Skip to main content

tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  March 4, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

5:00 pm
responsibility. but we buy parts from contractors. let's not be naive about it. as i said in the beginning, two- thirds of all contracts are in the form of services. about 80%, maybe 85% of all information technology in the form of services. about 80%, maybe 85% of all information technology programming right now is done by contractors because we do not pay programmers enough in government. i will not make the case for increased pay drop the federal salary structure. -- throughout the federal salary structure. but when you get to the top grades, the pay is amazing. the fact that you could make so much more money if you just left government, went to work for a contractor, had that contractors are new to an agency and said you back to sit at the same desk you used to occupy. you will cost a lot more money. you'll make more money. i just does not make sense. we do not pay people enough in the federal government.
5:01 pm
and what we do these things like furloughs, we do them across the board. and you can bet that the federal debt -- the best federal employees are saying i've got to get out of here. what you're left with are mediocre and poor performers. the furloughs are so poorly targeted that you are basically sending your message to your best workers that if you can find a job with a contractor, if you can find a job with a private firm, now is the time to go. it is a silly way to do it. i cannot imagine what happened in these agencies that they did not prepare for the sequestered. maybe they were listening to president obama khan said, well, this is not going to happen -- president obama, who said, well, this is not afford to happen.
5:02 pm
but i've seen agencies do pretty well in this process by not furloughing employees. we're going to get less service. we will get some problems coming out of it that nobody expected, but we're still not sure how it is going to work. host: we will go to lewis in elizabethtown, ky. a retired contractor, is that right? caller: that is correct. i want to thank c-span for the programs they put on and thank professor light. saying that it is impossible to know by asking the contractors. that is like asking -- by asking the contractors, that is like asking the fox what he's doing in the chicken coop. the federal government has a way to count this in a myriad of ways. whether it is the security system at your facilities -- the government should ask the security people and get the numbers that way. another way if the contract
5:03 pm
administrators. they know who are there because they have to name each individual. they have to know who it is. they have to name them by the type of job they're doing and it has to be listed in the contract. the whole relationship between government contractors and the federal government in oversight of those contractors provided so incestuous that it is absurd. host: let's get an answer from paul light. guest: incestuous is to put it lightly. you look at these contracts and the way to get at this would be to look at labor costs. by job category. which is what the government oversight did, but they do not have the dollars to really drill this. and it is not believe the numbers that matter. is the total costs. it is the total cost of the labor.
5:04 pm
we end up by all of this labor and we do not know how much of it we are actually buying and the true cost. and the contractors do not want us to know. they believe this is irrelevant. all i'm saying is, let's get to the heart of the matter. what do contract jobs cost? what do contract's cost? what is a fair rate of profit for the contractor? and how many of these jobs should be brought back into government? what should we be doing here? if the contractors want to engage in this debate, which they absolutely do not, they can bring some numbers to the table. but you've got contractors on one particular piece of work you are subcontractors. other times, other pieces of work in the same divisions. new have primes reporting as subs -- you have crimes -- you
5:05 pm
have primes reporting as subs elsewhere. it is a mess and you cannot get at it the contractor community will for you to the death on it. host: that albrecht on twitter. the gao says 35% of contractors are minority-owned businesses. how many of these contractors will lose business from sequestration? guest: some will lose some business. here is some -- an interesting suppah -- here is an interesting statistic. 75% of all contracts, the actual paperwork, goes to small businesses. very large small business activity, but only 25% of the dollars go to those small businesses. you've got a ton of small contracts going to a very large number of small businesses. the rest of the contract in
5:06 pm
goes to the very large contractors, often in non- competitive, sole source, neddick contracts, or what we call bundled contracts. and it is in those bundled contracts that you get this kind of turning of prime subs, a sub-subs, and all of these little contracts moving around. and the oversight of the contractor, the prime of the subs, is amazing. we have not increased the acquisition of the personnel, the people who oversee this and make the contracts for basically a decade and a half. it is just about the same number that it was in 1990 when the cold war ended. and the number of staffers who worked for the inspectors general in the federal government to oversee these things have gone down, as well as the number of employees at the government accountability
5:07 pm
office, which is supposed to be looking at this as well host: speaking on twitter, we should change the definition of corruption to no bid, cost plus, no oversight, like everything we do. and another one, from laura, say something about contractors in afghanistan please. guest: my goodness, the amount of fraud, waste and abuse in the wartime contract is beyond belief we will never really know how much was thrown away, how much equipment we got that was wasted. how many buckets of dollars we sent to iraq and afghanistan to buy good favors, real dollars on pallets wrapped in plastic that have disappeared and will never be accounted for. christopher shays, the former representative of connecticut, just finished with a colleague of his chairing a commission on wartime contracting.
5:08 pm
it is as horrifying report as any stephen king novel. the report a lot of money into those wars. i do not know what percentage was wasted. it could be 10%, 30%. who knows? but the noncompetitive contracts, it is a nightmare and we cannot get control of it. host: howard in columbus, ohio, a democrat. caller: you pretty much an answer the question i was going to ask. it was about the government's influence over these contracts, like in iraq for the military. and how much money was wasted on contracts to iraq. they had security forces there were getting paid more than our troops were getting paid.
5:09 pm
and there were in the same country fighting the same battle. we have hired thugs getting paid astronomical dollars compared to the military people that were there. host: paul light, have you looked into that? guest: the blue ribbon commission on wartime contract in did an amazing job taking an inventory of this, and as i said, it is horrifying. we were just throwing money at the war because honestly, we had no contingency plan for a war like the one that emerged. so we are doing everything. contractors have the bodies. you cannot build an air base anymore. now without the contractor. you cannot serve food anymore without the contractor on that base. it is very difficult to do anything now, because the federal government has this invested in the competition that
5:10 pm
used to in -- has disinvested in the competition they used to exist. we used to have several companies building aircraft. today, three. you do not have enough competition out there to get this auditory benefits of lower bids because people are fighting -- for these salutary benefits of lower bids because people are fighting for contracts. when you get is what is available and contractors step away in favor of the sole source. we're looking at huge amounts of waste in certain areas and there's not much to be done. host: maverick on twitter says contractors like raytheon, northrop, etc. of permanent lobbyists in washington. next caller, what are your thoughts? caller: i wanted to bring up the war and act. contractors knew this was coming. -- the warren act. contractors knew this was coming. however, they chose not to let them know that furloughs would be a possibility. these contractors did not
5:11 pm
prepare. no. 2, of personal experience kirby's companies to construction. -- number two, my personal experience. there are companies who do construction. -- these companies did not prepare. number two, we are due construction. there are jobs set aside, you and touched on this, aside for minority and unions. we are neither minority-owned or unions. and in many cases we could be the lowest bidder, but we are satisfied in a separate category. our tax payer money is wasted paying people who have a straw
5:12 pm
person at the head of the company was a minority -- who is a minority and they get the job at the higher price, and therefore money is wasted. that is our personal experience. guest: that could be true. it is worth taking a very close look. as i said before, we have 75% of the total contract paperwork going to small businesses. some of those are minority aunt -- minority-owned. are we getting good thing for the buck their backs are getting a good paying for the buck at all of this old sources? this notion that he did not know the furlough was coming, it boggles the mind. we have been through one of to cr one upt-the-last-second
5:13 pm
isis after another. we class -- we crossed the rubicon on new year's eve so that we did not get short of the fiscal cliff until after we went over it. it is crazy, the notion that any type of action forcing a crisis like the sequester would be dealt with. it just does not make sense. and to be honest, what i've heard on capitol hill is that the republicans were not in favor of the sequestered, but there were many democrats who said, look, we will pick up $1 trillion. we will get a lot of downsizing of defense. it is the only way to get to the downsizing. you heard some lettering on the -- some muttering on the democratic side of the aisle, well, maybe we ought to go ahead with this. and there's not much we can do to fight it. how could you be the secretary of transportation -- i have a lot of respect for former rep
5:14 pm
ravenwood -- representative ray lahood. how could you not have done something about these delays? but the veterans were going to get disability reviews. right now, those are taking five or six months. on average, was an extra few days? the public is so fed up with government and our political institutions work that you cannot go any lower interest in government. -- in trust in government. i think this sequestered is going to hold. i do not think you will fix it. i do not think we were prepared. host: here's a comment on twitter. when boeing and others by law tried to notify employees of
5:15 pm
potential layoffs size year, obama astin not to do it. -- obama asked them not to do it. this notion of the warren act, can you talk about that? guest: the furloughs and that the federal government will not begin until the end of this month. you have to send a letter and the president signs it -- signed it last week saying that furloughs are coming. you've got to give advance notice. and in terms of contractors, you got to give advance notice as well, at least as i am under cla. the speaker pro tempore: of rule 0. any record vote on the postponed question will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to the
5:16 pm
bill, h.r. 307. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 307. an act to re-authorize certain programs under the public health service act and the federal food, drug and cosmetic act with respect to public health security and all has -- all-has preparedness response and for what purpose does. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. pitts, and the gentleman from new jersey, mr. pallone, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. . mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous materials in the record on the bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. pitts: h.r. 309, introduced by my colleague, mike rogers from michigan, would
5:17 pm
re-authorize programs designed to foster the development of medical countermeasures and strengthen the nation's preparedness infrastructure. these programs are essential to helping our nation's -- nation prepare for public health emergencies, including those caused by terrorist attacks. h.r. 307 re-authorizes programs for five years at the fiscal year 2012 appropriated level and does not create a new program, nor increase the authorization for appropriations for an existing program. according to the congressional budget office, the bill does not increase spending. congress originally enacted the program's re-authorized in h.r. 307 through the project bioshield act of 2004 and pandemic and all-hazard preparedness act of 2006. project bioshield authorized funds for the purchase of
5:18 pm
medical countermeasures through the special reserve fund and enabled the secretary of health and human services to authorize the emergency use of medical products. the original pop-up bill created the biodefense advanced research and development authority within h.h.s. to help with the development of medical countermeasures and increase communications between h.h.s. and the developers of m.c.m. the house passed h.r. 307 back in january. the senate made some minor changes to the bill and passed it by unanimous consent last week. i would like to commend chairman upton, mr. rogers, mr. waxman, mr. pallone for their work on the bill. i also would like to thank senator harkin, senator alexander, senator enzi and senator byrd for their
5:19 pm
leadership. i ask my colleagues to support this bill and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new jersey, mr. pallone, is recognized. mr. pallone: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent -- i'm sorry. i ask to use such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. pallone: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to rise in support of the senate amendment to h.r. 307, the pandemic and all-hazards preparedness re-authorization act of 2013, and i want to recognize the work that ms. eshoo, my colleague on the committee, has been doing on this legislation for many years. this legislation re-authorizes critical programs and activities first established as part of the public health security and bioterrorism preparedness and response act of 2002, the 2004 project, bioshield act, and the 2006 pandemic and all-hazards and preparedness act. h.r. 307 passed the senate in late february with an amendment that makes some changes to the house version passed in january. and the new language updates the authorization period of
5:20 pm
programs for fiscal years 2014 through 2018 instead of fiscal years 2013 through 2017. it also modifies the authority for a state, territory or tribal organization to temporary reassign public health personnel to respond to a public health emergency. in addition, there were some minor technical corrections to the house-passed legislation. over the past decade, mr. speaker, these programs have represented comprehensive efforts to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. as a result of the investments that followed, our nation is better equipped to respond to public health emergencies. there's still a lot of work to be done. our nation continues to face threats that require an ongoing commitment to public health and emergency preparedness. of course, i'm thinking of my district and the state of new jersey after we experienced a devastating storm that destroyed entire communities. the federal government's support, including programs authorized by it were critical
5:21 pm
in the wake of this disaster. so i'm pleased that congress can get this legislation across the finish line. it reflects a bipartisan, bicameral effort that has been ongoing for a year start to finish and members have worked hard to see it through. today we made legislation the way it's supposed to be done and i was proud to be part of the process. i'd like to thank members of the energy and commerce committee who contributed to this important bill. of course, ms. eshoo, who will speak, congressman mike rogers and gene green, chairman upton, chairman pitts, ranking member waxman and congressman markey and all their staffs. everyone should be commended for their work, and i urge members to join me in supporting passage of the senate amendment to h.r. 307 and look forward to finally getting this bill to the president's desk. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i yield such time as he may consume to the chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton.
