Skip to main content

tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  April 15, 2011 6:30pm-11:00pm EDT

6:30 pm
a war fought without inflation. they would inflate by clipping coins or diluting the metals. they would undermine the value of the currency to fight wars. today, it is more sophisticated. we talked about printing money, they print a lot that is not it. they just use a computer. right now, we are starting to get some real evidence from the fed. we have had a token victory on having a war with the fed in the past six months. we did not get our audit that said passed but we got it partially past. -- we did not get our audit the fed bill passed. we need a full audit to know that they are doing.
6:31 pm
if people know the shenanigans going on and who got the bailouts. the people who ripped us off and made all the money off of the derivatives and speculation, they made their money and then they go bust and then we get stuck with their worthless assets. the federal reserve buys these assets. these guys are making all the money, they got bailed out. the economy gets weaker, people lose their jobs, their mortgages, their houses. this is not geared towards the average person. this is all geared towards taking care of world bankers, the military industrial complex. it could be between 30%-50% of all of the trillions of dollars they used to bail out what to overseas banks.
6:32 pm
there is one bank that got a big bailout. 1/3 of the bank was owned by gaddafi. that is how insane it is. we have to take care of all of this thing. they are doing it at the expense of the average person because the penalty is paid with higher prices. if any of your prices have gone up. just think, tax, tax, tax. the value of the currency. it will go up a lot more. that will not -- bernanke keeps saying, i can take care of it. i will know the very instant to take the money back and raise the interest rates. well, he does not know. he was the one who said there was no housing bubble. there is no way this will happen. changing the manager of the federal reserve to try to get a better manager of the money system, that will not work.
6:33 pm
i don't imagine that you can find anyone worse than bernanke but it will not help because it is the system. it is the system that we have to change and that is why my position is to end the federal reserve entirely. [laughter] -- [applause] in this critical loss of the that i talked about. i believe that this is inherent in our constitution. -- in this freedom philosophy that i talked about. people say that i am an isolationist. no, i want to trade with people and visit with people but just not fight with people unnecessarily. it would be non intervention, that would be one part that i think would be so important. the other is based on free
6:34 pm
markets. the free market system where transactions are voluntary, contracts are very important. you have sound money. today, instead of the government protecting and enforcing our contrast, the government is always breaking our contracts and there are imposing the rules and regulations. how about property? they're supposed to protect the value of the private property? try to use your property. you have to get permits not only from your local and state, people. you get charged a lot of taxes. if you don't do it, they take away your land. i think we should say, is our property, leave us alone.
6:35 pm
[applause] many conservatives get lackadaisical on the personal liberty issue. i look -- i like to look at the personal liberty and the economic liberty as the same. this is all one thing. the problem with -- with the liberal, they say, if you don't have rules and regulations on redistribution of wealth, people will fall through the cracks and there will not be enough to go around. the conservatives say, if they have total liberty, they might do things i don't approve of. the rule is that it is your life, you can wasted or you can use it but now go up to you to what you want to do with it just as long as you don't hurt people
6:36 pm
with what you do personally or with your property. then, it is none of the government's business. [applause] we have the freedom of expression. i can come up here and cautiously expressed my views. you don't have the first amendment. most people recognize this. we don't have a missile we can talk about the weather. we have this to talk about a controversy of things and expressed controversial ideas and criticize our leaders. the firstt have amendment so we can talk about the weather. you can have a religion, a lot of religion, as long as you don't force it on other people.
6:37 pm
we cannot have a theocracy. [applause] we know that we should not meddle with our intellectual life. our religious life have to deal with something pretty important such as our eternity and salvation. begin to make our own choices on that. when it comes to drinking raw milk, you have to have the government tell you or what you smoke and drink or the whole works. anything that goes into a mouth is up for grabs at all levels of government. i say, no. these habits, whether they are eating habits or smoking habits, these can be solved with private property rights. allowing restaurants to make their own rules rather than closing people down because
6:38 pm
someone lit a cigarette. the cigarettes and the drugs or anything but i tell you that as much as i don't like those drugs, i really don't like the drug war. i think it is much more dangerous. [applause] a lot more people have died in the drug war than have died in the drug war. in fact -- a lot more people have died in the drug war than have died from the drugs. in fact, a lot more people have died from prescription drugs. we have a tremendous task ahead of us. we don't have the same attitude they had when they wanted to make alcohol illegal. they worked for 50, 60, 70 years to get the country to agree that alcohol is bad. i agree. they come along and say that we
6:39 pm
will prohibit it because we will stop people from practicing these bad habits. what did they do, the amended the constitution. can you imagine anyone amending the constitution to run the drug war? this was basically started in the early 70's. they have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the drug war. we have more prisoners than anyone else in the world. we have a lot of people who are put into these prisons, they were non violence and they come out very violence. -- they were non-violent and they came out a very violent. freedom is something that we all believe in and understand and want to protect. freedom was tested best in this
6:40 pm
country better than anyone else in the world. today, this is slipping away. this is an early experiment. most history has been run by tyrants. most people in washington are authoritarian. in some area they are authoritarian and they want to tell other people what -- what to do and they don't think that their job is about one thing, and that is the protection of liberty. that is what we should be doing. [applause] we have lost confidence that freedom really works. we have been taught that there will be so all many people suffering. -- there will be so many people suffering. when aid society decides that the very needy have to be taken care of by the government, that is very benign. it is very benign, it is just a couple the people.
6:41 pm
they say, we must take from you to take care of these people. what happens is that it endorses an idea that is destined to grow and after 30, 40, 50 years you destroy productivity and those who become dependent grow and grow. now, we have 42 million people on food stamps. everyone depends on the government now for their medical care. there was a lot of talk and a lot of complaint. we should at least have the chance to opt out of those systems. i would like to be able to opt out of all those government programs. [applause] the other thing that i tell a lot of people, especially the young people.
6:42 pm
you have to be realistic, you have to be willing and you have to sacrifice. i don't think that is necessary. if you've got your freedom back and you did not have to pay taxes and the government was out of your life, why would that be a sacrifice? if the people who are receiving from government, the people receiving the bailouts, the military industrial complex, they are the ones that would have to sacrifice. the average person will not have to sacrifice anything to get by. today, i think that we are seeing some changes. people are recognizing that we have a mass, people are talking about the federal reserve and the endless wars. -- people are recognizing that we have a mess. people are reading about
6:43 pm
torture, the assassination of american citizens. people are getting tired of this. they are getting tired the economy. i believe there is a new generation coming alive right now that believes differently and that we're moving into a very positive era. we are moving into an era where we will reject the government nannies state -- nanny state. even those that have been receiving from the government realize there is an end to this. you cannot have a two trillion dollar debt increase every year. people are knowing about it. i am very pleased when i go to the universities and i go whenever i get a chance. the changes will come from the universities. the changes will come when you change ideas. you cannot depend on the
6:44 pm
politicians in washington to solve your problems. you must do this in an intellectual climate. [applause] we have talked a lot about a revolution and this is a revolution in ideas. when a true revolution comes, it is intellectual. it invades the university, of the media, the culture. then it becomes a political system. it will not be a partisan thing. if you say, it is only the republicans that will solve the problems, that will not happen. it will have to be a revolution and ideas and this will be the ideas of liberty. that means that for this to work you have to build coalitions, not compromising anything, but
6:45 pm
building coalitions because there are people all across the political spectrum. some believe in the market, some oppose foreign intervention. you need to bring them all together in one entity, liberty. the whole purpose for my personal viewpoint for the body is for us personally to work for excellence and virtue. -- the whole purpose for my personal viewpoint is for liberty. this is best done in a free society. liberty is the goal. yes, we want sound money and foreign policy. all of those policies come together and they make common sense if the goal is to recognize that you are a very important entity. you have a right to your life and your liberty. you have a right to be left alone. they do not come from the government that they come in a natural or god-given way. if we can do that, i am
6:46 pm
convinced we can solve all of our problems. thank you. [applause] i believe we will have time for a few questions. >> when someone says, that is not unconstitutional. don't you know of the supreme court upheld a that, i like to say, please explain why you agree with that ruling. i found a loophole in the electoral college process that i would like to give to you. >> she will make sure i read it.
6:47 pm
>> i learned that we used to be a republic. now, if you talk to most college students, they think that we are just a democracy. we need more education on what we should be. how do you think that we can get back to make the federal government smaller and give states back their sovereignty? >> she asked about how to get back to smaller and limited government and emphasize that we are not a democracy, we are a republic. when we have people understand those terms, then we get rid of about 80% of what the federal government is doing and we would be safe here and happier.
6:48 pm
[applause] your point about democracy is important we have democratic elections but that does not make as a democracy. democracy is a dictatorship of the majority. that is an abuse of all minority rights. even the democratic process, if you spend a little bit of time and the definition, what was one of the major is uses of going into iraq, to spread american democracy. we have to teach them how to be good democrats. one of the first things they got the rebels and libya to set up, they had them set up a central bank. we kill a lot of people over there. we get a lot of our people
6:49 pm
killed. we have this idea that we will force you to be good people. even the democratic process here is very weak in this country. if any of you have come to the conclusion that there is not a whole lot of difference on the results, you say, where is the alternative? you hardly had one. yeah, you can go out and start a libertarian party. can you get the recognition? no, you are shunned. we could learn a lot about taking care of our own business at home before we start spreading democracy overseas. [applause] >> i have a question about the money going to libya through the federal reserve. why will no one at the federal reserve be held accountable for that?
6:50 pm
>> because this is a government unto itself. they are very very powerful. they are also on the defensive, more so than they have ever been before. they were able to do everything in secret. fortunately, for the two lawsuits by bloomberg and fox, they forced some of the information out. because we had a modification of my bill, we are getting some more information in july. we will do our best to bring this to light. unfortunately, it will be very very difficult. they are very powerful. if you think about it, they have more economic-political clout than the whole congress. they spent 3.3 trillion dollars on those bailouts.
6:51 pm
the congress spent 850 billion. this is all done in secret. yes, they should be held accountable. some of the stories coming on who has gotten these loans. they should be and hopefully they can be but the odds of them really being held accountable, i wish i could be more optimistic. the best way to hold them accountable is as this system falls apart that we intellectually blame them. they have had a free ride. they have said if the economy is doing well, the fed has managed to the money right, interest rates are exactly where they should be, and that is why we have a growing economy. then, the economy would be turning down because of the federal reserve, what they would say then is that we need to print more money and rescue people in trouble. they generally got credit for
6:52 pm
getting us back out of the slump. that will not happen anymore. they have to be blamed because they are responsible intellectually. the legal responsibility is another matter. i think that we should pursue that but i'm not very optimistic that will happen. >> can you give us your view on immigration? >> i can. i do have a little book coming out. i spend a lot of time on immigration. this is not one of the easiest subjects to deal with because -- there are two extremes, you have an extreme libertarian view that says there should be no borders and people can come and go. then there is the other viewpoint that he should have barred our fences and guns and you shoot anyone coming over.
6:53 pm
i don't accept either one. as a matter of fact, just to answer the pure libertarian approach, if we truly had a libertarian society and all of the property was owned by individuals, it would be a closed society. that is not where we are today and that will not happen. where we are is that we have a lot of illegal immigrants in this country. i have proposed legislation. my position is that they should not qualify for welfare. [applause] in texas, as a matter of fact they will come out into the country during the day and then go to public schools and then go back. that is suicidal because the schools are bankrupt. the hospitals have had to close down.
6:54 pm
the welfare state encourages a lot of our people not to work. who will take a job for $4 an hour if they can make 750 on welfare? -- $7.50 on welfare? they say, they can bring my family, they get free medical care and free education, why mosser convinced that if you have a free-market economy and sound money would be thriving, we would be looking for immigrants. we would need them and want them because you would need workers and and would not be a burden at all. under today's circumstances, many times we scapegoat and say, those mexicans are causing all of our problems. as far as what i would do with the illegal immigrants in this
6:55 pm
country, well, i don't believe in giving them amnesty and giving them citizenship. at the same time, no matter how strongly you feel about it, you will not round up 15 million people and send them someplace because i have seen examples. a lot of them have lived all their life here and there still illegal. i would not give them a citizenship. as a matter of fact, i think people coming over and they get their citizenship, if you have to work out a transition, this is just a suggestion. if we had to wait 18 years before they can vote, maybe they should. there is a big motives for political reasons to bring the immigrants in an legalize them to get them voting in a certain direction. i don't think that is right either. believe me, liberty would solve this problem because people would not be as concerned if the
6:56 pm
economy was thriving and they were looking for workers. >> i have been reading a lot of legislation and there are four words in every bill i've read which makes me scratch my head. "and for other purposes." i thank you and i applaud you. no one agreed with you. everyone did not read the bill except for you. how can we get this out of legislation? how can we get the bills to be what they were stated for? >> i have to look at the particular bill but you are right, this is open-ended and unfortunately that is the way
6:57 pm
they like things. this is just a matter of the individuals. you are trying to educate your congressman and you are running for congress and make sure that you don't do it and things like that. >> thank you. >> i'm wondering about the fact that the federal reserve board sets the interest rates four times a year, something like that? >> no, more often. >> how can they rise if the federal reserve has set them? >> interest rates are in a way set by the federal reserve constantly although lately they have been rather stable because they are at 0 and they can go any lower. they are price fixers. the worst thing you can do is to fix the price of anything because it will cause shortages. that is why socialism always
6:58 pm
fails. one howff -- 1/2 of our economy is interest rates. they don't sit there and say how much you will pay on your credit card. it is the big guys to get the deals. since the crisis has been overcome of the fed gives free money to the banks, the banks go and they buy treasury bills at 2% or 3%. they're making a lot of money, .he economy doesn't grow they say, we are paying all of our bills. they take overnight rates. this is how the banks have to maintain their reserves in what they can borrow and how much they have to pay if they go to the discount window. that has a lot of influence. the main flaw is that they engender lower interest rates than the market and that is why
6:59 pm
the businessman does the wrong thing and the investor does the wrong thing and that is why you have a financial bubble. they don't have a set time. they sit down and do the interest-rate. there are certain times when -- is used to be every month that they would change it. that is one of the principles of a free market. you should not do that. what if you are skittish about this and you put your money and a savings account and you are elderly and you want to protect your savings and you don't want to invest in stocks? you get 2% or 1%? at the same time, if you had market interest rates -- you see, if the person is saving, that will adjust the interest rate. the sabres get punished which means you are messing up the whole capitalist system because
7:00 pm
savings are key to capitalism. -- the savres get punished. when interest rates are low, that means there are no savings. we had very low interest rates under greenspan. at the same time, there was no savings. we were not saving. it is a distortion. you can buy all that government debt. that is with the problem is. >> thank you. if you can just bear with me for a moment. i flew 29 hours from south korea.
7:01 pm
if you are not in the oval office, we all think you should be. [applause] when i speak to people and talk on your behalf, and people say the sec great ideas. the economic liberty. the liver the -- the liberty we have for this green revolution. they say this things are not tangible. had we bring them about it?
7:02 pm
are you here to announce that you will run for president i in 2012? >> do what you know how to do. you are already doing something. everyone does something. by doing nothing you are doing something. that is wrong. let me tell you. he made it through this lecture, and it is new to you,
7:03 pm
it should be different. your life should be different anyway. you are in a unique category. ness people never care. -- most people never care. mr. necker until a week or two before the election. everyone has a responsibility. an individual can run from office and support other people. meathead groups are all over the place. now there is something called facebook. there is an opportunity to spread opportunities. the internet is fantastic.
7:04 pm
it this summer's morning when i was in college. -- it is so much more than when i was in college. it is fantastic. this is going to be difficult. one thing i like to work on, because i do not believe legislatively we are going to see this change, i will not get the law passed that says the fed will abolish it. we can do this in medication and money. keep the right opt out. if you are unhappy with the system, we always got to argue the case that you have the personal responsibility and the right to opt out of the public education system and teach at home or in private schools. if we lose that, we lose a lot. there are people in washington put say we did not have the
7:05 pm
independent-minded people in the private schooling. [applause] in madison, the givens obama care. can you really put that in medicare? i remember when they were and no weight. they all wish to protect our chance to do something else. he can take care of itself and not depend on the government.
