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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 26, 2014 5:00am-7:01am EST

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experiment. what would happen if you gave kids free fresh fruits and vegetables, not in the lunch room but in the classroom, or in a kiosk in the hallway. not just at lunch time, but whenever they felt like it, in the morning if they were hungry. so i started that. 100 schools, four states. 5 million. in the last farm bill, in 2008, i was able to expand it because each one of those 100 schools are still in the program today. they love it. we found kids eating fruits and vegetables they'd never eaten before, fresh, fresh fruits and vegetables and they got those free because you always say, well, we have a vending machine and we always have a couple of apples in the vending machine but a kid with money is not going to pay for an apple. they'll buy candy or cookie but if they get it free, they eat it, they like it, they don't go to the vending machine.
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>> in lunch rooms, when reporters have watched, when they go in their lunch bags, they end up in the trash can because you can't force kids to eat them. >> yes and no. yes and no. that's another thing. school nutrition standards i changed those, too, that's the school lunch program. but the fruit and vegetable program for kids is fantastic. now over $100 million a year. low income kids across america are getting free fresh fruits and vegetables with a lot of spill-over effect. kids in lunch room, they throw stuff away. they want hamburgers and french fries. that's right. so people have accused me of trying to tell parents what their kids should eat and tell the kids what they should eat. i said, yeah, i'm guilty. i plead guilty. should we let kids eat what they want to eat?
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if they want candy bars in the morning, would any parent want their kid to eat candy bars all day long? or to stuff themselves with hamburgers or french fries every day? no parent wants that. parents want their kids to have healthy food. to the extent that kids revolt against that, i understand that. that will work for a while and pretty soon they'll start to change. things will change because kids will find as long as the food is prepared well, they'll find that a lot of healthy food is pretty darn good but people say, these kids, they throw it away and stuff. well, for a while. for a while. it will change. >> we have maybe four or five minutes left. you've told me some of the things you're proudest about. do you have any regrets over the years? >> oh, sure. oh, sure. yeah. probably the biggest regret i have, the vote that i wish i
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ould take back, was the vote on the iraqi war, resolution of george w. bush's. a lot of people say it was a resolution to go to war in iraq. no, it wasn't, it was a resolution to give the president the power to go ahead and initiate action in iraq and i voted for it and it was a bad vote, terrible vote. i was convinced at the time that the president did not want to go to war, that he only wanted this as a hammer at the u.n. to make the u.n. inspectors do their job in raq. colin powell convinced me, not so much about the weapons of mass destruction, this was before that. but that the president would not go to war but this was just a hammer to give him the power. i believed him. i was wrong. that was not a good vote at all.
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i suppose there are others but the others pale into insignificance compared to that one. but i'm sure if i went through all the thousands of votes i cast, i'm sure there's some others. >> the last thing i want to ask you about something you're synonymous with, iowa presidential politics. so are you going to stay involved in will you have the ability to be something of a king maker in the state when people are there? >> there's one thing i know, once you're outta here, you're outta here. i have no illusions about that i'm going to continue to be some grand poobah in the iowa democratic party. new people coming in, that's for them. to the extent i can be helpful, i will. i like politics. i still want to be involved some way but not to the extent or in the role i have been playing the last few years.
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it just won't happen. but i intend to be heard. i intend to use whatever forums i have to continue to push a progressive populist agenda in america, one that talks about more equality and more opportunity for kids without anything, one that is more ompassionate and more caring and one that understands what i've always believed, that with the right people and right policies, government can be a positive influence in people's lives. i still believe that. >> senator, it's difficult to fit 40 years in 45 minutes. there's so much more we could talk about but thank you very much for the time you've given us. >> thanks, susan.
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he sat down with c-span to reflect on the institution and what issues need to be addressed in future congresses. this is 25 minutes. >> congressman howard coble, retiring after this session. you'll be the longest serving republican congressman in north carolina history. what do you think your legacy will be after 30 years here on capitol hill? >> well, not unfavorable, i hope, peter. i hope it will be one that has
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been laced with credibility. we have interns coming throughout our staff year-round and many have political desires to run for office one day and they ask me what should we emphasize? i say, you emphasize credibility, accessibility. people back home expect to see their elected official and i hink justifiably so. i go home just about every weekend. i did every weekend this ear. i recall, having served with a fellow who could have been in the congress his entire life. he was that good. he was a good public servant. and he was defeated in the republican primary and i asked him what happened to our buddy. he quit going home, was the answer. quit going home, they never saw him. so they showed him the gate that leads to the road out of
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own. >> legislatively, what are you most proud of? >> well, when i was elected in 1984, we were known as the furniture, hosiery and tobacco -- textile and tobacco capital of the world. not true anymore. but they're still hanging on, all of those different occupations or professions. my mama was a textile worker so textile legislation was close to home with me. so i'd say accessibility and looking out for the -- back home, that the country did not uffer as a result. >> how has your district changed since 1985? >> oh, tremendously. when we were elected, we had a very compact three-county district -- guilford, alamance and davidson. >> northern north carolina?
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>> northern north carolina, north-central north carolina. now, i've only stood one election under the new re-districting plan but now we have eight new counties, continue to embrace part of alamance and guilford, picked up portions of granville, orange and durham and coupled with the five complete counties, all new. it was quite an adjustment. most recently, we had -- that was altered somewhat. we kept portions of guilford, alamance, davidson. picked up a portion of rowan, which would be salsbury, randolph, solid republican county, home of the one of the best zoos in the world, pinehurst, golf capital of america, lost all of that can re-districting.
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i tell you a story about pinehurst. dr. charlie norwood, now deceased, dentist from augusta, georgia. i went to his funeral in augusta. there was an old man about my age with a big sign with these words, "thanks, charlie." i wish it had been in the next morning's paper. but norwood always would go out of his way to put down pinehurst as opposed to augusta. never missed a chance to do that. so one day when i left the floor, one of my colleagues said, what's the makeup of your district? norwood heard the question and i said my district consists of the furniture capital of the world, high point. ne of the best zoos in the world, i said to my colleague. and then knowing that norwood was listening, i said it in a
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condescending tone, i said the golf capital of america in pinehurst. he came out of his seat. he said i'll give you furniture and zoo but you ain't taking golf. i told that story to the rotary club at pinehurst, or southern pines, one of them. i think it was pinehurst. that story was told to them. someone in the committee knew norwood, called norwood and told him when i had done so he was waiting for me the next week but i fondly remember that exchange. of course, i was right. it was furniture, zoo and -- furniture, zoo and golf. >> so were you able and has it been the same here in congress to develop relationships with other members? >> pretty much so. yeah, you hear a lot talk about how partisan everything is.
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and it is partisan but we live in a republic where there are only two major parties. partisanship will be inevitable so that in and of itself doesn't bother me. i have many good friends on the democrat side. my mom and daddy were democrats. i was reared in a democrat home. but i would say easier than much of the media would portray it to be. >> congressman howard coble, over the years, congress' approval ratings have gone up and down and currently they're pretty low. why do you think that is? >> very low. i'm not sure that i can put my inger -- get my fist around it because i don't so that much changing from the time i came here three decades ago to now within the chamber but it's very low.