5:22 pm
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: well, thank you, mr. speaker. certainly tonight i stand in support of this legislation, h.r. 307, the pandemic and all-hazards preparedness re-authorization act of 2013. this legislation is going to help our nation's families, local communities, first responders and innovators as we prepare for and respond to public health emergencies, including those caused by terrorist attacks. as the nation recovers from a severe flu season, the need to pass this legislation is ever more apparent. this bill's going to help families by requiring that the special needs of our nation's children are taken into account as medical countermeasures move through the f.d.a. process and are purchased for the strategic national stockpile. the bill also would require the department of health and human services to improve public health emergency preparedness, response to outreach and
5:23 pm
communications with respect to children. h.r. 307 also would aid local communities and those on the front lines in disaster response, providing assistance to local law enforcement. emergency management and public health officials in planning, training and preparing for emergencies so that if disaster strikes that our communities are ready. last month i had the opportunity to address the american burn association here in washington. the bill's hospital preparedness program is critical to help them as it helps hospitals prepare for disasters that would result in a surge in the knead for medical care -- in the need for medical care. in addition, this legislation will help innovators as they develop medical countermeasures that may be necessary in the event of a biological, nuclear, radiological or chemical attack. the bill contains provisions to improve the predictability, consistency and transparency of the f.d.a. process. these improvements will assist
5:24 pm
innovators in getting the medical countermeasures across the finish line. it's also important to note that h.r. 307 would re-authorize programs for five years as fiscal year 2012 appropriate -- at fiscal year 2012 appropriated levels. this would not create new programs and according to c.b.o., as mr. pitts said, would not increase spending. the house bill passed back in january and the senate passed a nearly identical version of the bill last week by unanimous consent. upon house approval today, this critical legislation will in fact head to the president to be signed into law ensuring that our nation is preparing for the unthinkable. i want to thank all the members who worked on this issue, not only this year but last year. certainly mr. rogers of michigan, chairman pitts, mr. waxman, mr. pallone, ms. eshoo. i also want to thank our senator colleagues, harkin,
5:25 pm
alexander, enzi and burr. at this point i want to yield back and urge my colleagues to support the bill. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pallone: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to enter letters of support from the following organizations into the record -- the alliance for biosecurity, the american academy of peed at ricks, the -- pediatrics, the roundtable on critical care policy, and we have a joint letter from the american public health association, the association of state and territorial health officials, the national association of county and city health officials and the trust for americas, i ask unanimous consent. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. pallone: and mr. speaker, now i'd like to yield such time as she may consume to the gentlewoman from california, ms. eshoo, one of the key sponsors of this legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the
5:26 pm
gentlelady from california is recognized. ms. eshoo: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank our ranking member, mr. pallone, for his leadership at the committee and for yielding time to me. mr. chairman, i rise today to support the pandemic all-hazards preparedness act -- re-authorization. this is legislation that i wrote together with congressman mike rogers going back to when we first introduced it in 2006 to better help our country prepare for a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. all the things that are really unthinkable but in the post-9/11 era we had to be prepared. and so we developed this legislation. so it pleases me enormously that we are now re-authorization it. the american people right now are left wondering what the heck the congress is doing, why
5:27 pm
we can't come together, why we can't work on a bipartisan way and develop consensus. well, you know what, on this bill we are, and i'm very proud of that. developing and stockpiling appropriate countermeasures is essential for the safety of the american people. and these programs encourage american companies to invest in areas of critical need. the bill before us today includes new provisions which i think really enhance what we did originally, provisions that highlight the important needs of our nation's children. children are not just little adults. they need special care and medical attention. they're especially vulnerable to biological or chemical agents because of their size. they're limited capacity to flush out toxins. their underdeveloped motor skills and their total reliance on their parents or other
5:28 pm
caregivers. i know firsthand the importance of stockpiling vaccines, critical to our public health. i recently visited a company in my district, a company which clearly demonstrates the technical expertise and investment in this area must be backed by the government's commitment to preparedness. because medical countermeasures don't always have a natural commercial market, it's our responsibility right here in the congress to encourage and incent private companies to develop them. when i was meeting with them, they told me when we were considering the original legislation and then passed it, they were immediately invested in by the sum of some $80 million because there was confidence that -- in that particular market. so this legislation is
5:29 pm
supported by many, but i think it's a real honor roll in terms of the groups and organizations -- the american public health association, the association of state and territorial health officials, the national association of county and city health officials, the trust for america's health and the american academy of pediatrics. this legislation, the pandemic all-hazards preparedness act re-authorization did pass the house last month. it also passed the senate last week, as my colleagues have said, on both sides of the aisle, with minor changes. today i once again urge my colleagues to vote yes on the senate-amended bill so it may be swiftly sent to the president for his signature. i think together we'll have something to celebrate, because this is not only important but will and can -- can and will make a difference for the american people. so with that i yield back the balance of my time.
5:30 pm
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i have no other speakers. i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pallone: mr. speaker, i have no additional speakers so i can say at this point that i will urge passage of this legislation. it's very important in terms of our ongoing commitment to public health and emergency preparedness and of course once it passes today it will go to the president for his signature. so i would urge passage and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i, too, urge all members to support this critical legislation. it has strong bipartisan support. it's very important. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 307. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
5:31 pm
in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative -- mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i qur the yeas and nays. -- i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. the chair places before the house a communication. cloik the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to 44, united states code, 2702 i am pleased to appoint mr. john a. lawrence of washington, d.c., to the advisory committee on the records of congress. thank you for your attention to this appointment. signed, sincerely, nancy pelosi, democratic leader.
5:32 pm
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 1-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until 6:30 p.m. today.
5:33 pm
fiscal year. it seems there is broad agreement that the funding level will reflect the budget agreement that was reached in 2011 over the debt ceiling. there is a lot of complexity that went into to factor into across-the-board spending cuts. there is general agreement in the top line #. the republican bill, which was introduced monday, allows for the defense department and the defense -- the veterans affairs department to move things out -- to move funds around in a way that believe democrats should
5:34 pm
also believe will be for domestic programs. >> why should those be on the debt -- wire these programs giving special consideration? >> many in the last several years believe it is poised to take big hits. republicans believe strongly that this part of the budget should be protected. when it comes over to the senate side in a couple of weeks, maybe as early as next week, it is very likely that democrats will rewrite the packaged so that the domestic part of the budget has some of the same flexibility. i think this reflects the republican view, which of course, is the majority party in the house chamber that defense needs to be protected. >> is the funding bill expected
5:35 pm
to attract support from both republicans and democrats in the house? >> president obama, speaker boehner, everyone says they do not want big government funding shutdown. everyone agrees on that. it is unclear how house democrats will view this package. it is not what they want, candidly. and they basically have two choices. one would be to vote for it, saying they expect a change in the senate, so they will vote for it with the understanding that this is not the final package. or they could oppose this and say, this is not what we expected. i think they're looking at the bill right now and trying to assess the minutia of the package as well as the strategy of the house later this week. >> there was talk last week that
5:36 pm
the cr might attempt to curtail the sequestered. does it do that? >> it does not. no legislation was passed to reverse it and it is the law of the land. it would be against the law for him to try to overturn the sequestration in the continuing resolution. >> john shaw, thanks for the inside. >> i was fascinated by her feminist views. remember the latest -- remember the ladies or you're going to be in trouble. i'm paraphrasing, obviously, but she warned her husband that you cannot rule without including what women want and what women have to contribute. this is 1700.
5:37 pm
>> abigail adams, called mrs. president by her detractors, she was outspoken about her views on slavery and women's rights. as one of the most prolific writers of any first lady, she provides a unique window into colonial america and her life with john adams. joining the conversation with abigail adams live tonight at seat -- at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio, and c- span.org >> now more on the sequestered and it's possible effects on government workers and with unions can do about it. >> joining us on the phone this morning is frances rose. i want to talk about the logistics of sequestration. first, what is happening in washington? guest: right now, still a lot of confusion house agencies are
5:38 pm
still trying to figure out how they're going to take care of their employees. last week at the internal revenue service and the environmental protection agency, they talked about it a little bit. i was struck by the agencies over the weekend by how many people still do not know what is going to happen and they do not know how these cuts will affect them as employees or the programs that they work on. >> have they been told of how they will be notified, of any furloughs or anything like that? >> it will most likely be by e- mail. but it is possible that some will be notified face to face. so far, all that we are hearing about as far as sequestration possibilities or the agencies acknowledging sequestration,
5:39 pm
that is pretty much by e-mail. it has been difficult to communicate this face to face. >> do we know how the government will determine these furloughs? >> each agency will decide how it is going. but what if -- what its mission is its mission critical. what people have to stay focused on and what people will be out of work shutdown means, come in tomorrow morning, give us your blackberries, and then do not expect to be here for a while. the furlough situation will be a little bit different because it will not be happening for at least 30 days.
