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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  February 28, 2012 10:00am-1:00pm EST

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what we eat it. that's true. my children love goji berries. it is sweeter than grapes. it will make you lose weight rather than gain weight. it's the most nutritious lead earth and thison can easily be put in our vending machines --host: have you heards herb? guest: i have not. but i do like the idea of putting healthy foods in vending machines that kids will like. some of the things they put in, we have more sports drinks, granola bars, some of those things are a real hit. on the other hand, you look at the fund-raiser. there is a woman who does a fundraiser once a week -- a big sale. it raises money for her special education kids, about $100 per week.
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they tried healthier foods, but nobody would eat them. host: appreciate the time. thank you for joining us. we now to live to the house floor. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] "american perspectives michael g. fitzpatrick to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 17, 2012, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and minority whip limited to five minutes each. but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. watt, for five minutes.
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mr. watt: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. watt: mr. speaker, one of the few important accomplishments of the 111th congress thus far has been the passage of the america invents act, a comprehensive reform of the united states patent system which was signed into law by president barack obama on september 16, 2011. there's little disagreement that patent reform was long overdue and even those who voted against the bill recognized how important it was to the american inventor and to american innovation to update and streamline the patent system. our country has always respected and admired inventors. as young children we were taught about famous inventors such as thomas edison,
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alexander graham bell, henry ford, and many others. frequently overlooked in the discussion of important inventors, however, has been the accomplishments of african-american inventors. until this year's publication of the children's book, "what color is my world" the lost history of african-american inventors, by basketball legend kareem abdul-jabbar, we have done little to teach children about the outstanding contributions african-american inventors have made to innovation. i therefore like to use this time during black history month to pay tribute to some of the many, many contributions african-american inventors have made. i'm not the first member of this body to take to the floor of the house to acknowledge the long legacy of inventiveness of -- in the african-american community. on august 10, 1894, representative george
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washington murray, the only african-american in the house of representatives at the time, and himself the holder of eight patents on agricultural implements, read the names of 92 african-americans who held patents and described the inventions on the house floor. had time allowed repres murray would likely have highlighted the achievements of even more patent holders. inventors such as thomas l. jennings, a free person of color, and one of the earliest african-americans to patent an invention who in 1821 was awarded a patent for developing an early dry cleaning process to remove dirt and grease from clothing. or james forton, another free-born man who invented a contraption to handle the sails on a sailboat. or the first known woman of color to receive a patent who
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created an improved doe kneader and roller or henry blair, who received patent on a seed and cotton planter. if representative murray had continued to be a member of congress, he would no doubt have come to the floor of the house many more times to brag about african-american inventors and acknowledge the major significance of their inventions. he would have reported by the year 1900 african-americans had patented 357 inventions. and i'm certain that he would have been especially moved to share with this body that by the early to mid 20th century african-american inventors had obtained patents for innovations in countless industries, including medical, chemical, aviation, automotive, grocery, cosmetic, and apparel. for example, garrett morgan
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invented the gas mask to protect firemen and other rescuers from breathing smoke and poisonous gas entering dangerous fires and other situations. he was also awarded a patent for the three-way electric traffic signal. charles drew created a method to mass-produce blood plasma which led to the formation of blood banks to store plasma for victims of life-threatening emergencies. unfortunately he bled to death following an automobile accident which occurred in my native state of north carolina, and his injuries were too severe for the process he invented to be used to save his life. frederick jones was the first african-american member of the american society of refrigeration engineers. he developed a means to refrigerate parishibles being transported long distances.
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or jack johnson, the best known as the great african-american boxer received two patents, one for an improvement to the monkey wrench, and the other for a theft prevention device for vehicles. i suspect that my good friend and our colleague, representative darrell issa, might be surprised to learn that jack johnson, a african-american inventor, developed a device to prevent people from stealing cars long before representative issa got into the business. i encourage my colleagues to look at the brooks own african-american invention and i'll submit the rest of this statement for the record. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from indiana, mr. burton, for five minutes. mr. burton: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. burton: you know, mr. speaker, i watched the
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president on television the other night defending his energy policy, and he said the republicans say drill, drill, drill, drill, baby, but that's not the answer. the fact is that the people of this country are suffering under severe energy prices that are rising at a rapid rate. everything that we buy is affected by energy prices. i went to the store the other day to buy some apples and some tomatos. the tomatos, we got three for $5. i think we got four apples for $5. now, the reason those prices are going up so rapidly is because when you transport those across the country or you use energy to produce those products, it costs more. you talk to the guys that drive these tractor-trailer units, they'll tell you hoe expensive
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it is to transport goods and services, clothes, good, everything else we buy. so we really need to move toward energy independence. now, we have had the administration has had the ability to help other countries explore for oil. we sent $2 billion or $3 billion down to brazil for deep water drilling, but we cut back on the permits that we could get to drill in the gulf of mexico. because of the environmental nut case, i call them, the president has restricted the ability of the american energy sector to drill for oil in the gulf. we cannot drill for oil in the anwr in alaska. i have been up there. talked to the gentleman who represents alaska in the congress, don young. he'll tell you there's nothing up there that's going to be damaged if we drill. besides that you can do it in
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an environmentally safe way. but we can't drill offshore because they limited permits. he said -- he's now saying he'll allow some permits, but they are very minimal. we can't drill on the continental shelf. we can't drill in the anwr. we can't do anything to explore, really, for additional energy. we have probably a couple hundred years' supply of natural gas that we could drill for and track, use -- frak, using tracking procedure, but a lot of environmentalists are trying to stop that as well. our dependency on the middle east is unbelievable. there is a potential for a major war over there because of iran's nuclear development program, and we continue to depend on energy from that persian gulf area for the saudis. and they are using a lot of our money to support wahhabiism and the madrasahs over there to create radical islam. we need to move away from dependency on foreign oil.
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in central america, south america, the president chavez in venezuela, who doesn't like us, is working with tehran. he's selling his oil to china. yet we buy an awful lott 6 our oil from him because we are did he pendent on him. we need -- dependent on him. we need to move towards energy independence. the president will not allow the gulf pipeline -- the pipeline from canada down to texas. because of environmental concerns. that's been looked at for three years and there's other ways around the potential problem. but he won't let it happen because of environmentalists. the radicals. now, we can depend in the future to a degree on wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear, but that's going to take a long time. and even if we use all of those technologies today, it would only be a drop in the bucket as far as our energy needs are concerned. you know who's demanding more and more energy all the time? china and india by thousands and thousands of barrels of oil
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a day. a day. and so that oil is coming out of other parts of the world, it's going to be gobbled up more and more and more by china and india. we need to move to energy independence. and the president says, oh, you know, we can't solve the problem by drilling. the fact is we can. there's a lot of things we could do. the pipeline from canada. drill offshore. drill in the gulf. drill in the continental shelf. use more natural gas. do away with all the regulations that are strangling the private sector as far as energy development. so what does he want to do? he says we got to raise taxes on energy exploration on the oil companies. that's going to be passed on to the consumer in higher prices. this administration, nice guy, good smile, gives a great speech, but he's not solving our problems and our dependency continues to increase on foreign energy. we need to move toward energy independence and we need to do
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it now and not wait until after the election. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you, mr. speaker. it's interesting listening to the fantasy republican talking points. the fact is we are now drilling more oil in the united states than ever before. the inconvenient facts get in the way of political talking points. but what is not a fantasy is what is happening on the political scene. the final months of 2011 the campaign to re-elect president obama and the democratic national committee raised $68 million. an impressive sum. all the more impressive because it was donated by 583,000 americans who gave an average of $55 each. but earlier this month at a retreat exclusive ren nance resort in california, the conservativele withaire coke
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brothers said they would donate a combined $60 billion to superp.a.c. to defeat president obama. two billionaire brothers with opinions radically at variance with most of america are poised to cancel out the efforts of half a million american citizens. to understand this gross provision of the political process, we don't have to wait until the general election and avalanche of negative campaign ads against the president. we can look right now in the primary election for republican presidential nomination where we have seen a handful of billionaires and super p.a.c.s outspend all of the republican candidates and help turn that contest into a circus. the sad reality is the super p.a.c.s have shaped the political complain more than the candidates. that's the way it's been since the supreme court's tragic decision in citizens united which overturned a century of settled law and opened this floodgate of unlimited campaign
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spending. drowning out small donors and individuals that most of us learned in school were the cornerstone of our democracy. this supreme court ruling was based on the perverse idea that the court's out-of-touch majority somehow felt corporations should enjoy the same constitutional rights as people. . this threatens the integrity of the political process, not just from the appearance of corruption but actually blatantly distorting the process. as companies and shammed independent organizations that are actually run by candidates' friends and employees blanket the airwaves with an avalanche of vicious negative advertising, now we somehow feel that they're protected under a first amendment right of free speech which would be beyond the comprehension of our founding fathers. mitt romney may believe that corporations are people, but do the rest of us need a comedian
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like steven cobear to remind us that only people are people? there's an outside chance that a century-old montana law banning corporate corruption in their political landscape which was passed after most egregious and well-documented abees in montana would actually provide the supreme court a lifeline to climb down from the precarious and dangerous constitutional ledge, a ledge that they have not only crawled out onto but they have drug the american people and the political process with them with their citizens united decision. there's a chance that the supreme court will use this montana law to re-establish the basic parameters protecting the political process from the corruption of that unregulated corporate money. but in the meantime, it's
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important that we advance a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the notion of corporate personalhood, explicitly stating that the rights of natural persons may only be afforded to real people, not corporations. and as we work to overturn citizens united and ban corporate personhood, people should not have to wait to judge whether a candidate is representing the public or representing their ben factors. we should pass -- benefactors. we should pass the disclose act to require political spending by corporations and individuals to be fully transparent. we should be be a stinsing in other efforts in the regulatory process to make sure that shareholders of corporations have the opportunity to at least know and maybe have a say on what the corporations that they are supposed to own are doing on their behalf. we should support h.r. 1404,
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the fair elections now act, to promote public campaign financing to ensure that the public's voice is not downed out by moneyed special interests. the supreme court's decision on citizens united was based on fantasy, the fantasy that vast sums of money from hidden special interests is not inherently corrupted, that they should be accorded all the rights of individual citizens, the fantasies that superpact who are the closest allies, friends and family of candidates is not -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. blumenauer: the terrorfying effect of superpacs helplessly distorting the campaign. we should all fight to change it. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, for five minutes. mr. jones: mr. speaker, thank you very much. today, the republicans held a conference, the democrats do the same thing during the week, talk about issues, and i had a
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couple minutes to remind my speaker of the house, john boehner, who i like, think the world of him, that as he was talking about the domestic policies of the president and how many of them seem to be failed policies, i said, how about the failed policy in afghanistan? i had written the speaker back in november asking him to please take just a few minutes to talk to a retired marine general who's been my advisor on afghanistan for three years. he agrees with me, the general does, that we're not going to win anything there. we just let our precious resources, our children go there and lose their legs, their life for what, we don't know. and i asked the speaker, we did in a bipartisan way, in fact, the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan, who will be speaking shortly after me, we did a bipartisan letter, three democrats and three republicans, asking mr. boehner and also ms. pelosi to go read the national intelligence estimate on afghanistan that came out in december.
