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tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  March 12, 2013 10:00am-1:00pm EDT

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2:40 five eastern. on capitol hill, the house and senate are in session. the house beginning legislative work at five: pm eastern -- at 5:00 pm eastern. in the senate today, they will work on a temporary sending bill which funds the senate -- which funds the government through september. president obama begins three days of visits to capitol hill today, meeting with senate democrats at 1:30 this afternoon. tomorrow he visits with house republicans him and he will finish what is being called his charm offensive thursday with senate republicans. friday, the president is off to argonne national laboratory in illinois. also, paul ryan is releasing his budget proposal. that is expected to start about 10:30 this morning. we will have that live for you here on c-span when it gets underway. this morning on "washington journal," we got a preview.
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host: jonathan strong joins us on the phone this morning to talk about paul ryan unveiling his budget later this morning. we will have coverage on c-span at 10:30. jonathan strong, let's talk about what we will see in this budget plan. do we know the details? guest: good morning. he has released some of the details. he previewed the budget in an op-ed in "the wall street journal" that was released last evening. kind of one of the big things here is that it essentially cuts 4.6 trillion dollars over 10 years compared to current law. he is trying to put it in perspective in the op-ed, saying that under current law, government spending will increase five percent per year over those 10 years, and under
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his plan it will increase 3.4% per year. the message coming out of paul ryan is that we don't have to make that tony and drastic cuts to reach balance in 10 years, which is the new feature of this budget. it is similar to the plans that he has released in the past. that is what his message is for this morning. >host: so under this budget proposal, a balanced budget in 10 years with no new taxes. how do they go about this? guest: they do keep the revenues from fiscal cliff, one of the big things here, it is one of the questionable things in here. they are assuming the repeal of obamacare, which is very unlikely to happen given the current balance of power in washington. it is somewhat fanciful thinking. it would cut a lot of spending,
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but it is not likely to happen politically. this is a blueprint, not binding law. that is one thing that is sure to be a big point of debate as they unveil their budget this morning. host: what does he replace if he repeals the affordable care act and gets rid of it? thet: we don't know what detailed picture looks like yet, if there will be any details in that. republicans have had a difficult time over the past few years rallying around a single healthcare plan. host: paul ryan also says that under this budget they would approve a keystone pipeline, and that there would be welfare reform. and they would also overhaul the tax code so that there would be only two tax rates, 10% and 25%. guest: those are a few
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interesting things here. on the welfare reform, i think it says that we are going to apply the model of welfare reform to other parts of the government, to medicaid, to let states have more authority to form those programs as they see fit. the tax reform picture, and the ways and means committee, is very keen on tax reform. there are a lot of skeptics in the capital that think there is not enough trust between the two parties right now. host: jonathan strong, politically, does paul ryan have centrist republicans with him? does he have conservative tea party republicans with him behind this proposal? guest: he definitely has the
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heavy hitters on the tea party conservative side. who were behind the agreement to pass a budget that balances in 10 years. the moderate in the conference were initially skeptical about this, but because of some changes, they decided not to change the age at which the medicare changes would begin hitting. republicans have been promising for years that if you are 55 or older, you will not have to worry about any of these medicare changes. they were thinking of changing that at 56. there was an outcry and they abandoned that plan. now the moderates do seem to be on board. host: the washington times reporting this morning when it
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comes to the affordable care act, senator ted cruz, texas republican, said he will offer an amendment to delay funding for the affordable care act until the economy improves. this is an amendment to a continuing resolution to keep the government funding that the senate will work on this week. it is winning support from other republicans like senator marco rubio of florida. jonathan strong, senate democrats will also unveil a budget tomorrow. guest: the senate budget is more notable in the sense that it has been since 2009 that senate democrats passed a budget. so this is going to be a more significant political test for them. the senate makes the process more difficult for the democrats over there. in the budget they have -- they can only -- they cannot lose a single vote, or else the vote would be deadlocked at 11-11.
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so patty murray, the chairwoman , has to appease bernie sanders, independent from vermont, who calls himself a socialist, and also a centrist like mark warner. they are having trouble over there, so we will have to see. the next thing that happens for them after they pass it through the committee, it gets to the senate floor, and because of the procedural rules that surround the budget, it is a vote-a-rama, where any vote is germane. so the republicans will be planning any amendment that will put democrats in difficult political spots. it will be a big test. there are definitely reasons politically why the senate democrats have not done a budget for so long. now that they are doing it, they will have to reckon with these things. host: jonathan strong, staff writer with "cq roll call."
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, here isyan's budget "usa today." the headline is, "third time is no charge -- is no charm for ryan's medicare plan." >> that budget briefing with public committee chairman paul ryan will start at 10:30 eastern. after his briefing, we are printing -- planning live coverage on the meeting on gun control. the first session happened last week. here is a look at some of that debate. >> committee and a subcommittee have held three hearings on legislation related to our purpose of voting bills out today. while i believe addressing violent requires examining more than guns, guns were newly -- guns were the near exclusive focus of those hearings and will be the near exclusive focus of
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the bills at the committee sees fit to markup. all of us strongly affected by new town, all of us want to take effective action to prevent future tragedies. but we have different deeply held approaches to do so. what we are talking about today is freedom not only guaranteed by the constitution but what the supreme court recognized as a pre-existing right of self- defense. individuals do not need the government's permission to defend themselves. today gun violence rates are at the lowest level in 50 years. this is a tremendous compliment. there are many reasons for it, including longer incarceration of dangerous criminals, police practices. this drop in gun violence has occurred even as there are more guns in the country than ever before. it has occurred after the supreme court has found the second amendment to be a fundamental right and after many states have increased the
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ability of law-abiding citizens to own guns. the drop has also occurred despite any new federal gun control enactment in almost 20 years. but a majority of the committee seems determined to impose more gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens. consider the assault weapons ban. this bill represents the biggest gun ban proposal in our history trade a similar ban was enacted in 1994, and the justice department's own studies failed to show that the band had any effect or in some of my colleagues -- i want to quote donald rumsfeld -- "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but the assault weapon ban did not work ." just this year the deputy director of the national institute of justice wrote that, "on assault weapons ban is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence."
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but rather than trying something different, the first bill on the agenda is an assault weapons ban. it is based on how guns look, now the damage they do -- not the damage they do. nar 15 is prohibited while nar 14 -- while an ar14 is exempt. the guns that it bans are not ones that are used in the military. as they are semi automatic. they are in common use for a banning large capacity magazines also fails rational basis scrutiny when the bill exempts a class of shotguns that can be continuously reloaded. the bill is not like passing a law that criminalizes speeding. it is like banning the manufacture of cars with hood ornaments from having the capacity of exceeding 65 miles
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per hour while exempting trucks from the same requirement for it at the hearings, the justice department did not endorse a specific ban but said that nonetheless a band could be constitutional. they did not suggest what level of scrutiny courts would apply to a bill with second amendment implications. they also said that they would develop an analysis of the bill's constitutionality. but it seeks -- but it speaks volumes when we are about to markup such a bill, and that analysis is not forthcoming. i think it is necessary to point out that had this build in law at the time, sandy hook still would have happened it would not have stopped a mentally disturbed person while stealing a gun that this bill would not have banned from his mother, shooting unarmed children for several minutes before police arrived.
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background checks without notice, we were given an entirely new bill late yesterday. i know the sponsor says he does not intend to create a national gun registry, and i accept that as his intent. i would just say that the deputy director of nij recently wrote that universal background checks can only be enforced if there is universal gun registrations. some stated that criminals are foiled from buying guns because they don't go to gordon -- to gun stores. they recognize that prohibited persons do not now submit to background checks, although they obtain guns, which is why they want to expand checks. but they fail to recognize the criminals will not be any more likely to submit to expanded background checks them they are currently. they will go around supposedly universal checks, steel guns, or by them in the black market. when the universal background
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checks don't work, registration will be imposed to enforce them. when that doesn't work because criminals will not register their guns, we may be looking at confiscation. there is a refusal to consider gun control of law-abiding citizens does not work or if gun control works, we would expect to see that places with stricter gun laws would have less crime than those where it was easier for law-abiding citizens to have guns. instead, law-abiding citizens obey the law, criminals don't. under federalism, states and localities are laboratories of experimentation. results of different approaches coming out. then the federal government learns which laws work better than others as it considers national legislation. but that is not what is argued for gun control. we are asked to adopt nationally
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policies that have not worked at the state and local level. we are told that poor results in places with gun control are due to more lenient gun control for the vicinity. but if that were true, one would expect more crime in the suburbs where guns are lawfully available than in cities where they are not. and the states where guns are not easily able to be purchased than in states where they are not. however, this is not the case. restrictions on gun rights of law-abiding citizens do not work. again, rather than trying to approach a different approach, supporters of gun control not only want to double down on failed strategy, they want to impose on the nation as a whole despite the second amendment. i do think that action can be taken on gun trafficking and straw purchasing. but because those are actions by criminals that occur across
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state lines, i am glad we have a bill on that subject on the agenda. i appreciate the efforts of the chairman and other senators to be receptive to changes to the original legislation. when that bill comes up, i will speak about that. the final bill on the agenda is school safety bill. that bill originally had been a normal cost at a time when we were entering sequester. however, senator boxer and senator warner, the bill's sponsors, have shown let's ability on spending announced -- spending amounts and other issued. i wanted to know i appreciate appreciate those efforts. mr. chairman, republicans will make sure that we get the finality of these bills, and not meaning any criticism, they were not ready to consider -- to be considered last week. we will raise a fairly small number of amendments, which is how the committee process works. we are not spending -- we are
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not preventing any of these bills from being voted on in a timely fashion. a number of democrats made statements about these bills last week, and i know that my members on my side would like to also. >> we thank you for your cooperation. the trafficking bill, stop illegal trafficking firms. as per normal procedure, i will amend it with my substitute, which is based on the text of the collinsville. i assume there is -- of the collins bill. without objection, the bill as amended by the substitute is now open for further discussion and amendment. >> if i could, i would start the
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discussion. before i make a statement, i have not talked to senator sessions. do you folks want to make statements overall, or are you ready to go with the straw purchasing bill? it is on the agenda now, so the chairman has the right to bring it up. or do you want the right to this? >> i would have statements on both, but i would be happy to address the straw purchasing bill. >> out about you, senator? >> stay with the amendment process. >> can i speak now? >> sure, go ahead. >> i greatly appreciate the substitute amendment. i have offered an amendment to the bill which i will discuss separately. federal legislation needed on the subject of straw purchasing and gun -- when i conducted my
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oversight of the justice department failed operations fast and furious, i was told by whistleblowers that there were gaps in federal law regarding straw purchasers which should be addressed, and this is our opportunity to do it. mr. chairman, you have worked with me on the bill thomas making many changes at my request. i trust you think so as well because you have included the changes in the new bill. the new bill and your substitute amendment also included a revised ill by senators jill a brand and kurt on the subject of gun trafficking. those revisions also reflect changes that i asked senator jill a brand to make, and it would be worthwhile to outline all the changes that have been made to the bill since they were first introduced. i think they demonstrate good and senator senatoe
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gillibrand. d's bill wouldrang' have given states and localities a one-way incentive to a dress new gun control measures and force prosecution and prosecution -- and incarceration of the federal government and created for the first time a situation in which violation of state criminal law was an element of federal offense. she took that provision out at my request. i raised similar concerns about the language in the chairman's bill. senator gillibrand also made major and minor suggestions, clarifying what was intended to commit a crime, the gift exception, altering the directive for the sense -- for the sentencing commission and others. the chairman has also made changes to his bill at my
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request compared to when senate s 54 was originally introduced. it is now addressed only at straw purchasers, not only at all transfers on behalf of another. this allows people to buy for people as part of a legitimate business. it preserves private sales. now the bill goes to actual straw purchasers. those who purchase a gun on behalf of a precipitate person, senator gillibrand, you removed references a violation to state and local law, made changes regarding sales to persons who do not reside in the state. you took out language concerning false statement on the forms. separated the rules for purchase from licensed dealers and those of private sales, also limiting the bill to engaging
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indirectly in the conduct that is already illegal. you have protected the right of law-abiding citizens as i have outlined in ways i believe were not protected in either the original straw purchasing bill or the original trafficking bill. as a result of the changes to each bill and to their combination in the substitute, the bill now covers only criminals and law -- and not law-abiding citizens. since you have made good -- shown good faith, i will demonstrate mine as well for some on my side believe the bill needs more work to resolve outstanding issues now -- between now and when the bill goes to the floor area that is something i hope will happen with the chairman's help. with that understanding and if my amendment is adopted, i will vote to report your bill today, and i thank you for what you have done so far. >> thank you, i appreciate that. you and i have worked closely on this, as we have on a number of things.
