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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 14, 2009 8:30am-12:00pm EST

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>> and now a discussion on the role of the u.s. solicitor general. three people who once held the office talk about their experiences arguing cases on behalf of the u.s. government before the supreme court. this 80-minute event begins with remarks by supreme court justice anthony kennedy. >> and thanks to the generosity of the court, c-span is filming this, and --
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[inaudible] [laughter] good evening and welcome to the supreme court of the united states. i'm ralph lancaster, the president of the supreme court historical society, and tonight is the night for the national heritage lecture. this evening's lecture will take a slightly different turn. it will consist of a discussion about the office of the solicitor general by three former solicitor generals moderated by a long-term member of that office. my function is to introduce justice kennedy who will introduce the moderator and the panel. we're very grateful to the court, as always, and to justice kennedy particularly for their willingness to host us in the supreme court courtroom.
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justice connectty's -- kennedy's educational background includes an ab from stanford university where he was a member of the honor society phi beta kappa, a jd from law school where he graduated in 1961. after law school he was actively involved in private practice for a little over 12 years, and then he was appointed to the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit in 1975. becoming at that time the youngest federal appeals court judge in the country. at the time that he was appointed. he joined this court in 1988 when the senate unanimously confirmed his appointment to succeed justice louis f. powell jr. in addition to his distinguished service on the bench, justice kennedy has demonstrated a continuing commitment to the
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education of law by teaching constitutional law at the university of pacific mcgeorges school of law summer program in salz berg, austria. he has been a long-time friend of the society. he's introduced several lectures over the years, and he also has a special connection to the national heritage the lecture. in 1991, 18 years ago, we turned the justice as our inaugural speaker. he delivered a detailed history of president roosevelt's court-packing plan of 1937. it's my honor and privilege to present associate justice kennedy. [applause] >> thank you and good evening,
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mr. lancaster and members and friends of the supreme court historical society. thank you very much for the work that you do, ralph, and that all of you do for the supreme court historical society. one of the fascinating aspects of a great institution is that you learn over time the place that you have it in. it's not apparent to you at the outset. and the historical society is of immense importance in part because it reminds the justices of what they must learn in order to understand their role. your work is very, very important. sometimes people ask me, are you nervous before you go on the bench? and the answer is, no. [laughter] sometimes those of you who teach, drew and ken starr, will
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hear teachers tell students, well, you know, it's harder -- just as hard to give the exam as it is to take it. you know, don't believe that. [laughter] and it's the same way about arguing in cases. but my colleague, justice breyer, not long ago made the comment that although he agreed with me that we don't feel really nervous or stressed before we go on the bench, we feel that way before we go into conference. we have to present and argue nine cases or maybe four to six cases before nine justices, and you want to be prepared, and you don't want to say something that's not correct or to be criticized by your colleagues for making an error in analysis even if they disagree. that's the closest that we can get to the feeling of tension and anticipation and
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professional concern. professional care. that the attorneys must feel when they argue before this court. not long ago i was in sacramento, california, and -- my former home -- and i went to the county courthouse to visit a judge, and as i was walking up the steps this courthouse where i used to try cases, my heart began to beat with excitement. [laughter] you just can't get rid of it. it's a great pleasure for us, always, to have a solicitor general or deputy solicitor general, assistant solicitor general of the united states appear before this podium. they know how to help us. they know what's a real question and what is sometimes a question directed more at our colleagues than at them, and they know and understand that. many of -- each of these members of this distinguished panel have been not only in the solicitor
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general's office or the solicitor general himself, but have then been before the court arguing other cases. and i can't tell you how important be it is for us to have really excellent attorneys, and the fact that they have held this office and the fact that they have distinguished themselves in this office has contributed immeasure my to -- immeasurably to the traditions and to the excellence of this court. thank you, this is my opportunity to thank each of them for the marvelous contribution that they have made and they continue to make as distinguished members of the bar of this court. professor drew days, a distinguished professor at yale law school, has argued 26 cases before this court. he tells me he's argued before three different chief justices. he is an editor of moore's federal practice. ken starr has argued 36 cases
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before this court. he's now a professor of law at pepperdine university and is of counsel to kirkland and ellis or i should have said that drew days is of counsel to morrison and forster. ken starr was a member of the judiciary. we lost him when he answered the the call to public service to go into the justice department and then to become the solicitor general of the united states, and he was chief justice warren berger's law clerk, and he has his own book about the court, "first among equals." paul clement has argued 51 cases the supreme court of the united states. you've passed the 50 mark. and paul was a clerk when i was here at the court. he was a clerk for justice scalia and as a partner of king and spaulding. there are
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professor or ken geller is managing partner of meyer brown. he is contributing editor of supreme court practice. i'm not sure if it's deliberate that you keep that in one volume. it's getting bigger. [laughter] but the supreme court practice book there mr. geller co-edits and he has great experience because he himself has been a so husband to have -- solicitor general and deputy solicitor general and has argued 30 cases before this court. the fact that he has this argument experience and this great professional experience, i know, has contributed to that, to that volume. there's some things that are written that people shouldn't question. i'm not going to get into what those things are, but one of those things that is not questioned and is as accepted as authoritative is the book on
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supreme court practice, and it's immensely helpful. i'm told by practitioners and certainly immensely helpful to us. mr. geller himself is the moderator of our distinguished panel tonight, and i will turn the proceedings over to him and thank you, gentlemen, very much for your contributions to the law and for being here with us this evening. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, justice kennedy. and good evening, everyone. my name is kenneth geller, i'm a member of the board of trustees of the supreme court historical society and chairman of the society's program committee. the program committee oversees the development and execution of the society's many educational outreach efforts. tonight's event is a premier example of the society's work to expand its reach beyond its 6,000 members.
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in 1991 the white house historical association, the united states capitol historical society and the supreme court historical society joined together to develop the national heritage lecture. on a rotating basis, each organization hosts the heritage lecture as a showcase for the work that it does. we at the supreme court historical society were fortunate to be the hosts of the very first heritage lecture in 1991 when, as ralph mentioned, justice kennedy spoke on president roosevelt's 1937 court-packing plan. other national heritage lectures held here at the supreme court include the 19 95 talk by the right honorable lord wolf on the house of lords, the 1998 lecture by the high chancellor of great britain on constitutional changes in the united kingdom, the 2002 reenactment of gibbons
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v. ogden. you might imagine it's a high priority of the society to present a significant and meaningful program for the heritage lecture. this year as we were making plans, the robert h. jackson center in jamestown, new york, suggested a program on the office of the solicitor general. the program committee and the society's executive committee agreed that it was a worthy program and an ideal fit for the national heritage lecture. we're indebted to adam bratton, executive directer of the robert h. jackson center for bringing this terrific program to us, and we're honored that the jackson center joins us as co-sponsors for the national heritage lecture this year. thank you. i also want to thank our panelists, former solicitors general paul clement, drew days and ken starr for taking time away from their very busy schedules to join us today. our discussion will focus
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primarily on the work of the solicitor general and away from specific cases, but we do hope that our panelists will be indices crete enough to mention specific cases. [laughter] the solicitor general was not originally envisioned in the development of the justice department. it was not until 1870 that congress authorized the creation of the solicitor general stating, and i quote, there shall be in the department of justice an officer learned in the law to assist the attorney general in the performance of his duties to be called the solicitor general. since that time the office of the solicitor general has been tasked with conducting all litigation on behalf of the united states in the supreme court and to supervise the handling of litigation in the federal appellate courts. four solicitors general have gone on to sit on the supreme court. william howard taft the, stanley reid, robert jackson and thurgood marshall. and two current justices served in the office of the solicitor
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general, chief justice john roberts and associate justice samuel alito. now, justice marshall said that being solicitor general was, quote, the best job he ever had, and he had some good jobs. i hope we'll learn this evening if our panel agrees with justice marshall's statement. gentlemen, let me begin by asking paul as the most recent occupant of the office of the solicitor general to briefly explain the job of the solicitor general in today's justice department, and if it's possible to do so, to describe what an average day is like in the life of the solicitor general. >> well, i'd be happy to try, ken. i think as to the average day in the life of the solicitor general, there probably isn't an average day, and that's part of what makes the job so interesting and so fascinating. the job's basic responsibility in a nutshell, i think, is to probably start with the most public role of the solicitor
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general, and that is his representation of the united states of america which most often means the executive branch of the united states, but its representation of the united states of america before the supreme court of the united states. and i always think that one way of capturing the job of the solicitor general is that the solicitor general in many ways often sits at the crossroads of the separation of powers, often it's before the court defending the constitutionality of an act of congress, or it's defending the constitutionality of some executive branch policy, and you really see that in the court because here in the court you have a representative of the executive branch speaking to the embodiment and the hierarchy of the article iii court system in representing the views of the united states. and the one other thing i'd say before maybe giving my colleagues on the panel a chance to fill in some of the enormous details is although this public
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role of representing the united states in the supreme court of the united states is the most visible and perhaps the most important role of the solicitor general, it is surely just the tip of an iceberg. and there is just an enormous amount of work that goes on essentially behind the scenes to formulate the position that the united states will take in the supreme court, to formulate the positions that the united states will take in the lower courts and the court of appeals or even in the district court in a particularly important case. and so as important as our role is in interacting directly with the court at oral argument, it is really just the tip of an enormous iceberg. >> well, let me add to that. it's really being in the cat bird seat with respect to all the litigation that's going on in federal courts. cases that involve a federal government all over the country
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very few lawyers have the ability to look out at the country and see the movement of 50,000 cases in the lower courts gradually move up through the appellate courts and pointed to the supreme court. and it's really the job of the solicitor general, in effect, to be -- this is not a very fancy term, but a traffic cop because all of those cases cannot get to the supreme court for resolution. so it falls to the solicitor general to sift through the numerous cases that come up headed to the supreme court and decide which ones are worthy of being presented to the supreme court and asking the supreme court to resolve these matters that will have effects that have impacts across the country. >> well, let me add my word of thanks, justice kennedy, thank you for your hospitality and to the society, ralph, your wonderful leadership of it. i see so many friends here and extremely fine advocates so
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thank you, justice kennedy, for that tribute. but i must also pause and pay tribute to mrs. thurgood marshall. it's wonderful to see you. [applause] i remember being humbled more than once by your late iconic husband. he knew how to ask is a question, and i struggled to figure out a way to answer it, but it's a great privilege to be here. i would also add that the statute itself creates the office is pristine in its simplicity, and it describes a very simple role, to assist the attorney general. it's the attorney general whose office was created by the judiciary act of 1789 and as has been said, the office of the solicitor general took a long time to, in gestation. it was 1870 with the post-civil war growth of federal law enforcement that the office came to exist at all. but i would simply flag,
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briefly, the assist the attorney general which will bring us at some point to the, quote, political dimension of the job, politics versus law as sometimes juxtaposed. but i found one of the most intriguing aspects, and it wasn't an everyday opportunity or responsibility, but occasionally the solicitor general will find herself or himself the acting attorney general of the united states, especially on matters of national security which, obviously, we shouldn't talk about other than to say it's one of the most intriguing occasional parts of the job. and then the i found during my tenure there that i was called upon to do, i would say, various projects including working on issues of the civil justice system and the like. but i think we should not neglect what the statute and what congress has said, and that statute although amended once really remains essentially the same as it was when it was first passed well over a century ago,
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really almost a century and a half ago, that our task ultimately is to assist the attorney general of the united states. >> but it's also true that in the early days of the office the attorney general and the solicitor general often occupied the same positions in terms of appearing before the supreme court and arguing cases there. but i think in the early 1900s because of the enormous responsibilities that were placed on the shoulders of attorneys general, the responsibility for handling cases in the supreme court fell to the solicitor general, and he and now she really occupy that as it's their principle responsibility. attorneys general argue before the court from time to time and even in lower courts, but that's the exception, not the rule. >> now, each of you held significant positions in the government prior to becoming solicitor general. i assume you thought you had a pretty good sense of what the
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job entailed when the president asked you to become the solicitor general. ken, you worked in the attorney general's office prior to becoming solicitor general, and you had been judge as justice kennedy mentioned on the d.c. circuit. so what surprised you most about the job of solicitor general once you actually started to exercise it? how did your expectations compare to the actuality? >> i had underestimated even though i knew the job and knew former solicitors general well and served down the hall from a very great solicitor the general, rex lee, under whom i know some of the individuals here in this room had the great privilege of serving. the conflict resolution dimension of the job. i knew it was there, but the role of taking the varying positions that are being advanced by divisions within the department of justice or agencies of government and then coming to closure. and the conflict resolution
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sounds very much like a judicial or quasijudicial role. i had underestimated -- i knew it existed, but i had really underestimated how much at least of my time and energy was dedicated to ironing out not in some ash central compromise sense, but coming to the view ha this, in fact -- this this, in fact, should be the position of the united states. >> and, drew, you had been the assistant the attorney general when judge mcclay was solicitor general. so what surprised you? >> i was one of those subly cants arguing for my position against, for example, the criminal division or some other part of the government. but what surprised me was just the enormous amount of work that goes into carrying out the responsibilities. there's the tip of the iceberg, which is the supreme court, but when i walked into the office and looked at my desk b for the first day of real work and saw a pile about that high, i said,
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those can't all be supreme court matters. well, they were what are called recs, recommendations as to whether cases should be presented to the supreme court for review. but more often whether cases that the government lost in the lower courts should be appealed. this is one of the things that the solicitor general does as a gate keeper. so i think it stimulates extra effort on the part of united states attorneys and assistant united states attorneys to win their cases so they can go up to the supreme court compliments of the other side. because if they lose, then they have to go through the solicitor general. it's also true with respect to rehearings on bond. so every trial lawyer knows that the judges who rule against them were misguided and did not apply the law properly. [laughter] so it's either the, well, we was robbed syndrome that the solicitor general has to deal with on a daily basis. it's also something that i
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wasn't aware of that the solicitor general has responsibilities that are international. for example, if friend of the court briefs are going to be filed in any international or foreign court, the solicitor general has to approve those filings. so i found myself learning more about the canadian tax code than i thought i would ever have to expose myself to when i became solicitor general. >> in terms of public perceptions of the job as solicitor general, solicitor general has famously been called the tenth justice, and i suppose the premise of that title is that the solicitor general has as much influence on the development of the law as a justice. would any of you be willing to subscribe to that view or to take issue with it? >> i think paul is up next, isn't he? [laughter] >> well, i will say this which is the interesting thing about the tenth justice moniker for the solicitor general is you do hear that a lot.
