tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 11, 2014 8:00am-10:01am EDT
>> a recent report by the harvard joint center for harper -- rising cost of the living standards of seniors. former housing and urban develop and secretary henry cisneros discussed the report's findings at an event hosted by the harvard center and aarp. this is one half-hour. >> thank you very much. what an energetic presentation. it's not necessary to be the mayor of san antonio become secretary of hud, but it doesn't hurt. [laughter] lisa, thank you for your kind words about my city and i'm very proud of pole in castro, but equally proud of his successor because an economist at the seventh largest city in the country, and there's never been a stead city larger than san ano
to of had an african-american mormon mayor which we now do in san antonio. so it's a very inclusive place and deliver the african-american population there is relatively small, taylor succeeded castro and speaks to the kind of breath if you will of the city and a very, very proud of what we been able to college. lisa, you are a pioneer in the all right. lisa, who is been the president of the aarp foundation for the last 10 months was previously the president of a college for 20 years, welsh college in upstate new york. thank you to you and aarp foundation for producing this very important report, supporting this very important report, and thank you to chris and the rest of the team at the harbert joint center for housing studies with whom i have worked over the years. really one of the absolute best
places for analytical work on housing in the country, and i thought chris did a great job of taking a mass of information and making sense of it in a coherent work. thank you very much for that good work. [applause] these are two organizations deserving of the respect accorded to them, the joint center for its high quality analysis, especially its annual state of the housing, nations housing report, and the aarp foundation and aarp for decades of advocacy for establishing lifelong sustaining programs, really iconic programs, insurance and so many other things that affects the lives of seniors crossed the country and very importantly for sounding the warning bell for decades of the work we need to be doing as a country support over america. this is a most important report. it's hard to break through the clutter of them important
subjects at a time when the news is full of worrisome crises, isis advances in iraq, israel and the palestinians trade blows. russia threatens the ukraine, and domestically we face and company miners at the border, va care issues, congressional stalemate on vital questions so it's hard to raise a subject like this to the level of attention that it deserves. but today's report on housing and supporting aging americans address is a set of demographic and financial dynamics which have the power to profound impact our nation. and its people. these issues may not be in the headlines today, and they may be slower burning, but they have the power to profound impact our way of life. they may not affect all of us personally today, but they
affect some of us today, including people who were suffering deeply because of the way these issues come together right now as we speak all across this country. and in time, a life of every american, including every person in this room, will be touched. the challenges of housing and supporting an aging population are not unique to the united states. japan is the oldest country in the world, and aging most rapidly. in fact, japan is now because it is not a country that has welcomed immigrants, and has this aging dynamic, actually is losing population. some of the northern european countries like france, scandinavian nations and russia, are on a path to declining population. spain and portugal are on the same path in southern europe. and china, by 2040, we'll have
more people over 65 years of age than the united states will have residents, over 400 million people in china will have reached 65. the dynamic of what it means in china is impacted by their one child policy. so the interplay of demographics is huge on the world stage. our aging problem as a nation may be different. in some ways and maybe more manageable because we have a growing population. we were 306 million a census of 2010. we will be over 400 million in the census of 2050, and so in that time span we will have not just a growing nation but a growing work force and that makes the problems more manageable than a country in decline because we have the resources being generated, taxes being paid, economy growing. that's hugely important. largely a function of the fact that we have younger populations in our minority populations and
immigration. so lest you think these things are unrelated, they all come together in the national debate. but still, despite the fact that we'll be growing and despite the fact we will be able to manage some of these issues, at least we will have the resources to do it, the absolute numbers of aging americans are stunning. chris catalyzed the key dimensions by want to reflect for a moment on what some of these things might mean. this report is about housing and support systems. but it is really driven by two fundamental realities. one of them is the scale of demographic change, the scale of an aging population. and secondly it is about money. that is to say, the personal assets that people have or don't have to provide for the own housing and governmental budgets. we have a big problem.
because the scales of the change is big. today's population of roughly 20 million americans over 65 will grow to almost 40 million by 2030. our over 65 population will double over the course of the next 20 years or so. that's just a mass of people. if you doubt the sense of this, then get off an airplane any day and see some in wheelchairs that are lined up. how many people need assistance. our society is changing just because of the size of the number of the population that is aging. we're talking about doubling the over 65. that's because the first of the baby boomers aren't between 1946-64, 18 year span, turns 65 in 2011. that was 2.8 million people turning 65 just in that year. the number grows dramatically and the impact is doubling of
the 65 year old population. today's population of persons over 85 is 6 million roughly and that will grow to 29 people in the same timeframe. so the over 85 population will triple. by 85 years of age, two out of three adults face cognitive, hearing, mobility or vision challenges. so the scale of the real-life impact, the scale of what this means for real people in massive numbers is huge. the second dimension that makes this an important issue is money. how do we pay for the needed housing and care? you could even make a case while this is a big issue, if we have the money come if we knew what the systems are to pay for, it would solve itself. the market would respond with necessary housing and the government would have enough money available. but if you don't have the money
and the scale is huge, that doubles the impact of the problem. many aging americans don't have personal savings. and governmental budgets are strapped. in 2012, one-third of persons over 50 years of age, 20 million households were cost burdens. that is to say they paid more than 30% of their incomes for housing. so 20 million people were paying more than the suggested 30% of their income for housing. half of those were severely cost burden, which means they paid more than 50% of their budgets for housing. that's the number that chris was referring to earlier, who paid 40% less for food than the average household, and 70% less for health care because they don't have it. they just don't have the money. they can't pay 50% of the budget for shelter and still have money
left over for other things. those are people over 50. people over 65, of those, 6.5 million households have incomes under $15,000 but imagine trying to live on $15,000. that's an increase of 37%, almost a third more than just a decade ago. 77% of those are cost burdens at 30% of their budget going to shelter reality. chris made a point this morning about the distinction between owners and renters. we know that in our country those who have invested in homeownership have some net worth, have some assets. but it's hard to believe that among the elderly, those who were owners, people over 50 years of age, among that age group, those who are owners have a net worth 44 times that of
renters. 44 times. and that translates into realities. and among home owners over 65, most have enough wealth to pay for about nine years of in home care. and about six and a half years of assisted care by cashing in on equity on their home. but for renters, what they have available to spend on care is about two months. so the applications of those who are owners today and those who are renters, in terms of what they can translate that into in terms of their care is huge. as chris said, two out of three older adults with disabilities rely on care from family members. that is spouses or usually adult daughters. and the ratio of family caregivers is declining as he
said from seven to one to three to one i 2050. so that is sort of a personal budget to governmental budgets are just -- socials good and medicare already account for 41% of all federal outlays. with the aging reality, those numbers will increasingly drive the federal budget deficit. i served on a bipartisan policy center budget deficit committee, and it's abundantly clear that it is this aging dynamic, and particularly health care costs will drive the budget deficit. so as we confront these two realities, the scale of demographics and the financial dimensions, it's clear that we will need more housing that is age-appropriate for the various stages of the aging. housing that is accessible, affordable, well located, linked to services, with trained staffs, properly accessorized,
healthy and safe. we must provide it because, first, it is a compassionate and enkidu. it is consistent with our ideals -- and thing to do. we don't lead people to suffer in their most vulnerable years. we never have believed that as a country and it's consistent with our ideals that we not. [applause] so there's a kind of first principle involved. secondly, its misery to make our community and our society function or we will be overburdened with the cost of care of people who are left behind. and because we can link housing and health to create a sense of well being. at every step of the type of housing that's necessary, we can do better. aging in place for the 90% of people who say they would like to stay in their own home for as long as possible, new approaches to independent living.