5:40 pm
and that is casting a bit of a different feel. host: this is from the front page story of the "washington post" this morning. guest: that is a good example of how the agencies will determine the one on one basis how they're going to do this. to counter what social security is looking at, you have heard the defense department saying -- they made it sound pretty much like a lock, that as soon as it was possible for them, they would furlough employees one day a week. that is a 20% cut for employees at the defense department. each employee will have autonomy -- each agency will have autonomy on how to release these cuts. and each will have their own
5:41 pm
plan for benefits. >> what about impact? >> benefits like health insurance, retirement contributions, anything that to the extent it does not impact pape. obviously, if you are not contributing as much pay because you are furloughed, you will not be contributing as much your retirement plan and do not be receiving as much from your agency. that has a much more long term affect. host: what is the difference between federal workers and contractors for the federal government when it comes to sequestration? guest: the main difference is that contractors do not have -- contract employees do not have that 30-day production that federal employees have. if the contractors decide that because of sequestration they expect to see their business go
5:42 pm
down and today they want to perform layoffs, they are free to do so. another difference is the dollar value of sequestration will not necessarily impact contractors for some time frame, because any money that the federal government has already obligated, any money they have already signed deals for which companies will be honored. that money is essentially on a vote -- already spent. one side effect i am hearing from people in the contract business here in washington is they look at sequestration as an opportunity to do cuts, layoffs, furloughs or whatever, but they were going to do these anyway. be able to call them sequestration cuts and shrink their businesses anyway. they're looking at not just sequestration cuts, but the process -- a prospect of smaller government business in the foreseeable future.
5:43 pm
this may be the time for them to start reshaping their businesses, too. host: earlier, there was a comment made about sequestration talking about, the sun is out in washington. if people are looking for a visual, what and when? guest: as you mentioned, the social security administration, that is one of the most customer facing agencies in government. another one is the internal revenue service. look at those agencies and see if when you try to do business with that agency, are their hours cut back, are there fewer employees? the national park service is a very high-profile one. there is the old line that if the washington monument were in danger of budget cuts, then they
5:44 pm
may have to close some national parks. look for things like that. and when you start to see long lines at the airports because there are fewer transportation security administration screeners, those are the kinds of ways we expect to see it manifest itself to the average person. >> thank you. guest: thanks for having me. host: let me turn to our guest at the table, jackie simon. welcome and thank you very much. your reaction to what you just heard from friends as rose. i saw you shaking your head a little bit guest: i pretty much agree with everything that he said. except for one thing, there is a widely held misconceptions and i do not mean to criticize him because contractors have tried very hard to disseminate this ms. connect -- misconception. it is not true that anyone that
5:45 pm
is obligated cannot be de obligated. it is not true that the government has to carry through with every contract that it is signed. the government only carries the liability for the work once the contract labor is performed. a very distinguished law professor and government contract law expert who was on the wartime contract in commission in afghanistan wrote a memo describing all the ways in which the federal government can legally cut spending. in the last years, the service contracts went from $72 billion a year to over $200 billion a year.
5:46 pm
and he estimates that many of the cuts could very easily come from service contracts. not exercising options, negotiating with the contractors not to continue with every option in the contract. it is not true that once money has been obligated to a contract that is required to be spent. host: you would like to see the renegotiated contracts for furloughed workers. guest: it should be an absolute last resort or not happen at all. as mr. rose was saying, there are a number of agencies that have made at least tentative announcements without resorting
5:47 pm
to furloughs. social security is a special case. but we have the smithsonian, the office of management and business, the national institutes of health. they have all come out and said -- not definitively, but they said that they are basically planning to make the cuts without resorting to kermit -- to furloughs. host: and the size of the work force in 2011, according to the bureau of labor statistics, about 1.9 -- 1.9 million. let me go through the numbers.
5:48 pm
that gives our viewers the size of the work force. what does that mean to you when it comes to sequestration? guests: i jotted down a few figures before i came in today. you got 90,000 in the state of virginia. 13,000 in washington d.c.. 46,000 in maryland. that is the washington metropolitan area. virginia has a lot of department of defense employees throughout the state. not necessarily in the washington area. there are 26,600 in alabama. 29,000 in washington state. 24,000 in oklahoma. it is not just inside the beltway, or the beltway and its environs been affected. a lot of people have the misconception that all of the federal employees who are
5:49 pm
working for the government are concentrated here in this area as paper pushers. we're talking about people in devos, arsenals, military installations across the country, military hospitals, schools. we have transportation security officers, meat and poultry inspectors, people were very modestly paid working across the country. it will be devastating to this work force. host: we just showed the breakdown of this agency in the work force. how many are represented by you? guest: we are by far the largest federal union. there are other unions that represent federal employees put together the, one in the treasury department and the irs. we represent just over 650,000 federal and d.c. workers. a big concentration in the department of defense, department of veterans affairs, department of homeland security,
5:50 pm
the department of justice, bureau of prisons, department of labor, epa. we are all over. host: what is your role and the sequestration? what are you trying to accomplish? guest: a lot of things. the first, we would like to see sequestration and. we would like to see a repeal of the budget control act. it was a terrible law. horrible circumstances, as he recalled. it was a gun pointed to the president had because of the debt ceiling and for reasons we will never quite appreciate, i suppose, he agreed to this terrible law. how the super committee come up with a deal, it probably would have been a bad deal also. the alternative was sequestration and it will be with us for another decade unless it is repealed. short of that, and in the
5:51 pm
context of sequestration, your this possibility for what the administration calls a balanced deal that includes new tax revenue that would offset some of the spending cuts. and spending cuts that would not necessarily be across the board. the contents of some of these deals, even some of the proposals that the administration has made, would also be bad for many, cutting social security and medicare benefits, which we oppose just as vigorously as we oppose furloughs. there are so many bad options when to get past the option of reducing the budget control act. who are we talking to? we're talking to everybody. we're talking to the administration, to management at every level in the agencies where we represent workers. we're talking to lawmakers. friday's news was really dispiriting, this notion that
5:52 pm
maybe there's nothing to be done and we will just let it go. you were earlier talking to people about optimism verses pessimism. i remember at one point, a lot of people throughout their hands with health care reform, and nancy pelosi and harry reid said, no, we're not going to throw up our hands. we will come up with a deal. i like to think of that when i want to feel optimistic, that something good can be done. we're talking to agencies about alternatives to furlough. we have labor agreements, bargaining agreements that give us the right and opportunity to sit down and talk about these furloughs and if they happen, how they will be implemented. host: what do you negotiate? guest: we negotiate the scheduling of the furloughs. again, if we fail to stop them and they do, in fact, occur, we have bargaining rights over what
5:53 pm
we call impact and imitation. though it is management's right to do the furloughs, -- host: you cannot stop that? guest: not at the collective bargaining exactly, but we can talk about how they will be implemented. we cannot criticize the agency for saying they want to put mission first. their responsibility, i suppose, and their position is that they want to minimize the impact on the public. and in that case, they probably want staggered for those -- furloughs. some employees would not come on mondays, and others on tuesdays, wednesdays, thursdays and someone, so at least most days 80% of the work force would be there. host: what can you negotiate specifically on behalf of the federal worker? guest: like i said, impact and implementation. if mearns -- if monday is the most desirable for the day not
5:54 pm
to come to work, having access to monday as your furlough day might be decided on the basis of seniority. host: and when you're negotiating your negotiating for one federal employee, or all of them, and union and nonunion at that agency? is this a one-on-one? guest: no, it is not one on one at all. we have a bargaining unit. employees at some point in a bargaining unit voted to have representation. everybody in that bargaining unit that is covered by the collective bargaining agreement would be subject to the terms that we negotiate any impact and implementation. if you are outside the bargaining unit, then a supervisor and the manager gets to decide unilaterally when the furlough days are, how many you can get, and how you are paid. host: we're talking to jackie simon, from the american federation of government
5:55 pm
employees. we want to hear from you. we will go to twitter. what is the percentage of redundancies in federal government? by how much can staff be reduced by not affecting -- with not affecting output? guest: what people might not realize is that most of the increase in the number of workers performing the government work our private contract workers. and one of the things that we're very concerned about within the context of sequestration is that agencies not break the law and do not replace employees with military or private contractors. we cover the direct conversion of work to the private sector. that is always more costly for the government. it is an ironic effect agencies
5:56 pm
do decide to break the law and do that. will be watching that very vigilantly to make sure that agencies do not take advantage of this to contract more work out. host: you said that would break the law. what is the law? guest: the law prohibits direct conversion generally. absent another lobby for you, you would contract out to other work by performing a cost comparison. you have to make sure that it is in the interest of taxpayers to contract out. that process is under consideration, because it is so flawed. basically, agencies are prohibited from performing work by -- that can be done by federal employees. host: we will hear from eddie in millbury, mass..
5:57 pm
permit -- veryy pessimistic when i heard the "l.a. times" say they are lowering spending. you touched on furloughs. basically, what europe does this go on a four-day work week. but that is fine. would you please address pensions? there was one guy in california, a manager, who gave himself a raise of $850,000 a year. he has had 30 years' service at 3% per year, that is 90% of $850,000 gives him $800,000 pension per year? can you please address the spiking in pensions? guest: i read about some of these cases in california. these are not federal employees. these are municipal managers who are obviously quite correct. i cannot comment on that, except
5:58 pm
that kind of thing is impossible to happen in the federal government. host: several months ago, federal employees decided to throw a party in vegas, wasting our tax dollars. i feel no pain for them. lay them off. can you respond to this sentiment? guest: i think everybody has the same reaction when they have these lavish conferences. there really despicable ones are when the contractors through these big parties and have these retreats at the luxurious resorts and bring in the very people who are negotiating contracts with their hosts. those are the worst. but training conferences, of course, who is benefiting? the contractors to have the deals to provide training. we would be delighted to see the spending cuts come down on the
5:59 pm
travel and conference budget. that would involve cancelling contracts, or not exercising options to renew very lucrative contracts for politically powerful service contractors. what can i say? the people who attend these kinds of contact -- conferences are not the people i represent. believe me, my people did not go to the slavers conferences. host: in rhode island, democratic caller. caller: i read the paper, like a lot of your listeners do. i am convinced that like europe, extreme austerity will not help us grow the economy. it will certainly not help any of my four sons have a financial future. on the other hand to my husband and i are very fortunate. we see our savings and we are able to save every paycheck.