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kaplan wrote a book with that as its title, but as has been said, think -- i think, by a number of solicitors general, you never hear that phrase coming from any of the nine real justices. [laughter] and i think that does reinforce that there is a fundamental divide and that, i think, proposal stealing one of drew's lines, but i think maybe drew said it that the solicitor general is maybe, you know, the '36 law clerk might be a little more accurate. and it gets back to something that ken said which is that although statutorily one of the important responsibilities of the solicitor general is to assist the attorney general, i think that every solicitor general and every lawyer in the office really understands that another important part of our responsibility is to the assist the nine real justices. and to try to be helpful to them in resolving their cases.
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and, you know, that can take any number of forms. i think that in the briefing of cases i think it's always an aspiration of the office that when it briefs a case that as it's presenting the case to the court particularly as it lays out the facts of the case and the like, that it really provides the court with a very objective view of what's at stake in the case. it's not to say that at the end of the day we're not advocates for a client, but i think we feel like we really need to present to the court the full picture of the case so that if they pick up the solicitor general's office brief, i think in the early days of the office it was gray in title, but it was really sort of a drab taupe. but now i think it's actually a respectable gray. [laughter] the idea, i think, has always been that if you pick up the gray brief, you'll know what the case is about if you're on the
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court, if you're a justice, if you're a law clerk. so i think that's one very real way. the only other thing i'll say is the most obvious b manifestation of the way that the solicitor general's office can help the court is in a process that is affectionately known to those in the court and the solicitor general's office but maybe nowhere else as the cvsg process. and cvsg stands for calls for the views of the solicitor general, and it's something that happens about two dozen times every supreme court term. and when the the court has a case that the united states federal government has not been previously involved in, the court will hear this case, will serve petition in the case. the losing party will ask the court to take this case and review it on matter. the brief in opposition will advice the justices generally that it should do no such thing, it should simply deny cert, and
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the justices will call for the views of the solicitor general and ask the office for its views on the case. and they're asking for the views on the law, the underlying law, they're asking for the office's view about whether or not the court should take the case, but they're also, i think, really at bottom asking what the federal government feels about the importance of this case. generally, these are cases that at one level or another impact the federal government, but the federal government has not been a party. and i think that's one way in which you really see this special relationship between the office and the justices. they don't call for the views of anyone else. >> well, i agree with that very much indeed. when i got cvsg messages from the court, i thought that the justices were, of course, asking the views of the united states, but that's not what it says. it says call for the views of the solicitor general, so i felt my personal credibility was on the line in responding to the
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court when those requests for made. the other thing about the tenth justice idea is that the solicitor general and people on his or her staff are repeat players. if you're a private lawyer and you have a case before the supreme court, you will argue, and you may make some missteps, you may push a little bit hard on things that, perhaps, are not entirely accurate. but it's unlikely that you'll have the heavens fall on your head the next time you appear because there usually won't be a next time. but for the solicitor general and members of his or her staff, having credibility with the court is critical, it is key to the effectiveness of the office before the supreme court. .. 2 officer whoever is
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occupying the officer and those who serve under her leadership and in the article 3 judiciary. but obviously particularly the supreme court of the united states. and one way to think about it, perhaps in an overly high level of abstraction is that there's a conversation that's continually underway. and the advantage that having a single officer, the office of the solicitor general, in charge of the executive branch's part of the conversation is that the
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solicitor general has very elaborate ways developed over time, extraordinarily efficient, of inviting different people into the conversation. it's not simply as mrs. marshall knows, when he serves as solicitor general, it's what solicitor general thurgood marshall thought because he in all his wisdom was eager to know what the different departments of agency thought and that process of inviting the different agencies into the conversation in connection with a call for the views of the solicitor general or any issue that is frequently the case touches more on say a single department or division of the justice department. >> i think we need to be clear about the fact that the solicitor general is a branch officer and there are occasions one would like to hope that they didn't happen on a regular basis where the solicitor general has to stand before the court and challenge things that the court has said or done.
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precedence before the court and they were not rightly decided and they have consequences that through the implementation of those decisions have not advanced the law in a way that certainly the executive branches thinks would be proper. so there's this tension. but i certainly try to keep in mind that there were matters that were executive branch matters that i had to present forcefully to the court. and indeed, i remember one occasion when i was given information that was critical to our maintaining happy relationships with our trading partners. our major trading partners. and during oral argument in that case that touched on those, i was asked a question from one of the justices that i knew i could not answer as a member of the
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executive branch because the answer would have upset the apple cart in our relationship with the japanese and with the brits and the europeans and so forth. so me, that was pretty painful and i probably paid a price for it. the case came out the way we wanted it to. but for me, that was an experience that encapsulated this duality and the role of the solicitor general. >> well, let's explore that because you referred to the fact that the hardest part of the job is deciding what the position of the government should be because of all the competing interests. you obviously have a responsibility to represent your clients vigorously in the supreme court like every lawyer does. but on the one hand you are the custodians of the credibility of r solicitor general's office which has been built up over many decades and on the other hand, you're a high ranking political appointee answerable to the attorney general and ultimately to the president.
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so how do you reconcile all of those different roles and those different interests and in particular, for example, how would you decide to repudiate a position taken by a prior administration? you have to weigh continuity, i suppose, in the law against -- and the courts perception of the solicitor general's office is not simply being a mouthpiece for the current administration against your obligation to present the court with the legal position you believe to be right? >> it's paul's turn again. [laughter] >> funny how it works out that way. [laughter] >> well, i guess i try to answer it this way, which is it is a very difficult balancing proposition that the solicitor general has to perform because on the other hand, there is -- the one thing that the tenth justice captures is this idea that there's a special relationship between the court and the solicitor general's
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office and there is a sense of independence of the solicitor general's office from the rest of the branch. one of the things is that it's so mystifying if you look at the organizational chart you would have no idea why there is this culture of independence because the organizational chart makes things elegantly simple. the solicitor general reports to the attorney general who reports to the president. so it's as simple as that. and so in any given case, i don't think one would have to be adherent to every jot and tittle that in every given case if the president wanted to, the president could direct the attorney general, the solicitor general to take a particular position. on the other hand, i think that if -- certainly if the solicitor general found herself or himself being countermanded by the
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attorney general or the president on a regular basis that would probably be a time to get a new solicitor general. you need to balance that constantly. now, if you want to try to apply it in the context of a particular instance where a prior solicitor general has taken a position in the supreme court and there are reasons that the new administration might want to take a different position, i don't think any way i would say well, absolutely never. i mean, i would never want to take a position that countermanded a prior decision that had been taken by one of my predecessors. in a sense i think the analysis ends up being quite similar to what the court itself has to deal with in the area of stare decisis but there will be subsequent developments just as the court will occasionally change its course based on subsequent developments.
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you can have a situation that i know that i confronted where on one level the united states had taken a different position in the supreme court at a prior point in time. but on the other hand, i had the benefit of all sorts of factors that my predecessor didn't have including a couple of intervening supreme court cases that i could read and in those instances, i did change the position of the united states but i was very careful to be very explicit that's what we were doing and to offer a brief explanation as to why. so it wasn't simply a matter of changing positions nor was it a position of doing it in a way that was something that one would take a step that one would take lightly. >> i had a job interview with president clinton in the oval office. and i had prepared for that
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interview, waiting for question after question, kind of like a final examination. but it turned out to be very arkansas-like. kind of a casual conversation. but there came a point as we say in the law when the president looked at me and he said, what is the relationship between the president and the solicitor general? and i said, mr. president, you are in the constitution. the solicitor general is not. well, he liked that a lot. [laughter] >> i thought that i had scored quite a good hit there. later on, however, i found myself confronting the problem that ken just posed. a position that had been taken by not just one but probably two prior administrations. the fact that candidate clinton had said when he was campaigning that if elected he would support x in the case that was headed to the supreme court. well, it wasn't a position my predecessors had taken.
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i decided that i could move in the direction of the president's position. but i said to my staff, when we were working late one night, you know, i may be back in new haven sooner than i thought. [laughter] >> on this one. but it involves tax law and international trade. and what i did was i got top officials in the state department and in the treasury department to tell me how the former positions were developed, exactly what the thinking was. and by the time i reached my position, i put in the brief exactly the process i followed in reaching the position that i did. there was also a time late at night when someone in the white house kept calling me and debating with me certain things in the draft that i had sent over to the white house.
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and finally it must have been midnight, this fellow called and said, well, we really don't like footnote 15. and could you change that? and i said no, i'm not doing that. i've made some adjustments, but i'm comfortable with the position i've taken. and i knew that i had succeeded because the voice on the other end of the line said, but professor days, it had been one of my students at yale law school. [laughter] >> and the irony of it all was the court came down with a position that ruled on the side that we had urged based upon a rationale that had been presented by neither of the prior administrations. so it was quite a hard job to work it out. but in the end, the court found its own way. >> i think the key word and perhaps echoing my two friends is continuity. there is extraordinary continuity in the work of the government.
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and it is rare -- and happily it does happen. i think that's a good thing that it does happen. that there are changes in position. when thoughtful lawyers particularly at times, embodys, policy changes and policy preferences come to a different view. and they should advance that view. but it's been dead, i think, correctly that good government is good politics. and respecting the traditions of independence and with independence means legal judgment being thoughtfully brought to bear, not by a single individual but a process and a process that's very elaborate. it is very refined and impressive to participate in. just as it were a cog in a very impressive machine. and to say we're going to tear the work product asunder at
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times should be done but it is done very rarely. and that, i think, in no small reason accounts for the fact that even with elections seemingly having dramatic consequences, and they do, that still and all the work of the solicitor general largely goes on unchanged. with the positions largely unchanged continuity. another thing i would say is that a wise president will, in fact, listen with great respect to his attorney general and with justice kennedy here i want to tell the briefest story of the attorney general going to president bill smith, going to president reagan and saying our position and the republican platform in 1980 and our policy position with respect to the powers of congress as part of reform of the bureaucracy in
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getting control over the bureaucracy which dear judge bell devoted a chapter to his wonderful book "taking care of the work" and we miss judge bell. this is nonpartisan. individuals in both parties very thoughtful individuals said we got to get control of the bureaucracy and one method is a legislative veto that one house or one committee forget bicameralism. the attorney general of the united states goes to the president of the united states in person and says, the position we've been advancing is wrong as a matter of constitutional law. and that was, in fact, an enormous -- it wasn't a shift in the government's position, but it showed the triumphed it seemed to me of law over politics. law over thoughtful policy. very benign, very powerful concerns about getting as i say control over the bureaucracy. but that was the wrong way to do it. justice kennedy as circuit judge has ruled that the legislative veto, speaking for the ninth
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circuit was unconstitutional and that was the rule articulated by the the court of the united states. >> how do your own views of the law enter into the decision-making process? how much should those views dictate positions taken on behalf of the united states? francis biddle, who was the solicitor general during the franklin roosevelt administration, once said i am servant to no one. i do not answer to the man who appointed me. i serve only justice. i'm not sure that's much of a guiding principle today for the role of solicitor general. but on the other hand, bob bork and to that had been a renowned of antitrust law at yale law school once said that he thought that virtually every antitrust case that came through the s.g.'s office while he was -- in every single antitrust case that came through the s.g.'s office when he was the solicitor general, he thought the antitrust division was taking a
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position that was not just wrong but was ridiculous. [laughter] >> and yet he never used his position as solicitor general to prevent those antitrust positions from being presented to the court and he dutifully allowed the antitrust division to present those positions on behalf of the united states even though he personally thought that they were, as i say, not just wrong but ridiculous. and so how much did your own view of what the law should be enter into your final decision on what position to present to the supreme court? >> certainly ridiculous is hyperbole and i'm not surprised bob would say that. [laughter] >> i see the role of the solicitor general as a policymaker but not in the sense of other government officials and although we have very fine lawyers and solicitors general have some background in the law,
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and if we think that a position is not likely to be effective, not the best way to present that issue to the court, counterproductive in some senses, then i think it's the solicitor general to let that be known. and in so many cases that come into the solicitor general for one solution, it's not the entity that's only involved, only affected. the antitrust division may be taking a position that will affect the patent and trademark office, or the trade representative. and, therefore, we have to look as solicitors general at how a position will have an impact upon the entire government. one of the issues that come -- came up and i think still comes up has to do with the whole question of respect for agency decision-making.
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how much respect should be given by the courts to that process. and i can recall cases where certain agencies wanted to push very hard in the direction of the greater respect from the judiciary. and i thought to argue their position, given the facts of the cases that they were pushing, would actually work to the disadvantage of other agencies and have a negative impact across the government. and, therefore, under those circumstances, the answer was, no, i won't present that position to the supreme court. i won't allow that case to go up. but i think -- i was head of the civil rights division. and when matters came from the civil rights division, i tried not to think of myself as still the assistant attorney general for civil rights because you these people were nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate and they had a right to carry out their policies as they saw fit. >> well, i think francis biddle
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who gave legal meaning to philadelphia lawyer was engaged in really a fantasy and a rather dangerous fantasy that someone's platonic notions of natural justice should determine the position that the united states takes, i think that's very disrespectful, frankly, to the much more limited and modest role that should be taken. and certainly by a single individual, i think -- and surely it was hyperbole and hopefully understood even by its author to be hyperbole. and there is a great, strong moral sense of dedication to the values of the rule of law. but if you elevate that beyond to, you know, sort of my sense of the platonic right and good, it gets to me a bit scary.r7ul
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me a little that judge bork, who isox extraordinarily articulat person which i say quietly, and maybe it wasn't quietly allow positions that he thought ridiculous to be advanced. and so there i would just look ahead to what i would think would occur which is the most careful, painstaking conversation within the executive branch. are you sure that is really what we want to do? but that having been said, judge bork made it very clear very shortly after he became a solicitor general he gave a great speech to the antitrust section of the american bar association saying, if you've got antitrust issues, don't knock on my door.yv i don't set antitrust policy. and so there is a go see tom caliper. it's a much more deliberative process than i think either
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attorney general -- solicitor general biddle or solicitor general bork indicated. >> you know, i think that solicitor general biddle came up with this rather grandiose quote when he was solicitor general, and there's some irony@2 to the i tp& a very short period and his next job was as attorney and i can't imagine that attorney general biddle agreed with solicitor general biddle. [laughter] >> about his description of the solicitor general's role. that said, i would just echo the point, though, that i think in understanding the different relationship and where the truth lies probably somewhere between biddle and bork, i think it is important to understand and differentiate between policy matters and legal matters. there's certainly -- and i realize it's a continuum and i think probably the antitrust cases are a good example of somewhere where the lines are a little bit fuzzy.
