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tv   Governor John Bel Edwards Delivers State of the State Address  CSPAN  April 25, 2017 7:53am-8:36am EDT

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look that us policy in the asia-pacific region focusing on current tensions with north korea. the senate armed services committee hears from several national security council officials live today at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. you can follow live coverage at and listen on the c-span radio apps. ♪ >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> louisiana governor john bel edwards delivered the state of the state address in baton rouge outlining countering the state budget deficit, improve infrastructure and work toward
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gender pay e quality, increase the minimum wage. this is 35 minutes. >> mister speaker, mister president, members of the legislature, fellow we louisiana in this, good afternoon, and welcome back. this time the constitution requires you to be here. before i get to the work we have ahead of us i would like you to join me in welcoming a couple guests, true heroes, i would like to recognize the heroic efforts of a young central hospice student, daniel westland who came to the aid of a domestic violence victim. one funding in late number, was shot, pushed out of the vehicle
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and left for dead. immediately took action as he rushed to her aid daniel was told by the shooter if you help her i am going to kill you. the aggressor shot daniel twice and struck it with his vehicle, daniel is now thriving after successful surgeries to address his injuries and i ask you to join me in welcoming daniel wesley and his family to the legislature today. [applause]
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>> i also ask that you keep april pick's family in your prayers as they continue to heal from her tragic death. we also have another guest with us, special guests. this past year is filled with heartbreak in our law enforcement community. none of us will forget the morning in july, an attack on our offices claimed the lives of three brave men and left three others injured. just last month we lost another dedicated officer in the line of duty in baton rouge. january 7th was another day that could have ended in tragedy. agent tyler wheeler, department of wildlife and fisheries agent was shot in the head during what he believed to be a routine traffic stop. thanks to the skills of an incredible medical team and the prayers of so many people from all across the state agent wheeler is able to be with us today.
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we want to thank you and all of your brothers and sisters in uniform who risk your lives every day to keep us safe. please stand. [applause] >> joined by his family and his wife, and next week they celebrate the first anniversary, congratulations to you all. [applause] >> we turn our attention to this legislative session. this is my second state of the state but since last year
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louisiana has endured more trials than we could ever imagine. two historic floods and a series of tornadoes. the tragic shooting death of officer stirling followed by the attack on our law enforcement community. the odds of the nation have been for louisiana. on top of that, the worst budget crisis in our state's history still lingering in the background. time and time again we have proven there is no challenge too great for us to overcome. the heart of louisiana is of people, the neighborhood i rocked following the floods and the men and children who came together peacefully to pray for our state last summer. those are the people we are here to serve.
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today as we recover the historic floods in march and august 2016, the rebuilding process is underway. we have 300 homeowners, 3000 homeowners who have participated in the survey, the precondition for access to the homeowners program that happened today. homeowners have the ability to apply for funding that will allow them to return to their homes and we are seeking an additional $2 billion to help our citizens to fully recover. and we have a long road ahead of us and the path to success in all things must be driven by putting the people of louisiana first and to do that, we simply must work together. [applause]
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>> there is no other way to make louisiana the state we know it can be. our - i refuse to allow louisiana to look anything like what is going on in washington. it is not working for them and it won't work for us. [applause] >> there is too much at stake to let partisanship get in the way and none of us should tolerate that. in the old testament, isaiah was dealing with attacks similar to ours, his nation was at a crisis. the old ways were not working anymore. speaking with words given him by the lord, he said learn to do good and seek justice, correct
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oppression, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. come now, let us reason together. let that be our plan today. left us reason together and already the gun to reason together for the people of louisiana. i ran for governor, the same reason i suspect many of you ran for office. you want to make a real difference in the lives of people of our great state. .. through medicaid expansion.
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these are the walking for. more than 77,00 77,000 of these individuals have received preventive care services since coverage began last july first, meaning seeing doctors for the first time in years. [applause] these numbers include more than 6206200 patients receiving breat cancer screenings, resulting in 95 cancer diagnoses, 7500 colon cancer screenings resulting in nearly 2200 patients having precancerous polyps removed, and 74 diagnosed with cancer. and nearly 6400 patients being hundred patients being diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension. louisiana's uninsured rate has dropped from 22% in 2013 to
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below 12.5%, and nearly 43% drop in the uninsured rate. [applause] one of the greatest drops in uninsured rates in the entire country, and it is at the lowest rate on record here in louisiana. in the process of doing all this, louisiana is projected to save nearly $200 million in the first year alone, and where projected to save more than $300 $300 million in the next fiscal year because of medicaid expansion. that's money went to use to better fund critical priorities such as tops and higher education. but at the end of the day, it's not the numbers that make medicaid expansion the right choice for louisiana. it's the people. people like monika calderon from new orleans. i expected to introduce you all to monica today. she studied music with hopes of specialize in music therapy.
