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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  December 1, 2012 7:00am-10:00am EST

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of the autistic self advocacy network discusses the role of supporting autistic adults and children. "washington journal" is next. >> it was not a serious proposal. right now we are almost no wear. ♪ host: on the subject of the fiscal cliff, john boehner declares a stalemate. this is the headline in an article from politico.
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the major sticking points remain the same, congressional democrats want to raise taxes on the highest income earners while keeping the current lower tax rates in place for the middle class. republicans want to extend tax breaks at all levels. good morning and welcome to "washington journal." we are going to be talking about the fiscal cliff, the statements the house speaker made about being a stalemate and what the president said during his trip to a toy factory in pennsylvania. here are the numbers.
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you can also reach out to us by e-mail and twitter and facebook, all of the social media as. on twitter the addresses @cspanwj, more from the article by jake sherman with the headline " fiscal cliff." he writes -- let's go to the phones.
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the first call comes from debbie in flint, mich. on the line for democrats. caller: i think they need to pass a law that these guys did not get paid. if i go to work and did not do my job, they will not pay me. they have not done their jobs in the years. they need to listen to the american people. we picked barack obama up for a reason because we like his policies. they need to get a clue. they are already struggling and having a hard time. if they do not get a clue, they will not be back there. host: republicans say the president and democrats are not making any good-faith offers, the same thing democrats say about republicans. how do we get them to move past with the speaker is calling a stalemate? caller: the people need to look at their actions, not what people are saying.
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these obstructionists' have locked down congress for years now. they are just continuing to do it. they refuse to admit to obama has a mandate to tax these rich people. just the other day the corporate income is up to 1175 trillion dollars. these corporations are sitting on this money. they sat on it all through the election to make obama look bad. i know that sounds like a conspiracy theory, but you have to look at what people are doing, not what they say they are doing. host: all right. let's move on to linda from tallahassee, florida. caller: i have been very disappointed in the republicans myself, and i have been a republican for a long time. this pastime i could not even vote republican because i was so aggravated in what i felt was misinformation from them.
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i am in the top 5% of american wealth. we owed nobody -- we have no bills. we know plenty of baker's. we felt these people were taking advantage -- would you are in the banking business, it is a public trust issue. they do not to make these loans and they made them anyway. i said, you should not be making these loans, it is not a good loan. it made them. they are not going to jail for it. nobody on wall street is going to jail. as a republican and a christian, if we are not holding their feet to the fired to do better it acts like christians and try to come to the table and figure out how to fix the problem that we have here, i pay all of my bills. everybody that does business with me, she pays her bills. if it means she has to go
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without, as a goes without. host: let's move onto brian from utah on the line for independents. caller: this is ridiculous. they just spend, spend, spend it. the first sign of failure is blaming somebody else, and that is all obama does. he does not want to fix nothing. they also take a cut in pay. right at the bottom in the fine print where nobody read is congress and senate, they take a cut in pay and they get no health insurance and nothing. then maybe they might fix the sucker. host: in "the financial times," they have this headline.
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back to the phones. michael is on the line for democrats. caller: how are you doing today? they really need somebody to negotiate with. everybody knows john boehner does not have the power to negotiate. he needs to get the middleman out of the way and go onto eric cantor and negotiate with eric cantor, he does have the power. host: why does the majority leader, rip eric cantor have the power you say the speaker does not have? caller: because john boehner has been boxed in. everything he does when he goes back, he tells barack obama one thing, but when he goes back to his caucus and comes back, he has something different.
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eric cantor is wanting to be speaker of the house. everybody knows that. john boehner has no power, he is a middle man. from let's move onto dean the line for republicans. caller: base spend around all day trying to name a post office after somebody rather than the real issues of the day. i suggest we mail all of these people a rope, not so they can safely rappel off of the fiscal cliff so they can hang themselves during the next election. that is what will probably happen to a lot of them. let's get this problem solved it for christmas. host: do you think that will happen before christmas? let's move on to tally on the line for independence. caller: i have been watching the
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coverage of this thing. i wish the media would turn these guys off until they have something to report that they did rather than reporting what they cannot do. the coverage reminds me of kids on the playground when one little kid says something bad about another kid and then the media and -- the media goes to the next kid. all of the back and forth reminds me of children on a playground. they should shut them off until they say they have something to report. it seems they are professional talkers, and not doers. that is my opinion on this matter. host: we like to show you a little bit more about what the speaker had to say and why he said he is rejecting the white house proposal that was put out thursday. [video clip] >> there is a stalemate. let's not kid ourselves. i am not trying to make this
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more difficult. i did not want to make it harder for me or the president or members of both parties to find common ground. when i come out the day after the election and make it clear that republicans will push revenue on the table, i took a great risk. then the white house spends three weeks trying to develop a proposal. the sun went up here that calls for $1.60 trillion in new taxes, not even $400 billion of in cuts, and they want to have extra spending that is actually greater than the amount they are willing to cut. it was not a serious proposal. host: i want to show you a couple of items we found on twitter. -- actually, facebook rather. david fisher writes --
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that is some of the offerings that we have on back to the phones. carl is on the line for democrats. caller: are you doing? i meant to say something to republicans and not in a
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partisan kind of way. this started back but interest january of 2011. we had all of summer 2011 and the summer to where they were going to go to a super committee to resolve this. they did not get it done. now into this year they still did not get it done. the november eruption basically -- the people said to the congress, this is what we want when the real elected president obama. i know they believe in what they want to believe, but they are in the nile. this is hurting the country. i am not trying to be partisan about this, but they have to realize you cannot deny where reality is. that is what they are doing.
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host: give me an idea that if he were here in washington trying to work through the debate, what would you suggest to the democrats to move forward with this problem and a meeting the republicans close to half way. caller: you cannot meet them at half way. this whole year ended nine months from when this started was when you would be meeting. the election changed the whole thing. the people decided, not the congress, but the people made the decision about this with the election. there is no renegotiating. it is almost impossible in three weeks to be talking about reform and entitlements. host: 10 on the line for republicans, go ahead. caller: we do not have a serious
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president. when he had all of the power, the senate, the house, and the presidency, he could not pass a budget. one guy in that room is picking up $400 of that tab. we are going to shake him down more. the next party he does not show up here that is not so good. if we had an emergency in our household called the fiscal clef. -- the crisis of 2008 and we had a fire. we spent an extra 30 grand to put out the fire. now we have taken that onetime expenditure to fix that issue and written it into our baseline budget because of how the spending process works. we need to rip that out. let's move on to rape.
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-- let's move on to ray. caller: why well he not compromise. he says he will when talking to groups, but he does not. harry reid, nancy pelosi, and the president knows the republican congress will get the blame for failures. the president will not. the media helps him. when he goes off the cliff, there is a great crisis, the republicans will get the blame. the democrats will win the house in the midterm. host: before you go, you are saying the democrats are going to stall on this so republicans get blamed and voted out of
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office in 2014? caller: yes. host: why not have the democrats or the republicans come together, get this done, and run on the fact they were successful in keeping the economy from going over the fiscal cliff? caller: because the president will not compromise. host: it is just the president that is not compromising? caller: he is not. he says he is but he is not. it is his way or no way. host: we want to show you what the president had to say on his visit to a toy manufacturer and pennsylvania. he spoke about the fiscal cliff negotiations. this is what he had to say. [video clip] >> the reason i am here is i want the american people to urge congress soon to begin the work
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we have by doing what we all agree on. both parties agreed we should extended the middle-class tax cuts. we have disagreements about the high end tax cuts. republicans do not want to raise taxes on people like me. i think i can pay a little more to make sure kids can go to college and we can build roads and invest so we are finding cures for alzheimer's. that is something we have to sort out. we already all agree on making sure middle-class taxes do not go up. host: this president's trip was covered in the "the new york post."
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back to the telephones with our discussion regarding the fiscal cliffs. ryan is the next caller. caller: i would like somebody to call and on the republic of mine and tell me with these george w. bush tax cuts over the past eight years, where are the jobs? if tax cuts create jobs, where are they at? that is one point.
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when speaker john boehner talks about obamacare costing so much, and government madison -- socialized medicine, that is what the congress gets. they are socialized medicine. if it is good for the congress and senate, but not the american people? ont: let's move on to gina the line for republicans. the last caller said he was to hear about the bush tax cuts and the jobs. what happened? caller: i do not know where the jobs are, but i can tell you if the tax cuts expire, my husband and i make under $100,000 a year in we will be hit with $4,000 in more taxes a year. what i wanted to say was, i agree with the last two previous
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callers. obama does not want to compromise. here is a fact for you. if he really wanted to compromise and he really wanted more taxes from the rich, he would talk about cutting out the loopholes. anybody who knows anything about taxes understands that is how the top rich get by with paying no taxes. he is trying to play both sides of the fence here. he is a dictator. i hope all of you democrats who voted him and the, you will end up seeing when his term is over exactly what he is made of. host: rick on the line for independents. caller: i wanted to call in and it say i am a true conservative and republican. i love your show.
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it seems that with the last six months, it seems like nobody on the right can simply -- whether it is a republican line or whatever. they cannot express their position in and intelligently without it obviously being about their hate for obama. even having the when gentlemen on and having to deal with people coming in with so many racial overtones. host: why do you not express how you feel about the statement? caller: i was unemployed for a little while. i am pretty savvy when it comes to finance and i do very well financially. i have not lost my understanding of where things really are. everything john boehner is doing everything the republicans are doing, they are basically doing
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that so after the tax cuts expire, they come back into the office and they say, we can just go ahead and reestablish a new tax cuts. they are never on the record for doing any tax increases. but it is something that they need to do. this is the one congress that has achieved the least and president obama has nothing to do with that. he cannot fell into the stereotype so many republicans want which is so obviously racially based. host: we have a couple of items on twitter. this is from john.
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back to the phones. hilda is on the line for democrats. caller: we would not be having a fiscal cliff if we did not lead the tea party republicans slip in under the radar in 2010. in 2014 we are going to sweep them out of there. host: what do the tea party people have to do with the fiscal cliff? caller: we would not have if this -- we would have a fiscal cliff if not for the tea party republicans. the republicans will never agree with obama. they will never do it. they are undercover klansmen. they go up to washington and have been causing us trouble ever since.