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if there's a policy matter where there's a policymaking part of the branch that's taken a position, then it's certainly not the role of the solicitor general to use his or her monopoly power over presenting positions to the supreme court to second-guess that policy view. that's not -- you know, the statute is learned in law, not learned in policy. and even then, though, even in that policy area, there's no requirement that the solicitor general be a potted plant. and on one or two occasions i had something cross my desk whereas ken suggested i thought, well, it's not my role as solicitor general to second-guess this policy judgment reflected in the regulation or the like, but i am a member of this administration. and i can't believe that's our position. so let me pick up the phone and call somebody whose job it is to superintend policy, it's not my job but there's people in the administration who do need and
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ask them, is this really our position? when you're in the more legal realm, then i do think the solicitor general is certainly not as grandiose in his or her role as solicitor general biddle described, but nonetheless, it's not a matter where you just take the inputs you're given from others in the executive branch and simply, you know, decide whether they are palatable enough to offer to the supreme court. and give you just a for instance, i mean, during the time i was solicitor general, one issue that we confronted across cases was a question of the extent to which we ought to argue that the standard involved in a case really was a standard for asapplied challenges versus facial challenges. in deciding how the administration is going to approach that issue, which arises across cases and across subject matters and that really seems like a call for the solicitor general as informed by
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the, you know, attorney general obviously, as opposed to the position of any particular agency who might be involved in a facial or as-applied case in any given -- in any given case, so i think you really have to differentiate between the policy issues and the legal issues. and i think of the role of the solicitor general as more robust with the legal issues and much less so with respect to the policy issues. >> well, let me ask you a somewhat related question then about your philosophy when it came to the filing of amicus briefs in the supreme court. there are many, many very important issues that come before the supreme court that don't seem to involve the operations in the federal government at all. for example, the sorts of restrictions that the states may place on the availability of abortions or state laws banning assisted suicide or school prayer. the administration may have very, very strong reasons either philosophical or political even to see one side or the other prevail.
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but they're not reasons that relate to any particular programmic interest of the federal government. should the solicitor general be involved in those sorts of cases? and if so, what are their criteria? and is there a concern that the position of the united states and those sorts of cases flips one administration to the next 180 degrees to the point where the supreme court views the solicitor general's briefs as just political statements? ken? >> well, it's a judgment call. and that is part of the most delicate of what a solicitor general is called upon to do when he or she is part of the executive branch and the executive powers vested article 2 section 1 in a position of the united states. and the president has very strong views of those who would advise the president on a particular subject. and it nonetheless calls for, it seems to me, prudence and
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caution, is this particular vehicle one that we want to be involved in? the issue is you use the examples that are so divisive of abortion and school prayer. and a fundamental area of philosophy i would say the solicitor general's office should be there. there is a development of the law in front abortion substantive due process. that's an extremely important part of the court's work. and so what the court does in a particular case is going to shape one of the most important dimensions of our civic life together. ditto for the establishment clause. the united states is deeply concerned regardless of who the president is, in the establishment clause or the religion clauses more generally. and so my onsense was, no, we should not take a pass if the
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court has determined to hear a case, the court should have the benefit of the hopefully analysis of the solicitor general. typically, if i could add just one thing. the court does not call upon the solicitor general to express the views of the solicitor general in determining to take one of these socially divisive cases. it exercises its discretion in the control of its docket. and it is, therefore, saying to the country, this issue is important. we need to resolve this issue. in this very sensitive area. so my onview and reasonable minds would disagree is it would be odd for the solicitor general to sit on the sidelines when something as important as that to the country and presumably to the president is being litigated before the nation's highest court.
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>> i agree with ken that the government should sparingly participate in cases that raise these very controversial social issues. i think the phrase we've used, ken, is contributing to the orderly development of the law. i think that's how we characterize the united states' involvement in matters that don't seem to directly affect the united states. these are important issues, but i think that what's important is that the government -- if it's going to become involved actually does something and says something that's helpful to the justices. that's helpful to the courts. it is possible for the solicitor general to draw upon the entire united states government for information that might have a bearing on decisions that the court has to make in this area. ken, i think you were involved in a case having to do when a
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person can be taken off of life support. and my recollection is that you went and you visited v.a. hospitals. well, this is information that most private parties cannot really offer to the court. and one can go through a number of other issues where there is this wisdom, this knowledge within the federal government. and so the challenge is to determine that it's really going to be helpful to the court. and as rex lee said, and this has to do with changing positions also, that he wanted to be known when he stood before the court as the solicitor general of the united states, not the pamphleteer solicitor general. >> and i may have a slightly different view. i don't think it's radically different but i always think when the united states files an amicus brief in the supreme court, in some respects the most important section of that brief is maybe the one that's read most rapidly but that is the
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interests of the united states. the supreme court's rules require that to be in the brief and require an articulation why the united states is interested in a particular case. and i think if there is a case that is interesting but really doesn't directly implicate the interests of the united states, that the burden for getting involved in that case, the justification for getting involved in that case ought to be a very high one. i don't think just because a case is controversial or important, that the united states should necessarily file an amicus brief. and there were certainly very important cases -- just to pick a couple of related cases as an example. in the roper and adkins case involving very important issues about the circumstances in which the death penalty is constitutional, the federal government did not participate in either of those cases.
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and the reason was that federal statute already provided for the rule that the defendants -- the capital defendants in those cases were seeking to glean from the eighth amendment. so it was already, for example, impermissible to use capital punishment for somebody who was a juvenile at the time of the offense. that was federal law. and it seemed to me in a case like that where in under federal law somebody would not have capital punishment administered to them no matter what, if they were under 18 at the time of the offense. that the interest of the united states in weighing in on the question of what the eighth amendment said about the rights of the states in those circumstances, that there really wasn't a great role for the united states in that case. and the one other thing i would add i think it's particularly important for whoever is the administration in power not to
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take a position that is not just something of a stretch but actually contrary to the long-term interests of the government. i mean, the government after all has certain kind of -- if you take the longest possible view, you know, the government is likely to be a taker of property. not a takee. so for the government to take a position that there ought to be a very robust takings clause doesn't make a lot of sense even though that might be popular in front a republican administration. likewise, the federal government tends to be an establisher of religion, not an establishee. if you'll allow my license with that phrase. therefore, even though in a democratic administration it might be attractive to take the position that certain things -- a state practice is an establishment of religion. i think that, too, is kind of hard to justify. because it goes against the current -- the long-term interest of the united states. >> a surefire indication of when
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the government should stay out is when both sides come and visit the solicitor general to discourage him from even thinking about participating, which is an experience i had in a religion case. [laughter] >> another very important job of the solicitor general is to appear in this courtroom. and present oral argument on behalf of the united states. so in the short time remaining, let me just touch on that briefly and ask you whether you felt any different feeling in arguing before the supreme court as the solicitor general. was there any significant factor that differentiated arguing as the solicitor general from arguing as in other capacities as a private lawyer and just how did you manage to prepare for oral argument given all the other significant responsibilities you had and the time-consuming responsibilities that you had? >> i mean, i'll start. and i'll say, how do you manage to prepare given all our other responsibilities?
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they are called weekends. [laughter] >> and you pretty much dedicate all your weekends to preparing. so that answer is simple. with respect to the difference between arguing for the united states and arguing for a particular party, i would just offer one thought and i'm sure my friends have other thoughts. but i was struck the first time i argued a case in the united states -- for the united states, how much responsibility i had to know about various aspects of the federal government's far-flung responsibilities. when you're arguing for a particular private party generally things are quite simple. it's a specific case and there's specific facts and nobody much cares about even other facts about your client. whereas, when you argue for the united states -- i mean, i was very struck. the first case i argued for the united states was a qualified immunity case. and it was a case where we were defending a federal official who was accused of using excessive
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force. and i remember in one of my moot courts in the s.g.'s office, i was asked, well, how does the civil rights division instruct juries in excessive force cases when the federal government is prosecuting a state police officer for using excessive force under 18 u.s.c. 242. and i thought to myself, how in the world would i know? i'm arguing a case about qualified immunity and that's hard enough. why would you even expect me to know about how to instruct a jury in a civil rights criminal trial. but it struck me that the more i thought about it, well, it's a perfectly obvious question. that the responsibilities of the federal government are far-flung. and there's really a responsibility when you're the solicitor general to represent the entirety of the united states executive branch and not take positions that are narrowly focused on a particular institutionalized interest but responsible to answering
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questions about all relevant operations. >> and have any of the three of you, when you're up here, found that you had no idea how to answer a justice's question or as drew said earlier, when you were reluctant to give the correct answer because it could prejudice some other interest of the united states? >> there were indeed such situations. i don't recall them, of course. [laughter] >> but chief justice rehnquist always had a zinger. it was, what's the best case for your position? there is no way to answer that question. and get out ahead or leave ahead because if you didn't know it, it was a problem. if you did think you knew it, he knew it better than you did and it would continue to pound you on the facts and the ruling of the court and what the justices had said about that particular case. so i thought that was one where i often was dumbstruck at least almost. >> i think advocates have an
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intuitive feel of when they are in stride. that they are understanding what the court is driving at. they're being hopefully responsive. general souter advises us wisely, yes, no, and then qualify or add to the answer and so forth. and so i felt on one particular occasion, which i remember all too vividly that i was arguing along, thinking that i was in stride. little did i know that i was over the cliff. [laughter] >> and chief justice rehnquist, who seemed to be utterly unperturbed by what i was saying had a look of ghastly alarm. springs forward, flips on his microphone and with his elephant-time memory and said, general, are you suggesting that oklahoma publishing vs. walling should be overruled? i had never heard of -- >> precisely. >> and so the best i could do,
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absolutely and emphatically no, mr. chief justice. ed, were we trying to get that overruled. at times you will be embarrassed and the best response is even though as our chief justice, john roberts, a very, very fine, none was better, as an advocate than john roberts, jr., and as he described it, as an advocate, you prepare relentlessly, whether that's on weekends or whatever. and i would just close by saying, i always found the moot court experience like gary player said of the game of golf, umbling and i have always deeply appreciated and promised from the most rigorous moot court you hopefully will have been fully prepared before you go in, but you will get as paul just
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indicated, that question in a moot court and you want it in a moot court as opposed to justice kennedy. [laughter] >> now that we've explored all the various aspects of being solicitor general, i'd like to ask you all but your white light is on so you've got to answer these quickly, all right? what was the most difficult part of being the solicitor general and what was the most fun part and what part would you like to see changed? paul? [laughter] >> well, i think the -- probably the most difficult part were those situations where there was a disagreement within the executive branch that you just couldn't really make it go away. you know, we've talked about this -- all of us have alluded to this but you do have situations where two parts of the executive branch weigh in on an issue and they really both have long-seated, deeply rooted positions that are just
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diametrically opposed. i had one case when i was solicitor general that was a particularly acute problem. because the sec and the antitrust division were opposed and they filed briefs on the opposite side of the case if the second circuit, something that can happen when an independent agency has independent litigating authority in the lower courts. and that was a case where we actually at the end of the day were able to get both the sec and the justice department's on the same brief. but the case is where there's an intractable disagreement and those, i think, are the hardest cases. the most enjoyable part of the job in some respects is arguing cases in front of the supreme court. it's a high honor. for any litigant to get to argue a case here. but to get to do it for the united states of america is really something special.
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and i don't know that there's anything -- i mean, i was solicitor general recently enough if there was anything i wanted to change, i should have done it. [laughter] >> and i didn't. and i missed my chance. >> drew? >> well, i agree. being the dr. no of an administration when supplicants are coming before you who have very serious issues and want to take their cases to the supreme court. but i found that due process goes a long way, often agency heads will come to make their case. and if they're heard out and they get the sense that they're getting a serious look at what they want to do, even though the answer is no, they feel -- i think they've done their jobs. and i think one of the best things about being solicitor general is enjoying the enormous respect that the office enjoys, not only within the justice
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department but throughout the federal government. i remember a case that involved the defense department, the navy. and i had said no. and my assistant said, the secretary of the navy is on the line. and i thought i was going to get chewed out. but i said, hello, mr. secretary. he said, i understand you've decided against taking your case up to the supreme court. and i took another deep breath. and he said we appreciate very much the attention that you devoted to working this through and thank you very much, end of conversation. i felt a chill that not drew days but the office of the solicitor general stood in such high regard throughout the government that in this really critical matter, deference was shown. >> point 1, the most unpleasant and difficult by far in my experience was conflict.
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and conflict within the justice department specifically. every administration, regardless of who the president is, has its schizophrenic elements. or dimensions. i've seen no better treatment of this than charles freed's book, "order in the reagan revolution" where he talked about somewhat in the pejorative i lay of the police in the office of legal counsel. when he was taking more hamiltonian than jeffersonian. you find yourselves in the solicitor general's office being more of an echo of john marshall than john c. calhoun. you believe in fervently in our federal system and so forth and so you're going to have these tensions. and my personal one came very early when i was being a asked a pro or antifederalism or the
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position that i thought was quite wrong after studying it that a particular statute passed by the congress of the united states was facially unconstitutional and i could not take it -- take that position and we did not take that position. the most enjoyable part i would say was really the sense of community within the office. that sort of sense of shared traditions. that this is really special. we know we're not going to be here for a very long time. and i would say in that respect, that our dear irwin griswold said to me not long after i was privileged to take the oath of office that there was only one thing wrong with the office of the solicitor general. i said, dean, what's that? it does not enjoy article 3 life tenure. [laughter] >> so i knew that irwin dean griswold thought you are unworthy, and i knew i was unworthy and he should be there and not only should there be no changes, i think, the office continues to perform of a great public service that is the
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finest traditions of the constitutional democracy. >> well, there's unanimity that being the solicitor general is the best job in the country? >> i think so. >> decided. thank you, everyone. [applause] >> regrettably all good things must come to an end. i thank you. i hope you will agree with me that this has been an extraordinary, extraordinary program and presentation. i'm delighted that the court permitted c-span to film it. and it will at some point be broadcast. and available throughout the united states and beyond. and i am deeply grateful to the four of you for one of the best
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programs i think the society has hosted. justice kennedy, i am very pleased both with the fact that you agreed to host this this evening i want to ensure you that the feeling is reciprocal and those who serve you and serve the court as trustees of the society, as members of the society, and the extraordinary staff that we have are deeply grateful for the respect and the honor which you show to the society. ken mentioned that the national heritage lecture is, if i may use the phrase, on rotation. this year it was the supreme court historical society's pleasure to host it. that pleasure will rotate to another of the societies. associates.
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and tonight we are privileged to have with us ronald a.serrison, the president of the united states capitol historical society and neil w. horseman, the president of the white house historical association. and gregory paterson. thank you, gregory. we are delighted that they are able to join us. we will -- i can't tell 'cause the lights are in my eyes. but i'm assuming that a large number of you are members of the society. and have attended other of our lectures and to those of you who have not, membership is available. we would be delighted to have you join us. and in that respect, if you want to attend other programs sponsored by the society, please
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feel free to go on our website, you'll find our programs -- upcoming programs for 2010 listed there and we would be delighted to have you. we're going to adjourn and to a reception in the east and west conference rooms. again, i can't see you because of the lights. those of you whom i haven't met, i would be delighted to meet. i hope you will introduce yourselves during the course of the reception. members of our staff are here, our executive director, our deputy executive director, david pride, cathy, jennifer, our program chair, janet, our development chair, our membership chair -- they will all be in there as will members of our executive committee. please introduce yourselves to us.