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if they would read it they would be better informed and better understand those of us who want to get out, and i had emailed the commandant of the marine corps that's been my advisor, he's retired now, and right before the burning of the koran in afghanistan, so one i'll share for the record, mr. speaker, happened -- the email happened before the burning of the koran. and i quote the general, attempting to find a true military and political answer to the problems in afghanistan would take decades, not years, and drain our nation of precious resources with the most precious being our sons and daughters. simply put, the united states cannot solve the afghan problem no matter how brave and determined our troops are. we need to bring our people home and prepare for the real danger that is growing in the pacific. mr. speaker, i read that today in the conference, as you know, mr. speaker, we only have one minute, and a lot of members
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want to speak on different subject. in addition, i did get time to read from a v.s.o. teamlier and it happens to be a young marine officer. and it means village stability operation. and this young marine, this team leader, emailed a friend of mine who emailed me. if you ask me if it's worth a single american life to build governance here in afghanistan, i would have to say no. it sometimes is very perplexing to me of just where is the outrage in this country. i have seen so many wounded from my district, camp lejeune is in my district, mr. speaker, marines and soldiers who have lost legs, arms. i've even seen four young men that have no body parties below their waist. they're living and they will live but they have nothing below their waist. i don't know where the congress
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is, quite frankly. we're going to be there until 2014 unless we get out sooner, and i got a feeling, mr. speaker, we'll probably be there a little bit longer than 2014 knowing the way both parties feel about this. there's nothing we're going to change. karzai half the time doesn't like it. the other half he does. it's all about the $10 billion a month. he wants that money to buy some roads and sticks some money in foreign countries so when his administration collapses in afghanistan he's got some money to fall back on. mr. speaker, i would like to ask unanimous consent that i might submit for the record the letter signed by three democrats and three republicans. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. jones: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i'm just going to take another minute and then i'm going to close. in marine times recently there was an article called "tricare costs would jump in budget plan." if we forget our veterans of yesterday and our veterans of
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today, i think god will punish america. these young men and women and now the older veterans are older men and women, they make america the greatest nation in the world because they were willing to sacrifice and give themselves. but if we are going to continue to borrow more money from china to send $10 billion a month to karzai, $120 billion a year, that to me, mr. speaker, is a sin, quite frankly. we need to make wake up in this country and -- we need to wake up in this country and we fix our problems, we need to stay here in america and fix our problems before we worry about other problems. and 72 of our service people have been killed by the trainees in afghanistan that they were trying to freezing rain to be policemen or soldiers -- trying to train to be policemen or soldiers. 72 were shot and killed by the people they were training. where in the world does that
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make any sense? mr. speaker, it doesn't make any sense. it's time for america wake up and demand that congress get our troops out now, not in 2014. and, mr. speaker, before i close, as i always do, i ask god to please bress our men and women in uniform. i ask god to please bless the family of our men and women in uniform. i ask god in his loving arms to hold the families who have given a child dying for freedom in iraq and afghanistan. i ask god to bless the congress and senate that they will do what's right. i ask god to please bless the president of the united states that he will do what's right in the eye of god for god's people here in the united states. and i close three times -- god, please, god please, god, please continue to bless america, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from wisconsin, ms. moore, for five minutes. ms. moore: thank you so much, mr. speaker. i'd like to be recognized for five minutes. and to be able to add material
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-- extraneous material. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. moore: thank you. mr. speaker, lately i along with many other women have felt like we are mere supporting casts in the episode of "the dwight zone." i could just -- "the twilight zone." i can hear the show saying, you are traveling through a dimension, a dimension of sight and sign and of mind. your next stop, "the twilight zone." the rhetoric espoused over the last few weeks by many conservatives have me feeling as if i am in an alternative political universe where men say the most oddly absurd thing of what women should be doing with their bodies. in this universe the house committee on government oversight and government reform holds hearings on women's health and contraception with a panel made up completely of men
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. now, this may seem odd to you folks out there in the real world, but in this alternate reality it makes perfectly good sense that a bunch of middle-aged men, voided of uteruses would be experts of women's reproductive health. in this alternate universe you wouldn't dare to ask a woman to testify on women's health and what it means to be a woman. you wouldn't invite them to talk about what it means to be susceptible for pregnancy for approximately 30 years of their lives and how important birth control is to women who wish to prevent unintended pregnancies and to preserve their health. and you surely wouldn't ask a woman to testify about how birth control has helped them prevent various diseases, manage diseases like
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endometriosis. the recent ploys of republicans against women's health are all frighteningly too real. in reality this hearing did take place with government -- the house government oversight and reform committee blocking the testimony of women, women like georgetown university law student sandra fluke who later testified during a special hearing convened by democratic minority leader nancy pelosi of a fellow female student at georgetown university who had been denied contraception -- contraceptive coverage because of the university's catholic affiliation. her friend experienced complications stemming from ovarian cysts that could have been treated with birth control, but sadly, due to nontreatment, doctors eventually was forced to remove her ovary. there are similar stories like this that need to be told but
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sadly you won't hear them on capitol hill if my republican colleagues in the majority have anything to do with it. they are too busy silencing women's voices on these very critical issues. what if there was a hearing held on access to viagra or vasectomies with a panel of experts being a group of six women? could you imagine the outrage if women were allowed to legislate what happens to men's bodies? the horror, ladies and gentlemen, mr. speaker, this "twilight zone" is real. this attack on women's health is real, but the battle is not over. we cannot and will not allow a few to silence the voices of millions of women across this country. we must continue to stand up for women and their reproductive health. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan, for five minutes. mr. duncan: mr. speaker, i ask
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permission to address the house and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. duncan: mr. speaker, i voted to go to war in afghanistan, but i did not vote for a forever permanent war that has now lasted almost three times as long as world war ii. we should have ended our involvement in afghanistan many years ago, and many young american lives would have been saved. the first war against iraq and kuwait lasted just seven months. now with the recent killings of four more americans and with massive anti-american demonstrations being conducted by hundreds of thousands of afghani citizens, we need to greatly speed up our withdrawal. we need to leave afghanistan. the sooner the better. we have spent hundreds of billions there over the last decade, a great amount of which has been really been just pure foreign aid. we have built schools and medical facilities and helped their farmers. we have trained their police and military and have had
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thousands of afghanis on our payroll. we've had to borrow approximately 41% of all of these megabillions we have spent to help the afghan people. no country has done nearly as much, mr. speaker, for another country in the entire history of the world as we have done for afghanistan. . now the people there have made it very clear they do not appreciate what we have done for them. not only are they ungrateful, but they are showing through their actions that they have anger or even hatred toward us. we should stop spending all these billions of taxpayer dollars just as soon as we possibly can. i did not criticize president obama when he apologized for the burning of the koran, however i did not think it was something that rose to the level that required a presidential apology. some person or persons made a mistake in burning the korans, they should have apologized or the commander of the air force base or perhaps our ambassador.
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however now where's the abolgi from the afghan -- apology from the afghan leadership about the americans who have been killed? or the hatred and anger directed toward our country? where is the gratitude for all of america and americans have done for the afghan people over the last 10 or 11 years? we have a national debt of over $15 trillion that is headed far higher at a more rapid rate than ever before. it is far past the time we should have been taking care of our own country and putting our own citizens first. we need to let the afghan people run afghanistan and we need to stop trying to be everything to everybody all over the world. we simply cannot afford it and we are jeopardizing the future of our sales, our -- ourselves, our children, and grandchildren if we continue to try to run the whole world. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1er the chair declares the house in recession until 12:00
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>> members are taking a break now. a pair of bills on the calendar today. including one that would repeal certain minimum standards for- profit colleges. also a bill dealing with private property rights. we will have live house coverage when they return at noon here on c-span. in the meantime, we will take into a hearing this morning with the defense secretary leon panetta and chairman of the joint chiefs. the hearing got under way at about 9:30 this morning. >> what is the range? one to 9 million. can you give us a better assessment today of how many contractors there are? >> yes. i am not sure where the one to nine came from, mr. chairman. we do have limited data, but it
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is more like 300,000. i'm not sure where the one to nine -- it may be including multiplier of sex in the budget. i am not sure. that is our rough estimate now. >> can you tell us what is the cost to maintain a soldier for one year in afghanistan? right now about 100 -- >> right now about $850,000. and i would be careful with that number. >> we understand that. when people back home ask me, and when i give -- the number i had previously was $600,000. that kind of takes my breath away when you say $850,000. when i took them $600,000, it took their breath away.
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can you help us understand why that cost -- you are sank 8 to $50,000 a year per soldier. >> let me try. the major component is higher operating costs for our weapons. when you are in a war, there's a higher tempo. and then they're all these and labor costs. for example, improvised explosive devices. all those are in the $800,000. the six and a thousand dollars may be close to a variable costs. -- the $600,000 may be close to a variable cost. >> let me just say, i have gone over the five minutes. but we will go to -- i just want
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to conclude this round on my part by saying that i think at the end of the day, before we are done, it is not going to be possible. absent some other thing happening, and goodness knows, that could happen tomorrow. we all know that. but budgets have to be based on what we know at the time we write to them. that we are going to have to have additional savings if we are really going to deal with the debt threat confronting the country. >> can i just comment on that? look. this congress proposed as part of the budget control act 1 trillion dollars in savings. you cannot meet the challenge you are facing in this country by continuing to go back to
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discretionary spending. that is 1/3 of federal spending. if you are not dealing with the 2/third, that is entitlement spending. frankly, you're not going to make it. you're going to hurt this country. you're going to hurt this country's security not only by cutting defense, but by cutting discretionary spending that deals with quality of life in this country. >> i could not agree with you more. i do not know what could be more clear. leon, you understand it, because you have written budgets around here, as have i.. >it is not possible -- it is almost bizarre. the strategy so far is to go after discretionary spending which is going down as a share of gdp. we do not go after the part of spending that is going up as a share of gdp and going up
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markedly. those of the entitlements. we have to be honest with people. we have to help them understand, what is the place we are spending, over time, is really rising dramatically. it is in the entitlement and counts. revenue is the lowest it has been in 60 years. this is reality talking. i'm inclined to give me a dose of it here. >> thank you. mr. secretary, thank you. i would just say that the discretionary spending in this country is embarked on non- defense and has grown substantially. not counting the stimulus package, it was almost one trillion -- $1 trillion in
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addition to that. we are spending a lot of money there. i would also note that food stamps is an entitlement. it has increased 300%. there's a lot of a fraud, abuse, and waste. medicate increased 37% in three years. -- medicaid increased 37% in three years. medicaid is a huge growing program. medicaid, social security, and medicare increasing at almost 8% per year were as our economic growth is expected to be about 3% over the next 10 years. that is why that is unsustainable. which you agree, mr. panetta, that is an unsustainable path? >> there are a lot of unsustainable paths. [laughter] >> i guess what i would say to
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my colleagues, and i hope we understand this, food stamps, medicare, medicaid, social security, were exempted from any cuts. not one dime. so the got fell dramatically on other discretionary and the defense. the defense had not had as much increase prior to these cuts taken away. the discretionary did. i think, the defense been a core function of government, this is a dangerous path for us to be in. mr. secretary, we talk about the money shortfall. admiral mullin has said that threatens our national security inevitably. do you agree that it does
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threaten our national security? >> i do. >> with regard to sequester and the situation we are in, the president's budget calls for an almost $2 trillion in new taxes. as a reality, that is not going to happen. he also basically abandoned the request to increase suspect -- spending to about $1.60 trillion. i am worried that we may not reach a conclusion of this satisfactorily before you face a financial challenge of great significance. do you have plans now to deal with the eventuality that, perhaps, an agreement will not
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be reached? and you might have to go forward with the sequestered reductions? >> senator, we are not and we have not made any plans with regard to sequestered periods debt problem is this. sequester has this kind of meat axe approach for cuts across the board that, frankly, you cannot do a hell of a lot of planning for. it would be a disaster. i would have to take the strategy i presented to you and throw out the window if the sequester did happen. for that reason, i urge the congress to come together. we will work with you to try to develop an approach that will not allow a sequester to happen. >> i will work with you on that. i believe that is what we have to do. we have multiple threats around the world. i return from multiple trips
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with senator mccain in afghanistan. libya. tunisian. israel. you never know. you never know what data will break out next. there's a lot of tension in that area of the world. that is very significant. i think a court defense budgets has to be maintained sufficient to be -- to meet the challenges we face. the remaining 5/6 of the budget -- almost half of it not touched at all with any reduction in spending has got to be little more than half, that is really just a challenge. we just cannot budget -- balance this budget on the back of the defense department.
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if we break -- from those men and women who have been away from their families and if they see what we have done and disproportionately target them for the wasteful washington spending that has been going on, we would have broken faith with the best people this country has produced. i hope and pray somehow, mr. chairman, we can work this out. i know you share those concerns. >> thank you. >> senator sanders. >> thank you. thank you for being with us today. i am going to pick up on a slightly different tangent and my friend from alabama and suggest to you. that our country faces huge economic challenges. our middle class is collapsing. we have more people living in poverty. it is one of the reasons that medicaid is up. one of the reasons that food stamps are up.