7:06 pm
we will have things about competition and currencies. legalize your right to use currencies. in order to legalize another gold and silver e should never have details sales taxes on buying your money. he should not have to pay capital gains tax in case your money goes up in value. then you can use it as a currency. we should legalize freedom. >> i was wondering with the policy, how should the u.s. react to egregious human rights abuse? >> i am sorry. react to? like egregious human rights abuse. those things go on.
7:07 pm
our government, things are going on. i would not have advocated sending you over there. americans have been generous in helping people that have problems. by using violence to force the ball to go over there and try to work out these problems, i do not believe we have the moral and legal right to do that. even when you have a humanitarian instinct, usually you are just giving the factions a weapon. did they use it against each other. all foreign aid for what ever reason.
7:08 pm
bush said he can go to war because it prevented war. it prevented war. it is like aggression. you can do any harm some day. we will bonior and taking over. obama is taking it one step further. the iraqis are going to come with a nuclear weapon and bomb us. that is fear mongering. obama said gadaffi might hurt some of his people and we have to go over and preemptively start another war. we do that even have to ask congress. we hear every year getting worse on that. that is why these principles are so important. was the one more question? i think that will do it. at thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
7:09 pm
7:10 pm
7:11 pm
7:12 pm
>> do you know you came in third in concord today? are you aware? he were not even there. -- you were not even there. the others came in third and second and they were to speak. imagine if you would have been there to speak. there are none for the economic policy. >> do you want me to have this? >> yes.
7:13 pm
>> thank you. i think you a lot for that spirit i am from south sudan. we are getting in the country. -- thank you. >> they want to export our good ideas.
7:14 pm
>> didn't know the fed gave away $200 million? >> i believe that. they talk about how they can make all the money and keep it.
7:15 pm
7:16 pm
>> or ron paul was one of four republicans voting against the 2012 budget.
7:17 pm
that passed in the house by a voted 235-193. one quick note, president obama signed that late this afternoon. he objected to several provisions in the bill including one dealing with the child and transfer of detainees. donald trump is in florida this weekend speaking to the south florida t party rally. we will have that coverage for you sunday night at 9:00 eastern. we mention president obama was in chicago last night. several fund-raisers were in that city. he had a speech at navy pier in chicago picking off his first official speech of the 2012 campaign. his comments from chicago last night, about a half an hour. >> even as we are excited about
7:18 pm
what the future holds for chicago, it is already a great american city. they are turning it into a great world city. grateful for richard daley. give it up for richard daley. i can tell year that i like to tease him. i joke about him. this is a guy who stepped then in one of the toughest jobs in washington, if not the toughest job and stood by my side i have seen how a has worked under
7:19 pm
pressure and the commitment that he has to the american people. you guys may have a great choice. he will make a great mayor. i look around the room. i see friends everywhere. the people i have been going for a long, long time. it is good to be home. it is good to be home. this is the city where i fell in love. this is the city where i got my start in politics working for churches to bring jobs for the jobless and hope to the hopeless. it is where i stood with so many in grant park.
7:20 pm
we showed the world that all things are possible in the united states. some of you may have heard that this is where we will be facing our headquarters for the 2012 campaign. this is the first time in modern history that a sitting president has made the reelection campaign outside of washington. i decided i do not want a campaign to be just hearing all the power brokers i want our campaign to be here. you guys are the ones who got me started.
7:21 pm
people supported me when no one else could pronounced my name. i see folks who supported me when i ran for congress and got a be down. and then halt there is me back to help. i wanted to make sure our campaign was routed in your dreams and hopes. i want to make sure we are putting the campaign in your hands, at the same organizers and volunteers to prove the last time that together ordinary folks can do extraordinary things. that is what this is about.
7:22 pm
we are all a bit older. some of us are a little bit gray. i love it -- i will let mashona you said that. all of us can remember the excitement in the streets. the sense of possibility. even as he celebrate, your member what i said back then? i said our work was not ending. i work was just beginning. while it was clear that i was led to have a full plate going into election day, i would be
7:23 pm
lying if i said i knew how awful the place would be. it has been fuller than we imagined. we took office in the middle of the worst recession in our lifetime. one that lets millions of americans without jobs. the recession so bad that many families are still grappling with the after shocks even though the economy is growing again. the economy is growing it then. -- again. we have seen the largest drop in unemployment is 1984. over the last 13 months we have added nearly 2 million private sector jobs.
7:24 pm
that's not have them by accident. it happened because they may touch choices. like saving the american auto industry. they said it would not be done. there were folks that would write it off. now gm is hiring back every single worker they laid off and everyone of the american auto makers are making a profit once again. that is because of the tough choices we made. make no mistake. we have been able to make grow progress. because of you, we were able to prevent another great depression. most meaningful education reforms in a generation through a competition called race to the top, raising teachers up and raising learning standards in schools and states across america. because of you, we overcame the
7:25 pm
status quo and reformed wall street, making sure that we've got some of the toughest consumer protections so you won't get cheated when you apply for a mortgage or when you take out a credit card. because of you, we did what we've been trying to do for almost a century and we made sure that everybody in this society of ours, if you get sick you don't have to go bankrupt. if you get sick you don't have to mortgage your house. if your child has a preexisting condition they're still going to be cared for because we passed health care reform that provided coverage for 30 million americans. because of you, we were able to rein in the worst abuses of the
7:26 pm
health care industry. because of you, not here in the united states of america are we going to have people who are on the streets because they get sick. now, along the way we did a few other things. we signed into law the lilly ledbetter bill, very simple idea that women need to get paid the same as men for the same kind of work. we finally overturned the injustice of "don't ask, don't tell," and we said that everybody can serve their country. they don't have to lie to serve the country that they love. we put two women on the supreme court, including the first latina justice. we brought back 100,000 troops from iraq and ended our combat mission there because we knew we knew that it was time. and along the way, we had to
7:27 pm
deal with pirates. who thought we were going to have to deal with pirates? that wasn't in my campaign platform. pandemic, earthquakes. now -- >> oil spill. >> oil spill. don't forget oil spill. golly. now, part of the hopefulness and the anticipation we all felt that night in grant park was also about what we could do to secure and restore america's
7:28 pm
standing in the world. so that's why we strengthened our alliances. we signed historic arms control agreements, secured loose nuclear materials. that's why we're on the right side of history now throughout the middle east, because we believe in preventing innocents from getting slaughtered, and we believe in human rights for all people. that's why we've taken the fight to al qaeda. that's why we're still working in iraq to make sure that that transitions to a peaceful democracy. that's why we're taking care of those veterans when they come home because that is a sacred obligation that we have.
7:29 pm
so here is the point, chicago. we have faced an extraordinary array of challenges at home and around the world. but we wouldn't have made any of this progress if it hadn't been for you. i was talking to a group earlier and i said, you know, i grew up here in chicago. i wasn't born here. just want to be clear. i was born in hawaii. but i became a man here in chicago. and a lot of the people who are here today -- the values, the ideals, my beliefs, my core
7:30 pm
convictions about what makes america great were forged here. because it's here in this incredibly diverse city, that people from every background, every creed, every color, from farm towns and inner-city neighborhoods that somehow come together, immigrants from all around the world, it is here that i was reminded about why america is so great. i t's not the size of our skyscrapers. it's not the size of our gdp. it's the fact that we're able to keep two ideas together at the same timeone, that we're all individuals with -- endowed with certain inalienable rights and liberties; and we're self-
7:31 pm
reliant; and we're entrepreneurs; and we don't want folks telling us what to do. that's part of -- being an individual is so important to us. but we also have this idea that we're all in this together; that we look out for one another; that i am my brother's keeper, i am my sister's keeper; that i want to make sure that child on the south side or the west side or out in maywood or out in dolton, that they've got the same opportunities that i've had. and that i'm looking after them, not out of charity, but because my life is richer, my life is better when the people around me are happy and the people around me have a shot at the american dream. and those values that all of you helped to form in me, i
7:32 pm
carried those with me to the white house. i wake up every day with them and i go to bed every night with them. i'm thinking about you. and when i read those letters every night, from constituents all across the country, and they talk about what it's like to send out 16 resumes and not get an answer back; and the desperation that a parent feels thinking they might not be able to take care of their kids; or a
7:33 pm
child writing a letter saying their parents are losing their home and they're going to have to move, and, mr. president, is there something that you can do -- when i'm thinking about those things, i'm also thinking back here, thinking back home, about what you've taught me. see, that campaign in 2008, it wasn't my campaign, it was your campaign. it was about your best instincts, your best impulses, your vision for an america that is more fair and more just and more equal, and has opportunity for everybody regardless of color, regardless of race, regardless of creed, regardless of religion, regardless of sexual orientation. if you hadn't knocked on all those doors, if you hadn't called up all your friends back in 2008, i wouldn't be here. but you know what, we didn't come here tonight just to go down memory lane. we didn't come here tonight just to pat ourselves on the back. we came here tonight because we know that for all the progress we've made we've still got business to do. we are not finished. and the only way we're going to finish is the same way we began this journey, and that is together. we're going to have to keep on
7:34 pm
-- we're going to have to keep on working. together, we've got to make sure any american who is looking for work can find a job that pays the bills. together, we've got to make sure that hardworking families that are doing everything right aren't falling behind, but getting ahead. we've got to reclaim the american dream for all americans. that's the change we still believe in. that's what i think about every single day. that's our north star. that's our destination. and we're not there yet. with your help we can keep american on track, though.
7:35 pm
with your help we will attract new jobs and new businesses to our shores. we will make sure american isn't just competing, but we're competing to win in this economy. with your help we're going to make sure all our kids are ready for college, all our kids are ready for careers. because a world-class education is the single most important factor in whether america succeeds in the 21st century. with your help, we can rebuild our crumbling infrastructure -- not just our roads and our bridges, but our high-speed rail lines and our communications networks. with your help, we can continue to invest in cutting-edge medical research and breakthrough technologies, and finally have an energy policy that makes sure that our entire economy isn't subject to $4 or $5 gallon gas and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and clean up the planet in the process, so we can bequeath to our children and our grandchildren the kind of planet that we inherited. with your help, we can out- educate and out-innovate and out-compete the rest of the world.
7:36 pm
and we can only do all this, by the way, if we get our fiscal issues under control. i gave a speech about this yesterday. when i was running for president, i talked about a new era of responsibility in this country. and part of that means restoring some common sense about our federal finances, restoring fiscal discipline in washington, living within our means. last week we were able to prevent a government shutdown. and the reason we were able to do it was because we agreed to spending cuts, but we insisted on protecting investments in things like education and medical research. but now we've got to reign in this long-term deficit and deal with this long-term debt because it threatens our financial stability. we won't be able to do all those good things if we don't get our fiscal house in order.
7:37 pm
these we don't deal with issues, all the issues we care about we're not going to be able to solve. educating our kids; caring for our sick; looking after our seniors and our poor -- all of that will be threatened. so yesterday i tried to lay out a vision for how we tackle this problem. we need to build on the compromises we made last week, but we can't compromise on our investments to grow, the investments we need to create jobs. we've got to reform defense spending. we've got to reform health care spending. but we're not going to sacrifice our fundamental commitment that we made to one another through medicare and medicaid and social security, the safety net for our people. and we need to bring some balance to our tax code. back in december i agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest americans as much as i disliked it because it was the only way to prevent a tax hike on the middle class. but the fact is we can't afford $1 trillion of tax cuts for folks like me. not now -- not now, now when so
7:38 pm
many other americans are struggling; not when our deficits are so high. i think americans like michelle and me, we've been blessed. this country has given so much to us. we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure that every child in this country has opportunity and every senior is looked after. i think that's something that we can do. that's our vision for america. we've got a big vision for america, of a compassionate america and a caring america and an ambitious america, not a small america. it's a vision where we're living within our means but we're still investing in our future. where everyone makes sacrifices; no one bears all the burden. where we live up to the idea that no matter who we are or what we look like, no matter whether our ancestors landed on ellis island or came here on slave ships or across the rio grande, we are connected to one another. that i am my brother's keeper, i am my sister's keeper. in this country, we rise and fall together. that's the idea at the heart of america. that's why we're going to keep on fighting for immigration
7:39 pm
reform because we can't have a nation that forgets its immigrant roots. we can have a nation that is a nation of laws but also a nation of immigrants. this idea of bringing everyone together and making sure that everybody is contributing, everybody is responsible, but everybody also looks out for one another -- that's the idea at the heart of our last campaign. that's the idea at the heart of
7:40 pm
this campaign. that's the idea at the heart of america. this is not my campaign. this is your campaign. and i've got to tell you, there's going to come a time when i'll fully engage in this race. when the time comes, i will be campaigning. i'll be ready to go. but i've got to tell you, right now, i still have this day job >> you're the big time. >> and that's why i'm going to need your your help now more than ever.
7:41 pm
this campaign is still in its early stages, but now is the time when you can help shape it to make sure it gets out of the gate strong. let me tell you, i'm grayer and i'm a little dinged up. i know there are times where some of you have felt frustrated because we've had to compromise with the republicans on some issues. there have been times people are frustrated because we didn't get everything done in the first two years. there have been times where i felt the same way you do. but you know what, we knew this would not be easy.
7:42 pm
we knew that on a journey like this there are going to be setbacks, there are going to be detours, there are going to be times where you stumble. but we also knew something else. we knew that at each and every juncture in our history, when our future was on the line, when we were at a crossroads like we are now, the country came together. we were able to make the changes that we needed. that's what earlier generations did -- in lexington, in concord, in salem, in stonewall. that's what so many of you did out in cornfields in iowa; polling places in wrigleyville. and that's what i need each and every one of you to remember, and do one more time -- not for me, but for us. for the future we hold in common. for the better days that lie ahead. so whenever you hear people say our problems are too big to
7:43 pm
solve or we can't bring about the changes we seek, i want you to think about all the progress we've already made. i think -- i want you to think about all the unfinished business that lies ahead. i want you to be excited about the future that lies before us. and i want to remind you, and i want you to remind everybody else, of those simple words that summed up what we believe as a people,yes, we can. thank you.
7:44 pm
7:45 pm
♪ she came out here to be an actrees she was a singer in a band they checked my purse in oklahoma and talked about the stars they could have changed
7:46 pm
only in america ♪ singing in red, white and blue only in america where every dream is as big as we want to we all get a chance everybody gets to dance only in a merica ♪ only in america only in america
7:47 pm
everybody gets a chance everybody gets to dance only in a america only in america where every dream is red, white and blue every dream is what we wannt to talk through ohh-ohh mm-mmm. america. ♪
7:48 pm
your love is lifting me hire than i've eve rbeen lifted before keep it up, which is my desire and i'll be at your side for ever more. you know your love ikeeps on lifting me higher thahigher and higher i said your love is lifting me higher and higher was downhearted diappointed of my cold friends but then you came and soon departed you knew he'd never show his
7:49 pm
dace again that is why you love keeps on lifting me higher and higher and higher i said your love keeps lifting me higher and higher ♪ ♪ ound a million girls now i witness my loving arms around you i can stand up and face the
7:50 pm
world let me tell you your love >> this weekend, the politically incorrect guide to socialism, the revered is kevin williamson. how it is at work in the u.s. today. he is interviewed by john. the recount the lives of american elites living in 19th century new york city. also, a look at first lady barbara bush, jacqueline kennedy, and eleanor roosevelt appeared to confine the complete schedule at booktv.org. >> on april 12, 1861, confederate forces attacked fort sumter igniting this tomorrow. this weekend, american history
7:51 pm
television on c-span3 brings you sounds of life in the 1860's. it includes reactors from the north and south. you can also press the c-span alert button and have our schedules e-mail to you. >> you are training the people you cannot live without to live with that you. andrew ferguson will prepare. >> nothing like that had happened to me when i was looking for college. it started to dawn on me that it is very much a different process. it catches up monday night and c-span's q & a.
