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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 12, 2013 3:00am-5:01am EST

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they kind of -- i had this e-mail from a tampa family health center but two stories. one, rodriguez, a 63 old woman who has been without health insurance for three years stated, what a blessing to finally have insurance. she said this with a smile and replied hashes able to finally afford her medication for her preexisting conditions. her tax credit is $530, and she purchased insurance for just $35 a month. and then robert welsh, a 29 year-old single young man who had no insurance for the past two years, he works for a small business and his employer was not able to afford private insurance. he was able to get a tax credit for $2200, and this premium is $28. he was extremely pleased and agreed to share his story, but he said he is too shy to speak in public. so, robert, we are sharing your story today.
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i want passionate i'm grateful now that we can replicate these good news stories. we have a long way to go. on his small business question, we are all a little disappointed that the shop, the small business website is not going to be up and running as early as we would've liked. but this that effective tax credits that are available for small business owners, the tax credits that encourage small businesses to provide health insurance or to help make it more affordable for their employees to? >> no, congresswoman. it will not impact event. as you know, we had earlier suggested that at the federal level, and this is different in some of the states but at the federal level, year one we would not be able to aggregate premiums that give employees of businesses under 50 a choice. that will happen in 2014. the tax credits are very much in
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place. we have, again, a process where we are working with agents and brokers which is the way that small business owners have gotten coverage traditionally come and accounts. >> there are three or four employees, especially in a tourism field state, you know, a lot of restaurant owners. >> but the tax credit this you will go to a 50% tax credit for eligible employers. if the tax credits that did not exist before the affordable care act. it's been a 35%. it rises to 50% and we will absolutely be enrolling. with thousands of applications for shops. we are working to get folks enrolled, and shop is different than the individual market, where business owners have a 12 month enrollment period because of the timing of plans. so shopowners or small business owners will be able to enroll each and every month as their employee insurance comes up for
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renewal. >> any file for the tax credit when they file for -- >> that's correct. in 2015 they would be eligible. >> so planning a very small business owner looking into that, because i don't think that many small businesses understand this very robust tax credit that's growing from 35% to 50% might make a huge difference. >> the sba has been a trip a partner in that effort. they're using their channels to do a lot of outreach and education. >> thank you, madam secretary. now recognize mr. lance for five minutes of questioning. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. good morning to you, madam madam secretary. >> good morning. >> my question will be in two parts. first regarding the rule of law, and second regarding the medicaid expansion. regarding the rule of law, i will be going into an exchange and that's how i read the statute, even though i didn't vote for it. i hope that it is replaced and
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those who work with me at our office will be going into the exchange. and i would urge other members, for example, senator reid, that as i read the statute, that is the rule of law. in answer to ranking member waxman, you indicated, and i certainly agree with this, that the president decided a transition policy. even though the statute as i read it has requirements that began on january 1, 2014. from the perspective, madam secretary, what is the statutory authority for the president to have announced the transition policy? >> sir, i think the statutory authority is the enforcement discretion which is available under the law to us and the
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president has asked us to our enforcement discretion, to not pursue penalties against insurers who would voluntarily decide to allow a transition of individuals in the market plan to continue in that market plan. this the first to state regulators. they get the first call, because they regulate the marketplace, and it ensures, there is no mandate to insurers. it's voluntary but it allows them to take up that option. >> from your perspective, the ability of the president to do that is based upon enforcement discretion. i respectfully disagree with that. thank you for answering the question. number two, and mr. barton did raise this. as i read the statute, the our subsidies for state exchanges but not subsidies for the federal exchange. and i presume that that was
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placed into the statute to encourage states to have their own exchanges. the carrot and stick approach. from your perspective, madam secretary, what is the statutory authority for permitting subsidies for the federal exchange? >> again, sir, i'm not a lawyer and i would defer to the department of justice for the statutory authority. i think the framework is that i am mandated by statute to pay the subsidies, and that i think the interpretation is both by the omb which is worthy of procreation leader on this and the department of justice, that the authority is, consented you even though it's not explicitly spelled out, but again, i'm not a lawyer. i would defer to them. >> let me state it is my legal position the courts will rule
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against the administration in this regard, and, obviously, this is not before the courts. iin the three and half years since the ack's passage, as the president ever proposed a legislative change to any aspect of the law? >> sir, i'm trying to refresh my memory. i cannot answer that question but i will come back with an answer. >> server. it's my understanding the president has never asked o for any statutory change whatever. he has made -- >> i can tell you one. that i do recall that i think has been in his proposals. we do have a provision involving state waivers of medicaid expansion and then into the marketplace. that is time to start at 2017. is suggested that he think it's part of our budget proposal that they would be accelerated so
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states would have full authority. there are other provisions i think in our budget plan, not necessary pieces of legislation not coming through the way that we could get you -- >> thank you. finally, regarding the medicaid matter. i have great concern that many who have signed regarding medicaid expansion, where eligible before, and i know you're not able to provide those figures today but i would like at an opportunity that is convenient for you, madam secretary, to have those figures. because it's my belief that quite a few are, were already medicaid eligible and not based upon the new law. >> the gentleman's time has expired. now recognize the gentleman from maryland, mr. sarbanes, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being here. you've been very stored in the face of a lot of adversity over the last few weeks. you've accepted responsibility for what you yourself characterize as a failure in the
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launch of the website, but have obviously been a crested in trying to improve the situation. the evidence you presented today suggests that things are on the mend and a lot more americans are being able to access the government website, which is the portal to affordable health care for them. i think if you step back, the bigger story here is, they were previously millions of americans do were essentially trapped in a world where they could not access health care. there was literally no options available to them. if they had a preexisting condition, even the substandard plans that were offered in the individual market often did not provide any option for them. so they didn't have the opportunity to complain or face the challenges. now some of them are facing.