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we have a 50 million people with no health insurance and millions of families are struggling to send their kids to college or to pay for child care. how we deal with every aspect of the budget, including the military, in tax on every other. the reality is, and i -- as i understand, and someone correct me if i'm wrong, military spending has tripled since 1997. we now spend more on defense, as i understand, then the rest of the world combined. i want to start off by asking you, mr. secretary, my understanding is that the united states still operates 268 military installations in germany and 124 in japan. now, in germany, people all have health care. germany, their kids go to college without having to pay for it, as a matter of fact. i am kind of interested to know why we have 268 military bases
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defending germany. i thought that war was one a few years ago. can somebody help me out on that one? >> i also yield to general dempsey. first of all, that to its 68 member sounds very high. we cut almost 140 bases out of your over the last few years. as a result of bringing down to additional brigade's out of europe, we will bring down that infrastructure even more. >> i may be wrong. but by the way, world war ii has been over for a few years. why are we defending? if this union exists, why do we have this kind of presence in germany when we have 50 million people in this country with no health insurance? >> i cannot answer the latter part of your question, senator. i will say i am an advocate of maintaining our relationship with nato. they have done some great work around the world.
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they have a $300 billion budget. if we go to war, would all the first people we're going to ask? >> if we go to europe -- for the war with europe, -- >> that is not the question. if we go to war, the first people to join us on the europeans. >> why do have 268 military installations? >> i spent 12 years in germany. i have never counted up anywhere near 268 installations. but we will check that one for the record. >> i want to pick up on another question that the chairman asked about defense contractors. but my understanding is that in the past, the department of defense has estimated -- people who are military contractors. and that the gao has estimated
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that number at 900,000. >> i think any to see the definition of what we are including. are we including private-sector contractors who are including others? >> the numbers i'm giving you, and i will agree they are rough, are the a full-time equivalents that we believe we are paying is around 200,000. >> i had an interesting experience in afghanistan about one year and a half ago. we were being taken out by fellows in an armored car. one was a military and one was a private contractor. bose -- both for basically doing the same work. the contractor was making substantially more than the fellow in the army. does that make sense? can you talk about that? >> let me just say, senator, that the areas you have pointed out is an area that, frankly, it needs attention in the defense department.
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one of the reason we're looking at $260 billion to try to make things more efficient is going after contractors to try to reduce those numbers. i want to assure you that i'm aware of the problem. secretary gates, at one point, basically said he did not know how many contractors he had in the defense department. it is a large number. frankly, it is too large. >> last question i would ask of the chairman, my office has gotten involved a little bit in terms of fraud. during a huge budget dealing with thousands and thousands of defense contractors, etc. my understanding is that the top three defense contractors paid over $1 billion in fines to settle fraud allegations. that is just the top three. there are massive amounts of frauds going on in terms of defense contractors dealing with the dod. are we moving aggressively to
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address that issue? >> that is part of our effort to be able to go after those kinds of fraudulent activities. in the various contracts that we have to try to achieve savings there, but in addition to that, the auditing -- i mean, we are a department that can still audit all of our books. that is crazy. >> i would just say, and i think you for raising that point. -- i thank you for raising that point. what you just told us, we do not know what we are spending or how we are spending it. >> we do not have audit ability. >> we have to stop there. we are one minute over. with the number of senators we have, if we do not impose a discipline, we will not get done in time for the secretary to meet his requirements. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to congratulate you on
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this historic hearing. this is one of the few times that the secretary of defense has appeared before the budget committee hearing. i know you have done that. i come from miami, which is a very patriotic state. it probably has -- i come from wyoming, which is a very patriotic state. there is a rumor that there be one base in each state eliminated. in wyoming we only have one base. it is by cheyenne. it is an integral part. that is our biggest city of the 56,000. the two work together. i appreciate the military doing a number of tests of inter military cooperation there which have been very successful. i appreciate your, that you'd be going through a process. we have no problem with the process. i know it has been difficult but affair in the past. i want to be assured that is the
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process you'll be using. >> that is correct. >> i was also the co-founder of the air force caucus and a former member of the international guard. i noticed your comments about the strategic airlift. am i correct in assuming that will rely more on international guard units then? we are efficient at providing that. is that a fair assumption? >> the chief staff of the air force who is responsible for two of the legs of the triad are looking at the balancing capabilities, both active guard and reserve. i do not have the answer committed to memory, but i'm sure we can get to that answer. >> we can get combining international air force and the national guard in wyoming. my third concern, and mentioned
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that we only have one base in wyoming. it happens to be a missile base. senator conrad and i share another caucus that or is that the nuclear capability of this country. we are wondering -- there are rumors that the department is preparing unilateral reductions in nuclear force. is out of the future is for the force and are there really any significant savings from reductions? >> our mission is to maintain the nuclear triad and the deterrence that we have. we think we need to maintain our missiles. we to maintain our submarines. we to maintain our bombers that are part of our deterrent. we will continue to do that. the one thing you're referring to, that was being conducted pursuant to legislation from the congress to review our nuclear
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stockpile. there were a number of options our success -- that were discussed. one of the options that was present was maintaining the status quo. >> i appreciate that, particularly in light of was happening in iran right now. in my final area of concern, because i got a letter just this week from a man in the military was about to retire and his family has been a part of tri- care and he appreciates that, but he has heard these comments about how the cost for tri-care, the participation was going to have to go up. the reason he wrote his he has a sister who is on welfare. his sister pays no where near the cost that he does. so he is not sure that the military is such a good deal compared to welfare. that seems to me to be a
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terrible comparison. is that something that will be taken into consideration as you look at these additional costs? >> in the recommendations, we do base it on an income level with regards to retirees and what they're asked to provide in additional fees. the problem we have, senator, is the costs of health care have grow genetically, as they have grown elsewhere. i have about $50 million in the defense budget that goes to health care. we're looking for ways to try to see if we can provide some additional cost control. increasing these fees is one of the recommendations we have made. we do it, still recognizing that the tri-care program is a much more -- a much more, in terms of costs, is a much less in cost
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than the private sector in terms of those health care benefits. it is still a pretty good deal that we provide for retirees even though we are asking for additional fees. >> i appreciate the brevity of your answers and the clarity. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. senator nelson. >> mr. secretary, thank you for your long and distinguished record of public service. even when i had the privilege of serving with you and we're both young congressman. and you were the head of reconciliation in the budget committee in the house. nobody understood what reconciliation was. and you were try -- and here we are. some three decades later, still talking about reconciliation. so, thank you. i want to call to your attention on subject matter not directly
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in your jurisdiction, but i have filed with the administration has requested, a veterans conservation corps four unemployed veterans to bring them into the federal employee for one year. these are veterans coming home. they're unemployed. to do projects helping the environment, teachers' aides, etc. and give these veterans a chance to get over the hump. that indirectly affects you. it certainly, even though it will be run through the department of the interior, and with the concurrence of the department of veterans affairs. i wanted to ask you about this sequester. let's remember what the
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sequestered was. it was an attempt to try to create a guillotine that would hang over the heads of the supercommittee so that the supercommittee would have a significant incentive in order to succumb to agreement. and, of course, the supercommittee did not. and now we are having to deal with the sequestered, which is law unless we change the law. so, what do you do? you talk about how would you need is a certainty in budgeting for the defense department. and yet you have this guillotine hanging over the head of the defense department. that would go into effect in january 2013. how do you deal with this in your budgetary planning? >> well, senator, it is very
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unfortunate because, frankly, it sends a very dark cloud over the defense department. and, frankly, our defense department contractors that worry about the possibility of sequestering and what it means for their employment force as well. there are a lot of very concerned people looking at the prospect that it may happen. for us, as i have said, obviously we are not planning. we have made no plans for sequestered because it is a nutty formula and it is 2 feet to begin with. it is not something that, frankly, if anybody who was responsible ought to put into affect. >> thank you. >> it was designed as a gun to the head. >> yes it was. >> if i was disappointed that the super committee failed in its job.
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i have to tell you. having been in the budget process for a long time, there was a time when we had to be in a room, negotiating with the administration on budget reductions. and, frankly, we were not allowed to leave that room until we had resolved the issue. that is what should have happened here. >> it should have. >> chairman, may i add my voice to that? i know i am taking up your time, but i feel we showed the chart. done drawnst we have out. you mentioned a moment ago that we should plan for what we know. one of the things we know is that this drawdown is occurring not in an era of peace and stability following conflict, but in an era that is actually more dangerous than the area we are just leaving. that is a big difference in terms of how we deal with this. secondly, on sequestration, our ability to plan for.
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we have to stretch the strategy without question. third, the thing to understand is that some of the variables we can affect our fixed. our manpower, we are already off wrapping 120,000, one under 25,000 soldiers and marines. we cannot bring that we cannot ramp that up much. there are four cases we go for money if we have to go for more money -- operations, maintenance, training, and modernization. there is no where else to go. if you ask me if i could look for more money in tho -- that in those accounts, no, sir, not in this environment. >> mr. secretary, your secretary of the navy has stated the policy of the defense department, given the fact of the lessons of pearl harbor, how you need to spread the assets of ships, that there be the
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spreading of those assets as they have always been, the carriers on the atlantic coast, just like they are spread in three home ports on the pacific coast. is that what you understand to be the policy of spreading the carrier assets on the atlantic to two ports? >> that is correct. >> thank you. >> senator johnson. >> general dempsey, secretary panetta, mr. hale, thank you for your service. i mean that sincerely. i would like to dispel the notion, contrary to popular belief, that the wars in iraq and afghanistan have been the primary cause of our deficits. just not true. over the last 10 years we spent a total of $1.30 trillion. this graph shows the spending on
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the wars in blue, the deficit is in red. just to make that point, so many people believe that it is the war spending causing the deficit. simply not the case. last year we spent $115 billion of those wars and we had a $1.30 trillion deficit. that is the first point. secondly, i am new to town here. i like looking at history and numbers. i was really surprised when you take a look at the average spending, defense over the last number of tickets, during my lifetime -- last number of decades, during my lifetime. 3.6% the last decade. a record low during my lifetime. the last three years it has been a 4.8%. as well as if you take a look at defense spending as a percentage of the total budget, it went 25%.43% in the 1960's to
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last three decades, 18, 19%. and now the fiscal 2013 budget at 2 i believe that the defense of the nation is the top priority of government. it looks like our federal government has changed its focus from defending the nation to protect and entitlements -- protecting entitlements. let me start out asking why is it the case that president obama and democrats pick defense first for adjusting the fiscal situation? that is the first thing they what to cut. i don't understand that. can you give an explanation on that? >> senator, first of all, that is not true. it is the congress through the budget control act that mandated the reductions in defense that i am implementing. i am following the law.
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defense cutst the really pushed by the democratic side and the president? let's face it, that was the hammer of the republicans -- had, the republicans' sequestration, which you referred to as mindless and i agree with that. >> you came up with about $1 trillion in discretionary savings, and how was made a decision that you were going to fence those funds for national security and non-defense discretionary. that automatically established a number of close to $500 billion that we would have to reduce defense. i think it is unfair to say that somehow the democrats were pushing for it. it was basically a bipartisan deal. >> next question, then. as the chairman pointed out, and you agreed with, the title is spending is really what is
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driving our deficits, a special -- the entitlement spending is really what is driving our deficits, especially long-term. can you explain why the president has not proposed reform for siddig social security -- for city social security and medicare? why is that? >> if i was omb director, i could engage with you on that, but i defense secretary and that is what i focus on it. i am sure that the president has indicated that if there is a willingness to come together and look at all elements of federal spending, including entitlements, there would be a willingness to be able to put together a kind of comprehensive solution that i have always been a part of in my budget history. that needs to happen now. >> i understand comprehensive, i understand balance, but everybody recognizes that it is social security and particularly medicare that is driving our
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deficit problem. it is basically a political football. that is true, correct? >> on one hand -- >> that is the problem, it is a game. >> that is unfortunate. it is a game, because on one side, not touching revenues, which need to be part of the deal. on the other side, there are those who defend the entitlements, which have to be part of the deal. if you want a deal with the size deficit this country is busy, you better put everything on the table. >> we are asking the military to increase their contribution to tricare and not asking and other department to do that? why ask the military and not unionized members of the federal work force? >> well, i mean, look, i am dealing with the defense budget. i am not dealing with other
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elements of the budget. we felt that in order to control our health care costs, this is one way to try to do that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator begich. i ask my questions or comments, i like to give a little bit of good news. i do this on a regular basis. where we were three years ago, where we are today. headlines from just yesterday -- "u.s. stock rises on home sales data." "people are remodeling spending in home state bank live in." "pending home sales moving to a year high." "economists have raised expectations for deployment and business spending." the economy is moving in the right direction. "consumer confidence is up in february for the sixth straight month."