7:52 pm
this year, the studentcam competition ask them to consider washington d.c. through their land. today's surprise winter help them better understand the role in the federal government. -- third-place winner helped them better understand the role in the federal government. ♪ and god said, let t here me light.nd ther ewae was ♪ >> it is the way led live balls
7:53 pm
are changing the way we like the world. we will visit eight company that is changing at the distribution. we will see how the government impacted this in stimulus money and allow local and state governments to transition to more efficient forms of lightning such as elie de -- led. >> can you name several different types of light bulbs that are presently on the market? >> hijab in contesting, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, eliled > quite halogens, fluorescent bulb. that is about what i know. >> i am going to ask you if you
7:54 pm
do not mind but the at the light bulbs. it is a case if you do not know. [unintelligible] halogen light bulb? it is an led. up.ill try to match them [jeopardy music]
7:55 pm
>> as you can see, to people out the 20 correctly identified leds. arek's most americans essentially the same light bulbs. it was invented more than 20 years ago pierre -- 150 years ago. 90% is wasted. >> i want to test the heat output of each of these light bulbs by using this in thermometer.
7:56 pm
when you are hot, you are hot. when you are not, you are not. but all the money in here. when you are hot you are hot. they radiate far less heat than the other three types of bulbs. >> another way to illustrate the amount of energy lost in the form of pete is the ice cream test. but i will place to is to come under two bulbs that are similar and light output. the green will be under eight of the the light -- a led light. i will start it for 10 minutes. let's see what happens. shine on, let it dhin ♪
7:57 pm
which i scream, would you like to eat? -- ice cream cone would you like to eat? >> it starts with technology of -- it was invented by a hewitt packard for a supreme -- calculator's screens. through technology, white leds were invented today. it is a great way to create light. there are a few big advantages. that is why we are selling them. it is very efficient.
7:58 pm
they contain no mercury. there is the hazardous material. i think the other one is the point source. you can get very sufficient optical controls. it is just a blob of light. the biggest disadvantage is the price. it is more expensive for the first cost than traditional lighting even then over the long run it pays and makes sense. >> at people -- at the couple of things are relative. first of all, there is some research and development tax credit that are needed for our business to be able to invest in money and and money in developing the technology. on the consumption side, we are active with the department of energy. did they have an entire state lighting section that is working
7:59 pm
on promoting that lightning. they have started . they go out and promote the lighting to different cities around the country to try to achieve that. lastly, they call it the stimulus funds that are available to date did the department of energy. it is available to cities for energy efficiency upgrade. several are taking advantage of that money. it is it a combination of products food that will provide this. of thee a combination combination is the last you see and the day along with new technologies as including high
8:00 pm
efficiency halogens. i believe it will take over all light sources for residential and commercial application. >> continue the conversation about today's documentary are facebook and twitter pages. >> house republican leaders talk about today's budget bill about separate floor debate on the 2012 budget proposal. after that, democratic leadership talks about the vote. the house of representatives has approved their 2012 budget plan. we will show you the floor debate on that resolution in a moment read prior to that, and john boehner met with reporters to discuss the budget plan. the budget introduced by paul ryan faced a series of votes on amendments that saw to replace it with ultra plans, including one proposal supported by a
8:01 pm
group of conservative republicans. those alternatives were defeated on the house floor. the speaker was joined by other members of the republican leadership. it is about 10 minutes. >> this budget will bring more certainty to the american people. it will show the american people that we are serious about cutting spending. i am hopeful that the president will begin to get serious about long-term fiscal crisis that our country is facing. it is serious. it needs to be dealt with now. we owe it to the american people, we owe it to our kids and grandkids, to begin to cut spending and to begin to transform these programs so that we can save medicare, medicaid,
8:02 pm
social security. it is a serious step and the right direction. and i am hopeful that the president will take his job as seriously as we are taking hours. >> there has been a lot of coverage and all of you have been writing about the drama. i can tell you that our conference is united. we are united around the fact that we have got a budget to and they plan on the floor of the house today that speaks to our seriousness with which we are approaching the problems facing this country. the budget is the toughest vote for members during any congress. because of the hard-working -- because of the hard work, and a resounding vote on this budget of support. we are united in cutting spending, we are united in
8:03 pm
growth. we are united in the fact that we do not believe that we should be raising taxes in this tough economy. all of these things set us apart from members in the caucus on the other side of the aisle. >> today is another example of how the house has changed. it is set out more than three days. today we are going to take up a budget that takes the most basic things in-house to do. unfortunately, this house has not done in quite some time. it is not a budget that will be a political gain. this is about job growth, the energy policy. it puts america on a path to market 2011 as the great american comeback. today is historical. the year and a wig that just
8:04 pm
transpired. yesterday, we cut billions, today, we cut trillions. >> when it comes to growing the economy and addressing the debt, the answer is quite simple. cut spending. today, the house republicans are coming forward with a bold plan. introduced by paul ryan that cut $6 trillion of the next 10 years. it puts us on a pack to pay off the debts in its entirety. it is the same old scare tactics. among them at the top is scare our seniors in this plan. they're also calling for increased taxes at a time when our economy continues to struggle. with this being taxed day, it is appropriate that we consider and ask ourselves the question, do you want to be spending more money on the government or do you want to be spending more money on our families? >> i am proud to be here today, proud of chairman brian and a
8:05 pm
job that he has done, proud to be a part of the budget committee that has attracted this great to build that is going to put us on the path to prosperity. we all know that one of the things that the american public was concerned about was that we are spending too much, gets us back on the track of bring in our country to prosperity. the second thing is jobs. this bill addresses both of those issues. i am proud to place my vote in favor of this bill. >> if we want to create jobs, if we want to save our children from bankruptcy, we have to quit spending money that we do not have. we have to quit to borrow and 40 cents on the dollar, much of it from the chinese. the path to prosperity will help us create jobs. it will save the social safety net program. programs that have been a great comfort to my parents and
8:06 pm
grandparents are morphing into a ponzi scheme for my third grade daughter and my first grade son. that is why this budget is so important to save trillions of dollars for the american people, to save our social safety net programs for future generations, to create jobs for our unemployed a fellow citizens. i will celebrate the vote this afternoon for the path to prosperity budget. >> questions? >> do you think you'll have backlash from constituents? >> i think it is pretty clear that if we do not make changes to these big programs, they will not exist. the responsible plan put forward in the path to prosperity will reform these programs and make sure they are around the long term. understand, the greatest danger
8:07 pm
that america faces today is doing nothing. >> mr. speaker, i want to get --r reaction to yesterday's he seemed to reflect on some private conversations. what is your reaction? >> i did not see his remarks, but i think he mentioned it. >> speaker, are you concerned about the [inaudible] >> i think it is important for our members to go home and talk about it. the crisis that we face and the fact that the changes being proposed would not affect one senior citizen in america, not one. he has made it perfectly clear that anyone that is 55 years and older will not be affected by any of these changes. if you are 54 and younger, those
8:08 pm
americans understand that if we did not make changes, the programs will not be here. these are important programs for tens of millions of americans. transforming them so that they will be around for our kids and grandkids. >> [inaudible] >> we of commissions around here. nobody has ever paid much attention to the zone deficit- reduction commission. the complications are going to continue. we will know more in the future. >> do you have any idea how many votes [inaudible] what do you think of their plan? >> i have not looked at all the details. the plan put forth by paul ryan and the budget committee is the strongest step we can take today. and we are going to take that
8:09 pm
step. thank you. >> one alternative to the right and budget -- the paul ryan budget, which made even more cuts to balance the budget in 10 years. a simple majority was needed to pass. during that time, democrats began to switch their votes. where did switch votes, the threshold was lowered. according to roll call, that the republicans voted yes for present in a difficult position right if they did not switch their votes to know, the budget would pass. both the party's leadership and much of the conference did not want to happen. the voting against the plan was also politically risky. since conservative activist backed the plan over rep ryans'
8:10 pm
proposal. another republican switched their votes to kill the amendment. of notes, at least 57 of the 176 members either voted against the conservative groups budget or voted present.
8:11 pm
>> present for myr. clyburn. mr. rossman, no for mr. rosman of new kersey.
8:12 pm
>> on this vote, the nays are 120. >> mr. dryer, aye no. >> the amendment is not adopted. >> the house of representatives has approved the 2012 budget
8:13 pm
plan introduced by budget committee chairman paul ryan. that vote came a series -- following a series of votes of amendments to replace it with alternate plans. those alternatives were defeated. the floor debate on the rhine budget resolution. during this debate, some spectators caught the destruction in the gallery and were arrested by capitol police. in all, nine people were arrested in the gallery, three more outside. this is 50 minutes. i want to first start by thanking the chairman of the budget committee, mr. ryan, and the entire budget staff and members on the house side. >> mr. chairman, the house is not in order. the chair: the gentleman is correct. conversations please cease, clear the aisles, bring your conversations to the cloakroom.
8:14 pm
the gentleman from california. mr. mccarthy: i'd also like to thank the democrat members on the budget committee as well. what we are taking up today is the point of where this country goes. because this debate has taken on for quite sometime there is not one person that's not watched the news and watch the clock of our debt, $14 trillion. i want you all to imagine for one moment, just imagine for one moment what the country would hold in the dream if that clock was zero. what could we invest in? what could we build and what would our children become? but because that clock does not say zero and that clock continues to climb in the wrong direction, that's why we are here today. but it is a good today because
8:15 pm
today is the day that we turn that clock back around. we have a plan and a path to prosperity that will create jobs even those on the outside they said would be more than one million jobs. a plan that will make us energy independent, but a plan that does something that the rest of america has to do, tightening our belts. so today when we come and have to put our cards in the voting card, i want you to think of one thing, today could be the day that we create the great america comeback. or it could be the day where america goes to the long fade into history. but the floor is made of up a micros could much of america and the -- microcosm of america and america knows we have to control this situation we're in. so today a yes vote is for jobs, for energy independence and a
8:16 pm
new path to prosperity and i yield back. the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery which is in contra invention of the laws and rules of the house. the sergeant at arms will remove those persons responsible for the disturbance and restore order to the gallery. the house will be in order. the house will be in order. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. we are turning back the clock. we're turning back the clock on progress and we're turning back the clock on --
8:17 pm
the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in contravention with the rules of the house. the sergeant at arms will remove the persons responsible for the disturbance and restore order. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. the chair: the house will be in order. the committee will be in order. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. what the republican budget does is turn back the clock on a fair deal for the american people. every person in this body today loves this great nation of ours and believes it's a special place. we have to maintain the exceptionalism of this country. we see different paths and make
8:18 pm
different choices to accomplish that goal. the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in contravention of the law and rules of the house. the sergeant at arms will remove those persons responsible for the disturbance and restore rdo o o o o o o o o o o o o o the gentleman from illinois state his point of order. >> mr. speaker, my question is about the chairfication of the rules. mr. jackson: the rules also for our visitsing guests allow the sergeant at arms to clear the chamber if necessary. is that correct, mr. speaker? the chair: it is within the authority of the chair to clear the gallery. mr. jackson: i thank the speaker. i would just encourage those to continue the civil conversation we're having about a very difficult conversation in our country. thank you, mr. speaker.
8:19 pm
the chair: the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. if i -- mr. jackson: point of order, mr. speaker. the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in contravention of the laws and rules of the house. the sergeant of arms will remove those and restore order and would remind all those that are listening that the chair has the authority to clear the gallery. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: mr. chairman, may i inquire as to how much time remains? very seriously, mr. chairman, if -- the chair: the gentleman from maryland has 9 1/2 minutes. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. we all agree, we all agree we have to act now to put in place a plan to reduce our deficits --
8:20 pm
mr. chairman, point of order. the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in contravention of the laws and rules of the house. the sergeant at arms will remove those responsible and restore order in the gallery. the committee will be in order. committee will be in order. the committee will be in order.
8:21 pm
the committee will be in order. the chair: the gentleman from maryland may proceed. mr. van hollen: mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to begin my remarks from the beginning. the chair: is there ox? seeing none, the gentleman may proceed -- is there objection? seeing none, the gentleman may proceed. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank my colleagues. as i said, nobody doubts that every person in this chamber loves this country and wants to do the right thing. the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in
8:22 pm
contravention of the laws and rules of the house. the sergeant at arms will restore order to the gallery. the committee will be in order.
8:23 pm
8:24 pm
8:25 pm
>> there have been numerous disturbances in the gallery. the audience watching the proceedings in the u.s. house in the midst of a final bit of debate on fiscal year 2012 spending. the republican proposal about to be voting on, but the speaker is said to gavel order and a number of people in the gallery have been removed by capitol police.
8:26 pm
the chair: the committee will come to order. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. i'm tempted to reserve my time and yield it back to the other -- the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in contravention of the laws and rules of the house. the sergeant of arms will remove those persons responsible for the disturbance and restore order to the gallery. the chair makes this announcement for purposes of possible prosecution. the gentleman from maryland may proceed. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. as i said, i was tempted to
8:27 pm
reserve my time and allow my colleague to proceed but as i understand that the chamber is now quiet, let me begin where i left off. and say that all of us agree, nerve this tchame chamber agrees -- chamber agrees we need to put in place a plan to reduce our deficit in a predictable steady manner. the question throughout this debate has been not whether but how we do that. and as the bipartisan fiscal commission has indicated, any responsible effort requires a balanced approach. and the republican plan simply fails on that score. and that's what the co-chairs of the bipartisan fiscal commission said. they said it, quote, falls short of the balanced, comprehensive approach needed for a responsible plan.
8:28 pm
and when you peel off the layers, what you find is the republican plan is not bold. it's just the same old tired formula we've seen before, providing big tax breaks to the very wealthy and powerful special interests at the expense of the rest of america, except this time it's dressed up with a lot of sweet-sounding talk of reform. but at the end it's the same old ideological agenda except this time on steroids. to govern is to choose. each of us is sent here to make difficult choices. and the choices that are made in the republican plan, we believe, are wrong for america. we do not believe it's courageous to protect tax giveaways to big oil companies and other special interests when we're slashing investments in our kids' education, scientific research and critical investments in the future.
8:29 pm
we don't think it's bold to provide another, another tax break to millionaires while ending the medicare guarantee for seniors and sticking seniors with the bill for ever-rising health care costs. we do not believe it's visionary to reward corporations that ship american jobs rather than american products overseas while we're terminating affordable health care for tens of millions of americans right here at home. and we don't think it's brave to give governors a blank check of federal taxpayer dollars and then a license to cut support for seniors in nursing homes, individuals with disabilities and poor kids. and we don't think it's fair to raise taxes on middle income americans to pay for additional tax breaks for the folks at the
8:30 pm
very top. yet those are the choices that are made in the republican budget. where is the shared sacrifice? we have american men and women putting their lives on the line in iraq, in afghanistan, while others hide their income in the cayman islands, in switzerland, and refuse to pay their fair share to support our national efforts. and that is why the bipartisan commission, among other reasons, said that the republican plan is just not balanced. it's not. let's say no to the republican plan, let's say yes to finding a balanced way to reduce our deficits in a way that protects the values and priorities of the american people and in a way that gets our economy moving and america back to work. with that i reserve the balance
8:31 pm
of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. chairman, at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to the distinguished chairman of the house republican conference, the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized for two minutes. mr. hensarling: mr. chairman, earlier this week "usa today" reported that we have the fewest participants in our work force than at any time in 30 years, and my democratic colleagues announce their plan to increase taxes $1.5 trillion on our economy, much of it on our small businesses. the congressional budget office has announced that medicare is going broke in 2020, and my democratic colleagues announce their plan to double down on the rationing of health care for our seniors. the congressional budget office -- the chair: the chair notes a disturbance in the gallery in contravenges of the rules of
8:32 pm
the house. the sergeant at arms will restore order to the gallery. the gentleman may proceed. mr. hensarling: mr. chairman, the congressional budget office has announced that social security will go broke in 2037, and my democratic colleagues have announced this is not a problem, we're ready to implement the 22% benefit cut that's already in our statute. survey after survey show that our fellow citizens believe that their children, their children will be worse off than they are, and yet my democrat colleagues announce their plan to add $9.1 trillion to the national debt. mr. chairman, it's time to quit spending money we don't have. it's time to quit borrowing 42 cents on the dollar, much of it from the chinese, and then send the bill to our children and
8:33 pm
grandchildren. the republican budget will help us create jobs with fundamental tax reform in preventing these tax increases. it will save our social safety net programs, programs that have been of a great comfort to my parents and grandparents before our eyes are morphing into ponzi schemes for their third grade daughter and first grade son. mr. chairman, the republican budget will put us on the path to pay off the national debt. mr. chairman, i heard from one of my constituents recently. he said i have never been ashamed of anything i have done in my life except leaving this in the hands of my kids. i written them a heart felt apology when they get old enough to understand what the government did to them. mr. chairman, i have a message for mr. calhoun. put that letter away. house republicans are going to
8:34 pm
stand for tyler and caitlin. we are going to put america back to work. we're going to save the social safety net and preserve the american dream for ourselves and our prosperity. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. it's hard to see how someone would define saving the social safety net by ending the medicare guarantee for seniors, by slashing medicaid by over $750 billion, a program that disproportionately helps seniors in nursing homes and disabled individuals. it's really hard to understand that is preserving the social safety net. it reminds me of that strange statement we once heard that you have to destroy the village in order to save it. now, let's understand what happens under this budget to
8:35 pm
medicare. this budget ends the medicare guarantee for seniors. it doesn't reform medicare. it deforms and dismantles it because it forces seniors off of the medicare program into the private insurance market. and it does nothing as it dumps the seniors into the private insurance market to control the rate of increase in health care costs. and instead it transfers to the seniors all those risks and all those costs. seniors will pay a lot more while the insurance companies will get all their medicare payroll taxes, they'll get a bonanza out of this thing but seniors will be left holding the bag. if your voucher amount -- call it whatever you want -- is not sufficient to pay for the increased cost, you eat it. and we saw earlier the fact that by the year 2022 seniors
8:36 pm
will have to pay more than $6,000 above what they would have had to pay under the regular medicare program. if your doctor's not on a private plan that you could avoid, tough luck. this is rationing health care by income, nothing more, and i want to say something just to clear the record one more time. we keep hearing that they're offering seniors exactly what members of congress get. it simply is not true. what members of congress get is what's called a fair share deal. i encourage my colleagues on all sides of the aisle just to look at the federal employees benefit plan and you look in the office of personnel that says this formula is known as the fair share formula because it will maintain a consistent level of government contributions as a percentage of program costs regardless of what plan the enrollees elect.