6:00 pm
we see things grow and grow because if you have money, you make money. how has this sequestration, how has this focus on austerity in a rational thing to do? guest: it is not a rational thing to do. i thank the caller. that is why i said the best case scenario is the repeal of there is a mania that seems to be controlling both of our major political parties with the idea that deficit-reduction is a rational policy right now and will somehow magically produced the economic growth that has eluded us in the last few years. europe provides a great example of why and the opposite is the case. right now we should be spending more and have a bigger deficit rather than smaller. when people talk about the future of social security and retirement, that has nothing to
6:01 pm
do with the kind of policies we are pursuing right now. social security, the amount of misinformation out there about the future cost of social security and the finances of the social security system is mind-boggling. the social security system is not in crisis. there's no rationale whatsoever to cut benefits now or ever. i wish lawmakers and the administration felt the same way, but right now we should be having expansion as a fiscal policy needs rather than an effort to contract the economy. host: on twitter -- guest: i think ebony the union, whether their employer is oppressive or not. -- i think everybody needs a union. workers don't negotiate over pay and benefits. it is set by law.
6:02 pm
-- federal workers. we don't have the right to strike. the kind of things we do give them a voice at the workplace so you don't have a dictatorial decision. the supervisor does not always know best, believe it or not. sometimes the supervisor -- every time a supervisor since down and in a respectful way gets input from the affected employees about all kinds of decisions at the workplace, a better outcome is produced. the other big issue, not because anything is so oppressive, is that conflicts arise in every workplace. they always do. we know that. anybody who is ever worked a week in their life those conflicts to arise. if you have a collective bargaining agreement, if you have a union, you have an opportunity to work out a
6:03 pm
constructive solution to the conflict. when there's no union and no collective bargaining agreement, the worker has pretty much one option and that is to quit if the conflict cannot be resolved. so the union is a very productive thing especially -- not especially in the federal government but everywhere. host: under what laws bar federal union workers protected during the sequestration? guest: they're not really protected. i would say they are protected in the laws that i talked about earlier, protected from having their jobs basically eliminated in the context of furlough by contracting out if that law is enforced. host: what caan't the federal government do? guest: as of friday, the federal government cannot simply furlough you without sitting down and talking to you about how that will be implemented. they have to give notice, 30 day notice. they have to negotiate impact
6:04 pm
and implementation. there's a reason for the 22-day ceiling at the department of defense. there are other things people and not been talking about. if you go beyond 22 days consecutive or not, it becomes a reduction in force. then another set of rights kick in for federal workers covered by union contracts, more extensive rights. host: bruce in lansing, michigan, independence. caller: i'm confused about unions, because i am being represented by a union in lansing and they keep telling me they cannot tell the business itself how to run the business and how to treat their employees. to me they don't have a voice and the union keeps telling us over and over that we cannot tell the business how to run their business, we cannot tell the business how to treat to
6:05 pm
the employees. they come up with the 401k plan and they have big shots running around saying we don't have to pay the pensions, you guys just put your minimum wage dollars in this 401k plan and these guys cannot even feed their kids. then we have all these people coming across the big pond and crying over here trying to be u.s. citizens and they are lowering the wages. we have all these federal employees crying because they're going to lose some money. they're making a helluva lot more than the rest of us. host: let's get a response. guest: i'm very sorry to hear about your situation and your situation is shared by millions of other american workers. i think probably a lot of people are aware of the fact
6:06 pm
that union membership has declined terribly in the last few decades because of free trade agreements and offshoring, outsourcing, losing production from places where unions have been able to organize, to southern states where the right to organize barely exists, and employers take advantage of that by mistreating workers, by lowering pay to the point it's almost impossible to keep it together. unions operate within a legal framework. they do the best job they can. it's very few examples i have ever -- i've been working in the business more than 25 years -- unions tried to do the best job they can. they have so many forces against them that it's very, very difficult sometimes to provide the kind of representation and
6:07 pm
improvement and standard of living that our members expect and deserve. youro, i'm sorry about situation. the issue you brought up, wages, crappy retirement plan, mistreatment at where, if these are all problems that a strong labor movement could actually be successful in solving. right now, because of laws and politics, unions are very weak and have a very hard time fighting all the things decided. i feel very bad about. host: on twitter -- are those numbers accurate? guest: i think they might even be little low. the federal government has cut back in support to the states.
6:08 pm
the about an irrational policy. a lot of public school teachers, firefighters, police officers, corrections officers have lost their jobs in the states and cities across the country. it has contributed to the rise in unemployment. i have seen various serious economic forecasts of the job losses that will likely result from not just this year's sequestration. remember, we have this for 10 years. it's likely to cost anywhere from 750,000 jobs to 1.5 million jobs in this country. private-sector and public- sector. so it's a disaster. host: andrew in virginia, republican. caller: you misrepresented the facts when you said that the federal government is lean. there are numerous bipartisan and independent reports that
6:09 pm
show the federal government especially is full of redundancies and 4 or 5 departments doing the same job and the same for the agencies. there's so much overlap in the federal government. there is evidence from several employees of them sitting around doing nothing, having nothing to do, four supervisors for group of seven employees so that they can all be moved up to the next pay category. you are so misrepresenting the facts. the fact is in the sequestration, the cuts that it gives could be replenished by the democrats and president, except for in the ability and to cut differently. this is not even a cut in what everybody else thinks is a cut. this is actually a reduction in
6:10 pm
the spending growth. we will spend more this year than we did last year. almost everybody admits that. that's not cut. host: we will have a response. guest: i think there were a couple things you said i could agree with. the supervisory ratios in the federal government could certainly be pared back. there aren't too many supervisors. -- are too many supervisors. as one of the things we try to talk to lawmakers and the administration about. that was part of bill clinton's reinventing government, to get the government-wide average down to a 15-1. it certainly has cropped up over the years. in the georgia of the bush administration it skyrocketed and has been maintained in the obama administration. -- in the george w. bush administration.
6:11 pm
i would invite you to go to a va hospital where one rn is taking care of 21 patients. this is an acute care facility. i would invite you to go to an office where benefits for veterans are processed. and you can see the assembly line and immense pressure and a support -- pace of work to do the backlog. social security administration, the numbers continuing to go up and up and they have not increased staffing and are closing field offices. in arsenals, the wars are winding down, but the pace of pork for repairing weapons so they can go back into the war theater is extremely intense and there's a tremendous amount of overtime work. so the image of bureaucrats
6:12 pm
sitting around wasting their time, at taxpayers' expense, is a very useful kind of thing for people who want to bash government. it bears no connection to reality. host: on twitter - why not have that on the table in the negotiations to avoid sequestration? or to repeal? guest: it's not surprising that many people believe it could be true, because pick up a newspaper any day and you will read things that are false about social security and medicare. turn on your tv. with the exception of this show. any given day you will hear very false things about so security and medicare. health care costs generally, not medicare or medicaid, are
6:13 pm
completely out of control and for a lot of reasons. i don't thing we have time to go in to talk about why health care and how will pare costs could be restrained and why they're always rising so fast. private health care has its own incentives and is very costly. medicaid and medicare are fairly efficient. if we get stephen more -- if we get even more tools, we could restrain medicare and medicare even better. social security is another story altogether. if you can say it is completely ridiculous to cut benefits now because of the possibility of of having to cut benefits in the future. the caller from providence was said she had four sons. one of the things that is important about whether or not social security will have enough assets and resources to pay full promised benefits 40 or 100 years from now is whether
6:14 pm
one of those four sons gets a good job and makes decent pay, because social security finances are directly tied to wage growth. it's a payroll tax that funds social security. when wages go up, the revenue into social security goes up. when wages go up faster than inflation, which is the rate of growth of benefits, which affect the rate of growth of benefits, then you have a virtuous cycle for social security financing. right now, social security can meet all its promise obligations for the next 30 or 40 years. whether they will be able to meet all other obligations without a tax increase or benefit cut through 75 or 100 years is a function of whether we do something about job growth and wage growth. host: we're learning the president this morning and caught 15 will make three personnel announcements.
6:15 pm
he will announce that sylvia burwell will be back at the white house. he would like her to be omb director. she was deputy of staff under bill clinton. she will be in tapped to be the new director of omb. he's expected to nominate his epa chief. as well as a new head of the energy department. he will make those announcements today. i don't know if you have any thoughts about these people or the agencies they are running when it comes to sequester? guest: when it comes to sequester, i was on to say something else about them. i don't know that that will have any impact. host: give us your reaction. guest: i don't have any reaction denominations. one of the things i did want to mention that was not raised by any of the callers -- the budget control act exempted the department of veterans affairs
6:16 pm
from sequester cuts, but that does not mean veterans are not affected. that's another balance. we have talked about the irrational nature of sequestration. we can talk about the morality of sequestration. 44% of the civilian work force in the department of defense, which is 350,000 of the workers who will have a 20% pay cut unless this is averted, our veterans. about one-quarter of the employees of the cuts in border patrol and customs, that's the people who are guarding the ports and borders, putting their lives on the line every day,. a quarter of them are, a large number of federal law enforcement generally, including the people who are working in our federal prisons, last week one of our agents was murdered while working in a prison in pennsylvania, murdered
6:17 pm
by an inmate. part of why he was vulnerable was because he was alone on his shift. it's very dangerous inside a federal prison. the bureau of prisons has announced furloughs. they will cut back staffing and it will get more and more dangerous for corrections officers inside prisons. so sequestration, you can sit there and say they had it coming to them. people have a misconception about the risks that federal employees take every day to keep us all safe. dees are very, very compelling reasons to call the whole thing off. host: on the personnel announcements that the president is going to make it 10:15 a.m. eastern time this morning, our coverage if live on c-span. so tune in, kevin in syracuse, new york, democrat. go ahead. caller: my question, i just
6:18 pm
wanted to put this in perspective in terms of how much the furloughs and laying off federal employees is going to have on actually reducing our budget. if you laid off every federal employee and you ran the percentages of its impact on total budget and deficit, it's minimal. i think it's less than one- tenth of a percent. it's very small. it's unfortunate that they take federal workers that are out working in the communities in doing a lot of things for people that they don't realize and using them as an example and politicizing this and doing the furloughs -- in doing the furloughs. so if you laid everyone off, i think you could see the impact and realize it's really not that big. the other thing, this is a big strategy from corporate america and republicans to demonize the unions, unions, the teachers' unions. i think they would like to
6:19 pm
drive us back to a pre-fdr period. that's my perspective. it's unfortunate. host: we will leave it there. guest: i agree with just about everything kevin said. there's no question that the idea that you had to go to furloughs first is an effort to undermine the federal workforce. it is clearly true that although the furloughs will be extremely painful for all the people -- the individual workers and their families and communities affected, it's a drop in the bucket in terms of the overall size of government spending and the deficit. it will hurt some communities and will hurt many individuals, but its,-- it's a macroeconomic impact -- and i'm talking about furloughs and not sequestered. i think the american economic
6:20 pm
impact of the sequester will be considerable. it could reduce the growth of the economy overall by a half percent or 8% and will affect unemployment. but it really does not do much of anything overall to the fiscal condition of the country. host: jackie simon, thank you very much. >> back on capitol hill that house will be back in at 6:34 votes and several speeches, and more work this week is expected on a bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. current funding runs out on march 27. her earlier today, joe biden talked about iran and united states' interests in the middle east. >> it is not only in israel's that iran does not
6:21 pm
acquire a nuclear weapon, it is in the interest of the united states of america. it is simple. [applause] as a matter of fact, it is in the interest of the entire world. acquisition of a nuclear weapon, not only would present an existential threat to israel, it would present a threat to our allies and partners and to the united states. an arms race inger the region and make the world whole lot less stable. we have a shared strategic commitment. let me make clear what that commitment is. it is to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,. . -- weapone, period.