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the 2009 national heritage lecture is now adjourned. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]onveat]
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>> the congressional black caucus has sent a letter to president obama urging the creation of a program to reduce
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unemployment among low-incomed and minority communities. next, members of the caucus speak with reporters about this issue. congresswoman barbara lee of california chairs the caucus. this is about 40 minutes. >> okay. thank you very much. members will be joining us shortly. but i think we should get started now. i'm barbara lee, chair of the congressional black caucus. we will begin to discuss our proposal for the jobs creation bill. congressman cleaver will come forward who chairs the jobs task force of the cbc and then we'll open for q & a and members will respond to your questions. as chair, of course, of the 42-member congressional black caucus, all of us are here today to continue to sound the alarm about the urgent and vital need to create jobs in america, particularly, in the african-american community which has been disproportionately
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suffering as a result of the brunt of this economic crises and as a result is in desperate need of targeted, concrete and meaningful relief. today we are releasing a letter which we afforded to president obama, speaker pelosi and chairman miller which outlines our priorities. the economic security of all americans is very fragile. communities of color, especially, the african-american and latino communities, have been disproportionately hit by this recession. here are some of the facts. the unemployment rate for african-americans is nearly twice that of whites. 49.4% of african-americans, 16 to 19 years of age were unemployed in november. nearly 28% of african-americans receive food aid compared to 15% of latinos and 8% of whites. recent african-american college graduates are unemployed at higher rates than their white
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counterparts and african-american workers remain unemployed an average of five weeks longer than the rest of our americans. more than 24% of african-americans are living below the poverty line. and african-americans are 55% more likely to be unemployed than white americans.nfj african-americans have 2.3 times the infant mortality rates as non-hispanic whites. they are four times as likely as infants to die due you to complications relating to low birth weight as compared to non-hispanic white infants. additionally, african-americans have shorter life spans. these unfortunate facts speak for themselves. the congressional black caucus in its role as the conscience of the congress is morally, mind you, morally obligated to address the systemic ineequallities.
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have an obligation asuun policymakers to write legislation to address these gaps. that's why i convened a task force to develop targeted proposals to address the acute unemployment crises and to spur job creation for the chronically unemployed who happen to be black and latino but also a number of whom are white. this task force is chaired by congressman emanuel cleaver. tuesday, president obama delivered a speech that was another sober reminder of the important work that we must continue to do to grow our economy and create jobs. tht support for small businesses, infrastructure investment, and green jobs is essential. we also believe that as members of congress we must do more. in order to do this the congressional black caucus has outlined four areas to focus on which is laid out in our letter. of course, it includes job
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training, infrastructure, assistance it off small businesses and also local fiscal relief. we believe direct job creation and training is essential in this jobs proposal. these areas are really important to create real and meaningful economic opportunities to provide pathways out of poverty and opportunities for all. the congressional black caucus remains committed to working withoq9q%átát and our congressional leadership to address the very real economic crisis gripping our nation and we will not shy away from the fight for targeted relief for those suffering the most in this economy. in our letter we suggest that there be a requirement that -- and let me quote from the letter the amounts appropriated in this section, the following projects of programs shall be allocated no less than 10% for assistance in qualified areas of economic hardship. provided that for the purposes of this section, in general, the term qualified area of economic
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hardship means any census track or bloc numbering area where 20% or more of the population is at or below the federal poverty line. the term poverty lines means the official poverty line defined by the office of management and budget. we will certainly become stronger as a nation if we ensure that a jobs bill leaves no one behind. i believe strongly and the congressional black caucus believes to tackle poverty and unemployment and in the richest country in the world we simply have no excuse not to. in conclusion, i'd like to reiterate that members of the congressional black caucus are committed to working together with our congressional leaders and president obama to fix our economy and create jobs to address the true depth of this recession. there's no question that by our collective efforts we can make a real difference in the lives of all americans. thank you and now i'd:sç like t introduce congressman emanuel cleaver of missouri. the first vice chair of the congressional black caucus, also
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the chair of the cbc's jobs task force. thank you again. >> thank you. let me first of all thank our chair who have with vision moved to make certain that the congressional black caucus develop and deliver a response to the growing problem of unemployment or joblessness in the african-american communities around the nation. it is important for the nation to understand that the african-american and latino communities were targeted by those who brought in the subprime loans. the african-american and latino communities were targeted by the payday loans. there is one starbucks for every two payday loans in the african-american community.
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the african-american community has been targeted with the lack of opportunities based on geography. and it seems all together reasonable to target that same community that has been targeted by those who would rape and pillage economically those in those communities. that we were target for redress. when we started the foreclosure modification program, it was our hope that relief would take place quickly. as most of you know, only 4% of those who sought to have their mortgages modified have actually received them. we forced the lamb to lie with the lion. but if you look closely, when thenx lion got up, the lamb was missing. the point is, that we gave
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millions of dollars to banks. we've given billions of dollars to wall street. in fact, it seems that we focus so much on the too big to fail that we sent a message that the others are too small to matter. what we are trying to do as a congressional black caucus is to target people who are hurting. people whose futures look bleak. keep ium that if one segment of this population is hurting, it will7fm do damage to all sections of this population. and so i would close by simply saying that it is our responsibility legislatively to address problems that impact the areas we serve. i serve an area with 17% black constituency.
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i have to be as concerned about that 17% as i am about any other section of the community. there is, however, something that touches me perhaps more. someone wrote once that whatsoever you do to the least of these, my people, that you do unto me. what we're doing is not only politically right. it is morally right. and theologically right. thank you. >> thank you very much. i would like -- we'll go to questions and answers. i would like to introduce members of the congressional black caucus and members will address your questions. and so feel free to ask each member a question. . .. sfwlooi .. sheila jackson
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lee from texas, congresswoman maxine waters of california, congressman david scott from georgia and congressman lee siegel aid from georgia. did i introduce you from texas? congresswoman maxine waters. feel free to ask any member any questions. thank you again for being here. i want to thank congressman emanual cleaver again for getting less organized. >> have you seen enough of a
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commitment from president obama for employment specifically? the white house asked the question yesterday that the president's review is economic recovery will affect all americans. it does not have to be a specific program. they you agree with that or will you see more -- >> the president is the president. he is our commander in chief. it is our job and our responsibility to make sure we are advocates for our constituents and that we ensure these gaps that some call moral gaps are addressed in our legislative proposals. we are presenting them. that is what we wrote a letter to the president and our leadership to ensure the resources and provisions of the jobs bill are inclusive of all communities in our country and those hardest hit which happen to be communities that followed the african-american community
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and latino community and many others. >> peter nicholas from los angeles times washington bureau. >> specifics, when you say job creation, what kind of jobs? how do you go about creating jobs specifically in the black community and can you do that geographically? >> i read earlier, anyone can comment, congressman rush -- we specifically have targeted language which is developed by o o&b to ensure what we are doing a lot of targeting of resources of no less than 10% of qualified areas of economic hardship where the poverty rates are 20% or more below the federal poverty line. that is how you make sure that
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the funding and the provisions of any jobs bill addressed those most impacted and communities of the highest unemployment. >> i think one of the primary substances of any -- jobs program has to have an enormous amount of concentration for young people. young people are 25% unemployment normally signified as depression. on average, 27% of young people are unemployed and the african-american community it jumps to 47% of young african-american youth are unemployed. what do we see as a result of
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that? we see young african-american youth in their frustration levels gets portrayed as anti-social behavior, the prison rate is climbing. the incarceration rate is climbing. so many problems for us. we need to focus on employing youth right now. before we leave for christmas break we can have a substantial employment program and begin to solve some of the problems. that would be a great beginning. by the end of the year we have a new program that would only cost $5 billion to $6 billion. it is affordable and makes sense.
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it is timely and it is workable. we should look at those particular specifics. >> the congressional black caucus has 42 members in 26 states and represent forty million americans. no member represents over 62% african-american. one of our members represent 5% african-american. when we speak, congressman emanuel cleaver all rates but, our chairwoman specifically as an african-american, numbers are highest. we want a program to answer your question specifically like the comprehensive employment training act of the 80s. it is already in the books. we need to twenty-first century it and direct federal dollars from the federal government to local units of government, cities and counties, then they might employ those people paid by the federal government for
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period of 200 years. we don't need legislation for it. you put it in appropriation. the president called for 30,000 troops last week, $30 billion. we think there will be $50,000 that you will see next week. we are calling for $30 billion to $50 billion to put americans back to work. the most unemployed in recent history. the programs are already out there. there are already -- they don't need new legislation. those are the kinds of jobs. we have to rebuild the infrastructure and send people back to work and administrative jobs and cities and counties. >> do we have congressman danny davis and congresswoman -- they will go to another court. >> you can drive through any predominantly african-american community in the country and there will be a dearth of small
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business, complete absence. the community where i live, when i first moved there, there were small businesses, retail outlets, restaurants, small stores all over the place. none of those now exist. they are all gone. two concepts that i am pushing, a serious program of microlanded to let individuals have small sums of money who can creatively use that money to develop businesses for themselves where they can earn a living and training those individuals so they know how to operate a business. i have such training facility in my district. the living word christian center has something called the joseph school of business. they do an outstanding job of
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training entrepreneurs who with small sums of money can earn a living for themselves. >> we will go to the next question. >> to respond briefly to your question as to how we are going to create jobs, the president and this administration has poured billions of dollars of resources into creating a new green technology. there are infrastructure jobs, aging bridges, roads and what we have indicated in our letter to the president is we want free apprenticeship programs so there can be a track for low income of americans to be on the road to learning the skills and obtaining the skills for the jobs of the future.
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too many programs require a baseline of education and training and many folks have not had. with preapprenticeship program we can address some of the dearth of skills that many of these americans have and give them some income while they are learning and training. >> you talked about -- from fox news. the african-american community was hit very hard in the economic downturn and preying on some of the folks in these communities. how do avoid a legislative solution to this prevented from being viewed along the lines of race even though these are communities -- >> step up to the microphone. >> we said that earlier. if you look at what we projected in the ladder in terms of how -- we are not talking about race. we are talking about hardest
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hit. numbers of unemployment rates are the greatest. we are talking about qualified areas of economic hardship where 10% or 20% more of the population is at below the poverty line or we want at least 10% of the resources targeted to that. chairman conyers has a provision he would like to talk about. >> carolyn kilpatrick talked about the short term. i am going back to humphrey-hawkins for long-term. it is very important. it is already on the books too and needs to be funded, rewritten in modern times. i am looking around. i don't think anybody was here when me and hawkins were here. you were in college and doing
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well. you were working for delaware. for fox 2's reiteration. we deal with the places that have the most unemployment. regrettably, it is in the black and hispanic communities. got that? we have said it three and four times here. >> to this question we have congresswoman jackson lee, davis scott -- >> thank you. i am privileged to join my colleagues. every member of the congressional black caucus is intimately engaged in this process. i would suggest to you that this caucus remains an ally of this administration and proud of this administration. as we begin to see the efforts of cracking let me be clear. we work in partnership and our
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responsibilities are to be the advocates and changemakers in the united states congress. we are writing legislation. our job is to make sure legislation gets to the president's desk. the crisis in our community, it is a crisis and no one should leave here without knowing that we are in a crisis. our community is bleeding and we are the worst hit. the old adage, someone has a cold, we have h1n1. we will not cease rowing up our sleeves. as you help those that are latinos and african-americans, you help poor whites and appellations. it has to do with the targeted unemployed and underunemployed. another issue is a high percentage of tax offenders. people who have done their time and paid for the crime, 7, 10,
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35 years and they want to provide for their families. our caucus is one that has to consider those responsibilities. i would like to say there are moneys already in the system in addition to the emphasis of what is being focused on the populations we want to focus on. home and public buildings, greeneing of public services, public buildings, solar installations and maintenance, tutoring or mentoring. lot of these create right on the spot jobs and one of the elements i have asked for is to allow people who are on unemployment to be trained, they keep their unemployment and have excitement. that means they have income and training at the same time. we are not ashamed of saying that we are the battlers and
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warriors for those who are jobless right now and the programs we have in place are not helping them. our task is to make it known to the white house and anyone else who needs to be the decisionmaker to make this work for our constituents and that is what this plan is that has been offered by the task force which i am proud to serve on. david scott. >> i think it is very important to clarify this issue and make sure it is known that our concern is not based on the foundation of race. it is based on the foundation of need. no more, we are asking no more and no less than what all street -- wall street desk for. when they asked there was no problem with the sense of urgency. we are asking for the same sense of urgency. there was no problem when that money was targeted to wall
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street. we are asking for the same targeted areas. on main street. when we put forward an effort to say that we need to have money going to those people at the low and middle income areas, that is the primary area because those are the people who are most likely to spend that money. not black or white but people who spend the money. we also have to understand those two, we need to build on those two fundamental foundation that we in the financial services committee have already put in place in this financial services bill. there is a direct tie between the joblessness and the foreclosure. if we were to target money to those areas where you have the greatest need and foreclosure, where you have the greatest need for abandoned buildings to give money to cities and counties that go in, build those
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buildings back a, it improves our housing stock but puts people to work in those jobs of reconstructing work developing those homes. more than the $1 billion we got in financial services, billions more can go to that to help the overall economy. we have people who are jobless or about to lose their jobs hanging on to their homes by their fingernails. we have $3 billion in financial services to go to that. billions more can go into that program in and of itself. that is targeted and focused. we ask for no more and no less than what wall street did. wall street is just as important as our community. >> we have another question. >> it is clear that we are in a job crisis but we are also in a very serious situation as it relates to structural unemployment. economists are telling us that the national rate of unemployment is going to shift
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from 5% to 7%. part of what we are saying here is this targeted job creation needs to respond to what could be, if you don't operate quickly, lasting, chronic unemployment situation for people. when a person loses their job that creates an enormous hole in their resumes which hurts employment chances in the future and impact children, children growing up in poverty have more detrimental statistics on nearly every measure. what we are talking about is even the generational problem that we are trying to fix not only with the crisis but what could be if we don't act, restructure a problem in our economy. the last point, this is good for deficit reduction. we are talking about spending money but if people are not buying, people are not selling and you are not selling more taxes to shrink down the deficit through greater economic growth
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or activity. we ask -- >> what is your name? >> dan evans with the associated press. the caucus will oppose any jobs package that does not include the 10% targeted -- >> it is premature to even discuss that. each and every member of the congressional black caucus has weighed in on this job bill in a big way and we are working through the legislative process through negotiations to try to make sure all of these provisions are in place. would anybody else -- next question right here? >> a lot of people who watch our network are not inside the beltway. you can keep that in mind. what do you say to the people watching this network and there is more left and people whose unemployment is not covering it, their children are hungry and
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they can't make mortgage payments, what do you say to those constituents who are watching and their position is i need help? >> congresswoman yvette clark from new york. >> what we say to our constituents and all americans is we understand the misery factor is very high in our community. we go home to the people we serve each and every weekend and we are working diligently. we are raising the issues of the people shy away from raising. we're coming up with a solution that needs to be integrated in every piece of legislation that we pass to make a breakthrough for job creation in this nation. we recognize that putting our communities to work lifts this nation out of the financial malaise is in right now. every community across this nation deserves an opportunity to have a come back just like
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wall street had. we have the capacity. we have the intellect and skills and talent and the legislation to make it so. it is time for all of us to reach out to our representatives and let them know that it is time for job creation in this nation and we won't tolerate anything less. thank you. >> can we go to the next question? >> for those people who have more months than money at the end of the month it is important for people to be assertive about their right to be bailed out. if every single state, we have added money through the recovery act for additional dollars. the culture of the state has been to kick people off the welfare rolls and deny them benefits but we have given them money so people have to be assertive about their right to
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have money during this entire economic time. we have increased the amount of food stamps and the eligibility criteria for receiving food stamps and so people need to not paying their heads in shame. we can bail out goldman sachs, they should be assertive about their rights. >> next question back here. >> congressman cleaver mentioned banks that too big to fail at the expense of smaller people who were too small to matter. given that president obama was a member of the black caucus, are you surprised or disappointed that there wasn't a more targeted effort in the stimulus package that passed earlier this year? >> i am proud of the financial services committee members, auld ten black caucus members who led a very forceful and very honorable fight in the financial
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services committee to make sure that this bill that we are debating right now because no one behind. let me ask congresswoman maxine waters who led that fight to speak to what was included in that legislation. >> i want to thank congresswoman barbara lee for the tremendous effort she has put forward to organize this jobs package. this is extremely important. i suppose what you are saying is not only renewed effort but renewed strategies that we are employing in order to make sure we are addressing the needs of our community. congresswoman barbara lee referred to the financial services committee and we also had a special responsibility serving on that committee where we are dealing with all those financial agencies of this government and we participated in all of the discussion and debate about the bailout. we have been loyal members of
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that committee, we have responded to and supported the administration and the leadership consistently. and so we finally are waking up to the fact that despite the fact, we are loyal, consistent members of this congress and our caucus and that committee, we are not paying enough attention to the misery in our community. as we said that day is over. you are absolutely right. not enough attention has been paid to the banks that have been suffering. they have not been able to get the capital from the fed window. they have not been able to get the capital in the private markets and you do have goldman sachs and others who came here and got tremendous bailout money and made a lot of money with it and they are not talking about paying their top management but big bonuses but the average employee at goldman sachs will
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get paid a bonus of $717,000. so we're dealing with people whose unemployment is running out. we are dealing with young people who are unemployed to the tune of 40% in many of our communities, languishing on america's corners and this process has decided not only are we going to employ more targeted strategy in working with our own leadership, but we are going to legislatively put together efforts like this congresswoman and leader has done in order to target the jobs possibilities for our communities. >> thank you very much. anyone else in the back? right here in the front row. we have time for two more question. members who have not responded will respond now. >> ms. allison was urging that we talk about small businesses.