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we're going to take our brains to the polls next time. host: from pennsylvania on the line for republicans. caller: a couple of points. one has to do with president obama saying we must have a balanced approach. the second one has to do with the term mandate. the third has to do with what the congress is. president obama says we must have a balanced approach to this. when i look at the term balance, i think, ok. the have revenue increases. you must also have at the same time expenditure decreases. i hear nothing but let's increase revenue, i hear nothing about decrease in expenditures. the only reference that has been made is "we will do that in the
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out years, six years down the line." according to the constitution, every congress has the right to make the laws for it while it is in session. putting decreased spending in the out years is not balancing it. host: john on the line for independence. caller: the president did not get a mandate. there was something like a 3 million votes difference. that is not a mandate. he submitted a proposal, and it has been criticized. he will have to deal with it that way. it is not balanced. one of the problems they could solve -- two problems they could solve is, submit the simpson bowles report and make the
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modifications that take care of things that were not in there that apply now. secondly, have the democrats have the guts to pass reform in the senate where they would get rid of some of the filibuster rules. you have a situation where 40 senators representing potentially 10% of the public can block any kind of legislation. to start with, let's get rid of the rules and the senate that allow a minority to block the rules for the majority. then they can negotiate as to what they will do. a good start would be to submit the simpson bowles report that had all the things and it the republicans are asking for and if he thinks democrats might like, too. host: this is the lead editorial
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in this morning's "washington post." there headline is "getting off the cliff." gerald is on the line for democrats calling from our island. caller: as i looked at the whole
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situation, icy grave between both parties. there is no compromise at all. -- i see gray between both parties. republicans still want to tax the middle class. to me it is a great country. i see a lot of greed it from the american people. i do not have a lot of money. i'll donate $100 to this country to get it back to its feet as an american citizen for what they have done for me. we never give back. if a wealthy person wants to give $100, they can contact me and i will match it with $100. i just see a lot of greed. this is a great country. we have the best country in the world.
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let's get our act together and get it back on track again. host: how do you see this coming to an end? do you think the president and people in congress will go over the cliff? will they come to a compromise before the end of the year? caller: i think a lot of it is political ploy. it is a political game whether or not they will come to a compromise, i do not know. i do not know if the republicans still have a strong showing. i think most of the middle class will be for cutting taxes for the middle class. how it will come to an end, to be honest with you, i hope the rich people do pay a little bit more. i think they can afford to. they get plenty of benefits from this country. is an opinion. how will it turn out, i do not know. i think it is a lot of political grandstanding. host: let's go to john from
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arkansas on the line for republicans. caller: i would like to recommend a simple solution. people hate to do some things because it just goes against their grain. what we should do is the thing the republicans hate the most is raising taxes. the things democrats hate the most is cutting spending. so we task to the republicans to come up with 1.6 trillion dollars in tax increases or revenue increases. that is their task. they identify where the taxes come from. rich, poor, middle-class or otherwise. at the same time, you take the simpson bowles approach. everybody has agreed to the approach. $3 and spending cuts to the one in tax increases. that means the democrats would be tasked to find $4.80
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trillion and enter spending cuts. it would have 21 days to identify where they make the cuts. both of them submit their proposals. then it is all fixed. host: john in arkansas on the line for republicans. this is how it is reported this morning in net saturday's "new york times."
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don from new mexico on the line for independence. you are on a "the washington journal." what do you think about the fiscal cliff and talks being a still make -- stalemate? caller: we need to quit hyperventilating. costco is declaring a $7 dividend on their income this year. what does that mean? it means at the end of this process, the federal government will be bringing in more money to its coffers. the richest one half of 1% of americans will receive 50% of
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their income from capital gains and dividends. whatever the situation is, at this particular time, the major corporations and the wealthy in this country are taking income and capital gains and dividends. whatever happens, we are going to be bringing more money into the treasury. costco is an example of that. host: a couple of more items. from a facebook this morning at
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back to the phones. regina is calling us on the line for democrats. she is calling us from michigan this morning. caller: my comment is, i think we should go over the fiscal cliff and let everybody pay a little bit more in taxes. nothing will happen. will all survive it. host: if we do have to pay more in taxes, how will that affect you? caller: maybe $50 a paycheck, but i think i can handle it. we should stop this class warfare. everybody can pay a little more. host: what do you do? caller: i am a social worker. i make very little money, but i am willing to help to pay off
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the debt. host: next up from natural on the line for republicans. caller: i am e a republican, i also serve on the thomas commission here. i deal with issues of poverty all the time. -- the homeless commission here. we have no choice but to go over the cliff. necessity is the mother of invention. we have generations born on food stamps and welfare. that is all they know. we have to get people back to work. by cutting entitlements, they will be forced to go back to work. not only am i a republican, i am capitalist. work pays off. host: in the new york post, this editorial --
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that is the editorial position of the folks at "the new york post." back to the phones from oklahoma, margaret on the line for independents. caller: i agree with president
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obama and nancy pelosi. we need to do exactly as obama has made clear -- host: go ahead and finish your thought. caller: i agree that the president is trying to help the middle class and tax the richer because they can afford it. i also agree with this health plan. some people may see it as a socialist, i do not. canada is pretty much like obama proposes. there is nobody left without insurance. our company -- our country needs insurance for all. host: two more items from twitter. and this one from abyss --
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back to the phones. vincent calling from alabama on the line for democrats. caller: you can tell from john boehner's nonchalant attitude toward social unity, coming across the line to make this nation better -- he even makes the comment, you know how i am in the press conference. i do not think he is putting forth a strong effort. we just need to come together and try to get this taken care of for the american people. we need to put personal issues aside to address other important issues. host: next up is emily from
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california on the line for republicans. caller: good morning. i just want to add it to the question about george bush -- may be an answer as to how the can come together. under george bush tax cuts, we made 26% more in revenue. it brought in more money to the government. maybe what the people wanted is a republican house, and the republican house makes the laws. been a democrat senate and a democrat president, who really did not win by very much. 3 billion coats of 121 million is not much. -- 3 million votes out of 121 million is not that much. we could cut the taxes for any of the higher income people who
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are going to see their taxes increased. cut the taxes if they get jobs for people. maybe our economy can come back. host: we want to let our folks know about the fiscal cliff page. if you want to find out more about the issue of the fiscal cliffs 02 c- you can find out all the information you ever wanted to know about the fiscal cliff. this is the lead editorial in the financial times.
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back to the phones. billy is on the line for independents calling from florida.
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caller: i think the fiscal cliff is inevitable. they need to reform everything. keep in mind, every missile fired in libya cost taxpayers $9 million. i lived during the cuban crisis, castro --they need to let most countries solve their own problems. thank you for letting me call. host: we want to remind our viewers and listeners that today is world aids day. we have this story from "the huffington post." they are also putting up on the
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white house today red ribbon. you can see more pictures of that on the internet. let's take our last call from harrison on the line for democrats. your thoughts about the fiscal cliff and talks being at a stalemate. caller: i am a democrat, and i did vote for obama. --i am not for raising taxes. i am not for running on an unbalanced budget. those are the things i speak for, not what other people in
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the democratic party say we spoke for. that is not what i said. that is not what i voted for. i voted for a balanced budget. host: how do you go about balancing the budget? let's take a look at this headline in the wall street journal. "republicans take aim at entitlements." caller: everything to me, it seeks an even level. since we are working now into will recall the world economy, i do not know how much that other countries have. if we are ahead of everybody else in debt for our population, then we are probably in trouble. if other people have a greater debt, it will all wash out when they pay us, we pay somebody else, they pay somebody else.
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it all evens out. host: we are going to leave it there. we want to let our viewers and listeners know that coming up we will discuss the mortgage debt relief act of 2007. that is set to expire at the end of the year. but some of the consequences will be if that happens. we will turn our attention to the new faces of the 113th congress and how the freshmen are preparing for their jobs here in washington, d.c. a conversation with tom harkin of iowa. he is one of the key proponents of changing senate filibuster rules. this is what he had to say about changing those rules and the prospects of actually doing it this time around. [video clip] >> this is about something that
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has been there since the first set. to change the rules is nothing more than what the senate has done in the past. >> a number of senators have told us that they are very nervous about this. do you believe you have 51 democratic votes to make this rules change on the filibuster? >> yes, i do. >> do you believe the majority leader has made his decision and will do this? >> i cannot speak for the majority leader. all i know is in discussions with him -- i believe we have a good package which basically, as you know, says no filibuster on a motion to proceed. if there is a filibuster, you have to be there and talk.
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you cannot stop something and go home. i think the vast majority of american people say, if it is really that important, you should be there and talk. >> would you rather see a rules change by an agreement amongst the leaders? >> i would like to see a rules change that sets a precedent. that is why i feel strongly that we have to break out of this manacles that have been put on the senate years ago. the dead hand of the past controls the senate today. i understand why senators do not want to give up the filibuster. the dirty little secret of the senate, which you probably know, but most people do not know is the power of a senator comes not from what we can do, it comes from what we can stop. i have said before, and you can read the record going back to
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1995, we have to be willing to give up some of that power for the better functioning of our body and our country. host: robert van order is the chair of the school of business department of finance the george washington university and is here to talk to us about the mortgage debt relief act which is set to expire. congress passed it to a central the early days of the housing crisis aiming to help distressed home owners by waving taxes on up to $2 million in loan forgiveness. welcome to the program. guest: thank you for having me. host: tell us exactly what is the mortgage debt relief act, and how is it supposed to work? guest: if you lose your home and it goes through foreclosure, they take the house away, and you are gone. you do not have to pay the
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mortgage. your credit is heard and you have to move. there are other ways of the effectively foreclosing on people. one is a short sale. you sell the house, you may owe $400,000. you sell it for $300,000. the bank forgives the difference. until 2007, that would probably be taxable as income. what the 2007 act did was say you do that have to pay tax on it. that is the thing that will run out unless something happens by the end of the month. host: why did they read this as a law that only lasts two or three years as opposed to something that would last forever. it seemed like a pretty good idea. if you have already lost your house and are in debt -- guest: there is a logic to taxing debt forgiveness. a imagine that you had the
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mortgage. suppose what happened is you had done some work for the lender and the lenders said, i will pay you buy for giving your debt. that would be tax-free income. that would be a way of tax avoidance. there are some legitimate worries about debt forgiveness. i think there is a logic to doing it forever. as long as you are sure it is a city with a decline in property value and losing the home, it is not really tax evasion. why did they do it for five years? we have a political department that might be better at answering that. host: what was the housing market like in the 2007? make a comparison of what was going on in 2007 and what is happening now. guest: it was beginning to tank. values peaked around 2006 and in some places 2007. it is the year we began to see
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the foreclosures and the problems with a sub prime mortgages. the context was, we were not in a recession yet. it was not like 2007 -- 2008 when everyone had a problem. in 2007 it was clear there were going to be a lot of defaults and this was potentially a problem. this tool can be an efficient way of handling what would otherwise be expensive foreclosures. host: we want to make sure the viewers understand what we are talking about with regard to eligible homeowners who can use the mortgage debt relief act of 2007. the bank waives the portion of the balance they did not recoup in foreclosure, this goes into effect.