6:22 pm
prevent, not contain, prevent. [applause] the president flatly stated that, and as many of you have heard me say, and he always gets me about this -- we will be in a security room and i know that debbie wasserman schultz knows this, he always says, you turn to other people, and says, as joe would say, big nations cannot bluff. a big nation cannot bluff. and presidents of the united states cannot and do not bl uffk, and president barack obama is not bluffing. he is not bluffing.
6:23 pm
[applause] we are not looking for war. we are looking for and am ready to negotiate peacefully, but all options, including military force, are on the table. as i made clear at the munich security conference this last month, our strong preference, the world's preference, is for a diplomatic solution. while that window is closing, we believe there is still time and space to achieve the outcome. we are in constant dialogue, sharing information with the israeli military, intelligence service, and the political establishment at every level, and we're taking all the steps required to get there. i want to make clear to you something.
6:24 pm
if god forbid the need to act occurs, it is critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power, we did everything that reasonably could have been expected to avoid any confrontation. that matters, because god forbid if we have to act, it is important that the rest of the world is with us. we have a united international community. we have a united international community behind these unprecedented sanctions. we have left their around more isolated than ever. we came into office when iran was on ascendancy in the region. it is no longer on the ascendancy. the purpose of this pressure is not to punish. it is to convince iran to make
6:25 pm
good on its international obligations, but simply, we are sharpening the choice that the iranian leadership has to make. they can meet their obligations and give the international community ironclad confidence in the peaceful nature of the program, or they can continue down the path they're on to further isolate and mounting pressure from the world. >> that was a portion of the vice-president's remarks. you can see his entire speech online at the c-span video library. >> i was fascinated by her feminist views. i am paraphrasing, but she warned her husband. you cannot rule without including what women want and what women have to contribute. and this is 1700's she is saying
6:26 pm
that. >> abigail adams, tonight on c- span's history series, "first ladies." as one of the most prolific writers of any first lady, she provides a unique window into colonial america and her life with john adams. join in the conversation on abigail adams tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. >> do you find washington and silicon valley are on two different planets? >> i think that is probably fair to say. i think the ties are getting closer. there is more interaction these days than the rest of four, but in many ways and for a long time folks in silicon valley did not really care or want to know what is going on in washington, and likewise, folks in washington
6:27 pm
have sometimes been tone deaf to what is going on in silicon valley. >> follow troy wolverton as he tours the ces communication show, tonight on c-span2. >> janet napolitano marked the 10th anniversary of the agency. here is a look at some of her comments during the event. >> very concerned about the sequester has landed as we were chatting backstage. you said we're seeing already some defects. >> when i shared with the congressmen, now that we are having to reduce or eliminate basically over time, both for tsa and four customs, now that we have institutionalized a hiring freeze, not back-fill
6:28 pm
vacancies, and we will begin today sending out furlough notices. we are already seeing the effects of some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example, some of them had very long lines this weekend. >> where? i o'hair, i want to say lax, want to say atlantic, but i would have to check. the new york airports, they were ok, but that could be temporary. we will see these defects cascade. >> what kind of lines are we talking about? >> i would say 150% to 200% as long. >> so twice as long. >> they are really long lines. i would like to say, look,
6:29 pm
people, i mean to inform. if you are traveling, get to the airport earlier. there's only so much we can do with personal, and please do not yell at customs officers or tsa officers. they are not responsible for the sequester. i have not heard how it went from a customer traveler interaction, but nobody likes to wait in line and nobody likes to wait in long lines straight i will say as a matter of sequester, this is happening and will continue to happen. >> it was some of what the secretary said turn the politico defense. you can watch her remarks later tonight on c-span2 at 9:00 p.m. eastern. she was joined by former secretaries of homeland security tom ridge and michael chertoff. they addressed a number of topics, including immigration and the impact of sequestration on the homeland security department. and the house will be back in just a moment.
6:30 pm
it is expected back in at 6:30 p.m. the eastern for a vote and general speeches, and later this week work expected on a bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. current funding runs out on march 27. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
6:31 pm
be in order. pursuant to clause 8, rule 20, the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. pitts, to suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 307, on which yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 307, an act to re-authorize certain programs under the public health service act and the federal suit and cosmetic act with all-hazards preparedness response. senate amendment. the speaker pro tempore: will the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
6:32 pm
6:33 pm
6:34 pm
6:35 pm
6:36 pm
6:37 pm
6:38 pm
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
6:41 pm
6:42 pm
6:43 pm
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
6:46 pm
6:47 pm
6:48 pm
6:49 pm
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
6:52 pm
6:53 pm
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 307, the nays are 28. the amendment is agreed to. without objection, the notion to reconsider is laid on the table. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, i have enclosed cop yoifs the resolutions adopted by the committee on transportation and
6:54 pm
infrastructure on february 28, 2013. pursuant to section 3307 of title 40, united states code, the committee on transportation and infrastructure met in open session to consider resolutions to authorize prospectuses including in the f.y. 2012 and f.y. 2013 capital investment and leasing programs and two resolutions to recognize alternation projects for space consolidations and exigent needs. our committee continues to work to cut waste and the cost of federal property and leases. the resolutions approved by the committee will save the taxpayers $27.6 billion annually or $357 million over the terms of the leasing. these resolutions ensure savings through lower rent, shrinking the space requirements of agencies and efficiencies created through con sol case.
6:55 pm
in addition, the committee has included space utilization requirements to ensure agencies are held to appropriate utilization rates. signed sincerely, bill shuster, chairman. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the committee on appropriation. the house will be in order. the house will be in order. please take your conversations off the floor.
6:56 pm
the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i am a proud supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. i am apalled by the president's attempting to erode our constitutional freedoms and -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. the house will be in order. members please remove your conversations from the floor.
6:57 pm
the gentleman may proceed. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i am a proud supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. mr. williams: i am apalled by the president's attempts to erode our constitutional freedoms and impose his will. our founding fathers would not have imagined the right they listed second in the bill of right the bear to -- the right to bear arms, would be systematically attacked by opposition to what the president oproposed is based on the fact that his plan is not only unconstitutional -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. members please remove your conversations from the floor.
6:58 pm
the gentleman will proceed. mr. williams: i am a proud supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. i am apalled by the president's attempts to erode our constitutional freedoms and impress his will by executive order. our founding fathers would not have imagined the right they listed second in the bill of right, the right to bear amples, would be systematically attacked by opposition to what the president proposed is based on the fact that his plan is not only unconstitutional but is not effective. the federal government has try tad ban on these weapons before and it did not work. the national institute of justice said there has been no significant reduction in the legality and prevalence of gun violence due to the assault weapon ban. the phase assault weapons ban is
6:59 pm
a term of art. these are semiautomatic guns that shoot the same bullets as small game hunting rifles. these are hunting rifles made to look like military guns. banning it for cosmetic reasons doesn't make sense and won't save lives. third, banning large capacity magazines won't stop criminals. any gun that can use a magazine can use a magazine of any size. that's true of rifles and handguns. in the end if the president wants to start a dialogue about stopping gun violence he shouldn't start by taking away our rights as citizens. i am willing to work with the president and the other side to find a solution to the challenges we face but that solution has to lock at all parts of the problem involved. perhaps the most important is to restore a policy of life in this
7:00 pm
country. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman rise? the gentlelady is recognized. >> on sunday, women's organizations led the re-enactment of the historic women's suffrage march down pennsylvania avenue. ms. fudge: the women of delta sigma theta joined other women by joining in the spirit of protest from which women were excluded. while we have acleeved a great -- achieved a great deal in the last 100 years, it is cheer that it is not complete. women deserve equal pay for equal work and ke everybody d -- deserve to control their own reproductive rights twosme fight for the right of all americans to vote in the electoral
7:01 pm
process. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: thank a teacher. mr. speaker, we have all seen that bumper sticker. i come from a family of teachers. my mother, mother-in-law, wife and three of my four kids are teachers by profession. when a special little girl, ca kara, was in the third grate, she and her parents noticed her difficulty in processing words. her speech pattern affected her self-esteem, her self-worth and even her weight. some kids made fun of her. mrs. morgan, the third grade teacher, was determined to help the little girl speak better. with the hard work the little girl and teacher overcame the word problem. the student graduated as high school valedictorian. she obtained her bachelors and
7:02 pm
masters degrees. she also obtained a ph.d. there is more. today that little girl received notice that she is tenured as an society professor at baylor university in the department of, yes, english. for, you see, kara poe alexander, our daughter, the little girl who had trouble talking, has a ph.d. in english rhetoric. the study of words. congratulations, kara, on being tenured faculty. and thank you, mrs. morgan, the teacher. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from illinois seek recognition? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. schakowsky: 80 years ago today francis perkins was sworn in as secretary of labor. this is women's history month and francis perkins certainly made history. she was the first woman member in the history of the united states to be part of the
7:03 pm
cabinet and still holds the record as the longest serving secretary of labor. she brought us the fair labor standards, giving working women and men fair wages, limits on overtime and the right to organize. she was the architect of the social security act. francis perkins helped bring us out of the great depression and as we come out of the great recession we need to ask what pran sis perkins would do today. she would fight to raise the minimum wage. almost 2/3 of all minimum wage workers are women. many are the sole bredwinners for their families she would defend social security against those who want to cut its very modest benefits. so today we take time to remember frances perkins, her message is still relevant today. our nation is stronger if we give working women and men fair opportunities and treatments. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition?