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unemployment claims are at the lowest level since march 2008. why i like to do that is this is a budget committee meeting and we want to talk not only cuts, but where we are in this economy. is it where we want to be? it now. can it be better? yes. is it better? absolutely. i want to, to my colleague on the other side, it's your question when richards premiums, not that i want to see it -- answer your question on interest premiums, it not that i want to see military premiums increase. without the char -- the chart was interesting about the military expenditure. we have to include state department, cia, and by the way, va, which will be trillions to
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the expense of these wars. we cannot forget that. i serve on the veterans committee and i know a couple of my other members do. that is an ever-growing cost to us that we must bear and we are responsible. they have served our country, and we can argue over the wars, but the va and veterans must be taken care of. i want to be sure that one would talk about these numbers everything is included. -- that when we talk about these numbers that everything is included. i want to ask specifically -- i want to be a little parochial, but i want to follow up on a question that was asked earlier, leading to my question about the air force base in alaska. first, before i do that, i know there was some debate about how many bases in japan, germany, so forth, but there is over 600 military bases overseas. my concern is, as we look at the
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realignment, especially now that we have identified the asia- pacific as an important asset -- of course, i am a biased here. sea, hisy yair and closest other than hawaii. we are closer in a lot of ways. i am a little confused about why we have these 600-plus basis with limited -- i understand that now there are two brigades. two years ago we asked for this. now there is discussion. the air force base seems to be in the right location. at-16's are planning to move. the same debate when we did the brac. we are not doing that now paid folks are just doing it. the first question -- the department of defense legal counsel look at this, and how it
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conforms and does not conform -- this seems to be going around the system. >> senator, i think that the reason the president would be requesting brac is to go through the process of what the infrastructure -- what infrastructure should be reduced in this country. >> this is what gets me very concerned. they said that we will move these f-16's, and now the air force is doing analysis that it will save money, versus the army, going through a process before they determine what they are going to do. i don't iget this, to be very frank with you. it is almost like and they picked a location, but are now starting the analysis.
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>> i strongly urge that you talk with the air force chief -- >> we have. in alaska and we still have the same questions. >> i have the same question -- >> i look forward to having the response back. i was on this committee a year ago, and the work of the chair and folks in front of us, we discovered it expenditures that were not the best use of the money. i need definitions of why we are finding that again. >> i appreciate that. we will get a full response back to you. the problem is that if we don't meet our funding requirement, the obligation that we made, we will incur an even larger find e -- >> every contract you signed, in
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the department science, is subject to appropriation. that is how the contractor sites it, knowing that his body could not appropriate -- it is like a fake closet that's just never give the money. -- it is like a fake clause. let's just never give the money. >> one way or another we will pay a price if we don't meet that obligation. >> senator ayotte. >> thank you, mr. chairman, they keep mr. secretary, thank you, chairman, thank you, mr. hale. chairman dempsey, i have great respect for you and the service to the country and the important role you play, but i have to ask you about the interview he gave to cnn. i need to understand -- when you
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were asked by friedriareed zakaria about what we are counseling our israeli partners with respect to iran, and he said you were counseling than -- you said you are counseling that not to attack iran, and you also said he believed that -- you believe that the administration believes, i assume, that the iranian regime is a rational actor. can you help me understand why you have said that, particularly in a public interview about what of our closest allies -- one of our closest allies? i am concerned that in doing that, we are sending the wrong signal to iran. >> actually, thanks for asking me, senator. you beat senator graham to the punch. no, honestly, i want to clear up
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some things. first of all, i did not council israel not to attack. we had a conversation with them about the issue of time. that will require a much longer conversation. on the issue of rationality, look, i agree that iran is a regime that is dangerously misguided. it loads its neighbors, interferes with its neighbors, it disregards its own citizens. none of that is acceptable to us, or our way of thinking or being rational, but it fits their pattern of thinking and a 30-year history of conduct. my view is that we cannot afford to underestimate our potential adversaries by writing them off as irrational. that is kind of the juxtaposition of the phrase. mistake.lly don't 's rhetoric for a lack of reason -- i don't mistake iran's
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rhetoric for a lack of reason. we have to understand what global pressure, including use of force if necessary, can turn to the regime away from its nuclear weapons ambitions. me clearor letting that up. >> you would not take force as an option off the table? >> absolutely not. >> one of the things i'm concerned about what the description and the way to across in the interview with cnn and described iran as a rational actor, if they acquire a nuclear weapon, it is not just about they're using it, as a state sponsor of terrorism, they could provide that weapon to let others use it on their behalf. >> it is a real risk, as is a risk of nuclear proliferation for others. >> we hear of those types of
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possibilities. we just heard today that that is a real risk, if iran acquires a nuclear weapon, that most of us think that cannot be out rational act, from our perspective, in terms of looking at it and the world that the number of innocent lives that to be lost if a terrorist group acquires a nuclear weapon. you would agree with me, that i understand that maybe their technicians it is rational, but by hours it was -- not maybe by their calculations it is rational, but by hours it would not be. >> we have to understand their way of thinking, that is the only point i was making. >> i would ask secretary panetta, just as a follow-up to the question that senator johnson asked, the bigger question -- in the president's budget, you are recommending increases to our active duty in veterans in terms of health care costs.
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but it does not seem that the president is proposing any increases as i can see it -- effectively done it to the civilian work force. that is hard for our military when they are making so much sacrifices and we are not making sacrifices under the civilian side, too. do you think that is fair? we should also -- including myself, by the way -- members of congress, all of us should be sacrificing. i worried that we are asking them to go first, understand that health care costs are a big issue. >> senator, again, if i was omb director, i could give you an answer that dealt with the entire budget that the president presented. as defense secretary, i have to deal with what i am responsible for, and that is why we approached it based on where we thought savings to be achieved. >> i just worry about your ability to go to our military and ask about their
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ability to do this when civilian employees of the federal work force, including members of congress, who get the same health plan, are not making a similar sacrifice. i just worry about what message we're sending to our military. that is where i worry, and i worry about you as a leader having to go and sell that. >> i understand, but one of the great things about our men and women in uniform is that they go where they are told to go and do what they are supposed to do. they salute and do the job, and that is what they are doing here. >> we have a responsibility for them. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chairman. mr. secretary, welcome. we are gearing up towards another brac round, maybe two, i gather. the last brac route, as i
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understand it, only address the american bases. you just said that the question of the upcoming brac route would be why infrastructure would be reduced in this country -- what infrastructure would be reduced in this country. is there a way to include in the next brac round domestic and overseas bases, particularly to the extent that so much of what is done cannot be done from a remote location, because the -- our c -- can now be done from rural locations, because of our electronic capabilities? >> senator, we have the authority, but we needed to close bases abroad. we're looking at another 40 to 50 basis that will be closed. -- bases that will be closed. we have the authority to look at the infrastructure broad and try to reduce that when it come --
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and when it comes to this country, the only way we can do oft witis with the approval congress and that is why the brac process was developed. >> there is a political difference between the ability to close and offered base and congress -- close and offshore base and congress having the ability to approve of the closing of a domestic base. if you look at the posture of the military, looking at where the most effective basing is, isn't it artificial to have the brac process only look at domestic bases and not overseas bases? shouldn't it be included into a puertglobal brac? >> congress has every right to ask the administration and his department to present the rationale for what we're doing infrastructure our broad and how it fits the larger picture.
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i agree with that. >> let me go to cybersecurity. you say there is $10.3 billion for cyber-command, which i applaud and think is necessary. we are a little bit behind the curve, and are in a race, and the threat factor is developing far greater rate than our defense capability is going against it. could you speak a little bit about the military supply chain security against planted cyber- threats? we have supply chain security for textiles, thank god, for rhode island industries, and yet we have aircraft flying at around that have components built overseas. do you need more resources now that the cyber threat has become more great to make sure that our supply chain security is protected -- supply chain is protected against cyber-an
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intrusion? -- cyber-intrusion? >> as has been pointed out, we are seeing increasing cyber- attacks not only in the public sector, but the private sector as well. this country has a responsibility to develop defenses that have to be there in order to ensure that this country is not vulnerable to those kinds of attacks. the money that we have indicated in our budget tries to improve our technology, our capabilities within the defense department, within nsa. i would suggest that part of that consideration has to be what do we need to do to make sure that the equipment, the technology we are getting, all that has adequate protections against cyber-attack? >> let me make a request for the record, if i may, since my time is starting to run out -- two request for the record. one is if you could pick on me
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what in your budget is related to supply chain security, -- you could break out for me what any budget is slated to supply chain security, and specifically for the chinese, if you could go that far. the second thing i would like to do is have a discussion with you ever in the department of defense is focusing on health- care reform for the department of defense. you are a very big buyer -- i think $50 billion in health care. a lot of that is delivered overseas, but a lot of that is over here. that is money that could make a difference in how people behave, and there is a significant reform movement that is taking place. i just want to be connected with whoever is engaged in that for the department of defense. >> i will have our undersecretary responsible for the healthcare area get in touch with you and go through the issues we're dealing with there. >> i appreciate it, mr.
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secretary. thank you, you three gentlemen, for your service. senator portman. >> i will start with mr. hale. i appreciate his conversations with me, ensuring that the legislation captive as confirmed -- kept as confirmed, individuals in various departments and agencies, including dod. auditing. it seems that the most critical thing is that we're doing it right, this first $487 billion, or whether we have to go something beyond that, and i am concerned about the kind of this out audit we want to have with the department. could you give us the status report on that what you're doing to accelerate the audit ability of dod, given the sacrifices that dod is being asked to make?
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>> i can. we have plan set up years ago to move to unauditable statements -- to auditable statements. that secretary panetta's direction, we have accelerated the budget statement portion of one,ecause it is 8a key with all the audits being ready by 2017 as the law requires. we have set aside a fair amount of resources. we have a plan and some near- term successes. the marine corps is going through an audit process now for its budget statement. they are close in terms of getting an opinion and a variety of other appropriations. we got a clean opinion last year. we are trying to do near term
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things that show progress, frankly, both to ourselves and to the congress. we are not there yet, but we are committed to its. is atary panetta's support golden opportunity for us and we will leverage it every way we can in this important area. >> i just want you to know that we are watching it and appreciate your efforts and having a former or a director helps. congratulations, leon, for continuing to exceed expectations of pawlenty directors. i heard your testimony, that it creates risks, the $47 billion. -- he also said -- the $487 billion. you also said these are acceptable risks. how do you describe those risks that would be entailed should we move forward with this
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sequester as currently planned? >> they would be devastating, because the cuts would be made, as you know, according to the formula across the board. it would come out of force structure, it would come out of readiness, it would come out of, i assume, compensation would be on the table as well. it would come out of every area of the defense budget. the danger is that when you do it that way, you automatically haul out -- hollow out the force. what you are doing is you are weakening every area of the defense budget by some kind of blidnd formula. even though we will have a smaller force structure as a result of those cuts, we will be ill-equiped, ill-trained, and ill-prepared -- >> mr. secretary, when do you need to start making the
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changes? january 1 next year is when the the sequester goes into effect? when would you make changes to dod? >> i would have to look at -- >> sometime prior to the summer. we are now into the spring. let me give you a statistic i have -- i hope it is not right, because it is scary. $17.4 billion is what you spend on health care in 2000. $50 billion to date paid the biggest increase in our budget, as i understand it. what more can be done? >> it is the first step. there are the steps we have to look at as we look at the kind of health care costs generally. probably the first step would be to increase the tricare fees, and then continue to kind of look at health care delivery in the future.