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but the fact that they are trying to access an option of affordable care, and yes, encountering some difficulties and having to push through those, et cetera. even that is progress, because before they didn't even have the chance. and i think it's important for us to keep that in perspective. and that's why you said earlier, i heard someone say that -- maybe it was chairman waxman -- that one of the common emotional responses for people when they actually can enroll is a breakdown in tears. because their years of pent-up frustration and not be able to access to affordable care. >> august and, we know a game in the individual market, which is the market that the new marketplaces are addressing, a
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large number, national studies show that it could be as many as 25% of people who tried to buy a plan were turned down totally. no plan at no price. then you have people who were individually medically underwritten to virtually everyone in the marketplace. and that is very beneficial if you're healthy and don't have any likelihood of a pre-existing condition and typically if you're a male. it's not very beneficial if you're not. and if you get sick along the way or if you're diagnosed, you could be again medically underwritten going for to eliminate the condition that you need the care for. the choices were somewhat limited to a lot of people. >> the promise of this is to create a new normal for the american people where the option of getting health care israel. and that wasn't the way it was before, for tens of millions of
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americans. >> depended on where they were. if you were at a company and the vast majority of large employers -- >> then you have the access speed and you were not medically underwritten and get work penalize based, as long as you were in employment. but if you work for yourself, if you're an entrepreneur, if you were a service worker and didn't have affordable coverage, your options were greatly -- >> but even that system will be more rational going forward, because as you eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions, you address the problems, the portability that we saw before. when somebody leaves one input and goes to the next, those are all fixes that will again improve the employer based system as well. in terms of the challenges, obviously the launch of the website was much more difficult than was expected. but there were always going to be challenged. there's going to be new
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challenges. there are things, you look around the corner, there's going to be difficulties and challenges associated with some of the pain and issues that will happen down the line. these were always going to be there. they were always going to be difficulties. this is a major, major structural change to the health care system, which is going to improve it eventually, but we have to anticipate that there will be difficulties. we've got to soldier through those. that's the american ethic, right? is you take challenges and you overcome them. and alas, i just want to make is i think one of the issues is that a lot of the people who are coming and finding new plans, and maybe they have to pay a little bit more, or maybe the deductible is higher in some instances, for example. but what they don't compare it against is the exposure they had under the old plan that maybe they never had the experience. so that's the apples to apples. >> the gentleman's time has expired.
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we have 15 minutes left. we have seven members still asked question. we will go to two minutes per member. chair recognizes dr. cassidy from louisiana for two minutes of questions. >> your answer to mr. shimkus, did you really mean to say the affordable care act has not resulted in increased premiums for the non-subsidized? >> sir, what i said was preventive care -- >> no, no. are premiums higher? >> premiums overall in terms of -- >> you are describing it to the preventive health care aspect? >> that's what he asked me. that's what answered. >> jonathan gruber, the architect of this bill said that this bill is basically income redistribution. there's the taxes that are a trillion over 10 you but also the increased premium that people are paying. for the policy that did not subsidize. do you have an estimate of how much increased in what amounted increased taxes -- excuse me, increased premiums people are
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paying to subsidize others on the exchange of? >> no, sir. i don't. and i think you can only talk about increased premiums and i think dr. gruber would be one to suggest this. if you compare like benefits to like benefits. >> so let me go on. danny from baton rouge is losing his coverage. he says that -- this is my apocalypse now. the company i have, my family coverage one of 371%, monthly premiums for family of four on two and $45 a month for 913. with a $4000 deductible. wow, i think danny would like to choose his benefits as opposed to the. many small businesses according to your office are going to lose their benefits. as many as 66% of employers according to your analysis will lose their grandfathered status. you think administration would support my employee health care protection act which would allow workers to keep their group health care plans they have not
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in 2014 and beyond? >> sir, as you know, the snapshot is not our office estimating anything. it was a description of the turnover that existed prior to 2010 in the individual and small group market. those statistics that you cited. and i think come again, the small group market there are lots of plans that are grandfathered. there are other plans that offering transition and early renewals and we're watching that everyday. >> could i get an answer to my question? with the administration approved the same law given to the individual that is a small business wishes to keep the policy they would be allowed to do so? >> the president's suggestion about a transitional policy applies to both individual and the small -- >> beyond 2014? >> the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes mr. and go from new york for two minutes of questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to say that new york
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-- mr. dingell. a good example when the federal government has a willing and enthusiastic partner in aca implementation that we set up exchange, we have hospital participant in the first delivery system reform. our medicaid program is expanding. states that are thought to make the law work for the citizens like new york are finding success. madam secretary, i would like to know what your experience has been in states that have obstructed efforts many republican governors to implement the aca compared to states that have adopted all its measures. are americans expensing easier times obtaining affordable health care coverage in states that have their own exchange? has the refusal of some ask states to expand medicaid affected the rollout? >> well, i think that what we are seeing every day is governors actually considering the medicaid expansion. some as you say in new york,
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california. others adopted very early on. we were please yesterday that the governor of iowa indicated an interest in moving it on medicaid expansion. that was not -- the governor of pennsylvania was recently also indicated his interest in doing the same. so we are working actively with states around the country. i think it is enormously difficult for consumers in states where there is no medicaid expansion. they hear about the opportunity for affordable health coverage only to find out that they earn to less qualified for a tax credit in the marketplace and really they have no viable option at all. and that i'm told by our navigators on the ground, our ancestors, the people ingenuity health centers is one of the worst conversations that they can have in this period. >> we spoke with the governor of kentucky the other day, and he explained to his kentucky jelly
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a republican state where it's working really, really well. you have a governor who is a partner who wants to see it work. it can work and it should work. i hope that more governors would continue to do what is in the best interest of their constituents rather than playing political games. thank you spent the chair thanks the children. now recognize the gentleman from conducting. >> thank you. 80% of the people signing up on our exchanges our medicaid. that's been a concern of mine. i was in state government before. medicaid as a national program has 72 million people and were expecting an increase of 25 million over the next 10 years. i do believe medicaid for low income, disabled and seniors. should it be a program of last resort where it just becomes its own engine program as it is no? >> first of all i think the enrollment numbers are about 51 million, not 72.
