not the white house. why doesn't he recuse, excuse himself from everything is handled? at the end of the process you say he will come to the white house and to does want to insert himself at the end of the
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process but it hasn't come to the white house yet so everybody at the white house -- [inaudible] that doesn't make sense. so i'm just trying to understand the reason. >> let me take one more run at trying to explain it to you. put simply this is a process that is run by the state department right now. certainly white house officials are aware of where we are in this process. they have been consulting with people at the state department about the process but ultimate that process is run by the state department. the president has indicated how strongly come has indicated his interest in the program and the way or his determination in the way it is resolve. so the white house is in the loop as this process moves forward to what mr. podesta solicit is history will notice on the topic. they been publicly expressed. those user public expressed before he started working for the president so it is his view that it is better that his well-known views are not injected at the very end of that
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process. so he has said to mr. mcdonough that he would prefer not to work on that process and stated publicly to mr. mcdonough a great that was the best. >> that still leaves the original question and answer of why given the wide range of views you expressed on. >> i guess because this is a view, these are views that been strongly expressed an account a lot of attention. there's no doubt he has expressed his views on a range of other things, to your many of those things are frankly less controversial and have become, or not as much of a lightning rod as this particular issue. >> at me ask you, this administration has been criticized -- [inaudible] does bringing in podesta in some way acknowledge -- >> watch the white house briefing in its entirety. later on our schedule or anytime at we leave it now for live
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coverage of today's senate session. members with the considering the nomination of a seat on the d.c. circuit court. the second of three vacancies. we may see speeches today on the the chin dr. bipartisan budget agreement announced last night. live senate i coverage. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, your kingdom will never end. abide with our senators and may they find favor with you. remind them that because of your omnipotence, nothing is impossible for you. may their reverence for you provide them this day with a foundation of wisdom
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that will enable american citizens to live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. teach our lawmakers to treasure your commands, to walk with integrity and to do what is right, just and fair. may their relationship with you be like the first light of dawn which shines even brighter until the full light of day. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
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i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., december 11, 2013. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable martin heinrich, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 243. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of calendar number 243, s. 1356, a bill to amend the work force investment act of 1998 to strengthen the united states work force
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development system, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: following my remarks, mr. president, those of the republican leader of the senate will resume consideration of the nomination of nina pillard to be united states circuit judge for the d.c. circuit. mr. president, i am told s. 1797 is due for a second reading. is that valid? the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: s. 1797, a bill to provide for the extension of certain unemployment benefits, and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would object, mr. president, to any further proceedings with this bill at this time. the presiding officer: objection's heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar under rule 14. mr. reid: thank you. mr. president, i congratulate the budget negotiators on reaching agreement last night to roll back the painful and arbitrary cuts of sequestration and prevent another dangerous
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government shutdown in the new year. their bargain also protects medicare and social security benefits and reduces the deficit. that's a good package. i commend budget chairman murray and her house republican counterpart congressman paul ryan for their diligence and cooperative spirit which made this agreement possible. the process that led to this accord was long and very difficult. the republican government shutdown, the first in 17 years, took a toll on our economy, american families and on our reputation around the world. it was also costly for the federal government in many different ways. so when congress reached a temporary settlement and ended the shortsighted shutdown, democrats were committed to ending the terrible cycle of lurching from crisis to crisis. but, mr. president, understand this -- when this measure went to the house of representatives,
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passed here to keep government for 60 days, stop the government from defaulting on its debt for the first time in history, 3w-7 5% of republicans in the house voted to keep the government closed and to default on the debt. think about that. so this agreement is really a breath of fresh air. as we have been committed to setting sound fiscal policy through the regular order of the budget process and not through hostage taking or crisis making. in this new agreement, neither side got everything it wanted, but that's how it used to work around here, mr. president. that's how it worked. each side would move forward on what they wanted, and they would recognize sometimes, sometimes soon, sometimes it wasn't so soon, that the only way to work something out was to work
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together. that's what happened here. so, mr. president, this is a, i repeat, a breath of fresh air for the country. but i also hope it's a view of the future. i hope it's a view of the future. for example, i believe, as many democrats do, that an extension of emergency unemployment insurance should be included in this package. i'm very disappointed that the bills posted by the house last night do not include that. about 20,000 nevadans will have been nid for more than six months and more than a million people nationwide will lose their earned unemployment benefits at the end of this year unless congress acts. i'll stand up for those americans who want to get back to work as soon as possible but face a market where there is only one job opening for every three unemployed workers. that's why we're going to push here after the first of the year
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for an extension of unemployment insurance when the senate convenes after the new year. as i will also work very hard to raise the minimum wage. it was stunning, mr. president, there were reports all over the national media today, radio, television, all the print media that the vast majority of americans believe the minimum wage should be raised to $10 an hour. the american people believe that if someone works for 40 hours, they shouldn't be on the rating as being poor. they should be able to support themselves and their family. but that isn't the way it is now. we need to raise the minimum wage, and there will be a sustained effort to do that when we come back. mr. president, democrats led by senator murray stood up for our party's priorities, protecting middle class and growing the economy, but we were also ready and willing to compromise with our republican counterparts.