the first level of congregate care that people need when they realize they're not going to be in their own home. new ways to pay for an assisted living, which is the next level of care, very costly. and more memory care units for the onset of problems related to dementia in its various forms, including alzheimer's, where we know that brain science is not keeping up with other forms of medical science. people are physically okay but at some of age, at some particular point they became to lose cognitive capability. and then finally we need new skilled nursing facilities for the numbers of people who at the end of life will need that kind of care. but me say a quick word about each of these pieces of if you will the spectrum as we need them over the span of life. first of all aging in place. the vast majority of people when
told, over 90%, say that they want to stay at home. and, indeed, something like 94% of elderly americans live at home now. it is a tight connection to health and peace of mind for many of them that they are at home. and dr. james freeze at stanford has put together a framework he calls compression everybody which as if we can find ways to change the arc of decline over time, imagine an arc that begins around 50 or so and then steadily declines over time to give are able to change the trajectory to one that is on a plateau for a longer period of time and then inevitably there is a drop but it is a sharper drop at the very end, then we say not only suffering and family issues, but the immense
cost to society does the end-of-life costs are the most expensive. the fact they come much later in the process would be huge. how do we keep that trajectory, if you will, stronger includes many elements, including fitness, limiting things like smoking, dealing with diseases that used to be debilitating earlier in life, but very important in providing people with the physical conditions in which they can stay strong. socialize can get exercise, et cetera for a longer span -- span of time. that's the significance of this whole issue related to the number of people who are going to be aging in place. it involves renovations as well as new prototypes of house. renovations, fixing homes to put in ramps at the appropriate time, or lower kitchen cabinets or change bathroom fixtures or put a different kind of lighting for security, or accessorized with security devices by which
caregivers can be called at the appropriate time. but a whole range of things related to renovations. and there's a very interesting work being done now on new prototypes of homes, a company in florida creating what they call the liberty home that begins with zero step injuries and wider hallways and the bathroom fixtures at the appropriate height, and turned handles instead of jobs that make it hard for the elderly rest to turn as strength declines, and so forth. they are finding if they do it at the time to construct the home, it ends up being a lot cheaper than ever to come back in and do it later. and, oh, by the way, there is no problem in having these things in place for younger generations. so we can create the lifespan home that last over an entire lifetime. and as chris said earlier, there are things that local government and the national government can
do to encourage both the renovations as well as the new prototypes. universal design features by ordinance, tax credits to builders as is being done in ohio to encourage the inclusion of universal features. grants and loans from states as is being done in massachusetts, and hud and the federal government can play a major role in the committee development block grant program which has a great deal of discretion of the local level. and i've always felt that maybe time to be thinking about something like or even at that thing to existing weatherization program which has done such a good job in retrofitting homes for energy. we need to begin think about retrofitting homes for the lifespan capability. we did it over 30 years with the weatherization program and we can either adapt the program or modify it and do the same thing to create the lifespan setting but even programs like medicaid can be adapted so that renovations are possible under
it. and medicare as well. i am vice-chairman of habitat international, and one of my commitments at habitat is to incorporate a prototype home for our volunteers. they would be building something out to be build with some of these values in mind. and habitat is going to be building 100,000 homes a year over the next several years. we are now about to finish the 1 billionth home around the world. so it's not an insignificant commitment that can be made from volunteer organizations. then there is the reality of not just changing homes, houses, but existing communities, so-called naturally occurring retirement communities, and the new communities that we built. city planners have that phrase, norc. i recognize a place like that exists when i was there and i used to go to town hall meetings
in the evening, and anyone in the committee was older. a place like where my mom had lived until very recently, and the neighborhood i live in now actually in west san antonio. and i recognize as i was listening to people discuss their problems, the problems were different. they are not the same problems you would encounter in a younger neighborhood, issues of security when you think about it in a different way and the need for in home care and nutrition assistance. a different set of problems. in the community. we uphold communities across america. as chris said when he saw that map, 5% in 1990 of those counties, 5% in 1990 had population over 50 years of age, that was at least 40% of the population of the county. 20 years later in 2010, that number was not 5% but 33% of american counties had at least
40% of the population over 50 years of age. so this is a national problem of imports. transportation is a huge issue. as i've done a town hall meetings with elderly populations in these naturally occurring places, they cite isolation as their greatest fear. a sense of loneliness as children have moved out, as there is no way for them to drive any longer, and their fear of going out why themselves. so providing aging specialist who are able to help them get to doctors offices and get groceries, very, very important. we think the area agencies on aging and their emphasis on care in homes versus institutionalization, and home services like those offered by mercy housing missions, creek
community in san francisco, for example. we are seeing communities doing things like changing zoning. interestingly, one of the most aggressively creative cities in the country is new york city, which is changing -- first of all it ranked very highly as a place for the elderly to live because it is so walkable. everything is close by. public transit is available. wouldn't thought of new city as a good place for aging but there was an analysis of best places in america for aging, and new york ranked very highly, along with other places that are working to change zoning to make use is compatible nearby. accessory dwelling units has passing davis, california, to make it possible to place a unit on a lot adjacent to an existing home so that multi-generalization, generation of families can live together. and, of course, the virtual village network which today
tends to be a little bit on the upscale side, but they are working very hard to try to find ways to make it more accessible. so then we go to the other element of housing, and thinks it can be done beyond those who are living on their own. independent living, new approaches that involve co-housing, and approaches to providing services through into agency collaboration. the reality is that for most come and chris made this point earlier, many, many people who need independent living or other forms of assisted housing cannot get it because two out of three elderly residents who are eligible for federal housing assistance to not get a. the housing assistance is just not available. assisted care, the challenge is trying to pay for long-term care. medicaid requires spending down or disposition of assets for
families which ruined them, and medicare provides only short-term care after hospitalization. so we have some new thinking we've got to do about these critical programs and how they provide for assisted care. memory care, we need a lot more of it. my mom lived in the house that she and my dad bought in 1945 where all of my brothers and sisters and i were up until one month ago. she made it to 90. on july the 11th, and two weeks later had a fall and went into a facility, a hospital. and a doctor said, we would not be responsible if we let her go home. because the disorientation and the forgetfulness would only result in a situation like this again. so we began to look, my sister and i, for a memory care
facility, and we looked for days before we could find a facility that didn't have a waiting list that was three, four, six months long. found a wonderful place in the end. the truth is she doesn't want to be there. she wants to go home, and it's a very sad thing for me to visit her because it ends with her crying as i believe, and that i want to go out to the car and cry myself before i drive a way. but it's a really difficult difficult thing to find all the memory care and we need more of it. and then, of course, skill care nursing is the next step, and the median age of skill care facilities in the country is 36 years old. facilities are older. we just need more of them. it again we need to find more ways to help pay for this. so long and short is today's report should be heard as a wakeup call. it stresses why we must act.