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there are several parts to the negotiations we are involved in. one is the federal government spends a lot of money. they spend money on advertising for example. the department of defense spends tremendous dollars in recruitment alone. but guess what? black newspapers and radio stations don't get into that advertising money. the federal government puts money into banks but guess what? minority and black banks don't get any of that money. do you realize the money deposited in small and minority banks would provide the capital that could be used to lend out to support those very businesses that mr. davis is talking about and mr. ellison is talking about. the realize on wall street we have very competent, professionals who can do asset management and who should be involved in some of the response that the t.a.r.p. money has been used for and developed all kinds
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of consultancy's. they are not getting their fair share. the government itself, stop discriminating against small and minority businesses, many of those resources would be helpful in our community but that is some of what -- >> i am wondering if you have assigned specific members of the caucus to sit-down with leadership to craft out all of the policy details of that as this bill is being finalized. issues are included. >> the leadership of the congressional black caucus sits down with our leadership on each and every bill that moves forward. we have 17 subcommittee chairs and full committee chairs at the table on every policy initiative that we are on.
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and the whip. mr. cliburn is our voice in meeting where members are not invited. he is our whip and former member of the black caucus and participates and former chair of the congressional black caucus and continue to participate with us as a congressional black caucus. >> with respect to the legislation being debated to consumer protection and financial regulatory reform, small businesses and microlending being discussed earlier what specific measures will be taken to make sure people are entering into this irresponsibly or getting over their heads for the type of things we saw earlier?
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>> actually, we did a separate press release on that issue. the hole predatory lending bill that the house already passed, into this legislation being considered on the floor. that addressed the whole range of predatory lending that has taken place and fully debated and is included in the legislation. in addition to a number of other targeted things that we put out information on them. we will make sure you get information on that. >> we have one more member from texas. >> i would like to give a commentary if i may. it would be a tragedy of epic,
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in fact biblical proportions, if the economy recovers and we leave the african-americans and latino community behind. the money is going to be spent for the jobs. the question is where will the money be spent? that is what this is all about. we want to make sure that the money that is fit, that it gets all segments of society. it is very unfortunate that we have to make this commentary but the truth of the matter is there are people who are suffering and who have not been identified properly. ..
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>> we are all in this together, and what we are doing is going to help the president of the united states. thank you. >> thank you again and let me thank all of the members of the congressional black caucus for their incredible work. emanuel cleaver, again has chaired art task force. members will be available for comments after this. thanks again. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] now to live coverage from the british house of commons. british prime minister gordon brown joined for the house of commons to talk about his recent trip to afghanistan in meetings with the european council on climate change. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> met with commanders on the
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ground including meeting with afghan army leaders. and today i've had a meeting of our national security committee with the chief of defense and the chief of our security services. and i talk to the nato general secretary. the first preface of my visit to afghanistan was to thank our brave armed forces in a year in which 100 other colleagues have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. i wanted to acknowledge and congratulate them on the dedicated work day after day that they continue to do. and as christmas draws near, to wish them and their families well. i think i speak for everyone when i say that the thoughts and prayers of our house and country are with them. british people are safer at home because our troops are fighting for our safety this christmas in afghanistan. mr. speaker, i also wanted to assess the progress to reinforcing our campaign in afghanistan. and in my meetings with president karzai and his team of ministers, began the preparations on the conference
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of the future of afghanistan that will be held in london on 28 january. an event i believe will galvanize the international effort on political and economic progress as well as on security, and to which president karzai has agreed he will present his plans for the country's future. our strategy is to ensure that al qaeda can never regain in afghanistan and to achieve that, we must weaken the taliban and strengthen afghanistan, stage by stage, district by strict as to, province by province, putting the afghans in control of their own security. but we must first address the taliban insurgency with all the resources and power we have at our disposal. yesterday i flew up on one of the newly deployed helicopters. we have doubled the number of helicopters over the last three years. we have more than doubled helicopter flying hours. we will be further increasing over the coming months. i also saw the mine resistant patrol vehicles and the smaller
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but equally well protected ridgeback vehicles. incenses somewhere increased the number by more than 80%, almost double the number of ridgeback, hundreds of new vehicles, from the treasury reserve which are now every month saving lives in afghanistan. mr. speaker, aerial surveillance helps us track and target taliban improvised explosive devices. and that surveillance has now been increased by over 20%. and yesterday, i asked for and received an assurance from president karzai of the new assistance the afghan people will give us in detecting and dismantling these improvised explosive devices. afghan forces will not be trained as i saw yesterday to detect and disable ied's. there will be more local police on the ground, and we will be training 10000 police recruits. that will be better intelligence for the afghan people about the source of ied plans, plan attacks, and encouragement not
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to harbor those attacks on british soldiers. i can say we will go further in providing more equipment and support to our armed forces. tomorrow the defense secretary will announce plans for more equipment on the afghan campaign. including more specialist ied support. the latest funding from the treasury will include an extra 10 million for hand-held mine detectors, to follow the 12 billion that has been set aside earlier for new explosive disposable robots. over 30 of which are now in operation tracking ied's. i can also, the ied capability, including new and enhanced facilities for training and for intelligence, and this will amount to an extra 50 billion pounds per year, 150 billion in total this year and over the next two years. mr. speaker, our strategy involves working with the afghan army and police so that day, over time, can take security
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control. president karzai confirmed to me he is increasing the number of afghan troops in helmand to 10000. already in the last few days, 500 troops have arrived. once the police training that we are running in helmand and prove strength in the spring will be able to train there a lone 2000 police officers every year. yesterday i saw for myself the reality of british forces mentoring and partnering afghan troops and a new momentum that is resulting from that. the taliban are determined, they will not give up easily. i am under no illusion that there will be hard fighting ahead, but i grew great confidence from the immense professionalism of our servicemen and women, and from the telling effect they are already coming from in me and the galvanizing impact that they are having on the afghan forces they are partnering. i can report with 36 countries have now offered additional manpower to the afghan campaign. we know that the planned increase of american and british
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forces over the coming weeks and months will allow us to review rages and develop a new balance in helmand. and as i said to the house, the authority for the additional british forces is to thicken holland and shift to what is hardly afghan forces. and i can report to the house that commanders on the ground told me yesterday that already in two thirds of british bases our forces but will jointly with their afghan counterparts. it is by partnering in this way first in the army and then with the police, that we will enable the afghans to step up to the challenge of dealing with the taliban and with extremism, and ultimately with the conditions are right, allow our troops to return home. i also saw from my visit and from my discussion with our commanders and civilian leaders, that we are seeing the beginnings of the clinical process which must complement our military strategy. tribal in the town elders already providing the kind of effective accountable grassroots government which will be the
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foundation of any successful political strategy. so the decisions we have made in 2009, set a new framework for action in 2000. partnership with afghan forces will turn afghanization from an aspiration into a real force of progress in every district, even closer working between our military and civilian missions will allow military action to provide the space for afghan acid visions on by the afghan people to develop at a faster pace. mr. speaker, 68 international delegations will come to london for the 28th of january conference on afghanistan. all 43 powers engage in the international coalition will attend, together with other regional and muslim partners and international organizations. and they will be led by the secretary generals of the un and nato. i agreed with president karzai that this conference will deliver a new compact between afghanistan and the international community based on priorities that he has outlined.
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first, security, we expect nations to announce troop deployment building on the total of 140,000 troops promised in 2010. and i hope the london conference will also be able to set out the next stage in a longer-term plan, the balance between alliance forces and afghan forces changing as their armed forces rise from 90000 afghan army and defense forces, to 135,000 next year, possibly 175,000 later. and of course, on the future numbers, also of the police intelligence services and local security initiatives in afghanistan. secondly, in london nato and isaf partners must set out a program for the transfer of lead responsibly from coalition to afghan forces and agreed a set of conditions and criteria to astonish the eligibility of provinces and districts for transfer. and i hope we can agree in london that the process begins subject to conditions on the ground during 2010.
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third, on reintegration, london must secure international support and financial backing for afghan led resettlement and reintegration programs. forth, uneconomic developer, as president karzai takes forward an anticorruption program, london must provide comprehensive long-term support to the afghan economy, including two farmers and working people in the towns and villages to offer them a greater stake in the future of their country. including providing afghans with credible alternatives to poppy into the insurgency. finally, london must address the issue of international efforts on afghanistan. reaffirming the role of the un, announcing the new special representative of the secretary-general, and announcing stronger civil coordination and isaf. and it must encourage to a new set of relationships between afghanistan and its neighbors, and particularly better working with pakistan. mr. speaker, while afghanistan and pakistan are different countries with their own
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traditions and history, they are both at the epicenter of local terrorism. in our national security interests require us to deny al qaeda a space to operate across pakistan and denied them the option of returning to operate in afghanistan. and one of the biggest advances of the last year is the increased cooperation with the pakistan authorities in support of the efforts of the fight against the taliban and al qaeda. and we want to build upon this in the coming months. as part of our partnership with the pakistani armed forces, it is now underway with the new u.k., baluchistan training facility in which british mentors will be working with pakistani training staff on building character insurgency capability for the lucas dan frontier corps. and as part of our partnership with the civilian government of pakistan, the new education task force focused on anthem and education reforms is meeting today in islamabad for the first time. 250 billion pounds a develop
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systems from britain to pakistan is directed towards education. and as i agreed with president zardari heard of this month, because nothing is more important in addressing the root causes of so many other problems, than building a strong universal state education system, free from extremist influence, and offering a alternative low-quality schools which include the poorly regulated and extremist. mr. speaker, i turned the european council, one of the first decisions was to reiterate its strong commitment to promote stability and development in afghanistan and pakistan. a second decision was to express united europe a great concern over iran's nuclear weapons and changed it will recognize in a call from the kennedy that iran is so far done nothing to rebuild the confidence of the international community. while we agreed that our offer of renegotiation and negotiation remains on the table, our continuing concerns about iran's nuclear program mean we agreed
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to begin working on options for sanctions in the new year. the council also discussed the economic recovery, jobs and sustainable growth and how europe can move forward on a climate change deal in copenhagen. we reiterate unanimously that policy in support of the economy should remain in place and only be withdrawn when the recovery is fully secured. the council also welcomed the effort and determine action taken across europe to strengthen financial regulation and supervision. and it also agreed that renumeration policies within the financial sector must reward of sound and effective risk management. following the introduction of u.k. of additional bank payroll tax, where bank and telling societies employees discretionary bonuses about 25000, the council encouraged member states to properly consider available short-term options to implement sound compensation practices. unfortunate, the council emphasized the importance of
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renewed economic social contract between financial institutions and the society they serve uninsured and the public benefits come ensuring that public benefits and good times can go to the people of their countries and are protected from risk. the council encouraged the imf in his review to consider the range of fees and funds contingent capital arranges in the global financial transaction levy. mr. speaker, there are very few moments in history when nations are together to make, decisions that will reshape the lives of every family, potentially for generations to come. and our aim of the ambitious climate change deal in copenhagen that will enable the european union to make good its commitment that we have moved to a 30% reduction in carbon emission levels by 2020 compared to 1990. and the agreement in copenhagen must also include a clear financial framework of a short medium and longer terms. this financial agreement must
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address the great injustice that is climate change. that those hit first and hardest by climate change are those who have done the least harm. but in fact, 98 percent of those most severely affected, died in the countries account for only 80% global emissions that it is a sentient we honor our response before helping and adapting to and mitigating the consequences of climate change. i can report to the house that to assist in adaptation and mitigation, the united -- the european union must pledge seven-point 2 billion euros over three years. that is six points 6 billion pounds. and that is money for each year, 2010, 2011, 2012. of 2.4 billion euros. this should enable the world to reach its aim of 10 billion a year in dollars for climate change help for each year until 2012. and let me say, this financial agreement could not have got off
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the ground without the strongest european cooperation. britain will contribute one and a half billion pounds. but there will also have to be additional and predictable finance in the medium term, 2020 and beyond. the figure of 100 billion euros has been set for the long-term climate change by 2020. and the council, the european council, reaffirmed its commitment to provide its fair share of this international public support. i can say to the house that from 2013, the u.k. will provide additional private finance over and above not quite 7% overseas development commitment under the european council, we have official development assistance commitment in view of the impact of the economic crisis of the poorest. there is an urgent need to promote rainforest countries, 20 percent for early finance should be allocated to force protection. and to achieve a reduction of deforestation of 25 percent by
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2015, leading to a 50% reduction in 2020 and a complete halt in 2030 will require global financial of around 25 billion. and a majority of this should come from the underdeveloped countries. so today we send a message to all of europe into the world there is work to do, we're only halfway there to an agreement. now is the time for developed and developing countries not to divide among each other, but to do what no conference of 192 countries has ever achieved before, that is to come together with a forward-looking program to advance our share of goals. this week world leaders are gathering in copenhagen, and as i have indicated to the house authority and to the opposition leaders, i will join global leaders in go bag and starting from tuesday with meetings there with leaders of the african union and the european union, the un secretary union, and also representatives from the hard hit small island states.