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>> may i add to that? we are doing a number of things to the health care area. it is not just tricare fees. trying to improve the quality, and our undersecretary of personal readiness can address this better. but we have looked at provider costs. we are seeking authority to use federal pricing schedules for pharmaceuticals, which significantly reduces the costs, using medicare payment rates for outpatient payments, would also significantly reduces costs. we did a number of those things before we look at the tricare fees last year, and in this proposal we made this year. we are looking across the board at health care and trying to hold down costs while maintaining the quality of care, which is critical. >> can i just add one thing on sequester, mr. chairman? it is already beginning to have an effect on the defense industrial base. there are those within our
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defense industrial base within this specter of sequester hang over them that are already making decisions about their work force. this is an immediate problem for them that will become a problem for us eventually. >> thank you. i know my time is up, but the odds are critical, and we've got to be sure that we are dealing with health care costs, because it takes away from readiness and operations. the chairman has talked about putting a budget together and we have got to do something quickly to avoid eroding for the industrial base and having dod make decisions that would be detrimental in devastating. >> senator marie. -- senator murray. >> i spent a lot of time worked with democrats and republicans on the issues that you are talking about today. all of us went into the committee knowing that sequestration would be a terrible outcome. we understood that across-the-
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board cuts to these programs, as well as middle-class families, the most vulnerable americans, would be bad policy. that was the point of the bipartisan trigger that senator reid and speaker boehner agreed to. they were supposed to be painful to push us toward a compromise. i am disappointed that despite the fact we put on our site at some pretty painful cuts out, we cannot get to an agreement because we cannot get to that shared sacrifice moment. compromise is needed to get to that. i hope that everyone on both sides is, because we are concerned about where that is going to go. but i wanted to question -- actually, a question about an issue that has become very important, and has recently come to light at madigan army medical center in my home state of washington. a number of soldiers had behaviorial health diagnosis changed from ptsd to other
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behavioral health disorders that did not come with the same level of benefits. however, the following, as you may know, an independent review at walter reed, a number of these diagnoses were then changed back to ptsd. obviously, this is really troubling. what is even more troubling to me and to many service members and their family members in my home state, and a lot of people i've been talking to, is the allegation that the decision to strip those soldiers of a ptsd diagnosis came from a unit at madigan that seems to be taking the costs of ptsd diagnosis into account when they were making their decision. now, there is an investigation going on into this, but really, to me, one of the things that is clear is that oversight to within the army and at the departmental level allows this process to go unchecked. i'm really concerned about how the services and -- ptsd
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behaviorial health conditions, where a service members are administratively separated instead of going to the physical disability process. i want to ask you, given that the adjustment disorder is comprehensible by dod, required to use the rating schedule, what is the reason for dod tweeting the adjustment disorder differently? >> i was very concerned when i got the report about what happened at madigan. i get reflects the fact that, frankly, we have not -- i think it reflects the fact that, frankly, we have not learned how to effectively deal with that, and we have to. we need to make sure that we have at the psychiatrists, the psychologists, and the medical people who can make these evaluations, because these are real problems.
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i have met with men and women who severed this problem. i met with a couple last night. they had to go through hell in order to get a diagnosis that was required here. that should not happen. we are investigating, obviously, what took place, but i directed our personnel undersecretary to look at this issue and to correct it, because it is unacceptable to have the process we have in place. >> i appreciate the attention given to this. it is going to take a lot of work. i am deeply concerned that when someone comes home from war and they pack to go through a diagnosis like this, it is hard enough after you have been told to man up for your time of service to then have ptsd and then have that reversed and change back and told that is nothing wrong with you. it is devastating to these men and women and their families. this is something i will be following closely i wonder
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personal attention on it, and i think a -- the issue and i want your personal attention on it, and i'd think that the issue of race at madigan shows that we need a more clear, consistent guideline for particle practices -- >> i agree with that. you are absolutely right. >> i never want to hear anybody on the nt servers say that we will not give you a diagnosis a budget problem. -- we will not give you a diagnosis of ptsd because we have a budget problem. >> senator thune. >> i also want to recognize the colonel who commanded one of the finest pieces in the country. -- bases in the country. mr. secretary, you touched on this once already, but i want to put a fine point on it. you recommend in a budget that congress enact two more brac rounds. it seems like a lot of the excess capacity among domestic bases could be filled with those
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overseas bases, particularly in europe, bringing troops home from bases in the continental u.s., particularly given the fact that it seems we have had a military presence in europe for a long time, obviously. it seems to make good sense to get some of these folks home. if you could just elaborate on why you have not recommended closing overseas bases in this budget, especially in parts of the wal-mart it is perhaps no longer necessary to have that kind of -- parts of the world where it is no longer necessary to have that kind of military footprint. >> we have had recommendations with regard to reducing military infrastructure abroad. as i pointed out, we have closed about 140 bases abroad. we are going to close additional bases, particularly as a result of reducing the number of brigades in europe from four down to two. at the same time, i have to tell you that operations,
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particularly in the middle east, have required some of the key bases in europe to be important launching points for our air force and for travel and for supplies to that area. there is any need to try to maintain those basics area, and in addition to that, our nato requirements and our partnership required that we engage in exercises and in a rotational presence there to work with in a note so that we can build up that partnership to make it capable of dealing with its responsibilities as well. having said that, we are in the process of looking at additional reductions abroad. when it comes to the united states and the kind of infrastructure reductions that have to take place here, finally, there is no other way to do it again through the brac process. >> mr. secretary, the president
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has said that he would veto any attempt by congress to prevent the effects of the sequestration on military spending. i want to share with you some things you have set, for example, at the munich security conference, that you and the president "are not paying attention to sequesters, sequester is crazy," and you expect congress to come forward and de-trigger the amount. it would virtually devastate our national defense. i am trying to figure out -- there are conflicting messages coming out. you are urging congress to deal with the sequester at the same time that cpresident has said he would veto legislation dealing with it. >> i think what the president stated is that there were just an effort to trigger the defense part of sequester, he would
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oppose that. he thinks that sequester across the board, on the defense and non-defense, is severe enough that both areas ought to be addressed in trying to de- trigger sequester. >> there is a question, too, about whether or not, if there were sequester on defense, how would be applied a section speaks of the sequestration of budget enforcement in terms of budget accounts. it is not declared that sequester amounts must be applied in equal amounts. for example, you could choose to apply that the amount to be sequestered from the navy procurement account to be entirely from one activity in that account. how would you approach this issue in terms of flexibility? you suggest this would be applied at -- a very >> let me ask our comptroller.
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>> we will work with omb to understand. this is an arcane law going back to a 1985 act. our lawyers believe that with the low level of detail in that letter, we need to work with the omb lawyers to see what exactly is the case. make no mistake, i don't think anybody questions that at the account level, army and navy shipbuilding, that would have to be equal in percentage terms, and that fits the act's destructio -- description pretty well. this is a bad idea, it is bad policy, i hope that the congress will take the steps to de- trigger it. >> i see my time is expired. i'm getting the gavel. >> thank you, senator. we are trying to adhere closely to the five, because we promised the secretary and we would get
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him out of here by noon. senator wyden. >> i wanted to talk, mr. secretary, first about the guard and reserve. you and i have talked about this in the past. in my view, there unique expertise, particularly the ability to adapt rapidly to mission requirements, is one of the reasons we ought to be especially careful at this time of making tough actresses with respect to what happens. -- tough choices with respect to what happens with the guard and reserve. you are going to get four separate studies to provide in- depth analysis. the company's military members, those on active duty. what the studies are going to find, all of them, is strong evidence about how much less expensive the guard is compared to the active duty. the question, mr. secretary, for you this morning is what it make more sense to wait until you have accurate model to compare
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costs before you go forward with disproportionate cuts to the air guard? what we have tried to do is look at the air force, look at the guard, and it seems to me that while all the choices we have in front of you are tough ones -- there is not an easy one there -- wouldn't it make more sense to hold off until you get those studies if there would be disproportionate cuts made to the air guard? >> senator, first of all, i strongly agree that we have to depend on a strong reserve and a strong national guard to assist us come out particularly when it comes to mobilization. as we reduce the force, frankly, we will need that back up. when it comes to numbers in the national guard and reserve, we pretty much maintain the force we have now and will continue to maintain it. the 1 area where reductions, the
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air guard reserve, was done pursuant to the recommendations of the air force chief. the basis for that is that in the past, we've reduced airlift in the active force but we have not touched the reserve force. he felt that in order to achieve the savings that we had to achieve under this budget control act, there were a areas in the reserve for he could achieve some savings by reducing some of the airlift capability that was not multi-mission. that is why the decision was made to reduce those areas. at the same time, i met with the governors yesterday and they have some of the same concerns you have, and i indicated to them that we would work with them to determine whether we can try to do this in a way that can achieve the same savings. but provide some ability relieve
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some of the impact that this would have. >> thank you on that point, mr. secretary. if you would stay open on that and we could continue to have some discussion on that -- i think that as we look at those four separate studies, it means that what you have done on this is try to make his data-driven. if we could continue that discussion, i would appreciate it. one other area we can get into is energy. you all at the department of defense are one of the largest single users of energy in our country. sometimes it takes your breath away, when you think through the implications. on a recent tour in afghanistan, we heard about the fact that it costs in some instances $100 to get gas out to the forward operating basis. what do you in addition, mr. secretary, in this budget as actually getting accomplished in
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terms of making us more energy- independent? >> i am going to have a general dempsey speak to the particulars of what you pointed out. energy is a very important element in driving our national defense. but at the same time, we have made strong improvements in trying to develop energy efficiency, particularly in the navy as well as in other elements. here the goal is to try to continue the investment in energy efficiency, because it saves money in the long run to be able to do that. let me ask general dempsey. or me, it is part efficiency in part effectiveness. there is a real operation requirement here. there are places in afghanistan where you cannot get anything by way of resupply except by air
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dropping it. that drives the cost of that commodity up. point, weretary's have a commitment in the budget and we have got some plans, milestones, and we're working towards it. >> senator grassley. >> senator wyden brought up the issue i was going to start with on the air guard, so i don't expect you to say anything more than what you said to him, but i would like to make a little comment about your answer. that would be this -- you probably correctly quoted the secretary of the air force that it was -- that the active-duty had taken probably as much as they canned so something had to come from the guard. but we got the distinct impression from our meeting with the iowa delegation with regard to the water to the second fighter wing being removed at the last time -- they -- the
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152nd fighter wing being removed that the last time they did it, as opposed to senator widener described it, being updated- driven. we heard from the national guard bureau which fighter wing to cut after the decision had been made to take the cut out of the air national guard. we're looking for the statistical basis, databases, whatever it is, and we are having a hard time getting it, and we would like to get it, not just chuck grassley, uphold delegation. my second point is to read a statement and not have you comment, because i gave you a letter that will have the basis of what i am going to talk about. just so you know, this is something i give a little concern to. for the last three years, we have come in my office, read each year 120 audits done by the
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inspector general. you want to remember, we pay about $100 million a year in this area. my letter is about just 16 of the 120 audits of the last year. we have uncovered egregious waste and misconduct. these reports were issued by the office of inspector general last year. i discovered them during the course of my ongoing oversight review of quality, where i am about to issue by third annual report. if i had to use two words to characterize what i found in these 16 reports, these would-be "scandalous" and "disgraceful." some of the worst i've ever seen. they tell me two things. first, all the wasted money needs to be recovered, and second, responsible persons held accountable. you said you wanted to save $500 billion. the act of inspector general this serving up the savings on a silver platter, close to $1
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billion worth. without high-level intervention, i am afraid that all the good audit work and potential savings will be for naught. i feel the ability to recover wasted money is not likely to happen anytime soon. all the information i see tells me that the hard-hitting recommendations contained in these reports are being slowly and quietly ground down to nothing by pentagon bureaucracy. i respectfully ask that you take a moment, read the summaries of those 16 reports that i picked out of the 120, which you will find in my letter, it, whether you are discouraged or c- me whetherl you are discouraged or angered by what you see. please urge those assigned the task to search for a reasonable path forward on the unresolve the recommendations. for the audits, recommendations or a point of despair. they are bottom line and are
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about to fall through the cracks. a. i reminded that these audits cost about $100 million. i believe it is in andcumbent on all of us to act on the waste. i will use only one sentence from my letter. one of these reports calls for a review of the actions of officials responsible for approving projects that were not cost effective and take administrative action is needed. this is what the navy's response was to it. in an e-mail of january 17 of this year, it stated, "it is it not necessary to take administrative action against officials responsible for selecting the projects, and considers the recommendations closed." i will close with this, that i would want to comment on another
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issue the defense department for reopening the project flickr investigation, which was supposed to examine allegations that government employees, a includingdod personnel, had child pornography and government computers. after the investigation arbitrarily shut down, i wrote to secretary gates on november 5, 2010. i wanted to raise questions about why the investigation was allowed to go dead. i recently but that after your review, cases have been flowing flowing to the courts for prosecution. i hope those pursuing a child pornography while on the job are held accountable. >> senator grassley -- >> you can respond if you want to, but you don't have to. >> i understand it.