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after suffering through severe headaches, she learned she had a brain mass that would need surgery. the day before surgery she applied for medicaid under the expansion, and after the surgery the doctors told her that she had an aggressive type of brain cancer. she received medicaid approval three days after her surgery. monica told me that without medicaid coverage, she did know how she would've paid for all the medicines and the treatment that she would need. monica couldn't be here today with us because she's undergoing an mri scheduled by her doctors. but you should know that these are the testimonies i hear every single day when visiting with folks across our great state. these toys would not be possible without medicaid expansion. and the same catholic christian faith that leads me to be pro-life on the issue of
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abortion also informs my position on medicaid expansion because in a very real and significant way it is literally saving the lives of our working for brothers and sisters. [applause] >> our state has reaped tremendous benefit from medicaid expansion. we're getting more people the treatment they need and it doesn't just benefit the individuals. benefits their families, too. i want to recognize dr. rebekah gee, sector of the public health for the way she and her department handled medicaid expansions rollout. [applause] >> and our successes don't end there. the charge i mentioned earlier about reasoning together also noted defending the fatherless. i am proud to say that was a
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sentiment shared by many this past year. thanks to the hard work of secretary walters and her team at the department of children and family services, 735 louisiana foster children found permanent homes last year, the most of any year on record. [applause] her team accomplish this feat despite the fact that d.c. sf has faced deep cuts over the last several years with fewer employees working longer hours. we've also worked hard to make louisiana more attractive place to work and do business. we live in one of the leading, the world's leading destinations for new business expansion and relocation projects. we are defined with a 21st century economy looks like right here in louisiana. all you have to do is considered
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the $21 billion in capital investment made in louisiana over the past year to know that we are creating a more vibrant, diverse economy. and this figure doesn't include the $1.1 billion capital investment we are announcing today in louisiana. our guiding principle should always be promoting a louisiana networks for the people. that is why we revamped our industrial tax exemption program so that local governments have a seat at the table. i've heard from many of you and the people in the state that we simply cannot give away taxpayer dollars without having accountability for results that bring good jobs to louisiana. [applause] and the reforms to the itep program have done just that. we have ensured that any incentives would be tied to job creation and job retention so that both competition and incentives remain strong.
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and as you all know, we have also been working to stabilize our budget while protecting critical state services. we were successful in protecting k-12 education and minimizing cuts to higher education and our safety net hospitals. we've ended the practice of dishonest budgeting and faced the harsh realities of our state's budget situation. we've laid the foundation for necessary long-term reforms that we all agreed we needed last year when the legislature , when you created the task force to study the states budget and tax structure. well, the day for the long-term reform we all know is needed has arrived. it is by far one of the most critical missions that we have as leaders of this state. as you are all aware -- that's worthy of some applause.