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the agreement at copenhagen must be ambitious, global, legally binding, be consistent with a maximum global warming of 2 degrees, and ensure that there is a financial settlement of the poorest countries. mr. speaker, britt and our european partners and the commonwealth will continue to work tirelessly for the best result at copenhagen. and i commend this to the house. >> mr. cannon? >> thank you, mr. speaker. the european council covered in three main areas, foreign affairs, the environment and economic issues. i want to ask all three as was the fight of the issue of afghanistan. on afghanistan, is the prime minister knows we supported the increase in u.s. and in the u.k. troops. and that christmastime as the prime minister has said, we should all be thinking of our forces and their families that i like to pay tribute to all those charitable organizations sending diffs and cards and presents to our forces in afghanistan. they should be on our minds for all they are doing. on strategy, we believe this is
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the last best opportunity to get this right. doesn't he agree that everything needs to be brought together, including having the right concentration of troops in every part of southern afghanistan? the prime minister talk today about thickening the true presence in central hellman. we look forward to hearing more about the. perhaps he can tell us when he will be able to update the house on what's being done specifically to make sure the british troops cover fewer areas, but in greater density. we believe that is absolutely vital. on the issue of the afghan national army, he like me saw it being trained at first hand and it is an currently impressive. as he grew with me that we honor as fast as we can and to go any faster that is a danger that policy of recruit would suffer. can he tell the house about what is being done to make sure that those afghan national army recruits that are trained and then sent to the south of afghanistan actually go to the south of afghanistan, and the
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unit function properly? in terms of the london conference, about which he said quite a lot, could you clarify whether the new individual working on behalf of the un secretary general, does he still agree with us that it would be good to have someone over and above that to coordinate all of the civilian side rather than in the same way stanley mcchrystal is coordinating all of the military side? that is what we have been pushing for and perhaps the prime mister can clarify whether that is still the government's position. on iran, does the prime minister agree that the time now has come for the u2 take a much stronger line? it's clear that talks with iran are not moving. but the summit just referred to considering as the prime minister said options the next steps. shouldn't these specifically included three things at the very least. a tough new inspections regime on iranian cargo, a ban on any new european investment in iranian on a gas, and serious
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financial sanctions like those which exist in the united states? the prime minister would have been to before, the prime minister said in june 2008, and i quote, action will start today for a new phase of sanctions on arms or lancaster can he assure the house that this time the measures will be finally agreed and put into place? on copenhagen, can the prime minister be clear about what he thinks can now be achieved? does he agree with the un's chief climate negotiator that a full legally binding agreement is no longer possible in copenhagen itself? that if he is right about this, is it not essential that we see a full political agreement this week? is that not the minimum to which the world has a right to expect? and does he agree with us that it is a vital that any agreement is consistent with keeping global warming below the 2 degrees threshold? on the issue of funding, the prime mister gave us the figures, but could he tell us a
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bit more about where the money is coming from. it wasn't the contribution was written 800 million. then 1.2 billion. then 1.5 billion. can he tell us where this is coming from. if the prime ministers said on friday, it is coming from the budget. and he tells whether this will have an impact on any other aid programs? turning to economic issues, this prime minister once described the u.k. budget rebate as an ipo, nonnegotiable. that was before he gave 7 billion pounds of that rebate away. when he did so, and the reason for asking the question today, when he did so, tony blair said the government had obtained in return a review of the u.e. budgie. that was to start in 2008 and was meant to finish by the end of 2009. but it is absolutely no where near finished indeed, in the conclusion, the deadline slipped to next july, and in the final conclusions, it slipped another six months to the end of the
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year 2010. at a time when budgets are being cut in the u.k., does the prime minister agreed that in reviewing the u.e. budgie, the main purpose should be to push for a real terms typed in that budget? and does he also think that while public servant in this country are getting low pay increase or in even some cases pay freezes it is completely wrong for e.u. civil servants pay rise? turning to the commission isn't it the case that prime ministers hold approach to this has been wrong from start to finish. he started by spinning tribal political capital on a completely misconceived plant to make tony blair president of europe, and ended with britain having none of the economic. indeed, the government became so dysfunctional that at one stage peter mandelson tried to land himself a job of high representative. friends of the prime minister -- he shakes his head. did he try to get the job? is there anybody in there? he was frantically hitting the
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post appear that the rat was trying to leave the sinking ship but he is still on board. friends of lord mandelson, said he thought the whole thing, he thought the whole thing had been budge. those were his words but isn't that the right description for the prime minister's whole handling of this affair? on financial services, cross-border cooperation is clearly by the. however, will the prime minister confirm that britain's effectively given up its on blocking regulatory decisions in times of crisis when there's a disagreement over whether there are financial consequences for the taxpayer? you didn't mention it in your state and. perhaps he can answer that. the summit conclusions also called for the restoration of sound public finances. and i asked the prime minister, did he ever expect to come back from a european summit as prime minister of 12 years stewardship
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with the biggest deficit of any european economy, with britain the only g-20 country still mired in recession, and with the worst public finances in a generation? is that what he meant by leading the way in europe? >> prime minister? >> mr. speaker, i am surprised that he spends most of his time raising issues that were not even discussed at the european meeting and i think it would be better that it would be better if he addressed all the issues that i put to the house this afternoon and addressed them in a bit more detail. the first -- the first i may say, is the issues related to afghanistan. and i think it's very important to recognize that there is all party agreement on these matters. and not to exaggerate any difference between us about this particular sensitive time. when more trooper going into afghanistan, where we are persuading the afghan forces to increase the number in the
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helmand province and where we are trying to extend the civilian and military cooperation so that we can tackle effectively the taliban insurgency by weakening them and strengthening the afghan state. i did say to him that we were increasing our presence in hellmann's. but so too is the american presence increasing in helmand. and that was the american troop in helmand will go up something in the order of 20000 to 30000 over the next few months. that will include of course the afghan army and self making a bigger contribution in helmand. in overtime, the balance will change between the alliance forces and the afghan forces. by 2011, across the whole of afghanistan the afghan forces will exceed the alliance forces and get on top of that of course we had afghan police numbers as well. and this is our policy for the gradual afghanization of security control, and in that way district by district and province by province, we can
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have a chance of afghan control. i have to say when i met the afghan forces that were in helmand yesterday, training on anti-explosive devices, the afghan forces that i talked to came from all different parts of the country, coming to helmand, supposed to be trained and part of the more effective army for the whole of afghanistan in the long run. i did say to him that we were reporting that humanitarian and civilian issues related to the coordination of effort in afghanistan was a main feature of the london conference. now that he has resigned as the un representative, he will stay on ivy league until march. he is retiring after that and we will have to appoint in my view a full representative from iceland and one from nato. and i talked to the general secretary of nato this afternoon. so there will be a human appointment and it will also be a natal appointment. i think it's important to
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recognize that all these interest must be represented, but there must be greater coronation pier as far as afghanistan generally is concerned, i hope that members of the house will feel that the measures are being taken in to deal with ied's are important in protecting our troops, but also in destroying the morale of the taliban. i have to say that when i was in afghanistan yesterday, it was reported to me that 1500 ied's had been detected and dismantled by the expertise of our forces, and particularly the engineers who do such important work. and if we can continue to diffuse and dismantle, and therefore disable these ied, that would reduce the state of tragedy that would resolve or over last year. . .
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>> in the sanctions that actually work. also the issues of the european council, and i will come to that now. at the european council we did discuss the timetable for resolving the budget issues, and we did discuss the economic cooperation across europe. and we did discuss the fiscal stimulus that would be necessary to bring the economy forward and to move economies out of
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recession. there are 12 european economies still in recession. a number of economies, including germany, have suffered a far worse recession than we have. we have the highest employment rate in the g-7. unemployment is lower than in most of the other countries that are comparable to us as a result of the actions we have taken. i just have to say there is agreement that we needed to take a fiscal stimulus so that the economy could move forward. there is agreement that we should have taken action to restructure the banks. there is agreement that the fiscal stimulus should continue. there is agreement that we must all take action against unemployment and to help small businesses in these difficulties by providing government funds to do so. the only group that seems to stand outside that agreement within europe and the rest of the world is the conservative party represented on the other benches. and i have to say to them on climate change, it is incredibly important that the voice of this
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house from all parties in this house is that we want the developed countries to work together to secure an agreement. that is why our offer of support is one that i believe is right if we are going to get to an agreement that shows to the developing countries that we mean business in tackling the issues that they face most of all as a result of climate change. that is why we were the leaders in a european agreement that is insured the very substantial progress, three-and-a-half billion dollars a year will go to helping the developed countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change including action of forestry. we have a great deal of work still to do because we have to get an agreement about the longer-term as well as the short term. we have to get an agreement about its immediate targets and about the issues that we undertake. we, britain, have that the way, with the climate change act. we have led the way with an announcement that we will be active in providing long-term
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financing to help the developing countries. we suggested a figure of $10 billion as an initiative for both the european union and for the rest of the world to follow, and there is now a virtual agreement on that. we will continue to press for a just and fair settlement at copenhagen. why i want to go there tomorrow is to talk to all the parties about what we can do together, why i think the opposition should support is that we have led the way of developing goals, led the way of debt relief, led the way of international economic cooperation, led the way of the restructuring of the banks, and we are leading the way on climate change, something that the opposition party could never, never do. >> speaker, i would like to thank the prime minister, of course, for a statement. i would, of course, like to add my own voices of gratitude in afghanistan. and with families, of course, across the country preparing to
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come together for the christmas holiday i also pay tribute to the families and friends of the servicemen and women, the enormous sacrifices that they are also making for this war are utmost in all our minds at this time of year. i am grateful for the prime minister's statement in afghanistan. i would just like to speak currently on two points. kitty could he clarify what he believes to be the role of china, russia, and iran? whether we like it about these nations are absolutely crucial in securing long-term stability in afghanistan. i was not quite sure from what he said whether any or all three of those nations as will be presented at the london conference. if not could he perhaps provide us with some detail as to how we might be engaging with all three of them to help stabilize afghanistan, not withstanding the other major differences we have, particularly with iran at this particular time. the second point is this. we all know that the war will only be won in afghanistan if we
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win the battle of hearts and minds of the afghan people. that is heavily dependent in terms on that the legitimacy of president karzai and his government. the prime minister referred to the efforts against corruption of president karzai. could he just tell me how exactly he will judge progress on good government and against corruption in afghanistan by the time president karzai comes to the london conference in january? mr. speaker, given that the resources allocated to a strategy we are pursuing in afghanistan over the last eight years were so heavily influenced by the war in iraq i would also like to know what the prime minister thought of his predecessors of mission this weekend that he would have invaded iraq whether there were weapons of mass destruction are not. the prime minister supported taking us to war. so people have a right to know. does the prime minister agree with tony blair that the invasion would have been
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justified even without the excuse of weapons of mass destruction? just a few hours ago we heard the talks in copenhagen were suspended. i am told just now they have been just restarted a few minutes ago because of differences between the developing and developed world in the international community. i'm sure the prime minister agrees with me that the i will if you will brinkmanship now needs to come to an end. too many players are making their commitments conditional only on the commitments others. will the prime minister now make a unilateral commitment to help break that deadlock? the committee on climate change says that to meet the european union target of 30% cuts on the levels by 2020 this country would need to cut its own emissions by 42% by 2020. the prime minister just doesn't need to wait for anyone else to make that commitment. will he make that commitment today?