8:37 pm
and it says that the government contribution equals the lesser of 72% of the amounts o.p.m. determines programwide or 75%. the fact is that members of congress get a fair share formula. the republican budget does not give a fair share formula to seniors on medicare. it just doesn't. in fact, the way it saves money is to give them an unfair deal. it unconnects the support we give to seniors from rising health care costs. that's why seniors will end up paying so much more and more and more because you make the savings. health care costs are going up like this and the support, if you want to call it support, it is really not, coming from the medicare program from the federal government, is going like this.
8:38 pm
that's why the seniors are having to eat those additional costs. that's what the republican budget does at the same time they do provide additional tax breaks for the very folks -- the folks at the very top. and if you want to get rid of some of the junk in the tax code you can support the democratic plan because we got rid of subsidies for the oil companies, we got rid of those perverse tax incentives to reward corporations that are shipping american jobs instead of american products overseas. if you want to start with tax reform, vote for the democratic plan. those are the choices we made, not ending the medicare guarantee. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. chairman, at this time i'd like to yield one minute to the distinguished majority leader, mr. cantor. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cantor: i thank the chairman, and i want to thank the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. ryan, for his outstanding leadership and all the hard work he's shown in leading this
8:39 pm
effort to put together a budget for this house. i also want to commend the hard work of his members and the committee for bringing this forward. mr. chairman, the federal government is broke. we borrow nearly 40 cents of every dollar we spend. our debt is more than $14 trillion, and it's averaging yearly to trillion-dollar deficits. we simple -- simply cannot afford spending the money we don't have and we must simply bring down the debt. now, for years this house, including legislators on both sides of the aisle, has kicked the can down the road. americans were led to believe that we could spend hundreds of billions of dollars that we don't have and that there would be no consequences. and when it came to fostering
8:40 pm
an environment where american business could compete in the global economy, we became complacent. this must stop. it's time to be honest with the american people. mr. chairman, we stand at a crossroads. before us lies two different paths. one defined by crushing debt, slow growth and diminished opportunity, and one defined by achievement, innovation and american leadership. mr. chairman, the house is not in order. the chair: the gentleman is correct. the committee is not in order. conversations will be suspended. the gentleman may proceed. mr. cantor: thank you, mr. chairman. by demonstrating courage and directly confronting our challenge at this critical moment, we can fulfill the promise of america and pass on
8:41 pm
to our children a nation that offers everyone a fair shot at earning their success. the house republican budget is an honest, fact-based proposal that details our vision for managing down our debt and growing our way back to prosperity. first, we will stop spending money that we don't have. this budget cuts nonsecurity discretionary spending to below 2008 levels and freezes it for five minutes. overall, we reach $6.2 trillion in savings against the president's budget. second, we'll lead where the president has failed by finally addressing our insolvent entitlement programs. we know that these programs are the biggest drivers of our debt and the congressional budget office acknowledges that if we don't take action these important safety net programs
8:42 pm
will go broke. we cannot afford to ignore these -- this oncoming fiscal train wreck any longer. while it may be seen by some as politically risky, we republicans are willing to lead because, to be frank, complacency is not an option. to be clear, our plan will not touch benefits for today's seniors and those nearing retirement. for those of us 54 and below it calls for reforms that will restructure medicare and medicaid to ensure that these safety nets will still be there for those who need it, not for those who don't. unlike the lofty outline the president gave in his speech this week, our budget is not a political document. we do not dream up imaginary savings and dodge specifics.
8:43 pm
in an effort to lull people into the belief that they can actually get things for nothing. our budget is a concrete plan for getting our fiscal house in order, and we do not resort to tax increases on the very small businesses and job creators we need to put america back to work. bringing down the debt sends a message to american families. it sends a message to business men and women, to entrepreneurs and to investors. it gives them the confidence that they won't face a future plagued by inflation, higher taxes and higher interest rates. we understand that cutting spending alone is not enough. that's why our budget calls for pro-growth policies to get our economy growing and to get people back to work. families and small business people are struggling, and today, tax day, millions of
8:44 pm
them will send their hard-earned money to uncle sam. the last thing we should be asking them to do is to send yet again more. instead, our budget calls for a more competitive tax system that will encourage the economy to grow, create jobs and spur investment in the private sector. we call for the end of crony capitalism that allows privileged industries gain competitive advantage in our tax code, and we call for a more simple system that lowers rates for all but make sure that everyone pays their fair share. mr. chairman, with this budget house republicans are changing the culture in washington from one of spending to one of savings. finally, mr. chairman, america will see that it can get its fiscal house in order after
8:45 pm
years of mismanagement. we are finally doing what families and small business people have been doing for years, tightening the belts and learning how to do more with less. again, mr. chairman, i thank chairman ryan and his committee for their outstanding leadership, and i urge my colleagues to support this resolution. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: may i inquire of the gentleman from maryland, he has just minimum self? mr. van hollen: we have another speaker. mr. ryan: ok. at this time, mr. chairman, i'd like to -- mr. van hollen: we have another speaker -- one more in addition to myself. mr. ryan: why don't you take one then? mr. van hollen: how many -- mr. ryan: we have the right to close. and we have just two more speakers on our side.
8:46 pm
how many do you have? mr. van hollen: we have two more. mr. ryan: all right. you'll do two together then. ok. at this time, mr. chairman ucks i'd like to yield one minute to the speaker of the house, mr. boehner. the chair: the speaker is recognized. the speaker: i'm glad we got that resolved. the american people understand that we can't continue to spend money that we don't have. our national debt has now surpassed $14.2 trillion. it's on a track to eclipse the entire size of our economy. and this massive debt that we're incurring hurts private sector job creation, eroding confidence, spreading uncertainty amongst employers big and small, discouraging private investment in our economy that is sorely needed in order for us to create jobs. this debt is also a moral threat to our country.
8:47 pm
in my opinion it is immoral to rob our children and grandchildren's future and leave them beholden to countries around the world who buy our debt. we have a moral obligation to speak the truth and to do something about it. yesterday we took the first step in beginning to address this massive debt by passing legislation that would reduce our deficit by $315 billion over the next 10 years. it was an imperfect bill, but it was a positive step that has cleared the decks and allowed to us focus on cutting trillions of dollars, not just billions. and chairman ryan and the members of the budget committee have done an excellent job of putting together a budget that's worthy of the american people. this budget will help job creation today, lift the crushing burden of debt that threatens our children's future and preserve and protect
8:48 pm
programs like medicare and medicaid. and most importantly the budget shows families and small businesses that were serious about dealing with america's spending illness so we can put our country on a path to prosperity. the ryan budget sets the bar for the debate going forward. president obama had an opportunity to match it. unfortunately he gave a partisan speech about the need for more spending, more taxing and more borrowing. he said he must -- he wants to target our debt problem through a so-called debt failsafe. but exempts the major entitlement programs that account for most of the long-term debt problems. and he proposed yet another commission, though he ignored the recommendations of this last one. instead of offering serious solutions, the president asked congress to raise the debt limit without addressing washington's
8:49 pm
spending problem. the president wants a clean bill. and the american people will not tolerate it. now, let me be clear. there will be no debt limit increase unless it's accompanied by serious spending cuts and real budget reform. we delivered this message on wednesday morning to the president and we cannot continue to borrow recklessly and dig ourselves a deeper hole and mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren. the american people are looking for leadership to address this debt crisis. and unfortunately the president has failed to put a serious proposal on the table. and if the president won't lead, we will. no more kicking the can down the road, no more whistling past the graveyard. now is the time to address the
8:50 pm
serious challenges that face the american people. and we will. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. chairman. i would point out that even if we adopt the republican budget, we're going to have to lift the debt ceiling for years and years to come. so let's not play russian roulette with the economy and the full faith and credit of the united states government. on the question of jobs, the question of jobs, during the clinton administration we asked the very wealthiest for a little bit more sacrifice than they have today and you know what happened to jobs? 20 million jobs were created during the administration, clinton administration. under the current tax rates, after eight years of george bush, private sector lost 630,000 jobs. mr. chairman, can i inquire how much time i have remaining? the chair: the gentleman has 1
8:51 pm
1/2 minutes remaining. mr. van hollen: i yield myself 30 seconds. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. van hollen: so you see the pattern here, during the clinton administration economic growth booming, 20 million jobs created, during the eight years of the bush administration net loss 653,000 jobs. we need to continue to invest in this country and make sure that the entrepreneurs of this country can continue to thrive. we need to do this in a balanced way and i would point out that the folks who said that the republican plan this republican plan debate would increase jobs are the same people who predicted that the bush tax cuts would create jobs. that's the blue line is the prediction of the heritage foundation about what that would happen. the red is the reality. if we want to create jobs and reduce the deficit, we need to do it in a balanced way. that's what the fiscal commission said, that's what the democratic plan does.
8:52 pm
we urge everyone respectfully to vote no on the republican plan. it's the wrong choice for america. and with that i yield a minute to the distinguished democratic leader, ms. pelosi. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. pelosi: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. i thank him for bringing a budget proposal to the floor today that is a statement of our national values, about what we care about, investing in our children, honoring our seniors, growing, creating jobs, growing the economy, strengthening the middle class. thank you, mr. van hollen, for your great leadership in that regard. mr. speaker, today we are taking a vote that is very, very important for the health and security of american seniors. a great deal is at stake. and i'm just going to focus on one part of this republican budget. i want to say to my republican colleagues, do you realize that
8:53 pm
your leadership is asking to you cast a vote today to abolish medicare as we know it? because that is a vote that we have. this is not about an issue, this is about a value, this is about an ethic. medicare is a core value of our social compact with the american people. yet this budget shreds that contract which is part of the strength of our country. the republican proposal breaks the promise that our country has made to our seniors. that after a lifetime of work they will be able to depend on medicare to protect them in retirement. this plan, the republican plan, ends medicare as we know it and dramatically reduces benefits for seniors. it forces them to pay more -- to buy their insurance companies from health insurance companies where the average senior will be forced to pay twice as much for
8:54 pm
half the benefits. i want to repeat that. it forces -- the republican plan forces seniors to buy their insurance from health insurance companies where the average senior will be forced to pay twice as much for half the benefits. as much as $20,000 per year more for some seniors. this plan has the wrong priorities for our seniors and for all americans. the republican budget, just remember these three things, ends medicare as we know it, gives big tax breaks and subsidies, tens of billions of dollars to big oil. this budget reduces medicaid for our seniors in nursing homes, sending them away from nursing homes while it gives tax breaks to companies that send jobs overseas. this budget hurts our children's education. in fact, it increases the cost of higher education for nearly
8:55 pm
10 million of our young adults while it gives tax breaks to america's wealthiest families. that's just not fair. it is just not the american way. here we are, yesterday we observed the 100th day of the republican majority in congress. in that 100 days not one job has been created, not one job agenda is in the works. and what are we doing? we are here to abolish medicare instead. i've heard our colleagues say that the budget deficit is immoral. it's been immoral for the eight years of the bush administration and didn't hear anybody say boo while we were giving tax cuts to the rich, having two wars unpaid for and giving tax -- prescription drug bills to the private sector. democrats are committed to reducing the deficit, we have demonstrated that we can during
8:56 pm
the clinton administration and we will. we are committed to strength being -- strengthening the middle class, to growing our economy as we reduce the deficit and to creating jobs. the republican budget fails to do that and the republican budget will not have democratic support. we are here as one of the previous speakers said, now is the time, now is the time to preserve medicare and democrats will. i urge a no vote on the republican plan. thank you. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. -- the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. ryan: mr. chairman, at this time i'd like to yield myself the remainder of the time and address the house from the well. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ryan: first of all, mr. chairman, i want to thank our staffs. the democratic staff and the republican staff for all of
8:57 pm
their hard work in getting us to this moment. i want to ask my colleagues a question. i want to ask the american people a question. you know, i remember one of the worst moments i had in congress was the financial crisis of 2008. seems like it was yesterday. we had the treasury secretary, we had the federal reserve chairman coming here talking about crisis. talking about bank collapses. and what came out of that was really ugly legislation that we passed in a bipartisan basis but no one enjoyed. that crisis caught us by surprise. it was unpredictable. we didn't see it coming. let me ask you this. what if your president and your member of congress saw it coming? what if they knew why it was happening, when it was going to happen and, more importantly, they knew what to do to stop it and they had time to stop it but they didn't because of politics? what would you think of that
8:58 pm
person? mr. chairman, that is where we are right now. this is the most predictable economic crisis we've ever had in the history of this country. and yet we have a president who is unwilling to lead, we have too many politicians weared about the next election and -- worried about the next election and not worried about the next generation. every politician in this town, every politician in this town knows we have a debt crisis. they know that we are in danger. we cannot avoid this choice to govern -- choice. to govern is to choose. we are making a choice even if we don't act and that's the wrong choice. in the words of abraham lincoln, we cannot escape history, we of this congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves . will we be remembered as the congress that did nothing as the
8:59 pm
nation sped toward a presprentble debt crisis and irreversible decline? or will it instead be remembered as a congress that did the hard work of preventing that crisis? the one that chose this path to prosperity. this path to prosperity charts a different course. it gets us off this wrong track. it achieves four objectives. number one, grow the economy and get people back to work. number two, fulfill the mission of health and retirement -- fulfill the mission of health and retirement security. we don't want to ration medicare, we don't want to see medicare go bankrupt, we want to save medicare. number three, repair the social safety net. get it ready for the 21st century. we don't want a welfare system that encourages people to stay on welfare, we want them to get
9:00 pm
back on their feet and into flourishing, self-sufficient lives. so let's reform welfare for people who need it and let's end it for corporate welfare for people who don't need it. number four, let's do the work of lifting this crushing burden of debt from our children. this is what we achieve. we have a choice of two futures. but we have to make the right choice. we must not leave this nation -- lead this nation into decline. we must not be the first generation in this country to leave the next generation worse off. decline is antithetical to the american idea. america is a nation conceived in liberty, dedicated to equality and defined by limitless opportunity. equal opportunity, upward mobility, prosperity, this is
9:01 pm
what america is all about. in all chapters of human history, there has never been anything quite like america. this budget keeps america exceptional. it preserves its promise for the next generation. colleagues, this is our defining moment. we must choose this path to prosperity. i yield. >> following the vote, house budget committee ranking of the -- ranking member van hollen said this is the wrong choice for america because he said it will provide tax breaks for the wealthiest americans and oil companies. other democratic members of the committee spoke with supporters moments after the house adopted the fiscal 2012 budget resolution by a vote of 235-93.