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of course, elected officials are easy targets. some folks are not going to be happy unless they're blaming some elected official for his or her problem. that could probably be a lot of it. but i think the president -- i've tried to be as nonpartisan as i can go this. it's difficult to do. i think the president particularly when it comes to foreign affairs, has been very inept, very disinterested, and think it shows. that may well contribute to the most recent low marks. you're right, we're at the bottom of the barrel. >> you've worked with speakers since jim wright. who do you think has been most effective? >> newt while he was here. i remember one time just after we -- the contract with america.
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and newt had us working until 11:00, 12:00 at night. and i had pretty good rapport with gingrich and one of my buddies about 10:00 one night said howard why don't you go to the speaker and see if he can make this 100 days 100 legislative days, give us an extra four, five, saturday, sunday, maybe even friday. i went to newt, i said, speaker, the troops are restless, they wonder if we can extend the 100-day time frame to 100 legislative days. he thought pensively for a few seconds. he said get back to work. i said, aye-aye, sir. we got back to work. but i think newt. >> you've also worked with presidents since ronald reagan. who do you think had the best relationship with congress? >> i think reagan along with
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both bushes. i'm very high on the bushes. >> why? >> easy to be with. i just called george w. bush within the past month to wish him well. he called me back a week later. i'm glad -- i should have told some folks i had called him because normally, one time, the senior bush, sonny montgomery. you remember sonny montgomery. >> democrat of mississippi. >> long-time democrat of mississippi, good friend of the bushes. he said to me one day, you called the president after the defeat. you need to call him. and i did, sonny gave me the number. i called him that day. voice message. left my name and number. didn't tell the staff what i had done. the next day, george bush calls our office.
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i don't recall back who answered the phone. kimberly, i believe. i think it was our front receptionist out front. she said, sure, you're george bush, and hung the phone up. the administrative assistant called and mrs. bush picked up the phone and he hung up the phone. you always need to tell your staff what you've done to avoid npleasant surprises. but i'd say -- i'd go with newt s the speaker. >> congressman coble, during the clinton administration you served on the impeachment committee. looking back at that period of time, how do you think that will be viewed in future eneration? >> you know, the late henry hyde, i won't each qualify to say probably, the most eloquent orator in the congress. henry told me one time, i think
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i remember this correctly, he said i'm not wild about this impeachment but there are 23 americans serving active prison sentences for having committed perjury. how do you justify that and turn a blind eye to the president? he said, i can't do it. and i'll always remember henry saying that. and your question was how would it play with the passage of ime. the order of it, which this came, and i believe he may be only one of two presidents who was impeached. am i right about that, peter? >> that's correct, he and andrew johnson. >> north carolinian, by the way. >> via tennessee. > via tennessee, yeah.
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>> congressman coble, what brought you to congress in the first place? what made you decide to run for congress? >> it started probably some years earlier when an old time lawyer, duke law school -- i'm not a duke fan, but duke law school, called me aside one day and he said i want you to run for the state legislature. this was 1968. he said when you go to vote, you turn to the republican side of the ballot and there's no names on there. how do you expect to build a party with no one willing to run for office and he convinced me i needed to run for state legislature and i did and was unfortunate enough to be elected. that was in 1968. a good year for republicans. and then i served three terms n raleigh. strike that.
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i was appointed assistant u.s. attorney after my first term in our state capital of raleigh. that's what started looking ahead, maybe, the seat was known as the revolving door district. congressman richardson preyer, do you remember the name? pryor was elected in 1968. former federal judge, very good man. ran against bill osteen who later became u.s. attorney. and then ultimately was appointed to the bench. i forgot where i was going with this. >> why you got congress, how you got congress? >> back to mr. mcnary, the old lawyer. he encouraged me to run for congress, as well. the revolving door started with the election of richardson pryor in his race with bill steen.
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in 1972, upset of the year, gene johnson defeated richardson pryor in a solid democrat district. it would probably have been classified as the number one upset in the country. one-term congressman, gene was. he was defeated -- i'm sorry, the 1970's, the first one. then 1972, he was defeated by a rookie, good guy, robin brett. and i ran against robin in 1974 -- 1984. so that's -- that was the track. >> how long -- you've been on the judiciary committee quite a while, too, all 30 years? >> all 30 years. >> why never the chairmanship of that committee?
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>> well, i told somebody, i told ed mcdonald, chief of staff this. i believe that lamar smith and bob goodlette both have served -- goodlette is serving now, i believe they were better lawyers than i. >> why that? >> just having observed -- i've always been a trifling student, indolent, lazy. and i just felt like -- i think i could have handled it but i think they were i think they were better equipped and more alented than i at the bar. >> congressman coble, one of your chairmanships is the subcommittee on the internet, intellectual property, et cetera. you've been pretty active on that issue, protecting intellectual property, et cetera. when you first came here, the digital age was just kicked off. it's been 30 years. what have you done to promote,
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protect, in your view, telecommunications? >> well, the high mark of my congressional career would be serving on the intellectual property subcommittee. that's been a good fit for us and i've met so many interesting people as a result thereof. i've tried to emphasize the significance of intellectual property. patent trademarks, copyrights. what it means to the wellbeing of our economic society. and we've done a good job i think of disseminating that word. i would not be qualified to be an intellectual property lawyer. i'm not that good. ecause it's very complex, very intricate. you do it wrong, you pay a high price.
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but that would be the highlight of my career up here. >> you've also worked on prison reform and prison issues, as well. yet did that pique your interest? >> when i was practicing law, my two areas would have been criminal law and the law of negligence. so it was coming into an area of the law with which i was not unfamiliar. >> and what -- where would you like to see the prison systems in america go? which direction? how would you like to see them reformed? >> i think prison overcrowding is one of the severe problems facing society today. i think probably we need to look more carefully at sentencing. there may be -- there are many people confined in prisons today serving active -- serving ctive penalties for one of this, that or the other.
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those people probably should not be in jail. there ought to be some sort of second tier to free up some of the space because there's a time bomb waiting to explode, that is prison overcrowding. >> do you think maybe drug laws need to be reformed? which a lot of conservative republicans have called for. >> probably. i think that might well be first step. and i don't say let every jail bird loose on society. i'm not suggesting that at all but i do think that certain sentencing measures could be adopted that would result in freeing up space behind bars. >> what's your advice to john boehner? >> well, i'm not sure he needs
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my advice. i think boehner, he's been criticized from within and without, but my reading on john oehner has been favorable. i think he's been a pretty good speaker. comes from a hard working family. his dad, i think, was on the bar. so john's duties were cleaning up the bathroom and cleaning up the decks at the end of a business day so he's been here, done that. >> looking around your office here on capitol hill, two things i wanted to note. number one, there are photos of you with cigars, with cigar smoke. long-time cigar smoker? >> there's a cigar picture right there. i like what i call ponies, small cigars. at one time i was smoking probably five or six cigars, strike that.