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the numbers are there on the screen. as always, we will take york tweaks-- your tweets. we will take your phone calls, e-mails and facebook comments as well. did this mortgage debt relief act serve its purpose through the years of 2007? guest: i think so. it avoided piling expenses on people who were in trouble already. it did not solve the housing problem or property values falling. that was already happening. it made the process of going through foreclosure or giving up the property easier than it would have been otherwise. host: the expiration probably
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could not have come at a worse time with the fiscal cliff also being in play. can you talk about the relationship between the two? guest: they are a little bit related. it seems the fiscal cliff is a more serious problem because it represents a really big swing in the economy and taxes. it will affect housing. i think it is a good idea to extend this act after 2012 the. i do not think it is a great stimulus program. i think of it more as a reasonable thing to do for people who are distressed and who you should not be whacking iwth a tax burden. host: in the political situation that we find ourselves with in washington, one side or the other may try to call it a stimulus. guest: it is a little bit.
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you're giving people a little more money than they would have had otherwise. host: we are talking about the mortgage debt relief act with robert van order from george washington university. the first call comes from genie on the line for democrats. caller: the mortgage debt relief act basically, what ever happened to the primary -- that is for the mortgage person and the banks. what ever happened to pmi insurance the people paid if they did not have 20% down? what is the affect on that when people still owe money but they owe more money than their house is worth. pmi really does bother me. what did they do with the money? guest: it ensures the banks, but
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it makes it easier for people to use low down payment loans. he will be required to buy insurance if you do not have 20% to put down. without it, you would have to make a 20% downpayment or you would have to pay the higher rate. either way it will cost something. ist is happening with pmi's they have been paying off a lot of claims. it is like buying insurance. the event has happened. it usually pays off. it has made it easier for people to buy houses with lower down payments. host: what is pmi? guest: it stands for private mortgage insurance. it says if you make a 5% downpayment instead of a 20% down payment, it will charge you a little money some upfront and some later on.
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it might be the equivalent of paying an extra percentage point on the interest rate. if you foreclose, said it will pay up to 25% of the mortgage balance. host: we want to revive -- we want to remind our viewers of the phone lines. our next call comes from mark in brooklyn on the line for republicans. caller: my question for your guest is, how did the regulation in the lending and mortgage market and up causing the sub prime market? did it actually -- it did we have a sub prime market before deregulation? how did the federal lending laws affect that?
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guest: i think the role of the regulation has mostly been overrated. i think there was always the potential for the kind of sub prime market that we had. it started ballooning around 2002 or 2003 when it became easier and more apparent you could funded this stuff through securitization. i think that was a big factor. we had a sub prime market for a long time. it was typically lenders that gave second mortgages or home loans to pay off debt. it evolved into something that became a vehicle for four -- for first mortgages and refinancings. there is always some role for deregulation. i do not think it was a big deal. i think it is something that happened because the incentive for their and the timing was right after 2000. host: next up is belinda on the
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line for independence. caller: what i would like to say is, with some of the entitlement programs, a lot of entitlement spending is going to pay for medications. some of these medications we are paying hundreds of dollars for that because a new drug comes out so they give a new drug. if i have to go by my own medication, i by the generic. host: what does this have to do with mortgage debt relief? caller: i am sorry. i had turn my tv off. i thought you were on the other. i can say something about that. i think they have ripped people off. i think they should get help.
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host: that is linda in philadelphia. there was a letter sent out by the national association of attorneys general. they say during the first six months of the national mortgage settlement, the five largest banks have provided billions of dollars in debt forgiveness or cancellation to american families. what is the concern for the attorneys general of the mortgage debt relief act goes through expiration? guest: i have not the faintest idea. host: back to the phones. the line for democrats, you are on caller: when clinton was on
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office we did good going through the household finance stuff. when bush came in he didn't have no programs. i had a $150,000 business going good with 10 employees. and i got sick with cancer. i had to sell everything. i didn't have no way to save my home or nothing. i don't understand why they do this. you try to work hard with the banks, you get a lawyer and the lawyer wants to rip you off. i don't understand. >> i guess i'm not exactly sure what the question is. there are lots of problems when people are in foreclosure and there are all sorts of problems they have. it's always good to try to work it out with the lender. the problem is that when push
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comes to shove the house is collateral and the thing we're talking about now which is a tax issue is what happens after you lose the house and do you have to pay more taxes. host: we have a graphic from the "wall street journal." the big short is the hoin. headline. >> you can see from the chart here the volumes of short sales for the previous 12 months period for each month and they just grow and grow all the way up through 2012. if the mortgage debt relief act expires, what kind of an effect do you think it might have on short sales? >> it could have a big effect on them. it would depend on the people.
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quite often the people don't have any income and aren't going to be in a high bracket any how and this may not be an issue. what i think is more likely to happen whenl people are in trouble there are two ways, one is the bank takes it and sells it at a loss or the borrower sells it at a loss and there's debt forgiveness. those are very similar but one isn't taxed in any event. you may have more often that it will be a straight foreclosure rather than a short sale. host: back to the phones. scott from south carolina on our line for independents. caller: they need to keep a mortgage adjustment in place. they're trying to make a world economy and world wages. they push back wages to that of mid 80s and property values are only worth what people can pay for. if you take the adjustments and
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cost of living from 1980 to now and then when you really figure out the difference, property values are only worth about that of 1975. so basically you've got gouging of taxes on property. properties aren't worth what they're portraying them to be and they still need to be driven down to that of about 1975. so they need to keep the mortgages adjustment in place. host: talk to us about the mortgage adjustment. is this something that folks are going to have to worry about if the debt relief act expires? >> you mean mortgage interest deduction? host: yes. >> i don't think it's a an issue with this particular part. there's a discussion of for instance putting a cap on itemized deductions or on the mortgage interest deduction. i think under the current tax system it's very unlikely that it would affect most borrowers.
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it's most likely to be a cap that would affect high income borrowers. but i think in the long run there's bound to be a discussion when you discuss taxes about where the mortgage interest deductions sits. host: we have a tweet. >> well, that's question. i think it provides incentives. quite often a short sale is easier and less costly. when you have a foreclosure, foreclosure laws vary by state but you may have to go through the court tougher process of eviction. it's a lot easier for the bank and in many ways easier for the borrower to simply cut a deal at the beginning which says i'm not going to go after you for the loss i've taken but in exchange you vacate the property that makes the cost lower. so it's really the cost of doing much the same thing either way.
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host: we're a talking with the chairman of the gw school of business department of finance and the oliver t car professor of real estate. and we're talking about k. having passed the mortgage debt relief act in the early days ovet housing crisis as a way of aiming to help distressed homeowners by waving taxes on up to $2 million on loan forgiveness, typically forgiven debt is taxed as income. this mortgage debt relief act is set to expire at the end of the year. bill is calling us from georgia on our line for republicans. caller: i'm interested in a comment on what several callers seemed to repeat this mantra that the bubble -- housing bubble was caused by banks making bad loans and were
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incentivized to -- were not incentivized to do this by the government subsidizing loans, home loans. the regulations that have gone back to 20 years to the clinton days and even before. so i'm interested in whether he agrees with that mantra or disagrees. >> well, banks certainly made bad loans. subprime loans boomed and a lot of securitization in the so-called private label marked enabled it. it's hard to tell whether the lending caused the bubble or the bubble caused the lending. the price bubble made it easier to make bad loans because when property values are rising people don't default even if they've previously been bad credit so that's complicated. on the other question of the role of public policy and things like low income lending that's pretty much was a big
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part of it. the loans that were bad weren't particularly to low income people they weren't particularly about got policy. it was sort of a broad range of bad stuff. host: next up, james in texas. caller: my question is i'm sure the banks have a lot of blame to take for the housing mess that we're going through. but also, i'm sure there was some type of deregulation that started this whole ball rolling. and i'm just wondering why congress and house members that started the bill that created this whole thing aren't brought to task. >> deregulation is certainly a part of it. but i don't think deregulation -- people talk about the graham-leach-blily act in 1899 and that was an issue. but in terms of the issue of sbrime market by and large that was done by institutions that weren't covered by the act and
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were kind of there any how. it's tough to attribute much of it to deregulation directly. host: what do you think is going to happen to the overall housing market and the overall economy if the mortgage debt relief act expires at the end of the year? we've got headlines like this one in the financial times. it sounds like in some parts of the country the housing industry is starting to get better. if this act expires is that going to have a detrimental effect on the housing economy? >> i don't know that it's as much an effect on the housing economy as on the economy in general. as you said earlier it takes a little bit of purchasing power away from people and that's the general problem. i think it is the case that housing marketeds are turning up most places over the last year have had property values on single family homes
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according to the inddesm go up so things are getting better. i think if they do slow down i think it's less likely to be about this than about fiscal policy. host: back to the phones and our discussion on the mortgage debt relief act with the chairman of the gw university school of business' department of finance. and jeff from portland, maine is our next caller. caller: about these predatory loans that these people and the banks did and then they turn around and bet on them to go bad, it's ridiculous. and to solve it they ought to all go to prison instead of trying to fix it they all fight about it. >> well, people who commit crimes probably should go to prison. my impression of what's happened is that by and large
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it's been lawsuits and money that has been the punishment and it's been very hard as it sometimes is to find an actual criminal afpblgt there probably were some. i don't think that's the essence of the problem. you can make bad loans without committing a crime and you can have bubbles without commiting a crime. but that's certainly a part of the puzzle. host: in your opinion, is the mornl debt relief act needed as much now as it was back in 2007? >> it's still needed because there's still a lot of foreclosures. one of the things this does is streamline the foreclosure process. what was happening in 2007, 2008, and 2009 especially was the industry was hit with unprecedented levels of foreclosures. we've seen the news. a lot was generated by the fact that they had way more work than they were accustomed to. the short sales which this enables and debt writedowns make this process easier and cleaner. it doesn't solve the problem
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but it makes it easier. so it's still needed both to help the process and sort of a humane way of treating people whoffed a problem. host: back to the phones. naomi from jacksonville florida. >> good morning. i just wanted to find out about something that's personally for me and i won't take very long. i have a home and i remorged it years ago. but then it went way way up. on monthly payments. and then under this new mortgage holder, i got in debt because i was ill. so i tried to work with them to lower my payment, my monthly payment but they wouldn't refinance. so in the end, i got way behind. i had to borrow money to catch up and then i still struggled
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and finally this particular loan lender gave me what's called that modification back about two years ago. i did get that. and now my mortgage payments are lower. but in the meantime, i see that you have this mortgage debt relief act set to expire. will this affect my situation? and also, one more thing which i hope it doesn't because it's helping me. i'm on my own. my husband and i -- and then another thing this lender did is they fixed a balloon mortgage at the end, a balloon payment. i did not know about that. i questioned them about that. they didn't tell me that. when i took the loan out. and they said at 2017 that would be the loan thing where i have to come up and either refinance it or get another loan. and i'm like 69. i don't know what the balloon means or i have a chance of
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discussing this with a lawyer as to why they would do that and not explain that to me? >> you should certainly discuss wit a lawyer. the not explaining part is a tough one. but you should take a look at the contract. what the balloon payment means as a practical matter is that in 2017 you'll need to refinance unless you sell the house before that. so lots of loans are fully amortizing typically over, say, 30 years and you don't have to worry you pay the loan off. there's another category of loans that have a balloon payment which for most people means refinancing. you probably got a somewhat better rate because of it but of course you ought to have known. in terms of the act we're talking about it doesn't affect you unless you give up your home, unless you stop making your payments. if you continue and make the payments this only applies to people who essentially are going through foreclosure and giving up the house. and that doesn't sound like you so don't worry about it. host: next up, troy in michigan
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on our line for democrats. caller: thanks for taking my call. i have to agree with the caller from maine that with all this mortgage going on and all the fraud that's going on, you say no crimes. it's fraud is fraud. if i commit fraud in a business deal work on a man's home i'm going to jail for it. the mortgage lenders seem to be able to get around it because they have the money and attorneys to get the loopholes. personally, which happened with me in this mortgage deal is i fought real hard for the last three years to hang on to my house. i had a bank, had an fha loan. i got a letter from the bank saying they're no longer a bank. my loan's going to land with one of three banks. it happens to land with bank of america and it's been noth bug a struggle with bank of america. what they did with my loan modification was add 15,000 to my loan and drop tint rest
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rates to where my payment's actually went up. so it made it harder and harder for me to maintain my mortgage. so they talk about cooperation with the bank. the banks don't cooperate with you. they've got a free ticket to steal from us and that's where it's at. >> it's a little hard for me to comment on a specific case like that. banks are a mixed bag of incentives. they certainly are out to make money and the record of a lot of lenders negotiating with people isn't very good and it's easy sometimes particularly in the wake of this flood of people who are in trouble to ignore them. but i can't really comment on a particular case. host: what dows happening on capitol hill these days that leads you tobble that the mortgage debt relief act may not be allowed to expire? or is the prevailing thought on capitol hill to let it expire? >> this isn't exactly my bailiwick.
