Skip to main content

tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  December 25, 2009 6:00am-8:00am EST

6:00 am
be somehow or other review. ed. i would like you or your department to do or we will do from our offices. we would like to get some indication of what salaries are and to see whether they are consistent with the responsibilities that go into the manning of the cockpit on an airliner. regional airliners operate half of all domestic departures. they move more than 160 million people per year. if we have one level of safety for both regional and major network carriers, shouldn't the pilots of the regional characters betrayed and compensated at the same level as pilots from major network carriers, particularly if they are flying an identical routes?
6:01 am
>> the data you mentioned earlier on what the compensation records are, they are readily available. the report today to the department transportation. we know what all carriers patti and it is broken down into a cockpit, mechanics, and so forth. the data is available to us. compensation varies from every carrier. while i certainly have concerns, it might not shock you to know that by flu for eastern airlines and took a 20% pay cut and lost a substantial part of my pension plan. i am very aware of what does these things it still concerns me and it should concern all of us that we will not continue to attract the best and brightest in this industry if we cannot compensate people.
6:02 am
if we cannot be assured that we will have a pension plan, i testified in this building in 1992 about pension reform and the obligation i thought the carriers had that is not my role here today but i am concerned that if the wages are not supportive of attracting qualified, intelligent people to these jobs, in the long run, we will suffer. the faa cannot undertake this but i think the commercial airline industry, and i would applaud secretary la hood who has called together the group to talk about this. he brought these groups together to have them sit down. what do we want is the airline industry to produce? to what service to small cities and jobs for by individuals? have we enable the system to do that?
6:03 am
i applaud that action. he will and power that within two weeks. he has made it clear that he does not want a series of nice things to do. he wants a series of actionable items we can take. >> we had an incident in this room sometime ago when there was a takeover attempt of one airline by another. the acquiring airline was willing to pay $17 billion cash to buy the other airlines. the room was full pilots from the acquiring airline. i asked a question about -- of the ceo of the company that they had $17 billion available for purchase of another airline, why were they reducing pensions? the room broke out in applause.
6:04 am
i was not looking for that. the deal was broken because there was different evidence of a responsibility that the airlines had to take. we need their cooperation in determining what kind of compensation ought to be there to make sure that the pilot is flying as much as we can with a respectable salary that says this job is worth it. people love to fly, as you know. they will fly for almost any price, not just for income but for love of the job. they rented a real service. -- they are rendering a real service. the former faa minister stated that new work-liberty air traffic control tower needed at least 35 controllers to move traffic safety but right now,
6:05 am
there were only 26 certified in any the tower. they are supposed to have 35 trained but they have only 26 fully trained. i have been asking this question for the past five years. this time, i would like to have to be the last on that we discussed this. i trust you, mr. administrator, to make sure that if you do not have the resources to do this, then you have to let us know. when will the new work to our be fully staffed with certified controllers? when will love or to be fully staffed? -- when will la guardia be fully staffed? also jfk, why are they
6:06 am
understaffed? there may be technological reasons that say we can get by with that. to tell us about it. lastly, the faa has taken a major air redesign in the new jersey-new york,. area. this could increase the noise levels over many parts of new jersey. in 2007, the faa official dismissed the noise problem as a societal issue. we cannot say in good conscience that the quality of life and issues affecting 100 sub -- hundred of thousands of new jersey residents should be redesigned.
6:07 am
there is also a concern about living in the path of an airport. can we count on you to do that? also, your willingness to hold a town hall meeting in new jersey to discuss any at they plan to address the safety and noise concerns regarding aerospace design projects? >> yes, sir, i have indicated in the best that one of the areas we have not done well is when we talk about airspace redesign, people immediately focus on new data lines that did not used to go over the area in which they live. we have a couple of things, if i could expand, we have a new
6:08 am
contract with the air corps traffic controllers association. we are making a lot of efforts to have a much better dialogue and ability to communicate with them and the ability to collaborate with them on issues. i want their participation in this airspace redesign. i welcome their participation. this is an environment in which they live. they do this day to day. you can have a lot of academic studies but having the academic and the tactical solution parallel and made it with the practitioner, gives you a part project in the end. secondly, i think it is in a incumbent upon us to let people know that we are doing more than just changing the dotted lines. we are not redesigning this just because it is working so well now. it is not working well now. with the new technology we have, we will be able to utilize a lot of new techniques.