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>> prime minister. >> mr. speaker, first of all, let me deal with afghanistan. it is right that at the conference discussing afghanistan not only the coalition partners should be present, but it is very important to recognize in the long-term afghanistan feature is dependent on non-interference by immediate neighbors and economic and cultural cooperation between afghanistan and their neighbors. we will do what we can to advance that process forward, difficult as it has been to get some of the neighbors in to talk to each other. that is part of the discussion that will take place at the conference, and there will be discussions also in pakistan. if we can have on both sides of the borders action being taken against al-qaeda and action also does the taliban we have a better chance of succeeding in our objectives. when president karzai comes to london we will expect that he will be able to show progress in
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the anti-corruption laws that he is proposing, the anti-corruption task force that he has set up. there were 12 arrests last week for corruption. obviously people will be appointed to his cabinet and district and provincial governments. he is holding a conference on these very issues tomorrow in kabul, and i hope that will show the determination to make progress. i assure you that president karzai is determined to come to london with a plan to deal with some of the problems that have been intractable over many years in afghanistan. as for iraq, i would just say that there is an inquiry. the inquiry will hear evidence, and then the inquiry will make its report. as far as climate change is concerned i think the european offer of 20% to go to 30% if we can get an ambitious settlement where other countries join in in
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going to the ambitious ranges that they have set of japan and australia and brazil with their very ambitious ranges can go further. if we can see the movement to want to see from the other parties in the negotiation then our wish is to go to 30%. we will have to get not only intermediate targets as well as other countries and statements of national admissions, the developing countries. we will also, as i said before and have to get a financial agreement, a technology exchange agreement, and, of course, verification issues will be raised. there is a lot of work to do at copenhagen. i feel that he was to get a most ambitious agreement as possible, and i am grateful for the support he will give us. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister referred to pakistan. he knows the great sacrifices being made by the civilian population and the military in
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pakistan. did he discuss with president karzai the importance of effective cooperation between afghanistan and pakistan, particularly in combating extremism in the areas on both sides? >> prime minister. my honorable friend, as you all know, we wish to work with the pakistan equipment not simply to work with the problem of the pakistan taliban as we have done with the small territory, but we want to work with them to work with whether those areas where there are problems also with the afghan taliban in pakistan. so we want to see the maximum cooperation between president karzai and the pakistani authorities including president zardai and of course prime minister galadi. we want to see more effective corporations. in the end we want joint measures that will protect the border areas. operation in afghanistan and pakistan is going to be very
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much in more in future years and i am before we have the level of the issues we raised in my statement. we want to see further cooperation and security issues strengthened in the months to come. >> mr. speaker, it is good to hear that our groups in afghanistan are getting more equipment. at the expense of what? because a recent review set up by the former secretary of state says the defense equipment program is unaffordable. is that right? >> mr. speaker, we have increased defense spending every year. we have given defense of nearly 10% over the last ten years. in addition to that we have provided for the equipment needs and the other additional needs associated with the campaigns in iraq and afghanistan. it is because we have matched
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additional money from the treasury reserve to pay for the equipment that are going in vehicles, additional helicopters able to go to afghanistan. we have meant all the requirements of the military forces on the ground to enable them to mount campaigns within afghanistan, and i am sorry the conservative members are trying to dispute that. the fact of the matter is that all urgent operational requirements of the ministry of defence had been met and will continue to be met. >> a further 26 speaking to catch my eye. as usual i should like to be able to accommodate everyone. in order to be able to do so short questions and short answers will be required. >> allegation a few weeks ago. we are extremely grateful for the efforts being made by the country on their behalf.
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however, i can't say publicly what was told to me in private. women feel extremely vulnerable in that country. raised the question several times in the past. the u.n. has criticized the afghan government for not doing enough to protect women. this particular woman is in danger. i would ask the prime minister if he would raise this, in the situation of women during the afghan conference. it is one of the reasons we went into afghanistan. >> you're right. we made representations about the family law that was discussed in the summer. the president insured the some of his parts were removed as a result of international pressure i realize that the rights of women are an issue we must
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devote at all time when we are discussing the future of afghanistan. it is true that as a result of what has happened over the last few years where no girls went to school there are now two-and-a-half million girls going to school. i believe for the future of afghanistan and that is a vital change that is happening and increasing the numbers. it is a vital part of the program. at the same time paternal mortality is among the worst in the world. one in eight births resulted in deaths. i am told the recent research suggests that 100,000 children are now surviving to the age of five who would otherwise not do so as a result of the improvements in tackling infant mortality and child health. these are achievements as a result of bringing health and education to the people of afghanistan. she is absolutely right. we must never forget the importance of these issues, the social and economic improvement of the condition of the
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population and we are talking about the future of afghanistan. >> the announcement by the prime minister of the additional 50 million pounds with three years of counter ied intelligence is very well. will that money come as an operational requirement from the treasury or will it be within the existing defense budget? >> prime minister. >> the chancellor reported in the pre-budget report that expenditure on afghanistan from the reserve is something on the order of 600 million pounds three years ago. it will be nearly four-and-a-half billion pounds over the next two years. that is a result of additional money made available by the treasury. >> very recently seven taliban attacked a convoy that would be protected by 300 members of the afghan army. the 300 almost all of them fled the scene immediately. one of their generals said that they have no motivation to risk
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their lives for an election-rigging president, their own country, or for the international community. the afghan police are a lawless bunch of depraved thieves. does the prime minister really believe that we can build a solid security service on these collapsing foundations? >> there are two views to take about afghanistan. he takes a different one from mine. the first view is that the taliban has a huge amount of support afghanistan, and the afghan people will not resist the taliban. the second view, however, is the one i take, that the taliban have very limited public support and the people of afghanistan. all opinion polls and evidence that we have is that the public do not want the taliban to return. they know the damage that they did in the past. they know the threat to women's rights. they know the damage that was done to children's education, and they know that justice that was meted out unfairly
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particularly against women. our best estimate is that the people of afghanistan by a very substantial majority do not want the taliban to return to government. they want to be assured that there is security guaranteed by afghan forces and by the alliance forces working together. over time they will want to see the security kept by afghan army, afghan police, and afghan security services. that is what our strategy that we have been applying for some time is working toward. so i don't accept his initial premise that the taliban have anything like the support he suggests. >> may i ask the prime minister, is it a responsible policy to find at least partial the cost of current operations by waging future defense abilities? >> mr. speaker, i think he has got to understand the total amount of additional minister on top of the budget that has been spent in iraq and afghanistan is
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14 million pounds. that is on top of the defense budget. that is additional to a rising defense budget, and i think he has also got to understand that the skill of the investment that we made in equipment is on the order of 5 billion pounds. so i would say to him that he should look at the overall amount of money that has been invested in afghanistan. a billion alone in the new equipment for vehicles as well as the extra investment in helicopters and ied equipment. the total sum for equipment 5 billion pounds, much of it spent in the last two years to make for better vehicles. we have allocated, as you know, in the pre-budget report of the chancellor, sufficient funds for afghanistan in the coming year. i don't think his criticism should be that we have spent to too little or invested to build and the safety of our forces. we have done whatever is necessary. >> jeffrey robins.
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>> his trip to afghanistan. in particular his direct conversations with president karzai. the number of troops they are committing is encouraging, but the quality will be very important. could be, perhaps, a stark progress by some reorganization of the kandahar future government. >> i talked to president karzai about the governorships of kandahar and also helmand and about the appointments he is going to make to his cabinet in the next few days. my honorable friend is absolutely right. it is the quality of the local government on the ground and the quality of the afghan army and particularly over time the quality of the police in afghanistan that is going to be so vital to the success in the future. what i saw yesterday was afghan recruits training at a high level demand from the british
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trainers and acquainting themselves well. what i also see in helmand is a government that insures the content and resources directed to the people and build up a system of law. wherever that is not happening actions should be taken and we would give our views directly to president karzai. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister did not talk on the inappropriateness. does not believe the defense secretary's remarks were inappropriate on condemning war. >> this is a statement on the european council. there is an inquiry that is being set up to look at all issues effecting iraq. >> the prime minister is well aware that all wars have to end in some kind of political settlement or negotiation. we are now in our ninth year of this war in afghanistan. billions have been spent. thousands of lives have been
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lost. at what point does he envisioned some kind of political engagement with those in afghanistan who are not supporters of karzai and his corrupt government who want some other solution. >> i think he draws the wrong conclusions from this remark. britain cannot be saved from terrorism unless we do with problems that exist that just in britain but on the borders of afghanistan and pakistan. we do not take on al-qaeda and prevent them from having space in afghanistan with the freedom of movement to plan operations in britain we jeopardize the security of people that he represents in london and people who have had to suffer from terrorist plots being organized from that border. yes, it is right that in afghanistan it is an infant democracy where problems existed in a very big way during the election campaign. it is better for us to build afghan forces that are under an afghan democracy and to build security services that are under an afghan president that is
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elected by the people, and it is better for us to build up local government in afghanistan and to give up and to allow those people, to allow those people who didn't wanted us to take the action that is necessary to win this argument. this is about security. >> people, the prime minister, he said, he would provide more equipment in support of the armed forces. can the prime minister reassure the house that the future defense budget will be fully funded, whilst explaining to the house to was response will for the deficit which has occurred over a number of years which is highlighted in a devastating report by the in nao which was sadly embargoed until '99. >> the time that the defense budget was cut massively was under the conservative government between 1992 and
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1997. defense expenditure has risen in real terms by 10% since 1997. i keep repeating to him that the urgent operational requirements of our defense forces when they are in action abroad and have been in iraq and afghanistan are met by separate claims from the reserve. i think you should look at the arithmetic of what is actually happened, and you will see that extra urgent operational requirements have always been met by the treasury. i think it is unfortunate. i really do think it is unfortunate when he can see the additional resources be made available, the reserve claims, the urgent operational requirements to try to tell the british people that our armed forces have not got the equipment they need. they have the equipment for the job they're doing. >> mr. speaker, the states are already suffering significant effects from global warming. they have produced national allocation plans, but don't have the money to implement them.
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will he ensure that money is available from the e.u. funds for this adaptation now? without that the implications of global warming will only continue to get worse. >> i know from my honorable friend's word that she knows her well the challenges that are faced. she also knows that some of the countries who are present at the commonwealth conference because she has very strong links with them, and i know very well that countries from the maldives to bangladesh look for answers at the climate change conference in copenhagen for the problems they face as a result of immediate and urgent requirements due to time a change. the purpose of the european contribution, two-and-a-half billion dollars a year, 2010, 2011, 2012 is to contribute something on the order of $10 billion a year. the adaptation she wishes to
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see. there is a proposal that the island states have suffered most of all. they will get a portion of that fund to enable them to take action immediately. we know very well some of the problems that face our urgent and have to be addressed not just in the next few years, but the next few months. >> sir robert smith. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister, does he recognize that he does not need an inquiry to know that his thank you the british troops will be all the more stronger if it contains an apology to the british troops and the people of afghanistan for the failure to resource the war in afghanistan properly in the early years because of the folly of going to war to run on false present. >> i am sorry the liberal party is trying to follow the conservative party in subscribing to a myth that the afghan campaign has been underfunded. this is totally wrong. i hope that the conservative party and the liberal party will, in the interest of the
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unity of our country in facing the terrorist threat, recognize that we are spending more on our armed forces than we ever did. we are spending more on making urgent operational requirements than we ever did, and we have taken a view and it is the view that is held i believe by the vast majority of the british people that you cannot defend terrorism by the extra money we are spending within our borders. you cannot operate a fortress britain strategy when you have problems arising in pakistan and afghanistan that bring terrorist plots to london and to our country from the bases in afghanistan and pakistan. it is right to take the action that we did. that action has been properly funded, will continue to be properly funded, and i do say to the opposition, if they continue to perpetuate the myth that there is inadequate funding being provided for our resources this will mean the public will lose support in the effort we are making.
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that would be a very unfortunate outcome. >> sir nigel griffith. >> the great welcome for the additional money on climate change in developing countries on top of the .7%. does he also extend that anyone who believes there will be full legally binding agreements on climate change clearly comes very late to this subject and will be better persuaded the on the fringe in europe to stop climate change legislation? >> mr. speaker, i tend to think the conservative party are better at the opportunities that they are on policy on this issue. they have no, they have made no commitment. [laughter] they have made no commitment at all. they have made no commitment at all for conditionality. they have made no commitment at all for conditionality. they seem to think the climate change debate as a joke. it is a serious matter and we're
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going to bring it to a conclusion. >> thank you, mr. speaker. will the prime minister accept the afghan peace is not made the same progress as the afghan army? just paid their lives because of a police incident. would he accept it will be irresponsible to accelerate their recruiting , vetting, and training? >> mr. speaker, the tragic incident where five of our soldiers lost their lives is something that must be properly investigated. we must get all the answers. that is right for the families and also right for the future cooperation between the afghan forced police and the military and the british police and the british military. i have to say to him on the ground in afghanistan our troops are working day-by-day with afghan forces. they're working in joint exercises with the afghan police and the afghan military. he would be making a great mistake in just simply staying the status quo and did not move forward with partnering with afghan police and afghan
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military. i believe that the scaling up of that which is agreed as a result of the recommendations of general mcchrystal, something that we advocate months before that and something that president obama is now putting resources in is the right way forward for afghanistan. the other strategy, the one he proposes, would make us at a standstill and not get the progress that we need so that afghan forces could take direct control themselves over their own security. >> the european council discussed economic cooperation. was there any specific discussion on what to do if they continue to deteriorate the way they are? >> mr. speaker, it is the intention of the european union to maintain the fiscal stimulus and to show that we have deficit reduction plans for the future. it is the intention of each of the countries of the european union to show that they have
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deficit reduction plans as well as a commitment to protect themselves against the recession. that was the base of the discussion in the european union. >> my nephew has just returned from a six-month tour in helmand with royal engineers and tell me what was particularly frustrating is they would spend all day detecting and disarming ied. the taliban would come out during the hours of darkness to reseed the fields again without ied. there is not going to be a curfew. someone has to secure the ground. the taliban are taking back then ground engineers has been all day risking their lives retaking. >> i appreciate the difficulty. if he has specific information he wants people to look at i am very happy to look at it myself. the truth of the matter is, the truth of the matter is that there is enhanced surveillance of what is happening on the
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ground. where there is changes made in the land during the course of the week or the day we are able to detect it in many cases and there is security important security work being done to ensure that where ied are planted we have more information about them and more and information about the people who are actually putting them in place. i agree this has been a problem i think we have better security measures that we have before ..
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>> just after 2000 reddish troops, many of them who just delivered a turbine, eight very dangerous mission. 15 months later, that turbine has yet to be installed because the other equipment needed cannot be got there because of the dangers. bear in mind, the prime minister's promise that he is going to get more european nations involved, and with the additional aerial surveillance, will he get the european nations to secure that road so that it can be one? >> i don't want him to get the wrong impression. two generators are there. the third generator has not been brought into use. the decision has been made that
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diesel power is a better way forward to meet the gap that exists in that area. as far as my meetings with the people in afghanistan yesterday, i believe that the extra work that we will do on economic development, that is, getting the people a stake in the future will include not only the work we have done but also giving farmers the opportunity to benefit from the week to harvest and grow we. i think that will help around 40000 farmers over the next ye year. >> the european union council meeting, there are many heads of governments who thought the recovery was now so secure, that it was the right time to bring in savage cuts. >> mr. speaker, every member of the european union that was present wanted to maintain the fiscal stimulus, and said that it should be maintained until the recovery was assured that only the conservative party is so arrogant to believe that it
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knows better than almost every country in the world, and every political leadership whether right or round the world. the answer, the answer of course, the answer, the answer of the conservative policy would be small businesses while more people losing their homes and a higher deficit and higher debt. >> we should salute the work being done by the pakistani army, it remains the case that a large portion of the pakistani army is deployed along their border with india. those troops would be better deployed going after the afghan taliban and pakistan. does the prime minister have with the pakistani military to encourage them to redeployed their forces? >> prime minister,. >> he will know a number of pakistani armed forces have been operating in the squad i. you also know that about 3000 of the pakistani forces have been and are in waziristan taking on
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the pakistan taliban there. and therefore there has been a considerable change in the amount of effort that the pakistan authorities are making in tackling the terrorist threat within their own country. however, i do agree with him that if there were less tension in the relationship between pakistan and india, and if there was less need for troops to be on both sides of the border, then it would allow pakistan to do more and to tackle the terrorist threat within its own borders. that requires india and pakistan to work more closely together. we are determined to see what we could do to make that possible. i have both talked to prime minister singh and president zardari about the. and of course, if we can get a closer working relationship between india and paxton, even after the bombings, it would help greatly the campaign against the top and also al qaeda in pakistan. >> i've read in a response to my colleague, about the plight of
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the island. the speaker of the island told as i left the plane, thank you so much for coming and thinking about a pic please do not forget as. and that's the message i would like to get to my right, honorable fred as he goes to. >> i am long-term interest in the problems that are faced operatively by those island states where the possibility is that we could be dealing with climate change refugees and climate change in the not-too-distant future. and therefore, copenhagen is important because it can allow us to make a commitment to help immediately those island states that are facing needs among difficulties and help them get support to do with their adaptation that is necessary. we will not forget the challenges faced by these island.