why? because, i will repeat, it is a compassionate and right, the civilized and responsible thing to do. we owe the generations that have gone before. the truth of the matter is that the human body wears down. it loses strength. and as frailties increased, so due disorientation and even depression. caregivers are saddened and frequently at a loss. i have edited this book several years ago on the subject of independent living, and i probably made 40 speeches on the subject, and easily 35 out of those 40 times, some in the audience when we get to the questions stands up and described a personal circumstance in which there in complete despair. it's not unusual for someone to break down and cry in the
sessions as a describing the problems they confront. there's an article in today's "washington post" about a new book entitled we are not ourselves, and speaks to alzheimer's about the feature section of the paper. it quotes a doctor. i thought it was appropriate for today's presentation. what the doctor said about the interface if you of the problems of cognitive disorientation, and aging and housing. he said, this is a disease where you never win. it doesn't just take down the sufferer, it takes down the spouse, the children and friends. and so we are dealing with the reality of what the human body can do over time. just a practical fact. if we don't have good housing solutions for people, then we're just not doing what we ought to be doing. and when you overlay on top of these physical realities, these chronological realities, the
financial inadequacies, then we are courting family meltdowns. and the truth of the matter is that we are also courting the vast potential for a breakdown of key societal systems because we simply will not have the resources to deal with people and we cannot leave them on their own in this vulnerable state. why? again, communities can't sustained economic prosperity. we look at the vast sections of the midwest a kiss on the map. you go to many communities in the world heartland of america, uganda young people have left of the elderly or left behind. we look at those communities and we refuse to accept the way communities. why would we accept throwaway people? so a commitment to do with the reality that has confronted the nation is essential. finally, i would say because we know that for many of the applications of housing policy, we understand the primacy of
decent shelter but we understand the primacy of shelter for the homeless, for example. can't deal with homeless issues if we don't start with housing first a quick issues related to families and children. we understand the role that safe, decent, stable place to live means. that same logic, primacy of housing, applies to older americans also. housing has everything to do with the hope of staying independent and healthy for as long as possible. and that means social contact, exercise, peace of mind, familiar surroundings, linkages to health care, trained help, and a safe and decent place to rest in the most vulnerable years of life. our country must face some basic facts. and today's report makes these facts clear. we are aging. we are not ready. we are not preparing well enough.
we will reap the sad consequences. and we'll see many people suffer. it doesn't have to be that way. we can go to work now. we still have time. we are just at the beginning of the baby boom search. the critical mass is when those who just turned 65 reach their 80s, which is 12, 17, 20 years from now. we have some time, but we must think anew. we must plan comprehensively. we must act with determination and we must fill out responsibility as the great and compassionate nation that we are. thank you very much to all involved in today's program. [applause] >> here on c-span2 we take you live now to the council on foreign relations for remarks by
senate armed services committee chairman carl levin of michigan who is expected to talk about the u.s. strategy against the islamic militant group isis in iraq and syria and react to the president's address last night. senator levin traveled to iraq during the august congressional recess. is he the president's speech on a website, c-span.org. live coverage here on c-span2. >> we certainly have a lot to talk about. just so there's no confusion since we're about the same size and same age and we spoke with a class on the edge of our nose, this fell on the right is a very distinguished senator from michigan, carl levin. and i am the pbs -- senator levin, is of course the widely respected chairman of the senate armed services committee who served for 36 years when he retired in january. ..
>> and it's just hours since president obama spoke to the nation on the challenges now confronting us. so, senator levin, you have the floor, sir. >> up heresome. >> i guess, yes. >> michael, thanks, first of all, for all your work, your introduction, and it's great to be back at the council on foreign relations again.
i think this is three years in a row, perhaps. as i came up on the elevator, i was reminded we're also here, as michael mentioned, on the anniversary of the horrific events of september 11th, 2001, so this is a very appropriate time to talk about these issues. i just returned from a trip to ukraine, iraq and jordan. that's the type of trip, by the way, that does not make it into "the washington post" series on congressional junkets to choice travel destinations. [laughter] current events this these countries are -- in these countries are a direct consequence of two of the most dramatic transformations in international environment that i've seen in my 36 years in the senate. first, the end of the cold war and, second, the rise of a virulent strain of islamic
extremism. russia's actions in ukraine are a direct challenge to the post-cold war hopes for europe. in effect, putin has asserted a new sphere of influence or reasserted an old one in which he believes he can act with impunity to impose russia's will much as the soviet union did in eastern europe during the cold war. in many ways, putin's actions in ukraine have been a wake-up call to which the western democracies are beginning to respond in a way in which we did not do in the case of the russian occupation of territory in georgia and moldova, excuse me. in light of ukraine's proximity to russia, russia's overwhelming military advantages in the area and putin's apparent willingness to violate the norms of
international conduct, there's little that ukraine would be able to do to stop a direct, large scale russian military action should russia choose to invade openly. nato will not go to war with russia over ukraine, nor should we lead the ukrainians to believe that we will. as we tragically did with the hungarians in 1956. so what should the united states and our allies do in ukraine first? we should continue to find ways to make it clear to the russians that they cannot reject the post-cold war order in europe while continuing to participate in the european economy at the same time. that's why sanctions are important and must stay in place even if a ceasefire is effective until russia conforms its actions to the norms of international behavior. second, we should do more to help the ukrainians defend themselves. ukrainians emphasized to me on
my visit that they are willing to fight for themselves, and as long as they understand that we will not be sending our own men and women to fight for them, i believe we should provide them with the military equipment that they need. that means both lethal and nonlethal equipment including mraps and other equipment that would otherwise be shredded or abandoned as we leave afghanistan. we should do this because assisting people who are willing to fight to defend their own country and their own freedom reflects our value. it would enable the ukrainians to raise the price the russians have to pay for their aggression and, hopefully, make putin think twice about continuing or furthering agrergs. aggression. russia's violation of international law in ukraine has already drawn nato closer together, reinvigorating the alliance by providing a new
challenge and a strong common interest. putin could, as he boasted, occupy eastern ukraine. but in the long run, he would be acting against russia's own interest because he cannot prevail against a united europe. my iraq visit focused on isis and the imminent threat that it poses to iraq, the region and the international community. our military leaders and intelligence experts uniformly told us that airstrikes alone will not be sufficient to defeat isis. isis' rapid spread has been possible in large part because it exploited sunni discontent with the maliki government which insisted on ruling iraq on a narrow, secretary basis. sectarian basis. if the new prime minister shows that iraq will now be governed inclusively, isis will find fewer sunni leaders willing east
east -- east -- willing either to aid and abet their terror either way. president obama has been cautious about resorting to military action in the iraq and elsewhere. in the middle east, the use of military force without arab support can be counterproductive, providing fuel for the hateful propaganda used by extremists who attack a western presence as, quote, occupation. for instance, either isis nor its predecessor, al-qaeda in iraq, existed before the u.s. invasion in 2003. instead, al-qaeda in iraq was created in response to the american presence in that country and fed off the resulting conflict. so what should the united states do about isis? the president laid out a forceful strategy last night. it deserves bipartisan support.