7:04 pm
without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> the first high profile shooting in a modern history occurred in stockton, where -- stockton, california, where a gunman took the lives of five innocent children and injured 29 others. robert young, just 7 years old at that time, was one of the ones injured. he came up here last week to talk about gun control. this is part of his testimony. i remember what it sounded like. as bullets flew past my body. i remember the feeling of my feet literally being swept out from yunt need -- underneath me. i remember the slap of the round that hit the payment an inch in front of me, prior to lodging it self inside the right side of my chest. mr. stockman: today robert's a law enforcement officer. in the state of california. he came to washington not to urge congress to pass more gun control, but to extort this body to protect the second
7:05 pm
amendment. in 22 years, prior to the 1990 federally acted gun control school zone act, there were only two mass shootings on schools and university campuses. now, 20 years -- 22 years since then there have been 10, a fivefold increase. not only has gun-free school zones proven not to be gun-free, they appear to place our children in even greater danger. this time has come to end this very deadly experiment, disarming law-abiding citizens. that's why i introduced h.r. 35, safe schools act, to repeal this deadly so-called gun-free school zones. law-abiding adults, including parents, teachers and administrators, who are allowed in their states to carry firearms, should not be required to be disarmed. our children are too precious to be unprotected soft targets for dangerous people. passing this safe schools act is the first step and i might point out also, mr. speaker,
7:06 pm
that -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. stockman: thank you, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from maryland seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. edwards: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in recognition of march as women's history month and to commemorate the legacy of gentleman net rankins, the first elected woman to serve in the house of representatives on this day, march 4, 1917. janette furthered women's right, ensuring women's suffer raj and protecting the poor. she bradge her career as a community organizing, working in low income neighborhoods in san francisco, new york and washington state and she witnessed the troubles of women and single mothers living in these communities. ji net became a strong -- janette became a strong national advocate for giving women a voice through the right to vote. she was elected to congress when women still did not have the right to vote. the 19th amendment only passed three months after she left congress. as she put it, we're half the
7:07 pm
people, we should be half the congress. and so today as we continue to honor her work and legacy, and with this ongoing budget crisis in mind, it's imperative that we redouble our efforts as she would have to come to a solution and to take the lesson of janette rankins, to fight for women and the poor who are disproportionately affected by sequestration and to fight for them as janette rankins fought for them so hard. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. garamendi: mr. speaker, climb's changing, climate change is very, very real. the only -- you only have to look at superstorms we've had, sandy and others, and the 18 -- $180 billion of destruction that's been brought upon us from the environment just over
7:08 pm
the last two years. climate's changing, there's something we can do about it. in fact, there's something this house of representatives must do about it. and that is to move forcefully, directly, and aggressively to clean energy policies. we ought to be subsidizing those clean energy systems that are out there, solar and wind. in my own district we have one of the biggest wind farms. my own history in this goes back to 1978 when i offered legislation for state tax credits. we can and we must deal with climate change and we can do it with clean energy policies. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to pay tribute to mitchell marcus, jonathan monanez and the high school basketball teams in el paso, texas.
7:09 pm
few teams have a more contentious rivalry than these two who compete to claim the title, pride of the west side. so it was a hometown sports miracle when these rivals came together last month to support mitchell marcus, a special needs student who is a basketball team manager. with 90 seconds left in the season's final game, coach peter morales put mitchell in the game to fulfill his dream of making a basket. however, after a few missed shots, mitchell's opportunity seemed lost. rourke rourke but with -- mr. o'rourke: but with seconded left in the game, jonathan monanez passed the ball to mitchell and he scored a point. it is a moment now famous in el paso and around the world because it shows the character and compassion can transcend even the bitterest rivalries. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? without objection, the
7:10 pm
gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor the life and legacy of sergeant gary morales who was laid to rest today after being killed in the line of dudey -- duty at the age of 35 on last thursday in fort pierce, florida. sergeant morales was a 12-year veteran with the st. louisy sheriff's office and also proudly served our country as a member of the united states air force. there's been an outpouring of support in the wake of the shooting, with the community coming together to support his wife, holly, and their two young daughters, brooklyn and jordan. the community has also come together to share fond memories of a man that everyone remembers as being an outstanding officer with a bright future and someone who always went above and beyond to help others. it is clear that sergeant morales not only dedicated his life to service, but was a true leader and a selfless hero. mr. speaker, sergeant gary morales dedicated his life to
7:11 pm
serving his community and his country. i extend my most heartfelt condolences to the morales family and his extended family at the sheriff's office. mr. murphy: during these most difficult times. i am humbled to recognize him here today. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for mr. culberson of texas for today, mr. honda of california for today, and mr. young of alaska for monday, february 25 through thursday, march 7. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the requests are granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2013, the gentleman from indiana, mr. messer, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. messer: thank you, mr.
7:12 pm
speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the subject of this special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. messer: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today as part of the second in a series of special orders put on by the newly elected freshmen republican caucus. our first was on spending. today we rise to speak about the -- on the second amendment. i have participated in the first 50 days of my service here in this chamber in 19 public events throughout the sixth district of indiana. coffees, meetings with constituents, the public, folks who vote to send us here. and i can tell you, in every one of those events people have two topics that are top of mind. they're focused on spending,
7:13 pm
they're focused on the sequester. they're tired of the federal government that continues to spend money that we don't have and they want the government to follow the principles that every american family does. which is you don't spend money unless you have money to spend. but the second topic that i hear everywhere that i go is the second amendment. and the importance of making sure that that bedrock principle of american liberty is protected. we all know the tragic events that have occurred in recent months here in america. obviously the connecticut tragedy being foremost in mind. i want to be clear in my comments as i do all throughout my district, that as a nation we are heartbroken by tragedies like that when they occur. as a nation we mourn and weep with the families that had to deal with those tragedies. but as sad and tragic as those circumstances are, we cannot
7:14 pm
allow those events to be an excuse to undercut the second amendment and all that it means for liberty in this nation. there are opportunities to make a difference for public safety in this debate. it is time for a national conversation about mental health. because the common denominater in every one of these crimes is that the perpetrator is someone who is mentally ill. there are opportunities to do more on school security and i'm hopeful that we'll be able to work through those as we move forward. but this much must be made clear, gun bans don't work. they are only effective at preventing law-abiding citizens from having guns because the criminals and mentally deranged that commit these crimes don't care about the fact that there's a law that would have
7:15 pm
them not have a gun. to blame a gun for a crime is to blame a pen for a misspelled word. and i look forward to the opportunity and dialoguing with my colleagues today on this important topic. i appreciate congressman stockman and congressman williams for their comments just a few minutes ago. i want to recognize the gentleman from utah to step forward and give comments on this important topic. . >> i thank -- mr. chaffetz: -- >> i thank the gentleman for the time. i know what it's like to be so excited about going hunting that you can't sleep the night before. i know what it's like to serve as an officer and pilot in the
7:16 pm
united states air force. there i learned about defending our nation through an adequate show of force force. i also qualified as an expert marksman in small arms. recent and saddening events of violence have brought conversations about guns to the national stage. these acts of violence, as terrible as they are, should not be used by the white house as justification to revoke the rights outlined in our constitution. the second amendment clearly states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. our founding fathers created this amendment to protect the citizens from government tyranny. in twailingt, the supreme court emphatically stated that the right to bear arms is an -- in 2008, the supreme court emphatically stated that the right to bear arms is an individual right. today it continues to protect
7:17 pm
that right. u.s. civilians who do use guns to protect themselves and others from crime, at least 990,000 times a year, almost a million times a year. it's critical that we continue to protect this personal and absolute right. gun related violence is indeed tragic, we all know that it is, as my friend from indiana so eloquently stated, we bleed for those who are victims of this. but it's important to note it only counts for a small portion of the violent crimes commit in the united states. mr. stewart: the u.s. department of justice said of the five million violent crimes in the united states, only 8% were committed by offenders who visibly were armed with a gun. most of those crimes were committed with guns that were
7:18 pm
already illegal. even the u.s. justice department conducting a survey in the 1990's that found that 79% of the state prison inmates that carried a firearm during an offense that sent them to jail received their gun either through an illegal source or from one of their friends or family. stricter laws to ban guns will not solve any of these problems. we already have many laws in place. but instead of psychiatry ating new and harsher laws we need to do a better job of enforcing the gun laws that we currently have. finally, let me say this. i believe that the timing of this proposal and these bills, it just isn't right. at a time when sequestration just went into effect and our country is on a path toward bankruptcy, it's unacceptable that the white house continues to push its gun control agenda.