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three or four cigars a day. now that changed to three or four cigars a week. then finally said i the heck with it and part of the reason was the staff didn't like it. some of my colleagues didn't like it. chief of staff, i think, led the fight on that. and i figured, what the heck, if it's annoying to them, uncomfortable for them, i don't have to have a cigar in my mouth every day. and i have been free of cigar smoke probably in excess of five years. >> congressman coble, you've worked on a couple of issues that may not strike your colleagues as positive, such as limiting congressional retirement, term limits, cola increases, being careful about cola increases. have you gotten push-back from colleagues on capitol hill? >> when i came up here, i said i would try to get rid of the
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congressional pension. the pension of a lot of senior members who splayed things today. just to make a point, i vowed i would not take the congressional pension which i've not done and that's going to cost me a lot of money. that's one of the issues back home, today's issues, jobs, jobs and the economy, unemployment, all put into one hat. i'm drawing a blank. >> we were talking about money issues, you're not taking the pension. yes, sir. >> i have a bill in the hopper now that would change the eligibility date. now the congressional pension vests at five years. my bill would increase that to 12 years.
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ot one co-sponsor. now, term limits subject to interpretation. some favor it, some abhor it. i think a good argument could be made that we have term limits now, if you want to vote, you have a right to do that. if you don't, that's you exercising term limits. >> but aren't there a lot of built-in advantages for incumbents? >> oh, i think that's why the folks back home don't like it because it's obvious that -- it's ultimately highly favored on the one hand, crumbs on the table from the other. to this day folks complain to e about congressional pension, how i may be the only one who has refused the pension and the thrift plan.
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we have two pension routes, called the thrift plan and the pension. not my most brilliant financial decision, i might add. >> you're a love-long bachelor. >> yeah. >> why is that? >> i told a girl i was dating one time, she asked me that, i said i've never had time. normally that would be a bachelor cop-out but knowing me that's probably the truth. i've dated girls i liked more than they liked me and conversely, dated girls that liked me more than i liked them but it never did play out. >> why retire today? why are you retiring? >> i've got a bad back. i got skin cancer. neither of which is imminently failing my health but with eight new counties and a total f 10 counties in all, with a
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bum back, a lot of these folks don't know me as opposed to the old district. i just felt like it might be a good time to walk away. >> where are you going? what are you going to do? >> someone asked me that the other day and i said i hasn't thought about it. he said, hadn't thought about it? he said you've had 30 years of no spare time, you're going to be in a position where you have nothing but spare time, you better be thinking about it. i won't fail retirement. i'll try to stay active. but colleagues that i've met up here, democrats and republicans alike, they are very endearing to me. and i apologize, peter, to you and your staff. i'm coming down with my annual late summer, early autumn cold as you can tell with the raspy voice. >> what are you going to miss most about capitol hill?
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>> tomorrow i'm scheduled to go meet with the judicial conference at the supreme court. meeting with them periodically. infrequently but periodically. i'll miss meeting with them. i will not miss my weekly trek to the airport. i recall, peter, some months ago, actually it's been years ago now, i was being driven to the airport by one of our staffers, for rural randolph county. 95-degree day and you can see the sun is my enemy. 95-degree day. bumper-to-bumper traffic. i said to her, i wouldn't live in this town. she said you do live in this town but you don't think of this town as being home. but that aside, it is still recognized as the cradle of democracy, the cradle of freedom, the cradle of liberty, and i'm proud, when i look out that window and see the capitol, if i'm griping and complaining, it pretty well
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falls in line this is the best place to be. >> you heading back to the district after january? >> oh, yeah. i feel sure i will be. >> where will you keep your papers and your office records? >> university of north carolina at greensboro. >> why there? >> my alma mater, guilford college, did not have an adequate library that could handle it and u.n.c.g. has an appropriate library and they expressed interest in it so that's where they'll be. >> who are you going to miss here? >> well, i'm going to miss -- i have been richly blessed with a good staff, peter. so i'll miss my staffers. i'll miss my colleagues. both sides of the aisle. but i really am indebted to a good staff. i tried to treat them right. they, in turn, treat me
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right. >> you've had long-term staff, haven't you? >> attrition has not been a problem with us. people come and they stay. which, of course, affords reliability, affords uppermost confidence, without walking back and forth, in and out the door one day, one day here, one day gone. > any regrets? >> maybe should have taken the congressional pension. [laughter] i say that halfway in just. >> congressman howard coble, after 30 years, retiring from congress. thanks for your time. >> thank you, peter.
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>> it's hard to get eleggetted if you are 950 or 91 years old and they don't tell people that you run every morning and vote 99% plus of the time. there's a difference in 90-year-old people and that never was brought up because they weren't for me. >> all 0 year olds are not built the same. i bet people who want to be 90
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are wondering how you're running two miles every day. >> i was told one time, if one of your he havers has a little bull calf go out there and lift that bull calf over the fence and lift him every day over the fence up until the day after day after day until he is a full-grown bull. and then when you can still lift him over the fence and throw him over the fence you can throw the bull enough to run for congress, is what they told me. so that's how i got nit race for congress. i left the cattle business and came here. >> tonight crmp span interviews with retiring congressmen continues.
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>> also on thursday thanksgiving day we will take an american history tour of various native american tribes at 10:00 a.m. eastern following "washington journal." then at 1:30 attend the ground breaking ceremony of the new iplomacy center in washington. >> next, senator chuck schumer of new york, the democratic policy chair, outlines the results of the midterm elections and lays out plans for what he calls a new pact with the middle class. from the national press club this is an hour and 15 minutes.
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>> it is a high honor for us to have senator, democratic policy chair chuck schumer, charles, a key member of the leadership, who will give a series of three speeches, kicking it off today, what they must do to be successful in 2016 and beyond. in the current congress, senator schumer is a member of the senate judiciary committee and chair of the key subcommittee on immigration, borders and security and citizenship, which will oversee president obama's executive order on immigration. he also chairs the senate rules committee.
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he will keep his leadership role at the senate's democratic policy chair in the current congress. his committees will be determined as we get closer into the next congress. as a member of the house for 18 years -- and that is where senator schumer and i first that, in full disclosure -- representing brooklyn and queens, was a leading sponsor of the violence against women act and the brady bill. he sponsored the hate crimes prevention act and sponsor legislation that required banks and credit card companies to have greater disclosure. he was the author of the legislation that it limited barriers to low-cost generic edication. in 2004, after his reelection, he successfully let -- led the democratic senate campaign ajorities in two cycles.
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following 2006, senate majority leader reid appointed him to a position he continues to hold. in 2009 he was selected chairman of the senate rules committee, which oversees federal elections, voting rights and campaign finance. after he was reelected for a third term in 2010, he took on an expanded role as the chairman of the democratic policy and communications center or at my favorite part of the senator biography is that after graduating from harvard college, harvard law school -- and by the way, i only got on a waiting list to my great disappointment. senator schumer in 1974 ran for the new york state assembly, becoming, at 23, the youngest member of the state legislature ince theodore roosevelt. so, welcome to the national press club, where news happens. i want to thank the national press club staff for helping organize the event today.
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bill a karen, joanne booz and richard, among others. if you would raise your hand -- and rebecca vander, my longtime executive assistant, who will be the van a white -- the vanna whi of the eventte. lso on senator schumer's staff, matt house, and many of the others who made this event ossible today. we will address the controversial issues that are out there, the immigration order, the health care bill, nd whether those will be allowed to stay or whether they will be killed or we can buy -- or weakened by funding cuts. chuck hagel at the department
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of defense, his new position. these are the new items that are up, but we look forward to senator schumer's speech and he will speak for about 25 minutes, and then we will open it to questions. senator schumer? >> thank you, bob. it is great to be back here at the press club. happy thanksgiving. i hope you are all with friends and family and have a good one. i will start off with a little thanksgiving story. i was born on thanksgiving day, 1950, november 23. my mom went into labor at about 5:00 a.m., and in those days of course things were a lot different. the dad strove the moms into the hospital, and then the moms -- the dads drove the moms into the hospital, and the moms were whisked upstairs while the dads waited in the waiting room, smoked cigars, and waited for the blessed event.