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but also medicaid has played i think a critical role for lower income americans, not only offering wide range of health benefits but at a lower cost per capita than private insurance -- >> i've only got -- they can to stand a couple of minutes. the question of what to get tht though, your department has estimated about 5 million americans have previously purchased interested of what will lose medicaid. that's in the office of actuary, the number we got. are you familiar with that come that we're looking over the next four years estimate fight like americans have employer-based insurance will move to medicaid? >> i am not aware of that. the office of veterans with an independent -- i can check that out. i'm not the money without specific number is the the estimate is $20 billion in this group of people who present purchase health insurance through their employer but who will be moving to medicaid.
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the question that chairman upton at about income, there's a question with chairman upton about income verification and residency verification. i know that's up to the states be but the state to don't expand medicaid, the information right now is just like trust the federal government numbers, right? >> again, we don't enroll, we don't enroll anyone in medicaid. what we do is look at income eligibility. and based on the state law, send that individuals name and information that has been collected to the state. the state actually is the connection between the individuals and medicaid. >> but by january 1 they will just have to accept that. >> that's going on right now. but we don't enroll in medicaid. we just -- >> right. >> the gentleman's time has expired. thank you, madam secretary. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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secretary sebelius, let me just let you know that i agree with representative lances reasoning on the matters he brought up earlier in his testimony. i do find it interesting when we are listening to my college on the other side of the out and to talk about scare tactics. this is similar to what they said back in the summer and in september when we were holding hearings because we are hearing that the plane wouldn't be ready on october 1. so i'm just concerned we will have some of that same kind of thing now that we are being attacked for asking questions. we're just trying to get the information. it's not that we are interested in scare tactics or witchhunts. it's a matter of we're trying to get to the bottom of a lot of these problems that we are concerned about. obviously, one of the tactics, this is all just political, but you certainly have accepted responsibility and you don't believe we cause the problems with the website, therefore making the public distrust it. isn't that correct? >> i do not believe caused the problem to the website.
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>> thank you. some of my colleagues have implied, maybe not that but somehow we are responsible for all the distrust out there and i don't think that's a good. also i don't believe that the federal employee health benefit plan is a skippy play. some of the folks said the reason that cars are going up is people that this can't be blamed. i was pretty does on the federal employee health benefit plan and my family is facing 117% increase out of our pockets. that's out of our pocket increase to go onto the exchange here in d.c. and so you don't think the plan you have is skimpy, do you? >> no, sir. i don't. but as you know -- [talking over each other] >> have some adrian fenty federal employee health benefit program an did not so you will e younger employees paying a lot less an older -- >> i'm running out of time. let me say this with regard to medicaid. one of the problems is your send people to the states based on income alone and in virginia and no states they have an asset amount. in virginia it's only $2000.
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they may have sufficient income -- are they may not have enough income but they qualify for medicaid under income but they don't qualify because they own a house. have to choose whether they want their assets or medicaid. >> again, state law and state medicaid enrollment officials will make the determination of whether that individual will be enrolled. when they present at the marketplace based on 133% or less. in virginia right now it would be based on a lot less because virginia has not raised their medicaid eligibility. we would make a determination and refer that name. >> dr. gingrey, two minutes. >> madam secretary, a question on the medicaid program. take the dealer george, i am sure all the other 49 governors would one inch. the americans -- affordable care act for states to retain the of
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the requirements for medicaid to the maintenance going back what, the 2009? with the expiration of these provisions states will finally have the flexibility -- tailored to the best addressed health care needs of their medicaid populations. this is the question. will the medicaid m.o.d., maintenance about to expire for all states beginning on january 12014? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. madam secretary, real quickly, in regard to e-health plans, this company, california-based company i think 10 years old, we talked about earlier in the discussion, i think they spent about $109 developing the program allowing people to go onto the website and find place. and yet we spent seven times that much reinventing the wheel. can you tell me why we didn't just use that technology, or maybe some other silicon valley
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company, to have a public private partnership rather than starting over from scratch? and he made that decision? >> well, sir, i would tell you that while there are some comparisons with the e-health situation, there are a number of features very different in the federal website that were required. the health doesn't determine citizenship eligibility. it doesn't -- >> yes, but did you make that decision? or was not made by someone else? >> what decision? >> decision to start over from scratch. >> i don't think they did start over from scratch. actually i think along the way adopted a number of the known technologies that were in place. >> let me ask you. how many times did you actually visit with the president since 2009 or 2010 when he came on board, how many personal visits did you have with him at the white house regarding the
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affordable care act? >> a lot. >> can you verify that? >> i -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida for two minutes per question. >> thanks are holding the string. madam secretary, in november, a proposed rule in november, cms announced that they were considering increasing payments to insurance companies under section 13 fortitude of the ac. this program is proposed, is supposed to be financed by insurance companies participating in the exchange, but the proposal appears to put taxpayers on the hook. specifically, the rule states that and i quote, this proposed adjustment may increase the total amount of risk payments that the federal government reduce the amount of risk quarter we see. did you, madam secretary, estimate how much more money taxpayers would have to pay to
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insurance companies under this proposed rule? >> sir, the risc core door has always been a part of the affordable care act and was anticipated for the first couple of years to be used for reinsurance and risk corridors for the new market place. so did put out a proposed rule. we talked about the fact that we would look carefully at what the immelman is at the end of -- >> i want you to answer the question. did you estimate how much money? >> we won't know anything about what that risk quarter looks like until we get more involved. >> the rule says, ethical, we cannot estimate the magnitude of this impact on aggregate risk corridors, parents and charges at this time to like to get to the next version. do you think is responsible to put taxpayers on the hook for insurance companies losses in the exchange? do you think it is responsible to make these payments without estimating the cost of? >> again, sir, it will be based
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on what the risk pool looks like. we always knew in the first couple of years the market would be attracting some customers and not attracting others, and that ithere would be some risk. and what we are hopeful for as the affordable care act continues into maturity is that we have mature pools. we knew the first years -- >> the chair thanks it gently and not recognizes mr. omers for two questions -- ms. ellmers. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam secretary, for being with us. i have some specific questions to ask about some of them a sense of the promises that the president made to the american people as he was rolling out the idea of the affordable care act. one of those promises being if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor, carried. can you commit to the american people today that this is true and that they will be able to keep their doctor?