6:09 am
>> we look forward to that. i will close this hearing. once again, i would like to convey our condolences to those who lost loved ones on the flight to buffalo. we are trying very hard, honestly, and i address this to the people here, to make sure that we learn from mistakes, how terrible a mistake that was, how terrible error in judgment that was in terms of having the kind of person in the cockpit that you could not feel good about or was unable to assist in then, the emergency. with that, i close this hearing and i think all of you for being here. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009]
6:10 am
[no audio] [no audio] >> this morning on c-span, the senate voted of its version of the health care bill with reaction by president barack obama. today's "washington journal." later, michelle obama at the dedication of the christmas tree decorated earlier this month.
6:11 am
this week and newsmakers, our guest is director of the national institutes of health. he discusses stem cell research, genome technology, and that was agency might be affected by health care legislation. that is sunday morning at 10:00 eastern, and 6:00 eastern on c- span. beginning monday, a rare glimpse into america's highest court for unprecedented, on the record conversations with 10 supreme court justices about the court, their work, and the history of the iconic supreme court building. five days of interviews starting monday at 8:00 p.m., on c-span and get your own copy of the original documentary on dvd. it is part of the american icons collection, 83-disc set. it is one of the of many items available at
6:12 am
yesterday, the senate passed its version of a health care bill with a 60-39 votes. here are some of the event in washington before, during, and after the boat beginning with floor debate on the bill. of government operations. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i want to associate myself with the remarks that the majority leader made about all of the people that work at the capitol during the difficult an intense time. we thank you very much for your outstanding service. it's early and i'll be brief. the most obvious problem with the bill before us is it doesn't do what it was supposed to do. the one test for any bill was whether it would lower costs. this bill fails that test. it's also clear that even many of the people on this side who
6:13 am
are going to support this bill don't like it. otherwise, the democratic leaders wouldn't have had such a tough time rounding up the votes. otherwise, democratic leaders would not have had to have votes in the middle of the night or at crack of dawn or over the weekend or even during a blizzard. otherwise, they wouldn't be rushing it through congress on christmas eve. the first time this body has had a vote on the day before christmas in more than a century. this debate was supposed to produce a bill that reformed health care in america. instead, we're left with party line votes in the middle of the night, a couple of sweetheart deals to get it over the finish line in a truly outrage -- and a
6:14 am
truly outraged public. the problem, they were told would be fixed wasn't. i guarantee you the people who voted for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since thanksgiving. they know there is widespread opposition to this monstrosity. and i want to assure you, mr. president, this fight isn't over. in fact, this fight is long from over. my colleagues and i will work to stop this bill from becoming law. that's the clear will of the american people and we're going to continue to fight on their behalf. mr. reid: mr. president? vice president the majority leader. mr. reid: like so many endeavors that have benefited so many
6:15 am
americans, making health insurance more affordable and health insurance companies more accountable is a process. it's one that is required as to find common ground as we should. that's why, mr. president, we have a piece of legs that over the -- legislation that over the next decade will reduce the deficit by $132 billion. over the next decade, as much as $1.3 trillion. now, mr. president, everyone knows we've had votes in the middle of the note and on christmas eve because the republicans wouldn't allow us to have votes at any other hour. now, it's true when we go home, we're going to hear an earful. i'm going to hear an earful from young caleb. a boy, mr. president, that was born with legs that stopped right here, above his knees, he needed new prosthetic devices because the rest of his body is growing. but the insurance company said
6:16 am
no, because he had a preexisting condition. i'll get an earful from caleb and especially from his parents. an earful of joy. from this day forward insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage because of preexisting condition disability. people like caleb and people who have children with diabetes and other problems, it's over. with so, yes, we're going to hear an earful, but it's going to be an earful of wonderment an happiness that people waited for for a long time. this morning is not the end of the process. it's merely the beginning. we'll continue to build on this success to improve our health system even more and to further ease the terrible burdens on american families an businesses. but that process cannot begin unless we start today. the american people and the american economy cannot afford for us to wait for the next time. because, you see, mr. president, there may not be a next time. nearly 65 years ago, harry
6:17 am
truman condemned a system that condemned its citizens to the devastating economic side effects of sickness. nearly 65 years later we still suffer from the same. just months after world war ii came to crease, president harry s. truman wrote in a letter to congress to this body and i quote -- "we should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern, that financial barriers and the way of attaining health shall be removed. that the health of all of its citizens deserves the help of all of the nation." decades have passed and these financial barriers have grown taller, but we will never solve the problem unless we find the resolve, which we haven't found, until, mr. president, today. this is how long we've waited. think of those who are just 1-year-old in 194 a 5 -- 1945.