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our bill is tough on criminals. as it is on prior sellers and buyers of firearms. but it is done in a way that we can engage -- we noted a lot of your concerns are now reflected in my substitute amendment. i understand the intent behind the amendment that you are raising. i am concerned that the amendment can -- the operation that is properly supervised, including terrorism and drug investigations. we all agree that the government should never permit guns to be
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transferred to dangerous girls as happened in fast and furious. -- to dangerous criminals as happened in fast and furious. arresting a straw purchaser immediately after a sale. having said that, the senator from iowa says we will continue to work together. prior to the time that a bill comes to the floor. so if there is no aid -- if there is no objection, i am prepared to accept your amendment. >> ok, i authored the amendment, and since you said what you just said, i am going to put my statement in the record. let me say that i am willing to consider reasonable changes to my amendment provided the changes do not harm the goals of holding the department of justice accountable for gun operations where weapons could
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walk. fast and furious was a debacle that will haunt the department of justice for decades. these operations need oversight and accountability, and from that point on oversight and accountability, i think that is an area where i have to draw the line, if you will take that into consideration after the bill gets to the floor. >> without objection, the bill is amended by the amendment of the senator from iowa. are there other a nimitz? >> mr. chairman? >> senator corn and -- senator cornyn. >> mr. chairman, i believe the stop illegal firearms act would amend statutory authorities to target weapons -- >> if the senator would hold just a second. senator hatch has a statement he wants included in the record.
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without objection. it involves a prior find, that the amendments we just accepted -- >> my concern is that this bill is a solution in search of a problem. straw purchasing for the purpose of directing guns to people who cannot legally obtain them is already a crime, and so we doubled down and say this time we really mean it when in fact the real problem, i think, in many instances, is the lack of prosecution of existing crimes i the department of justice. as i have said earlier and i will say again, i have difficulty explaining to my constituents back home how passing more laws they go in and forced make them any safer. while i understand that the
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desire to act, to seem like we are doing something, i worry about the disconnect between the action and any solution to the problems that we all are concerned about. and i also worry, mr. chairman, that this legislation, which has been shared with my staff about the last 36 hours, we have not had an adequate opportunity to try tovet it and understand what these ramifications may be. and i would hope that we could try to work with your staff and work on a bipartisan basis to a dress the concerns we have ash to address the concerns that we have. >> you are talking about the amendment that was introduced and circulated on monday. today is thursday.
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>> my staff advises it was circulated yesterday. >> it was introduced on monday. >> my staff tells me we got it yesterday. the point is -- let me give you an example. the bill would make it a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison for a person to attempt or plan to buy a firearm as a gift or raffle item. if the person negligently fails to know that the recipient is ineligible from purchasing a firearm. this bill would make it a serious felony for an american legion employee to negligently transfer a raffle firearm to a veteran who suffers from ptsd. that example -- and i am sure there are others -- causes me concern that we are getting ready to vote on a piece of legislation when we do not know what the scope or the
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consequences of the legislation are. which to me councils taking our time and making sure that we understand what the impact will be, rather than passing legislation that will have unintended consequences that none of us would endorse, but which in our haste to try to show that we are doing something we end up creating that unintended consequence. >> you are talking about your amendment -- >> i am talking about s54, stop illegal trafficking -- >> i understand, but are you offering an amendment? >> i am not offering an amendment. >> thank you. if there are no amendments, the clerk will call the roll. >> i want to share something on
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that. mr. chairman, i do express concern about the penalties in this legislation. it is difficult to write. i have some concerns about it. in general i support the concept of what you are doing. i think the department of justice has said there are areas in which they are not able to effectively enforce these laws, and they need better legislation. i am inclined to think that is so. although i would know to my colleagues, if you provide a gun to someone intending to use it in a drug crime or robbery or murder, you -- are you an eight or or a better -- aider or abe ttor, which makes you charged
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with a crime, and that is prosecutable today. i have prosecuted these cases. if you lie on that form, you are subject to false statement, and the penalties are in the code set forth. i suppose if the person leaves the country, like in this situation we had at the border where the guns go into another country, all you have got left maybe is a violation of the paperwork regulations. that might not be sufficient to properly punish a person, or it may leave difficulty. there is valuable legislation here. but i am a bit troubled -- >> hearing from last week. see it all at c-span.org. live now to capitol hill to
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house budget committee chair paul ryan as he releases his budget for 2014. >> good morning, everybody. what we have here is the house budget committee am a republican majority, putting out yet again a budget that addresses america's needs. a budget that balances the budget. it is a path to prosperity, a responsible balanced budget. we believe we owe the american people a balanced budget, and for the third straight year we have delivered rate we balance this budget in just 10 years. this is a document, a plan that balances the budget in 10 years. the house budget committee has spent the last several weeks working together with each other just like families and businesses do around the country. we have been assembling a budget so that we can make sure our country can live within its means. it is a reasonable goal, balancing the budget, and we keep -- we cannot keep spending money we don't have.
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that is the basic acknowledgment, when you are budgeting like families and businesses do, that you cannot continue to kick the can down the road and spend money we don't have. how do we do this? we cut wasteful spending, repair the safety net so we can help those in need. we protect and strengthen key priorities like medicare, which is going bankrupt. we foster a healthier economy so we can create jobs and grow more wages. you see, balancing the budget is not simply an act of arithmetic , not just getting expenditures and revenues to add up. it is a means to an end. it is a means to a healthier society, programs economy. that is first and foremost why we are doing this. let me walk you through the charts. if this thing works -- there we go. here is essentially what we do
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to begin with. this budget cuts spending by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. the government has historically paid a lot more, spent a lot more. we match revenues with expenditures. so our budget matches spending with our income just like every family and business must do throughout america. in fact, we bring deficits down right away. this shows you how our deficit path goes down precipitously to begin with to the point are we end up with a surplus in 2023. in the 1990's, democratic president worked with a republican congress to balance the budget. this is a goal that both parties have been able to achieve consensus on achieving in the past. it is something we ought to do again. number 3 -- this is the picture that should scare everybody. this is the picture that shows the path we are on today. we know without a shred of doubt we are consigning the next
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generation to an inferior standard of living. we know just like in europe we are facing a debt crisis in this country, and a debt crisis hurts everybody. but the people who a debt crisis hurts the most are the poor, the elderly, the people who get hurt first and worst in a debt crisis. so we are addressing the most printable debt crisis in this country's -- the most predictable debt crisis in this country's history. the green line shows you the debt reduction path we achieve by putting this budget into law could only will we balance the budget, we will pay off our debt to give children a debt- free nation. at this time i would like to turn over to one of the distinguished members of the budget committee, one of our ways and means members who will talk about progrowth economic policies. by including progrowth reforms like tax reform, we are making it easier for businesses to be
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competitive. let me turn it over to diane black to explain exactly what we are doing. >> thank you, mr. chairman. our budget is an opportunity to change the course of our nation. we have a responsibility to avoid the debt crisis, as the chairman has already said, and the move forward with a prosperous future. common sense and math tell us that balancing a budget requires two things -- cutting spending and economic growth. a huge obstacle right now to this is our obligated tax code. today the tax code is nearly 4 million words long and about 60% of our taxpayers need to hire professionals to help them prepare their returns. every year americans spend 6
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billion hours and $160 billion filling out their returns. clearly something is wrong. now, our budget paves the way for tax reform, and it reaffirms that the ways and means committee will pass comprehensive progrowth tax reform legislation this year. now, this budget builds on bipartisan consensus in favor of lowering the rates to create jobs and broadening the base to ensure fairness and simplicity for our families. the purpose of tax reforms is not to take more money from our families to spend more money here in washington. it is to create jobs and to increase the wages for our working families. i look forward to working with my budget members and also the ways and means committee to advance comprehensive tax reform this year to help us to strengthen our economy, reduce
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our deficit, and get americans back to work. thank you. >> at this time, i would like to turn the podium over to the vice-chairman of the budget committee, dr. tom price from georgia. >> thank you, paul, so much. budgets are about priorities, priorities that the american people overwhelmingly support including getting federal spending under control, getting our economy moving again so folks can get back to work, and getting our debt crisis under control so we may preserve the american dream for future generations. within our path to prosperity, our budget. this past to prosperity is the way to a responsible balanced budget. american families across this great land know the federal government should not spend more than it takes in. we agree. sadly, the budgets proposed by president obama have never, ever, ever gotten to balance.
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the legal deadline for the president to present his budget to congress this year was february 4. it is now march 12. past experience tells us when he does bring his budget that that one will not allen's likely either. american families cannot live this week. cannot live this way, and neither should the federal government. we want the american people to keep more of their hard-earned money, to say than to spend and to invest as they see fit. senate democrats have not adopted a budget in nearly four years. they will do one this year because of the no budgetact that was passed in the house earlier this -- because of the no budget, no pay act that was passed in the house earlier this year. we look forward to seeing their budget. the next test will be whether
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or not they can pass the budget they introduce. will enough senate democrats be willing to endorse a plan that taxes more so that washington can spend more? that washington way simply is not working. the american people are sick and tired of political games being played with our economy where special interests and backroom room deals seem to dominate policymaking. the house republican budget finally put a stop to that. so washington uses hard-earned tax dollars in an accountable and effective way. now, we wonder -- will the white house and senate democrats be able to say the same thing about their budgets? or will we just see more accounting tricks and budget gimmicks and wasteful spending? this path to prosperity, this budget will create a healthy economy where job creators are hiring, job seekers are finally finding more jobs, more work, and more american families and entrepreneurs are realizing their dreams. this past to prosperity and shores we are honoring the
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commitments that americans have most as priorities. that protect our national security, cares for the poor and sick i repairing safety programs, and expands economic opportunity for every single american. republicans will protect these vital programs while we control spending and solve our nation's debt crisis. our hope is that democrats see these vital programs as something they want to say than strengthen, not simply to demagogue. we believe in the industriousness and the ingenuity of the american dreams of the american people. it is time the government starts acting worthy of the people that we represent. iq. >> thank you, dr. price. this is not only a responsible, reasonable balanced plan, it is also an invitation. this is an invitation to the president of the united states, the senate democrats, to come together to fix these problems.