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but the underlying logic of extending it it seems to be very strong. i don't see a downside there. there's always a potential downside to everything. there are always ways people can manipulate things but this seems to be relatively easy and a correction to what is in another context a logical tax scheme but in the context of someone who is defaulting on their house and is doing a short sale not so logical. >> host: next bruce calling from jacksonville, florida on our line for independents. caller: everybody seems to be missing the one point that i don't understand that this is taxpayers' money that's being used to pay off someone else's debt. back in the 90's i think it was the community redelvement act during the clinton administration that's start it had snowball or the debacle and then we came up with the interest only loans.
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and in my own personal case i had a mortgage with countrywide which bank of america -- and i've tried to refinance and u of course i don't qualify for any of the mortgage but they're taking my tax money to bail someone else out. so i'll be quiet and listen. >> what's going on in terms of the thing we're particularly talking about is about should people pay taxes on this particular event, which is a short sale and some debt forgiveness. you're certainly right that it's a little less money that goes to the treasury. on the other hand, i think from the general principles of the way toupt tax and the underlying logic of why you generally want to tax debt forgiveness i think this just doesn't fall into that category. so i think it's a reasonable outcome. host: we've been talking about
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the mornl debt relief act which is set to expire at the end of the year with robert van order the chairman of the george washington university school of business' department of finance. thank you very much for being on the program this morning. >> thank you very much for having me. host: coming up on the "washington journal" the 113th congress convenes in january. but in the meantime the freshmen are preparing for a life here in washington, d.c. we'll talk about those efforts next. and later in the program, the federal response to the rise in autism. you're watching the "washington journal" today is saturday december 1. we'll be right back.
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host: brad fitch is the president and c.e.o. of the congressional management foundation here to talk about helping house members transition into congress. tell us first tell us what is congressional management foundation? >> we're a 501(c)(3)
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nonpartisan nonpolicy organization and our mission is to try to make congress more effective and build more trust in it. that's usually a straight line where people think you're not doing a good job but we try very hard. most what we do is help individual offices with the demands that really are focused like a small business. so we help with advice on hiring, give them advice when they're in their strategic planning phase of a congressional operation. and we've also started to help citizens have a better understanding and relationship with congress by offering them training and assistance in research. host: let's start with the congressmen. it's november 7 you've just won your first trip to washington. you're coming here, you're setting up your office. what's the most important thing that a new congressman has to think about? >> well, it's a little like that last scene in the scanned date with robert redford where he wins and he turns to his
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campaign manager and he says, what do i do now? and the movie ends. and for members it's a lot like that. they're engaging and about to start a new career and job unlike they've ever experienced in their lives. the first is they are running small businesses. they have to hire a staff of about 18 if you will-time staff members, set up district office operations. running a congressional office and setting up is a little like the headaches of a small business combined with the red tape of a bureaucracy because you have to follow a lot of governmental rules when setting up your operations. one of the other important things is committee assignments. the competition for committee assignments begins in ernest when they arrive during orientation. so they have to start matching up their goals, interests and district's interests with the committee assignment that is might be available to them . host: how do you let folks know that you want to be on a particular committee or that you have -- because of where
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your district is that you have interest in a certain committee? >> you appeal to the leadership both on the republican and democratic side steering committees that are assigned to making the committee assignments they won't be made and divied out until january or early february. but every opportunity the freshmen have to communicate to both their leadership or senior members of their delegation they will and try to get the best committee assignments possible. host: we're talking about helping house freshmen members transition to congress with brad fitch. the president and c.e.o. of congressional management foundation. if you'd like to get involved in the conversation give us a call. the numbers are on the bottom of your screen. you can also reach out to us via social media, twitter, facebook, and send us an
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e-mail. for the last week-and-a-half, two weeks, the freshmen members have been going through orientation, most behind closed doors. tell us what they've been doing. >> first an indoctrination into the rules that will govern their personal lives to some extent. there is a new ethics regime. you have to disclose all the information related to your personal assets, your spouse has to disclose all of his or her information. you get a quick indoctrination into the committee assignment process so they are taught how to go for committee assignments. also involved in leadership elections. the house and senate both have their leadership elections in november where they determine who their leaders are going to be. so if there's any competition -- which there wasn't this time but sometimes there is -- for leadership position they get lobbied and voting right away. and there's secret voted so they don't have to reveal but it's fast and furious pretty
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quickly. host: but they do this i guess is when they learn how to make deals, how to get favors if a certain person is running for a position in leadership and comes to you and says if you vote for me i can help get you on a committee or subcommittee? >> more benign way of saying it is making friends and influencing people but that starts right away. but by and large what they're doing is getting advice from senior members how to be good at their jobs, what should they focus on, what are their priorities. they're also getting personal advice from people. should they move their families to washington, d.c.? which is probably one of the most important personal decision that is they have to make. and they're getting advice on hiring their core staff because they have to have a core staff up and running on january 3rd when they're sworn into office. so they're getting some guidance from other members and from the leadership. and from members of the other
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parties who might be in the same delegation on what they did right and wrong when they were freshmen members. host: we've got a tweet here from jan who wants to know talk to us about the living situations. in years past, a lot of the congressmen actually moved to washington. now it seems we have situations where congressmen are sleeping in their office or there's like eight of them in an apartment. >> the foundation provides lots of services to freshmen members. real estate agent is not one of them -- gladly, i would safmente and yes a growing trend has been members to sleep in their offices as a former congressional staffer we discouraged it because we just didn't want to open up a file cabinet and find the members' laundry there, which is a true story and happened to a colleague of mine. but many have to do it for financial reasons. and i know members of congress
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get paid comparatively a lot of money, over $170,000. but believe it or not, when you have to maintain two households and have kids maybe in college, many of them have to sleep in their offices because they just can't afford the high cost of a washington apartment. it can be $2,000 a month on capitol hill for a decent apartment. and that is a financial challenge for them. and their personal life and decision is a big challenge because they do miss a lot of time back home if they decide to keep their families back home they frankly are going to miss out a lot. and that's a big challenge. one of the pieces of advice we give them is to have some pretty honest conversations with the spouse, establish what the rules are in terms of how the spouse will be involved in the scheduling operation. is the spouse going to have veto authority over certainly events? are there certain times carved out where the spouse is going to be with the family, the member is going to be with the
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family? and that's a really important part. one of the thing that is people miss out on i think that isn't portrayed in the media is that members of congress are real people and that they do real -- live real lives and they make significant sacrifices when they come to washington. host: we're going to be referring to a host: we're going to be referring to this book put out by the congressional management foundation. in chapter one, it talks about navigating the first 60 days, november and december. they have been elected for about 30 days. where should the new members speak on the timeline -- be on the timeline transitioning from civilian to be elected representative? guest: there is a great quotation from mario cuomo. they are definitely starting to
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t's.he i's and cross the hopefully they have done some lobbying on committee assignments. they have just completed orientation this week. they have gone home. probably they are back in their districts. they are interviewing staff and checking out office space. they may be inherited it from their predecessors. we just went through redistricting. every one of the house members have new district. this is a bit of a district office shuffle that could be going on. they are probably checking out the logistics of where they want to position their offices. we generally encourage members to have asked you district offices out possible -- as you district offices out possible. with mobile technology been so prevalent, they can be more effective with just one or two district offices and have in
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mobile staff members. they can get arrangements with mayor's offices and things like that to make them more available. host: we want to remind our viewers and listeners of the phone lines. our first call comes from michael in salt lake city on the line for democrats. you are on the "washington journal." caller: i want to know if there are any ethical things you would have to sign. when i joined the government, i had to sign some papers that said i did not belong to certain organizations. i did not know if there any ethical issues that might come
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up if one of the congressman decided he wanted to join the communist party and signed a pledge to overthrow the government of the united states. i think it is illegal to do that. i do not know where you draw the line ethically as to whether you could sign a pledge to somebody outside. that is almost like signing a treaty. you have to go through the congress. if house to be signed by the president. i want to know how deep the essex get. guest: they have to sign and take an oath when they become members. the ethics regime is probably the most severe and regimented of almost any profession. their entire personal wealth and assets are a matter of public record. they have to find -- file annual financial disclosure forms.