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[applause] as you are all aware, louisiana faces a more than $1.3 billion fiscal cliff on july 1, 2018, a point when a significant amount of revenue disappears and expensive credits and rebates return to their full amounts, rather than the reduced amount they are currently operating under. on top of this cliff, the stat is facing $440 million shortfall for next year and we need to fund the priorities our constituents have asked for, such as tops, improved roads and bridges and better funding for k-12 education. so this is our big moment. the structural deficits have gone on for far too long. the resistance to doing what is right and necessary to fix this problem once and for all is no longer acceptable. last year, you created a task force that spent months studying the most responsible way to reform our tax and budget
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structure. what we found from this review is that the options are no easier, or even substantially different, than the ones we have considered in the past. there are meaningful reforms recommended by the task force that we all should consider. so first let me tell you, i fully support the task force's recommendations for structural tax reform. many of the recommendations of the task force were the very same solutions i proposed last year. these are the clears past two limit deficits have plagued our state year after year after year. however, many of you suggested that several of the task force primary recommendation simply are not achievable and that you will not support the plan. so now we have a choice. we can simply go down the same
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road we have travelled time and again, hoping for different results. or we can chart a new path. a path that broadens our tax base, reduces tax rates, and reduces and eliminates wasteful credits and exemptions. a path that achieves stability, predictability and fairness. as you know i've proposed a detailed, comprehensive plan that will provide the stability and predictability we've been lacking in louisiana, while still incorporating many of the recommendations proposed by the task force. we can drastically reform the way we budget each year by withholding 2 percent of the revenue forecasted by the revenue estimating conference to address our emergency needs in times of disaster and to avoid mid-year cuts. this has never before been done in louisiana. we should all support this reform. and allow its implementation when the states revenues are
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stabilized and sufficient. [applause] as a guiding principle i propose we move forward with the elimination of the fifth penny sales tax as scheduled on july 1, 2018, clean the remaining pennies, model are sales tax structure utilizing practices from other states. in addition, i am asking you all to give 90 percent of the citizens of louisiana an income tax cut, and simplify the corporate tax structure by reducing the current five corporate income tax rates to three lower rates. both of these shifts would be in exchange for eliminating the deductibility of federal income taxes, a practice that is only used in three other states, and is most beneficial to higher income earners. the most significant part of this plan is in response to a
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problem we should all acknowledge, that our corporate income tax structure is broken. it is far too unstable, and is laden with credits, exemptions, and deductions that put too much of the burden of funding critical state services on individuals. if there are those of you that disagree with that premise, then i challenge you to defend what i am about to tell you. in 2015, in that fiscal year, 80% of louisiana corporations did not pay any state income tax. for c corps, those businesses that are taxed at the entity level, 80,000 out of 101,000 did not pay any income taxes. that means a ceo's administrative assistant at some of the most profitable corporations paid more in state
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income tax than the companies they work for. that's just not right. basic fairness demands that we do better. my proposal will ensure that those 80,000 c corps that pay no income taxes do their part, just like that administrative assistant does. the commercial activity tax, or cat as many of you have heard so much about is based on gross receipts, but will be a minimal graduated amount for businesses with gross receipts of less than $1.5 million. corporations with receipts of over $1.5 million will pay 35% of their gross receipts. for all other businesses in louisiana - s corps, llcs and partnerships, there will be no percentage tax. these entities will instead be assessed with a set and graduated tax, based on their
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gross receipts. for example, if a gas station in chalmette runs as a llc and has gross receipts of less than $500,000, their income tax, the mcat, would only be $250. a doctor's office in shreveport with gross receipts of $2.5 million would pay $1,500. while these taxes on flow-through entities, as they are called, would be new, they would also be fixed and minimal. it's to ensure that these businesses only pay their share for using louisiana's roads and bridges, for having their employees educated and trained in our schools and universities. [applause] this broadens the base of our business income tax system to ensure that everyone pays their fair share. as i have said to you all in announcing this plan, i am open to dialogue.
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i am open to compromise. we can find a balance of spending cuts and revenue that helps us find our priorities. however, in almost 15 months that i've been in office only a minimal amount of cuts in services beyond the $509 that i put on the table have been made by the legislature. criticism is only as valuable as the input and action that follows it, but we have seen very little constructive input and practically no constructive action. it just isn't helpful. we cannot continue down the path we are currently on. it's unsustainable for our state. and we can't keep moving the goal post because it's politically advantageous. if there's a better idea out there let's see it. don't hide it. let's debate it.
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a lot of folks are fond of using buzz words such as less government, cut taxes, do more with less, tighten our belt, less revenue, and we must reduce the size of government. i'd be willing to bet that a majority of you sitting here today have said one of those things in the past. and they are all fair statements. in many cases, i agree with you. we all want lower taxes and a more efficient state government. we would prefer to preside over state with surpluses and not deficits. but when you make those sorts of statements, you're only telling half the story if you don't follow them up with the next piece of the equation which spells out the exact consequences of what you mean - exactly what you intend to cut. what college or hospital you want to close. what road in your district you'd rather not see built or repaved. or perhaps the pediatric mental health program in your community that you want eliminated.
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because when you repeatedly make those statements, without addressing the consequences to peoples' lives, you simply turn them into political sound bites. [applause] and ladies and gentlemen, we cannot deliver critical state services on political sounds bites. i traveled this state over the last month holding meetings where every single member of this body was invited to attend. most of you did. and thank you. but we've got to have a serious conversation about how to move this date forward. and then we must act. if not, the people of louisiana are going to have some tougher days ahead. now, you have the option to choose. accept the recommendations of
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the task force, accept the alternative proposal i have laid before you, advance your own plan or be willing to endorse specific cuts that will be necessary if you take a cut of approach, and then vote for those cuts. i can respect that. what i cannot respect is voting no one everything without offering your own proposal. [applause] and should you do that, understand you will be responsible for defending those cuts to our constituents. my plan, as outlined, will allow us to make the necessary investments to fully fund tops for our young adults, will help better fund critical transportation priorities and provides further resources for k-12 education.