6:18 am
there are far too many who have lived their lives have not had any type of health care. any type of health care. coverage got more and more expensive each year. insurance companies found more and more excuses to leave them out in the cold. and for those who worked in small businesses or owned one or moved from job to job, the peace of mind health care can provide was merely a dream. today on the verge of the year 2010, those americans are finally just months away from qualifying for medicare. that's a long time for a citizen to wait for health care in the greatest and richest nation the world has known. how much longer? how much longer can we afford to put this off or ask the uninsured for their patience? until health care costs consume not just a one-sixth of our economy, but a third or a half or until premiums consume more than half of a family's income?
6:19 am
we certainly don't have, mr. president, the luxury of waiting until america becomes the only developed nation on earth where you can die for lack of health insurance. we already bear that blemish. that's why we're bringing security and stability to millions who have health insurance and bringing health insurance to millions who have none. mr. president, can we have order? the vice president: the senate will be in order. mr. reid: what we will do is ensure consumers have more choices and insurance companies face more competition. we'll stand up for insurance who deny health care to the sick and drive millions to bankruptcy and foreclosure. we'll add years to the life of medicare which will add years to the life of seniors. we'll trade a system that demands you pay more and get less for one in which you will pay less and get more. as we do all this, we'll slash our children's deficit in
6:20 am
dramatic fashion. we may not completely cure this crisis today or tomorrow, but we must start toward that end. we must strive for progress and not surrender for one of purity. our charge is to move forward. this is a tradition as old as this republic, one that has always comprised interests and opinions as diverse as the people who populate it. our founding fathers did not promise to form an unfallable new nation. they promised instead to promote the general welfare as we move toward a more perfect union. they valued progress. our nation's earliest leaders promised not absolute happiness but only the pursuit of that goal. they valued opportunity. and like other new programs that improve the lives of many and were since strengthened to improve even more, programs like medicare, medicaid, social security, progress and opportunity are what this historic bill represents. to those who so admirably care
6:21 am
so much for their fellow man that they demand more, i say this is just the beginning. with senator ted kennedy's voice booming in our ears, with his passion in our hearts, we say, as he said, the work goes on, the cause endures. opponents of this bill used every trick in the book to delay this day, this moment. yet here we are minutes away from doing what many have tried but none have ever achieved. we're here because facts will always defeat fear. and though one might slow the progress, they can't stop it. and though one might slow the speed of progress, its force cannot be stopped. mr. president, i'm sorry to say that for the first time in american history, for the first time in american history a political party has chosen to stand on the sidelines rather than participate in great and
6:22 am
greatly needed social change. i'm sorry to see that many on the other side have resorted to myths and misinformation and continue to rely on them long after they were debunked. and it's regrettable that they view our citizens' health care through a political lens, because affording to live a healthy life isn't about politics or partisanship or polling. mr. president, it's about people. it's about life and death in america. it's a question of morality, of right and wrong. it's about human suffering. and given the the chance to relieve this suffering, we must take this chance and deliver on a promise the american people have deserved for six and a half decades. the vice president: the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 175, h.r. 3590, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to modify the first-time home buyers credit in the case
6:23 am
of members of the armed forces and certain other federal employees, and for other purposes. the vice president: the question is on the passage of h.r. 3590, which is amended, is the patent protection and affordable care act. there is a sufficient second. the -- there appears to be. there is. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
6:24 am
>> mrs. boxer mr. brownback, know. mr. bombing? mr. burr, no. mr. burris, aye. mr. byrd? mr byrd? aye ms. cantwell, aye. mr. cardin, aye. mr carper, aye ,r casey?
6:25 am
mr. cockburn, know. mr. cochran, ms. collins, no. mr. conrad, aye. mr. courter,no. mr. cornyn, no mr. crepo, no. mr dement, no,. \ mr dodd, aye. mr dorgan, aye, mr durbin, aye mr ensign, no mr enzee, no mr feingold, aye,
6:26 am
mrs. feinstein, aye. mr franken, aye. mrs,geillearand, aye. mr graahm, no mr grassley, no. mrñgreg, no mrs, hagan, aye. mr harkin, aye. mr hatch, no. mrs. hutchison -- mr.inhosfe, no. mr noway, aye. mr isaacs said, nope.
6:27 am
mr.johans, no. mr. johnson,aye. mr. kaufman,aye. mr. careyaye mr. kirk,aye. mr coles, aye mr. pyle,no. ms landreau, aye. mr lautenberg, aye. mr leahy, aye. mr levin ,aye.