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we don't think it is fair to like -- to let programs like medicare go bankrupt. it is did not fair to take more from hard-working families to spend more in washington. a budget is a means to an end. an and is the well-being of the american people. the and is the growing economy that produces upward mobility. it will provide the economic security that we need for families. it will help secure retirement for seniors and expand opportunity for young people having a hard time finding careers and jobs in the stagnant economy. the final point i want to make is -- and i mentioned this to the president the other day -- we want to revise the budget process so we have regular order. that means let's do our jobs. that means we want to pass a budget here in the house. we are very pleased that the senate is passing a budget or will attempt to pass a budget. what that means is reviving a
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process that is not in the back room but that shows how we are going to accomplish these goals. we want to revise this budget process so at the end of the day we can have a vehicle to get something done. i don't think the president disagrees with that. this is an invitation. show us how to balance the budget. if you don't like the way we are proposing to balance the budget, how do you propose to balance a budget? are we going to continue to be complicit with never balancing the budget and never -- and therefore gather an inferior standard of living? this is a specific plan that shows how to get it under control. it is our vision for a program of, upward mobile society. the final point i would make is this. far too long in washington we measure success of our efforts by inputs. how much money are we spending on these programs, rather than measuring by output -- how are they working?
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we have put so much money and welfare programs, poverty fighting programs, yet we have 46 million people living in poverty. is among the highest rates of poverty we have had in a generation. so rather than measure how much money we're are spending in these programs, that's think about are the measures helping people? are we getting people out of poverty, back on their feet again? these are the kinds of questions we are tackling in this budget, and as we do this, we are showing the country a plan to balance the budget, to grow the economy, to get people out of poverty, to get the american dream reignited, especially for those people who have seemingly seen it slip away from them. let's take your questions. here. >> you spent months on the campaign trail arguing against raising taxes. most of your colleagues opposed raising taxes as part part of the fiscal cliff deal. but in this budget you say you balance in 10 years in part by using $600 billion in new taxes
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that you opposed. isn't that disingenuous? >> not at all. we are not going to fight the past because that is behind us. we are showing that with the fiscal cliff and everything that has occurred in the past, it clearly makes it easier to balance the budget. we are saying let's replace this anti-growth tax code, this crony capitalism special interest written new poll -- loophole tax code, with a progrowth system that helps families and businesses. lower tax rates, fewer loopholes, and we can still balance the budget in doing so. we are not going to refight the past. the law is the law, and that will not change with respect to these issues. not only do we not balance the budget faster -- we have always balanced the budget -- we can do it faster, but we want to do it better with a progrowth tax code. >> a key tenet of your budget is
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the affordable care act. we always hear that general that fights the last war, why go through that again? the second part of the question is, did you feel you had to include repeal of the affordable care act because it would not pass the house of representatives? >> there was never a doubt in our mind. the fiscal cliff occurred, but we don't like the tax code it has produced. therefore, we are proposing a new tax code that is more of a progrowth tax code. let's take obamacare, the affordable care act. we don't like this law. his is why we are proposing to repeal the law in our budget. more importantly, we believe that this law is going to collapse under its own weight. please know that when americans see exactly what the law entails, which they have not seen all these details are those of us who work on these oversight committees who know what is going to happen through the provider networks, they are not going to like this law.
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this is why we are not only repealing this law because we don't think we can afford to borrow $1.8 trillion in extra spending that it entails, we think we can replace it with a better healthcare system. that is also something we are going to be proposing. here is a better patient -- centered system to replace obamacare. this is consistent with everything that we believe in, which is getting rid of obamacare because we think it destroys the health care system. it will make it an inferior quality of care system, and there is a better way to go. this is something we will not give up on because we are not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the american people. we want to prevent this law, which we believe will do great damage to families and the health care system in america. >> senator murray, if he goes along with the president, will probably offer something of balancing the debt to gnp ratio. a little bit more of an esoteric goal.
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why is it so important for you to reach balance or near balance in the -- >> getting the debt to stabilize in this era is not sufficient because the debt is already too large. i would challenge the statistics on what primary balance means. let me say it another way. we believe we should balance the budget because families and businesses must do that. but we also have to get the debt down. you cannot start paying down the debt in a serious way until you balance the budget. we start running surpluses in 2023, and we get this debt under control. the problem is, the current high levels of debt we have today are a threat to our economy, and they guarantee we will destroy the future for the next generation. simply trying to make a statistic look a little less bad is not much of a budget, and unfortunately the msm and democrats -- and unfortunately
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the senate democrats seem to be going down this path. >> if you cannot repeal obamacare, how long will it take to balance the budget under your land? >> we believe obamacare will be so unpopular in this country because of all the broken promises it will prove. remember if the president -- remember when the president said if you like your health care plan you can keep it? americans are in for a rude awakening. the cost has been going up ever since obamacare has passed. the member he said he would do it out in the open? it was a backroom deal. you are going to see substandard health care. you will see young people not wanting to go into the field of health care obamacare. so we believe that in the interest of healthcare for seniors on in the interest of health care for families, in the interest of making medicare work better for low income people, we need to repeal and replace obamacare with a better system, a patient -- centered system. we will never balance the
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budget if you keep obamacare going because it is a fiscal train wreck. >> one thing that you campaigned on quite a lot during her vice presidential run, you declared $716 billion that were part of the medicare cuts as part of the president's healthcare law. totaled out by president obama, all to pay for an entitlement we did not ask for. shouldn't that count at $716 billion in your budget? and you count the savings from the fiscal cliff deal as deficit reduction. so the $716 billion, it brings you closer to a balanced budget , doesn't that go against everything your conference stands for? >> we believe on the revenue side that we can still have a
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progrowth tax code that broadens the base at the current revenue line we have. this is why we are saying to the president and democrats, you want to continue raising taxes to raise spending in washington? we can still have a very good internationally competitive family supporting progrowth tax reform. to your medicare point. let me make it really clear. what we do in this budget is we stop the rate of medicare. you have to remember, president obama took honey from medicare to spend on creating obamacare. we ended that -- took money from medicare to spend on creating obamacare. we ended that. there is one more point we make in this budget. we are concerned about the provider networks. you are concerned about issues that might arise. we have a special procedure to address any inadequacies we might have in the medical providers system if those situations arise.
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if we find just like we have found with doctors that there is a problem that needs addressing , we have a special procedure to do that. >> people outside this process might look at this present conference today, pretty similar to the one last year where you stood there and you we -- and we sat here. >> that's right. >> the good people outside this process might be watching and saying, well, paul ryan did this last year -- >> and the year before that and the year before that. >> and he was on the ticket, ran on this, pretty darn close. president obama ran on what he called the balanced approach, raising taxes on the wealthy and his medicare and social security position. he won that election. house republicans lost seats in the house, got one million fewer votes than democrats. senate republicans lost seats in the senate.
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people outside this process might wonder if elections have consequences on the budgeting process. do they? >> so the question is, the election did not go our way -- believe me, i know what that feels like. that means we surrender our principles? that means we stop believing in what we believe in? look, whether the country intended it or not, we have the second-largest house majority we have had since world war roman to -- since world war ii. we need to put up our vision. we think we owe the gadget -- we owe the country a balanced budget, solutions to the problems that are plaguing our nation. a debt crisis on the horizon, a slow-growing economy, people trapped in poverty. we are showing answers. it elections do have consequences. we are in the majority. this is our offer, our vision. and what you do is you show the country what you believe in.
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the senate has not passed a budget in four years despite the fact that the law requires them to do so each and every year. because of the no budget, no pay act, the senate is finally doing a budget. i am please that patty murray is trying to pass a budget because we have not seen that attempt in a long time. if she can pass the budget, then we actually have a process out of the public for the nation to see that gets us going down the path of solving problems. this is one of the things the president and i talked about. let's revise the budget process so at the end of the day we can get a down payment on the problem. will the president take all of these solutions? probably not. what we are saying is, here is our offer, our vision. here is how we propose to balance the budget and grow the economy, repair the safety net, save medicare. we hope the senate actually
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follows suit and shows their vision because if they actually put their plan on the table, and we can start talking and find common ground. that is a constructive way forward. that is why we are doing this. >> you want to get down to two tax brackets, 10% and 25%. what do you say to the argument that in order to do that, you will have to go after middle- class tax breaks like mortgage interest, general donations, and healthcare exclusions? >> is is what the ways and means committee is going to do, set up working groups, doing hearing after hearing, going through the tax code to try to figure out a better tax system. our goal is to have a two bracket system that is progrowth. what that means is closing down loopholes, maintaining important ones that we are going to have to find out which -- that we are going to have hearings on to find out which are the most
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important ones. there are different ways of doing this. you can plug the polls -- you can actually plug loopholes. we think that is smarter because, don't forget, eight out of 10 businesses in america are not corporations. they file their taxes as people, as individuals. those tax rates are as high as 44.8% today. i represent wisconsin. among our greatest competitors are canadians. last year canada lower their tax rate on all of their businesses to 15%. the top tax rate on our small businesses, nine out of 10 businesses in wisconsin -- 44.8% effectively. how can you compete when your competitors are taxing their businesses at much lower tax rates than we are taxing hours? we think the current tax code is destroying jobs, job growth, opportunity. it is making america much less competitive. that is why our committee is proposing a framework to plug
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loopholes, balanced tax rates, so that people can get to work again. >> does this reflect a shifting approach? >> our defense spending level reflects with the president's joints chiefs -- the presidents joint chiefs said is necessary to fund the mission of the pentagon. our first priority of the federal government is national defense. we are funding at levels that are necessary to maintain national security for the country. last one. >> last week you are talking about how the fiscal cliff deal and other improvements at the baseline major job easier in getting steps to balance the budget. what are those steps? >> we extend the budget control act discretionary caps out the last two years. we also wanted to extend our
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reforms on the public workforce, on federal employees, to include all federal employees at the end of the budget window so that there pension contributions match those are commensurate with the private sector. we don't think federal employees should be able to have pension systems that are so far in excess of what the private sector counterparts get. doing those things, combined with the baseline, makes it easier for us to balance the budget. we have always reduced the balance budget in the past -- we have always produced the balanced budget in the past. but with this new baseline, that gets us to be able to balance the budget by the end of the decade, by the end of the budget window. the point i would make is, now that we know it is easier to balance the budget, we should not drop the ball on balancing the budget. the president and the democrats should join us -- it is an invitation -- to actually balance the budget because it helps our economy. it helps give us a healthy and progrowth economy.