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[applause] to be clear, i will work with you to strategically make further budget cuts so long as our critical priorities are adequately funded. that will be impossible, though, if we do not responsibly address the fiscal cliff that is looming. with all the tough choices that need to be made this session, i understand how it might be easy to delay addressing the needs of our neglected infrastructure. but as governor, and even before then, i made a promise that we would get serious about improving transportation. this year we put trust back into the transportation trust fund by only using infrastructure dollars for their intended purpose. keeping $72 million and the transportation trust fund that was scheduled to go to the louisiana state police. we changed the way we approach capital outlay so that it is
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more realistic and transparent and focus on our priorities. and we worked incredibly hard to secure federal funding, bringing your federal tax dollars home, to further chip away at our $13 billion backlog of infrastructure projects. and now we have a comprehensive report from the transportation task force on how we can maintain our existing system while investing in projects that will keep louisiana competitive. the buck can't stop there. louisiana is ranked last in the nation for state investment in transportation. one of the problems is that the value of our gas tax has plummeted over the years. there has not been an increase in state fuel tax revenue since 1989, resulting in a 56 percent reduction in buying power from inflation alone.
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we've got to restore the value of our gas tax if we expect to make any headway on improving our infrastructure. otherwise, we'll continue to lag behind and our roads and bridges will be less safe and clogged with traffic congestion. in fact, you should know without an infusion of $40 million next year from the state general fund we will not be eligible for $200 billion in federal transportation funds. and over time the problem gets worse, not better. in the coming weeks you have the opportunity to consider many of the task force is proposals. secretary shawn wilson and his team have crisscrossed this state soliciting input on how to improve our infrastructure. i urge you to take a serious look at what we can do to better invest in our state's roads, bridges and ports going forward. one of the easiest decisions you
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can make this session is passing the 2017 coastal master plan and the coastal annual plan. we are in a race against time to save our coast, and the difference between success and failure lies in the quickness of our response and the boldness of our actions. this plan uses science to meet our challenges head on. as all of you know, i'm also asking that we work together to make louisiana smart on crime. you don't need me to tell you that what we're doing now is not working for our state. louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, and we lock people up at a rate of nearly twice the national average. as i have said time and time again, it's not because louisiana's people are more sinister than citizens of other states. we know that's not the case, our
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crime rates are comparable to other southern states that have lower incarceration rates. as citizens we have a responsibility to uphold the law or live with the consequences for failing to do so. but as elected officials, we also have an obligation to acknowledge when an aspect of our government is broken and we must work together to find a solution. [applause] in 2015, we made a commitment to re-engineer our criminal laws. it is an initiative that began before i assumed this office, but it's one i believed in and supported while i was sittin right here in this chamber. we've known for years that affect real change to louisiana's approach to criminal justice would require extensive research into how the classify crimes, especially nonviolent
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crimes, and what we tell judges about how to sentence offenders, and also exhaustive discussion about how we can actually accomplish change and enhance the safety of our citizens. the task force we created has completed the most comprehensive study of sentencing and corrections practices the state has ever seen. the recommendations they have provided us are largely modeled after what has worked in other southern conservative states. this includes cleaning up our criminal code and safely broadening probation eligibility within the discretion of the probation and parole board. their recommendations, significantly, also call on us to strengthen community-based alternatives to prison, address barriers to successful reentry that have long been ignored, and reinvest savings into practices and programs that we know will reduce recidivism and support victims. if adopted into law, this package will safely reduce our prison population by 13%, and it will save taxpayers over $300
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million over the next decade, savings -- [applause] savings we can't and must reinvest into our efforts. that last part, reinvestment, is critically important. we spend a lot of time talking about the length of a prison sentence, as well we should. but what we don't focus on enough is how that sentence is being spent. when we give prisoners the resources they need to turn their lives around before returning to society, we do more than just reduce recidivism. with proper resources, education and support, we give offenders a better chance of successfully contributing to their community once they get out of prison and we ensure there would be fewer victims of crime in the future. one. [applause]