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you and i have known each other a hell of a long time going back to our days on the agriculture committee on the house side. i have always respected your work on going after waste in the federal government. i want you to know a couple of things. number one, all those reports, i do not take a slightly. i think they are seriously done. and my direction to my department is that we will implement the recommendations contained in those reports, and i get a report on that and i am happy to share that with you as to what progress we're making in implementing those recommendations. i require that when they make those recommendations, we don't just put it in a draw work. we have got to implement those recommendations. secondly, our ability to develop our own audit capability, i hope, will give us the ability to get ahead of this game rather than behind it, where we are now. >> i thank you very much, and i know that you are very sincere
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about it. >> that you, senator. let me put this chart up. you know, secretary panetta, you gave a serious charge to this committee in an earlier testimony saying that we have to be the conscience of the congress in these committees in the house and senate. you certainly were that when you were chairman. i tried. i must say, i don't feel i have had great success in convincing my colleagues to face up to these matters. i was proud to be part of the fiscal commission, i was proud to be part of the group of six. i think we made serious, responsible suggestions to do things in a balanced way. yes, discretionary spending has to be addressed. yes, we have to reform the titans. yes, we have got to address revenue as well.
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but as i have listened here this morning, i hope the conclusion is not that there is no additional savings that can be derived from defense. i don't believe it. i've spent a great deal of time looking at places we could save responsibly, and i don't think we're going to, at the end of the day, have an alternative here. if we don't find a way to come together over a comprehensive plan to have additional savings, what is ultimately going to happen is it is going to be forced on us. it will be forced on us at the worst possible time, when we are in crisis. outcomethink of a worse for this country. the problem is none of these things are popular with the american people. reforming entitlements -- over
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70% say no, don't touch them. revenue? that.65% say no, don't do further savings are program after program that have already had significant savings, looking ahead over the next 10 years -- people say don't do anything more there. the lifting the support on the spending side is cutting -- the only thing they support on the spending side is cutting foreign aid. you know that is not going to do it. that is less than 1% of the budget. the only thing they support on revenue side is taxing those who have incomes of over $1 million. there is no question in my mind that we are going to have to ask some of them to do more. when i look at -- here it is. here is the spending in dollar terms.
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under the president's budget, there is this little dip, but then it goes up over the remainder of the budget period. when people say it it is being cut to the bone, really? it is being cut to the bone? there is more spending every year, beyond this next year, then we have had. every year, more spending. i compare it to the sequester. boy, that is harsh. i don't think this is a wise course, certainly not. i absolutely agree with you that this trajectory and its sequester, too sharp a cut, and the means of doing across-the- board cuts -- by the way, we share your view that that is what has to be done -- really doesn't make sense.
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the simpson-bowles, the only thing with bipartisan agreement round here, more savings initially, more savings over time than the president's budget, but at the kind of -- abrupt cutsn ond of that we see in that sequester. i hope we don't conclude that there is not another time of savings to be derived from defense. i had an analyst briefing that was talking about the way we manage our navy. we keep crews tied to ships. that means that when a ship is deployed, and the crew comes back, the ship comes back. there has been analysis done that if we kept the ship deployed and shared crews, we
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could derive significant savings. i don't know if that level of detail is something, mr. secretary, you have looked at, but i would be very interested -- do you believe or have you looked at the notion of having crews share ships so that we would not have to, when a crew returns, return the ship? >> mr. chairman, i am not sure that is the case anymore. there was a concern about what you pointed out. let me get back to you to make sure that that is the case. no, i agree that that is an area that we need to review. >> all right. contacting. last year, the department's testimony is that we do have a
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contract in issue -- contracting issue. we have to better manage our contracting and derive the savings and there is that still the view of the department, that we have a legitimate savings that could be derived? >> yes. >> senator gramm has returned. >> we will break away here with the reminder that this hearing continues and we are sharing it online at, one of several 2013 budget hearings we're covering today the house comes in next, and today, a pair of bills that would improve minimum standards -- repeal minimum standards for for-profit colleges. live to the house floor here on c-span.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in session. the prayer -- the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered today by our guest chaplain, reverend adam mchugh, cavena, california. the chaplain: let us pray. gracious god, we acknowledge and praise you on this day that you have made. we are reminded that all power and authority ultimately come from you. we do not wield our own pow -- power, but we are stewards who have been entrusted with a greater power. may the work that is done today in the halls of the powerful be done on behalf of the powerless. would you open our ears to listen to the needs and the cries of those who are seldom heard. may the strong voices today speak out for the sake of those with no voice.
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would you grant our leaders courage and wisdom to do what is right and would you pour out on them a spirit of peace, love, kindness, and gentleness? amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance today will be led by the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly. mr. connolly: if my colleagues would join me. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, as you know the skill and dedication of the team with
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whom i serve in the office of the parliamentarian and the office of compilation of precedents are unsurpassed. in my judgment they are ready to continue their commitment to excellence and the procedural practice of the house without me. i appreciate your allowing me to lead the office to this juncture. please now accept my resignation effective march 31, 2012. i'm grateful to you and your predecessors, mr. speaker, for supporting the exercise of independent professional judgment by your parliamentarians. it is a credit to the house that its presiding officers shed their partisan clokse and follow our considered device. it has been my honor to serve in the office of the parliamentarian for 25 years. to whatever extent i have made good of the opportunity, i credit the steady support of my wife, nancy sand sullivan, and the inspiration of our children, michael, margaret, and matthew. signed, sincerely, john v. sullivan.
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the speaker: without objection, the gentleman from california, mr. dreier, is recognized for one minute. mr. dreier: thank you very much, mr. speaker. let me begin by -- the speaker: would the gentleman yield. the chair appoints, pursuant to section 287-a of title 2 united states code thomas j. wickham jr. as parliamentarian of the house of representatives to succeed john v. sullivan, resigned. the gentleman from california. mr. dreier: mr. speaker, let me first extend congratulations to john sullivan for his extraordinary service to this institution over the last quarter century. we are going to have a chance to talk about one of the florida statest, most incisive minds in this place. the bar is not too high for that, but he's been extraordinary and we also want to congratulate mr. wickham as well, mr. speaker. with that, i rise to say that
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on the 28th of june 1787 benjamin franklin in the midst of the constitutional convention said that they should call on the assistance of heaven and have a prayer every day as the assembly began. and that's a tradition that continues today and one that has just been utilized by reverend adam mchugh, who is a very, very capable and thoughtful guy who is from upland, california, and he's a prolific writer as well as serving as chaplain at the hospice center in california. i have to say also, mr. speaker, that i believe that we are making history here in that both the chaplain of the united states house of representatives , our dear friend, father patrick conroy, and reverend mchugh, and reverend mchugh's wife, lindsay, and i are all
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graduates of a very small institution just to the east of los angeles known as claire month mckenna college. i want to say that i believe hearing from reverend mchugh was wonderful. i would like to enter into the record, i have a copy of his book that he's just give me, and i would like to enter into the record, mr. speaker, a list of the publications that he has put forward and to say he has one coming next year and we all look forward to that. and i hope i get an autographed copy of that one as well. with that i yield back the balance of my time, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair will entertain up to 15 further requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise? >> madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> madam speaker, i rise today to honor a small business in my
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district. a business i was proud to give an economic excellence award to last week. mr. fleischmann: mr. trophy, based in tennessee, is a great small business which embodies the values of hard work and success. founded in 1972, mr. trophy is still a family business. currently owned by doris privo and managed by her daughter, linda. a same of the chattanooga, community, mr. trophy is well-known for both customer service and community involvement. mr. trophy has designed trophies, plaques, and custom awards for over 40 years, creating jobs while offering -- often weathering difficult times. having run a business with my wife for 24 years, i can understand the challenges that have faced mr. trophy along the way. not only is mr. trophy met these challenges, but they have found success with their business and become a pillar of
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their community. i hope that you will join me in honoring mr. trophy for their well earned economic excellence award. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from connecticut rise? >> request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> madam speaker, 124 days, that's how many days between today and july 1 when the interest rates for the stafford student loan program will double from 3.4% to 6.8% unless congress acts. mr. courtney: myself, congressman peters, senator jack reed in the senate have filed legislation to lock in those rates at 3.4%. this chamber must act. today student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in the united states of america, a milestone which is a disaster and a formula for failure in this country. we have fallen from number one in the world in terms of graduation rates to number 12. this is a threat in terms of our future economic vitality. and as young people across this
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capitol over the next two months or so, i hope members of congress look those kids in the eye and do the right thing to protect college affordability. pass h.r. 3826. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. johnson: ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you, madam speaker. you know, for 21 days in a row gas prices have risen to average now $3.70 per gallon. a 30-cent increase in only one month. at this rate americans could be forking over four bucks for a gallon of gas in no time. that's insane. american families and businesses are already struggling in this economy, so i'm calling on the i.r.s. to provide relief for businesses by increasing the standard mileage rate like it did after hurricane katrina and again in 2005 and 2011. with gas prices rising higher
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and faster than ever, the administration and congress need to take action now, beginning with the keystone x.l. pipeline, estimated to bring 830,000 barrels of oil every day to u.s. refineries, and keystone would create nearly 20,000 new american jobs. let's pursue a real all-of-the-above energy strategy and give americans the security and relief that they want, need, and deserve. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, like many members of our body, i represent a community with a postal facility that has been slated for closure. in higgins: in buffalo, 700 workers stand to lose their jobs if the united states postal service goes forward with the closure of the mail processing facility. the good news is there is legislation that could have
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immediate impact. my friend and colleague, representative steve lynch, has introduced h.r. 1351, which would recalculate the postal service's pension funding, easing the budget strains that necessitate this drastic facility closure proposal. last week i sent a letter along with my colleagues, representative you slaughter and hochul, urging republican leadership to bring this bill to the floor for immediate consideration. mr. speaker, this legislation is bipartisan and currently has 228 co-sponsors, more than half the house. though broader reforms will be needed, this bill is what will keep the postal service afloat in the short term. it's time for congress to step up, put aside politics, and do what's right for small businesses, working families, and postal customers nationwide. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida rise? ms. ros-lehtinen: unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore:, the gentlelady is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: i'm so pleased to recognize the 20th
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anniversary of the florida keys outreach coalition. for 20 years reverend steven braddock and the florida keys outreach coalition have worked to empower individuals and families assisting them in reaching their full potential by providing the resources and support they need to become self-sufficient. in its mission, it is very simply to eliminate homelessness in the keys, monroe county. the florida keys coalition has become a model human services organization in reaching this goal. its goal has become a reality for many families who have transitioned from homelessness into permanent housing. i have had the great privilege of seeing their work firsthand and it is nothing short of inspirational. i have witnessed the effectiveness of their outreach efforts and i have seen the benefits of their emergency shelter and transitional housing program. i applaud everyone at the florida keys outreach coalition for their selfless efforts as
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they strive to better the future for the homeless. and thank you for 20 years of service to our south florida community. thank you, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise? mr. connolly: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. connolly: madam speaker, a silent movie won this year's oscar for the best picture. that award just as easy could have gone here to the house. because the house republicans continue to be silent on job creation and seem intent on dragging america back to 19289 -- 1929 when the last silent film won the oscar. when republicans recently held a hearing in contraception, they did their best to silence female voices. inviting five men and zero women to testify on the topic of female reproductive health. since they gained the majority, house republicans have been painfully silent about actually creating jobs.