9:02 pm
four republicans voted against. no democrats voted in favor. this is about 20 minutes. >> we just came from a boat in the house on the republican budget. we think the republican budget is the wrong choice for america. the question is not whether or not we should work together to reduce our deficit and debt. the question is how we do that. we believe the republican plan makes the wrong choice for a couple of reasons. we think it will hurt the fragile economic recovery. number two, we think it makes the wrong choice as to how we reduce the deficit, because they choose to provide another round
9:03 pm
of big tax breaks for the wealthiest americans, for millionaires and others. they choose to keep in place big taxpayer subsidies for the oil companies, which i know everyone knows what the price of the pompous, going up, profits are going up, yet we provide those companies with big taxpayer subsidies. we should not be doing that at the same time that they are slashing investments in education, ending the medicare guaranteed, meaning saying two seniors, you know longer get a say in the medicare program. you're forced in the insurance market, and you're forced to eat the rising costs of health care. there is no more medicare guaranteed. all of a sudden, payroll taxes for medicare, when that kicks in, will go to the insurance industry.
9:04 pm
if your voucher, your support, if it is not sufficient to keep up with the cost, you are out of luck. it is designed not to keep up with the cost of health care. that is how they save money as they give tax breaks to millionaires. when it comes to other important efforts like medicaid, which nursing homes seniors rely on, which individuals with disabilities rely on, which poor kids rely on, they cut that by over $775 billion instead of saying to the folks of the top, let's go back to the same tax rate that we had during the clinton administration, a time when the economy was roaring and 20 million jobs were created. no. instead of doing that, they ask working people to bear the burden and ask for no shared suffice for those who have done
9:05 pm
so well. we think this is the wrong direction, the wrong approach for america. we will continue to fight this republican plan. we are confident that with the help of the american people, we will ultimately defeated. i want to turn this over to alison shorts, a terrific member of congress from the state of pennsylvania. >> thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of the american people. i share my agreements with most americans, which is that the republican budget that was voted on a few minutes ago is wrong for this country, wrong for seniors, wrong for children, and wrong for economic growth. we offered an alternative. they took seriously the national debt and deficit, brings down the deficit, does it in a different way than the republicans. we want to have a balanced approach.
9:06 pm
we will bring down the deficit. we are borrowing too much and spending too much on interest. we will do it in a way that meets our obligations to the american people. we all know it. i spoke to a group of seniors. one woman said she was 54 years old and has a disabled son and is on medicaid. she says when she reaches 65, she was counting on medicare. of course, she is deeply concerned about who will take care of her disabled child. all i could say to her is that this -- is to hope that this republican budget does not make it into law. it is not good enough for the american people. we have to end it as we know it. the president said he will not let it happen on his watch. we have seniors and families who are concerned about children and
9:07 pm
education. we have businesses who want us to make the investments in innovation and infrastructure so we can be economically competitive. for the future of this country, for stability, and economic growth, we ask you to turn aside the republican budget and take a more reasonable, more responsible approach. that is what we're trying to do. i will turn into another member of the budget committee. >> thanks. i think the biggest insult to the american people with the republican budget is that it is based on total mythology. they base an enormous amount of growth on almost a fate that based idea, and that is if you cut taxes for the very wealthiest americans, you will have unlimited growth in the economy. the only person, the only body they could get to vouch for that was the heritage found cushion. no other bonafide economists
9:08 pm
will tell you that you cut taxes again on the wealthiest americans and corporations and you will have unprecedented growth. they are projecting on employment at -- unemployment at unprecedented historical levels. the basically waived their magic wand and say, these are the numbers that will restore the economy. this is not a reality-based budget. i come from a family of entrepreneurs. i built a company. any of us will tell you or would have told you that raising taxes a small amount on all entrepreneurs makes no difference in how they act. what makes a difference is if they see an opportunity to make money. as my brother, who is in the barbecue restaurant business, says, if nobody can afford bar- b-que, it does not matter what my tax rate is. that is where we are as a
9:09 pm
country. we have spent so much time making sure the top 1 percent and have done well, we have totally forgotten the 90% who now have less wealth than the top 1% has. we need to develop fiscal policy that makes sure that we encourage growth in that 90%, not further enrichment of the top 1%. that is what the democratic alternative did and that is why i believe we must defeat this republican budget. it is a hoax on the american people. i would like to introduce that the. >> i will yield. we are all about mass transit. >> let me thank representative van hollen and my colleagues on the committee. we recount for boys to be attack on middle-class america.
9:10 pm
i am proud of the effort we made to inform the general public. this republican budget stops medicare. it puts an end to medicare. it encourages corporations to export jobs rather than keep them in the united states of america. tax responsibility grows weaker and weaker on millionaires and billionaires and allow for oil company handouts to be the theme of the day. these are the wrong choices for america as it has been said so many times. this is the road to ruin and we have been swerved at the fast track to get an end to medicare as quickly as they could get. we've had many days of discussion. we had an alternative plan that would grow jobs. this plan will reduce jobs by millions. we cannot afford the kind of destruction on our economy. i'm proud different democrats are making. let's not allow them to and
9:11 pm
medicare and go forward with the republican plan for the 2012 budget. thank you. >> let me just say that first of all, i am proud to stand with my democratic colleagues and with the ranking member, who did a wonderful job or viewing -- arguing the democratic case and saying that today was a sad day in our country. today, the republicans made a statement that they were willing to break the social contract in our country. it is completely unacceptable to say that just because this does not impact you if you are 55 years and older to take a generation and throw them under the bus for everybody under 55, this is unacceptable. if you take medicaid and put it in the form of a block grant, we have states that are in crisis all across our country. if they had to deal with the block grant in the time of the recession when unemployment is
9:12 pm
the highest, that is when medicaid me to the most flexible. it is unacceptable that my republican colleagues have made a statement to the american people today that today and the social contract. i just want to say that i want to thank god for the senate. i know this will be dead on arrival in the senate, as it should be. i know for the american people, this plan would be dead on arrival. thank you very much. >> hi. i am standing here today because the sheriff -- because of a shared sacrifice in the town i grew up. there were people who got up every day, prepared a lunch box , when two meatpacking plants, dangerous jobs, work on roads, to make sure i had a good education, to make sure i have a safe school to attend, to make sure we have roads, that we have the basics in life that help communities be strong and vibrant.
9:13 pm
the budget the republicans passed takes away that the underpinning of community, of shared sacrifice, of responsibility to one another in order to have strong communities. right here in washington, d.c., our founding fathers and mothers sherry sacrifice to make sure that we had in this country an opportunity for -- people to be successful. in order to be successful, they have to have an opportunity to get a good education. they have to have an opportunity to have basic health care needs met, shelter and transportation. all of that, all of that shared sacrifices gone in the republican budget. they made a decision that it is more important to suspend resources, to borrow money, to pay interest to get more -- give more tax breaks to 1% of america. i'm pleased to stand there with my colleagues in support of the
9:14 pm
democratic proposal. let me conclude with this. i will get on a plane and go back home and see my brother and sister. i am 56. i will look of them and say, under the republican plan, i don't have to worry. my children don't have to worry about my health care into the future. sorry, brother. sorry, sister. sorry, niece and nephew. you don't know what the future holds for you and your parents and their health care and retirement. this was wrong, wrong, wrong. i'm glad to be on the right side of history and standing up for middle-class families. >> good afternoon. i represent the great state of florida. help me with my favorite sign. this beautiful spring day in the nation's capital belies the fact that we have dark days
9:15 pm
ahead under the republican budget. it is very distressing for the hard-working families that i represent in florida and all across this great country that the republican plan destroys medicare. i think it is a falsehood to say that if you are 55 and over, you are not going to be affected, because what the republican plan, the cynical plan, does, is it causes medicare to wither on the vine. if you are medicare provider, and you know medicare is ending, you don't have any great incentive to stay within the medicare initiative. when you combine it with a very significant ratcheting-back of nursing-home care that would happen immediately under the republican budget, seniors today need to be concerned. all american families need to be concerned. the republican plan is sending
9:16 pm
medicare. medicare is that promise that was made to hard work with -- hardworking individuals across this country. if they worked hard all their lives, they would live their retirement years in dignity and security. the republicans say, enough of that, and toss that by the wayside. in a very cynical attempt to save the tax breaks for the top 2% in this country. those tax breaks swallow medicare. that is what the choice that was on the table for this budget, it provides a very distinct, two distinct visions of america, one that is optimistic and hopeful, and retains that promise, that social compact that has been vital in keeping older americans and their families out of poverty for tickets, and on the other hand, the republican vision for america is pessimistic. it is cynical. it says two older americans, were car door wrote -- all your
9:17 pm
life, but your neighbors will not be there for you in your older years. as president obama said the other day, but for the grace of god go i.. who can say that later in life, you will not have a heart attack, you will not come down with a chronic condition, your body will not wear out? we're going to fight to save medicare. the battle lines have been drawn. the vote has been taken and everyone has gone on record. i can tell you i am proud that unanimously, my democratic colleagues say we are not going to give up on older americans. we're going to keep that promise that is medicare. thank you, chris van hollen, and all my colleagues. >> thank you. we have heard from some of the republican members on the floor that medicare was socialism. if you go back to the fight over medicare 1955, that is what the
9:18 pm
republicans argued in order to try and stop medicare from ever being created. now they are using that term as part of ending the medicare guarantee. we would be happy to try and answer any questions. >> what was the strategy behind voting on the budget? it makes steeper cuts. who came up with that plan? >> that was a discussion that took place within the democratic caucus. and it was an effort to show just how far out the republicans are, the majority of the republicans come in their caucus. let me just say you have seen two budgets today from the republican side, both of which would be a radical change in the direction of this country. as my colleague indicated earlier, which shattered the social contract in america. any other questions?
9:19 pm
>> if you could put your political hat back on, how bad a vote do you think republicans took today? >> we encourage some of our colleagues to read the bill because it was pretty clear from some of their comments that they have not read the bill. but the answer your question by way of making this point. one of their talking. originally was that what they're giving two seniors is the same health care deal members of congress have, that they give to themselves. it is just not true. not true. what members of congress have, federal employees have, is what is called a fair share arrangement. what that means is, as the cost of health care in premiums go up, so does the employer share. members of congress protect themselves against the costs of rising health care.
9:20 pm
yet, they are asking seniors to take a wrong deal, a deal that does not protect seniors from those costs. that is exactly how they make their savings in this bill. i only say that because i would have to ask the american people whether it is a good thing that a member of congress says two seniors, we are going to give you a lousy deal, but keep a good deal for ourselves. >> those are the makings of a pretty put -- pretty effective political ad, wouldn't you say? >> i leave it to the american people to judge the facts. as all of us have said, this is a wrong turn for america and really does violate the social contract in so many different ways and in the medicare guarantee. >> is a very major boost for your campaign to regain the house? >> it will depend on what the american people decide about this.
9:21 pm
but we want is for the people to look at this bill. they can judge for themselves. as i said, i think that the american people recognize that medicare is a program that has served the country well. to dismantle it can save two seniors that you can no longer choose to stay in the medicare program, you have to go into the private insurance market and face those rising costs, and if your doctor is not on the plan that you can afford with your dwindling voucher or whatever you call it, you are out of luck. so that is the deal they have given to people of america while they have retained a much better deal for themselves as members of congress. any other questions? thank you all very much for joining us. we will keep fighting this republican budget. we are confident when the
9:22 pm
american people learn about it, they will help us bury it. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you for all your work. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> today's session in the house was the last day for house chaplain father daniel coughlin, who served in that position for the last 11 years. john boehner and nancy pelosi took a moment on the floor to pay tribute to his service. >> a prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father coughlin. >> you are god. we praise you.
9:23 pm
you are the lord. you are the eternal father. all creation worships you. save your people, lord. and bless your inheritance. govern and uphold these, now and always. day-by-day, we bless you. we praise your name forever. keep us today, lord, from all sense. have mercy on us, lord. have mercy. lord, show was your love and mercy, for we put our trust in you. in you is our hope, and we shall never hope in vain. amen. >> i think all of the member should be aware that today as father coughlin's last day as our chaplain, after 11 years of service. i think all of us, not just the
9:24 pm
members, but the officers on the staff, zero a giant debt of gratitude to father dan. he has been an invaluable part of our community, not just with the opening prayer, but his counsel and his guidance that he has offered to all of us. in the house's darkest hour, he has been there too gently lead us back to save haven. in between, when things get really noisy around here, he tries to encourage us to stop, find some quiet time, and reflect. he was appointed by the speaker 11 years ago, comes from chicago, where he will return. i am sure that one person that is happy he is returning is his mother, who is 96 years young.
9:25 pm
so, father dan, on behalf of the whole house, i want to thank you for your service. i know we have not always been the most cooperative congregations that you might have -- i hope that you will keep this house and the people who serve here in your prayers. we will keep you in hours. i would be happy to yield. [applause]
9:26 pm
>> mr. speaker, i am happy to yield to my colleague from california. >> thank you very much. as is evident by the response to your remarks, there is one thing that democrats and republicans in the house of representatives agree on. he has truly blessed us with his service as our chaplain for the past 11 years. [applause] when we talk about him being our chaplain, it is not that he is just a chaplain of the members. he is the chaplain of the staff, the carpenters that we see in the hall, service employees who
9:27 pm
are here. he ministers to the needs of all of us here. sometimes in a very macro way, when 9/11 struck, or tucson, most recently, the anthrax threat, those kinds of things had an impact on all of us. father was there for us as a group and he was there for us individually. we never know what joys and pains our colleagues or of our workers here are undergoing more suffering. father dan knows more than most of us. his discretion as something that we all value and respect. father dan has served minister to the needs of the port in calcutta, india, he has medicated with monks in monastery, and he will go back and do some of that again, he has been a scholar at the north
9:28 pm
american college in rome, exchanging ideas there, and he has ministered to the needs of the people in illinois. we are very very honored. lester, many of us stood up and sang the praises. it seemed so recent. it was a year ago. after that, father was honored in illinois for serving as a priest for 50 years. so as all of that -- [applause] four some of us, it was really a special source of pride. we respect all of our chaplains. a source of personal pride that he was the first roman catholic chaplain in the house of
9:29 pm
representatives. [applause] and showed that he could minister to the needs of all the members of all faiths here. yes, we are very blessed by his service in the congress. we are going to miss him a great deal. we wish him well as he goes for. the legacy that he lets look -- left us is one that is not only opening prayer each day to inspire us and lift us to a higher place in our deliberations, but that he set an example of stability in the congress, of confidentiality of relationships. he was a great chaplain. we will miss him greatly. we are enormously grateful to him. thank you, father coughlin. [applause]
9:30 pm
>> may god be with you. i yield back. >> next, a house hearing on border security. then, house republican leaders talk about today's budget bill vote. then floor debate on the 2012 budget. after that, democratic leadership on that boat. >> tomorrow on washington journal, vincent great talks about the unique relationship with congress and his recent protests and arrests over restrictions placed on washington, d.c., as part of congress's budget deal. carrie lukas explains why she believed that women earn on average as much or even more than men. ylan mui discusses the impact
9:31 pm
high gas prices have on consumer spending. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> now, two subcommittees examine u.s. border security and how border patrol operations on federal lands might be impacted by environmental laws. robb bishop, one of the cochairs of this hearing, has introduced legislation that would waive some environmental rules for border patrol agents when operating on public lands. at issue is the impact of border patrol vehicles from observation towers, croats, and fences on parks and wilderness land. the subcommittees also review cooperation between federal agencies and implementing a garment laws in border areas, particularly in less secure areas along the southern border. this is a little over three hours. >> we are ready to start here.