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my mom's obstetrician was on -- in a hospital on 29th street and 7th avenue. it has been subsequently losed. in any case, he got to the hospital about 8:00, 8:30, took my mom upstairs, and my dad went to the waiting room. beating -- being the adventurous soul he was, he realized it was thanksgiving, only four blocks from the thanksgiving day parade. he watched it for three hours. at the end of it, he saw a friend of his and they went into a local pub to celebrate the upcoming blessed event. i was born at 11:00 a.m., he showed up at 3:30. precipitating the first fight my parents had over me. fortunately, it did not end things. they have been married for 63 years, praise god. he is 91, she is 86.
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thanks giving has been a blessed event in our family. the title of my speech is, "a democrat majority in 2016 and how to make it happen." he beautiful lady in the harbor holding the torch represents the american dream. if you ask the average american what the american dream means to him, he would not put it in fancy textbook language or academic terms. he or she would put it very simply in saying it means if i work hard i will be doing better 10 years from now than i am doing today. my kids will be doing still better than me. however, if that torch flickers, the torch is no longer lit, people no longer believe in the american dream, we will become a different country. and that is exactly what is happening.
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the light is flickering, has been flickering for over the last decade, and that fact has dominated our politics more than any other. the most salient factor in our political economy is that for the first time in american history, that'll class incomes have been in decline for over a decade -- middle class incomes have been in decline for over a decade, and the grand optimism over the american dream is in jeopardy. the 2014 election results can be explained this way. during 2013, neither party convinced the middle class that they had an effective way to get them out of this morass, that they had an effective plan to create good jobs and raise incomes. as 2014 began, the parties were in stalemate. but when government failed to deliver on a string of noneconomic issues, the rollout of the obamacare exchanges, the mishandling of the surge in border crossers, ineptitude at
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the v.a., initial handling of the ebola threat, people lost faith in government's ability to work, then blamed the incumbent governing party, democrats, creating a republican wave. ultimately, the public knows in its gut that a strong and active government is the only way to reverse the middle class decline and help revive the american dream. democrats lost in 2014 because the government made mistakes that eroded the electorate's confidence in its ability to improve the lives of the middle class. but that same underlying expectation that government should help make life easier for the middle class is as strong as it has ever been, setting the stage for a democratic victory in 2016, if and only if we can convince people that government can work and help restore the middle
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class to prosperity. we are in a much better position to do this than republicans because when economic conditions are declining for the middle class, the electorate instinctively turns the democrats -- turns to democrats. but in order to win in 2016, democrats must embrace government, not run away from it. the republican mantra is counterintuitive to the middle class because they know government is needed to stand up to the be economic forces like technology and globalization that push them around. if democrats can create a convincing plan that is both achievable and believable, embracing government is a way to help the middle class advance. we will roll to victory in 2016. in order to demonstrate that government can work, democrats must proceed down two parallel tracks.
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first we must convince americans that government can be on their side and is not just a tool of special interests. we must re-energize our vision by making a forceful case when democrats will govern again that we will make government the people's champion, not captive to the powerful. this message has an element of populism. democratic populism does not mean the rabble rousing populism or divisiveness of huey long or william jennings bryan. it recognizes that the powerful have much more access and influence over government and specific and strong actions must be taken to curb that influence so government can really represent the average person. second, and even more important, we must illustrate that government can provide solutions by delineating specific concrete programs that if enacted would actually improve lives and incomes. these proposals must resonate
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with the middle class so that voters believe they will be attainable and effective, which means they must work politically. they must also be joined by an effective theme so that people do not see specific democratic programs as disjointed pieces but rather as parts of a whole. we must convince the middle class that the only way out of their more asked is by embracing -- out of a morass is by a stronger and effective government, not by demeaning or running from it. here should be our pact with the middle class. i using government in a direct and focused way, we will provide a shield against large forces that have worked against middle-class families so they have a better job and more money in their pockets. we will have enacted government that enables the middle class to have the tools they need to ake your lives better.
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we will restore a strong and stable economic family -- economic middle class for working families so they can stop worrying about getting by and start thinking about getting ahead. our message must be we will help get you moving forward again so that you can be better off 10 years from now and your kids lives will be better than yours. this is more than just a political necessity. we have a strong policy imperative to do this as well. while many may not know it, the nation is on the edge of a crisis. if we have another 10 years of middle-class decline, we will have a fundamentally different country, a sour, angry country where people of different backgrounds, races, and economic levels no longer get along, with a government that few of us, left or right, will like. but the political opening certainly provides us with an opportunity.
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four election cycles of ping-ponged results have shown us that people are yearning for a political party to offer concrete solutions, only to be isappointed each time. democrats need to fill that void, and even in a world of negativity, exacerbated by a cynical and negative media, we can succeed. sometimes people forget that the struggle between pro-government and antigovernment forces is not a recent phenomenon. it has dominated our politics for the last 90 years. it has dominated our political economy. during that time, the fundamental divide between democrats and republicans has been their attitude towards overnment. democrats believe that an active and forceful government can and must be a positive force in people's lives here and republicans believe government is usually a detrimental force. the less, the better.
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one simple fact hit me a few weeks ago, illustrating how stark this division is today. the most conservative senate democrat, probably joe manchin, still believes more in government than the most liberal senate republican, susan collins. the belief in government -- its size, it its role, it possibilities -- is really what undergirds our politics and fundamentally divides our parties. over the course of the 20th century, our political pendulum has swung from periods of relative faith in government to periods of distrust. these are the big tectonic plates. they move very slowly over time, but they have drastic and lasting consequences when they do. they are moving back in a pro-government direction. let's review the history since 1932.
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a pro-government mentality dominated politics from 1932 to 1980. before 1930 two, fear and uncertainty range. franklin roosevelt, contending with the forces unleashed by the industrial revolution and confronted by an economic calamity of the highest order leaned on the leaders of government to stop the bleeding and pull the country out of the depression. fdr greatly expanded the role of government, stimulating the economy, creating jobs with public works projects, and built a social safety net hinged on social security that lifted older americans out of crippling poverty. these actions, bound together in a new deal, demonstrated to the american people that government could indeed improve the standard of living for average americans. they bought in, and democrats enjoyed two generations as the majority party.