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it helps make sure our kids inherit a debt-free nation. this is a goal that all of us should have, brother republican or democrat. thanks, everybody. appreciate it. >> house budget committee chair paul ryan releasing his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, which seeks a balance budget in 10 years, partly by cutting 5.7 dollars trillion in spending and reforming the tax code. it also assumes repeal of the nation's health care program. we have a link to the proposal set up on our website, c- span.org. ever cuts are expected to discuss their proposal with the -- democrats are expected to discuss their proposal with the president this afternoon. if you missed any of this briefing, we will show it again later in our schedule. it will also be available on our website, c-span.org. a cloudy, rainy day in the
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nation's capital as we continue with live coverage, heading now to the senate judiciary committee, old in a hearing this morning looking into gun control legislation. this is the second part of this hearing. the first part happened last week. today's session got underway at 10:15 eastern. >> i hope we would have done that the other day, but i hope we could do that and complete it because once we come back from recess, we will be looking at immigration. thank you all very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> the committee is going into 4 going so we apologize t into it so quickly. we will have it later on our schedule. this morning, we spoke with a health care reporter who talked about where states stand in creating health care exchanges. this is from this morning's "washington journal." host: we're back with a reporter
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to talk about the affordable care act. the affordable care act, we want states to is set up exchanges. what are they? guest: they are the vehicle that people are expected to get coverage. there is the medicaid expansion and the exchanges. the exchanges will be run in every state, and they are a web portal where consumers can go and get insurance at subsidized to the affordable and care act. it is for people who cannot afford insurance or get it through their employer. that would have access through the exchanges. host: what insurance companies will participate? guest: will vary from state by .tate p
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some consumers -- host: states will control what is set up? guest: effectively, yes, but states where resisted say they do not want any part, and what the affordable care act provides for is in states where they resist the government can build their own exchanges and operate them in the early going so they will be controlled with state input. host: 17 states and the steep well established exchanges, 17 states establishing -- seven states pursuing state-federal partnership exchanges. expat -- explained the difference. guest: the reason the obama administration wants states to
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build their combs they want states to have a stake in the outcome, and states know their insurance markets. they know who the players are. they have been regulating products in their states for years and and the administration would prefer their states to set up their own. the seven states, how will that work? that will depend. the states will control aspects on specific aspects. the administration will be in charge of building the infrastructure and networks required. host: how much will this cost? guest: it is unclear. there is money in the affordable care act, but the money is there and everybody is convinced that
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the obama administration will make sure there is money to set up exchanges. host: where are we in the process? as far as when exchanges have to be set up, there have been deadlines that have been put in place. guest: we are in the final sprint. in terms of the affordable care at a time, that is the blink of an eye. states need exchanges to be running, and states will start having coverage on january 1. there are questions whether they will be ready in time, whether they can get the networks in place, and states that have held out, saying where they want to go on exchanges, will have enough time. host: any chance they will get a delay or exception from the government? guest: there has not been an
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explicit the like, but they have been flexible, because they want the states to do this. there may be a minor delay or wait to get states going as quickly as possible. host: fully operational by january 1, 2014. guest: they hope millions of people will be enrolled and private plans will have been contract or placed on exchanges for people to enroll in. they will get a good sense of whether the affordable care act is working, whether the gains they hoped for are materializing. host: what are republicans saying is the outcome? guest: you are seeing critics saying this is an attempt for washington to control their health care markets, that should be the province of states.
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they are concerned they will end up driving caught up costs for people this is a back door for washington to control their long-held state markets. host: driving up costs -- how so? guest: says a washington-imposed plan. they pay the copiague and now cannot benefit mix, and washington does not know their markets like they do. they do not understand the benefits should be for their people, and it is a one size fits all exchange. host: we have heard from republicans who they will see premiums going up. is that related to the conversation about health care exchanges? guest: they are mostly worried about who will and roll, and if you get a lot of young people
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who say they do not need to enroll, i can accept a penalty for not getting coverage, or get around that requirement, then you will see costs change, less helping people -- less healthy people signing up for coverage. host: do we know the democrats -- demographics of people he will sign up for these exchanges? guest: i do not know, but they are hopeful that they will get the people to buy in and they have given states a lot of say in how to structure their plants in the hope they can tailor its to entice people. host: i our young people -- why are young people and important to making this work?
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guest: they do not require immediate medical attention, except for that when they have an emergency illness. the point is to get these people buy into its insurance now and pay premiums as a way to moderate costs for everyone else for the 01 per sicker population that needs regular care and treatment. host: of the affordable care act and exchanges, the 26 states, are most of those republican governors that have made that decision? guest: they are almost exclusively. you have some democratic states with governor's and republican legislatures. they had a republican legislature last term, but now they have the support of a democratic governor, but they passed a law to block a state- run exchange. host: are taking questions about
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the state health care exchange program. required under the affordable care act. patricia, you are first. caller: by senator paul ryan just did a budget, and he wants to cancel the affordable care act. also, my governor -- he does not want it. and i bet congress will not give the money for the affordable care act. the tea party is really ruining our country. host: paul ryan's budget. what does it say? guest: his budget assumes the repeal of the affordable care act which is a pipe dream, given the makeup of the country right
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now. i think it is aspirational, and a budget can be an aspirational document, so they would like that to be the case. republicans, especially with paul ryan still think the affordable care wacked could collapse under its weight. they think it's becoming so on popular there is no other choice could be a reality someday. host: wisconsin plants due to fall to a federal exchange program. guest: governor walter unveiled a plan. the other thing is medicaid
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expansion for low-income residents, and scott walker said i did not want to expand medicaid to the affordable care act. what he did say is i do want as many people as possible to enroll in the exchange and we can grow medicaid for state dollars for only the lowest threshold of poverty and get everyone else on the exchange. he is relying on the exchange for a coverage expansion. host: the house republican budget assumes they can repeal the affordable care act. host: senator ted cruz, when is he offering this amendment? guest: the money is there to build the exchanges.
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sequestration is only limiting the impact on the ability to build the exchanges, and coverage is unaffected right now by sequestration. what does not affect it on what is happening on the budget level is how the white house is reaching out and saying you should get coverage. they do not have the dollars to out reach. sequestration impacts that. people need to know that that choice if they expect to get choice. host: and the state of texas defaulting to an exchange. does cruz have support for it? guest: he has been increasing support for it. there have been reports that republicans understand the political reality. you're seeing this effort led by senator cruz.
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senator rubio profiled it. i think there is a reinvigorated effort. host: senator cruz is offering this amendment to what? the senate is taking it up today. bob from indiana is next. caller: i have a problem with this. expenses and expenditures. i go to several doctors. i'm seeing my doctor every three months for medication refills. he wants me and every patient to come once a month to get
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medication refills. we are talking about cost. what are some people supposed to do? no one had the same answers. a lot of that money will come from my pocket and the government's pockets. where's the justification? guest: i cannot speak to monthly doctor visits. our co-pay free -- they hope prevented visits will reduce cost in the long run because people are getting things caught earlier and not waiting for the last second.
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the idea of regular doctor visits is what they want to encourage. host: george in massachusetts. caller: i am on medicare right now. this is make up the difference in the medicare that i pay? guest: there will not be much interaction between the exchanges and medicare. medicare is for 55 and up. -- 65 and up. the exchanges are people for working age and it is geared toward young people up till they are medicare eligible would be eligible for the exchange. host: are they paid for in some way under the affordable care
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act? guest: the states have been getting grants to set up exchanges. those set up costs are affected by sequestration to a degree. the white house wants to make this work to get these exchanges going. host: there was a new tax in the affordable care act. is the tax helping to pay for these exchanges? guest: the tax has not hit yet. a medical device tax took effect this year. the long term tax hall is further down the road to help pay for coverage expansion. host: dan in oklahoma.
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caller: i have a unique -- union contract. some goes to my wages and some goes to my pension and health care insurance and so much goes to an annuity. i have a good package. what we have here -- i work these repair jobs and i make $55,000 that year. this is just an example. my health care insurance is valued at $15,000. will i have to pay taxes on $65,000 at the end of the year? guest: i'm not sure the affordable care act will have an impact.
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if you work for private company, that is tax deductible for your employer. what you paid toward your insurance is negotiated with the employer. i cannot speak to the particular changes with the affordable care act. host: gary on twitter. guest: and less debate about the real cost of the affordable care act. the deficit reducer over the long run. there will be coverage gains and reduced pressure on things like medicare and other elements that the law touches. republicans are saying this law is going to break the bank.
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host: joe in north dakota. caller: i have a few questions for you. you were talking about breaking the bank. we lost my father. my mother never took a dollar from the government. we stuck it out. i bought my first -- at 12. now i am 75 and on medicare. they say medicare is breaking the bank. you tell me why that should be breaking the bank if everybody
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has to pay that in or why we take these medicare patients. i understand there are people that cannot work. we are protecting the lazybones of this country. i would like you to explain that to me. guest: there is some debate including at the state level about who should be eligible for medicaid. should we make an effort to get people employed in medicaid that cannot afford health insurance on medicaid? the debate is happening around the country on that. there was a lengthy debate in florida yesterday.
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70% are employed and medically eligible. a lot of people who do seek medicare cannot make ends meet and cannot afford health care. medicare costs have slowed. you cannot say it is breaking the bank as much as it could. it could be a major budget buster down the road. host: how does this debate over expanding medicaid on the state level fit into this conversation? guest: exchanges are for people who earn above the medicaid special. -- threshhold. under the affordable care act,
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states have a choice to expand their medicaid program for people making about $16,000. the goal of the affordable care act is to cover as many people as possible. that is the most vulnerable population that cannot afford health care. host: what did the supreme court decide on the medicaid expansion? guest:this is why the battles are playing out in the states. every state's biggest spending item is medicaid. i think the court said states can expand medicaid to washington cannot hold this hammer over them. this have given states a choice about expanding medicaid.
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host: there have been eight governors that have agreed to expand medicaid. you can see this list. why have they agreed to this? guest: there is a lot of reasons why. look at states like arizona and new jersey and you say the political makeup is in support of the affordable care act. it is a choice for states. there are billions of dollars on the table for states that except it. -- that accept it. to have billions of dollars that can bolster your economy and expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of the honorable
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residents, it is hard to turn down. host: next caller. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have paperwork on the health- care plan. you are not telling the people what it is going to cost them. $47.50 per child. 2015, $697 per adult. after that it jumps. $5,000 for a single person. there must be three other tiers to the coverage. you are not talking about the cost. this is exactly what you are
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doing to the american people. they're scared spitless. they know they cannot afford this. you people on not telling the people what is going to cost. host: what are you doing? are you organizing people against the affordable care act? guest: right now i'm just doing it on my own. this is a dealer think i checked out -- this is not the only thing i check out. people are scared. i'm afraid for the senators and representatives. people will find out they will not get the care they are promised. he did not mention the tax.
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there is taxed even on it band- aid. there was a device company shut down because of the tax coming down. you'll pass the tax on to the people. this was classified as a tax. president obama has totally lied. so have the republicans. host: what about the cost of participating? guest: there is no one having any illusion that the will not be premium increases. some short-term premium increases because of the law's impact all once.
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it is a different story for consumers. care could end up being more affordable and not less. is a fear out there. there is a discussion about what will happen. republicans are convinced that premiums will skyrocket. the law will become unworkable. host: when might we see those headlines? guest: the beginnings over the next year once people start paying those initial premiums in the affordable care act era. once the law officially takes effect, you will see the real impact. host: robert. caller: thank you for taking my
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call. i find the whole thing rather confusing. we understand basically four systems that we used currently -- medicare, medicaid, veterans', and private health insurance. given the current ways we received health care, how is it going to change? will the employers continue to pick that up or the percentage the private person pays be the same? with medicare, seniors often have to pay for a supplement program. will they continue to have to buy that program? we would like to know how that
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will change, it will at all. guest: one of the fears is that opponents will drop coverage and will force people into exchanges, which is private insurance or on to the private roles like medicare. that remains to be seen. as much of discussion about a government takeover, the law is predicated on growing private insurance. on medicare, it always remains to be seen. there are some changes to medicare in the law enabling singers to get preventive visits at no cost and to close the donut hole on prescription drugs.
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that is up in the air. host: rhonda in arizona. caller: i am currently unemployed and actively seeking work. how is the unemployed to pay for this insurance plan? i understand there is a fine if you are unable to take the insurance. who is going to pay the fine? there is word that if you are unable to pay for that fine that your spouse will have to
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pay. guest: i am not familiar with unemployed health-care programs. a lot of states have their own. she was in arizona. the affordable care act and the penalties are designed to be tailored to peoples income. the minimum penalty is $95 in the first year. some say that penalty is too low. beyond a certain threshold, there would not be a penalty at all. you can get a waiver. host: south carolina, a democratic, johnny. theer: i'm a veteran of
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united states army. i work with the department of social services. this affordable health care act expands to those who are in poverty and to members who cannot afford health care. family members would be out of work because of health care. their health declined. these people are not able to go back to work. -- these people are able to go back to work. our governor is not extending that health care. it is an ugly situation. affordable health care is needed in this country. a lot of people need to understand the severity of what it would do to our country.