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i admire senator murray for having proceeded forward along this line. while both sides made concessions and sacrifices, i repeat that's the nature of negotiation, and the point of the conference committee is to work together to work out our differences. so to their credit, members of the conference committee considered every option, no matter how painful to their own political party. they rejected many, they rejected most, they were able to come together on enough revenue, enough cuts to come up with this pact that they have. under the leadership of chairman murray, the committee crafted a two-year bargain that charts a course for economic growth, maintains fiscal responsibility and perhaps most importantly averts another manufactured crisis that would undercut the economic process that we have made and the progress we have made these last four years. so i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides
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of the aisle and both sides of the capitol to pass this agreement. last night, we also filed -- i shouldn't say we. last night the house filed a bill to ensure physicians are fairly compensated, so medicare patients can continue to see their doctors. it would be a shame if medicare patients didn't have the ability to have a doctor, but this -- unless we did this agreement, short term as it is, physicians would receive 27% cut in pay. so again in the new year, we're going to work very hard to get rid of this so-called doc fix once and for all. we need to fix it once and for all. mr. president, unfortunately, instead of beginning work on either of these things that i have talked about and the two agreements -- that is, the fix for doctors, medicare patients,
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the budget, the defense bill which i haven't talked about which also was posted last night in the house, republicans are not facing reality. they're not. you are seeing -- the american people are seeing before their eyes the face of obstruction. that's what's going on right now. we're eating up days of time, wasting hours, weeks and days. now, we could be voting on all this stuff now. all these nominations that are appearing before this body now and move on to the substantive issues. this is why the rules why changed, mr. president. you can see it right now. we are wasting hour after hour doing nothing. mr. president, the filibuster rule was established to get
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legislation passed. as it relates to nominations, the same thing applies to the nomination process. and our predecessors in the senate set the rules saying that if cloture is invoked, the parties are entitled to some time to make their case before final passage or final vote. on the nomination. so now we have a number of nominations we're processing to show how shallow the republicans' obstructionism is. they have no objections to any of these nominations. nobody comes and gives these fire and brimstone speeches about how bad these people are. why? because they're not. they have just been stalling and stalling. i repeat, this is the face of obstruction which we have been facing for five years during the obama administration. is it any wonder that the rule was changed that relates to
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nominations? we were spending all of our time trying to get the president to have a team rather than doing work on substantive legislation. so, mr. president, we'll see how late we have to work tonight. whatever it is, we're going to do it. we're going to finish these nominations this week, if it goes into friday, goes into saturday, that's what we're going to do. we have to get this done. now, christmas is approaching. i understand that. we all understand that. but this session of congress does not end at christmas time. we have work to do. we have to pass this budget. we have to do something for those medicare patients. we have to do something for the military of this country with this defense agreement that has been reached between the leaders of those two important committees. , armed services and the counterpart in the house, whatever it's called.