7:19 pm
we need to be focusing on getting our country back on the path of fiscal sanity. we need the president and his administration to show leadership. we need to ensure that america maintains its leadership role in the world. to do that, we need to budget and to spend responsibly. we need to replace president obama's sequester, and it is this -- and it is this president's sequester, with common sense spending and -- commonsense spending cuts and reforms. most importantly we need the president to demonstrate an understanding of the nation's need to balance our budget and get us back on a path toward fiscal sanity. that's the great fight of our day. that's the great challenge we are facing. my heart bleeds for the victims of gun violence, whether they're in newtown or new york or in my home district. but the president's proposals will not help. they aren't designed to address
7:20 pm
the core problems of mental health or a culture that is steeped in violence. violence that is thrust upon our children through a media bent upon make manager money through the violence they propagate. mr. speaker, let's concentrate our attention on the greatest challenge of our day, not on a band-aid of additional laws that are designed to do nothing but to make some liberals feel better. to the gentleman of indiana, i yield back my time and thank you for this opportunity to address the house. >> thank you. mr. messer: as we consider the tragedy of newtown, connecticut, it is natural to want to prevent that happening again. the victims deserve our deepest
7:21 pm
sympathy for their pain. the perpetrators of this evil deserve justice for their crimes. the problem, however, is that the president and other opponents of the second amendment are seeking to limit our constitutional rights by pitching americans a false sense of security. that by taking away rights, somehow those who intend to do harms will not do so. history shows that gun bans only keep guns away from law-abiding citizens, not criminals. those who want to build modify -- build, modify, or acquire weapons for violence will do so. i recognize the gentleman from florida for such time heas -- as he may consume on this important topic. >> i'd like to thank the gentleman from indiana for your time. mr. speaker, i'd like to thank you for allowing me to rise here today. mr. speaker, i rise to address
7:22 pm
this body tonight about a subject that weighs heavy on the minds of many constituents and many americans. it is a subject and right that's been granted to us by our country's founding principles, the constitution, not by government. s the birth right of any law-abiding citizen of the united states of america and it is their choice to exercise that right. it is the role and duty of government to protect those rights. in my two months as their representative, more people in the third district of florida have reached out to me with their concerns over how congress will address our second amendment. after the much publicized tragic event at newtown, connecticut, this indeed, i think we all agree was a senseless act of violence. this is not a time to make a knee jerk reaction and challenge our second amendment and restrict our rights as law-abiding citizens. this is not a time to play partisan politics. this is a time to come together, this is a time to go after the
7:23 pm
cause of this despicable act. the individual and the cause of gun violence. i stand 100% with president obama and all others that want to curb gun violence so long as it does not interfere with our second amendment. the second amendment states a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. this was necessary to protect the third amendment, no soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner. those who witnessed the unspeakable crime we witnessed months ago should not be able to hide behind my amendment or law in this country. the real issue is gun violence,
7:24 pm
not the guns. we must be vigilant in using the laws already available to the fullest extent possible and look at why people are doing these crimes before we punish or infringe upon the rights of the law-abiding individual, we should more at causes of mental health issues that lead to these crimes. this point is illustrated by the department of justice's own internal memo we are discussing tonight which notes that the greatest number of dwuns used in crimes comes from straw purchasers -- purchases being purchased by someone for someone else, or by theft of a gun. not by the person that abides by the law. laws that place even more restrictions on law-abiding citizens who only want the right to own a gun for any legal activity they determine will not deter the person intent on doing harm. people with bad habits tend to do bad things. the first week of this congress,
7:25 pm
i joined my colleagues here on the house floor in reading of our constitution. we took an oath at that swearing in ceremony to uphold the constitution. i carry a copy of our constitution with me everywhere i go. any and all we do in this body and our colleagues in the senate should be done to uphold, to protect and to strength then document and by doing this, we strengthen america. our constitution has set america apart from every other country in the world and i aim to keep it that way. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the remaining part of my time. thank you. mr. messer: thanks again to the gentleman from florida. i appreciate your comments today. i thank my colleague from utah and my colleagues from texas who had the opportunity to speak earlier. i appreciate your leadership on this important topic. obviously we face many challenges as a nation of the
7:26 pm
second -- as a nation. the second amendment is one of them but an important one. clearly we all want to prevent horrible tragedies similar to the loss of those young lives in newtown, connecticut. but gun bans and many of the other proposals from this president are not the answer. for example, an internal memo from the justice department said that the universal background checks proposed by this president will only be effective if paired with required gun registration, a list of law-abiding citizens who simply exercised their constitutional right to own a firearm. this is a blatant intrusion of privacy and cannot be allowed. we need real solutions that aim to identify, treat, or limit access to the evil few who perpetrate these horrible acts. i am unwilling to turn my back
7:27 pm
on the constitution and sacrifice the liberty of the people i represent for a false sense of security. we need real solutions and despite our disagreements, there are opportunities to work together. as i mentioned earlier, blaming a gun for violence is to blame a pen for a misspelled word. if we could come together and focus on the real causes of this violence, then there are opportunities to work together and i stand ready to work with every member of this chamber regardless of party to move this country forward. mr. speaker i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced spoil of january 3, 2013, the gentleman from new york, mr. jeffries is recognized for 60 minutes as the
7:28 pm
designee of the minority leader. mr. jeffries: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members be given five minutes to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. jeffries: i also ask unanimous consent that a statement be entered into the record submitted by the honorable eddie bernice johnson, the gentlelady from texas. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's request will be covered by general leave. mr. jeffries: thank you very much. mr. speaker, it's my honor and privilege today to stand here as a member of the congressional black caucus to participate one more time as an anchor for the c.b.c. on the subject of the impact of sequestration on the american people. as we know, on friday, the sequestration took effect, automatic spending cuts of a
7:29 pm
significant, painful amount that will be experienced by the american people all across the land. mr. speaker, it was something avoidable had will been a willingness to find common ground. there are many who believe that the most appropriate approach would have been to try to find a balanced resolution involving tax reform and revenue and attempting to identify where reasonable spending adjustments could have been made. but instead of all parties trying to come together to find a balanced resolution to the problem that we find ourselves in, there are some in this chamber who seem committed to
7:30 pm
trying to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society. balancing the budget on the backs of children, seniors, pregnant women, superstorm sandy victims, public housing residents. our national security. and so i'm just hopeful that as we move forward, that we can find it, find the capacity, find the ability, find the courage to come together to seek out common ground so we can resolve the sequestration matter and move forward supporting the economy in the manner that will be the healthiest for the greatest number of americans possible. i'm pleased today that we've been joined by several distinguished members of the congressional black caucus including the chairperson of the
7:31 pm
c.b.c., the honorable marcia fudge who has been a tremendous leader on so many issues on behalf of working families and the middle class and seniors all across this country and i yield to her as much time as she shall consume. ms. fudge: thank you so very much. i thank the gentleman for yielding. i want to thank congressman jeffries for once again leading the congressional black caucus special order hour on another timely and important topic. . mr. speaker, well, here we are. it is march 4 and the congress and the administration are still mired in political gridlock with no resolution on how to avoid the across-the-board cuts, destructive as they may be, and untargeted sequestration cuts. how irresponsible. many communities around the country are still reeling from the worst economic recession since the great depression.
7:32 pm
let us not forget that the national black unemployment rate remains in double digits at 13.8%, far higher than the national rate. now these communities can only watch as the sequester threatens to roll back the modest gains of the last few years. the office of management and budget estimates that title one education funds could be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools. this cut alone will have an impact on nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students. in my home state of ohio, the public schools are preparing for the loss of $25.1 million in funding for primary and secondary education. you tell me, mr. speaker, what have children done to deserve this impact of sequestration? the sequester will impact every neighborhood and every household, no matter your race or you your age, the sequester will -- or your age, the
7:33 pm
sequester will have an impact on your life. what does the sequester mean for our economy? what does it mean for our neighborhoods? what does it mean for your household? it means cuts to education, the jobs of 10,000 teachers are now at risk. it means cuts to small business, small business loan guarantees will be reduced by up to $540 million. it means cuts to food safety, there will be roughly 2,100 fewer food inspectors. it means compromising workplace safety, workers will be less safe due to about 1,200 less safety inspections. it means cuts to mental health funding, up to 373,000 mentally ill adults and emotionally disturbed children will go untreated. the american people expect and deserve more. while congress debates the policies of deficit reduction, our struggling communities must cope with the consequences of our inaction. while politicians argue over
7:34 pm
tax cuts, our cities and towns, rural and urban, become less secure. our children's futures become less secure. our children are important. we could talk all night about how and why we got here, but many of you at home, our constituents, only want to know how we're going to end the sequester, escape this fiscal limbo and set our nation back on the right track. the path to prosperity is built on compromise. as long as house republicans insist on the grover norquist cut-only approach, the budgetary -- cut-only approach to budgetary health, congress will not move forward. simply put, a cut-only plan will not work. a true path forward will be a compromise built upon raising revenues and targeted cuts. just last week this caucus, the congressional black caucus, delivered a plan to house leadership on how to responsibly replace the sequester. the c.b.c. budget replaces the
7:35 pm
sequester with commonsense consults and revenue options that don't make the mr. richmond:er and the poor poorer -- make the rich richer and the poor poorer. this is bad for the nation, it's bad for our economy, it's bad for our people. we were sent to congress to move america forward. time has run out for games. the sequester is not a game. it means real cuts that will affect the lives of real people and again i thank the gentleman and i yield back. mr. jeffries: thank you, congresswoman fudge. week of been joined by congresswoman barbara lee from california. i now yield to the distinguished congresswoman from the golden state. ms. lee: thank you very much. let me thank you for your trend leadership and for pulling this -- for your tremendous leadership and for pulling us all together tonight to talk about the impact of sequestration and also to congresswoman -- our chair of the congressional black caucus, marcia fudge, for once again sounding the alarm and keeping us on track. let me first just start by
7:36 pm
saying, we need to stop this sequestration and we need to work to create jobs, lift the economy and reduce poverty. the sequester will impact my congressional district in my home state of california and every single household in america. it will push 750,000 americans into the unemployment line and slow our entire economy. in my home state, for example, it will cut 8,200 children from head start and shut the door to college for about 9,600 students. additionally 600,000 to 775,000 eligible low-income women and children who are -- well, they're going to be denied nutritional assistance because they are going to be cut from the w.i.c. program. sequestration will impact everyone but will have a particularly harmful effect on communities of color who were hit first and worst by the great recession and have yet to
7:37 pm
feel the effects of the recovery. let me just read out 10 reasons which were recently highlighted by the center for american progress and why communities of color and the african-american community and latino community particularly should pay attention to sequestration and the impact it will have in these communities. first there are going to be deep cuts to the long-term unemployed. and benefits will definitely -- the reduction of benefits will affect people of color. extended federal unemployment benefits remain vulnerable under sequestration and long-term unemployed, those out of work and searching for a new job for at least six months, could lose almost 10%, mind you, 10% of their weekly jobless benefits if the sequester goes into effect. now, 13.8% of african-americans and 9.7% of latinos are unemployed. and worse than that, 40% of unemployed asians, 38% of
7:38 pm
african-americans and 28% of latinos have been unemployed for more than 52 weeks. secondly, work force development programs that are vital to communities of color face significant cuts. youth build is a program that connects low-income youth to education and training and it could be cut about 8%. cuts to critical job creation programs such as build america bonds are also on the chopping block. this was created in 2009 and provides incentives for infrastructure investments through the tax code. fourth, federal budget cuts under sequestration would quickly mean cuts to federal, state and local public sector jobs which disproportionately employ women and african-americans. in 2011 employed african-americans comprised 20% of the federal, state and local public sector work force and women were nearly 50% more likely than men to work in the
7:39 pm
public sector. early child care funding could be cut by more than $900 million, impacting thousands of children of color who benefit from these programs. programs that directly help the most vulnerable families and children such as, as i said earlier, w.i.c., they're threatened by sequestration. federal education funding will disproportionately hurt students of color. if sequester goes into effect in the way it has been designed, nearly $3 billion would be cut in education alone, including cuts to financial aid for students and to programs for our most vulnerable youth. cuts to medical research put patients at risk. the national institute of health would pose -- would lose $1.5 billion in medical research funding, meaning fewer research projects would be aimed at finding treatments and cures for diseases such as h.i.v., aids, cancer and diabetes. all of which are among the leading cause of death for
7:40 pm
african-americans. since 2010, funding for housing has been cut by $2.5 billion, meaning any additional cuts would significantly hurt low-income families and communities. many housing programs such as section eight, these housing vouchers provide housing for low-income families for affordable housing in the private sector. and finally, as the nation continues to endure a cold winter, programs such as the low-income energy assistance program, which helps bring down the cost of heating for low-income households, are critical. and let me just ask if i could have unanimous consent to put a "new york times" article in the record, mr. speaker. the heading is, as automatic budget cuts go into effect, poor may be hit particularly hard. this was in today's "new york times" and what it said was sequestration cuts, as they are called, still contain billions of dollars in mandatory budget
7:41 pm
reduction and programs that help low income -- low-income americans including ones that give vouchers for the housing for the poor and the disabled and another that provides fortified baby formula to the children of poor women. and so i think we need to really listen to the congressional black caucus and really understand what this means in terms of vulnerable marginal communities, communities of color and individuals who were hardest hit by the recession, who have yet to feel any of the economic recovery, that -- recovery that has taken place and who are now going to have another hit in terms of the safety net and the quality of life and they don't deserve this and we need to get back to the drawing board and do what is right and what is fair. thank you again, congressman jeffreys. mr. jeffries: thank you, congresswoman lee -- congressman jeffries. mr. jeffries: thank you, congresswoman lee. the recovery is still in an extremely fragile state. many of those most vulnerable americans who were adversely impacted by the recession still have not been made whole in any
7:42 pm
way, shape or form. sequestration is an $85 billion shock to the system. it may begin as a slow burn, but it is going to sere over time. it is going to hurt our most vulnerable americans, as has been detailed in congressional district after congressional district after congressional district all across this country. it's irresponsible for us to even have allowed it to get to this point, which is why we are advocating for everyone to come to the table, to find common ground. this is a democracy, not a dictatorship. and because we're in a divided government context, it's unreasonable to simply say no revenues and as a result of this hardened position we find ourselves in the midst of this sequestration. we've been joined by the
7:43 pm
distinguished gentleman from new jersey, my good friend, congressman donald payne, who i yield the floor to. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. payne: mr. speaker, i want to thank my good friends and -- friend and colleague -- friends and colleagues, congressman horsford and congressman jeffries, for once again maintaining this special order for the c.b.c. and the impact of sequestration. i came to washington to work, to serve the hardworking families and individuals in my district who have been disproportionately impacted by this economy. i came to washington to spur growth and development for the sake of this country's economic
7:44 pm
future. unfortunately my colleagues on the other side oppose any effort that would support this mission. sadly, the only growth and development that the republican leadership has spurred has been the development of lies and the growth of fear among the american people. we now face this drastic cut of sequestration because the republican leadership in congress refuses to adopt a balanced approach to our nation's deficit and debt. instead they push drastic measures that would only further depress this economy. the fact is that it is impossible to reduce federal debt without a healthy economy. and a healthy economy will not develop as a result of sporadic cuts, rather as a result of
7:45 pm
increased revenue in part by increased volume of work from people who earn income and pay taxes. this is common sense. yet the sequester and everything the republican leadership has proposed undermined the current and future of the work force and disproportionately harms low-income families and individuals. . it would cut work force development programs and programs for students. job corps provides pathways to employment for low income youth. these programs experience a 37% cut in fiscal year 2011 but they will face additional cuts under sequestration.