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host: do you have health insurance? caller: i do. host: through your job? caller: i do. guest: south carolina is one of the 'hell, no" states. it will leave states on the hook, even though washington has said it will pay for the first three years and then pay 90% thereafter. there is a fear that washington will not live up to that commitment. "we cannot afford to give you 90% of the cost." that expansion is there for people who are vulnerable and sick. host: we have this on twitter.
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guest: cost projections are falling. there have been different analyses for why that is. certain programs that are incentivizing providers to move away from this idea of fee for service. every time the doctor does a service or a test, the doctor gets paid. some say that is driving up costs. the notion of global payments or finding a way to say doctors should be paid for the health the outcomes of patients. host: this from vivian on twitter. guest: is not so much a cap. states are allowed -- most
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states have mechanisms to reject premiums that rise to what is considered an unjustifiable way. you're seeing some frustrations in states like california. raising rates by double-digit percentages. if there is very steep premium rates, we want to show that. a lot of states have mechanisms to reject those rates. host: stafford, texas. caller: i have been dealing with insurance from my daughter
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before she passed away. what is the big deal about obamacare? why hasn't the government rethinking the doctors and hospitals and the insurance and regulating them instead of forcing this on us? guest: i think the idea of the affordable care act is to make the system work better. you'll have disagreements about the right approach. there has been tons of that over the past two years. the idea of reaching to hospitals and doctors was a way to streamline the system. host: chris from nebraska. caller: hi. i was wondering in regards to
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the rebates. 80% were supposed to be used for health care. who is responsible for rebidding that back to me? is that the insurer? guest: it is the employer in general. a lot of people get coverage through their employer. it is they're responsible to pay 80% for health care. if they breach that, the employer would get that money. they would actually get the check. they could use that to reduce
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premiums going forward. it is a mixed bag. host: nancy is next from milwaukee. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. republicans are against it. this is one was left of the original intent of the bill. thedn't employers take burden to provide insurance, therefore there would be more apt to hire people? the capital left up to the states. left up to the states.
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we have an extreme ideologist for a governor and he is not going to do it. we will be punished. i would love to hear your answers. guest: it has fallen to the states on things like medicaid expansion at how to setup exchanges. states were given a buy-in to the law. employers and coverage -- i think it is a fear that employers will drop coverage. there are certain penalties in place if they do. but there is a fear out there. it could become an unaffordable problem. this is something republicans warned against. host: paul ryan writes in
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today's "the wall street journal" about the budget he plans to unveil this morning and his ideas for medicare and medicaid. we will be covering that news conference here on c-span at 10:30 this morning. good morning. caller: good morning. i cannot understand how anybody can rationalize asking the government to do anything more than it is doing. it cannot pay for what it is supposed to be doing now. it is saying it has to tax us smart to get more revenue by adding all these people to the rolls, of course it is going to cost more money.
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i feel the government simply will not do it. the states will be hung out to dry. host: we have this on twitter. guest: that is the point that proponents like to hammer home. this is what is projected to reduce deficits by putting downward pressure on programs like medicare and building in cost savings. some of these shift away from fee for service. this will start bending that cost curve. what people see what scares them off is the up front set up
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costs to build exchanges. there will be a lot of spending. the idea is it will put downward pressure on health care costs. host: john in georgia. caller: good morning. why is it so much talk about the entire health-care system has focused on insurance companies that provide these services without the recognition that anything in america that is a corporate-based is basically corrupt? all of these providers work within the stock market and are beholden to shareholders which is a capitalist-based product.
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it'll always be the people at the top that can benefit from this. you are always going to have that unpaid portion that is going to cut into your life services and the only way out of it from the standpoint of many developed nations -- germany, canada -- is through social care because there is no corruption on the capitalist side. guest: i think you're not alone on that. ofre's been a contingent support for a single payer system. there are concerns about the kind of system as well. dew point would be well taken in some circles -- your point would be well taken in some
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circles. the politics of a single pair -- payer have never been favorable. they may experiment with that in vermont. host: kyle cheney, thank you for your time. >> coming up we will bring you live coverage of u.s. house. members expected to take up a couple of bills dealing with financial institution privacy, and fled in short programs. the house gavels in in about 15 minutes. we are also planning live coverage of the british house of commons hearing on the situation in syria and north africa. we will join it live in progress after our coverage of the house
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at noon eastern today. later, the senate commerce, science, and transportation committee will hold a hearing on the fcc. that gets underway at 2:45 eastern. right now, a portion of that meeting today on gun control issues at the senate judiciary committee. here is a brief segment from that meeting. 374.e have before us >> i thank you for the opportunity for us to consider this legislation and other pieces. bill i have circulated resembles the fixed gun checks at i
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introduced last congress. i do not want to see too much, because the chairman has asked us to keep our statements short and because i am working on compromise legislation. the fixed gun checks contains my ideal approach to expanding background checks to all gun sales. a concept over 90% of americans support. it is not the only way to do it. i've been talking and continue to talk with colleagues across the political spectrum and across the aisle about a compromise approach and i remain optimistic that we will be able to roll one out. they're not 100% there yet, so for purposes of this committee's markup, i have circulated my own bill. while we finalize a bipartisan compromise. i have an understatement about the bill i will put in the record with the chairman's% with numerous letters of support. ford now, i will highlight it does two critical things --
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helps get states in to the database and requires background checks for all gun sales. >> the senator has a right to substitute. i would assume we accept substitute -- of course the bill would be open -- accept the substitute to his bill, and then it would be open to amendment, and before i yield to the senator, i know we have senator bill mattel, senator franken, senator schumer, senator hatch, senator flake, so that amendment is accepted, and senator grassley? >> i want to speak about my
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objections to senator schumer's bill, and at the end of my statement i have got questions i would like to ask senator schumer. i oppose the bill. the first point goes to process. when this first was listed on the agenda, it was a listing of findings, so it was not ready for markup that. the language is now changed as the substitute implies. i do not think it is still ready for markup. we are marking it up anyway. we were told that there was such a widespread support for universal background checks that a bipartisan bill would be on its way to passage. instead, three of the four senators involved in those discussions do not endorse the bill that is now before us. i sense from senator schumer that he is hoping that that can still happen. the bill we are on is similar to
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a bill that senator schumer introduced in the previous congress. let's start with the big picture problems that i find with it. first, as a witness stated at the hearings, there's no way to enforce a requirement of universal background checks without implementing a gun registration. i knowledge senator schumer says the federal law prevents such a registry. but federal law can be changed by federal law. this would be federal law requires the federal licensed dealer to keep a registration record of the transfer. mass shootings would continue to occurred despite the universal background checks. criminals will continue to steal guns and buy them illegally to circumvent the requirement. when that happens, we will be back again debating whether gun registration is needed, and when registration fails, the next
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move will be gun confiscation. it was concluded earlier this year with respect to universal background checks effectiveness depends on requiring gun registration. he noted the largest sources of how criminals obtained guns are through straw purchases and theft. he wrote straw purchases and theft would likely become larger if background checks at gun shows and private sellers were addressed. this bill would unnecessarily burden private sales. i think it has unintended consequences. law already requires background checks for sales by licensed dealers. we're told criminals did not get guns because of current background checks. we are told that when they seek to purchase guns, background checks prevent them.
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but that is not the case. obviously, criminals still get guns, they obtain them because they do not comply with background checks. supporters of this bill contend if we only make background checks universal, criminals will not get the guns. but criminals do not comply with existing background checks laws. why? why would anybody than think they would comply -- the criminal comply with a broader background check requirements? they will be trim it -- driven even morton straw -- driven even more to straw purchases and that's just as the official said. the effectiveness of this bill is therefore highly questionable. my next point, and this goes to the details of the bill, the mental health provision from last congress has been eliminated. that is a positive.
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we had professor david cobol who pointed out the flaws and that language, but many other flaws remain. the bill restricts the right of law-abiding citizens. the bill's family an exception applies to gifts only. it does not permit lending a gun to a family member. the bill does not permit a temporary transfer in the home appeared a gun owner cannot bring a new gun to a friend's house, let him handle it. if a gun owner and a friend returned from a shooting range, then stop at the french's house and the friend cannot handle the owners begun to show him how better to clean it, and an owner can transfer his gun to a friend at a licensed shooting range or while hunting, but as the the target shooting in the national forest or a friend's farm, the
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owner cannot let a friend use his gun. now, those are some of the problems. on top of that, gun safety instruction will be rendered impossible in many situations by this legislation. this trading could occur at a target range, but many of these classes take place at schools, offices, sporting goods stores, and other locations, and then after those classes, only at the end does a class into a shooting range for live fire in charge appeared gun safety instructors could not offer the class and component of the course anywhere accept a shooting range or at the instructor's home. the most troublesome individual provisions of the bill is the mw requirement that a person whose gun is lost or stolen has to report it within 24 hours to local police and the u.s. attorney general. the problem with this goes way beyond the short period of time
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that is allowed to report. for one thing, it would be a burden that applies only to lawful gun owners and not to the criminal. the law provides a chubby unlawful for any person who lawfully possesses, or owns a firearm to fail to report the theft or loss. it is a felony if a lawful gun owner fails to do so, but there is no person -- no requirement if a person who unlawfully and owns a gun, fails to report a loss. citizen whoding sinc forgets to commit a felony. this poses a major threat to freedom because in america, we prohibit criminal actions, although that limits freedom. it does so much less than a law that criminalizes non action. in america, it is very rare to
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criminalize inaction, only a few classes of people have the obligation to act. police officers, doctors, but ordinary citizens do not have that requirement. one very limited exception is filing a tax return, and it took a constitutional amendment to give the government the power to mandate that. requiring people to report lost or stolen guns is a good idea. many or not that most gun owners do so pared making it a federal offense not to take affirmative action is a legitimate question. i wonder what constitutional authority that congress has to make people take an action such as this or face a criminal penalty. maybe some of my colleagues would engage senator schumer on that point they finally, i note the views of mr. mark -- again. he is the father of a young son who was murdered in newtown.
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says he is not willing to entertain this conversation until congress implements solutions to improve the nich database, until you fix the database, and what feeds it, you will not solve anything. he says that these checks are not universal and never will be. that word is intended to give people a sense that they have solved the entire problem. obviously, i agree with the letter writer. we heard testimony that hundreds of thousands of mental health records are -- of prohibited persons in a single state have not been provided to the nics. should make sure existing laws are effective and a fourth before we start enacting new ones. for these reasons, i oppose this legislation.
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now, as i said to senator schumer, i have three or four questions i would like to ask him. i think they take short interest, so i am not doing this to extend it out, but to get clarification. >> just for a moment. i have to step out just for a moment. i will give the gavel to senator schumer, but i know -- you two can go back and forth. but it will take a minute. what if a person thinks they may have displaced their gun? does a 24-hour period apply? >> i'm sorry, could you repeat that? >> does the 24-yard period apply? [indiscernible] >> are required to report
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appeared these are the kinds of provisions, the family exception. i put in the ideal bill the others wanted. we are willing to negotiate and compromise on those, as i am doing with my colleagues. and so i am certain that even under this proposal, if it is to a 24-hour period, if you know it is lost, you would have to report it. >> i said originally i did not think the bill was ready. another question, how does law enforcement benefit from reporting that a gun is lost or stolen without specific identifying information? >> you can see this hearing in its entirety.