9:32 pm
some of our college will be joining us. we will see how far we can get in this process. as you all know, there's a change in the schedule today. truly unusual circumstances. we will be interesting for those repeatedly. we apologize for that. we will go over for one vote at the time. no more than a 10 or 15-minute interruption. i will call this hearing to order. the presence of the quorum is here today. subcommittees on national security, homeland defense, foreign operations are meeting today to hear testimony on how and permit laws and regulations can harm the borderland environment. under the rules, the opening statements will be limited to the chairman and ranking members, when they show up. we can hear from our witnesses
9:33 pm
more quickly. i will ask unanimous consent to include any other opening statements on the record if submitted by the close of business today. during objection, that will be so ordered. i ask consent for the gentleman from texas, who has asked if he could make a statement, to be our first witness of the day, if he is here. when he gets here, we will interrupt to allow that to take place. that is ordered. i also ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from new mexico, mr. pierce, be allowed to join us and introduce one of the witnesses and participate in this hearing. without objection. so ordered. i will make my opening statement after my colleagues have had a chance to speak. i will recognize the chairman of the subcommittee on homeland defense and foreign operation for his opening statement. >> thank you to my colleague and friend in chairman mr. bishop.
9:34 pm
we're examining the extent to which federal environmental laws and regulations affect the ability of law enforcement to patrol and secure our borders. we examine the extent to which restrictions placed upon agents are harming the environment. since december of 2006, the drug cartel-related violence in mexico has continued to excellent -- escalate. almost 3000 people were killed in 2007 in mexico. that increased to almost 7000 in 2000. more than 95 covered killed in 2009. by 2010, the number is now over 15,000. according to reports, most of these crimes occurred within a short distance of the u.s. border towns and americans have also suffered. three law-enforcement officers have been injured or lost their lives in a recent months. out of europe 15, 2011, two agents were both shot in the line of duty. one later died from his injuries. in december 2010, brian terry
9:35 pm
was fatally shot near tucson while attempting to prevent criminal activity along the border. i was going to show you some of the perot photos. having reviewed those photos, they are so graphic and so disturbing, i worry about sharing them in this format here. the steep increase of violence across the southwest border raises serious concerns for the public and members on both sides of the aisle. department, and security responsible for securing the border. in response to a legal activity of the southwest border, including illegal activities occurring on federal lands, department of homeland security has increased the amount of agents to resources directed toward preventing smuggling and kidnapping and illegal immigration. despite the increase in resources, the director of homeland security issues that the gao identified holes in our
9:36 pm
border secure strategy. recently, he testified there are only 129 miles of the roughly 100 -- 1954-mile long thought was border or the border patrol can actually "deter or detect and apprehend illegal entry." let me repeat. only 129 of the nearly 2,000 miles are adequately secure. this is unacceptable. the government should be ashamed. the government is spending billions of dollars on flawed strategy and must find a better solution. because of the department of homeland security's inability to secure the border and much depends on access to federal land, the department of interior and the department of agriculture entered into a memorandum of understanding. the purpose of this was to guide and facilitate activities on
9:37 pm
federal land. it sought to ensure the concerns about protecting the environment would be addressed. it emphasized the need for cooperation and timely -- timely responses by land managers to request by the border patrol. they agreed to cooperate and do so "in an expedited manner." a recent report indicated that "cooperation has not always occurred" between the interior and the usda. they will be testifying today on the same panel. border patrol agents in charge of the 16 of the 26 patients have told the gao that "when they attempt to obtain a permit or permission to access portions of federal land, delayed restrictions have resulted in complying with lan management laws." i support the utmost protection of our environment and multiple uses of public land. we must listen to the border patrol agents to put their lives on the line every day.
9:38 pm
some agents asserted that delays resulting from laws have "less in the agent's ability to detect undocumented aliens." this is totally unacceptable. and on secure border is a national security threat. as soon as the administration realizes this and act accordingly, the safer we will be. i look for to hearing from witnesses. i appreciate time and effort. many of you have traveled from great distances. i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you. the ranking member on a subcommittee i see on the floor. he is here with us in spirit. when he arrives, he will be recognized to give an opening statement should you wish to do that. we do have the ranking member from government ops here. i appreciate your joining us. i recognize him for an opening statement. >> i think all the witnesses that will be testifying today. question posed as whether laws
9:39 pm
prevent the border patrol from staplers securing our borders. the unanimous answer in written testimony from the border patrol, department of interior, department of agriculture, and general accountability office appears to be no. border security and internment lost to richard are not mutually exclusive. let's not make an attempt to make a false choice were none exists. the wilderness act and other laws place restrictions on the border patrol's operations in areas. according to the book of testimony you received today, those restrictions impose a relatively low burden that has been manage through interagency cooperation. this is not to say there are not serious incursions on our border. drug smugglers and human traffickers continue to use federal land to perpetrate illegal activities. while some of these lands are used to
9:40 pm
the message from today's hearing is that the border patrol believes it can effectively achieve its border security mission and be responsible stewards of the environment of the same time. the department of the interior and the department of agriculture agree with the gao, which has studied this extensively. this committee is no stranger to the challenges posed by securing the border and the violence in mexico. the committee held several hearings examining the security threat posed by drug cartels in mexico and federal strategy to confront those geladas. over 30,000 citizens of mexico have been killed in the last four years. there are many real challenges that underline our mission to secure borders. environmental restrictions are not one of them. i look forward to working with you to tackle the real challenges confronting border security. thank you. >> i thank you for opening
9:41 pm
statements. i am prepared to give mine at this time. i am glad we are here on this process, especially that we will be joined by couple of people, the representative will be here soon. representative deferreds, who we pray for too soon join us, and representative pierce, who has joined us, represent the areas that are most impact. i appreciate their significance in their problem as they try to tell constituents why they're inundated with a problem that has solutions we could find here in washington if we wished. the issue is illegal entrants into this country. the bottom line has to be that it is unacceptable, even one is unacceptable. what is happening today as unacceptable. homeland security, the forest service, and department of interior all have a responsibility. what you're doing is not working. the status quo was unacceptable.
9:42 pm
if things are getting better, and reports that in some areas it is, that is positive. it is not good enough. it is not as people coming across searching for a better life. what is the concern is the people who are coming across the border are the drug cartels were destroying the lives of our kids with drugs. they are prostitution rings. they're people being assaulted and raped on american land. that is unacceptable. american citizens living in this area are being threatened and killed. that is simply unacceptable. if i could have mapped two up there, which shows all the regions that have been coming here. some of those are doing very well. the number of people who have been apprehended in maine, 56. canadians from nova scotia are not coming here to take our hockey jobs. about a half-million people have
9:43 pm
been apprehended. those are the ones we caught, not those who came in. quarter of a million of all those went through the tucson sector by itself. 51% of those coming into this country are coming through that sector. no wonder you can understand why arizona reacted the way it did and pass legislation. that is almost 1000 people a day being apprehended through their sector. tucson is not all of arizona. yuba is there. why is that the access of choice for those coming in? this is the border land. it is 100 miles above the border. everything read on that map is owned by the federal government. in places where we are having success, there's not much red. in places where the problem exists, it is red. 97% of all apprehensions are coming on federal lands. when we built the fence, 36
9:44 pm
loss or waived in order to build a fence. one makes the assumption that those 36 may have a reason. the problem border patrol has in securing the borders right now. department of interior, i'm sorry. your response as ben to set up a sign telling americans not to go on american property. the outbreak of these signs was major randy pulled them down, which is right. the attitude has not changed. a sovereign country has to control its sovereign land and we are not doing that. that is simply unacceptable. it is still on safe for americans to go into america. that is unacceptable. a representative from homeland security will basically tell us things are fine. we're getting along. we're improving. i don't buy it. i don't buy it because the logical assumption of that testimony means border patrol is not competent, and i don't believe that for one second.
9:45 pm
i believe they are competent, but there are frustrations with the department of interior and the forest service. if i could have number four? these are the old barriers we used to have along the border. they have been removing -- removed. one land manager uses these borders to stop the border patrol from entering into areas he did not wish them to enter. that is unacceptable. the border patrol can do their job that they are allowed to do their job. one senator introduced a bill for new mexico and recognized that there should be a five-mile strip along the border and of which border patrol had total access. he had the right idea. he had the numbers wrong. five months doesn't cut it. reports the camp was, people of taken one sentence out of context, 22 of the 26 stations said things were fine. unaffected by land management
9:46 pm
practices. if you read the entire report, you would see what they said is, in a course, no portions of these stations jurisdiction has border security status, such as management or monitored, downgraded as a result of land management walt -- laws. that is not the same thing. 17 out of 26 of the station said they did have monitoring delays and portions of programs for delay. 14 out of 17 could not get waivers from land managers in a timely manner. the majority said cooperation has not always occurred. that is not accurate. some managers monitor areas and on a routine basis. some document on an ad hoc basis. the statement can take over 75 days to accomplish. the wilderness restriction cause the problem. five out of seven said the endangered species act causes a problem.
9:47 pm
in arizona, it took four months to get permission to moving mobile surveillance system. the reason for it, the manager has limited staff with numerous other priorities. this was not important to him. it took six months in arizona to get permission to improve roads the border patrol needed to conduct patrols. eight months in another area to allow improvements for transportation to move an underground sensor that did not take place. in some places, it's simply never happened. border agent told us maintenance was needed for five routes and two surveillance system sites within the station, but they did not receive permission. without roads, they could not conduct routine patrols or reached the site for mobile system, even in an area of high illegal traffic. the agent sent one additional road on an east-west corridor close to the border would be
9:48 pm
effective to combat the 8000- miles of trail that undocumented workers have produced. in another area, they approved for helicopter landings. that is great. everything was delayed until 2011. contrasting two previous examples when they requested additional access, the management land manager determined that additional border patrol access would not improve the protection of the resources. so what happened as they put surveillance on land owned by the state of arizona and created a three-mile hole in the surveillance for undocumented workers. the lan manager requested border patrol to find a different location because of restrictions. he explained border patrol did not demonstrate to him that the proposed tower was critical. he made the final decision, not the expert on the border patrol area.
9:49 pm
the memo of understanding is not working. i'm glad you're becoming chummier with the memo of understanding. it is not a solution. it is a process. the process the numbers showed you is not working. the results of that memo are unacceptable. the memo was failed. it was designed to fail and prohibit the border patrol from doing their job. the memo confirms what people on the ground have contended in washington has denied. we need to regain control of orleans. national security has to be our number one issue. from bill clinton, it is national security, stupid. border patrol should not be stopped or inhibited in anything they try to do. the internment is being trashed by illegal entry. it is not national security that is threatening our and burn it. it is the lack of national security threatening our burn it. the department of interior must
9:50 pm
have better priorities of human life as a higher priority over what they are looking at with blinders on. you will hear a lot of spin today, especially from the next panel of witnesses. one may hope that when you have quick spinning, it will be facing toward the front. what is happening right now is not acceptable. it has to change. i appreciate your patience in that. you will have another opening statement. i want to thank you. we previously recognized mr. reyes. we noted you would be the first speaker for us. your timing is impeccable. you came at just the right time to give your statement. we appreciate the service on the history you bring to us as one of those border patrol workers that if such a great job in an area where you were allowed to do a great job. you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
9:51 pm
ranking members, thank you for giving me an opportunity to be here to lend my comments to the very important work that your committees are doing. one of the first point i want to make and _ as often times, -- underscore is often times, we represent border district, camera -- and those representing border areas get frustrated because decisions made here, particularly of the federal level, often impact the communities and the relationship between communities and the
9:52 pm
customs and border protection and other law-enforcement agencies that have very important work to do to secure the nation. i want to tell you how much i appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning. i actually was part of a field hearing in texas where the community got a chance "to testify and also to observe a hearing. last week, the committee on homeland security on the senate side, senator lieberman's committee, asked my county judge to give testimony. she was up here, and made a number of points i want to reinforce here this morning. first of all, i represent the safest city in the united
9:53 pm
states of over 500,000 people or more. it is interesting to note that five of our border cities, which include the two largest, el paso and san diego, and laredo and tucson, are on the top-10 list of safest cities in the country. the reason i mention that is because oftentimes, the rhetoric does not match what we are experiencing, those of us who live on the border. the border is not a lawless region. the border is not an area that is out of control. i cannot say enough about the work that the border patrol is doing. i cannot say enough about the cooperation that exists to make sure that border communities are secure, feels secure, and our
9:54 pm
job is to make sure the facts come out. when we talk about the border region, i would strongly recommend that you do a series of hearings. in particular, may be in those cities on the safest cities in the country. i speak from a perspective of having spent 26 and a half years working the border, working my way up from an agent, working five years in the del rio area, and then being chief in two other areas, south texas and al pass so, where i was born and raised -- and el paso, where i was born in rates. i want to make sure that as the only member of congress with that background that i get an opportunity to provide what i feel is very important, and that is accurate information about what is going on.
9:55 pm
i don't expect people to take my word for it. i welcome -- we have had a number of hearings that i have joined, this committee and other committees, that have that responsibility to take testimony, but most importantly, to go out there and see the work that is being done by our border patrol agents, see the work that is being done in concert with other agencies, federal, state, and local, which is very important, the cooperation that exists. i wanted to give one example of how much cooperation as important by citing a recent issue that existed in my community. that was the -- there is one last section of fencing that needs to take place, right near
9:56 pm
the downtown area. in that area is also the water source that is literally 12 minutes away from the water treatment plant that when it was initially proposed to fence that area, it would have put that water sores south of the fencing. thanks to the cooperation of customs and border protection, consulting with the community, we came up with a compromise that we are going to close off that amount so that people who are intending on may be taking some kind of a terrorist act against the united states, don't have access to that water system. we will close it off. border patrol will get the fence and it will also protect infrastructure that the city was concerned about. that is critical in controlling
9:57 pm
the water runoff during storms. those are the kinds of cooperative and consultation efforts that make sense in our communities. i guess today, i would ask that the decisions that are recommended from this committee be done with that spirit in mind. we often times want to make decisions, for instance, putting up a very expensive fence in areas that really don't need it, in areas where we can monitor electronically, or agents have time to respond, where intrusions' are known. they're the experts. i retired from border patrol over 15 years ago.
9:58 pm
i still am very much interested and keep in contact, and proud to say that not just my former colleagues, but my friends, and we need to do everything we can to support them both because it is america's first line of defense. most importantly, because the border patrol works on the theory that it is always better to consult with the local community, because they are part of that community, so that both priorities are reached, both the enforcement priority and the community priority, as i just spoke about with the example i gave you. the last point i want to make is that when i retired, we had a little -- 5000 agents in the old border patrol. we have done a very good job of increasing the size of the
9:59 pm
border patrol. today there are over 20,000 agents. there is one area i'm concerned about that we have not focused on and i hope we get a chance to do that. that is at the ports of entry. today, we're seeing alarming statistics of the amounts of narcotics that are being intercepted at those parts of entry -- ports of entry. across the nation, those ports of entry are carrying 31% up to 38% vacancy ratio in their ranks. that means many different things, including the fact that it creates a vulnerable environment for our country, but it also means a long waiting line for people wanting to cross the border. it also means that, based on statistics we're seeing, more narcotics are coming through those ports of entry because that work force is overwhelmed.
10:00 pm
i hope we get a chance to have hearings on increasing the size of officers at those ports of entry. i know that when you -- if you ask border patrol this morning, they can tell you the same thing and verified the fact that it does not make sense to have control between the ports of entry and not at those ports of entry that account for millions subentries every single day thank you for giving me an opportunity to testify before you this morning. i would be happy to answer any questions you might have. >> we will be respectful of your time. does anyone have questions for the gentleman from texas?