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their children's and spouse's assets are made transparent. all of their office expenditures are a matter of public record and our online. if they engage in any outside activity, they cannot engage in outside employment. they are limited in terms of the board of directors of charities that they can get involved in. this is more restrictive as a result of the 2007 law. they cannot accept any gifts of any kind from any registered lobbyist. it is so severe that if you have a single member of congress -- let's say a woman was getting married and got an engagement ring from a lobbyist, she would have to get a waiver from the ethics committee to get engaged, to accept the rain. that is how it restricted has gotten in the last five or 10 years. people get a miss-impression
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because we find one bad apple. they think they're all like that. i have been affiliated congress for 30 years. the ethics regime has changed so significantly in the last 30 years. there are not a lot of areas where members of congress can go astray without getting caught. host:, is calling from missouri on the line for independents. caller: thank you for taking my call. a couple of quick comments. the first caller was alluding to the pledge the congressmen in 2008 took to grover norquist. i feel that is a treasonous act. after the new congressmen came in in 2008, they went through orientation and found apartments.
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then they boarded the plane and went to israel to get their orders as to what they should do in their first year. host: we will leave it there. talk to us -- we have an article from politico with some advice on effectiveness for new members of congress. the first he says is move to washington. he refers to former speaker tip o'neill. his advice is not practical for every member and their family. it would be wise to show you our constituents who are smart and effective. spend quality time in washington five days a week. it does not seen that happen as much these days. they are in on tuesday morning and out on thursday afternoon. guest: i read that. is outstanding. i will encourage anyone to go to a politico and search for that. it is a personal and political decision on whether they move
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their families to washington. increasingly, members have chosen not to do it for personal and political reasons. the congressional management foundation does not have strong advice in that area because it is a personal decision. we just lay out the pros and cons. the pros are you will build stronger relationships with your colleagues if you live here. if members of congress are in washington, they will be interacting with colleagues or more regularly. you will build stronger relationships that could lead to being a more effective legislator. on the con side, if your family is growing up in a certain area and you want your kids to go to a certain school, that may or may not be available or it may be a different experience for them. that is a real personal challenge. you could argue you will be more in touch with your constituents if you stay home and keep your family there.
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possibly, but there are some new ways to interact with constituents through communications methods. it is a tough call. i know some very effective members of congress who have moved their families here and are very happy that they did. host: sue is calling from kingston, ill. caller: i am a former tea party- ers. i feel like my republican party is gone. they have not modernized. they will not decrease spanish were regular people vote. they have to change. the and once have to teach the dinosaurs to relax on everything -- the young ones have to teach the dinosaurs to relax on everything. everything is modern now. host: who is your
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representative? caller: i am not sure. host: talk about how you would want them to perform. caller: i am not sure. i would have to ask mike tea party members. i have my talking points to stick to. host: let's move on to ralph from battle creek, mich., on the line for democrats. caller: i was wondering about the salary and benefits of the congressmen like health insurance, pension, allowances. it is extremely ironic all of these conservatives and republicans talk about small government, but they are benefiting greatly from the perks of salary, health insurance, and all that. is anybody talking about cutting salaries or fringe benefits?
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guest: members of congress are treated alike federal employees when they come to washington. they get a salary that is higher by average standards. in member of congress will make $170,000. that seems like a lot until you look at the demographics of the members of congress. in most cases, they are taking a pay cut to come here. the benefits are garden variety. they get the same health care plan a federal employee does. that was the case until a health care reform was passed. they are now going to move into the same sort of pool of everyone else with the exchanges. they have a 401(k) they contribute to. they do not get anything special.
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as far as perks, all the perks have been taken away. there are not much left with the exception of one. they get a pretty good parking spot at the national airport. they have their own parking space. we get a little frustrated. for the rest of americans, it is not a significant part. all the others you have heard about like the free trips have all been done away with over the last 20 years. host: talk about the salary for staff. how is that determined? is is done by the member? is it something the staff member can negotiate? guest: it is kept up with a number of congress can be paid. -- it is capped at what a member of congress can be paid. they do have flexibility from
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the numbers perspective on what they do. is a negotiated process. people who go to work for congress are not doing it for the money. the staff member in the house or senate is being paid 25% less than they would get in the private sector. the higher you go up, the bigger the differential. a chief of staff could make 100% more in the private sector. the benefit levels are much like you would see the federal employee would get. you have the 401(k) and health care. you do not give a lot of benefits you might get in the private sector like professional development opportunities. they recognize they are under the public eye. they have a great deal of scrutiny. that means they make fewer investments in professional development and other things the private sector might do. it is a challenge.
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they recognize they are under scrutiny. they try to recognize that by being as frugal as they can. the house representatives have cut the personal office budgets for members by 11.4% signed during the last two years. this is starting to have an impact on the hiring decisions and effectiveness of members to deliver services to constituents. they are walking the walk and talk in the talks. they are cutting like other american businesses. host: what do they get as a yearly budget for staff? guest: about $1.4 million. they get enough for 18 full-time staff members. the staff have not grown. you have heard about the growth in government. it has not happened on capitol hill. the last time there was an increase in full-time staff members was 1975.
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gerald ford was president. gas cost 55 cents a gallon. that is the last time they increased their staff. they are trying to do more with the same amount of resources they had nearly three decades ago. host: does the budget increase as you increase in seniority? guest: it does not. it stays the same based on a formula set by the committee on house administration. the only way you get additional stock is if you become a subcommittee or committee chairman. that is an entirely different stock that helps with the legislative and curing process a -- with the legislative and committee staff. host: bradford fitch is the president and ceo of the congressional management foundation that offers advice on how to improve operations.
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the organization is funded by some congressional money and private businesses. back to the phones. monty is calling on the line for independents from mississippi. go ahead. caller: you pretty much just answered all of my questions. i was asking about the staff members. the only question you did not answer was where does the money come from? guest: i can answer that one. it comes from taxpayer dollars. it comes from the treasury. people do not realize comparatively speaking how little we spend. it is about 1.5% of the total budget that goes to the legislative branch. that includes the capitol police, the congressional research service, the library of congress, and the accounting office.
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it is a small percentage. this is a hard-working workforce. we are coming out with a steady -- study. in march, we will release a report that shows members of the house of representatives to work on average 70 hours of week. it is pretty good bang for your buck. host: ron is up next on the line for democrats. caller: who brings the newbies up to speed? the 31% are obscure in our consideration that more taxes are being laid on people. war is taken away from the -- more is taken away from the net
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to be able to sustain. what people are brought in to teach them about the issues? guest: that is a great question. members of congress are like kids in a candy store when they come to washington. they are type a personalities. they love consuming information. the largest library in the world is across the street from their office building. we have a lot of resources available to them. staff tend to build information from a variety of sources to get to the truth. a lot of people think members are driven by their own ideology. they really are type a personalities. they like to study an issue, come up with a conclusion, and impose it on the rest of us. they really like to study the issues. i know members that would like nothing more than to curl up with the government accountability report on whether we are in compliance with
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naphtha regulations. they like independent research. lobbyists are a positive resource for them. a lot of people have a view of lobbyists based on scandals. that is whanot how it works. they provide information about a particular issue because their experts. they try to get their constituents to lobby like a political campaign. they are providing as much information as the town about an issue. they are getting information from their colleagues. members become real experts. i know a house member of armed services issues would go to the floor and talk with the chairman of the armed services committee before every significant floor vote on the armed services because he had only been in office four years. he trusted this person. they really do rely on their colleagues from both sides of
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the aisle. host: as an incoming freshman, who is the first staff member you hire? guest: probably the scheduler. it is a position that is important. they are the liaison between the office and family. you have to be thinking about that person. they can help them get their act together quickly. the chief of staff is another important position. district director and press secretary, next. those are the four key positions you should have in place at a minimum by january 3 when you are swearing in. you want a mixture of experienced people and people from back to the district. you want that balance. if you go too much one way or the other, you do not get the healthy balance unique between understanding district issues and navigating the halls of congress. host: the next call is from pete from san diego.
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caller: by no joint regulations state they get paid for travel to and from destinations of duty. if they want to come home every weekend, who pays for that? guest: they do not get a per diem, but they are allowed to let their office budget pay for travel. that comes out of their individual budget. the average number of weekend trips back and forth is about 40. they do travel a great deal back-and-forth. they feel there is a need. it does come out of their individual office budget. because it is a matter of public record, you get a lot of members flying coach. there are restrictions on when they can fly business class. they do not have the same flexibility as in the private sector. it does come out of their actual
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budget. host: we have referred a couple of times to the congressional management guide. is this something freshmen members are reading on the weekend? this is helping them to bone up on how to be a great congressman? guest: it is considered the bible for setting up and running a congressional office. i want to tell the story of how it came about. there was a business woman who ran for congress in 1982. she did not win but wanted to come to washington to see what it was like. she said, where is the handbook? there was not one. she was a woman of means. she created a grant to set that up. it is now in its 13th edition. she is now 90 years old. she will come to washington next week to talk to us about the 30th anniversary of it. that will be in 2014.
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over the 28 years we have produced in, it is a unique publication that has helped members. it is a wonderful section for members of congress on asking them what kind of member they want to be. do they want to be an insider? do they want to be a on spokesman -- be an o mbsbudsman? members have extraordinary flexibility in how they help constituents and portray themselves. this book helps them to understand that will. host: next up is katherine from pittsburgh, pennsylvania, on the line for independents. caller: thank you for taking my call. if you could advise members of congress on how to make them selves more accessible to their constituents -- by a vote.
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i choose the candidate i want. i do not see what happens on the other end when they get elected. how do you advise them to let us know on a day to day basis how they are performing as officials? host: who is your representative? caller: i really do not know, to tell you the truth. host: the first thing to do is to find out who he or she is. guest: that is tough on citizens, but americans are not often interacting with members of question -- members of congress. that is a great question. we encourage them to display transparency and accountability in a variety of ways. one way to do that is through their on-line presence.
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that is the first place you will go to get information about your member of congress. we encourage them to demonstrate as much transparency and accountability as possible. we have the gold mouse awards for the best web sites on capitol hill. to win this, they have to put their voting record on line. more than half of the members do that. the really good numbers are going to put their schedule and issue briefs. one member said i should think like a librarian and not a politician. i said, that is exactly what you need to think like. the good members do that. if you want to see great websites, the winner of our platinum mouse awards last time was paul ryan.