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so, mr. president, why waste this time? there is no reason to do this. republicans are stalling for what? to stop these nominations from going forward. they are going to go forward with a simple majority vote. i understand one of them may not go forward because some democrats don't like the nominee, but that's the way it should be. so we could confirm nina pillard right now. no one is saying a single word contrary to her being the quality candidate that we have said she is. she has been district of columbia appeals court. i repeat, some say the most
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important court in america. most say second only to the supreme court. but instead republicans are insisting that we vote on a nomination many hours from now after they have frittered away 30 hours of the senate's time. there are no objections to her qualifications. the outcome of her vote is a foregone conclusion. so when people around here complain that they aren't home with their families at christmas time, here is the reason. republicans' obstruction. it's hard to imagine a more pointless exercise than spending hour after hour after hour waiting for a vote whose outcome we already know. republicans insist on wasting time simply for the sake of wasting time. is it any wonder, i repeat, that
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the rule was changed? here is why. it's no wonder americans overwhelmingly support the changes made to the rules last month in order to make the senate work again. the republicans' partisan sideshow is another example of the kind of blatant obstruction that has ground the senate to a halt. the work of the senate has come to a standstill over the last five years. members should be aware that if republicans stop squandering the senate's precious time, roll call votes are possible at any time this afternoon or this evening. it doesn't have to be like this. with just a little bit of cooperation, we could hold votes in a timely manner so we can move on with the business before us. unfortunately, we cannot schedule votes without cooperation -- that's part of the senate rules -- and cooperation is in short supply at the moment.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary. cornelia t.l. pillard of the district of columbia, to be united states circuit judge. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i just listened to the majority leader complaining about what we're doing this week. he's the one in charge of the schedule. he's spending a week here on nonessential nominations, none of which are emergencies, all of which could be handled later. and it was his choice to spend the week on nominations that are not emergencies as opposed to do things like passing a d.o.d. authorization bill or things like taking up a budget
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resolution or things like doing a farm bill. so the majority leader has a choice as to what we're going to spend time on, and he's chosen to spend this week on ten nominations. yesterday i talked about the left's ends justifies the means quest for power and the lengths which they're willing to go to satisfy. the obama and its allies -- the obama administration and its allies have done just about everything to get what they want even altering the fundamentals of our democracy when they couldn't get their way by playing by the rules. we saw the culmination of that with the majority leader's power grab in the senate last month. the real-world consequences of that power grab are most sharply
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illustrated by the venom knee before us -- by the very nominee before us, which i believe i heard the majority leader commenting on what a stellar nominee this person is. well, professor pillard may be a fine person, but she's not someone who should receive a lifetime position on the second-highest court in the land. she'll be confirmed, however, because of the democratic majority's power grab a couple weeks ago. so let's take a look at her legal views. they certainly make one thing clear. the nominee before us is a liberal idealogue. a liberal idealogue. in other words, just the kind of person this administration was looking for to rubber stamp its most radical legislative and regulatory proposals on the d.c. circuit. let's take a so-called hosanna
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tabor case. last year the supreme court reinforced a core first amendment principle when it ruled unanimously that churches rather than the government could select their own leaders. churches rather than the government could select their own leaders. every single justice sided with the church's argument in that case -- every single one, it makes sense, freedom of religion is a bedrock foundation of our democracy. i think every member of this body would surely agree that the government doesn't have any business picking a group's religious leaders for them. but professor pillard seemed to have a very different view. prior to the court's unanimous decision, she said the notion that -- quote -- "the
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constitution requires deference to church decisions about who qualifies as a minister" in the case before the court seemed -- quote -- "like a real stretch." this is the nominee, after the power grab the senate is about to confirm, who says that it's a real stretch that a church would be able to pick its own leaders. this is astonishing judgment from somebody who is about to end up on what we believe is the second-most important court in the land. oh, but she went on from that. the position of the church in the hosanna tabor case, she said represented a -- quote -- "substantial through to the american rule of law." how do you like that, mr. president? it's a substantial threat to the
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american rule of law that a church should be able to pick its own leaders. a substantial threat to the american rule of law, and this was a case decided the other way from professor tabor 9-0. talk about radical. talk about extreme. no wonder they wanted a simple majority to be available to confirm a nominee like this. i mean, even the court's most liberal justices, as i mentioned, disagreed with professor pillard on this one. one of them characterized that kind of position as amazing. this is a member of the supreme court in a 9-0 decision characterizing professor pillard's view as amazing. in other words, professor must think that even the furthest