10:01 pm
>> thank you for being here. i know you care as much about this issue as anybody. from your perspective, the bordeaux -- the border patrol agents are putting their lives on the line. they're going into inhospitable areas. people that they did not know they are trying to comprehend -- apprehend. can you look someone in the eye and say, if you do this on foot, you will be equally as secure and effective as you would if you were in a vehicle? that is my concern. part of the testimony that we are about to hear, on a federal land at any time, patrol on foot or on horseback. i cannot imagine that someone --
10:02 pm
i cannot imagine looking at somebody in the eye and say, you cannot use the vehicle here. you guys go out on foot. is that we should be telling our border patrol agents? >> not so much on foot. my experience has always been, border control is a hearty bunch. they love patroling on horseback there are a number of reasons for that. not only does it provide quick access in a very rough terrain, but it also allows them to have a higher perspective of whatever is ahead of them. they can ride up on groups of people much faster and much safer. if you rely -- remember what we are talking about are the areas
10:03 pm
that you just mentioned. they are rough terrain, a very uneven terrain. yes, we have things like four- wheel drive. >> some of it is -- is not all mountainous. >> no, it is not. from my perspective, from my experience, it makes sense to give the tools to the border patrol that they need trade in some of these areas, what they want are the ability to patrol on horseback. >> who should make that decision? should not be the decision of the border patrol to say this is how we will secure our folks? >> blog says that the border patrol has the right -- the law says the border patrol has the right of access anywhere within 25 miles of the international
10:04 pm
border. they have that authority. >> i wish that was true grit my understanding is that that is not true. my understanding is that that is on private property, not on public land. >> they cannot do that. >> it does not have to deal with the fact that they will have somebody to risk their lives on this public property. >> i've been there, i have seen that area. i've talked to the chiefs that have been in charge. they do not have a problem of access because -- at least the one's i've talked to -- because they do patrol that area effectively. they have the same concerns that german bishop articulated. -- that chairman ed bishop
10:05 pm
articulated break from an environmental perspective, the plastic bags and all the stuff that undocumented people leave, it is an issue for them. i access and the ability to patrol -- access and the ability to patrol -- from my experience and from talking in those areas, they did not -- they are not denied access to the area. >> it was in my scope of time. the point i am trying to drive, is that border patrol should be making those types of decisions whether or not they use the wars or fought or a vehicle. that -- whether they used a horse or football or a vehicle. >> did not discount the fact that the chiefs that are in charge of those areas have the best interest in mind.
10:06 pm
one of the things that i have learned through my experience is that no one is more attuned to the surrounding, to respecting nature. one of the biggest complaint that i have heard is about the refuse that is left behind by undocumented people. >> thank you. i yelled back. >> -- i yield back. >> thank you for joining us this morning. i do respect the fact that you have more experience than any member of congress. you have been a member and have been focused on this area to be in touch with people. that strikes me -- you have the experience and we still want to
10:07 pm
tell you what works. what i am hearing from you is that it might touch up on a conflict with the security issue, that has been your experience that the agencies involved have been able to work it out pretty reasonably. >> that is correct. >> the memorandum of understanding between different agencies is that when there is an area of exigency, the border patrol does have the ability to use of motorized vehicles. >> that is correct. nowhere on the border under emergency situation is the border patrol precluded from doing whatever they need to do. >> there was a questioning moment ago, makes a decision? we have laws in this country. those prevail. in my right? you find the agencies try to implement those laws. >> too. >> the memorandum -- the memorandum of understanding is a way to reconcile any conflicts
10:08 pm
that may appear in those laws. the agencies have been able to effectively resolve any issues or problems for the most part? >> that has been my experience, yes. >> the border patrolmen access land by motorized vehicles are otherwise in emergency situations and that seems to cover it ground when it comes up to a final decision. >> you know, you have to remember that there are times when you have an airplane crash or some other kind of emergency and an agent is shot, the border patrol chase are not going to allow anything to interfere with being able to get in there and do what ever needs to be done to secure the area and take care of
10:09 pm
whatever officer is injured. >> it appears that our laws do not interfere with that. >> they do not. >> has it been your experience that there are other factors involved sometimes causing difficulty for agents or others to get control over a particular area? >> the chief in this sector knows that area best. he is in constant communication with both the agent in charge of whatever is in the station you are describing, and decisions are made both in terms of being able to secure the area and how they would respond and with
10:10 pm
what they would respond. that is the chief cause responsibility, to make sure that in the case of a national emergency or an emergency affecting an officer's safety or the safety of a rancher or an undocumented person whose life is in jeopardy, they will make whatever decision needs to be made and have that access. >> how many years were you a member of the border patrol? >> 26.5. >> 15 years in congress. how many instances are you aware of where an environmental law was an insurmountable in panama to the border patrol doing its work? >> i cannot -- insurmountable impediment. >> i cannot think of any.
10:11 pm
border patrol agents work very closely in texas. their job is to make sure that cattle does not come over from mexico because of the kinds of diseases. border patrol looks -- works very closely. i worked with them when i was an agent. we work for a closely with the parks and wildlife people. on occasion, the department of public safety and park rangers in general in the areas that they have a presence. when you are wearing a badge and you have that responsibility, you want to make sure that to the extent possible that you have both knowledge of who is there and understanding that they are going to come to your
10:12 pm
assistance and they wrote it -- and you will go to their assistance because of the environment and the hostility of the area. or either a drug smuggler or others that might not know the difference between the board approached rigid border patrol agent and a park ranger. >> thank you for coming this morning and sharing your experience. >> my good friend from michigan, do you have any questions? >> i am promised again and we border on canada. we have to sometimes look at our northern border also. generally, those who try to get into michigan come in by plane from europe. one person they caught trying to bring a plane into detroit. but by water. i've been impressed between the cooperation with the border
10:13 pm
patrol and the forest service and coast guard. three very important. we have to encourage that cooperation. sometimes laws have to catch up and change circumstances. if there is a need for a change in laws, hearings might help that. i am not sure there is a need, but there is already good cooperation. i do appreciate your service to this congress. thank you very much. >> the royal canadian mounted police border patrol has outstanding working relation and history as well. at least it has been the history that most of the resources have been on the southern border with mexico because that is for the pressure is. we have less officers and they defend relationships with local law enforcement.
10:14 pm
>> one good border patrol person helped apprehend -- who was of to no good at all. she used her training and a perception and was able to stop that. >> thank you. the chairmen is here. i will recognize him. >> i will be quick. have given sworn in? i have a lot of questions for you. >> every time he testified before congress, we're sworn in. >> we have sworn at him. [laughter] congressman, thank you for being here. thank you for giving us an inside view from an outside agency. that is the only reason i showed up here. i said, wait a second grade this is normally committee room. this is one of my best friends
10:15 pm
in congress. that is all i wanted to say. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as i have said publicly on occasion, while we may differ in our politics, we all want to do what is best for our national security and protection. how we get there really is the important part. for many different reasons, these guys are the experts. i thank god that i have the background because i really enjoyed my 26.5 years in the border patrol. i do not think there is a final law enforcement group in the world than the border patrol. as you can expect, i am a little biased. >> used to be somebody. >> thank you. >> thank you.
10:16 pm
>> thank you for being here this morning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. he must be pretty special because he has never said anything that nice to me. >> he was a member of my committee when i was chairman of the intelligence committee and worked on many different issues. >> are you telling me that you the photos or something? >> not that i'm aware of. we did work on some tough stuff that will never -- people will never know publicly. it is about the national security of our country. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to be here on this committee. i want to thank my neighbor for is decades of service. i am hearing what you are saying. all castle is the safest city in the u.s., less than 15 miles -- el paso is the safest city in
10:17 pm
the u.s. 15 miles away, they literally bar their windows and doors. they do not feel like they are in the safest place in the world. just about two weeks ago, they declared their streets to be completely unsafe. what can be done about that? it is such a contrast from the safest city to 15 miles away. >> wasn't there a major highway that would shut down in el paso? >> anthony is not on the border. >> they expressed tremendous fear for their safety. >> we have two separate criminal activity by a non illegal alien
10:18 pm
that are coming for the area. anthony's street were declared unsafe because of gang activity. the border highway, which literally runs along the rio grande river, is the road that you were referring to. yes, there was a gunfight that occurred, which attempt may be the most violent city. it may be one of the most violent cities in the world because of the friction among the cartel's. there were bullets. the concern by the police department was that a stray bullet may hit a passing car there. it is a consequence of the
10:19 pm
location of the highway. >> if i could reclaim my time. the gang signs from mexico and central america have appeared on barnes and the second district of new mexico and alarms people. we have the grandeur that was killed on his ranch. -- we have the rancher that was killed on his ranch. in the 26.5 years that you served, which areas were in your jurisdiction? with wilderness areas -- the formal designation of wilderness? >> as an agent, i worked the lake area. >> is that wilderness? is that designated wilderness? >> sections -- because of the excavations of some of the case
10:20 pm
there, the hieroglyphics and all that, they have been put under the jurisdiction of the interior. it is an area -- like a falcon lake, it is right on the border, half of it is in mexico and the other half is in the united states. we have the responsibility -- >> i have to reclaim my time. i want to observe that he submitted a bill last year and the year before to make wilderness on the area. in contrast to your assertion that we have 25 miles access in every wilderness area in a place on the border. he had to designates that we could get wheeled vehicles into a five-mile stretch. and that was a compromise. initially, it was not.
10:21 pm
a long time ago, and their plane crashed from my hometown. they had to back back out. the wilderness is a very restricted designation. we've had testimony that if we created a wilderness along the rio grande, they would not be able to get bulldozers and to replace the earth and dams that washed out in the flood about three years ago. we would be subject to flooding for the rest of time. the wilderness area, i have it in my district. i went to the oregon national monument and i saw the signs. we had a formal briefing and about half of that was completely off-limits to american tourists because of the illegal activity across the border. it's our agents were able to access that, it does not seem like it would be off-limits to americans because it was so dangerous. many places in new mexico only have barbwire fence.
10:22 pm
i yield back my time. >> if i could respond. the international boundary and lottery commission has the authority to do the kind of work that -- a respected of wilderness designations that mr. pierce was talking about in terms of dams and levees and all that. you should check that out. it will be clear it has the jurisdiction. >> i want to give the benediction to your presentation by thanking you for being here. the written statement that you gave, i agreed with point after point. cities are improving, the border patrol is doing a great job. one of the study says the border patrol has but a strategy a high priority in enforcement in populated areas. they can do their job when they are allowed to read -- when they are allowed to.
10:23 pm
i agree with you as well above the age in to be able to respond as best they can. i agree that there are some areas where spending is not legitimate. -- were fencing is not legitimate. but access is. secretary napolitano did say it may be inadvisable for officer safety to await the arrival of a horse for the purpose is to apprehend somebody. that sometimes is a difficult. we remember that all those horses are fed. you could not have perfect kind of forces. i agree with you on three other points. local consultation should be the best space at making those the kinds of decisions. i will tell you that they do have a definition of what that -- what they are correct they have not always been maintained by the land managers.
10:24 pm
that will come out in our testimony later. i definitely agree with a good idea that you had on keeping up a report of interest. -- port of entry. you said that we should have bigger staff there. what he is talking about are officers at the port of entries. i took offense at that because he is talking about me. i perceive you being here. thank you for your testimony. thank you for being a part of. we will let you go back and do some real work now. >> i look forward to working with you and your respective committees on these very important issues for our country. thank you very much. >> we now have the next panel that will be joining us. i would like -- will take a four-minute recess.
10:25 pm
>> the next panel will come up very, very slowly. as it did set up for you. do not stand up yet, that is too fast. [laughter] it is going to be a couple of seconds before we can get situated. you can protect the pronunciation of that. he is the deputy chief of the u.s. customs and border control. rigid border patrol. we have the deputy assistant secretary of the emergency management and the department of interior. secretary undersecretary for national resources and the department of agriculture. in one second, we would ask you --
10:26 pm
>> is the practice that all witnesses will be sworn in. those three witnesses as well as the backup witnesses to rise and raise your right hand. >> do you swear to tell the whole truth, so help you god? you may be seated. let the record reflect that all participants answered in the affirmative. thank you. >> before the next vote occurs, we can have the testimony of the individuals who are there. i do not -- be a care in which order you go? let's take you from left to right. we will start with homeland security, interior, and finish up with the agricultural department. thank you for being here.
10:27 pm
you have been here long enough to know that everything -- your written testimony is in the record. anything you want to add, we can put that into the record as well. when the yellow bus and light comes on, you have one minute left. are you sad? -- set? >> it is my privilege and honor to appear before you today to discuss u.s. customs and border protection efforts concerning illegal activity on federal lands. i began my career in law enforcement in 1985 as a border patrol agents. the route my career, i've helped defend numerous positions on another and -- northern and southern border. the border is a different place today than it was when i began my career. i personally wedded to the evolution of the border.
10:28 pm
-- witness the evolution of the border. as well as the change to exploit a block -- border of vulnerability. last year, the border patrol -- that is compared to 10 years ago when we made 1.6 million arrests. a more than 70% reduction. we've seen positive indicators of a more secure border. our work will not end. the border patrol and national strategy was implemented in 2004. we saw to gain, maintain, and expand control at the border with the assistance of congress. we have seen an unprecedented influx of resources. we operate within the confines of the rule of law and regulations. would our efforts be easy without these legal remarks? yes, it would.
10:29 pm
does the border patrol faces challenges with respect to operating around protected lands? yes. we have been able to establish practical solutions to allow success. in 2006, secretaries signed a memorandum of understanding committing the signatories to ongoing operations. it is understood that the border control -- patrol cannot -- we do have access on foot, horseback, and without restriction under emergency circumstances. our field commanders are tasked to consider the multiple environments in order to establish their requirements for resources are required and how to best applied them. each land has beat inspected individually. without sacrificing the nation's
10:30 pm
security. some of this activity can be time-consuming, but we have the necessary infrastructure, technology, and resources. we look at the border, each area has to be taken individually. note to stretches are the same. -- n two stretches are the same. agents are on every date interacting with the committees in which they live. there are many opinions from the border community. our mission is to enforce laws enacted by congress. . .
10:31 pm
thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i do look forward to your questions. >> thank you chairman and members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the important issues of border security and the department of the interior's role in the administration collaborative efforts to increase activity on federal lands. i'm the deputy assistant secretary for law enforcement security and emergency management at interior. i have been a law enforcement professional for 25 years with both interior and the u.s.