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>> congresswoman, i think that, as you well know in the private market, networks change on a constant basis. the president is not over taking the private health insurance market. there is -- >> you are correct. that was the promise, the promise that was made to the american people so that this piece of legislation which is now law was passed was that they would be able to keep their doctor. yes or no? >> most consumers by the opportunity to pick and choose a network that continued their doctor. there's nothing in the law that has their doctor lost for them. >> there is nothing in the lot with our networks that are now very narrowed as result of the law, is that not true? >> insurance companies make network decisions day in and day out. [talking over each other] >> but that was not the promise the president made. did the president not make that promise of? >> private insurance market that
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changes networks basically -- >> why in the world, madam secretary, did the president make that promise to the american people? >> i think the president was trying to assure people that the law did not require them to lose their doctor. they have a networked -- >> no. i do believe that he was reassuring the american people that they would lose their doctor. i think he was reassuring the american people that if this law passed, they would be able to keep their doctor. so, therefore, today you're basically saying no, this is not the case of? >> i am saying that there is, again, this is the private insurance market where insurance companies develop networks and change them on a -- >> and the american people will give the keep your doctor if they pay more according to ezekiel emanuel? >> they can choose the network whether doctor is available spent and play more? >> whether doctors not available based on the kind of premium, the kind of deductible, the kind
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of -- >> i see my time has expired so thank you, madam secretary,. >> the chair thanks the gentlelady. that concludes our questioning at the present. madam secretary, we'll have some follow-up questions were sent to you. we will ask that you please respond probably. we have a couple of unanimous consent request that i would like unanimous consent to submit to the record a letter from doctor julie welch, an emergency medicine physician and educator from indianapolis. without objection, so ordered. dr. burgess? >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. gingrey referenced an offer from the health to the president to provide a platform for the market exchange, and i would like to submit his letter for the record. and i will make this part of a question for the record that i would to a follow-up. >> without objection so ordered. ranking member? >> one is for my constituents in piscataway, anthony weill, that
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i referenced. another is the one that ms. schakowsky reference. you know, these are the different individuals impacted by the aca. >> without objection spent and then a third one from ms. schakowsky. >> without objection, so ordered. thank you, madam secretary, for your patience, for respond to all of our questions. i remind members they have 10 business days to submit questions for the record, and that means they should submit the question by the close of business on tuesday, december 31. another important hearing. thank you, madam secretary, for your indulgence. with that, without objection the subcommittee is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations]
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host: in our last hour of the "washington journal," on wednesday we take a look at recent magazine articles as part of our spotlight on magazines series. today we're taking a look at a new investigation put out by mother jones looking at the number of children killed by guns since newtown one year ago. joining us from san francisco is mark, senior editor. let's begin with what's the
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number? how many children have been killed by guns since the sandy hook shootings? >> the number is at least 194. we gathered this data from looking at local and national news reports over the last 12 months. that was the number of cases we were able to find. but we also know that understates the problem. many of these cases never appear in the media at all. o it's at least that number, 194. host: how were these children killed? guest: there is a mix of the type of cases. it's roughly split between homicides and accidents. it's slightly more homicides than accidents. but the accidents in particular are striking because many of these cases are occurring in the children's own homes. and there's some homicides in the homes, too.
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that's one of the most striking patterns we found in this data set, 127 of these 194 child's deaths had taken place in their own homes. host: and 72 either pulled the trigger themselves or were shot by another child. guest: that's right. so in many of these cases, you have children getting their hands on unsecured firearms and playing with them or pointing them at other kids and accidentally shooting and killing themselves or others. host: what does that tell you? guest: well, i think it's a pretty clear indication of a problem that a lot of gun owners are not storing their firearms safely. and this is an issue that's discussed quite a bit in the debate over guns and gun regulations. whether or not there should be guidelines in the law requiring gun owners to store their firearms in a safer manner.