6:28 am
mr. lieberman,aye. mrs. lincoln,aye. mr. lugar,no. mr. mccabe,no. mrs. castle,aye. mr. mcconnell,no mr. menendez,aye. mr. merkley, aye. ms. mikulskiaye. mr merkowski, no. mrs. mary,aye. mr. nelson of nebraska,aye.
6:29 am
mr. nelson of florida,aye. mr. pryor,aye. mr. reed of rhode island,aye. mr. reid of nevada, [laughter] mr. reid of nevada,aye. [laughter] mr rich, no. mr. roberts,no.
6:30 am
mr. rockefeller,aye. mr. sanders, mr. schumer,aye. mr. sessions, mrs. shaheen, aye. mr. shelby, ms. snowe,no. mr. spector,aye. mr stabinow, aye. mr. tester,aye. mr thune, no. mr udall of colorado,aye. mr. udall of new mexico,aye.
6:31 am
mr.vitter, no. mr.voinivich, no. mr. warner,aye. mr. webb,aye. mr. white house,aye. mr. wicker,no. mr. whiden, aye. mr. bennett of utah, no. this is a hutchinson,no. mr. cochran,no. mr. bennett of colorado,aye.
6:32 am
[no audio] mr. sessions,no. [no audio] [no audio]
6:33 am
[no audio] [applause] mr. sanders -- [laughter] >>yes? >> mr. sanders, aye. mr. shelby -- no. [no audio]
6:34 am
[no audio] >> and the other senators wishing to go toward change their vote? the amendment is passed. [no audio]
6:35 am
>> i had a restless night worrying about bipartisanship and i think i found a way tested. nowhere in history have we found a way to make health care more affordable than today. this is a victory for the american people, those fortunate enough to have health insurance will be able to keep theirs and of those who do not will be able to have health insurance. this is a victory because we have affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely privilege for the select few. this morning's vote brings us one step closer to making ted kennedy's dream a reality. it is the dream of americans which is part of that treatment
6:36 am
ted kennedy. that has also become a reality. every step of this long process has been an enormous undertaking. i want to thank chairman baucus, dodd, and hearkene. i want to thank my leadership team, they have been remarkably supportive. all will always be indebted to them. centers marie and harkin are off to their families. i look forward to working with my friends in the house so we can send a bill to the president as soon as possible. senator baucus, we will hear from the senators and we will not take questions. >> it has been nearly two years since we began our work. and we are very proud of this moment. we stand here at the finish line. as the tender, we do not stand alone part we stand up with
6:37 am
those who blazed the trail before us. this was all the way from president theodore roosevelt to our good friend who is with us in spirit, as senator ted kennedy. we're standing with millions of american families who've been forced into bankruptcy to cover the cost of health care. we stayed here on behalf of 45 million americans who do not have health insurance part we stand with small-business owners who cannot afford health insurance for their employees. we stand with americans suffering from diseases like cancer, diabetes, and all those who have been discriminated against or deny health insurance coverage because of a pre- existing condition. we made history today for them and every american to fix our broken health care system. i want to thank leader harry reported requite he has managed to navigate these waters and get us here. this is a day we will look back upon as centers and will be very
6:38 am
proud of what we have accomplished. more reported, it will be important to get health insurance for those who cannot get health insurance and we will get health insurance costs under control. this is why we hired out for these jobs, to pass something historic and import like this, thank you. >> let me also pike senator reid. on this christmas eve, i cannot think of a better get the united states senate could give to our fellow citizens that lifting the burden of fear from their shoulders, the fear that they would not be able to provide health care for their families in a time of need. this was an enormous victory for the american public and i am proud to have been one vote that was cast in favor of this effort. last year proved that progress is not easy. ÷ it was not impossible because of the leadership of harry reid, max baucus, tom harkin and others,
6:39 am
we are now on the cost of achieving something that has defied generations and that is to provide alï americans with the security of having a decent health care. there has never been a vote cast in my tenure that has done as much to relieve the burdens and provide more security for middle-class working families in america than this one. this is probably the most important vote that every sitting member of the senate will cast in their tenure here. i am proud to have been a part of it and i thank my colleagues for staying with this and i wish ted kennedy were here with us today to enjoy this. merry christmas to everybody. >> the corridors of the senate are filled with portraits and statues of political leaders whose reputations and contributions many times have faded into obscurity. i will tell you that the contribution to this nation made by the senator from searchlight, now about will become of a shining chapters in the history of the united states senate and our nation. he achieved what others have
6:40 am
failed. he did it with the tenacity and strength and determination that i have never seen in my time serving in congress. i am honored to have stood beside him with so many others to see this great day for in a rut. this is a time of year of long nights and darkness where history tells us that from the beginning of time, people would gather and with their families and friends, would look for signs of hope and light a light and light a candle. this a vote this morning in the senate, lit a candle of hope for 50 million americans who went to bed last night without the protection of health insurance. for millions who quit this morning wondering if they will ever win that battle with health insurance companies for the coverage they need, for the surgical procedure, for the medication, is also a candle of hope for this nation that we are finally taking we -- tackling an issue that every family business
6:41 am
knows the central to our progress as a nation. we have succeeded through the efforts of senator baucus and senator dodd and senator schumer and senator murray and senator reid but also with the 'ú&nt that made this the highest priority on his agenda and told us he would work hard night and day to reach this mccoury we owe our appreciation to him and the vice-president, especially, for presiding over this session this morning. >> thank you. and a happy holiday and merry christmas and happy new year to everybody. the bill can be described midsentenin a single sentence. it can cut costs and waste and fraud at the same time, it covers 31 million people. who would of thought we could do both in the same bill?