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the congressman from alaska in the senate. you will see some great examples of members of congress that demonstrate transparency and accountability in their on-line communications. host: we will show that website as we take our next call from florida on the line for democrats. mary, you are on the "washington journal." caller: i am curious. they used to give [indiscernible] to the senators. i was wondering what they give them now. guest: the question was the cost-of-living adjustment? the whole issue related to congressional pay is dicey and political. every year, it does come up. right now, they do get a cost-
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of-living adjustment. the last few years, members have voted to deny themselves the cost of living adjustment. they felt at a time of deep recession they should not get this. the entire process by which members get paid got very political in the 1980's when members of congress did away with the fees they were getting out for speeches to the private sector. many felt this was an ethical. they gave themselves a pay raise. this resulted in a firestorm around america. it resulted in amending the constitution. we added an amendment to the constitution in 1992, the 27th amendment. it says members of congress may not vote on their own pay without an intervening election. there has to be an intervening election for them to get a pay raise. in general, they tend to frown on paying themselves more money because it does not look good. from a management standpoint, it
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is a bit of a disappointment. anytime any work force is not keeping their pay in pace with inflation, it will press recruiting of good candidates. i know that sounds crazy and they are in a public sphere. it's a profession does not keep pace with the competitive work environment, it is going to result in some people not running for office. host: we want to get some information regarding the new members of congress. they can find that at the national journal website. that is in addition to the congressional management foundation website. in pennsylvania on the line for republicans. thanks for waitingt. caller: every time i used to
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watch congress, there was one congresswoman in the black caucus. she always had two family members as staff members behind her. first, it was two gentleman. then it was two 1 in. is that allowed? -- then it was two women. is that allowed? in some parts of government, if you are not allowed to hire family members. is that still going on? guest: a great question. nepotism is prohibited in the house and senate. you are not allowed to hire immediate family members. the only exceptions that exist are that this was imposed some years ago. i think only one spouse was grandfathered in who was the
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chief of staff for her husband and member of congress. i will not say who, but they are retiring. you cannot hire immediate family members. host: so much of the information that goes back and forth across the country is done through social media. we take tweets, facebook, and e- mail. how do you advise new members to use this in washington and going back to their districts? guest: this has been a dynamic change in the last five years. we issued the report in 2011. we did a survey of congressional staff. it showed 64% of congressional staff felt that facebook was somewhat or very important for understanding constituents' views. it is clearly a way of doing it. i will bring you a c-span story.
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when i was coming on to talk about this, i was in your waiting room. a member of congress was on ahead of me talking about the deficit debate. her press secretary was looking at the tweet feed as the member of congress was talking. they are literally getting a line by line they are literally giving a line by line analysis. i would say to citizens, follow your representative on facebook. it is very authentic. members of congress will look at those comments. we did a webinar during the research, and a staff member said they see 20 or 30 comments on their facebook page, and that is something they will listen to. it is such an authentic medium. you cannot take a youtube video. members of congress really enjoy
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the interactivity that it provides. not all members are using it, although from what i understand, only about five members of the u.s. senate are not on twitter, and 3 are retiring this year. call me crazy -- i think this twitter thing is going to catch on in congress. people are really using it. it varies in terms of how well they are using it, but we do know they are paying attention. they are looking at the facebook pages. these dialogues are spontaneously happening, and what is really happening as members are putting out comments, public statements, due to videos, and they are getting instant reaction from the public -- youtube videos. i will tell you -- members pay attention to that. they are very focused. one of the other myths in washington is that members of congress really do not listen to constituents. they listen so hard they are going deaf, and they want to say yes. these are politicians. these are people that want to
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say yes to everyone. i wrote a book a couple of years ago, and i interviewed a member who said to me that members of congress are like middle children still trying to please their father. host: let's go back to the phones. mike is calling us on our line for independences -- independents. caller: thanks a lot. c-span is terrific. i am if first-time caller. this segment has been terrific -- i am a first-time college. this person is exactly right about how hard working congress is. that is also true for other highly educated federal workers. i wanted to make that point. the other thing is that one point that is not obvious all the time is that when a congressman or congresswoman come in -- comes in and leaves
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15 or 20 years later being a much wealthier individual. can you address that, please? thanks very much for c-span. guest: i would echo that for c- span. that is tough. my role and out of act as a longtime observer of congress for the last 30 years. there's been a number of pieces of research that have been done in the last few years. most prominently was a cassette in 60 minutes" piece about members of congress stock trading -- was "60 minutes" piece about members of congress stock trading. i have to tell you -- i do not see it. members of congress by and large are hard-working people spending their time on what their constituents need and want. if they are trying to get rich in congress, they get caught and
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go to jail. we have high-profile examples of that happening in the last few years. some of the journalism, some of the stuff that has come out in the last few years is just a bunch of bunk. it is not real. it does not happen to the degree to which the journalists and some of the so-called researchers suggest it does. some of the research done a few years ago that resulted in the cassette in 60 minutes peace" -- i have to tell you, when congress and their staffers looked at that, they did not take it seriously. they just laughed at it. host: we have etui from -- a tweet from monty labban. guest: yes, they do. if your interested in the arcane nature of congress, the thumbnail look would probably be going to our website, congressfoundation bought or, and go to our public setting course.
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-- congressfoundation dot order -- that will give you sort of a thumbnail. if you want to get into the details and the fine print, go to a website on the house of representatives called committee of house administration -- i think it is you will get the member handbook, and you will get a pretty detailed recipe on what members have to do, what they can and cannot do, what they can spend money on, what they cannot spend money on. they also have to live by another set called the rules of the house of representatives, which is also available at that website. host: all right. richard calls from ohio on our line for democrats. go ahead. caller: i would like to thank you for c-span. i think it is a great network
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and a great program. i just do not believe what brad has been saying about congress in general. there are too many stories that come out of washington, d.c., about corruption. once the election is over with, if there is money left, there are legal ways to get at that money. it could be $800,000, $1 million, whatever is left over. that is all i would like to say. guest: richard, i certainly understand why you feel that way. i want to touch on what you said at the beginning of your comment, that there are too many stories coming out of washington, and you are absolutely right. the public view is not positive, and i would add that hollywood does not do a good job of portraying washington, with the example -- with the exception of "west wing," which i think got it right. but media often does not cover congress. it covers leadership very well and committee chairman very
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well, but it does not cover the 95%, the rest of congress, and that is part of the reason why citizens usually vote that they have a positive view of their own members of congress and a negative view of congress as an advocate. they are looking at what their member does and have a pretty positive view, which is why i would probably argue reelection rates are so high. there are a lot of other reasons as well. when you look at what national media coverage, there is a bias towards the - -- negative, and any reporter will tell you that. that is the way their business works. members of congress being able to access their campaign funds -- that was outlawed in the 1990's. members of congress cannot use their campaign funds for personal use. we have read in number of stories about allegedly one of the reasons why congressman jesse jackson -- now former congressman jesse jackson -- had to resign as there are reports in chicago newspapers that he spent some of his campaign money
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for personal use related to decorating his house. that again is just an allegation at this point. the reason that is a problem is because that is illegal. members cannot convert any type of campaign fund for personal use. they can then donate it to other causes or other candidates. as you see some of these members retiring, that is exactly what they are doing. host: mark calling from arkansas on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: i wanted to thank you for c-span. you guys do a great job. i wanted to ask mr. fitch, is cold calling a member of congress worth doing? sometimes i call them and i feel like i bother them. you always get staffers. i'm not sure i'm really doing anything. also, is it better to just go to their website and leave an e- mail? would that be better? guest: that is a great question. i am glad you asked.
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there are a lot of ways you can interact with members of congress. let me go down the scale. calling is probably the easiest thing to do, but it will not offer an opportunity for you to offer some robust commentary. a staff member will put you down as yes or no, and that is it. if you go to their website or some of these third-party organizations, you can send an e-mail, and that will get tallied. we did a survey of congressional staff some years ago and asked weather those services are responding to encountered, and by and large, they absolutely are tallied in some sort of way. take it to the next level, though. go to a town hall meeting. you saw the episode in 2009 of town hall meetings exploding. that was an aberration. not the way town hall meetings usually are. usually 20 or 30 people are there. go to a town hall meeting. talk to your member of congress. you get an impression of how
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earnest they really are. the last way is you will be invited to participate in a telephone town hall meeting. this is a new phenomenon that we are tracking, but according to the research we have done, 85% of congressional staff said a telephone town hall meeting was somewhat or very important for understanding views and opinions. get this -- the average number of people in a telephone town hall meeting is between 5000 and 6000 people. the best way to get on board is sign up for your member of congress' e-newsletter. they will usually notify you when one is coming and they will usually give you a call and that before, but think about it -- they will usually give you a call the night before. you are not just putting a member of congress on record. you are putting them on record with 6000 members of your district. that is a really great way of, frankly, imposing some accountability on a member of
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congress, and yes, one person can do that. >> we have been talking primarily about new members in the house of representatives, but do you do the same thing for members of the senate? >> we provide many of the same services, and we also get called in individually by individual senate offices. they have six years to get it right, so they have a little time. they also get a little budget to try to set up their offices, but here is a funny quirk -- they do not get their offices right away. in the house of representatives, what is happening right now is a very unusual transition. members in this lame duck session are getting kicked out of their states this weekend, and they get set up in a little cubicle in a basement of the rayburn building so the states can get ready on january 3. for whatever reason, they deem to that not appropriate for senators, some senators do not have to move out until january 3. during the first six months of the 113th congress, it is the
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new senators in temporary offices. some are in these new trailers in the middle of a courtyard, and it is a very unusual quirk and difference between the house and senate. >> -- host: what you do, are they different for republicans and democrats? >> we are a nonpartisan organization and one of the few places where members of congress and staff can get together and resolve problems. we just recently did a bipartisan training program for incoming members. there was a great praise from the wonderful senator daniel webster, who said there is no republican way to run a real rate -- railroad. we would say there is no democratic way to build a website. host: our last call comes from robert. go ahead. caller: my question is about
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congressional benefits. i know you guys have touched a lot on it already, but my question is, i would like you to set me straight or confirm -- i work for a large corporation, and i have to become vested after 10 years of service to qualify for a pension. as i understand it, members of congress, weather they serve a single term -- weather they serve a single term, are eligible for a lifetime pension -- weather -- whether they serve a single term, are eligible for a lifetime pension. guest: your definitely not eligible after a single term. i do not know weather it would be -- whether it would be 10 or
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20 years. if you google that, you will find the answer to that question. host: we have been talking with bad pitch, ceo of the congressional management foundation, helping house and senate members transition into the 113th congress -- we have been talking with brad fitch. coming up, how the federal government is responding to the rise in autism. you are watching "washington journal," saturday december 1. we will be right back. >> at the end of world war ii, we had 12 men -- 1200 men under arms, 2000 black officers in general -- flag officers and generals. today, we have 1000 flag officers and generals and 1
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million men under arms. what we have done is go through and look at areas where we could not necessarily save all the money, but we could transfer responsibilities out of the pentagon and consolidate programs and save a significant amount of money. >> this weekend, you can talk with oklahoma senator tom coburn about the fiscal cliff and the future of the republican party. the senator has written several books and reports. join our three-hour conversation with your calls, e-mails, tweets, and facebook comments for medical doctor, author, and senator tom coburn. >> he worked his way up, went to harvard law school, and at the