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and i think this is the reason. although, i should add that this is a fairly poorly understood problem. there isn't great data on gun deaths in general and on child gun deaths in particular. and it would seem that if people understood the scope of this problem a little bit better that there might be more of an effort perhaps to regulate what gun owners are required to do in terms of keeping guns stored safely in their homes. host: why isn't there great data on this? how were you able to find the data that you found? guest: we looked at news reports. the question of deficient data is an interesting one. i think it's been fairly widely reported that research into gun violence is an area where there hasn't been a lot of clear work done, especially in recent years. and part of the reason for that is that the government, the
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federal government is essentially not allowed to research it. the gun lobby, the national rifle association and others, have pressured congress for decades now to essentially stop researching the gun violence and defund it and as a result of that we don't have great federal studies of this issue. host: what was the -- did you get a response from the national rifle association and her pro gun groups guest: not yet to this particular study. but certainly in general to the gun violence reporting that i've done at mother jones we've heard quite a bit from that side of the equation. and there's a lot of pushback on what we do. but the guns issue is an extremely emotional and polarizing one and the politician of it tend to be somewhat disconnected from the reality of it. my role as a journalist is to gather information and gather data and report on facts. and that's what we've really
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tried to do with this project o ill lume nate the problem of violence. we did a year long research into the mass shooting. i think that people on all sides of this issue, gun owners and gun control advocates alike would agree unanimously that we don't want to see two and three-year-old children pulling triggers of guns and killing themselves and killing each other. so the first thing you need to do with a problem in order to stop it is to understand it. and in order to understand it you need better information and better data. that's part of what we try to do with this project. host: what has the nra said about your investigations? guest: well, i don't know that i want to get into sort of repeating their arguments about what we've done because i don't think that they hold much water, to be honest. but essentially they try to
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downplay typically downplay the issue of casualties from guns and the danger to children. they've done that repeatedly. you'll hear things thrown around like children are in more danger from choking on their dinner and things like that. but the data that they cite ironically is the federal data that is somewhat lacking on this issue, that in a sense they helped create because of defunding government research. so if you start to dig deeper into the issue of gun violence and look at the degree to which it is harming people in our country, you can see that it's a serious issue. i've talked to a number of pediatricians for this story and they characterize it as an almost routine problem. they see this day in and day out, injuries and deaths to children from guns. that's not a message that the n.r.a. wants to see out there.
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it's not good for business. host: we have a tweet. guest: that's a good question. i don't have an answer to it. but i can say from the data set we worked with from this year that the majority of the guns that are used in the accidents appear to be owned by gun owners who have them legally. eople who have consealed carry permits and own long guns and -- for hunting and those types of things. but it's not clear. we weren't able to gather that level of specific information in terms of legal versus illegal guns in the equation. host: and we have a tweet. guest: well, i think that's a question that's up to policy
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makers. to some degree it seems like it's an issue of education of gun owners. but the two tend to overlap. for example, there is research that shows that medical doctors talking with their patients about the risks of firearms tends to increase the level of safety that gun owners exercise in their homes. and yet we have an example of the battle over gun regulations going right to that. in florida in 2011 there was a law passed the so-called docks versus glocks law which forbids doctors to talking to patients about firearms. so you see the political struggles over gun control and the need for better education. host: we're talking with mark follman at mother jones.
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194 kids killed since the sandy hook shootings one year ago. an investigation that the magazine did into gun accidents, homicides and suicides that fatally involved children. we'll go to thomas in pennsylvania, independent caller. caller: my question is this. in all these discussions about gun control, i hear no one talking about punishment. a hand gun does not kill anyone. it's the person holding the hand gun. i've been a gun owner for over 50 years. i'm a vet. i use my gun in a responsible way. but no one talks about the punishment. i believe we have 22,000 rules right now regulating our gun ownership. one of them passed in the 80's was if you own a hand gun in a felony it was a mandatory federal prison term of five years. no one has ever received that.
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host: let's talk about liability. guest: well it's an important question in this discussion. with this investigation in particular with the child gun deaths there was some pretty stark data that we found which is that in the majority of these cases in the accidents, very few adults were -- had been held criminally libel. of these 72 cases in which children pulled the trigger killing themselves and or others, we were only able to find four in which adults or guardians were held criminally responsible. that's about 6%. so it seems pretty clear that the law in this situation is not doing much to respond. host: you also found at least 52 deaths involved a child handling a gun left unsecured. guest: that's right. and that goes even more directly to laws that would
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regulate the negligent storage of firearms. there are only a handful of states that have strong laws covering negligence with respect to children and guns. they're 14 and the district of columbia has these laws. but even so it's not clear that the laws are in use much. we couldn't find more than a smal handful of prosecutions from the year in these cases. host: of the 72 kids that pulled the trigger killing themselves or others, three were by suicide, two by homicide, three unclear. nd 64 accidents. by gun accidents. and then when you take a look at the 52 cases where adults left guns unsecured, of those 48 were gun accidents, one was a homicide, two were suicides, and one unclear. let's go to john in new jersey. caller: good morning. i just want to -- just a couple
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of headlines. that would be they said 194 kids were killed. where were their parents? number one. i think we should get some responsibility there. you don't know what your kid is doing in this room? there's guys walking in with black coats, hats, guns and all that. where are are their parents? how many kids are starting to take drugs now in this country? not how many are getting killed by guns but how many are taking drugs? host: and nick tweets in. guest: well, so that sentiment is a fairly common response i've seen to the investigations we've done on the gun violence. certainly we have multiple types of problems in our society, social issues. but those are different issues. i think it's -- to downplay gun violence in that way is -- it