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left supreme court justice isn't far enough left for her. you get the drift, mr. president, where she is. now we rightly expect justices on our nation's highest courts to evaluate cases before them. not, not to absolutism of an idealogue. but just listen. listen to the kinds of things pilllard has said. professor pilllard has expressed sympathy with the idea that the rights of our constitution, the same constitution she would be charged with upholding have -- quote -- "just about run out." that's professor pillard on the constitution. the rights of our constitution have just about run out. and this necessitates a shift
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toward international law. a shift toward international law. apparently she feels the u.s. constitution no longer adequate ly rely on foreign law to determine what we do here in this country. pillard has said that abortion essentially without limits -- without any limit at all -- is necessary to avoid conscription into maternal. end quote. conscription into maternity. and that even commonsense laws many american men and women support serve to -- quote -- "he enforce incubation." she's referred to the types of ultra sound images that are now available to so many proud moms and dads-to-be as -- quote --
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"deceptive images. ultra sound is a deceptive image according to professor pillard. perpetrated by the -- quote -- "anti-choice movement" in other words, she appears to think that proud moms and dads to be shouldn't believe their own eyes when they look at the images science has made increasingly available to us over the past few years. it's an understatement to say that these sorts of views are for someone the president wants on one of our nation's top courts. in short, professor pillard does not seem like a person with the mind set or the temperament of a judge. she seems like a person with the attitude and disposition of a
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left-wing academic, someone who seems to come to conclusions based on how well they support wrong theories. mr. president, judges are charged with fairly evaluating the law that is actually before them. not the law as they wish it to be. so i'll be voting against the pillard nomination. it's important to keep this in mind as well. nearly every single democratic senator voted to enable the majority leader's power grab last month. those senators are responsible for its consequences. that includes the confirmation of ms. pillard. regardless of how they vote on her nomination. so i'd urge you to rethink the kind of nominees you bring to the floor moving forward because now they're all yours.
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you own every one of them. simple majority, you own them. so, mr. president, extremist nominees like professor pillard are the reason the president and senate democrats took the unprecedented step of going nuclear two weeks ago. they unilaterally changed more than two centuries of history and tradition and violated their own prior statements and commitments so nominees like this could rubber stamp the president's most left-wing agenda items. this is the play book. forget the rules. forget checks and balances. and certainly forget the will of the american people. do whatever it takes, whatever
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it takes to get the president's agenda through. the other side of this, of course, is that democrats are determined to change the subject from obamacare. anything to change the subject. we now know that this president engaged in a serial deception in order to get his signature health care bill enacted into law. the white house debated whether to tell the truth or not on whether folks would be able to keep the plans they have. and they decided not to tell the truth, a conscious decision to mislead the american people going back to 2009. their view was the talking point was just to useful. they needed it in order to get what they wanted.
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so i would probably be looking to change the topic too if i were our 0 friends on the other side. change the subject to senate rules or nominees or anything else, for that matter. the last thing the majority wants to talk about is obamacare, because they own it 100%. not a single republican in the house or senate voted for it. every single senate democrat did. the problem is what senate democrats have done by going nuclear here in the senate is really no different from what they did on obamacare. once again, they said one thing and did another. the majority leader said publicly and repeatedly, he wouldn't break the rules, and then he did. he said he wouldn't break the
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rules, and then he did. as i said a couple of weeks back, he might as well have said if you like your senate rules, you can keep them. well, here we are today. here we are today ready to watch senate democrats rubber stamp an extremely liberal nominee to a lifetime position on a vote threshold the majority leader, back when he was in the minority and supported minority rights in the senate, said would be disastrous for our democracy. exactly what the majority leader said when he was in my position, it would be a disaster for our democracy. anything it takes. anything it takes to get this president's agenda around the checks that the founders
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established to restain majoritarian power. anything it takes. anything. to get around anyone who disagrees with them, whether it's obamacare or the judges they expect to defend it. anything at all it takes they're willing to do. and let me say it again. nobody who supported this rules change can walk away from nominees like professor pillard or their rulings. they own them. but let's get back to obamacare for a few minutes because that is the issue the american people are most concerned about right


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