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many of them are part of the commonwealth and it is a portal that we come to the aid of countries when they are in need. >> mr. speaker, why was the prime minister's statement completely silent on the consul agreements for a tangible e.u., a single space and a security system and what he calls a common asylum system by 2012? says labour ministers argue against all these policies against the negotiations of the lisbon treaty, as i saw for myself on the european convention, does the prime minister regret having to support them now and pretend that he was always in favor of them? >> i don't think you've moved on since he was at the european convention. that doesn't realize that we have secured all our red lines on these issues when we negotiate the treaty. the original plan for the convention was abandoned and we have a treaty that now needs the interest of the british people.
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so much so that the conservative party have abandoned their widely held policy and no doubt he will support them when they decide they don't want to be on it any more. >> in relation to copenhagen and climate change, can the prime minister indicate whether it will play a major part of the negotiations of the agreement reached at copenhagen because there is some doubt about that? >> it must be central to an agreement to copenhagen. and as we know, one of the great problems of the previous agreement was the number of countries who were not involved in it. it is absolutely, it is absolutely crucial, it is absolutely crucial that china plays a part in the negotiations that they are one of the biggest if not the biggest now and it is crucial also the india which is also going very fast as a country, plays their part in the goucher should. i will be meeting the primary and hopefully also over the next couple days talking with the
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prime minister singh and we will try to work together to secure the agreement that is necessary. >> can the prime minister explained how there will be 30000 allied troops in helmand province when the hellman operation began there were 3000 british troops landed to 60 percent per head compared to 10000 british troops there today. but what lessons have been learned? >> the number of troops in afghanistan has risen substantially. but the equipment available to these troops has also risen substantially as the needs of fighting a guerrilla warfare against the taliban have to be met. i do say to the conservative party, they're making a huge mistake if they believe that they can persuade the british people and it's in the interest of the british people that they need persuaded that our troops are underfunded and not properly equipped. that was a campaign run by a certain conservatives over the summer that it is a campaign that does huge damage to public
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support for the operation. everybody here -- everybody here knows everybody here knows -- everybody here knows that our troops have had substantial additional funding from the treasury, that the vehicles are available to them are far more sophisticated than before and that the helicopter support is available. and we are bringing in the best counter ied support to do with the new threat that has been caused by the taliban, and i hope the conservative party will rethink this position which i believe will do damage to public support for this exercise. >> i welcome the prime minister decision and indeed that of the leader of the opposition lastly. i'm sure it will give support your true. can we also show some support for the afghanis who are taking to claim asylum in this country? is it really right that we should remove people to a country that is unsafe? >> the application for asylum is dealt with on its merits.
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and he knows that as chairman of the committee. and that is a position the government will continue to use. >> thank you, mr. speaker. thousands of families including raf, why is the prime minster not being up front about his preference for conventional defense cuts rather than scrapping to try nuclear program which would save 100 billion pounds? >> he knows that strapping the program would lose hundreds, a great deal of many jobs in england and scotland is what. so he should know that we have funded the aircraft carriers which are being built partly and scott. we've increased the defense budget every year. and we have also, of course, increasing the urgent operational parts that are necessary for our airports as well as our navy and army. i think what he looks at the record of enhanced expenditure and investment in our armed forces, both in scotland and in
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the rest of the united kingdom, he would know that the government is doing its job. [inaudible] can i ask them also to support about -- >> mr. speaker, it's very strange that the conservative party automatically almost without thinking about it came out against the global financial transaction tax. is now being discussed in all countries in europe that it is being investigated by the international monetary fund. the european union are going to do a report on it as certain people around the world who are esteemed in the academic profession as economies are supporting this. they are interested in one form of tax, and that is the tax avoidance. it's about time, it's about
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time, it's about time we heard, it's about time we heard whether the deputy chairman of the conservative party after 10 years has honored his promise to pay tax in the united kingdom. >> mr. speaker, with the prime minister join me in paying tribute to our armed forces, not just those in combat, but also those providing humanitarian work, working in areas where the agencies cannot operate, building bridges, building schools and so forth. can i ask the prime minister, does this work towards the target in the gdp? >> it is international aid that is helping underdeveloped and low income countries, that it is possible that it will count to international aid and that is the right thing for to happen that the whole purpose of overseeing is to help the poorest of the world and allow them through better provisioned through health and education and economic development and to raise their living standards and to take themselves out of
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poverty. the achievement of the international develop an aide and all workers began with developing countries will be that many millions more people are taken out of poverty. >> next year the united kingdom will pay 4 billion pounds more to the e.u. than it did last ticket in the pre-budget report the chancellor announced that tax on jobs, that will raise 3.1 billion pounds. is it surprising that the people in this country are fed up giving money to the e.u. rather than protecting frontline services? >> mr. speaker, we are part of the european union of 27 members. i know that many people on the opposition benches don't like that fact that one of the response of membership is that we provide the sources for all members of the european union did dependent on our ability to pay. that is the agreement that has been negotiated. and these agreements are in the interest of the country which trades 60 percent of its goods
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with the european union and. has 3 million jobs dependent on the european union, has 750,000 companies with a european union that if he wishes, then let him do it but i believe that all of the british nation sees the importance of our relationship in europe. >> could the prime minister say we are now training afghans and in the use of robotics and other equipment to do with the ied's? and it as we start to draw down and withdraw, if we leave the afghans with the necessary equipment to do that job? >> yesterday i saw our british forces training the afghan forces in the hands of equivalent necessary to detect ied. most of the work we're doing with the robotic equipment on ied's is done by british forces. but over time, it must be our aim to train the afghan forces so they can take responsibility for the security of these
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districts and provinces. and that i believe is the proper strategy for afghanistan. and i hope that there will be all party support for it. >> given the disclosure today of documents confirming the great strides in developing its nuclear weapon capability, it is not the reality that the european union visits israel sooner rather than later, to repel direct assistance to? >> mr. speaker, i think he should reflect on the fact that the international community is attempting to show impunity in the face of iran. and we are looking to work with china and russia and the rest of the power to do with what is a clear threat. the message to iran must be join the international community and renounce nuclear weapons, or face with the potential for sanctions if they do not. i think it is a stronger message by all countries and all countries to get a.
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>> i think sending more troops to afghanistan and france and germany combined. while this country is fulfilling his response was, others are not. >> i agree with him that it is right for us to do more in afghanistan. and we are doing our best to contribute to the forces. i hope that implication of his question is not that if france and germany don't come up with numbers that we should do less. i don't think that is the case took what i believe should happen is that all countries within the alliance should look at what they can do and look at whether they can contribute more. as i said, not just eight countries that were following us that i announced a few weeks ago at the 38 countries are offering their help in afghanistan as part of the coalition. we should welcome the fact that many countries are doing so, announcements have yet to come from other countries and italy will come from some of the other countries over the next weeks or
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months. i just repeat, on equipment so that everybody is clear about the money were spent on the agreement of our forces. the chief of the defense staff, said the equipment people are using the best that they have ever had. i think the conservative party will listen to that and follow his advice on that matter. >> order. the court will now proceed to read the orders of the day. >> second reading. >> congress is looking into changes of federal elementary and secondary education programs. today agitators, activist and government officials discuss ways to eliminate what's called the achievement gap. you can see live coverage beginning at 1 p.m. eastern on c-span3. keep up with the latest on the senate health care bill. watch live gavel to gavel coverage on our companion network, c-span2. the only network with the full debate, unedited and commercial free. with updates from reporters and
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editors. and now for iphone users follow the debate with the new c-span radio iphone app. it is free and with it you can listen.
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>> and now housing and urban development secretary shaun donovan talks about some of his proposals for the federal housing administration. he spoke at the annual financial services conference of the consumer federation of america. this is about 35 minutes. >> good morning. thank you. my name is barry zigas that i'm director of housing policy for consumer federation of america. i would like to welcome all of you for the second day of our 2009 financial services conference. we want to get started right on time today because we have a great schedule for you. and i'm going to start by introducing our morning keynote speaker. you know the department of housing and urban development has had a long history of ups and downs. i was often treated as a stepchild by the federal government. periodically racked by scandal, and often the butt of late-night tv jokes. [laughter] >> so whoever -- so whoever
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comes in to this job faces big challenges. we are in the worst housing crisis this country has experienced since the 1930s. we have foreclosures that are threatening to roll back and undo almost 20 years of important and successful work in revitalizing communities and rebuilding economies in the central cities and other distressed areas. the federal housing administration was born in the depths of the last depression as a significant, effective and groundbreaking tool to restore confidence in the financial system and rebuild homeownership in the united states. is now looking -- has rocketed from a 3% market share to a 30% market share. while not having had the breathing room to rebuild and regional systems to accommodate substantial increase in its role in the economy, which is so vital as other lenders and other
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sources of capital have dried up. particularly or minority and low-income consumers. unemployment and the debt problems of the multi-family housing sector, also threatened to unhinge the market for apartments and where many low and low income people make their homes. in this kind of situation to quote the great dan akroyd, who you gonna call? and to our great relief, and i think to the countries of great benefit, president obama called shaun donovan. shaun donovan is someone who we are very fortunate. stepped up to serve in this cabinet and brings with him a wealth of talent and experience that is well matched to the challenges of this debarment that he is an architect, scholar, experienced public servant, a private business leader, a great administrator, and to top it off as my wife commented to me when she first met shaun at a gala for the enterprise for the commuting
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partners in new york, and he is so good looking. [laughter] >> shaun donovan has previously served in a number of public administration roles. he was commissioner of the department of housing and preservation of development in new york city. and if you can make it in new york, they say you can make it anywhere. in new york he was responsible for overseeing a program that helped to build and preserve 165,000 affordable homes during his tenure. he was among other things the architect of the new york city acquisition fund which was an award-winning collaboration between the public private and non-profit sectors to create a new source of financing or the preservation and acquisition and development of affordable homes for low income people. shawn has been at had before when he was deputy assistant secretary for multi-family housing when he oversaw the department portfolio of multifamily loan injured and preservation of existing homes the department was subsidizing. and then during the transition
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of the second bush administration, he served as the interim secretary to help make that transition smooth one. shaun holds a ba and masters degree in public administration and architecture from harvard and the harvard school of business that i hope you join in giving him a warm cfa welcome. [applause] >> wow. i wish my mother had been here to hear that introduction. i'm glad my wife wasn't, but i wish my mother had been. and i think the real person we ought to be talking about on late-night television is barry zigas. so let me just start out by saying first of all, thank you, barry, but also to say to all of you, you could not have found a person with a bigger mind or a bigger heart when it comes to housing policy issues in this
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country. i worked with barry zigas now in a range of roles. i have seen him privately and publicly, and he is just a remarkable, remarkable leader for your efforts at cfa. so thank you, barry, and thank you for leading these efforts when the country so needed them. [applause] >> i also want to say thank you to steve for his leadership as executive director of the consumer federation of america, and to tell you what an enormous honor it is for me to be here for the 21st annual financial services conference. and agree to be joining so many of my colleagues in the administration. i know that you heard yesterday from michael barr that you heard from gary gensler, many of our colleagues on a range of issues. folks on capitol hill. it's really a sight of the importance, not only of this organization, but also of the incredible moment that we find
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ourselves in, in terms of these issues. and no one knows that better than cfa. for more than four decades, you have been a powerful advocate for the american consumer, ensuring the safety of consumer products, protecting children from unseen dangers, and educating consumers about financial literacy through efforts like your america saves campaign. and for more than half of this time, you have convened this annual conference, assembling federal and state policymakers, regulators and private actors in common purpose. to address pressing banking, insurance, investment and housing issues. in so doing you have recognized something fundamental. that the regulation of our financial markets and the health and well being of the american consumer are inextricably linked. in an age in which financial parts have become as common as toasters, a conference like this would be important. but at this moment of crisis in our housing and financial markets it is nothing less than
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a century. this year, you have brought together leaders from across the country and as i said, congressional leaders as well. i want to add to that today by talking about how the administration is working with congress to ensure the strength and safety of our housing markets, and the steps we're taking to ensure that we never get into this crisis began. let me state at the outset that i think we share a common agenda rooted in a shared belief. that the american consumer is at the very backbone of our financial system. and as such, rebuilding our financial system for the 21st century should be fundamentally based on a strong foundation of consumer protections. to be sure, a home is a financial investment most families will ever make. but you and i both know that a home isn't so much more than a financial investment. it's the foundation upon which we build our lives. it's the place where we raise
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our children and plan their future. is an essential source of a families stability. the building blocks with which we fortunate neighborhoods, put down roots, and build of the communities that are the engines of our nation's economic growth. but you and i also know that over the last years, that foundation has been deeply eroded. i will not revisit today how it happened. but we've all seen the catastrophic results. millions of homes have gone into foreclosure. neighborhoods have been torn apart by vacant or abandoned properties. countless jobs have been lost. that's why only weeks after president obama took office, the administration unveiled an unprecedented effort to stabilize the housing market and help him millions of americans stay in their homes. the companies approach the administrative has taken has allowed interest rates to hover around or below 5%, for seven months. and today i'm speaking to you as we have the lowest fixed rate 30
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year mortgage rates that we've had since we began recording them. bowing first time home buyers to enter the market and helping some 3 million homeowners refinanced, putting as much as $10 billion of additional purchasing power in the hands of american households every year. on november 10, we announced that the making home affordable program has reached 650,000 trial modifications. having already beaten our initial goal of one half million, nearly one month ahead of schedule. at the same time, we have federal housing administration insurance will be assisted by our lost mitigation efforts during the same period in 2009. to ensure that these modifications stick, hud is pushing forward with a host of efforts that i know phyllis caldwell will be here and will detail many of those efforts. so i will not spend time on the details of those. i do want to talk about complementary efforts that we are undertaking


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