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urging of one of his brothers, emigrated out west to illinois. he arrived after about a month's journey by ship, by stagecoach, by train, and arrived on a steamboat in this muddy mining town, board himself in a log cabin, established a law practice, and slowly worked his way up and became a very successful lawyer and then got involved politically, ran for congress, served for eight terms, and then defended abraham lincoln, obviously, from illinois, and then ulysses s. grant. as they were on the rise, washburne stated them is very close colleagues. after grant was elected
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president, he initially appointed him secretary of state, after which time, he became very ill. his family actually feared for his life. after about 10 days, he submitted his resignation to president grant, grant regretfully accepted his resignation. over the next several months, he regained his health, which was always very fragile. he regained his health, so grant then offered him the position as ambassador to france. >> researcher and author michael hill on elihu washburne, the only diplomat from a major power to stay during the siege of paris providing political and humanitarian support. >> "washington journal" continues. host: ari ne'eman is the president and co-founder of the
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autistics of advocacy network and is here to talk to us about the federal response to the rise in autism in the united states. our guest is an autistic adults and will be talking about the federal role in supporting an autistic adults and children. he testified before congress earlier this week, and that hearing was covered by c-span if you want to take a look at it. go to our website, thank you for being on the program. >> thank you for having me. >> first, talk to us about what is autism in terms of the spectrum of disorders and some of the symptoms people might want to be on the lookout for. >> i am really glad you asked that. often, people's perceptions of autism come from television or movies like "main man -- "rain man" or 60-second public service announcements, and that is not a good way of learning about a community and its people. we have a saying, when you know
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one autistic person, you know one of autistic person. the artisans spectrum is very diverse. -- the autism spectrum is very diverse. there are a couple of characteristics we have in common, two are considered diagnostic. autistic people have difficulty with communication. sometimes that manifest in people who cannot talk all or part of the time. sometimes it manifest in people who struggle with social nuance and unwritten rules of communication. in addition, we tend to have very focused interests in particular topics and some form of repetitive behavior. a few other autistic traits that are very common, although they are not always included in the diagnostic criteria -- we tend to have sensory -- hyper- and hypo sensitivities. we can either be very highly
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sensitive or less sensitive than the general public to those things. executive functioning challenges, which are common to learning disabilities as well. but the biggest thing i think i would communicate is we want people to learn about autism through having autistic people in their classrooms, in their workplaces, and the best way to learn about autism is from the autistic person or people in your own life. host: for the sake of this conversation, we've got three types of autism spectrum disorders that we want to inform our viewers and listeners about. the first is the autistic disorder. talk to us a little bit about that. >> -- guest: one of the things that is interesting is you have three major autism diagnoses, but in the upcoming revision to the diagnostic and statistical manual, the american psychiatric
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association, the plan is to roll them all into one. part of the reason for that is even though autism is a speck -- as a spectrum is very diverse, people have started to realize that which of these three you get depend on a lot of things that do not actually have to do with you as a person. it depends on what dr. you went to or what age you went to the doctor or where that doctor receives their training or any number of things that are not specifically related to actual differences between these diagnoses. we want to be very careful that this new, unified definition of autism does not leave anyone out. when you go from three diagnostic criteria -- three sets of diagnostic criteria to one, you have to ensure that that remaining one is sufficiently broad and can
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capture people who, for example, struggle with speech and those who do not, can capture people who have talked in impairment and those that do not -- who have cognitive impairment and those that do not. we're also starting to recognize that which diagnoses you get is dependent on a lot of things that do not actually have to do with actual differences between the populations that receive these diagnoses, even as, at the same time, we are describing an incredibly diverse population. the three disorders would be the autistic disorder, which we talked about a little bit, the asperger syndrome, and the pervasive developmental disorder. >guest: that is correct. actually typically autism without speech delayed. that is my diagnosis. autism is typically asperger's
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with speech delay, although many people with that diagnosis develop speech later in life. pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified has been used as something of a catch-all. "we know that this person is autistic, but they do not quite fit the other two diagnoses c- span.or." host: talk to us about the hearing you testified at earlier this week. guest: initially when it was called, we were concerned because there were no artistic people on the witness list, and this is a very common problem in the autistic community. people are talking about us. there's a lot of public conversation about autism, but it is something without us. we communicated to both the majority and minority on the committee that that had to
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change. if you are going to be talking about autistic people, you need to have us at the table. we were very pleased that they responded to that. at the same time, one of the things that is unfortunate is that this hearing focused mainly on questions of causation. a lot of discussion about what causes autism, discussion on incidence rates. those are important questions, but they are not the most important questions, and we had very little time to talk about the practical needs around housing, education, employment, service division across the life span that autistic people face today. one of the points i made my hearing was if you look at the nih research on autism, only 2.5% -- 2.45%, to be precise -- of that research agenda went
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towards research into improving the quality of services available for autistic people. less than that, 1.5%, went towards research on the needs of autistic adults. many of us feel this was a point that we made in our testimony, that we are having a lot of discussion about autism in general, but very little discussion about and with autistic people ourselves. host: we are talking with ari ne'eman, the president and co- founder of the autistic self advocacy network. we want to include our viewers and listeners in our conversation regarding the federal response to the rise in autism. if you want to get involved, the numbers -- 202-585-3881 for republicans. 202-585-3880 for democrats. for independents, 202-585-382.
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we have a special line for autistic people -- 202-585-3883. we also want to encourage viewers and listeners to contact us via social media. the address for twitter is @cspanwj. the conversation is always going on on facebook. the address is span. and we will also take your e- mails. the address is a journal@c- we have our first call. thank you for waiting. caller: i just wanted to say that i was at the hearing yesterday. i worked as a private practice social worker providing direct services to people with asperger's syndrome, and one of
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the difficulties we face yesterday was a bias whereby it was presumed that people who are articulate are somehow not disabled. we stood in line to get into this program, and we experienced so much hostility from other individuals whose children are more obviously disabled. as a provider and as a person syndrome, ir's wanted to articulate that many of my clients are incapacitated, not necessarily by autism, but they do experience the same organizational and language processing issues experienced by others on the spectrum that denied them access to social security, both rehab and food stamps, and other social service support that could help to catapult them into an independent life. without that intensive case management, they would not be able to be successful.
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i do believe that that is the difference. with a small amount of support, many adults with asperger's syndrome can go on to live successful lives. the other problem was the visceral manifestation from the gallery from certain parties when ari was speaking about the adult experience. our gentlemen sat there very polished and very professional throughout the proceedings, but as they testified, the people in the gallery that disagreed were very dehumanizing and degrading. i do believe, certainly, that we just got a small amount of representation about the issues revolving around women -- i do believe, thirdly. we brought two other women to be visible and present. there were other young children in the room, women with autism, girls with autism. we need to remember that there's a huge gender bias as a
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diagnostic procedure that is keeping women from getting what they need, and that leads to victimization. many of them are mothers parenting children with autism now who need extra support to do that. i think this was a great start, but we still need to do so much more. host: thanks for calling. guest: i really appreciate you raising those issues. let me address a couple of them -- first, you are absolutely right -- there are really significant service provision needs, even for autistic people who, like you and i, can talk, and a lot of people do not recognize that. currently, about one in every three autistic youth transitioning out of high school have no access to employment or higher education opportunities in the years immediately after high school. that is a really serious problem. the problem is even more
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significant, by the way, if you come from a low-income family or from a minority family. this is something we absolutely have to address, and we have to address it in recognition that there are some really significant racial, and come, and -- as you pointed out -- gender disparities -- racial, income, and gender disparities. there is a gap right now in the service system. if you have a significant level -- significant enough level of disability to qualify for medicare, home and community- based service waivers, there is a service provision system that is available for you, but for those of us who may struggle with employment, independent living, and other skills sets, very often, the only option that is made available in disability policy is to go on supplemental
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security income. that is a very restrictive option. it means that people have to exit the work force and face really significant limitations on both income and assets. people on ssi cannot save more than $2,000. that means it is impossible for them to plan to get ahead economically. when we try to plan to return people to get to the work force, it is very difficult. people often spend 12 or 18 months having to portray themselves in the worst possible way, swear that they cannot work just as a precondition to get some of the support that they need that might assist them in entering the workforce. that is a sad policy. a couple of things we can do about that. first, congress will need to have a conversation reforming the social security disability insurance program at some point
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in the future and probably the near future. and we should be having a conversation on the ssi program as well. cms, the center for medicare and medicaid services, ran a successful pilot program of offering people a set of health care benefits and employment navigator services prior to them applying, and what we saw it is a lot more people not exiting the workforce because of the fairly simple idea that if we provide people with support before they have to apply for these programs, they will be less likely to need income support, more likely to injure employment. second, we need to build a meaningful pathway for post- secondary transition for youth that are preparing to exit high- school. there have been bills introduced to that effect. i am a big fan of the team act.
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i know that senator harkin is working on a number of these issues. he has held many hearings on these topics. he has been one of our biggest champions. we have got to really tackle these issues around employment and building a service provision system that addresses everyone's needs in a meaningful way. finally, i do want to get to the issues you raised about gender because you are right -- there is a big gender gap in the autism world. a lot of people talk about the four-one ratio of boys being diagnosed as compared to girls. it is possible that there may in fact be illegitimate disparity. we do not really know, but we know that at least a part of that disparity in diagnosis is because we have a stereotype of what an autistic person is supposed to look like.
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many of our members report that they were not diagnosed -- either at all or until later in life -- because when their parents took them to the doctor, they said, "well, i would diagnose autism, but your child is a girl and that is so rare." so it becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. some of the research has shown that in clinics samples, autistic women tend to be more likely to display intellectual disability than autistic man. that suggests that we are not identifying, not diagnosing autistic women who have less obvious manifestations. it is a serious issue. we have definitely got to address and include it in a policy conversation. host: our next call comes from paul law in virginia -- paula in virginia.
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she identified herself as an autistic person. caller: i am 52 years old, and i know many autistic people who are my age or older. the stereotype is there is an optimism epidemic and that it just affects children, especially small children, and that it just started recently. the fact is that we exist at all ages and that older people often have trouble getting first a diagnosis at all, and second, any of the kinds of support that ari ne'eman has been talking about. i would like to thank c-span for allowing autistic people to be heard. some organizations systematically exclude an autistic people at any meaningful level. i think you are taking an almost
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unprecedented step with the dedicated phone line. many of us are not able to speak. i sometimes cannot speak at all, but i have written down everything i am saying here so that i can read it. providing the dedicated phone line and text-based communication is one way to attempt to make things more equitable. i would like to ask a question, and that is -- what is the single most important thing that can be done to ensure that research and policy shift toward the all-important area of communication access and to ensure that autistic people get and have developed alternative and augmented of communication access -- augmentative communication access?