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during that period, even republicans played on a pro-government field and proffered agendas that expanded government. eisenhower built a highway system. richard nixon created a new federal agency, the epa. but by 1980, 2 things happened. first, any party that has been in power for a long time loses touch and goes off track. on crime and welfare, democrats feared too -- democrats veered too far away from the american people. but the most fundamental reason people turned away from government is democrats had been so successful in creating a stable economic system. people thought i am fine on my own, i don't need government anymore. america had experienced 35 years of continued prosperity, and a persuasive ronald reagan, supported by a republican party with a unique and new messaging
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tools took that opportunity that they no longer needed -- took that opportunity to convince them that they no longer needed government. it helped undermine the very idea that gave birth to the rooseveltian system. taxes are going to welfare queens," "you don't need help from the government" -- those messages found a receptive audience. americans believed that the federal government had become bloated, sclerotic, and ineffective. so ronald reagan was able to shrink a government majority that lasted until 2008. he could not have said it more bluntly than in his first inaugural. "government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." that simple if those defined a new -- that simple ethos
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defined a new era. bill clinton echoed ronald reagan in 1996 when he said, the era of big government is over." but by 2008, the reagan era of shrinking government ended. it ended for one reason -- the gap between productivity and wages. they began to be -- they began to detach in the late 1970's and early 1980's. they became so large that by 2000, the median income started to decline. for the first time in american history, it has stayed in decline for more than a ecade. between 1950 and 1980,
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productivity and wages broadly defined -- not just hourly salaries but all salaries -- but productivity and wages went up in tandem at a high rate, creating the golden era of middle-class opportunity. starting around 1980, the two began to separate. productivity continued to rise at a rapid rate, and the economy grew. while wages continue to go up but not at the same rate -- while wages continued to go up but not at the same rate as productivity. globalization began to kick n. by 2000, those forces, private sector forces, not government forces -- that is what globalization, technology, and automation art -- became so strong, that instead of productivity going up and wages going up less, wages started to decline while productivity continued to go up. even in the so-called
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prosperous years of the last decade, 2001 to 2007, economists were surprised to learn that meeting wages were declining. but it had been masked by the fact that average wages were going up because of great wages at the high-end of the spectrum, leaving the median behind. the reasons is happened can be obvious and opaque. as technology continues to dvance, automation supplants employment across a number of different industries. low skilled and even high skilled wage and salary workers lose their jobs to machines. globalization, and enabled by technology, allows businesses and employers total relocate -- to relocate markets have way across the globe, putting ownward pressure on wages.
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while overall technology has many good effects, making markets more efficient, it cannot be denied it puts a downward pressure on wages. over the last decade, these forces have helped cause the median middle-class income to decrease by a very large .5%. adjusted for inflation, the median income is $3600 lower than in 2001. the decline in income caused he great tectonic plates beneath our political economy -- pro-government 1932 to 1980, antigovernment 1980 12 2008 -- -- 1981 two 2008 -- to flip again. president obama, when he campaigned, offer the message that america needed the government again. that they are not fine anymore. middle america -- middle class americans bought into it because they felt in their bones that the deck was stacked against them. he was able to govern on a pro-government mandate because
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the conditions were right. we felt the shock from the global technological economy that was only an order of magnitude shy of what our country faced in the 1930's, in the middle class was no longer confident they had a right future. democrats captured the house, the senate, and the presidency with a broad mandate to use government to stop the free fall caused by the financial crisis and reverse the middle class decline. the administration deserves a lot of credit for moving quickly and decisively to pass the stimulus, which saved our country from a depression and included several important and politically in tune provisions like the massive middle-class tax cut. in fact, both the tarp and the stimulus were glaring examples that only government can counter the big forces in our political economy. passing the stimulus was a positive first step that the new democratic majority would
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go to work for the middle class. but the stimulus was not the bright spot for democrats it could have been for two reasons. first, republicans tried to block it from the very start, in early 2009. democrats were unable to pass as large a stimulus as the economy required. only three republicans would consider voting for the stimulus --arlen specter, collins, and snow. while it certainly prevented things from getting worse, it's positive effect did not break through. second, it was a mistake for democrats in congress to make the bread of the stimulus so wide that funding seemed to be going to pet programs and not things that would jumpstart the economy. it gave republicans the opportunity to create the
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impression that the bill was loaded up with pork, which they used to frame the whole bill, even though it was only maybe 5% of it. o, the stimulus, even though it was absolutely successful as a measure to pull our economy back from the brink, was not as successful as it could have been politically in making the middle class feel government was for them. after passing the stimulus, democrats should have continued to propose middle-class oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus. but unfortunately, democrats lose the opportunity the american people gave them. we took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform. the plight of uninsured americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed, but it was not the change we were hired to make. americans were crying out for
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the end to the recession, for better wages and more jobs, not changes in health care. this makes sense, considering 85% of all americans got their health care either the government, medicare, medicaid, or their employer. and if health care costs were going up, it really did not affect them. the former care act was aimed at the 36 million americans who were not covered. it has been reported that only a third of the uninsured are even registered to vote. in 2010 only about 40% of those registered voting. even if the uninsured kept with the rate, which they likely did not, it would still only be talking about only 5% of the electorate.
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again, our health care system was riddled with unfairness and in it should say and was a problem desperately in need of fixing. the changes that were made are and will continue to be positive changes. we would have been better able to address it if dimmick rats have first proposed and passed him
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they turned obamacare into a general medical or and falsely convinced the elect trip that government would not work anyway. tonichough the tech plates held and the decline in the lesson and still give them a rats and ultimately better argument, the office on obama care gave antigovernment forces in the republican arty new vigor and new life at least temporarily. the tea party hundred groups like the brothers and other right-wing forces dominated the 2010 elections. antigovernment forces gain the upper hand. with all movements, that live inside their own ideological bubble, the tea party went too far issue after issue you. people realize they were far outside the main human average american to not want the dramatic curtailing of
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government and the aided by the tea party asked next -- as well as mainstream republican area obama was reelected in 2012 because the tea party did not solve the last problems in incomes continued to decline you . the election of 2012 was essentially a negative one, a rejection of the tea party .xtremists him
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3/4 went too far to shut down the government, the ratio by which they favored democrats over republicans jumped. unfortunately for us, the shut down was followed shortly thereafter by the disastrous rollout of the online exchanges are in it was a glaring example of the government ineffectiveness and became the mechanic dove for the republican antigovernment argument. this problem was compounded throughout the spring and summer of 2014 by a cascade of issues that served to illustrate the inability of government to solve problems.