6:42 am
do it without a single republican vote and getting everyone of the 60 democratic votes? who would have thought that we could finally get a handle on the thing that is driving and our budget deficit to great heights which is health care costs and at the same time do so much good buy coverage so many people. ? this is an amazing accomplishment. it would be under ordinary times and is even more so under extraordinary times. the three horsemen of this bill stand behind senator harry reid did amazing job. i just watched with awe with how he could weave the legislative fabric. max baucus never gave up. he started out early and persisted and persisted and persisted and persisted. no matter what lock was broken away. christopher dodd kept the flame of ted kennedy and the spirit of doing the right thing and doing a good thing and return to the highest about use of of this country.
6:43 am
this is a happy day. mitch mcconnell said on the floor that we will go home and hear our constituents or elegances bel pre i don't believe that. i believe that the negativity that leader mitch mcconnell and others have continually displayed on the floor has peaked. now, when people learn what is actually in the bill and all the good it does, it will become more and more popular because it is good for america, good for the american people, and the true symbol of what we can do if we all pull together. [no audio]
6:44 am
>> after the senate passed the health care bill, the president spoke briefly with reporters at the white house. >> members of the senate voted to pass a health care bill that was revolutionary purposes a century-long struggle to reform the american health-care system. ever since teddy roosevelt first
6:45 am
call for reform in 1912, seven presidents, democrats and republicans alike, have taken up the cause of reform. time and time again, such efforts have been blocked by special interest lobbyists would have perpetuated the status quo that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the american people. with passage of reform bills in both the house and senate, we are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the american people. the reform bill that passed the senate this morning, like the house bill, includes the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. insurance companies will no longer be able to deny you covered on the basis of. a pre- existing of able longer be able to drop your coverage when you get sick. no longer will be you paying on limited amounts out of your pocket for the procedures you
6:46 am
need and you will be able to appeal decisions by insurance companies to an independent party for when this legislation becomes law, workers will not at the word of losing coverage if they lose or change jobs. family will save on premiums. businesses that would see their costs rise if we do not act will save money now and will save money in the future. this bill will strengthen medicare and extend the life of the program. it will make coverage affordable for over 30 million americans who do not have it. 30 million americans -- because it is paid for and curbs the waste and inefficiency in our healthcare system, this bill will help reduce our deficit by as much as $1.30 trillion in the coming decade. it will make it the largest deficit-reduction plan over a decade. these are not small reforms, these are big reforms. if passed, this will be the most important piece of social
6:47 am
legislation since the social security act passed in the 1930's. the most import reform of our healthcare system since medicare passed in the 1960's. what makes it so important is not just its cost savings or its debt as reductions. it is the impact the reform will have americans who no longer have to go without a checkup or prescriptions that they need because they cannot afford them, families who will draft a worry that a signal elli single illnee them bankrupt. reforming a difference in the lives of the american people i want to commend senator harry reid, the extraordinary work he did, speaker nancy pelosi for her extraordinary leadership and dedication, having passed reform bills in the house and the senate, we now have to take up the last and most important
6:48 am
step and reach agreement on a funnel reform bill that i can sign into law. i look forward to working with members of congress and the coming weeks to do exactly that. with the boat today, we are incredibly close to making health insurance reform a reality in this country. our challenge is to finish the job. and do another generation of americans with soaring costs, eroding coverage, and exploding deficit. instead, we need to do what we were sent here to do and the -- and improve the lives of people we serve. for the sake of our citizens, are common, and their future, let's make 2010 the year we funnel reform health care in the united states of america. everybody, merry christmas, happy new year. >> do you have a holiday which for the troops? >> i do and i will be actually -- i am on my way to call a few of them. i wish them a merry christmas and to thank them for their extraordinary service as they
6:49 am
are posted in iraq and afghanistan. @ej÷ c1 >> following the vote, democratic senator ben sanders spoke about the -- ben nelson spoke about the abortion provision. >> mr. president, during the consideration of the health care bill, one of my primary concerns has been insuring that the long standing hyde amendment would be incorporated into the bill. i have strongly held views on this subject and i fought hard to prevent tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions. i was pleased that the house included strong abortion provisions in its health care bill in the form of stpupec