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finally, i urge you to act on the wishes of an overwhelming majority of louisianans by supporting equal pay and raising the minimum wage. [applause] we should all be offended, we should all be offended that louisiana has the highest gender wage gap in the country with women making only 66 cents for every dollar that a man makes. it's a simple and unassailable idea, pay a woman, who has the same job and similar qualifications, the same you would pay a man. it is that simple. [applause] i'm the father of two daughters, and many of you are as well. but regardless we should all want, all of our daughters and sisters and wives and mothers to be treated fairly for the hard
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work. and it is a fairness issue, but it is also a family issue. when a mother goes to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk, it doesn't cost 33% less because she is a woman. [applause] the legislation i am proposing would help eliminate pay secrecy by prohibiting employers from taking actions against employees for inquiring about, discussing or disclosing their wages or another employee's wages. let's truly put our citizen first, also by making a modest but meaningful increase to the minimum wage. [applause] louisiana is one of only five states that have not adopted a state minimum wage. 40% of louisiana working families do not earn enough to
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cover basic monthly expenses. it's time. no, it's past time for us to change that. [applause] what we're proposing is to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 over a two year period. it's a simple change that will produce countless benefits. mark twain once said, the mississippi river will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise. engineering feats have certainly come a long way since mark twain's day, but that sentiment remains the same today. over the past year, we've faced a humbling reminder of the power of mother nature. there will always be factors we can't control, challenges we can't predict, that's part of what has made our faith so strong. but here in these chambers, we
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do hold the power to shape our future. washington has become too much like that river, stubborn and set in its own ways. it doesn't have to be that way here in baton rouge. louisiana's uniqueness has always been our greatest source of strength. we are unique in our culture. we are unique in the natural resources has blessed us with, and the challenges that represents. can't we also be unique in the way we govern? i believe that the people of louisiana who put us here in the first place, expect more of us than business as usual. they expect us to be as strong, hardworking, innovative and courageous as they are, even in the face of great challenges. in times like these nobody can
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be satisfied with merely naming highways including prestigious, prestige license plates. we have to do more. we have to be serious. we have to be courageous. and just like in the book of isaiah, our constituents expect us to reason together. they deserve a government that reasons together. we simply cannot waste this opportunity. if we don't reason together we're going to end up right back here with a needless and costly special session where the options will not be any better than they are now. both you and i have a shared goal for our state, but too often, politics and partisanship blur the path that gets us to that goal. i have been, and continue to be,
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willing to work with each and everyone of you to ensure we do right by the people that set this year, but that is only possible if we leave cynicism at the door and looked past the next election. we can get the job done, we can get it done right. we have to, and am ready to partner with all of you to see that we do just that. god bless you all, and god bless the great state of louisiana. [applause] >> earlier egypt's president met with president trump and talked about relations between the two countries. today former state department officials testify about u.s. foreign aid to egypt. live coverage from the appropriation subcommittee and state for operations and related programs beginning at 2:15 p.m. eastern on c-span3. you can follow the hearing at and listen on the c-span radio app. on c-span, karen harper while at
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georgetown university slave sale dedication. >> naming these buildings is the beginning of our journey together towards the healing from the jesuits of georgetown to legacy of slavery. >> pennsylvania congressman matt cartwright holding a town hall meeting. >> we have moved the needle on this discussion. it used to be no way no how on anything like the aca but now it's let's make it work. >> the competitive enterprise institute on science and public policy. >> to the extent that it is possible, scientific research should similarly be separated from government. then you would not find climate science in particular being a faction ridden orthodoxy enforcing, you know, political movement. but rather the quest for knowledge. >> treasury secretary steven
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mnuchin. >> the objectives are simplified personal taxes, create middle income tax cuts to spur the economy and make our business taxes competitive. >> former ambassador to afghanistan ryan crocker. >> clearly we have to work with the afghans to stabilize the situation against a taliban onslaught, and then move ahead with a political process that is going to have to include pakistan. >> attorney general jeff sessions on transnational crime organizations. >> if you are a gang member we will find you. we will devastate your net worth. worth. we will starve your revenue sources, deplete your ranks and seizure profits we will not concede a single block for a street corner to your vicious tactics. >> c-span programs are available at, on our homepage and by searching the video library.
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>> remarks now from former president barack obama. he spoke yesterday about community involvement with students at the university of chicago. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. hey. thank you. good to see you. [cheers and applause] >> please come everybody have a seat. have a seat. so, what's been going on while i've been gone? [laughing]


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