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begs the question, well, are we going to consider this a problem or not? i think the intention of those kinds of statements is to say, well, that's less relevant because there are fewer gun deaths than say car accidents. but the fact is we have a lot of gun deaths and injuries in the united states around 30,000 people a year die from guns in this country. and hundreds of children are killed and thousands more are injured and hospitalized. that's what the data that we do have so far tells us. that's the significant problem. and it's a problem that far exceeds any other affluent developed country in the world. there's no other country that has this level of gun violence. host: how did you define children? what ages are these kids? guest: this study looked at ages 12 and under, kids is the and under. host: so these are not teenagers. guest: if you add teenagers,
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the numbers go up quite a bit. so we did include teens in terms of kids getting their hands on guns and pulling the trigger. we included in that set, in that study kids ages 13-17. so we looked at minors in terms of kids getting their hands on guns but the deaths are all kids 12 and under. and the average age of the victims is 6, the same age of the kids who died in sandy hook and newtown . host: do you know the race of the kids? guest: that is something we did not look at categorically. as i say in the story on mother jones, one of the problems with our study or one of the limitations of it is that in many cases the specific details are unclear and that's because the media barely registers a lot of these cases. they're just a blip on the local news media raid dar, a couple paragraphs and that's it. sometimes the details aren't there. anecdotally i can tell you that it's mixed. we see these cases in inner
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cities in tiny rural towns. it's a broad swath of children and it's all over the country. these cases happened in 43 states. host: and we have a tweet. guest: there are some cases from those places, from chicago and other cities. but i think it's important to point out you do hear that kind of argument, too, this is only a problem we see in our inner cities in chicago and detroit and washington, d.c. that's not true. what the data shows us is that there are many cases like this happening in small towns in states all over the country. and the problem is actually the worst or was the worst this year in the south. there were 17 of these cases in florida, there were 19 in texas. a number of them in small towns. so it's not just the cities where we see this issue. host: we have a tweet.
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guest: as i was saying earlier, that's a common argument we hear when people look at our investigations. but, look, how many kids dying from guns a year is enough to be relevant? i think that's really the question we would have to ask here. we know that there are at least 200 a year dying, there are thousands more being injured and hospitalized. i would -- i guess i would challenge those folks who are saying that to talk directly to the parents and families and friends and colleagues of all these people and ask them if it's enough people to be relevant. host: do you know the economic background of the kids? guest: again, i would say that anecdotally looking at these cases it's mixed. you do tend to see more cases of working class people, poorer
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people. as i said earlier, i think there is some degree an issue of education in here. parents not necessarily -- presumably not understanding the level of danger they're exposing their young children to by having an unsecured gun in the house, leaving a hand gun lying out on a table or in a drawer, loaded, under a mattress. we see a lot of cases like that where kids are just going into a room where a gun is laying around and getting ahold of it. host: this number that you have, the 194, since the sandy hook shootings, we're coming up on the anniversary of the newtown shootings. were any of them -- have there been another mass shooting involving children? guest: i don't believe there's been one with children of this age. there have been several mass shootings since sandy hook in which people have been injured and killed. there have been shooting ram packages in schools. now, we define mass shooting in
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our investigation with a certain set of parameters. you hear that term used rather loosely in the media but we used f.b.i. guidelines and some other criteria to define a mass shooting as four or more people killed in a public place where the motive seemingly is indiscriminate mass murder. those types of cases we haven't seen another one since sandy hook with children. but there have been shooting ram pags and including in schools where kids have been shot. the most recent example is the case in neved where you had a -- and this is in our data set because the shooter was a 12-year-old. took a gun to a middle school, shot several people, killed a teacher, wounded students, and then committed suicide. host: the number 194, you put names and faces to those numbers. if you go on line to mother, they have an interactive photo gallery of the 194 victims.
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you can see their names, the incident, the age, how it happened, et cetera, if you go to mother american hero tweets in. how do these numbers compare to other countries? guest: well, that's a question i can't answer. i think clearly those are different situations than the one we're talking about here. those are essentially war zones. and no doubt a lot of children are injured and killed in war zones. it's a different kind of a problem. host: can you compare it to other countries? what the data set that you looked at. guest: as i said before, there is research that shows that the u.s. in terms of the gun death rate for children is far higher here than any other affluent western society. there was a study by the children's defense fund recently that showed that the
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gun death rate here for children and teens is four times higher than that in canada, which is the second closest country and many other countries are far lower than that. germany, great britain, the u.s. is 65 times the rate of child gun deaths. host: we'll go to amy in michigan. caller: i was just thinking that guns should be manufactured such that you have to log in your social security number before anything happens. i mean, or a pin number after your social security number. and then otherwise, if you get that, the gun locks, and it doesn't shoot. thank you. host: mark. guest: well, i think that's an
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issue that a lot of people have thought about as a way to try to alleviate the gun violence problem, that the idea that we should have stronger controls on how people get weapons and how they use them. it's certainly a relevant question. there's some i think technological challenges with locking up guns with trigger locks with personal identification on guns but it's something that the industry itself has looked into and then stopped. the gun lobby again, the n.r.a. and others when those types of measures are on the table they tend to have a kind of scorched earth approach to stopping them. they see any type of regulation like that as a major threat or at least that's how they describe it to constitutional right to own firearms. so those types of measures have not gotten much traction if at all in most levels of government. host: we'll go to mark next.