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in 2011 they voted for a budget that would have cut 700,000 of them. this year they proposed a transportation bill that would cut another 555,000 of them. as americans ask for real job proposals, republicans remain silent. it's time someone actually starts speaking up for the american people. despite 23 straight months of job growth, there's still almost eight million people trying to re-enter the work force. unlike this year's best picture winner, this continued silent treatment for the republican majority opposite americans -- offers americans no entertainment and no employment. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from north carolina rise? ms. foxx: permission to address the house for one minute. and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlelady is recognized. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. my colleague from virginia needs to redirect his comments about silent response to the democrat-controlled senate, the party of which he is a member.
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fostering job growth for the american people continues to be the number one job for house republicans and we have the record to prove it. with unemployment and underemployment at above 15% for the past 36 months, the obama economy continues to produce the nation's worst jobless record since the great depression. so far by following the house republican plan for america's job creators, the house passed more than 30 bipartisan jobs bills on behalf of the american people. . each of these bills will freely and confidently build, invest, innovate again. unfortunately, these bipartisan house-passed jobs bills are being blocked in the democrat united states senate. it's time for those in the senate and the white house to put politics aside and pass these jobs bills. i yield back.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from american samoa rise? mr. faleomavaega: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. faleomavaega: madam speaker, on behalf of over 18 million asian pacific americans and as members of the asian pacific congressional caucus, i rise today to commend rising nba star jeremy lin. a son of immigrants from taiwan to the first american nba player of chinese or taiwanese ancestry, jeremy is the first, first harvard economics major, 4.0 g.p.a. graduate to play for the league since the 1950's. since playing as the knicks point guard, he's scored the highest point total in his first five games, 136 points for any player since the 1970's. in the history of asian pacific american participation in the nba, japanese americans broke
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the nba color barrier when he played for the knicks in the 1940's. following him, we had japanese rex walters, walli and currently james johnson who plays for the toronto raptors and hawaiian american who plays for the l.a. lakers. along with these pier ins, his rise to international stardom has -- i commend jeremy for this tremendous achievement and for his example to the world and what america is all about. you work hard, you be through to your principles of fairness and equity, things will come your way. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> madam speaker, i rise today in outrage and disbelief that my republican colleagues believe that they are more qualified to determine what a
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woman can do with her own body than she is. mr. peters: republicans say they are on the side of freedom and personal responsibility. they also say they are against big government intrusion but when it comes to women in this country, it's nothing but a bunch of empty rhetoric. let's be clear, the debate about contraception is really about republicans' deep seeded opposition to women making decisions about their own bodies. it is an outrage. it is unconscionable. it's insulting and -- insulting and we shouldn't treed women as second-class citizens. to my republican colleagues, shame on you for waging your hypocritical war on women. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from kentucky rise? mr. yarmuth: request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. yarmuth: thank you, madam speaker. it's been more than two years since the supreme court rendered its citizens united decision and american politics is becoming more corrupt by the
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dollar. election season is flooded with special interest money claiming the deep skepticism that is fed up with the government. superpacs have raised approximately $181 million, an increase of over 1200%. our system allows for cooperations and extremely wealthy individuals to influence elections without any accountability and this must change. i am a supporter of the disclose 2012 act which would shine the light on the secret money in political campaigns. it would allow s.p.r. pacs, outside groups within 24 hours of making a campaign expenditures and it forces leaders of cooperations and other outside groups to stand by their campaign ads by appearing in them and stating they approve this. until we get big money out of politics we will never be able to responsibly address the
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major issues facing american families. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from ohio rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized, without objection. ms. fudge: mr. speaker, i rise to address the epidemic of hunger in this nation. nearly 40 million in the united states suffer from hunger that is one in six in the u.s. population including more than one in five children. feeding america recently reported that 46% of households served by its agencies must choose between paying for utilities or heating fuel and paying for food. 39% of households said they must choose between paying their mortgage or their rent and paying for food. hunger is real in this country. we know that, yet some still demonize snap and other feeding programs. preventing hunger is a moral imperative that should be shared by people in every party, every demographic and
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every religion. i encourage my colleagues to visit a local food bank in their district or take the snap challenge. find out what it is like to live for just one day or one week as someone who struggles with hunger. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? >> i ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. >> madam speaker, californians drive a lot so when gas prices jump, we feel it first and the most. ms. hahn: back home, gas jumped 26 cents in the last week and 57 cents since this time last year. we are paying on the average $4.30 a gallon. our constituents need our help. they also understand the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. i happen to drive a nissan lease, an all-electric vehicle,
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which by the way will be built right here in america in tennessee in the near future. this gives me the benefit of driving past gas stations, but i don't have to fill up my tank to be shocked by the prices at the pump. and if given the opportunity, i think most americans would jump at the chance to join me in driving right past those high gas prices and stop sending hundreds of billions of dollars to the middle east. drill, baby, drill won't lower gas prices today or tomorrow but it will speed our addiction to dirty fossil fuels which are quickly running out. let's work together to invest in infrastructure for electric vehicles to make them more affordable and convenient. we will create jobs, fake hold of the economy of the future and end our dependence on oil. thank you. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from texas rise? ms. johnson: to address the
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house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. ms. johnson: thank you, madam speaker. with unemployment rate at 8.3%, we continue to see positive signs that the u.s. economy is on the road to recovery. now more than ever it is absolutely imperative that we continue to make critical investments in infrastructure, advance manufacturing and high-tech research and development. by doing so we will address our crumbling roads and bridges, create jobs and provide future generations with the robust economic foundation on which to build a stronger america. the president's budget has reflected the desire to make these important investments in our economy, and i urge my colleagues to also recognize that the decisions we make today will have unavoidable consequences tomorrow. while our economy is recovering, it is still fragile. now is not the time to be
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making arbitrary cuts to key components of our economy. we all bear the burden of such cuts, and we are all ultimately responsible for the country's well-being. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york rise? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. ms. clarke: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, the american people's patience is wearing thin. a majority of the american people believe that jobs should be the number one priority of the 112th congress. however, over a year has passed since the republican majority took control of the people's house and we have still not passed a single significant jobs bill. to avoid any confusion, let's discuss what a jobs bill is not. a jobs bill is not a tax cut
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for the multimillionaires and billionaires. a jobs bill is not protecting subsidies for corporations that ship jobs overseas, and a jobs bill is not, madam speaker, dismissing out of hand the president's plan for reviving american manufacturing and creating stronger and a more skilled work force. as our economy continues to recover from the recent economic downturn, it is past time for the republican majority to work with the president and get our nation back to work. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from north carolina seek recognition? ms. foxx: madam speaker, by the direction of the committee on rules, i call up house
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resolution 563 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 114, house resolution 563. resolved, that at any time after the adoption of this resolution the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 2117, to prohibit the department of education from overreaching into academic affairs and program eligibility under title 4 of the higher education act of 1965. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on education and the work force.
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after general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. it shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on education and the work force now printed in the bill. the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered as read. all points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute are waived. no amendment to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order except those printed in the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be
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subject to a demand for division of the question in the house or in the committee of the whole. all points of order against such amendments are waived. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment, the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as may have been adopted. any member may demand a separate vote in the house on any amendment adopted in the committee of the whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from north carolina is recognized for one hour. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. for the purpose of debate only i yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern, pending which i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. foxx: during consideration
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of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only. madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks . the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. foxx: house resolution 563 provides for a structured rule providing for consideration of h.r. 2117 which repeals the department of education's state authorization regulation and the federal definition of a credit hour. i think most people, madam speaker, on both sides of the aisle would agree that our higher education system is the envy of the world. the bill we will continue today, h.r. 2117, the protecting academic freedom in higher education act, passed the house education and work force committee with bipartisan support on june 15, 2011. and i'm very, very proud of that. a lot of americans believe members of congress can't work
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together, but h.r. 2117 shows the opposite. i appreciate the opportunity to work with my colleagues across the aisle to pass this legislation and hope we can find more ways to work together. in 2010, the department of education issued a series of regulations purportedly aimed at protecting federal student aid programs. included in these regulations was a new, quote, state authorization, end quote, rule that imposes a one-size-fits-all federal mandate on institutions of higher education and infringes on the rights of states to regulate their higher education systems. institutions are already required to be authorized by the state in which they're located, however, the federal department of education was not satisfied leaving these decisions solely to states and added several federal criteria to existing state authorization processes which would
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unnecessarily complicate the process for institutions and further burden already-strapped state governments by increasing their workload. . it is unclear whether the regulation would require online education programs to be authorized in every state in which they have students. one online university reports the state authorization regulation could cost the institution $700,000 initially plus an additional $400,000 annually. h.r. 2117 also repeals the federal definition of a credit hour. this definition has historically been the jurisdiction of accrediting agencies and institutions. and again the process has worked very well. there have been no complaints about it. last year excelsier college president testified in front of the subcommittee on higher education and work force training about this regulation
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stating it inserts the department of education into academic judgments that should be made at the institution level and could destroy accelerated learning programs that allows students to complete their education more quick-ily. these regulations -- more quickly. these regulation also restrict, and pave the way for federal overreach into higher education. madam speaker, with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: thank you, madam speaker. i want to thank the gentlewoman from north carolina, mi good friend, dr. foxx, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, here we go again. another day in the house of representatives and another day without a jobs bill. it's almost march and my republican colleagues who control this house still have
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not put a meaningful jobs bill on the floor. in fact, their best chance at passing a jobs bill could have been the highway re-authorization bill, but they screwed that up so badly that they had to yank it off the floor before an embarrassing bipartisan defeat. so what are we doing today? well, madam speaker, today we are considering a bill targeting department of education regulations defining credit hours and setting minimum requirements that all higher education institutions must meet to be considered authorized by a state. targeting department of education regulations. we are not considering a jobs bill. there's no new bipartisan highway bill. there's no bill that helps put cops, firefighters, and librarians back to work. there is no new bill that helps train workers for the future. the economy may be inching along recovering slowly, but it needs some help.
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we need a real comprehensive jobs package. instead, we just get a bill to dismantle a few regulation was no attempt to make our education system better. this is no way to run the house of representatives. let's look at where we've been. they started off the new congress with their health care repeal and replace. but we are still waiting on the replace part. to be clear, republicans voted to take away health protections for seniors. they voted to take away health care protections for young people under 26. they voted to take away health care protections for those had pre-existing conditions. but they haven't proposed anything to replace those important provisions. since then the republican leadership has played legislative russian roulette with our economy by holding the debt limit discussions hostage. by holding up the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance extension multiple times. and most recently by proposing
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the most partisan highway re-authorization bill i think in the history of this congress. on top of that, the republican leadership has wasted our time by debating resolutions to defund national public radio and planned parenthood. we have debated resolutions making it easier for unsafe people to carry concealed weapons across state lines. and we spent a good period of time on this house floor debating a bill to reaffirm our national motto. and soon we'll probably vote on a bill to restrict contraception, another attack on women's health by this republican-controlled house. madam speaker, there are more important things we should be doing and, yes, education should be something we debate. i'm all for bills improving our education system. in fact, i'd welcome the opportunity to act in a bipartisan way to improve our school systems across the board. and what we should be talking
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about today is college affordability. what we should be talking about today are ways to ensure that every single american student has access to a quality education. and despite what republican senator rick santorum might think, it's not snobby to try to make sure our students have access to the best education possible. what we should be considering on the floor of the house today is legislation to extend the tax deduction for tuition and fees that families across this country rely on to help bear the incredible burden of rising tuition costs. this deduction, madam speaker, of up to $4,000, expired at the end of last year. and congressional action is required to extend this tax benefit from the 2011 tax year. but that is not what we are considering today on the house floor. we should also be considering legislation to prevent the
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looming increase in subsidized stafford student loan rates from 3.4% to 6.8% that will occur if congress does not act before july 1, 2012. these need-based loans are critical for students who might otherwise be unable to attend college and we should act now on legislation to stop the doubling of their interest rates. but, madam speaker, that is not what we are doing today. republican governors, including the head of the republican governors association, virginia governor bob mcdonald, overwhelmingly support president obama's college education agenda. but in the house of representatives all we see is an effort to attack and dismantle the president's initiatives and no attempt to actually make college more accessible and more affordable. madam speaker, this is just another squandered opportunity by this republican congress. i can't say i'm surprised, but
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i am disappointed. it is time for us to work in a bipartisan way to focus on how to get this economy moving again, to focus on jobs, and when we focus on education, let's focus on issues that will make a real difference in the lives of our young people. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you very much, madam speaker. i know my colleague is a very hardworking member of congress. and i know that he pays close attention to what's going on in the congress, and i'm sure he simply forgot the fact that we have passed over 30 bills in the house and sent them to the senate and the senate has not acted on them. these 30 bills, we actually passed hundreds of bills, but those 30 bills in particular were focused on creating jobs.