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the republicans got another chance in the midterm elections. the past six years can be summed up why the middle-class frustrations with whom they read guarded as the incumbent party. each time a party appeared to be in charge, but is unable to convince the public to have the solution for easing middle-class decline, there is an
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electoral whiplash. --cessive alternative alternating wave elections in 2008, voters tired of republicans who had been in charge with endemic rats. in 2010, voters tired of democrats in charge that in republicans. in 2012, tired of republican obstruction, they put democrats back in. now in 2014, with the perception the demo that's were in charge, they looked back to the republicans. in each case, with maybe the exception of 2008 represents a month a mentally negative election, a rejection of the party seems to be in charge rather than enthusiastic support of the party they've voted for. the consolation between elections focuses that the current discontent will continue until one party convinces the middle-class voters that it has a vision for and an agenda that
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will it topless creating good jobs and increasing middle-class incomes. that struggle will be played out in the same battle of that has dominated political strife since 1932. who will win that fight? when middle-class incomes arctic -- middle-class incomes have client. -- have declined3+ it can be described by tech knowledge he. tech knowledge he allows capital to garner a far greater share of in races in the first of a modern and efficient economy than labor can of taint. technology allows machines,
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computers, and robots to produce goods more efficiently
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these answers make no sense to average. the demo attic answer is far more compatible of middle last think in needs. harnessed and encouraged by the private sector push you around and you feel help us, you need a large counter to stand up to him at , the only horse licking review the tools to stand up the horses that can mitigate the effect technology rates on your in. it's an active and committed government that is on your side. people know in their hearts that when a powerful rabbit sector forces degrade their lifestyle come only government can protect them. people intuitively understand that when most people are educated emma they do better they understand that when taxes
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are progressive, the middle class does better and understand when industries are done on a level playing income of the middle class does better when workers can bargain for a greater share of their companies wealth, middle class does better area and. the only way to achieve these ends his government. the dirt left on its own cannot. -- the private sector were left on its own cannot. the democratic pro-government answer has the natural high political ground at a time when incomes are declining. that is not necessarily mean we always win. we don't percent a coherent and believable pro-government land -- plan, when government messes up, we can easily lose as 2010
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and 2014 showed. we still have a natural advantage. this is the root cause reason as to what dimmick rats will be the majority party -- as to why democrats will be the majority party. it is more dominating than any temporary advantage that either party gains. -- unleashingctor the private sector will not solve middle-class needs. a strong government on your side will. election, inpast alaska and arkansas, deep the conservative states, minimum wage in races past those
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conservative group applicant's were forced to back them they were on the ballot. according to the latest poll taken after the election, here are the three most popular things people said congress should do next year. 82% said congress should provide access to lower the cost of student loans. 75% said spend more on infrastructure. 65% said raise the minimum wage. these are all government actions. the gallup polled detected almost no fall out in the american people desire for more active government. favor more about 1/3 active government. 2/3 of americans are open to the idea that an active government
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can improve their lives. the 2014 election was not a repudiation of government in general, just another sign of the deep restoration government is not doing enough to fix our country in the middle class problems. publicow, the american is so cynical about government that endemic reddick pro-government message would not immediately he successful. let me explain -- just as the industrial bestution unleashed forces harnessed by the robber barons, new economic order created by globalization and technology without government intervention is naturally an official to those already at the top of the economic heap, the wealthiest
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among us. look at how product tivoli and corporate profits and stock market is have continued to client while incomes have stagnated in the share of corporate profits that go to labor have fallen. when the government is seen as working those interests who already have the advantage, americans are soured and frankly angry. deep down, americans are much more and sign with who government works were then its size or scope. in order to restore belief and affirmative government as a force for good, we have to do it in two steps. we need to convince voters we .re on their side are i we must first prove that the era of big corporate influences over. -- influence is over.
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big business may be allowed a seat at the table that americans feel that special interest are buying the whole room and renting it out or profit. when government panders to these verses -- these forces.
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a third a less active government here in a third something in between. two thirds of americans are open to the idea and active and government -- and not government could improve their lives. some are not opposed to larger government, but don't believe it will be on their side. it bears repeating -- the 2014 election was not a be pretty ancient of government in general. just another sign -- was not a repudiation of government in general. just another sign -- right now the american public is so cynical about government that the democratic pro-government message wouldn't be immediately successful. let me explain. just as the industrial revolution and least portions that were test harnessed by -- new economic order created without government intervention is naturally beneficial to those at the top of economic heap. just look at how product dignity , stock market values have continued to climb while incomes have stagnated and the share of corporate profits the go to labor have fallen. in the government is seen as
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working for those interest who are ready have the advantage, americans are soured and frankly angry. that strategy must be our blueprint. it should unite democrat from elizabeth warren to hillary clinton to joe manchin. progressives have done well to highlight that the economy is stacked to death in favor of special interests. if we do our job well, it offers a positive message that moderate democrats can sell even in the deepest red of states. every democrat could follow this playbook. help win back those working-class voters who turned out in most presidential in midterm elections and who decide to trend against democrats in this election. i want to address that second step putting forth a policy for the middle class. what should those policies of the in how should we decide upon them. in the coming weeks and months we will have this debate within the democratic party. we will outline what specific policy measures we hope to achieve in the 114th congress and beyond. today in a laundry list of measures, i would like to outline not what policy democrats would propose, but how
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to build our party platform to pill directly to the middle class and convince them that government is on their side. they form an objective lens. >> these are the five grandmothers i believe should guide them at attic policies. -- the democratic policies. first we must ask ourselves if this policy directly benefits middle class families in an immediate and tangible way. you will it lower their expenses in a meaningful way? will it increase their expenses in a meaningful way. it we are to fulfill our pact with the middle class, we must particular policies don't make their lifestyle more affordable. period. the policies must be aimed at who, not what. not all policies will involve spending. changing labor laws so workers could demand more pay.
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those don't involve spending but rather changing rules of the game to make it easy for the middle class to fight the forces they are up against. second, the policy should be simply and easily explained. third, is it likely to happen that democratic priority should be achievable? yes, they have to be a lot more than just messaging goals. fourth, is a policy effect the broad swathes of americans? it did for small slice of the country. they're even policies that would help constituencies within the middle class, but not a great deal of people. those policy should be considered, but not the core to the platform. they must fit together in an effective theme and even sympathy -- symphony and see them as parts of a whole.
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if the democrats follow this rubric , it will create a natural path that could help convince middle-class americans that in this modern world, government is not only helpful, but a necessity. we're more than were willing to work with the public in college -- republican colleagues to get legislation done that meets these criteria. one thing we won't have to worry about is the idea that republicans will adopt a positive middle-class agenda before we get a chance to do so. that won't happen. we publicans and armored with the concept that only the private sector can solve america's problems will only be effective at fostering negative attitudes towards government. and set of focusing on the middle class, it will spend their time bashing obamacare. when it comes to doing anything
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positive, they will be era lysed. -- paralyzed. take a look at their new proposals for the new congress. there are specific ideas of a positive, tenable agenda. -- attainable agenda revolving around two issues -- proving the keystone pipeline and repealing the medical device tax. -- the pipeline might produce about 9000 temporary jobs in one limited in that part of the country. give me a break. a good highway bill, infrastructure bill, we create hundreds of thousands of jobs and provide decades of economic benefits. the medical device tax, many democrats are for its repeal. it might create a few jobs. in a small industry but funding nih would create hundreds of thousands of jobs not only with
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medical devices but pharmaceuticals, biotech and a host of other spinoff industries. in both cases, the republicans are focusing on the short-term needs of a few narrow special interests instead of the long-term benefit of those interests as well as the broad middle class. our work is cut out for us during the next year. we don't have to hurry. republicans are neither willing or able to fill in this void. they will continue their negative ways. in 2015, we have to show the american people that we will be ready to govern as a united party. by the end of 2015 to win the election and to govern effectively thereafter, democrats must make sure three things are in place. first, our party embraces government and doesn't run away from it. second, we are prepared to take on special interests when necessary and show the average
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person that government can be on their side. third, become up with the policy plan that is focused, easily understood, achievable, and fits together to form a larger narrated. -- narrative. we must have our party embrace these three strategies. we must have our presidential candidate on the same page. this is our most important mission during the year 2015. together democrats must embrace government. it is what we believe in. it is what unites our party. most importantly, the only thing that is going to get the middle class going again. if we run away, downplay it, or act as if we are embarrassed, people won't vote for our version of the republican view.