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caller: good morning. i first want to thank you for clearing up the issue of the ages of those who were in your study. here in the baltimore area we know that many times you can have a 15, 16, or 17-year-old who can be a very tough and street-hardened gang criminal. so to call those children or kids is a stretch. but anyway, let me get on to the point of pop culture. i think what we need to do as a nation is address the popular culture of violence and the popular culture of settleling scores by using firearms. when i was growing up, if someone made you angry, you would get into a fist fight with them. now? no, you take a gun and you shoot that person. host: mark. guest: well, it's certainly an important and an interesting
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question that's come una lot in the debate about gun violence. how and whether pop culture influences the issue. do video games cause gun violence? et cetera. that's a question that's been asked in many ways. we did an extensive story. again there comes down to research. there's no defensetive research one way or another showing whether violent video games are actually causing gun violence. but it's an interesting question and i think it's an important one to ask. host: "wall street journal" headline this morning on video game impact bills have been stalled. barbara in west virginia, independent caller.
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caller: thank you. i would like to ask you about the law that i heard this morning that what you thought about it, about new jersey passed a law to make it mandatory about registering bb guns. and also, i would like to say that it just seems like it keeps getting greater and greater, that the obama administration wants to get rid of a lot of our guns and take our freedoms and rights away from us. it's in our constitution. another thing that was brought up on the tv this morning about him shaking hands with a lot of the evil like cuban leaders, stuff like that. and i just feel that evil shakes hands with evil. i would like to hear your comment. guest: well, i'll comment on the guns issue. the lawyer pointing to new jersey, i'm not familiar with having a chance to look at that
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yet. but as far as the idea that the obama administration is trying to take away everyone's guns, there's just really no truth to that. the discussion of guns and gun regulation earlier this year in the wake of the sandy hook massacre was about having a different system for background checks. and it's a policy that the population of the country overwhelmingly supports. polls show that nearly 90% of people at least at that time were in support of having more stringent background checks for gun buyers. and that's what the debate was about. it wasn't about getting rid of guns or taking away people's guns. there are roughly 300 million guns in this country and they're not going to be taken away by anyone any time soon. that's just not reality. host: "new york times" report this is morning.
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denise, newark, ohio. caller: i just think that no matter what is done or what is said, there can be discussions until people are blue in the face. you cannot legitimate morality from mentality. now, the morality issue goes to, as long as somebody can make a buck off of a violent video game or a violent movie, they're going to. and then you've got the mentality issue of it that people that might be mentally unstable feed on this sort of thing. and while it may not have a direct cause it still, it heightens their awareness and i just don't think you're ever going to be able to legitimate either one. -- legitimate either one. host: we -- legislate either one. host: the issue of violent culture in the way that it mixes with people who are mentally unstable is
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interesting. we did see in our study there are some strong patterns of the people who are carrying out these types of crimes, many of them have mental health issues and there are a number of cases where they are consuming violent media or making reference to it. however, it's important to note that there's a very complex set of factors playing into the question of motive. and what enables a person to go out and commit a mass shooting and why they do it is a very complicated question. i think we have to be careful about attributing cause to violent media, for example. host: washington times reports this morning
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. we'll go to illinois. independent caller. caller: the lady in hoy. i would like to give you one retired police officer's perspective. we encourage people, especially the young people, to be afraid and think they can go out in the street and shoot people if they carry a gun they can be available for any threat. most people have never even been in a fist fight and i taught self-defense my whole career. and it's unfortunate that we have this idea that pulling the gun on somebody is just something you can do naturally. i have taken many officer safety courses and it doesn't work like that. people need to be aware that carrying a gun, you'd better be prepared physically and emotionally or you're going to get yourself hurt. i thought you should know that when you're talking to people about this subject. host: you're a former police officer? caller: yes, i am. host: ok.
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guest: well, a related issue there i think is the degree to which it's become more and more permissible in the united states to carry guns in public. there have been scores of laws passed in the last several years. we've documented this also at mother jones. allowing more and more people to get consealed carry permits and to carry guns and more and more places publicly, in restaurants and bars, on school campuses. so i think that's worth considering in that light, too, that you have a lot more people in the last handful of years walking around with guns. with permits. host: does mental health play a role in these numbers that we're seeing from your investigation and the number of children that are killed? guest: mental health specifically isn't a data pont hat we have with this study. there were anecdotally there were some cases where we saw
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parents who seemingly were quite disturbed whether or not they had mental health is an open question. but in the cases that were homicides, one would think that that's a strong possibility. there were 60 cases in which parents shot their own children to death and 50 of them were homicides. in some of the cases that we're talking about domestic disputes that turned violent, et cetera, but i can't comment directly to whether or not or to what degree mental health played a le in these 194 children's deaths. host: in washington times this morning.
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so one year after the sandy hook shooting, the white house announcing a boost of $100 for the mentally ill. let's go to debbie in florida. caller: i was just wondering why can't we make the government more responsible for creating a gun that has a single finger print access that can be registered to the police department? guest: well again, that question goes to the issue of regulation. stricter regulations in terms of who can own guns and how. it's technologically possible to do something like that. politically it seems almost impossible in terms of what we've seen in the past the debate over to what degree the government should be involved in controlling who can get a gun and who can't. host: we have a tweet.
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guest: well, the n.r.a. does have an awareness program for children. they have had for many years. where they emphasize firearm safety and responsibility for children. however, when it comes to the wider discussion of requiring gun owners to lock firearms up when they're not in uses to keep them out of the hands of children to store them responsibility, the n.r.a. isn't having any of that. they see that as an encroachment on gun rights. that's an interesting paradox that they promote responsible use of guns by kids and teaching kids how to use guns in a way that's safe. on the other hand, they fight vigorously against the data-driven policy ideas that would protect kids more, including a lot of these kids that have died in their own
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homes when they've gotten their hands on guns that are just lying around. host: kentucky, republican caller. you're on the air. caller: the crimes against our children in america have been great such as the one we saw in indiana where the child was brutalized by his parents and buried under a slab of concrete. do you believe there might be less crimes with guns in the united states if we had more laws to protect our children and the guns that are being used are probably being packed by their parents. and the treatment they are receiving in their home might ave something to do with it. guest: it sounds like the question is whether or not more laws would help stop this issue. i'm not sure that i have the answer to that. i'm not a policy maker. but i think we do see that this is a significant problem.