6:50 am
amendment. i wanted to prohibit federal funding of abortion. i was disappointed to see the amendment was tabled by a vote of 54-45. i knew then that the underlying bill did not adequately prohibit federal funding of abortion and consequently, i would not be able to support it. i began to look for other language to accomplish the goal that no public funds should cover abortions in the new health care bill. after long days up negotiations, i believe we came up with a true compromise that stays faithful to my principles. i want to be clear -- i stuck to my guns and stood for my prayer- like principles. i did not look for weaker language. i looked for clearer language buried michael stayed the same -- to maintain the standard we have had in federal law since the mid 1970's.
6:51 am
while i respect the senator from kansas' opinion, i have to respectfully disagree -- the senate language fully upholds the high principles like the language in the house bill. the wording may be different but the principle is in fact upheld. under the health care bill, if you cannot afford insurance, you will receive federal assistance to help pay for private health- care plans. the stupec language prohibits covering abortions. if you would like a plan that covers abortions, you must purchase a rider or endorsement to your plan with your own funds. you can do that by writing one check to the insurer. for that, you get a separate piece of paper addressing abortion. the senate language, with my at a compromise, also prohibits federal funds for paying for
6:52 am
private insurance that covers abortions for the only difference is that in the senate bill, if you are receiving federal assistance to buy insurance, and of that plan has an abortion coverage, the insurance company must bill you separately and you must pay separately from your own personal funds. , perhaps a credit card transaction, a personal check or automatic withdrawal from your bank account. you have to write two checks -- one for the basic policy and one for the additional coverage for abortion. the latter has to be entirely from personal funds. under both stuped and the new senate language, no federal funds can be used to pay for a plan that covers abortion. if you choose to purchase abortion coverage if it is available, you must pay out of
6:53 am
your own pocket. furthermore, the satellite which allows states the right to ban public and private insurance from supplying abortion coverage. already, 12 statesban abortion coverage and public plans and five states ban abortion coverage on public and private plans. in short, the senate bill in chores once again no federal funds will be used for abortion. i would[lb like to note that the senate bill goes billstupec. it adds funding to support women.nt and parenting teens xñj h÷well, it expands the adoption tax credit to help adoptive parents with the considerable expends of adoption by making that credit a refundable tax credit. this means that many parents, potential parents, like the regular resources to adopt will
6:54 am
now be in a better position to do so. the senate bill also contains the same strong conscience- protections included in the syupec language. we tried winning approval for the nelson-hatch-casey language but we did not give up -- give up. people as drug killings about abortion and i respect those who disagree with my position. i cannot support health reform that did not maintain the 30- year standard barring public on the abortion. i did not compromise my pro-life principles, which is found differently goods that would work. no public funding will go to abortion. in addition, provision empowers the states to pass laws banning the sale of insurance that covers abortion.
6:55 am
we make it clear that this new law, this new bill does not in any way preempt the rights of states to be able to continue to make that ban in the decisions they might make legislatively. we want to make certain that there is no doubt over what this bill -- that it has no pre- emption of state rights. despite what some partisans and talk-show hosts say in scare tactics, the conscience clause remains. despite what those same people and even some of my colleagues have said, the bottom line is -- the senate health care bill will not allow a taxpayer money to pay for abortion forperiod. thank you, madam president, and the yield the floor. >> for details for was next in health care legislation, we
6:56 am
talked to a congressional quarterly reporter. host: the senate proceeded to vote on h.r. 3590 had passed the senate by a vote of 60-39. we have kathleen hunter to talk about health care legislation. she writes for congressional quarterly. what is the next step in the process? guest: now that the bill has passed and the senate, the next step is for the house and the senate to meet in conference and resolve differences between their two versions of the bill. host: what will be the most contentious issues between house and senate negotiators? guest: it will be many of the same issues that were contentious during the debate, the public option, potentially, abortion language, and also questions about how the bill is financed.