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is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. march 12, 2013. i hereby appoint the honorable jackie velour i ask to act as speaker pro tempore on this
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day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant of the order of the house of january 3, 2013, the chair will now recognize members from lists smithed by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and minority whip limited to five minutes each, but in no event shall debate continue beyond 1:50 p.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio, for five minutes. mr. defazio: mr. speaker, today i rise as a member of the safe climate caucus to talk about an important new report on climate change. of late the discussion over global warming has focused on temperatures the last 118 years when standardized record keeping began, primarily the
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best and most comprehensive research on temperatures has gone back overwhelm as far as 2000 years. climate change complain these studies have been shortsighted. they haven't taken into account warming going on today could have happened naturally thousands of years ago. they are a result of natural fluctuations, they say. there is some scientific basis for that claim. variations on how the earth is tilted in its orbit around the sun makes a pattern of warming and cooling phasing over thousands of years. in some cases the earth heats up. others it cools down. last week scientists from oregon state university, including two constituents of mine, sean and alan, joined with their colleagues from harvard university and published a study in the journal "science" peer review that provides new context on today's climate and rising temperatures. instead of looking at temperatures from last 118 years or even 1,000 years, they
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exam temperatures going back a little further, 11,300 years. the entire period. the findings are sobering. a wake-up call and should be a wake-up call to the members of this institution. we already knew the earth is warmer than it was over much of the last 2,000 years. that's been confirmed by a mountain of scientific evidence. but thanks to the work of of the colleagues, we now know it's warmer on earth than it was in the past 11,300 years. we have experienced almost the same range of temperature change over the last 100 years coinciding with the invention, widespread use of engines and turbines powered by fossil fuels as the previous 11,000 years of earth history. i want to repeat that for emphasis. rising temperatures over last century have been greater than the temperature increases over the previous 100 centuries combined. it shows that human activity
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reversed the cooling pattern of 5,000 years of 1.3 degrees fahrenheit in 100 years. it's extraordinary. their projections to the future are also very sobering. the climate deniers are running out of excuses. they said 118 years. not enough. 2,000 years. not enough. how about 11,300 years of certified research? they say it's biased by region. this was done in 73 sites around the entire planet. we have heard about solar insulation. well, according to this claim we should now be at the bottom of the long-term cooling trend. whoops, that's not happening. that shows that the solar insulation theory doesn't hold up, either. in short, this confirms what those of us who believe in science already know, man-made climate change is real, it's regressing quickly, we must take action. that's not happening in the house of representatives. during the last congress house republicans voted 53 times to block action on climate change. time and time again they voted
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to know nothing and do nothing. they are argue that science isn't settled. but they vote to cut funding for climate science. here's a few of my favorite quotes from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. human induced climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetuated out of the scientific community. media conspiracy to promote climate change. another one, shady scientists. my favorite, better known, however, is global warming movement's commitment to restrict the use of private automobiles. the rich will still have their limos and private jets. the rest of us will not be able to travel by plane and we'll be stuck sitting at home or sitting next to a gang member on public transportation. yes, that was actually said on the floor of the house of representatives. mr. speaker, it's time to stop the nonsense and the blather and get serious about climate change. the evidence is in. e only question is whether the united states house of
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representatives will listen and act. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe, for five minutes. mr. poe: madam speaker, linda roberts from kingwood, texas, is one of my constituents. she received the american community survey and filled out only the information required by the census bureau and mailed it back to the census bureau. let me make this year. the census every year counts the american public, the population, with the census forms. but the census bureau also sends out a longer, larger, more intensive document called the american community survey to many americans throughout the 10 years of the census. any way, linda received this long form. the american community survey. and she did not fill out the survey. so she later began receiving weekly calls from the census bureau telling her complete the survey. when she refused to complete
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the survey, the calls increased every day. multiple times day. this is a single mother working, trying to support her family, and she's being harassed by the federal government. timely, a census bureau employee showed up at her house ringing the door bell. peeking through the windows to see if she was inside. trying to get her to come to the door to fill out this long survey by the census bureau. many occasions -- the harassment didn't stop. on many occasions she would come home from work and there would be a car from the federal government parked out there in front of her house trying to catch her as she's going into her home to get her to fill out the american community survey. these are people from the federal government. mrs. roberts explained she not only felt uncomfortable providing the detailed informing to the federal government, but she was afraid. no kidding. now where, madam speaker, in the constitution does it give
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the federal government the authority to do this? the constitution does not authorize peeking tomcrats to come from the federal government to snoop around our homes and get information from citizens. here's what she said. please do something about getting the census bureau to stop the harassing phone calls concerning the american community survey. i have also received calls from other people, george says he refused to fill out the survey. so he started getting phone calls from all over the country. from different area codes. he disregarded them as identity theft phishing zams so she didn't answer any of those calls. madam speaker, george and linda are two of the many people who contacted my office about the intrusive american community survey from the federal government demanding people fill this out. once again this is not the census year, this is the census bureau giving another
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questionnaire to the american public and expecting them by law to fill this out. the questions are about 48 questions long. here are some of the questions. do you have a flush toilet in your house? what time do you go to work in the morning? what time do you come home in the afternoon? how much money do you make? how much money does your spouse make? do you have a second mortgage on another home? where is that home? here's a good one, i quote, because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition does someone in the household have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions? isn't that lovely? the survey wants us to comment on the mental health of people that live in the house. i'm glad my wife didn't get this survey and fill it out talking about me. madam speaker, the government has no business asking these personal questions. it infringes on the right of the privacy of the american public. and people are upset about this
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because they are forced to provide this to -- information to uncle sam or pay a sanction of a $5,000 fine. government intimidation at its worse. yes, there may be some benefit. the government says we use this information so we can help businesses plan whether to put a store on this corner or that corner. that's fine. but the constitution doesn't authorize this in my opinion. so if the businesses want that information, let them pay for it. go to a polling system. and so i think what we should do, madam speaker, is make this form voluntary, people want to fill it out and get a better information, great, they shouldn't be required to. i have introduced legislation, rand paul in the senate has introduced legislation to make the american community survey voluntary. people shouldn't be required to fill it out. what's next? the government will start asking us how many guns we got in our home? what kind of cars we drive? whether they are green cars or whether we are driving pickup trucks? where is it going to stop? the american community survey should be voluntary. americans should not be required to fill it out. and we need to change the law
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to make it voluntary for the american public. that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, -- the gentlelady from north carolina, recognizes ms. foxx for five minutes. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. congratulations are due to the entire syntoc corporation branch in statesville, north carolina, and each of the team members who worked together to earn osha's carolina star distinction for their workplace. this past week i was honored to join the employees and management and take part in the celebration of their shared achievement. the environment there was so impressive and collegial, i wanted to bring their story of success to washington. the carolina star program considers more than just
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exemplary safety and health standards when it designates award winners. companies are expected to show how they have built culture where employees and management share the duties of keeping a safe workplace. every employee in statesville akes ownership of this task. defusing hazards together and teaching others to put safety first together. they say an atmosphere of open dialogue and shared responsibility among all mployees that sets it apart. where clb budget reconciliation, cooperation, and inclusion were weighed by the carolina star program, the statesville branch excelled. those are qualities that ache -- that make for more than a safe workplace. they make for a good workplace. and in their case a workplace
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that not only thrives but enables other businesses to thrive by providing key support services. again, congratulations and their entire team ton this -- on this achievement. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, for five minutes. mr. jones: madam speaker, thank you very much. i have come to the floor quite often to remind the congress that we are still at war. in fact yesterday we had seven americans killed in afghanistan. this year alone we have had three situations where the afghans that we were training turned their weapons on the americans who were trying to help them and kill them. this policy in afghanistan is a total disaster. it is a failed policy and we
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are not going to change one thing in afghanistan. in fact, madam speaker, the past week the new secretary of defense, chuck hagel, who is freand of mine, i have great respect for him, was in afghanistan and mr. karzai accused mr. hagel and the american people of negotiating with the taliban. the taliban are our enemy and enemy of karzai. this just continues to show that this gentleman that leads afghanistan is quite frankly, he's corrupt, he's confused, and he's unpredictable. but what amazes me is that this congress continues to spend $6 billion to $8 billion a month in afghanistan. and we have this person that is leading their country that from one day to the next he either likes the american people or he dislikes the american people. in fact, in the december of this year, karzai was quoted in "the washington post" as saying that he now has three three
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main enemies, taliban, the united states, and international community. if he had to choose sides today, he would choose the taliban. now he's accusing america of cutting deals with the taliban. and we had again seven americans killed yesterday. it's time for this congress to wake up and stop spending money in afghanistan. history has shown we will never change afghanistan no matter what we do. they don't want to be us to begin with. why will we cut programs in america for children and american citizens to make sure that karzai will get his money? in fact, the inspector general for the reconstruction to afghanistan, his name is john, he testified recently that we're averaging spending $235
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million a day, $235 million a day in afghanistan and half the projects that we are spending money on are blown up within a few weeks after they're completed, by the taliban. i do not understand my own party, to say the least. i don't understand the congress. why do we want to keep spending money we don't have and deny the american people a fix for this economy and this country? madam speaker, i'm pleased to say that i have introduced, along with my democratic friend, rosa delauro, h.r. 125, the congressional oversight of afghanistan agreement of 2013. all we're trying to do is to get a debate on the floor to say why would we agree to stay in afghanistan after 2014 to 2024. this agreement signed by this administration has obligated america to be there 10 more years after 2014.
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how many more young americans, how many americans will have to die? how much money will the american taxpayer have to spending in afghanistan? ms. delauro and myself would like to have a debate on the floor of the house, if for no other reason, if we can't change the agreement that the president has signed, let the american people know that we want a debate, not stay there 10 more years and see our young americans die for a corrupt leader than spending money for the american people. it makes absolutely no sense. in closing, madam speaker, this is just another example of war when these marines are carrying a flag-draped coffin, how many more families have to cry for a failed policy, a policy we will not change afghanistan no matter what we do. in closing, madam speaker, i ask god to please bless our men and women in uniform, to please bless the men and women in uniform. i ask god in his loving arms to hold the families who have
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given a child dying for freedom in afghanistan and iraq, and i ask god to please continue to bless america. madam speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until 2:00 p.m.
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>> the liaison committee is made up of the 33 chairs of the house of commons select committees. and their questions to the prime minister are not provided in advance. the prime minister's twice a year apeerps before the liaison committee is a tradition that began with prime minister tony blair. this was expected to start at noon eastern. they are running about a half-hour behind because of votes in the house of commons.
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in about 10 minutes or so we'll join them live here on c-span. about 12:30 eastern. today house budget committee chair paul ryan released his budget proposal. it seeks repeal of the nation's health care law. shortly after presenting the plan to the media, senate majority leader harry reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell reacted. >> earlier this year, top republicans promised a kinder, gentler republican party. the republican party that cared about every american achieving their dreams. that was a quote. republican bantied about the words like fairness and community. they made overtures toward women and hispanics. they promised cooperation and end to brinksmanship.