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this is something that happens essentially day-to-day. several times a week on average. and so it's the type of issue where if we saw people dying from car accidents on a regular basis like we did or a lot of people getting sick from second-hand smoke from cigarettes, the policy makers and the government does have options to change regulation to try to tamp down on the problem
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the office of the director of national intelligence. the hearing's being held by the senate judiciary committee. this is live coverage on c-span 3. >> okay. if we can get started. because i know with all the other things going on on the hill, it's going to be a tad busy today. i appreciate general alexander, mr. cole and mr. litt being here. we're going to be renewing our examination of government surveillance activities. and it seems every time we have these, there's been a series of new revelations. and the latest disclosures raise
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some significant questions about the scope and wisdom of our surveillance activities both at home and abroad. so it's clear that we have a lot more oversight work to do. in the last week there have been press reports that the nsa is collecting billions of records a day of cell phone locations around the world and can track individuals and map their relationship. there have also been reports the nsa is monitoring online video games. which just in the press reports raises a question, because we can do something, does it really make sense to do it? especially as last month the administration released a set of documents revealing details about yet another massive dragnet collection program in addition to the phone record program. and this time the nsa was
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gathering in bulk an enormous amount of internet metadata under the pen register trap and trace device authority, fisa. i should note just like section 215, there is nothing in the pen register statute that expressley authorizes the collection of dragnet data on this scale. although the internet meta data collection program we are told is not currently operational, it resulted in a series of major compliance problems. just like the section 215 program. according to the fisa court the nsa exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition. not just once or twice, but continuously during many of the years the program was in operation. again, another reason why we should have a lot more oversight and a lot more open oversight than we do have. the problems were so severe the
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fisa court ultimately suspended the program entirely for a period of time before approving its renewal. but once we knew the government asserted this collection was important for an intelligence tool, which is the claim it makes now of the section 215 phone records. but then in 2011, the government ended this valuable tool, as they call it. this internet meta data program. because as director clapper explained, it was no longer meeting operational expectations. it's important that the administration does not believe there's any legal impediment to restarting this bulk internet data collection program. if it or a future administration wanted to do so. the legal justification of this internet meta data collection is troubling. as with the section 215 program the internet meta data program
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was based on a vel advance standard. as with the section 215 program there's no adequate limiting principle to this legal rationale. the american people have been told that all of their phone records are relevant to counterterrorism investigations. now they're told that all of the internet meta data is also relevant and apparently fair game for the nsa to collect. in any country, in any country this legal interpretation would be extraordinary. you know, it's beyond extraordinary in the united states. and it's going to have serious privacy and end business implications in the future. particularly as new communications and data technologies are developed. so it should come as no surprise that the american technology industry is greatly concerned about these issues. i've heard from a number of companies who are worried that their global come pestive had been weakened and undermined.
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they say that the american businesses tend to lose tens of billions of dollars in the coming year. and we need to make substantial reforms to our surveillance laws to rebuild confidence in the u.s. technology industry. this confidence can be thrown away very easily. and it's more difficult to get it back. earlier this week, eight major technology companies, including microsoft, google, apple, facebook and yahoo! released a set of five principles for surveillance reform. and citing the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide, the companies called for greater oversight and transparency. they also advocate for limits that would require the government to rely on targeted searches about specific individuals. rather than bulk collection of internet communication from all of us. i have introduced the usa
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freedom act with senator leahy here in the senate. i appreciate the support we've received from the technology industry. and i look forward to hearing their perspective on the second panel. and without objection, i'll place in the record the open letter reform principles from the technology companies. and earlier a lot of different technology companies applied in the usa freedom act. and they support it. coalition of civil society organization, companies, trade associations, and investors. without objection, that'll be part of the record. this report from the technology industry is representative of the broad based bipartisan support for our legislation. organizations across the spectrum have endorsed the bill. from the aclu to the nra. i think senator durbin, blumenthal for their close
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sponsorship. and this is bipartisan. it's also bicameral legislation. it's a common sense bill that makes real necessary reforms. so i want input on the legislation. i look forward to working on this in the coming months. i do want to thank the witnesses for being here today. especially after we had the unexpected cancellation in november. senator grassley, i know you have half a dozen conflicts on your schedule. i thank you for being here. >> thank you. of course, this is a very important hearing. you're doing the right thing by having the hearing. because this is a subject of ongoing media attention and a lot of constituent interest. we last held a hearing in early october. since then reports have continued to surface in the media about possible overreach on the part of government. some of the reports may be more accurate than others. but i continue to believe that many of them call into serious
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question whether the law and other safeguards currently in place strike the right balance between protecting our civil liberties and our national security. and that balance is a very important balance. but it's a balance that for personal liberty as well as national security, both have constitutional implications. you can't forget one or the other. this is especially so concerning the public revelation that under section 215 of the patriot act, the government is collecting america phone meta data in bulk. why are many americans so concerned? well, it isn't hard to find an example of what can happen to americans' personal information when the government overreaches, mismanages and fails the american people. it's been two months since the administration tried to bring obama care website online. and the american people are


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