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guest: thanks for asking that question, and paula is absolutely right that many autistic people do not speak like we do. it is important that we start investing in the kinds of technology that will empower communication. there is an old saying we have -- not being able to talk does not mean you do not have anything to say. we have a lot of evidence that right now, non-speaking autistic people are being excluded and are not being invested in. let me point out a couple of examples. first, i mentioned earlier the very low percentage of the nih research budget that goes towards services and adult issues. one of the things that is really quite unfortunate is we are not seeing the private sector and the foundation sector address and invest in these issues, either. autism speaks, which is an organization we have a lot of
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problems with because it really does not include autistic people in its leadership in anything but a token way. its research agenda in 2010, the most recent year for which we have analysis, had approximately only 1% of its research budget going toward service issues and less than 1% going towards adult issues. if we want to start in powering people to communicate, we need to start investing in research arm around communication technology, which could really unlock a lot of possibilities. the elementary and secondary education act, often referred to as no child left behind, sets in place a testing and accountability system. there are a lot of criticisms of that testing and accountability system. some of them well-founded, but one of the additional
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challenges that comes up is students who are excluded from that accountability system often are largely ignored by their school districts. it allows schools to test 1% of the population, about 10% of the population of students with disabilities, through a less- rigorous alternative assessment. that is supposed to be for students with the most severe cognitive disabilities, but the department of education's own research has found that the students in that 1% category have very low rates of access to augmentative communication technology, so it is possible that they are not students with the most severe cognitive disabilities at all. they just have communication disabilities that they are not receiving adequate support for. we have to make this a priority
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in the national policy and research agenda. otherwise, we will just be leaving people behind. at the end of the day, i believe in fighting for support for artistic people like me. i also believe in fighting for support for artistic people that looked nothing like me. this is a civil rights issue. we all have to be included. host: we are talking about the federal response to the rise in optimism with ari ne'eman, the president and co-founder of the artistic self advocacy network -- autistic self advocacy network. our next call comes from florida. go ahead, please. are you there? go right ahead, please. caller: i need to know -- what do you do with a 20-year-old and a 22-year-old that was diagnosed -- has been on
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medication ever since they were about five years old, and they go from doctor to doctor, and when they take their medication, they look bleary eyed, and we have tried every kind of medication, but they cannot communicate, and the school that they were in -- have been in -- they have been in a group where some of the kids were so bad until they could not -- you cannot learn where there is so much confusion. you can sit down one-on-one with them, and they can pick up some things, and they can easily remember telephone numbers and things that are exciting -- they can remember that, but when it comes to education or communication with other people, they just do not know how to
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act. the youngest one cannot speak. you cannot hardly understand what she is saying -- host: what kind of medication are these folks on? caller: they go to a certain place, and they change doctors, and they have been on every kind of medication that has been out there. when they were 5 and 6 years old, they were very -- they did not have this glare in their eyes, and i feel like they started them so early on this medication because their eyes were glary. before they started on them, they were normal kids. guest: i think there are a lot of issues to unpack theire.
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i'm glad you have given us the opportunity to do so. first on the topic of medication, it is obviously a choice for every person, for every family, but if we look at some of the data out there, we do find some evidence that medication is not always used appropriately. for example, if you look in the developmental disabilities service provision system, the percentage of autistic people who have code-occurring mental health conditions is much lower than the percentage of autistic people who are being prescribed and i taking psychotropic medication that might be associated with the co-occurring mental-health condition.
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that suggests that the rate of lower than theis rate of such abuse is that we are seeing some use of medication by providers, and this is a particular problem in some states -- we're seeing some used by providers of medication offer therapeutic purposes but as a form of chemical restraint, as a way of controlling behavior, and that is deeply unfortunate. it is deeply problematic. when we talk about a population of people, many of whom have significant communication challenges, and that is certainly the case for our community, often with his construed as problematic behavior is -- what is construed
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as problematic behavior is a means of communication. when people are acting out or having a meltdown or trying to remove themselves from a situation, for many people, that is the most effective way that they have to communicate if there is a problem, if there is something wrong. if we just look at that as something to stop, as a behavior and not as a form of purposeful communication, we really deny civil rights and deny discretion to a very important part of our community. you asked specifically about what kinds of resources you could access. i want to put one or two on the table that might be helpful to you. first, i am assuming that you currently are in touch with your state developmental disabilities service provision agency. if you are not, i really encourage you to do so. in too many states, there is a waiting list for services.
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that is a very serious problem, but if you can access services, that can be helpful. second, there is a network of what is called parent-training information centers. you should try to find a parent-training information center for your state in florida. i believe you said you were from florida. finally, if you are talking about rights protection issues, i would go to the protection and advocacy system in your state. these are legal operations that have the ability to protect the rights of people with disabilities. they need more funding, quite frankly, but if they can help you, they often have a lot of resources that they can bring to bear in terms of technical knowledge and legal authority. host: our next call comes from
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kathryn, calling from virginia on our line for autistic people. caller: first of all, i would like to thank you guys for doing this radio segment today. i am 25 years old with asperger 's syndrome. i do not like to use the term too much because it is going away, so i would like to refer to myself as autistic because that is what i am anyway. i had a comment about the employment situation. i am actually very passionate about that. i have been on the offices and society committee for employment services. i have a lot of ideas about how that can be reformed, but there actually are some really good services.
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in the virginia area, i have tried to utilize them, but the problem is the government is not giving them enough funding. there is just no funding at all. they could not help me because they do not have the money. i really think the government needs to focus more on either funding the services that we already have and -- i mean, really, idealistically, it would be best if may be there where a, like 50% goes to research and 50% goes to funding. as an autistic adults, we really are not being given the tools that we need to be successful in the community. host: before i let ari ne'eman respond to your call, you say that you are 25, and you were just diagnosed two or three years ago? >> just last year. january of last year.
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host: how was your situation traded up until your diagnosis? caller: i was home schooled, so i never had insurance to the school system, but the reason why i was home school was because when i was in first grade, my teacher went up to my parents and told them that i would never learn to read or drive a car or live independently, and they would have to put me in a special class where they just babysat me and did not try to teach me anything. my parents were mad, and they yanked me out of school and home schooled me right up until i got my ged at 18. my problems started showing up when i tried to get into community college. guest: -- host: before we get
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into that, we have figures from the combating pietism act authorization for funding for three years -- combating autism act. go ahead, ari ne'eman. guest: i really appreciate you tackling these issues. first, that story is a familiar one. a lot of adults are not diagnosed until much later in life. it is a very serious issue. it is one of the reason why this talk of and autism epidemic has been so damaging. the perception that it is some new and recent thing that never existed before now really ignores the experiences of those great many autistic people who have gone unrecognized in the past.
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one of the ways, and i mentioned this in my testimony -- one of the ways we could put to test this idea of weather we are seeing rising incidence or rising diagnosis is to study the prevalence of autism in adults and compare that to prevail and in children -- prevalence in children. the british government did just such a study and found the same percentage of autism in the adult population as in the childhood population. we need to do that in the united states. all of the statistics we see from the cdc are by and large 8- year-old's. if we were to study adults, we would not only get valuable data, but iiscal
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think you are absolutely right about the need to increase funding. most financing for disability services -- by the way, when we talk about autism services, we are by and large talking about things that carry the word "disability quarter may not "pietism -- the word disability" not "off to sautis" specifically. finally, i would just say from the d.c. metro area, if you are not already aware, there is a great social group of autistic adults called the asperger adults greater washington, and i encourage you to check them out. i think they do great work. host: our next call comes from
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matthew in philadelphia. go ahead. caller: good morning. thanks for having me. i am is social worker at a nursing facility, but i also have a nephew who is 9 who is autistic. i definitely see a lot of concern in areas for the future. definitely housing. individuals like ari are great examples of how individuals who are artistic can be valuable for our society, but there are individuals who do not make that. there are services and energy being put towards, "where did this come from? what happened?" but what about what are we doing to take care of our individuals and families now? my sister runs and non-profit
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who tries to help families, but these services are few and far between. if you are not connected, you do not know about them, and you get concern for your family member. you wonder about their future and when you are not here, what will happen. thank you so much for having this. >> before we let you go, what is your sister's name? if people want to get in touch with her. caller: yetta myrich. guest: thank you, matthew, and think your sister for the work you are both doing. you are absolutely right. we need more attention on services. we need more attention on autistic adults. this is part of why we have to be included in this conversation about us. when we are not at the table, really bad things happen. i mentioned the criticism of
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some of the dominant organizations out there. autism speaks, which is the largest and most well funded organization in the world -- only four since on every dollar that is donated to autism speaks goes to services for autistic people and our families. that is truly unfortunate, and it does not match our needs. it is important we build an integrated service system. in 1999, the supreme court ruled that people with disabilities have the right to receive services in the community, not just in institutions, and under this administration, the justice department has been really, for the first time, doing some spectacular work to enforce the
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decision. it is very important. we currently have 12 or 13 states that have eliminated large, state-run institutions. some states within that have eliminated institutionalization all together for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and have instead invested that money in community-based support and community-base housing. that matters. it brings greater equality. it is more cost effective, which means we can serve more people, get at some of these big waiting lists that currently exists. we really need to continue that enforcement and also expand it beyond housing. applied the decision to employment, and go after these sheltered workshop industries. sheltered workshops are very exploited of models in which people with disabilities can be paid less than minimum wage. i serve on the national council
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on disability, which is an independent federal agency that recently put forward a plan to phase out the federal law allowing paying less than minimum wage and transition the services once again to a more effective option. host: our next call for ari ne'eman comes from joe in new york, who is an autistic person. go ahead. caller: i was wondering -- what do we do with other self advocates who have conflicts with of advocates. the other thing i want to do is not only address the services is addressing where people in the spectrum are affected by just being different. even cases with interaction with
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law enforcement, like where there are very well known cases , and i think the most famous one was bill control where he was never a terrorist, but he was treated as such. he did it because he was misled by his friends. he is the one that came forth and led the police to himself accidentally. host: we're going to leave it there because we're running out of time. guest: i will not speak to specific individuals, but i do not think self advocates are asking for handouts. we are asking for support that we need for a population of people that wants to be tax- paying, employed citizens. i really believe that is possible for every artistic person if we make the right investments and engage in the right research and service provision -- i really believe that is possible for every
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autistic person. the civil rights issue is really important. for many years, people with hidden disabilities were not sure if we were covered by the promise and guarantees of the americans with disabilities act. a few years ago, congress passed legislation to address that. an act which specified that the definition of disability should be construed broadly, and thus ensuring that autistic people are covered. if you look at the employment regulations, it specifically mentions autism as a condition which is presumed to be covered for civil rights conditions. we have to ensure that when we are discriminated against, we are willing to bring a civil rights complaint. i can promise you, we have some really good people in the justice department. we have some really good people in the


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