6:57 am
the house and senate have different mechanisms for paying for the bill. host: a number of members and senators are releasing statements. "i am deeply disappointed the bill option." can i build a does not include this passed the house? s-tguest: the house bill includa formal public option and the senate bill did not. there were a number of liberal senators who had pushed hard for public option and majority leader harry reid, is original bill included a public option with the opportunity for states to opt out of that. in the senate, there was not enough support for that. republicans were unified against it and there were enough democrats, moderate democrats that opposed it, most notably in depended joseph lieberman who
6:58 am
said he was very much against it. the public option was eventually dropped from the bill and it does not seem as though the contours' of that debate will change between now and january. it seems unlikely there will be support come january for something there is no support for now. host: congressman bart stupac is unhappy about the abortion language. what is the difference in the bills in the house and senate on abortion? guest: that was the main sticking point with senator ben nelson from nebraska. majority leader harry reid met with him for a marathon session for two days at the end of last week to work out compromise language. i talked with senator nelson after the vote this morning and he is adamant that that language does not change in conference. i2congressman stupac has been talking about pressing for the
6:59 am
house language but it seems as though moving in that direction could lose support of liberals on the language. host: thank you for the update and have a happy holiday. @uq>> coming up next, two days guest"washington journal." there'll be a forum on the 2010 political landscape and later, a look inside blair house, the president's official guest house. coming up in 30 minutes, general
7:00 am
gary patton with training afghanistan's military police. later, we will discuss the deployment of u.s. troops a round the world and we will take your phone calls on your favorite non-books and books of 2009. -- non-pitching books of 2009. . -- nonfiction books of 2009. .
7:01 am
>> make sure you turn down your television or radio when you call in this morning, and if you would like to reach us on twitter or e-mail, those are on the screen. favorite political story of the year. we will get to your calls momentarily. the major story for any folks -- for many folks as the health care debate about 24 hours ago. newspapers across the country "telco kristansen @" is the headline in the denver post. also the headlines in the a "los angeles *" they tried that with passage, the two houses will now negotiate a compromise legislation. and the local tallahassee
7:02 am
newspaper, "a health-care bill passes in the senate." this is a story of how the senators voted there in florida. here is the front page this morning in the washington -- "washington post." they also have the health care story, but they also have a story about the imminent strike yesterday.
7:03 am
and they also of a map on the front page of the "washington post" next to the story about the location of yemen and wear those air strikes to place. this morning in the "baltimore sun" they also look at the story from a distance -- different aspect. our question for you, though, this half hour is your favorite political story of the year. we will go to our first call from manhattan, and as we do, the year in cartoons. instead, democrats line, go ahead, you are first.
7:04 am
caller: their christmas. host: thank you. caller: this health care story, we got no moderate votes. i think the republicans are to have their heads handed to them politically when all was said and done. there was no public option. if we would've had more bipartisan support -- this bill nelson from nebraska cost a fortune, his negotiation for this date -- for his stake, the medicare expenses being picked up by the government. i blame republicans for not being more bipartisan. i do not understand the idea of lowering the age of medicare would have been made by in program. -- would have been a body in
7:05 am
program. host: do you think the idea will come back when they go to conference? caller: i do not think it will. my final point is that is a buy in program. it was not going to cost the taxpayer. i would love the opportunity when i reach the age of 55 in a few years to buy in. it was not going to cost. why was that opportunity removed from the table? republicans ought to have their heads handed to them. host: ted, we are going to get -- let you go and get some other opinions. jamie, good morning, on the independent line. caller: the whole year was a a a thing of political folly ship on the behalf of the gop. the one thing that amazed me was far as news coverage of one of their tibet parties where they were using footage of the
7:06 am
attendance of the 9-12 rally. that was pointed out that sean hannity was not using the arch will footage. -- the actual footage. but i will say that with his health care, even though it was somewhat watered-down, the train has left the station. you could not deal with this man in one year. he still kept us from going into a depression. he got us health care. he got a peace prize. if his opposition is just simply going to do all these silly things that they do to him, it's going to cost the republican party. host: a couple of stories on soldiers. we will be speaking with military service members from afghanistan this morning.
7:07 am
that is from the times of london on line this morning. and here is a look at the open court orange county register" this morning.