first, just as isis poses a threat to the international security, the response needs to be international. president obama has begun building an international coalition to respond to isis, a u.n. resolution endorsing the use of force against isis while not necessary, would help rally international support. the participation of key arab states in the region will be critical to the effectiveness of any international coalition. if western countries act in iraq and syria without visible participation and leadership by arab nations, it will play into the propaganda pitch of extreme elements within the sunni community that they, isis, is the only force willing to stand up against foreign domination. active participation by arab
states is key because the fight against isis is a struggle for the hearts and minds of sunni muslims as well as a military struggle. the vast majority of muslims oppose the brutality of isis whose or horrific actions may be a turning point in persuading mainstream islam of the need to expunge this poisonous offshoot. if mainstream muslims fail to join in and the conflict could e successfully portrayed as one of the west against islam, the poison is likely to reappear in new and different forms as it has in the past. second, within the context of a broad international alliance, i believe that congress will support airstrikes against isis, taking on the group's leadership and infrastructure in both iraq and syria. the president's hand will be strengthened by congressional
support, and he was wise to welcome it last night. but he already has the authority he needs under both domestic and international law to conduct such a campaign. under domestic law the president has authority to act under article ii of the constitution when necessary to defend the united states. the beheading of two american journalists couple with the isis' threats against with the united states and its training of americans provides sufficient basis for such action. under international law the president has authority to act in iraq in accordance with the request of the government of iraq. he has authority to act in syria because the syrian government has proven unwilling or unable to address the isis threat from its ungoverned territories. third, we should train, equip and assist those iraqis and
syrians who are willing to fight isis. their boots are on the ground already, and their own country's future is at stake. this effort should start with the kurds. while limited in their military capabilities, the kurdish peshmerga have proven willing to fight in their own defense and even to take the fight to isis in key strategic areas near kurdistan. moreover, the kurds have provided some defense for nearby areas occupied by religious minorities and have taken in refugees fleeing from isis assaults, providing a haven of religious tolerant that has too up been absent in that -- too often been absent in that part of the world. we should do all that we can to insure that the peshmerga has the equipment they need and to help train them in the tactics that will succeed against isis. but training and equipping the
peshmerga will not be sufficient to counter the isis threat outside the areas under kurdish control. we should provide training and assistance to the iraq armed forces as the new iraqi government, hopefully, demonstrates that it is prepared to govern in an inclusive manner. if anything should bring the iraqis together in a common cause, the threat posed by the barbaric tactics of isis should do it. as baghdad addresses the grievances of iraq's sunni communities which have helped give rise to the isis threat, western nations should increase the level of military assistance provided. finally, we and our allies should take additional steps to openly train and assist vetted moderate opposition in syria as the president is requesting and has requested. even if isis is pushed out of
iraq, the organization will survive unless it is also defeated in syria. in syria, as in iraq, isis can be set back by air power but cannot be defeated without an opposing force to take the fight to it on the ground. that force needs to be a well-vetted, moderate syrian opposition force that is trained, equipped and supported with by the united states and its allies, again, including partners among the arab states. in iraq and syria and ukraine, the fight is for their people to win. but we and -- we can and should provide robust assistance to those who are prepared to fight for themselves against terror and aggression. the it is the right thing to do, it reflects our values, and it is in our national interest. u.s. military force is not
always the answer, but it can be and often is an essential part of the answer to terror and aggression. equally important is an effective political and economic strategy which in the case of isis must include both a broad international coalition with active participation by arab nations and the establishment of a moderate, inclusive alternative in both iraq and syria. michael? >> thank you. thanks very much. we'll get started by asking you what roles do you see actually being played by saudi arabia, turkey, jordan, arab allies in this coalition, and if arab muslim participation is crucial to some ultimate success.
is a public role possible for them, and if so, what might that be for those countries? >> the public role is not only possible, it's essential. if we're going to turn the momentum against the extremists and the terrorists and the fanatics and the violence users inside of that strand of islam, it's got to be led by mainstream islamists. there's no alternative. now for two reasons, one is because of isis and who they threaten. and it is very clear that they threaten those same countries. the existence of the governments in those countries. and the second reason is that what the president is doing in asking for us to openly fund training and equipping under
title x, he's asked for $500 million for training and equipping, and he's asked for specific support and authority to train and equip. he already has the authority, by the way. >> right. >> the reason for asking for that open authority under title x which means defense department personnel and not other personnel dong it co-- doing it covertly, is to show the arab world that we are openly doing something which we have only done covertly which i believe they will -- which will help them to do the same thing. a number of those countries have provided support in the effort, for instance, against assad. but they have not done it openly. but for this effort against isis to work militarily in the short run but in terms of politically to turn the strand of iran -- of
islam into a minority that has no political power, there's got to be open support of this effort, and it's got to be part of an open coalition which will show the muslim world and the sunni world which is part of it that this is a effort which reflects the mainstream values of islam. and it is for them to purge this poison that the strand has produced. >> why haven't muslim leaders in this country especially and elsewhere spoken out more publicly against isis and -- >> i think they have spoken out publicly. i don't know that it's been covered adequately. but i think in other countries they have not. in a number of -- a number of imams in other countries have,
as a matter of fact, aided and abetted isis or the extremists, put it that way. all the reasons, they could either flow from an ideological agreement or from monetary support. there's all kinds of motivation that can be there. but the, it needs to be done more because, again, this poison's got to be purged by islam, and it's totally anti-islam. i will always -- i won't go into that anecdote, it takes too long. but the conversation i had with sadat reinforced my belief that mainstream islam is totally inconsistent with what the fanatics are doing. >> just to get back to those three countries for a minute, do you believe that their role in a coalition -- saudi arabia, turkey, jordan, for example -- will be visible to the public and to everybody in terms of actual contribution to a
coalition? >> the hope is that it will be, that's what the effort is of secretary kerry and the president right now is that it be open to. it needs to be for this effort to be successful long term. and the fact that isis is a threat to them that i think now that they can do it openly without fear of retaliation in their own countries by a minority that will take to the streets. >> yeah. i noticed the president actually didn't call for the ouster of assad again, but how do you, how do you weaken and attack isis without strengthening assad? >> because you go after both of the problems by various ways inside of syria, but mainly by training and equipping the forces that oppose those two alternatives which are now in
iraq holding open a third alternative. the two alternatives -- i'm sorry, in syria. i misspoke. the two alternatives now in syria are either assad or isis. the moderates have been weakened. there are two alternatives. the goal of the president is to have a third alternative that is offered in iraq. it may be complicated to have both of these efforts going on in the same country, but for the most part they will be focused in different parts of the country. >> do you -- most of the reporting has suggested that people are cautious about this whole approach, find it hard to imagine working or at least the recommendations that there had to be some kind of larger american military on-the-ground