7:46 pm
trio programs are key federal support for the first generation college students to prepare them to attend and complete college. these programs serve nearly 800,000 students an they will cut, face cuts of almost $43 million under sequestration. in new jersey, my home state, around 1,480 fewer low income students will receive financial aid for college and nearly 650 fewer students will receive work study jobs. approximately 15,000 students will be impacted by the cuts in education and around 1,300 children will be removed from head start. nationally, approximately nine million students will be impacted nationwide due to the cuts in education and nearly 70,000 children will be removed
7:47 pm
from head start program. further, under the sequestration, the security of children and their families will also be impacted. research shows that the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children, w.i.c., improves birth outcome rerks deuces child anemia, and improves participants -- the participants' nutrition and health. it is widely regarded as one of the most effective social programs, yet under sequestration, this program will be forced to cut an estimated 600,000 to 775,000 women and children. this is devastating. these cuts are unnecessary and counterproductive. democrats have offered a commonsense solution and time
7:48 pm
and time again to our deficit -- have offered a commonsense solution time and time again to our deficit problem, including h r. 699. but the republican leadership is not offering real solutions. the republican leadership claims that their actions in the name of our nation's future and austerity for our children. but our nation's deficit peaked at $1.4 trillion in 2009 prior to their efforts to cut and it has been falling ever since. our economy, though sluggish, is experiencing record growth. now is not the time for arbitrary cuts. now is the time to end the shameful attack on the middle
7:49 pm
class and the working class. pass a balanced approach. we are waiting for leadership in this area. i yield back. mr. jeffries: i want to thank the gentleman from new jersey for pointing several things out, particularly for making it clear that we have already made significant progress under this administration in partnership with this side of the aisle as we have attempt to move forward over the last several years as it relates to deficit reduction. i believe we got approximately $2.5 billion done as it relates to deficit reduction. while certainly we're open to trying to figure out how to move forward in the best possible way as it relates to the economy, an $85 billion shock to the system over the next several months and approximately $1 trillion over
7:50 pm
the next 10 years is harmful as it relates to the ability to move the economy forward. we are thankful that we have been joined by the distinguished gentlelady from the virgin islands, congresswoman representative donna christensen. mrs. christensen: thank you for yielding and i thank you for hosting this special order and coming to the floor on many evenings to speak to the american people and make sure that they understand what is at stake here. i'm somewhat ashamed to come back to work this week because the sequester wasn't avoided and the failure of congress to work together and take action has put so many important programs that our fellow americans rely on, so many jobs and the early recovery from telecentre session at risk. our democrat ig leaders said before the recess and again last week, that we should not go home without fixing the sequester. yet the republican leadership which sets the schedule did not
7:51 pm
enable us to stay here and prevent the cuts that would hurt our country. so under their leadership, the federal budget or lack of it which affects federal workers will have an across the board ax taken to them. i think we're smart enough that if the will was there, we would come together and reach a far better approach than the blunt instrument now being applied. it makes one wonder, what are our priorities? if we look at where the cuts will hurt the most, it does not tell a proud story. education and job training, head start, special education, health and programs like w.i.c. that support the health of mothers and babies. mental health and substance abuse programs where we have seen vividly and painfully how they're needed, health care, law enforcement, defense, housing, jobs and the economy, our economy, which is now strugging to -- struggling to recover. as often happens, as has been said, people of color are disproportionately impacted.
7:52 pm
african-americans are more likely to work in the public sector. we already have the highest unemployment and will be severely hurt by the reduction in unemployment benefits. the youth bill and job corps programs spoken about earlier, every 0% of the young people in those programs are african-american and latino. those programs will be cut. the trio program, which have already been cut, caused the virgin islands' only upward bound program to be lost. they need to be fully funded. many low income students will not have the benefit of their support to enter into and complete college. i want to talk about how this will affect my district, the u.s. virgin islands. we stand to lose $13 million in funding. the territories already don't participate never federal program that the states do. many programs are capped regardless of need. already the virgin islands
7:53 pm
government cut salaries, laid off about 500 government workers, the abrupt closing of an oil refinery cost ,000 direct jobs and many more indirect one. that $13 million doesn't tell the full impact nor does it include the impact of possible layoff, furloughs or other reductions in the close to 800 federal employees in the territory. if we just look at the w.i.:, meals on wheels, head start, h.i.v. and aids which serb almost 10% of our population of 106,405, a cut of any size will have a major impact of some of the most vulnerable in any society. unemployment is over 17% in st. croix, the island on which i live, where the refinery was operating. the cuts to unemployment benefits will be felt. all these cuts for individuals and families, like every where, have ripple effects across the entire community. the american people expect
7:54 pm
better from us. they expect us to lead and govern, to be responsive to their needs and help the less fortunate this 113th congress has not lived up otheir -- to their expectation thesms congressional black caucus, as it always has, and as it always is, is pr paired to lead. we will soon be releasing our budget which raises revenue, make strasstiegic investments and still would reduce the deficit other the next 10 years more than any other budget we have seen proposed. we know it can be done. we also know that the cuts to the sequester will impose will cost more in the long run. so where is the gain? we have been advised time and time again that the cuts in the sequester are the worst thing we can do at this time. although no one wants to talk about it what we need is another stimulus. last week, fed chairman ben bernanke strongly advised that congress and the administration could consider replacing the sharp, front loaded spending cuts required by the sequestration with policies to
7:55 pm
reduce the federal budget deficits more gradually in the near term and more substantially in the longer run. let's let all -- that's what all reputable economists have been saying. we need to call off the sequestration before irreparable harm is done and replace it with an approach that counts the savings we have put in place that does not stifle growth, that we need and still reduces the deficit in the long run. the american people are tired of the grid lock up here. they want us to work together. they also in their society in november said clearly they support the president's approach and agenda. as the african provemb says, when the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. my constituents are hurting as are all of yours. the sequester only adds more pain and suffering and does nothing to reduce spending because more spending will have to be done to clean up the mess the sequester will leave later on. let's call it off and pass a responsible and fair budget for the rest of the year.
7:56 pm
it's time for the republican leadership to work with our president, the president of the united states, barack obama, together we can do better for our country and those who send us here to represent them. we must do better. i yield back my time. mr. jeffries: congresswoman christensen, thank you very much. i think it's important to emphasize the point you made as it relates to what we should be doing to jump start the economy. we should be investing in the american economy, attempting to grow it, so we can create prosperity for the greatest number of people possible, not using sequestration which is a blunt instrument, to beat the economy and give it a pounding when it already is in an extremely fragile stite. objective economists have said that sequestration will have an impact of a job loss in the amount of 750,000 jobs. we can't afford that we urge our
7:57 pm
colleagues to come back to the negotiating table. we are pleased that we've been joined by the distinguished gentleman from illinois, congressman danny davis. mr. davis: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i've been told, and i want to thank the gentleman for his leadership in hosting this event. it is so good to see young and talented individuals come to the congress, building upon the experiences they have had in their cities, state, and local governments and it's a pleasure to be here. you know, i have been told that you can measure the meanness of a society by how well it treats its old, how well it treets its young and how well it treats
7:58 pm
those who have difficulty caring for themselves. i was thinking should the sequestration deal hold through the end of the fiscal year, between 600,000 and 750,000 low income women, infants, and children will be turned away. this would be not only unfortunate but it would be a tremendous change in what precedence has been. traditionally, dating back to 1997, both parties have made it a point of trying to make sure that this population group did in fact have an opportunity to participate in the women, infant, and children's programs. and that low income pregnant women, infants and children, the
7:59 pm
most vulnerable members of our society, would be able to have the basic necessities of life. and it was amazing to me this weekend as i watched a little bit of television on sunday morning, on the traditional sunday talk shows, and how different representatives were characterizing this action as not as bad as some people thought it was going to be. it's not going to affect as many people as it seems. our country has not fallen into lake michigan. well, i can tell you, if you are a young, pregnant mother with no money, no place to go,

78 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on