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they will vote for the real mccoy. if people don't believe the government can deliver, they will follow the republican chant. republicans will paint government as the enemy. the media will highlight the government failures because it makes sensational news. if we run away, the negative misconceptions will take route. even the people support our ideas, they won't believe government can deliver. we are the party that believes in government as a force for good. with a robust defense of government to a renewed public space -- sorry, without a robust government to renew faith, we will be holding back for fear of being identified as advocates for big government. beyond the political imperatives
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and more important, a deep and sensitive imperative for democrats embrace government to make it work. a government doesn't deliver, the middle class will be left without the only advocate powerful enough to give them a fighting chance in our modern economy. if the republican vision of a government stripped there comes -- stripped of their comes to pass, we just broadly defined will continue to decline or even plummet even as product to the continues to progress here it incomes will decline. college education will be harder to afford. a job party to secure. -- a job harder to sit your. if the republican vision of a government that does not invest or stimulate, a comfortable middle-class life will be harder and harder to achieve the most americans.
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incomes continue to decline, people will become sour, angry, and subject to the spell demagogues. -- to the spell of demagogues. different racial religious, , and economic groups turn on each other in a way we haven't seen in almost a century , the grand optimism that is america would be distinguished -- extinguished. we would be a sour, angry people as a flickering light of the american dream dwindles and the america we know and love no longer exists. if democrats embrace government, if we said about convincing the american public it does not have to be held hostage by powerful interests, but have their backs, if democrats embrace government and propose a believable agenda
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that average americans understand all make their incomes grow, they not only will we went election -- win election, but capture america and its imagination for the next generation. if we can do all that, we will have saved the american dream and the flaming torch held aloft by the lady in the harbor of the city of which i live will burn brightly again in the heart of every american. thank you. >> ok. we do need to take some questions. >> on this subject first. >> this is the subject. let me try this -- your
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prognosis that republicans failed because they are going to -- will fail because they are going to block all of the positive middle-class provisions you said democrats want to do, that you are saying democrats will failed because republicans will block everything? it sounds like you're not suggesting there is an opportunity for the middle to succeed. is there a way what you are proposing could happen rather than this view that we have no hope? >> one important modification. it does not republicans will -- it is not simply that republicans will fail or block things. their whole philosophy is let the powerful sectors run unrestrained. don't get in the way of sending jobs overseas. don't get in the way of letting people have rights in the workplace. don't do anything to help people go to college.
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cut, cut, cut. it is deeper than that. their philosophy doesn't fit the times. that is why i'm confident will prevail if we do things right. what will happen in 2016? the title of my speech is how we will win in 2016. we hope that if we propose things that and if it middle-class that meet the criteria i laid out, maybe the republicans will support us. in alaska and arkansas, they endorsed the minimum wage. it was on the ballot. the republican leadership realized that pure extraction is him isn't going to help them --
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-- pure obstructionism is not owing to help them. can they convince the strong tea party elements in their party to do some things with us? that is the $64,000 question. i don't know what will happen. getting things done for the middle class is good for us. if they don't, we will pursue and pursue. there will be the kind of reaction you have seen in the last few elections. it will be much larger in 2016. >> you have got the microphone. let's start right there. you in the front row. >> two quick questions. you talk about government. what about state government?
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-- the immigration issue, there are many issues between states and national. the other thing is in the interest groups seems right on their, but you talk about big corporations. there's this identity group. one i entity group questions another. >> let me answer both. i think the federal government should set the tone for democrats in 2016. what i say applies to state government as well. just as the middle class needs help against big forces, there are certain things states can do to be help will. -- to be held all. the terms of interest groups it , is not just big corporations. there are lots of interest groups. we have to focus on the middle class. we have to discount interest groups. of all types. is this going to benefit the
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average voter? i have tried to talk directly to the people. i think that is what we have to do. talk to the average voter. here is what we are doing. not worry about intermediaries. hi, jerry. >> questions about health care. regarding what you said about health care being the wrong priority, did you make that clear to others within the democrat party at the time? >> yes. >> what reaction did you get? >> lots of people thought this is the one opportunity to do it. it's very important to do. we just shouldn't have done it first. we are in the middle of a recession. people are hurting. what about me? i'm losing my job. it's not health care that i worry about.
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my income is declining. i cannot do the things i used to do. it is not my health care issue. 85% of americans were fine with their health care in 2009 maybe because it was paid for or their employer. -- by the government or their employer. they weren't clamoring. the average middle-class voter weren't opposed to doing health care, but it wasn't at the top of the agenda. that allowed the opening for the tea party that was playing on the banks of the recession -- agnst of the recession. to say see what you are not doing. >> and a concern what you're saying about health care could plant in that republicans field efforts? >> i don't think they need anything else to play into the repeal efforts. [laughter] you look at the ads in 2014, the very few republicans call for repeal.
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not so much in 2010. it does -- very few in 2010. it has much less weight. than it used to and they moved on to other issues by and large. >> [inaudible] the logistics are complicated so we test micro loan. >> how much excess you think the government will have -- success -- success do you think the republicans will have in the next congress in cutting programs and maybe eliminating agencies? >> another thing about the 2014 elections, not many republicans were harping on the deficit. and too much government spending. they were still out there, that it wasn't at the top of the list . this is an advantage of the health care bill. it did not affect 20 10 because of happened later. i don't even know if it was an issue in this campaign. health care costs is going way down instead of up.
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that has helped bring our deficit down rather significantly. the biggest reason the deficit was going up because of increased cost of medicare and medicaid. they had a positive effect. don't get me wrong. i think it is a good bill and i'm proud to have voted for it. but it should have come later. >> senator schumer, with the democrats consider a strategy of giving republicans growth as a way -- -- rope as a way to -- >> i have never liked that strategy. they may do it themselves but we have to be true to who we are. we are a party of average folks in the middle class. if for some reason, the republicans would want to put something on the floor that would help a middle-class and we think would help the middle class, i think we have to support it and i think we would. we are a pro-government. party. we have been all along.
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you can't run from it. that is what has divided the party to this day. i mentioned that mancin is probably more pro-government than collins. says it all. >> following up on the first question on the economic agenda, what would -- how long is the window next year? >> you would have to sit as a little birdie in the republican caucuses and see how strong are the the republican leadership? one of the problems is in so many congressional districts and in a large number of senate districts, the tea party is large if not dominant. they are looking at the interest of the party in 2016 versus
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individual politics of each of their states and districts. they conflict. where they come out, i don't know. i delivered didn't get into specific -- i deliberately didn't get into specifics. we need to come out with a plan i outlined. i don't think a republican colleagues will be filling in that void. it has to be -- my goal would be by january 1, 2016 to have all of the anxiety on outline and the democrats united on them. >> senator -- >> the fractious press core. [laughter] >> we're doing the best we can with one mic. >> i wanted to ask about the trade agenda. >> i'm not going to go into specifics here -- go ahead.
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sorry. >> the transpacific partnership -- things that can be made to benefit the middle last. >> i would wait and see but the proposals are. the overwhelming view of the average voter and most democrats is that trade overall has hurt wages significantly. what do we do about it? >> senator schumer, i wanted to ask you a topic of the day. can i ask you a question about the president's executive order on immigration? i wondered if that order will incentivize people to come to the country illegally even though the president has said specifics of who would be eligible. it has -- >> i don't think it will. no.