presence. not a lot of troops, but certainly a larger or some force of special forces or something like that in order to give this a greater chance of success, this overall strategy. is that something you would agree with? >> not combat forces on the ground, no. >> right. >> i think, number one, it is not necessary. number two, it works against us politically. it doesn't lay the responsibility where it must fall, in iraq and syria, to achieve these goals by themselves. a unified iraq, less sectarian than under maliki and a syria which purges itself, hopefully, of both assad and of isis. >> the facts on the ground about the iraqi army after all these
years are not encouraging. is there any reason to believe that that army's going to perform better? >> the hope is that a new government, which is not sectarian the way maliki was, will have the support of an army unlike the previous army which was not willing to support a sectarian government in baghdad. >> senator, do you believe that there's, that the president is actually being drawn, drawn into another conflict or is intentionally being drawn into this conflict by isis and related groups? it's something that sort of of y want for their strategy. >> they might want it, but they won't want it after what they're going to face. [laughter] i mean, it's hard to
psychoanalyze -- >> yeah. >> -- people whose mentality is on a different planet from my perspective. so they may want it, they may want death. i mean, there's a lot of people who say that these folks want death. they want to be killed, they want to get to heaven faster. if that's their wish, we should try to help them achieve it. [laughter] >> speaking of psychoanalysis -- [laughter] could you give us your overall sense of the president's ability -- i don't mean his personal ability, but his ability to pull all this together, to pull together a congress, a coalition, the public? he's taken a terrible beating among the chattering classes and the pontificators in the last several months. his poll ratings have dropped. they may have gone up somewhat
after these horrible beheadings and what not that have galvanized people, but he would appear to be at a stage where his foreign policy presence has been weakened, and yet he's got this huge challenge. how among congress and your sense, how well is he able to really pull this together at this time of his presidency? >> he is able to do it, and i predict he'll succeed in doing this for a number of reasons. number one, the american people want to respond to this threat. it's clear from the nature of the threat, it's clear from the beheading events that the american people want a strong response. they'll support the strong response which we saw yesterday from the president. secondly, the world community is going to galvanize here, and
that's essential. this president really has had a number of kind of strains in his thinking which i think the american people support. number one is force is a last resort. secondly, they want -- i think they agree with this president in saying that we cannot achieve for others what they are unwilling to achieve for themselves. the people of iraq and syria have got to basically make the decision and fight for their own cups and their own freedoms -- for their own countries and their own freedoms. we can help, we should help, but the main focus cannot be us invading a country the way it was in the iraq war. and so that is another strand in the president's thinking. and the third strand which i believe the american people support is that you need an international coalition -- unlike iraq -- where as a western country going in without any arab support into a muslim
country. what this country has always focused on coalition, a broad-based coalition, not just a western coalition which already, i think, is clear there's going to be many western countries that are going to participate in what the president has outlined. but having visible arab sport is what his -- support is what his goal is. and that is something which i believe the american people also support. >> do you see a chance of this spreading into saudi arabia, for example? conflict? >> not in a big way. in terms of violent acts? there have already been violent acts in many countries, so i can't say there won't be violent acts, but in terms of a large scale civil war type environment, i don't want see it. >> do you see this very intense focus on isis now, especially reinforced by the president's
speech, as somehow providing putin with an opportunity to do some things in ukraine that would perhaps have gotten more attention? in other words, perhaps he could -- >> i think he's kind of moving in the other direction from this morning's reports in terms of removing some presence there. but i don't think so. i think ukraine is very, very much in the minds of this administration and should be, and i hope that we find a way to not only add additional pressure with sanctions until putin lives up to international norms, but also provide additional military equipment to the ukrainians. their president's going to be here next week. i've not met him, but from what i read about him, he's an impressive person in terms of
being a patriot, ukrainian patriot, but also in someone who's got some kind of business sense which gives him a certain kind of cache, i think. but also he's been, i think, strong relative to his comments about putin. >> uh-huh. just two quick questions before he turn to the audience. one, at a time like this where there's so much emphasis on what the world is really like today and a lot of conflict, on the other hand the size of the army and the marine corps are continuing to decline. does that bother you as a leader of the armed services committee? >> um, i think we have to downsize somewhat. we're doing it in a cautious way. i am troubled by the hit that readiness has taken through some of the budget cuts. and there's opinion an effort
with some -- there's been an effort with some success to restore the readiness, but we're going to have a somewhat stronger military but that is always ready. that's the key, and that's the decision. where we've also shorted ourselves is on some modernization. so i believe that the whole sequestration decision, looking back at it, was wrong. its purpose was not top to be implemented -- was not to be implemented, its purpose, making these across-the-board cuts in discretionary accounts, defense and nondefense, was never to be implemented. it was to force us to do something rational. it did not succeed in that regard, and i think we ought to find a way, frankly, to repeal sequestration, and if you had a half hour, i'd tell you how i would do it. i won't be around here to implement it anyway -- >> you're okay with the troop levels? >> with the gradual reduction, i am. >> yeah. and also i know you've been to afghanistan many, many, many
times, and it's kind of receded, gotten off the map a little bit. but there is this sense or, again, critics talk about how the withdrawal from afghanistan and iraq has perhaps contributed to the ascension of isis. and just give us a quick look at the situation in afghanistan, if you wouldn't mind. >> in afghanistan the glass is at least half full and, i believe, getting fuller. that's not the perception of the american people. i think the media coverage of afghanistan has been so overwhelmingly negative, focusing on the bad events, the tragic events, the violent events which are there but not focusing at all on the accomplishments which are really quite extraordinary in terms of the number of kids that are going to school, including girls 40% of the students now are girls, 40% of the teachers are
women. the opening of universities, the -- kabul's a totally different place in terms of business, in terms of people on the streets than it was five or six years ago, much less ten years ago. i've been there a dozen times. it is visible, what the difference is in afghanistan. the afghan people are glad we came. the afghan people, according to their polls, believe we've had some real success in afghanistan. we being, by the way, a coalition. how is it the american people overwhelmingly think it's failure? how does that happen? where do the american people get their information from? they get it from our media. and if the media doesn't cover the positive side of the story, the american people are understandably going to say it looks like we failed in afghanistan. i think bob gates maybe put it as well as could be put.
this is the first war that he has ever seen -- afghanistan is the first war he's ever seen that the closer you get to it, the better it looks. >> well, okay, we will now get close to our audience. again, please wait for the microphone, speak directly into it, state your name, affiliation, stand up, of course. and keep your remarks -- your comments to questions and brief ones, please. yes. >> thanks. barbara slavin with the atlantic council, and i also write if monitor.com. i want to go back to the assad question. the syrian moderate opposition, so-called, has not gotten its act together in the last three years. it has been feckless at best both politically and militarily.