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house majority leader cantor spoke of, quote, an agenda based on a shared vision of creating the conditions for health, happiness, and prosperity for more americans and their families. close quote. rebranding we thought was under way. then a few weeks passed and the republicans on fairness and equity made a direct u-turn back to where they started. today the house budget committee chairman, paul ryan, will unveil an extreme budget that's anything but balanced. his budget reflects the same skewed priorities the republican party has championed for years. the same cued parties americans rejected in november. the ryan republican budget will call for more tax breaks for the wealthy and end to medicare as we know it, and draconian cuts to education and other programs that help america's economy grow and prosper. we have heard many times and i'll repeat it, yogi berra famously said it's deja vu all
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over again. it really is, mr. speaker. we have seen this before. deja vu all over again. the ryan budget will shower more tax breaks on millionaires and continue to tilt the playing field to the advantage of big corporate interests and raise taxes for middle class. now, i know that congressman ryan is held out to be this guru who understands things so well. what he understands is gimmickry. that's what he's done so well. he's pulled the wool over the eyes of those people in the house and they continue following him. but, mr. president, his budget is anything but balanced, anything but fair, and members of the house should look at what they are being led into or out of. this plan just like last year refused to close a single tax loophole in order to reduce the deficit. yet it guts investments in education, health care, public safety, scientific research, job creating clean energy
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technology. the ryan budget would end medicare guarantee an force seniors into a voucher program. it would ax preventive health care such as cancer screenings and charge seniors more for prescriptions. and would further reduce the funding for food inspectors, police, and first responders generally. and is protecting wealthy and special interest isn't bad enough, the republican budget also devastates the economy, costing jobs and slowing growth. not only this wrong approach, it's the same old approach. and to make matters worse, the paul ryan budget number three has done it two other times, is the same fuzzy math, gimmickry as his previous two budgets. it relies on an accounting that's creative at best and fraudulent at worse to inflate the claims of deficit reduction. we believe it's critical we stabilize the deficit, but it will take more than accounting gimmicks to achieve real deficit reduction. at a time when corporations are making record profits, stock market, and the wealthy
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americans' income continues to rise, the deficit reduction shouldn't be at the expense of the middle class families, senior citizens, and the poor. americans have demanded a fair approach to deficit reduction, alt americans, democrats, independents, and republicans. they want a fair approach to deficit reduction that makes sensible cuts, ask the wealthiest to share the burden, balance. we have been listening, mr. president, that's why this week budget committee chair, patty murray, will introduce a budget with both balanced priorities. her plan, democratic plan, will cut wasteful spending and reduce the deficit and invests in what the economy needs to grow really hard, to continue to build, to grow, and create a strong middle class. congressman ryan and his republican colleagues in congress have taken a different approach. an approach that makes it plain they missed the message in the november elections. their budget will once again
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put money into special interest they had at middle class families. no amount of rebranding will hide that, mr. president. >> as we know president obama missed this year's legal deadline to submit a budget to congress. just like he has nearly every year of his presidency. but this year it's even worse. we now know he doesn't even plan to submit a budget until after the house and senate have already acted to pass one. this never happened in more than 90 years that have gone by since the modern budgeting process was established in the 1920's. somehow presidents managed to submit budgets on time in the middle of world war ii, during the great depression, but somehow not today. there is simply no excuse. rather than helping lead congress toward a reasonable outcome, it appears the president is happy to drop a bomb on the congressional budget process instead by
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releasing his budget plan, after, after the house and senate have already acted. now, presumably this is so he can campaign against republicans if the process fails as he no doubt hopes. let's hope he doesn't trot out that tired political playbook again. the president should send over his budget now. not next week, or next month, but today. so both sides can consider it at a time when it might be helpful rather than destructive to the entire process. and speaking of serious delays, for four years my constituents in kentucky and americans across the country have been asking senate democrats a simple question, where's the budget? where's the budget? most families put one together. they want to know what democrats who run the senate have planned. but for four years senate
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democrats have ignored these concerns. year after year they have neglected one of the most important legislative responsibilities, but evidently that's about to change. senate democrats are now pledging to finally, finally produce a budget. it will be interesting to see what they put forward. i hope senate democrats take this exercise seriously and propose real spending reforms that can put our country on a stronger, more sustainable fiscal path. reforms that can control spending and lead to robust private sector growth and job creation. we'll find out soon. what about republicans? well, republicans lead the house and they produce budgets every year right on schedule, budgets that would finally put our country on a path to growth and job creation and would put our creeky entitlement programs on a sound fiscal footing so they are around when people need them. today house be republicans will
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unveil this year's budget blueprint. if the past is any ipped case, the reforms it contains would jump-start our economy, help more americans join the middle class, and begin to tackle the debt that threatens all of our futures. because republicans understand we need to grow the economy not grow the government. what's more, it would get us back to a balanced budget within just a few short years. call me a skeptic, but there is little chance the budget my senate democratic friends put forward will balance today, 10 years from today, or ever. i doubt it will contain much in the way of spending reform, either. we'll probably just get more of what we have come to expect from them the past few years, lots of budget gimmickry, lots of wasteful spending, and even more tax hikes. that type of budget won't grow the economy nor will it shrink the debt. here's the thing. the budgeting process is a great way for both parties to
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outline their priorities for the country. and that's something senate democrats have refused to do until now. so if they want to put forward a budget that allows medicare to go bankrupt, that hikes up taxes on families and small businesses that can least afford them, and that proposes a future of massive deficits without end, if that's really how they want to define themselves for the american people, then let the battle of ideas begin. but we need to see their budget first, so it's time to end the years of delays and put those ideas out there on the table and it's well past time for the president to do the same. not after congress acts, but before. republicans have managed to play by the rules every year and produce serious budgets for our country. i hope democrats are finally ready to get to work to do the same. a reaction from senate leaders earlier today to the republicans' new house budget proposal.
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you can read that plan on our website at c-span.org. live now to london for coverage of the british house of commons liaison committee. as prime minister david cameron updates on u.k. foreign policy and a number of other issues. this began about five minutes ago. >> issue for the retailers to explain to their customers what was happening with their product, because it was much more a labeling issue more than a food safety issue. there may have been safety issues, but it was much more food labeling. i think they have really come into their own. i think they have been very frank and given a lot of information to their customers. >> two things i want to ask you. to see the local authorities are entirely refunded for the tests they have been asked to do by the f.s.a. do you have any plans yourself to look at the role and responsibilities of the f.s.a. going forward? >> on the first point i'm not fully aware of the funding arrangements there. all i know is that the level of
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testing, even there there have been difficult spending decisions, the level of testing hasn't declined. in terms of reimbursement i have to look at that and write to you. in terms of the role of the f.s.a. i'm sure there will be a moment for a proper lessons learned exercise. the f.s.a. was only recently set up. i don't want to throw the cards in the air and hope some massive great -- i'm sure as this -- we get on top of this problem, i'm sure there will be a moment when the secretary of state will look to consult with people in the industry and more widely perhaps. what are the lessons we can learn earn what can we put in place snim' sure your committee can contribute to that. >> you mentioned the testing, prime minister. the secretary of state told me specifically there were 5,430 tests carried out, but he wouldn't tell me -- didn't tell me whether that's a sufficient
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number. who told you that sufficient tests have been carried out? did they -- what sort of scientific qualificationthat person have? >> when i was guided through this i was obviously having quite regular conversations with the secretary of state. i think the view was taken we were carrying out many more tests than other european countries. the number of the tests was appropriate. when you look at the relatively small number of horse food contaminations, i think -- it's difficult to tell, i was going -- i asked a lot of questions of the secretary of state with my experts advising me as it were. did i ask an independent scientist -- >> we'll come to the independent scientist in a moment. when you are testing that kind of volume in an emergency situation, regaling together as
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one had to facilities across the country, isn't there a risk of inconsistencies of standards and expert tees? how do you really know -- pecser tease? how do you really know the testing done was adequate? no one was prepared for this. >> i think the people who were most keen to get the tests done and make sure they were done properly are the retailers who whose whole future proper testing and ackcra labeling defends. i think if you look at, as i say, they were a bit slow to start with, but if you look at what's happened now in terms of the tests they are carrying out, in terms of the changes, practice they are looking at, changes of sourcing, massive great double page advertisements in the papers. the retailers have to get on top of this and use scientific opinion to help them make sure they do. i can give you what we do in the u.k., bear in mind we only have a very small number of
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horse appetoires anyway. i think it compares quite favorably. >> i want to move on how you interface with your scientific advisors to ensure that you can get independent voices on the science departments. obviously there are circumstances when ministers will setaside the scientific advice for policy reasons that override the advice they have received. don't you think it would be a good idea if that were the case that ministers ought to be required to spell out why they have setaside the advice? >> i can't think of an occasion -- i can't think of an occasion where scientific advice has been received minister you must do x and the minister has done y. the scientific advisor is normally about what is the
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likelihood of success, probabilities, what's the information you need to do? further research? i think the important thing is that scientific research is -- scientific advice is properly give, properly received, properly looked at, and then ministers make decisions and then parliament, committees, including your committee, can ask -- we want to be sure that scientific advice is genuinely independent and robust. i'm not trying to create an environment where the scientific advisors feel free to give that advice. >> i think they really do. >> if their advice were rejected for other policy reasons, don't you think it's reasonable to expect the minister responsible to spell out why these re-- he's rejecting that advice? >> if, as you say, there was a clear piece of advice to do x and the minister wanted to do y, yes, i think the minister would have to explain, going to
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be questioned in parliament, have to explain why he or she had taken that decision. from my experience that's not quite the way it works. you get scientific advice about an issue and it's something you take into account. the advice isn't often -- often isn't taking this path or that path. it's trying to explain the context. take fukushima for instance where the scientific advice was really important. we held cobra meetings to listen to the advice of the ambassador, the chief scientists about what we should do in relation to fukushima. there wasn't a moment where we disregarded scientific advice, but you would take into account that advice in part of your decisionmaking. >> just on that let me -- it's appropriate the last fortnight we ought to put on record how well it did during that period.
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and helped people understand the crisis that we are facing. it's that kind of situation where i think it's absolutely critical that governments accept that scientists like chief scientists in this case can genuinely feel free to give independent -- >> i think they totally feel like that. they do not hold back in giving their opinions. they come -- they get asked a lot of questions about their opinions in those meetings so we really drill down into what they are telling us. i don't think this is a problem. >> when you said a moment ago in relation to the meat contamination, you asked questions assisted by your advisors. who were you talking about? scientists or specialists? as opposed to those in the department? >> more number 10 staff. when this issue case took light, i was using my private secretary who follows this --
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the private secretary who follows this department. but also using policy unit people, implementation unit people, whoever i thought would have interesting views and would think of the right -- the job is to probe and ask the right questions. what are the retailers doing? what is the chance of this spreading internationally? it's making sure as prime minister that you feel that the department is on top of it gripping it properly. i think they did a good job. >> the reason i ask that question in this part of the session we are trying to get how you and number 10 handle difficult situations and difficult issues that arise. i'm going to ask to move on to a different topic with the same intent. >> not quite different as much as going to talk about the cost of food is going up faster in places and particularly the cost of energy is also rising faster than other places. but the higher portion of their
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income are paying more on these commodities, yet at the same time we are facing cuts in their benefits as a result of welfare reform. their overall income. what did number 10 do to anticipate this double whammy, if you like, and going to fall on the most vulnerable in society? have you done anything to mitigate the effects of the rising prices on the incut in income? >> the first thing on the energy prices, number 10 has played a role in that in pushing very hard what now going to be put into law the idea that energy providers must put customers -- i think there is a frustration among consumers, a baffling array of tariffs, you know you are allowed to choose and change suppliers, but you can never be certain you get the lowest tariff. that change of law is significant. although number 10 is very
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involved in that. >> it was an interesting moment when you announced it. looking around i'm not sure everyone anticipated your announcement of it. >> the point i would make, it's going to be passed into law in the house of commons. and it will be scrutinized and that will be that. >> there is a technique to get the thing driven through the system. >> you might say that. none the less, a nonenergy policy more generally, there is the -- has been a billing and robust debate about how you get the balance right between sourcing energy, making sure you have security of supply, incentivizing energy producers come forward, not put too much pressure on people's bills. that's been a debate held in the coalition. that's now been answered. we set out the energy strategics on what the system is and i think it's a fair balance between security of
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supply and also making sure we keep energy prices down. >> but for people who whose income has been cut at the same time. no matter how low theiring in bills are, or food bills, they no longer have the same amount of money in disposable income in order to afford the basics. >> the difficult decisions about welfare have been taken by and large in the meetings with the deputy prime minister, prime minister chancellor, chief secretary, and many occasions joined by the welfare secretary when we are using welfare issues. we have had to make very difficult decisions, but when you're fighting a budget deficit that is one of the biggest anywhere in europe, and when welfare is one in every three pounds the government spends, i don't think it's possible to deal with the crisis in public spending and deficit without addressing welfare. so for instance the decision we made about the 1% increase in the working age welfare, that's the forum in which that was
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taken. the department of worker pensions were involved in that decision. all their experts were able to brief us about that matter. one point i make which i think is important because prices have been going up faster than wages over the last few years, people on welfare have seen their incomes go up faster than people who work. i know they are going up because of inflation, for instance, if you take an unemployed person on job seekers allowance, they are going to be getting 325 pounds more a year this year than they were in 2010. now, there are quite a lot of people in work who haven't had a 300 pound pay raise. >> that doesn't take into account the effects of your other welfare reforms which have actually cut the income. things such as the cut on housing benefit. bedroom tax.