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now, my colleague seems to have forgotten that. he seems also to have forgotten the fact that the senate is controlled by his colleagues in the democratic party. and that's where the problem is with jobs bills. also most of those 30 bills that we passed, or a great number of them, had energy components, madam speaker, which would help bring down the cost of gasoline, which would help improve our energy resources in this country, so we get a twoer if for most of those bills. however, again, those bills are languishing in the senate. we have focused on creating jobs in the house, and one of the ways that we could truly create jobs is to reduce our deficit and reduce our debt. and republicans have been very much focused on that here in the house of representatives.
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and in most cases, again, we get bipartisan support for those efforts. in fact, the 30 jobs bills that have been passed the house have had bipartisan support. so there are ways for us to work together. and i think the focus of my colleagues is to increase spending, increase federal government involvement, and we know that that goes against the grain. we know from history that that does not improve the economy, does not create jobs. we have an unemployment and underemployment rate of over 15% created beginning with the democrats' takeover of the congress in january of 2007, going through their four years, and then it really skyrocketed when president obama was elected and was there for two
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years with democrat controlled congress. i'd just like to remind my colleague that i goes -- he goes back a little ways in history in talking about things that we have done here, but he fails to mention some of the effects of what he and his colleagues had. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, i would point out to my friend from north carolina that the problem with the transportation bill, which had the potential to create millions of jobs in this country, was not the united states senate. the problem with the transportation bill was the extreme right here in the house of representatives that insisted that their leadership bring to the floor one of the most partisan, one of the most
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awful transportation bills we have ever, ever seen. the sad thing is the transportation bills used to be bipartisan. in fact they have always been bipartisan with democrats and republicans coming together. this bill was so partisan even a number of republicans couldn't support it. and so that -- they yanked it from the house floor because there were -- they were fearful of an embarrassing defeat. a good robust surface transportation bill is a good jobs bill. we need to invest in our infrastructure in this country. we need to invest in our roads and our bridges and in mass transit. the transportation bill that the republicans brought to the floor gutted mass transit. just gutted it. so that's not a problem with the united states senate. that's a problem with the leadership here in the house of representatives. my colleague talks about jobs. the president of the united states came to this chamber and addressed the nation on the need to create more jobs.
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on the need to help create a climate where more private sector jobs could be -- could happen. and he submitted to us a plan. we cannot even get an up or down vote on the president's jobs plan. we can't even get a vote on it. so when my friends talk about jobs, we have this opportunity to even vote on a jobs bill, you don't want to vote on jobs, that's one thing, give us an opportunity to vote up or down on it. one final thing about the deficit and debt. i don't know of a single economist who would disagree with the statement that this debt crisis that we are currently in began with the passage of the bush tax cuts which were not paid for, not paid for. then the prescription drug bill that was a lot more expensive that my republican colleagues advertised wasn't paid for.
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add on to that two wars, afghanistan and iraq, not paid for. the last time this country didn't pay for a war was when we borrowed money from the french to fight the british. we are going to war and asking brave young -- the young men and women who serve in our military to put their lives on the line and we are not even willing to pay for it. so that's how we got in this mess. i add to that a -- the greed on wall street which brought this economy to a halt and here we are. trying to strugle -- trying to get our economy back on its feet. i'm going to tell you we are not going to got this economy back on its feet unless we invest in the american people, unless we invest in education, unless we invest in our infrastructure, unless we invest in medical research, unless we invest in the innovation economy so that we can compete in the global economy in the years to come. so i don't want to hear any
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lectures about deficits and debts. it is not even credible for my friends on the other side to point the finger on that given the fact when bill clinton left office we had record surpluses. we know how we started in this decline and how we -- now we need to figure out a way to dig ourselves out. again, i wish we were debating a transportation bill on the floor of the house today. i wish we were debating a bill to be able to address the fact that interest rates on student loans are going to increase unless we do something. we ought to make education more affordable for people. no one in this country wants a college education not to get one because they can't afford it. those are the things we should be talking about here today. instead they pulled the transportation bill and we are doing this today and we'll be out of here on thursday at -- before noon i'm told. .
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the american people want us to work on their behalfs and i regret the fact that this bill, while well-intentioned, is not the less we -- legislation we should be debating now. it's not urgent need. we should be talking about jobs. my friends on the other side of the aisle, when it comes to jobs, have a lousy record. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. there's something to refute and so little time. i would like to point out to my colleague that he mentions the bush tax cuts. he conveniently forgets to mention that they actually should be called the obama-pelosi tax cuts because those tax cuts were extended in 2010 when president obama was president and nancy pelosi was
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speaker of this house. and so they should no longer be called the bush tax cuts. they should rightfully be called the obama-pelosi tax cuts because even those two people understood that we should not raise taxes in the middle of a horrible recession brought on, i might say, by our colleagues across the aisle. i'd also like to point out to my colleague from massachusetts that let's assume that those tax increases were allowed to go into effect. we would still have a $400 billion deficit in this country. we know that if we took away every penny of wealth that those millionaires and billionaires that they so desperately want to tax, if we took away every penny of their wealth, not just increase their taxes but took all their wealth
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away from them, it would amount to a little over $1 trillion which -- and then it wouldn't be available. there would be no tax increases available on those people in the future, and we still wouldn't have solved our problem. now, our colleagues across the aisle want to make it worse by continuing to spend money. i know my colleague is not on the education committee, but -- and maybe he isn't aware of the fact that the department of education has the third largest share of our discretionary spending of all the departments in the federal government. only d.o.d. -- only the department of defense and health and human services have larger budgets than the department of education. still not enough money. and what have we got to show for all of that money? test scores absolutely flat, no improvement since 1965 for over
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$2 trillion spent on education. madam speaker, i'm sorry, again . i can't allow my colleague to rewrite history in his own terms. i'd also like to point out that when president obama had both the house and the senate in his control, 60 votes in the senate and 255 votes here, did he propose a jobs bill? no. he waited until he'd been in office three years before he proposed a jobs bill. and my colleagues across the aisle were in charge of this body and the senate for four years. did they re-authorize the transportation bill? did they re-authorize the s.e.a.? no. i'm sorry. i believe in that old saying, believe who live in glass
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houses should not throw stones. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: madam speaker, could i inquire of my friend from north carolina how many more speakers she has? ms. foxx: we have none. i am prepared to close if he is prepared to close. mr. mcgovern: we have none. madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mcgovern: let me remind my colleagues when president obama became president of the united states he inherited the worst economy since the great depression. my colleagues don't like to hear that but that's just the facts, and this has been a very difficult time, not only for the u.s. economy but for the global economy. and the president has been trying with little or no help from this house to get this economy back on the right track. and the good news is despite all the obstructionism in the house of representatives by my republican colleagues, the economy is slowly but surely getting better little by little. we could help that if we actually talked about jobs and
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actually voted on bills that were about -- that were about investing in people and creating jobs, putting people back to work. i mean, we could -- we could accelerate this recovery, but the obstructionism continues. and i should point out, madam speaker, that those of us on the democratic side have not been against rich people, millionaires or billionaires. it's fabulous in this country people can accrue enormous wealth. where we have problems is when warren buffett's secretary pays a higher tax rate than warren buffett. there's something fundamentally wrong with our tax system that puts all the burden on middle-class families and basically provides a whole bunch of loopholes so that a lot of the wealthiest people and a lot of the wealthiest corporations in this country can escape paying taxes. i know people want is fairness.
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it's not about soaking the rich. it's about fairness. this tax system we have right now isn't fair to middle-class families at all. and i would also say to my colleague, you know, we talk about deficits and talking about our debt, i mean, don't exclude these wars that we're fighting. we borrow, we borrow $10 billion a month for afghanistan. we borrow it. we don't ask anyone to pay for it. it's being put on our credit card. how is that being responsible? how is that doing the right thing? i want these wars ended. i think the war in iraq was a mistake and i think we need to get out of afghanistan as soon as humanly possible. if you are for or against these wars, you ought to pay for them. you ought to pay for them. and if you don't it goes onto our credit card. $10 billion a month for afghanistan alone. madam speaker, i would also
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just say, you know, one of the ways to get out of this deficit and out of this debt we have right now is to grow, to grow the economy, to put people back to work. more people work, they pay taxes, they put it toward lowering our debt. but what i fear and what has bothered me about my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is they have used the deficit as an excuse to go after programs like medicare, social security, medicaid, programs that provide protection for our people in our country, our vrns are the most vull -- our senior citizens are the most vulnerable. rather going that way and rather than debating a bill we are debating today, i wish we were debating the president's jobs bill. i wish we were debating something that we could send over to the senate that could put people back to work, that could help this economy grow faster. but that's not what we're doing. we're doing the same old same old which is not much of anything. this is a place, unfortunately, where trivial issues get
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debated passionately and important ones not at all. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, i have to point out again to my colleague that the democrats took control of the house of representatives and also the senate in january, 2007. when they did the unemployment rate in this country was 4.5%. we were projected at that time to have a surplus in our budget of about $450 billion. in just a short two years the unemployment rate skyrocketed and the deficit skyrocketed. the democrats were in control of congress when the president took office. that's why he inherited a rotten economy. he didn't inherit a rotten
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economy from president bush. he inherited a rotten economy from his own party, and he's frankly done nothing to make it any better. i'd also like to point out to my colleague across the aisle that the stimulus that he voted for which the president promised to do so much for the economy was $1 trillion which is nine years worth of spending on national defense for the war in iraq given his figures alone. madam speaker, the american people have heard a lot recently about exploding college costs, the burden of student debt. president obama highlighted these issues in his state of the union across, and therefore, it's ironic that the department of education, which reports to him, is increasing the cost of higher education with unnecessary rules and regulations. at the higher ed -- higher
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education subcommittee hearing on college costs we heard how colleges and universities could cut costs. we heard from colleges who cut their operating budgets, offered expedited degree programs and encouraged dual enrollment by high school students. students and families are struggling to make ends meet and higher education institutions must find ways to cut costs. imposing onerous rules and regulations at the federal level is a disincentive for the schools to do that. it's also a major disincentive to one of the major innovations in higher education, distance learning. these unnecessary federal regulations means increased regulatory burdens for institutions and in turn greater compliance costs trigmed down to increased -- triggled down to -- trickled down to families. this is what happens when washington gets too big. the most recent re-authorization of the no child left behind act is a
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perfect example of good intentions at the federal level adrift in a sea of red tape and overregulation. this law is a classic example of federal topdown attempts to improve education in america's schools, a noble goal, but it has completely failed. if we can agree on anything, it's that our children should be well educated and prepared for a life for productive citizenship. however, the federal government's ability to accomplish this is in serious doubt. as history has shown time and again, federal meddling has resulted in a one-size-fits-all approach that neglects local concerns and produces a grotesque layer of regulation and wasteful bureaucracy. right now my colleagues in the house education and work force committee are working on the re-authorization of no child left behind. and while my colleagues across the aisle won't support all our revisions, we did find consensus on charter school legislation last year, h.r.
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2218 received bipartisan support in committee and passed the house by bipartisan vote of 365-54 in september. although we may not always agree, i hope we can continue to find ways to work with our colleagues across the aisle to improve education in this country. thomas jefferson once said, were we directed from washington when the -- when to sew, when to reap, we should soon want bread. madam speaker, i urge my colleagues to vote for the rule and the underlying bill which would reveal a small part of the burdensome and unnecessary federal regulations that we are struggling with and take one step toward reducing federal intrusion in higher education. i yield back the balance of my time and i move the previous question on the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the previous question is ordered and the question is on adoption of the resolution. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair,
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the ayes have it. the ayes have it. the resolution is agreed to and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the andrew. -- the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]


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