it seems a huge leap of faith now to think that we really can create an alternative in that country. and if i could tack on an associated question, if one assumes that eventually you do have to get rid of assad to get rid of isis, don't we have to work with the iranians in order to engineer that? thanks. >> well, we're not going to work with the iranians to do that. their motivations are different from our motivations. they support assad, we don't, and is it a complex situation? yes. is it achievable? i believe it is achievable. is it a huge challenge? of course it is. but there are going to be forces trained and equipped to go after isis. there are going to be continuing training and equipping, hopefully much expanded, of forces that want to keep the heat on assad. it's a large country. the most of the territory which
is effectively governed by isis is in a different part of iraq than the part that is essentially governed by assad, and there's also parts that are governed by the moderate. so it's complex, but it has to be done, and i don't know of any better alternative. i just don't know of a better alternative than what the president laid out. i mean, if sending in troops, u.s. troops and western troops in there if any of the people who are critical of this want to do that and there may be some, then they should say so. i heard some of the republican criticism. it's been -- even before the speech, by the way. this isn't your question, but it gives me an opportunity to to pick a bone anyway with some of the partisanship here. i have never seen, never seen such vir you leapt partisanship -- virulent partisanship in 36 years, particularly in the area of
international policy. i mean, i was a critic of president bush's going to war in iraq. i voted against it, i thought it was a mistake. and then the vote was there, and i joined this supporting our troops. but it was never virulent, it was never continual, it was never just rat-a-, tat-tat. you disagree with him, you're civil, you move on. i mean, on the eve of the president's speech, mitch mcconnell -- and i was there when he did it yesterday -- attacks the president on every single thing. the president's to blame for everything in foreign policy, he was focusing on. this on the eve of the president's speech. i've seen republicans in a highly partisan way attack the president when he's abroad. we would never do that on a president who's abroad. so the republican partisanship
against this president has reached a level i have never seen in 36 years. now, that's not a response to your question, but -- [laughter] thanks for bearing with me. >> yes, i think this gentleman -- >> thank you. jonathan bruder from congressional quarterly. senator, have you given any thought to what plan b ought to be if the ground forces that we're counting on to defeat isis both in iraq and syria don't? if isis beats them? >> well, i think, first of all, you've got to fully flesh out the coalition. and see how that works. and as you do that, you obviously want a plan b, but i think that plan a is being fleshed out militarily, and the focus has got to be right now on
fleshing out plan a. you know, i don't think there's plan b that has come to anyone's mind because if there were a better plan than this one, i think people would have proposed it, and i haven't heard too many alternatives to this plan. i've heard a lot of criticism, but i haven't heard of many alternatives. so the answer is i think that we should and hopefully will both inside the pentagon, inside the state department, inside the white house be working on they alternatives as this is underway. but i don't think there's a fully-fleshed plan a yet in terms of a coalition being put together, and so it's kind of hard. personally, i have not -- do i think it's being thought of? i hope so, plan b. >> yes, sir. >> lloyd -- [inaudible] spaulding.
mr. chairman, thank you for your comments. particularly in light of the end of your comments to the previous questioner here, i heard you say and i appreciate and embrace the need for congressional support. but in light of that current attitude preventing the congress, how do you see that happening and when do you see that happening? incidentally, it was reassuring to hear from some responsible republicans, democrats some bipartisan support for that in the press this morning. >> good. well, i think it will get -- the president's proposal will get bipartisan support. i think some of the strident voices hopefully now against the president are going to now cool it for a while while we see if we can't find a way to support the president whether it's through a new aumf, the new authority for the use of military force, or whether it's through a resolution of support,
whether it's through supporting the funding he's asked for in training and equipping under title x which sounds technical, but that gets to the question of the openness of the support which is so critical to the issue of gaining arab open support which, in turn, is so critical to long-term success. so i believe there will be bipartisan support for it. i don't know the form because there's many ways you can express support here. the aumf approach has got some complexities to it as we saw from the last aumf which is still in effect 11 years later. so i hope now in terms of timing, i hope we can come up with a, some mechanism of support whether it's a combination of supporting the title x request for train and equip money which i surely hope we're going to do before we leave, whether it's in addition to that some kind of a
resolution of support, which is perhaps less of a legal document which is what an author aition for the use of military -- authorization for the use of military force is. that is in law, and it could be more, possibly, some kind of a sense of the congress resolution of support. i hope we can do something in that area before we leave as well as the title x financial support for the $500 million. and i think both of those are possible. the aumf, if it comes to be, i think, will take a longer time to figure that out because, again, that is a legal, binding document which has some implications in terms of how long a period, what are the limits of the force. you've got to work out some language which you as a fantastic lawyer know will take
some time. >> yes, sir. >> jim slat erie from -- [inaudible] >> hold on. >> great to see you. thank you very much for 36 incredible years in the united states senate. >> thank you -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> your leadership. i want to come back to the question that barbara slavin's raised. are we certain, absolutely certain that iran is not willing to play a constructive role in dealing with assad and replacing him somehow? and is there an opportunity for us to have a conversation with iran about replacing assad as we deal with isis which they clearly see as an immense threat to them? and, you know, i am puzzled by why today we are just paralyzed, it seems like, in dealing with opportunities where the enemy of our enemy may be our friend at
least for a period of time and why we're unwilling to seize these moments. i've been involved for ten years in an abrahamic outreach to iran, so it's totally passion for me and a pro bono project. but i strongly believe, senator, if we do not deal with rouhani and zarif and the others around him, god help us in dealing with iran over the next five to ten years. i just want us to be as creative as we possibly can be in dealing with this situation. so thank you again for your leadership. >> your question is, are we paralyzed? i guess. >> and also are we certain that iran is not open to helping us deal with a post-assad syria? >> i can't say that i'm certain of anything in the middle east, first of all. [laughter] with those nations, with iran, with the iraqi leadership. there's some things i am certain
about in the middle easts, but we won't go into that. that's not your question. most of the things you ask about i can't say i am certain about. does that mean -- >> [inaudible] >> i don't see how you explore dealing with iran. on this area. at the same time, i believe, we're wise in trying to explore with iran a way of making sure that they don't get to a nuclear weapon. i think they would -- if you tried both at the same time, i think they would somehow or other get intertwined, and the nuclear piece so important that we succeed that just hanging onto that possibility is difficult enough, frankly, without talking about adding another complex issue to it. so i just don't think it is practical, i don't think it's wise to see if that is a
possibility, what you describe, at the same time we're negotiating, hopefully, or discussing a way to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. because if that doesn't succeed, the ramifications are huge, and we shouldn't do anything which could upset it or raise their expectations that something that we are talking to them about in syria might mean that maybe we wouldn't be as tough on them in negotiations on the nuclear side. >> yes. this lady behind you. yeah. and i'll get you next. >> thank you very much. francis cooke, i'm now a consultant. senator, thank you for your service. one of my fondest memories in to man was a visit with senator warner, so we had a democrat and republican traveling with a republican secretary of state who was working for a democratic president -- >> those were the good old days. >> that seems almost like pell
to news january wars now. [laughter] you've got a room here of foreign affairs professionals. can you give us any hope or some idea of what can be done? is we're making people overseas very nervous if we have trouble putting together this coalition. they think we're a hapless giant right now because of what's going on in washington. dick cheney was on the hill testifying this week too -- >> don't take me there. [laughter] >> him saying obama supports the muslim brotherhood, when that gets in the egyptian -- >> don't get me started on dick cheney. >> what can we do? >> what we can do is continue to look for ways to be bipartisan. i come from a state who produced arthur vannedden bug who was a violent, he was heroic. he helped truman succeed with nato and all the other things which they were able to do after world war ii. and he had to change his position, by way, to do it.