10:32 pm
forest service and been involved in bornede issues for the last four years. i am joined bit acting director of the law enforcement and security for the bureau of land management, jim hall, the chief of law enforcement of the fish and wild life service and the chief of law enforcement of emergency service for the national park service. i would like to submit our full statement for the record and summarize my testimony. we appreciate the attention that your subcommittees have given to the issue of securing our borders. the department of homeland security including u.s. customs and border protection and border patrol has been given the mandate to secure our international borders and deter brorte activity. we have the responsibility of administering uniquely beautiful and environmentally sensitive lands along the borders. we recognize the cultural valings of this lands and we strive to maintain the character and protect and preserve the assets on behalf of the american people. these two objectives, securing our borders and conserving our federal lands are not mutually exclusive. we are not faced with the
10:33 pm
choice between the two. instead we can and should do both. we at interior are proud of the strong working relationship based on cooperation and the mutual commitment to accomplishing our important agency missions among all of our partner agencies. federal agencies with law enforcement presence on federal lands along the borders include the border patrol, interior agencies including the bureau of land management, national park service, fish and wildlife service and the bureau of indian affairs. our agencies have developed a cohesive approach to border security. in march 2006, interior d.h.s. and agriculture entered into a memorandum of understanding providing the department with goals, principals and guidance relative to securing the borders, addressing emergencies involving human safety and minimizing the damage from illegal cross border activities on federal lands. we believe the guidelines contained have been effective in providing both interior and border patrol with the necessary framework to strike
10:34 pm
the appropriate balance for patrol and infrastructure access to interior lands by border patrol. while continuing to maintain an emphasis on protection of federal trust resources. the three departments have continually and successfully worked together to carry out the tenets outlined in the m.o.u. at both the headquarters and field levels. at interior, we have established a department wide coordination structure to facility tate the regular coordination and collaboration between border control and interior agency representatives. additionally, we have found the stewardship training task force to build on cultural training for border patrol agents whose activities include federal lands. collaboration is taking place with the border patrol in the field. the border patrol established a public lands leyson agent position for each of its 20 sectors. interior land managers communicate and collaborate on issues with mutual interests or
10:35 pm
concern with those agents on a regular basis. in addition, border patrol agents conduct joint patrols on interior land. this close coordinate ration provides staff with training and orientation and enhancing homeland security activities and resource-related investigations. a few examples are a sampling of the on going collaborative dialogue and strong relationship that interior agencies and personnel have developed with our colleagues in the border patrol. the deployment of border patrol personnel, equipment, and infrastructure along the southwest border has led to significant improvements in border security. we are very pleased with these improvements because of the enhanced security to our nation and also because these efforts lead to overall healthier conditions on lands on the border. during this deployment of resources, we have wording closely and well with the border patrol to avoid or mitigate on the federal lands. i would like to recognize the
10:36 pm
collective efforts that we have taken to meet the intent of the 2006 interagency m.o.u. and the shared commitment by our departments to accomplishing the missions of our agencies. chairman, this clues my statements. i would be pleased to answer any questions that you or the other subhe cans may subcommittees. >> thank you. >> chairman and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to provide the department's views on border security on national forest system lands. you have my written testimony for the record, but i would like to take this time to emphasize some key points. first, the department and the forest service take very seriously the need to secure our nation's border. we fully support as it is in our common interest that we address the legal u.s. border crossings, the smuggling of people and contraband across the border, the crimes against
10:37 pm
those and other unlawfully activities. through all of this it is important to recognize and empathize with the plight of those undocumented foreign nationals who are seeking a better life. yet there are impacts to national forests on both the northern and southern borders, particularly so on portions of the coronado national forest, we are seeing issues related to excessive trash, human caused fire and the safety of the recreating public. we are taking measures to mitigate the impacts. i want to talk about the contact with have with the border patrol and sister agencies. we participate in numerous joint patrol exercises, have a signed and liaison to the border patrol. communicated in real-time on ground to each other and work expeditiously to provide the acts they need and protect the environment. the forest chief was in southern arizona meeting with
10:38 pm
chief hill of the tucson sector of the border patrol. they toured the border by helicopter to see and learn firsthand the challenges we face together. there is much to do. we are seeing success. to reinforce the general accounting office has acknowledged the close cooperation between our agencies. third, we are convinced that a well protected border means well protected public lands. the more we can assist the border patrol with stopping illegal traffic, the less impact there will be on the national forests. to date we are unaware of any requests made by the border patrol where we have not been able to accommodate their meets in an expeditious matter and still protect the environment. we would like to thank the subcommittees for their attention to this issue. we want to work closer with you and understand your concerns. our experience tells us we can accomplish our missions of securing the border and protecting the environment recognizing these are not mutually exclusive objectives. we will continue to make interagency progress with the border patrol and our sister agencies in the department of interior for accomplishment of
10:39 pm
our mission. this concludes my jerkal testimony. thank you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, i appreciate all of you being here. let me ask the first round of questions. looking at the -- for all of you, looking at the understanding. it appears that the big part of the agreement is access in exigent or emergency circumstances. let me start with you. what is an exigent circumstance? >> mr. chairman, it's outlined in the m.o.u., what we try to do is ensure that the border patrol agent and in their judgment determined what an exigent circumstance was, whether it was in pursuit of ail yens -- >> is there a definition in the m.o.u.? >> yes. >> and what is that definition?
10:40 pm
>> exercising existing exigent emergency authorities to access lands including authority to conduct motorized offroad pursuit of c.b.b. at any time including in areas designated or recommended as wilderness or study areas when in their professional judgment based on articulated facts there is a specific exigent emergency involving human life, health, safety of persons within the area or posing a threat to national security. >> that's the key element. so human life, health and safety of persons in the area or posing a threat to national security. are you aware in a when my staff questioned one of the park superintendents and even the director of the national park service told us that an exigent circumstance is life or death only. is that what the the m.o.u. says? >> no. >> so this incorrect definition is not just the opinion of the park service, unfortunately, the fish and wildlife director said in his opinion that an emergency is defined as life
10:41 pm
threaten circumstances and otherwise border patrol has to continue to access the refuge on foot or on horseback and also gave them a warning, if they violated his version of that m.o.u. within six months he would close all access down. are you aware of that? >> no, i'm not aware. >> what are you going to do about? >> what we'll do is ensure and we're continually doing this with our partners, our agencies on the ground and with the border patrol to insure that the m.o.u. is enforced as written. >> that's nice. you are ground aware that the ground personnel in d.o.i. are not operating under the same definition? do you got it? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> you're right that the protection of the land and the protection of the border shouldn't be mutually exclusive. you should be able to do both. you have not. border patrols have explained to our staff say the m.o.u. could work, but it is not because the land agencies do
10:42 pm
not following it. have you heard complaints from the field of land managers that they are not following the m.o.u.? >> i think that the m.o.u. does give them the framework to do that. i think in any relationship, there are differing sides and interpretations. >> how would you tell your border patrol if for example, one of the land managers under d.o.i. that the m.o.u. was no longer in effect because there was a new administration? >> we have regular people on the ground that redesigned to programmatically work these issues and operationally understand amongst themselves how we're -- not how to interpret the m.o.u., but the framework solved any of the problems as they're raised >> what would you tell the land manager when he said that >> i would refer him to the public lands leyson officer. we could talk about the perceptions or actual restrictions were or should or should not about. >> if especially in the g.a.o. report you show multiple
10:43 pm
examples where the m.o.u. is broken down, how will it function if your employees don't believe they're obligated to follow it? >> as he said, our responsibility in my office as well as our folks in the field is to ensure the appropriate implementation of the m.o.u. and so and in fact the m.o.u. describes the mechanism that if things aren't working out at the local level, that that is to be moved up to the regional and ultimately the headquarters level. so we have managenisms in place to ensure that it is being implemented as outlined in the framework in the m.o.u. so it's our responsibility to follow up on those instances and ensure that is in fact happening. >> that doesn't work and i appreciate it. but it doesn't work. it's not working. the reports are telling us, the evidence and the cumulative evidence is saying that's system flat out is not working. mr. jensen, the fire issue in your testimony, how many are intentionally set? >> we don't track the numbers that we know that they're
10:44 pm
intentionally set. we track numbers of fires by human caused and through lightning. >> why don't you track arson? are the forest service employees discouraged from reporting arson? >> not at all. >> why don't you track it? >> we can dig into the numbers as we conduct investigations on specific fires to find the cause of those fires. in that sense, we can get to the answer of the bottom of what caused those fires. >> you don't do that now? that becomes amazing they don't do it. you also said you were not aware of any problems with where your agency has been impeded the border patrol. check the report. i quoted from them here. my time is over. mr. tierney. there will be another round here. >> so i guess i'm trying to listen carefully here. it seems to me there is some allegations here, not so much that the m.o.u., memorandum of agreement or understanding doesn't allow for things to work properly, but there seems to be incidents reported where
10:45 pm
it might not have been implemented or worked effectively. is that what you witnesses are hearing as well? correct me if i'm not hearing properly. >> i think that's accurate. >> ms. forson? >> yes. >> is that what you're hearing? >> i agree. >> are we getting ample training in the field in all three departments so they would have an appreciation for the memorandum of understanding and the chain of how they would cooperate and work with others? >> there is an ongoing systematic way for folks to be exposed to it. we have it programmatically set up at each of the locations. that's a constant kind of process because we do have turnover in the field. relationships change and so there is a constant, you know, revolution of people who learn and then need to know and then move on. the next group gets the same kind of thing. it's like any other relationship. there are ebbs and flows in the level of contact and its effectiveness. >> is there a high percentage of people that are between trainings or haven't been trained yet as they take on
10:46 pm
responsibilities? >> i would have to get you specific numbers, but it's our intent at each of the levels to have folks who are subject matter experts in the m.o.u. and then have the responsibility for the lieson and the operational contact. >> are any of you are aware of any particular incidents or incidents where the border patrol agents have been absolutely impeded from carrying out their responsibilities by interference through the enforcement of some of these environmental and other wilderness laws? >> i'm not aware of anything specifically, but i'm tell you with 20,000 agents in the field, there are bound to be within these relationships the differences of opinion and issues that get raised through the sector level commands, the station levels certainly and then up to the headquarters. we have had instances where we have talked about these things at every level looking to solve whatever the issue is. >> ms. forson. >> yes, i would agree with that statement there are instances
10:47 pm
where folks on the ground need to work through things, but our continual talking to them, meeting with some of our collaborative organizations that we have, the borderline management task forces and so forth are under constant effort that any issues that aren't resolved are bumped up through that mechanism. as i said earlier, they go all the way to the headquarters. we're very involved in my office personally to ensure that anytime we hear there is maybe some impediment or difference of opinion on the ground that we figure that out and we make it happen so the border patrol can successfully carry out their mission. >> do you have disciplinary procedures for those recalstrant individuals that may be giving instructions that are wrong of the m.o.u.? >> the folks on the ground are bureau employees. those bureaus do have performance plans and disciplinary and a performance program. >> do they use it?
10:48 pm
>> i can't speak to that actually since i don't work in those bureaus. >> that's part of the problem of bureaucracy, right, we're here talking about one problem and you can't answer for the other part. will it be reasonable to assume that those incidents that may be reported by the general accountability office are those incidents that mr. bishop or others may point out as individual circumstances will be reviewed and action taken if it's warranted? >> yes, i would agree with that. >> you would agree that your agency will do that as well? >> mr. jensen? >> absolutely. >> is any one of you of a mind that there is a mutually exclusive application of the environmental wilderness laws and our security? >> that they're not exclusive, i agree. >> you agree they're not exclusive. >> i agree. >> absolutely not, we're seeing examples where we're seeing success and i think just this year we embarked upon a joint operation called operation trident that is occurring all this year that is proving and
10:49 pm
demonstrating how we can work together and achieve both those goals. >> with respect to fires i assume it's in your interest in forestry to make sure the borders are protected and people aren't coming in and being part of human fires, correct? >> that is correct. >> the same with you, are you as a representative of the border patrol here to lodge a complaint of any sort about the way that environmental laws or conservation laws or wilderness laws or anything else are impeding the ability of you and your men and women to protect this country and protect national security? >> no complaint. i agree that the framework allows us to solve this problem in a practical way. as mr. forson said, -- ms. forson said, it's to do that at the field. >> and you will do that. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> are you all familiar with the border security g.a.o. report, february 15, 2011? this is the one preliminary
10:50 pm
observations on border control measures for the southwest border. are you familiar with it? >> yes. >> all three of you, yes? >> yes. >> i hope i'm pronouncing your name right, you write in your written testimony, border patrol enforcement efforts can pose unique challenges. what are the unique challenges? >> the challenges are that they're like a lot of the enforcement work that is done both for the border patrol and all law enforcement, there is a legal framework -- >> it's different because it is -- >> on protected land. >> and the access, your ability to patrol is different than it is on say private land or different types of public land that aren't designated as wilderness, correct? >> depending on the environment, it is different. >> absolutely. ok. 17 of the 26 border patrol stations interviewed by the g.a.o. indicated, "when they attempted to obtain a peter or access, delays and restrictions
10:51 pm
have resulted as a compliant with land management laws." would you disagree with that? >> have i no dispute about the facts. >> you testimony that there is no problem. everything is getting along rosy. i read this report and you have only secured 129 miles of a 2,000-mile border. you can't come before the american people and this country and say that everything is rosy and fine. people are dying. they're getting killed because we have these big gaping holes in our security and they're going into some of the most inhospitable pieces of land and they're dying. they're being dehydrated. they're going through these cactus-ridden areas and they're dying. and we're putting border patrols out there and say just go on foot, go on horse. we must protect this little cactus and this little roadrunner. that's what i have a concern about. for you to testify routinely that everything is fine, i'm not aware of any instance and then read that we're having permit and permission troubles
10:52 pm
is troubling. let me go on. according to g.a.o., 14 of the 17 agents in charge, agents in charge, people that you should be personally familiar with of the border patrol stations indicated delays by federal land managers who reported that they have "been unable to obtain a permit or permission to access certain areas in a timely manner because of how long it takes for land managers to comply with environmental laws." so how have these delays, based on this report lessened the agents' ability to detect undocumented aliens in some areas? >> the report is a snapshot in time. the framework that is within the m.o.u. allows those agents in charge to make those requests and when those requests are judged by the public lands liasson or the border lands task force to be reasonable, we sort through that and make it happen.
10:53 pm
to suggest that it's perfect, that's not why i'm here. >> the reason you're here it's not perfect. let me move on. as cased. border patrol requested permission to move a mobile surveillance system another area. by the time the permission was granted, four months after the initial request, illegal traffic had shifted to another area. as a result, border patrol, "was unable to move the surveillance area to the low-cal it desired and during the four-month delay, agents were limited in their ability to detect undocumented aliens within a seven-mile range that could have been covered by the system." true or false? is that statement true or false? >> it's true. >> so how can you testify that everything is fine and that you're working with such a great relationship, you have a surveillance system that i would think would make your border patrol agents and the united states of america safer and these people over here are giving you a four-month delay? how come you're not here with the same type of outrage that i
10:54 pm
have. how come, we work together, can't we just get along. we got people dying. how do you respond to that because you testified, we have listened to what you said that, oh, everything is fine. >> the framework allows for us to move through these issues in this problem. is it perfect, no? >> in in instance in the report that came out, it's four months away. how do you respond to this? mr. jensen, jump in here. four-month delay. why does that happen? >> i'm looking, i'm asking my folks to find examples on the national forest system land here. we're working as quickly as possible to work through the requests that come through. we have examples in front of us now, the zone 20 project where we're actually moving to build roads within, on restricted lands. we're seeing success. it does not happen immediately in every single case. we are making tremendous
10:55 pm
progress and working together to address his concerns as they arise. >> mr. fielding. >> thank you, mr. chairman. all of us feel on this issue certainly as strongly as he does. some of us express ourselves differently. i have been here 34 years and i always find it a great opportunity when you have people from the field who know this issue very well to go to the level to learn, at a high level. i appreciate you're helping to enlighten us. we're not always go to agree, but i think we have this opportunity to learn from you. let me ask you this question. i'll address it to ms. thorson,
10:56 pm
but anybody of you have made answer. is there an incident or a pattern of ignoring the m.o.u. that we have been talking about, what is your reaction or response to that? and should there be something stronger than an m.o.u.? should it be something in law? >> thank you, congressman. our actions, if there was a consistent pattern of ignoring the m.o.u., as i stated earlier, we have a mechanism in place to bring that to our attention at headquarters. in numerous incidents, i personally get involved and other members of my staff talking to these gentlemen to come together to figure out what is going on. we also talk to our bureau representatives, bureau of directors and/or their regional directors who have direct control over those local units and come together to discuss
10:57 pm
what the issues are and resolve those issues. we do it very high level for any incident on the border that gets to our attention that we know about, we will take action such as that to ensure that it gets resolved on the ground. we hope most of those are resolved locally, but they're not all as we heard earlier. they do get to our attention. >> anyone else have any comment? i would encourage you to keep it at a high level or each raise the level of importance because when agreements are made, very often they aren't easy to arrive at, but they're done for a reason, so i would encourage you to keep it at the high level. i think it's very important. i would not want to stop a chase because someone didn't want to follow a memorandum of understanding which makes very good sense and is important for very often our national security.
10:58 pm
so i would keep it at the high level, if necessary, raise it to a higher level. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you mr. kildee. mr. pearce. >> thank you, mr. chairman. are you familiar with the operating memorandum of understanding between the v.o.m. and the border patrol? >> not particularly, sir. >> well, it states very clearly that a mobile command, mobile communications site there and the big hatch chet peak will be moved as soon as possible if the area is designated as wilderness. so it's there now, but if it's wilderness, it can't be there. doesn't that sound like a little bit of an impediment? why wouldn't the people have decided to put it somewhere else to start with if that were a better place? doesn't that sound like a little bit of an impediment? >> in that instance, that's an example, i understand that the repeateder is on big hatchet mountain and if legislation was
10:59 pm
passed, we would have to work to ensure that it would stay there. it is an opportune location. >> it will be moved if it's designated wilderness. conservation is trumping protection. you declare that wilderness and security are not mutually exclusive. i know it's not exactly wilderness area. but the oregon pipe national monument that i visited in 2006 as chairman of the park subcommittee and they declared it to be inhospitable for around travelers. is it still that way? it's wide open, clearly open to american tourists with no warnings? >> i don't know the staut us of the visitation for staff. >> it's very alarming in that the warnings are still given to american tourists, you shouldn't be in this area. if the two are not mutually exclusive, why doesn't that area fit into your 129 miles of

86 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on