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le soon people are going to have to find 20%, possibly more of a tax they didn't have to find. the disposable income despite the 1% increase is much less. >> have we had to take difficult decisions over welfare, yes. have we taken decisions on welfare that have affect people across the income spectrum? yes, we have. we also took away child benefit with families someone earning over 60,000 pounds. the interesting thing about all these changes, this is not to be political, either that change affect people earlier at 60,000 pounds a year, we haven't had all parties aboard for even that change. so you can either take a view we wouldn't make any changes to welfare at all even though we have a budget deficit which is now the biggest in europe, that is a point of view. if you want to take that point of view and have to find public
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spending deductions in health, education, and elsewhere, my argument is if welfare is one in three pounds that the government spends, it's impossible to deal with the problems of excessive public spending and excessive deficit without looking at welfare. >> but 50% will be the pension. 70% was the people above -- but they are not the ones facing the cuts. >> my view, this is the political choice, my view is people who have worked hard all their lives, retired, they deserve dignity in old age. i made a very clear promise at the election people would continue to receive the old age pension properly rated and they would continue to get the free television license, free bus pass, winter fuel payments. i have kept all those promises. i'm proud of that. and actually when you examine where welfare's increased very rapidly and where we need to give it more tension, i would actually argue that working age welfare, in 2010, members of parliament were able to get
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working tax credits. i don't think that is appropriate and that's why we changed that. i think it is twheafl requires the attention. it has to be done properly but that's the choice. if you want to argue would it be better to take the money off pensioners, go ahead. >> we need to move along. having established very much the issues you took a close personal interest -- >> these have very big decisions, welfare decisions, big budget decisions and you expect the prime minister to be involved. >> different subject. >> cancellation of the competition for the inner city west coast franchise has cost the public at least 50 million pounds up to now. it's caused great disquiet within the whole of the road industry and led to major review. with something so important, such major implications that you have got a grip on this
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one? >> clearly something went very wrong at the department of transport and i'm personally very frustrated about the way in which this happened because -- and i think you know this, as this process was going on, i was getting letters from participants and i was concerned about what i was reading and so i asked the cabinet secretary to examine whether this was being done properly. he in turn asked the department of transport for assurances about the process and received assure sureances and it turns out the assurances he got were wrong anti-assurances he gave me were wrong. i'm not happen with what happened. this is not acceptable. and that is why we had to stop the franchise. that is why we have had these two reviews. i think they did a good job and we have to learn a lesson from that. this was a major error. major problems. >> what lessons have you learned from this?
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>> as far as number 10 is concerned, as i say i did ask the cabinet secretary to investigate and make absolutely sure this was being done fairly and properly. it wasn't productive. and the cabinet secretary was very apologetic about that and he was angry about the fact he was let down by the department of transport and the upshot is the number of people the department of transport have been investigated and one of the key people has left the department as it's been restructured. action has been taken, but there are lessons that need to be learned and i want to make sure that we learn them across government about all of these processes that involve complicated data sets and that's why -- >> it was way beyond complicated data sets. that was part of it. what we have here was a secretary of state, the previous secretary of state, in a situation where
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administrative costs have been cut by over a third and the whole -- cut for the whole parliament have been taken in one go by decision of the then secretary of state. the department was not organized properly. the event secretary stated both on the completely new process and new type of franchise, very riskly, ill prepared. what lesson do you learn from that in relation to ministerial responsibilities? >> i think one of the -- you can obviously make the argument that if you cut a department it then becomes completely capable of doing anything. i don't accept that. >> this was catastrophic. this was the basis of the problems. there were other issues, too. but do you not take any lesson from that situation? >> let me make two points. one is some of the errors as i understand it that were made were simple computinger-e
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roars. second -- puting errors. second point, where there are problems you need departments to surface them early. the people involved in this knew there were problems and didn't surface them. that is about competence and effective management and proper reporting systems. i think there are all sorts of lessons to learn. i think the inquiries will help to make sure they are learned. i think there are lessons to learn about how you conduct complex financial arrangements like franchises and make sure that they are properly done. i hope lessons will be learned there, too. that's why the treasury secretary has been involved in that. and also speaking because we are here to talk about what number 10's role is, if the prime minister asked the cabinetry about a process, i think in the future it's important to make sure when you go to a department and ask for those things, a better piece of work adown -- is done to make
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sure you get to the bottom of it. obviously that didn't happen. >> in june, 2010, the department announced that siemans was to be the preferred. that was a controversial decision at the time. we now in march, 2013, and that deal has not been concluded. has number 10 been making inquiries? >> has the -- >> has number 10 been making inquiries? >> i have been following this very closely. it's a very important contract. we want to make sure that it is carried out properly. of course, yes. in the regular discussions my officials have and i have with the department of transport. tend to make it terribly important. crossroad is very important. a number of the road schemes are very important. i want number 10's role here is to progress and make sure things are happening -- >> that hasn't happened, has it? we were told in 2010 that this
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contract was going to be concluded shortly. those were the words used. march 2013, have you been asking? >> yes, as i said. the things that are great concern to me are the biggest contracts, the biggest things that will make a difference to our economic geography and economy and oversee the, the timsley contract. how we make sure we learn the lesson of that competitive tender, and i want to make sure we continue with good grade manufacturing in darby, these are the questions we raised. >> are you satisfied that the delay is a justified one? the project has still not been concluded despite its importance. >> i want us to expedite things. >> prime minister, you remember
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we discussed the question of ministerial accountability in march last year. you suggested there need to to be no change this is accountability of civil service. i would submit -- >> did i say that? i thought i shared -- >> you shared a bit of ankle perhaps, i felt it was no departure from the principal set out in the armstrong memorandum which i'm sure you'll be familiar. when a civil servant gives evidence to a select committee he or she does so as the representative of the minister in charge of the department and subject to the minister's instructions and is accountable to the minister for the evidence which he or she gives. the ultimate responsibility lies with ministers and not with civil servants to decide what information should be made available and how and when it should be released. this is -- seems a bit dated in today's modern world of transparency and accountability and openness, wouldn't you agree?
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>> i would agree. i don't think i gave as strict an answer as you said. go back and check. >> is this still in force? i checked this afternoon. this is still the guidance that the civil servants are required to comply with. it says that civil servants should conduct themselves in such a way to deserve and retain the competence of ministers. all the emphasis is on that. that the duty of the individual civil servant is first and foremost the minister of the crown who is in charge of the department in which he or she -- of course there is an exception in the case of the county officers. that rather makes the case that in a matter such as the west coast main line fiasco, there should perhaps be more openness and accountability directly from civil servants to select committees. >> i would agree with that. i think we need to think carefully about where you try to draw some new lines. if, for instance, we go back to the chief scientist if you summon the chief scientist to a
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committee and ask them questions, you would expect them to answer those questions accurately and if necessary relatively independently. i don't take -- >> i'm making a slightly broader point here. there is a tendency -- you referred to the officials. when it came to france's report we are not allowed to have scapegoats. in the case of the west coast main line some people would feel that relatively junior officials have been made the scapegoats. when we know that there was loss of key skills from the department. the responsibility was possibly held to a junior level. there was a lack of gotscheance because the franchise had been split. there was a restriction on outside advice. and as you said the can be net looked looked at this and -- cabinet secretary even looked at this. it doesn't seem to be recognized in the
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accountability of either the public or parliament. do you understand why people might feel concerned like that? >> i do. i think that in the case of the west coast main line, i think it is pretty clear that there was a failure within the department and that failure was predominantly the responsibility of the officials -- >> run by people. run by seniors officials. if i can give another example which is one of my favorites, defense procurement. the endless money is wasted, endless projects delayed, somehow the wrong decisions will always taken by somebody who is left or moved on whether it's an official or minister. nobody is held accountable. nobody is held responsible for the endemic failures in defense procurement. isn't there something with the accountability we have when that is the case? >> i think we do need to improve it. i'm in favor of examining with you how much more we can open
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up the question of civil servants. i don't draw -- i don't believe that thomas was right to resign. we do need to make objections. i think there are sensitive difficult issues here. we have to think about it quite carefully. >> there is a kind of -- sort of unspoken conspiracy, i don't wish to trust this on steven doyle's inquiry which he's conducting in the moment in the aftermath of francis that somehow the ministers are not responsible because the people down the line are responsible. somehow we can't hold the officials accountable because of the aadoption of ministerial responsibility. the result is the worst tragedy has occurred we can possibly imagine and nobody resigns, nobody's held accountable, and it really -- >> i think you are being
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unfair. very clearly the management on the board of this hospital are responsible. the tragedy in the system is that they weren't held properly accountable at the time. >> who gave them their independence? that was a decision made. who set the target culture and who enforced it? that was senior officials in maiden white hall. where are the ministers and seniors officials responsible for the policy? >> as i said in the house the other day. i think everyone has to consider their responsibilities with regard to this. but francis goes through in quite a lot of detail. you can read the section about the changing of authority. department of health. he finds all sorts of failures. he does say don't scape ghote. -- scapegoat. he doesn't specifically point the finger at people other than the management. the whole commission, miraculous come up with a different answer. >> information to the public domain, but it does stop short of doing what you say. just to give strength to the
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open door i think you are offering us on this question of the accountability of civil servants. in the holding report, there is a very interesting sentence where it foreshadows the arrival of department committees and then it goes on to say. any such committees would require to be furnished with full information as to the course of administration pursued by the departments with which they were concerned, and for this purpose it would be requisite that ministers as well as officers of departments should appear before them to explain and defend the acts for which they were responsible. the shock that i think how they would have is that ministers appear so often in front of select committees that it isn't -- it's axiomatic as the estimates committee, axiomatic that officials would be responsible for reporting hard facts to select committees. unconstrained by this over -- perhaps over ached doctrine.
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>> i think it's over regulate -- slightly overregulated. the select committee feels absolutely free, quite rightly, some officials from the home office, police, give them a good drilling. try to get to the bottom. that's what select committees do. that's good. i think you are overinterpreting how restrictive you are. >> but officials have refused to answer questions because they are protecting their minister. and on issues of fact, my colleague will be able to illuminate a particular instance, and surely civil servants should be obliged to answer questions of fact and administration before a select committee whether or not the minister has pleaded with them not to give the committee the facts. >> as i say i'm open to that discussion. >> i'm very grateful. >> i think it's a good one to have. there are some people who say that this all should be sorted

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