he had been an isolationist before world war world war ii. so i know how essential it is. and it's really, at the moment, if we're going to get arab and muslim countries to openly get involved in this coalition, we have got to be bipartisan here. if they see us squabbling and not agreeing on things we agree on, i mean we -- okay. you can start arguing about whether or not we should have made a greater effort to leave troops in iran after an iraqi government said they wouldn't sign an agreement with us that our troops would be protected. i mean, there's so much history you can argue about. and i'm more than willing to argue that and a bunch of other issues. but right now the issue is whether or not the body politic in this country is going to pull together to go after a real threat to us and to the world. that's the question. 95% of us think we ought to go
after 'em. when i say "us," in the congress, i think. should we go after isil, isis? the answer is i think 95% of us would say yes. given that, and there's a pretty strong feeling on this issue, and there's a strong feeling in the public. 70% of the public now thinks we ought to do it too. for heaven sake, in this circumstance can't we then pull together, drop some of that partisan stuff that we heard from mcconnell on the floor yesterday on the eve of the president's speech? i, i just don't understand why he thought that would somehow either help this country or politically help his cause. i don't get it. but the answer to your question is just the way i believe that isis ought to be cement, glue that brings together the muslim world, 99% of whom have got to hate isis just the way isis can be a mechanism to unify the
muslim world and to expel that poison, that element of poison that is there and needs to be expelled, i think isis can be that effect, positive effect in the muslim world, to unify. for heaven's sake, the same point applies to us. >> yes, sir. >> hi, this gentleman here first. >> thank you. jack goldstone, woodrow wilson center. senator, you have far more experience than i do, so i defer to your insight. but i come back to this question about syria and iran. isis is already using american weapons that were captured from moderates we tried to equip. >> that's not necessarily true. the weapons that they captured may not have been -- according to that story -- even american weapons, but keep going. >> if we're going to make the moderates in syria a strong and
effective force, it's going to require some input of american advisers, trainers, supervisors. iran already has boots on the ground in syria supporting assad. the sunni coalition that is vital to the success of this effort may be perceived by iran as a threat, a sunni coalition aiming to displace a government they're supporting. how can we not be talking to iran if we're building a sunni coalition in the region, if we are putting american efforts into opposing a regime that they support? if they don't feel part of this effort, it may destroy all the efforts we've made to make progress in the nuclear and ore areas. -- other areas. >> if iran doesn't feel part of the effort? well, they're already there, so they're already making an effort without being part of a coalition. and secondly, the government of iraq has got -- if they want to talk, which they obviously do
with rapp, they can do it. were -- with iran. it can't be direct conversations with iran for practical reasons, i believe. look, i'm someone who very strongly believes that we ought a to be negotiating with iran on the nuclear side. against some very strong opposition to even talking to rapp on the nuclear side. that, to me, is the number one goal right now, is to avoid that catastrophe of iran getting a nuclear weapon. and i think this could muddy that water and confuse and complicate those negotiations if any another area we're relying on iran -- because i think it could help, it could raise their expectations somehow or other, it could e -- it could affect what they calculate we want them to do on the nuclear side. and i don't want them to change their calculus. i want them to know how serious we are and the people negotiating with them are that
they not get to a nuclear weapon and somehow or another think if they're in a coalition in some other area that could change or weaken our resolve on the nuclear side. >> yes, ma'am. >> i'm myths city -- [inaudible] with the naval postgraduate school. this has been a fabulous discussion. my question is for you. how do we get the media to explain the story the senator has been telling us? and i understand wanting to be the first without any report on conflict, but i think you have to start demanding from congress that they talk together. i mean, i remember when coppty rice was sort of -- condi rice was talking about all of this, and i said how can we sell democracy if we can't make it funk here? -- function here? so -- >> well, the media -- >> do you have a mic on? >> yes, i do.
i'm not going to say anything though. [laughter] it's a strange beast. i think the senator comes at his views on coverage of afghanistan from where he sits. i would argue generally, and i really haven't studied the press broad coverage on afghanistan recently, but i would argue that if you go back and look at a major news organizations, they've probably done a reasonable job. the problem with, i think, with press coverage often is that when the action stops or when american troops are gone, the press coverage goes with it. and i think that happened in iraq and happened in afghanistan as well. in iraq there was intense coverage and very heavy coverage and many, many reporters there. when the withdrawals began and u.s. casualties went way down, the coverage actually went way
down. at least that's my recollection. and so one of the weaknesses of the press is perhaps that when americans are not directly involved -- especially when they're being killed or wounded in combat -- there's less of a focus on these spots about the aftermath. and i think that's in part responsible because there are not enough foreign correspondents, because it's very expensive coverage. and so i think you'd find in almost any conflict that there's a very significant dropoff in daily press coverage -- >> and educating the public. >> well, they are there to report, they're not teachers. i mean, they're not there to educate. they're there to report what's going on. but that, the interest level drops both among, i think, editors and perhaps the public, and they're tied together when
the u.s. involvement drops. yes. >> hi, elise saw with human rights first. senator, again, thank you. i want to add my thanks to your, for your service and your leadership which have been so important. it sounds like you and the president agree that he has the authority to move as he's described. but it sounds like maybe, for different reasons, you cited article ii, he, i think, has said he has authority under the 2001 aumf. while it may sound like an arcane legal question, i think one of the concerns that we've had is that the open-endedness of the aumf -- which i think you have also shared some concerns about that -- ultimately, while it gives maximum flexibility, might undermine support for the war effort. and one of the lessons maybe we can learn is building that
support requires kind of an understanding and clarity about what our mission really is for americans to support this for the long term. can you talk a little bit more about what you think the risks might be for open-ended authorization for the use of military force, either how it's been used under the 2001 aumf or potentially the connection? >> well, we've seen the aumf that was adopted in 2002 and used in 2003 be used far afield from the area of interest at the time. we get into these legal arguments about whether the groups we go after are with that authority, it's not pursuant technically, but with that authority are somehow or other connected adequately to the group that a we were going after. i mean, it's a legal document.
and it's got to be done with some real care. by the way, it was not done in many of the conflicts that we've seen. we didn't have an aumf in kosovo, in bosnia, we didn't have an aumf in libya. now, so, you know, we've never had an aumf just using air power, by the way, and we've not always had an aumf even where there was ground forces. so i believe the president should get bipartisan support. i think his policy is right. you can disagree as to how we get here, how we got here, but i believe the policy that he has laid out is right. and for us at this moment to kind of disagree on technical wordings of an aumf which is law
instead of coming up with a, perhaps, a joint or concurrent resolution supporting what he's doing with its limits, by way, no ground troops, for instance, relying on a coalition. i mean, these are limiting factors. these are themes of this president, which i have to share. but i think it gets to the point about are we going to now try to overcome the complexities of an aumf which will be a divisive debate, probably a complex debate, maybe a partisan debate? it leads to that because it's such a legal document which is binding law instead of pulling together in some way, supporting the title x funding and maybe having a resolution, a sense of a congress resolution supporting what 90% of us support on. leave out the parts where we
disagree. just put in there the parts we agree to show the world that we're supporting this policy. not everybody, obviously, supports the president. but i think 80, 90% of us -- and i better stick with the 90%, or else i'll be looking ip consistent -- i think 90 percent of us believe this policy is right. some don't think it goes far enough, some think it goes too far, i think 90% of us think it's pretty close to target. they're a threat to us, the region. we've got to have a coalition. i think people feel that -- >> we will leave this conversation with senator eleven at this point. -- senator leaven at this point. as we look at a live picture of the flagging flying at half staff in commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the september 11th attacks, the flag flying over the u.s. capitol. tributes at the white house, the pentagon and in new york city taking place today, and we have coverage on the c-span networks.