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>> let's go over to this side area -- this side. >> senator, i wanted to ask about the likely revision due talked about in your speech. -- provision you talked about in your speech. how do you define "likely"? you can look at what will get past or what is political. that because of the way i described my politics, if we come up with a strong agenda, will have a large victory in 2016 premises -- reminiscent of 2008. we have to be prepared to act on things that matter and will lift middle-class incomes. we're not the same as roosevelt, but a great model. these are a mess. -- things are a mess. a bigger mess than knows -- then what people know. realize the anguish of voters. the great thing about america is
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our optimism -- that is dying. once that dies, -- other recessions were shorter. people said i am having top times but i know it will be better 10 years from now. they don't say that anymore. the bottom line is if we are able to reverse that in convince people that we can, we will be a majority party for a generation. we will have to look at the 2015-20 16 time and play it by ear. if our colleagues -- 2015-2016 time and play it by ear. if our colleagues -- my remarks are aimed at a broader -- broadly creating the next generation. i don't think we should minimize our policies because we might not able to test them in the house.
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we are concerned with cementing democratic majority for the next generation. i don't think the republicans can do that unless they abandon their belief to let the private sector do more. >> back row. >> thank you. how much will be aimed at winning in 2016? i know you endorsed secretary clinton, but issue the right -- but is she the right person for this? >> we will have 2 -- but is she the right person for this? >> we will have to play it by ear. there are dynamics within his party and caucus. john boehner cannot pass a good immigration bill. they know tom donahue said if republicans don't have a good immigration bill, -- he is as hard-core republican as they
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have. what happens? for us, we have to see. we aren't going to hold back in doing what we have to do as outlined in this speech. that doesn't mean it certain things, along our way -- i don't believe -- we are the pro-government party. obstruction doesn't serve us as well as it serves them. to them, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. government cannot work. after ping-pong game, people get tired of it. and on hillary clinton, i think should be a great candidate. i hope she runs. if she runs, she will win a huge majority. she is just right for the times. >> senator. yahoo! news. can you hear me? >> i can. >> thank you.
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>> one of your former colleagues said that? [laughter] yesterday it was announced that there would be a vacancy at the top of the pentagon. one of the first things they the senate republican might have to do is confirm a nominee to be secretary of defense shared one of the things we heard from consist -- from republicans consistently is -- i'm wondering if you wonder if they will roll back cuts without talk about cuts to social programs? >> i think the budget deficit while still a problem is in a lot better shape than it was three or four years ago. second, i think democrats believe in 50-50. i think the president feels strongly about 50-50. if they violate that, they face a president who wouldn't support
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whatever they pass. >> high, senator. -- hi, senator. globalization is an static. -- is an static. -- isn't static. the fundamentals, the way the economy works is shifting. if so, what is the policy response? is there a fundamental -- >> great question. yes, it is shifting. this loss in income, america has never had a loss of medium income for a long period of time. it certainly never had even close to such a period of time. i guess i would have to figure it out. i think two thirds -- ddp was
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going up. -- gdp was going up. but middle-class incomes were going down. in part, that's because technology allows capital to get the benefits of productivity much more than labor. labor go down, either politically or sensibly. in some of the things we're going to propose, they will not be at the edges, they will be significant changes, not to stop technology -- technology has always benefits, productivity, efficiency -- but for instance, one question i have asked myself is why, with all of this new competition, don't costs go down more significantly for the average middle-class person? that might involve certain kinds of restructuring. >> two or three more. >> i remember the problems he
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-- you listed at the top of your speech that led to the loss. -- losses in 2014 dealt with the administration. how much responsibility do you think the obama administration carries -- >> most of these things, things happen, the world changes and there is difficulty in changing. the administration has adopted quite well to most of them. the ebola response, history will say it has been excellent. there has been very little spread of ebola. i forget the exact number, but a large number of people arrived from the west africa hotspots, -- they are carefully monitored at kennedy airport and it has worked. you can't prevent things from happening in the world. no offense to anyone in this room, you can't prevent to the press from focusing on the negative in a sensationalistic way. you can look at the ebola story a few days and the average american will say i have ebola.
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i shouldn't go on an airplane or subway. that didn't come out of nowhere. but if you have a strong, middle-class agenda, the number one thing polling shows is the average voter says, make my life better. when the middle-class incomes are rising and people have hope in them, these negativities play less of a role. >> which of the administration be doing to help the democratic minority? >> working on what i said. >> can i ask -- you designed the democratic agenda this year. part of it. many of those policies that you just named were in that agenda. as you look back -- >> i didn't name any policies. >> like the minimum wage. was there anything that went wrong?
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>> that was the big success. when you look at the polling data and everything else, the greatest access our candidates had was on that agenda. they just had to be bigger, broader, more prominent. >> senator, are you suggesting that an option for democrats might be to oppose some of these trade agreements? >> i am not getting into the specifics. i am saying that i think most people think that trade has hurt wages, not increased wages, even if it has increased gdp and productivity. we have to examine it very carefully. that is a. -- it. thank you, everybody. i got to hurry. >> and we are adjourned. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
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visit ncicap.org] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, interviews with retiring members of congress continue monday with carl levin of michigan, here is a look. >> there is no economic purpose served when a microsoft or apple are able to shift their revenues to ireland or puerto rico were some ways to avoid to pay taxes. that is no economic purpose served when one of these new intellectual property giants that produce good stuff -- i am not quarreling with apple, they produce wonderful rocks -- my quarrel with them and the of the companies like them that have huge profits is the way they
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avoid paying taxes on those profits and shifting profits and their intellectual property to themselves. to their own shell corporations and tax bases to avoid paying taxes. those of the loopholes we need to close and we need the revenue from that in order to avoid another round of sequestration which is this absolutely mindless way to budget where everything gets cut including the national institutes of health. we are in the middle of an ebola problem. research has been cut at the national institutes of health. it's because of this sequestration method of auditing which has an automatic cookie-cutter approach. we got to end that and not all , maybe nothing to party or libertarian guys, but most of us really want to and sequestration
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area >> tonight, we interview with retiring congressional members. that's at 8:00 in eastern here on c-span. the new president of the kennedy center for the performing arts book recently at the national press club about the importance of arts edge of asian and cultural diplomacy. you can see it at 8:00 p.m. tonight on c-span three. >> this can hang's giving we come a c-span has interviews from retiring members of congress, watch the interviews tonight through thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> what we have a compass and 36 years, i don't want to look active that so much as to look forward to the next couple of months. in the next couple of months, there are a couple of things i would like to do.
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one is to get my defense authorization bill passed and this is an annual effort, a major effort involving large amounts of staff. i would like to finish up some work on the subcommittee on investigations looking at some gimmicks which are used to avoid taxes. >> i've been a member of congress for 34 years. if i was a manager for a 34-1, i team and i had would be in the hall of fame so it does not other me. back as aset on going cochairman. there are candidates in my district that were supporting me. >> also want her's day, we take in american history tour of various native american tribes on angst giving at 10:00 a.m. eastern following "washington
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journal." that's this thanksgiving week on c-span for our complete schedule on www.c-span.org. >> today on c-span --
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