the senate about to gavel in to continue debate on two bills including the paycheck fairness act which would require employers to pay men and women with similar qualification the same wes for similar jobs. also a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment that would give congress the ability to place limits on campaign contributions in federal elections. we expect to hear about further senate action on both of these bills from majority leader harry reid shortly after the chamber gavels in. and now live to the senate floor. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, who is in the world as well as above and beyond it, you are our refuge and strength. on this september 11th we
remember the terrorist attacks on our nation. lord, thank you for continuing to be shelter for our land. in a special way, bless our military men and women who daily risk their lives to protect our freedoms. remind us that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is an equal opportunity destroyer. empower us to become a people and nation worthy of the blessings you have showered upon us.
guide our haw makers with your which is comwisdom, protection,d strength, using them to make our nation and world better. surround them with the shield o your favor, as you provide them with the wisdom to do what is right, just, and true. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge f allegiance to the flag. 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., september 11, 2014. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable john e. walsh, a senator from the state of montana, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: patrick j. leahy, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will observe a moment of silence to pay tribute to the thousands of americans whose lives were taken on september 11, 2001. [moment of silence]
the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate -- the majority leader. mr. reid: following my remarks and those of the republican leerksd the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 2199, the paycheck fairness act, postcloture. filing deadline for amendments is 12:00 noon today. second-degree amendments, 1:00 p.m. i hope to move forward on a vote on the paycheck fairness bill this afternoon.
i would remind everyone there is a briefing at 4:00 today. it'll be in the visitors center, the classified room. we'll be briefed on what's going on in the middle east by administration officials. mr. president, h.r. 5078 is due for its second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 5078, an act to preserve existing rights and responsibilities with respect to waters of the united states and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would to be any further proceedings at this time on this matter. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, i'm not sure that everyone remembers whethewhere they were 13 years o today, but most of us remember. the vast majority of us rememb
remember. just a few feet from here in s-219, senator daschle had his usual tuesday morning leadership meeting. i was assistant leader at the time. i was the first to come into the room shortly before 9:00. about 9:00, maybe a minute or two after, senator john breaux from louisiana walked in, said, flip on the tv, something is going on in new york. we flipped on the television and something had happened on one of the towers. it looked like an airplane had hit one of the towers. i wondered, what happened there? we kind of looked at each other. people started coming into the room, the tv was turned off and the meeting was started. just a short time thereafter, five, six minutes at the most, as i recall, someone came to the room and grabbed senator daschle, who was at the head of the table, took him out, came
back in in just a very brief minute or two -- minute probably -- and he said, the build something being evacuated. we have to leave. there is an airplane headed for the capitol. as we left that room, you could look out that window and see already the smoke billowing from the pentagon. the airplane had struck the pentagon. now, mr. president, that day was a day i will never forget, never forget. i was taken with senator daschle and don nickles, who was the republican assistant leader, trent lott, and we were flown to a cha classified location, spene day there with a umin of people, including the vice president -- with a number of people, including the vice president of the united states. late in the evening, we came back to the capitol, after
having been cleared to come back. senators gathered on the senate steps here in the capitol, democrats and republicans. we were gathering just to show that we were supportive of this great country. barbara mikulski, small in stature but powerful in so -- ever other way, said so everyone could hear, "let's sing 'god bless america'." mr. president, i don't sing. but we all did that night. we did it because we knew that that was a day that we would never forget, and it was a day we wanted to show that we were together as members of congress.
so, mr. president, as i've said already two or three times this morning, i don't want to ever forget that moment, that day, and i want to make sure we honor the heroes that paid the ultimate price for our freedom. the greatest memorial we have to offer the brave men and women who perished in 9/11 -- thousands of them -- is to simply never forget. mr. president, i would ask consent that my statement that i'm going to make now appear at a separate place in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, it's been, as i've indicated, 13 years since the evil attacks of september 11. terrorism continues to rear its ugly head throughout the world. as i speak, the terrorist group isis, like a scourge plaguing the middle east, these radical
islamic terrorists are wreaking havoc in iraq and syria, butchering the innocent and instituting brutal edicts. isis is a murderous, fanatical organization that's evil in nature that must be stopped, and they will be stopped, mr. president. we will degrade and destroy th them. mr. president, the presiding officer is a general who led troops -- hundreds and hundreds of troops to battle in the middle east. we must honor our troops, as indicated in the prayer this morning by our chaplain, because they are going to be called, as they are through the air, as president obama said last night, to do something to degrade and
working with others to get rid of this scourge. last night, president obama delivered a stirring speech to the nation outlining his blueprint for eradicating this threat. without repeating the mistakes of the past. we all know the mistakes about which i speak. the president made it clear that we will not rush into another ground war in the middle east, and we will not go it alone to destroy this evil. instead, america will lead a coalition that includes european and arab nations, a targeted, strategic mission to destroy isis. american airstrikes will be supported by local forces who will be trained by united states military advisors and others. it falls upon us, congress and the american people, to rally behind the president on his decisive strategy.
there are no ground troops, i repeat, and that's the way it should be. i'm confident that we'll put our political differences aside and work together to give this administration the tools it needs to meet isis head-on and not the least of which is the authority to equip and train syrian troops to fight these very, very bad -- i repeat, ev - evil terrorists. however, there are some in congress taking cheap political shots at the president. mr. president, now is the time for us to come together. when tested, americans have always closed ranks and engaged our adversaries as one, one united nation. matters like this are no place for political posturing, political positioning. this is a time for the rhetoric
of campaign commercials to go away. we must draw together as a nation. mr. president, when president bush called upon congress to do something about the terrible economic crisis that hit this country, we joined together, we joined together as democrats, republicans, and independents and took this head-on. this is the situation now. we must draw together and support the president in eradicating the evil that faces not only our nation but the world. mr. cochran: mr. president? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 2199, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 345, s. 2199,
a bill to amend the fair labor standards act of 1938 and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: mr. president, i wanted to make some comments about the remarks of our distinguished leader and to join him in calling on senators to remember this day and the historical experience of 9/11 and to commit this body to our best efforts to help ensure that our political institutions and our country remain free and safe for all americans to continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty, the opportunities of an economic system that is the envy of the world, and to commit ourselves to a new sense of responsibility as representatives of our states