7:08 am
that is from this morning's "orange county register." go ahead, butch, good morning. host: happy holidays. the most important to me was the situation with a and bin laden when we have the mentor bora -- when we had him in the torah borah, we pulled our special forces out. this was under bush. if you go back a little ways and realize that after 9/11, the
7:09 am
only plane that was allowed to leave the states was to let the bin laden family leave the country. any investigation would have held them for more information. but the bushes were in business with the bin laden family. and then about the segment of the police in afghanistan. host: the training of the police in afghanistan? go ahead. caller: they are all heroin addicted. i mean, we trained the etoile event in the first place. favre host: political stories of the year -- host: favorite political stories of the year, here is mike, go ahead. caller: yes, on the health care
7:10 am
deal, i guess i have a hard time understanding why the democrats feel that -- or anyone can feel that this health care beabill, increasing it by trillions of dollars is going to decrease the deficit. host: your favorite political story of the year until 7:30 a.m. eastern. arianna huffington writes in her column at the huffington --
7:11 am
and she writes that for many congressman, mitch mcconnell and others she is going to give them a dvd of "mr. smith goes to washington" so they can see the proper use of a filibuster. next caller from alabama, go ahead. caller: the overall, 60% unfavorable opinion of the health care bill, and the democrats have still forced it through. the democratic leadership, harry reid and what not. i'm sorry, i'm a little bit nervous. but how ben nelson and others had to get the big basically, "give me" gives in order to push
7:12 am
it through. i think it will be a big defeat in the 2010 elections. >> the following -- host: a follow-up to the health care story. he also writes in this piece, a little background on the longest session.
7:13 am
here is jacksonville, fla., bruce, your foot -- favored political story of the year. caller: i would have to go along with the debacle of the health care bill. the jump in net was on earlier that was speaking about, you know, the republicans not contributing anything. well, i guess he did not watch television because they had the closed-door secret sessions and no republicans were allowed in. the gentleman that talked about medicare, on medicare and in case he does not watch the news, it is going broke. they're going to cut $400 billion out of it.
7:14 am
the health care bill along with other things that have been with senator nelson of florida and mary landrieu, they're going to exempt 17 states on the cadillac program and one of them happens to be michigan. the winner the american people going to wake up -- when are the american people going to wake up? they do not seem to comprehend the government spending your money. somebody has got to pay for it. there has got to be taxes and fees and that we pass along to the medical -- to the regular consumer. and the gentleman you -- he needs to tell these to 70 million people but we are not in a recession. and the tort bill, i believe that was passed under george of the bush. -- the torque bill, i believe
7:15 am
that was passed under george w. bush. the deficit, it is like $148,000 per person now. host: thanks for the input this morning. it is christmas morning. here are some photos of the gathering at the church of the nativity in bethlehem. also, soldiers in afghanistan. the pope benedict yesterday's celebrating christmas eve services at the vatican. he was knocked down by a woman in the crowd. you have probably seen some video of this by news programs. he was ok and help back to his feet. that woman is the same woman who tried to reach him at midnight mass last year. favored political story of the year, omaha, neb., here is julie. caller: it is it snowing blizzard in ahman. host: how much snow you have this morning?
7:16 am
caller: i think about 11 or 12 inches on my driveway. host: still snowing? caller: oh, yes. i am a true democrat but i am very disappointed -- i know kay bailey hutcheson and the other gop have challenged the constitutional right of this health along -- of this health bill. the what i'm ashamed of with my party is that they have discriminated against other groups. discrimination in its definition as favoring one group over another. senator nelson and the center of floor have -- and on and on have taken things for their own people and left others. that is just discrimination. host: thanks for calling in,
7:17 am
julie. about 15 minutes left, your favorite political health -- political story. it does not have to be health care. later this morning, we want to give you a heads up about a special hour about what you read in 2009, in particular, your top non-fiction book of 2009. that will be at 9:00 a.m. eastern this morning. we will spend an hour talking about your favorite nonfiction books of 2009. michigan, next, look is a republican caller, good morning and welcome. caller: good morning america is mr. year. basically, i'm just calling about the american economy. in michigan, we are facing a 25% unemployment rate. obviously, the title to actions are going up.
7:18 am
peacoat sure is going to run for governor and i think he will win in a landslide -- pete hope shirt is going to run for governor and i think he will win in a landslide. we need to stop printing money, borrowing money from china. michigan will never have -- are talking about my state. in general, i know the american economy is starting to come back a little bit, but i'm 30 years old, self employed. under the bush years i made six figures. under the democratic years are making half of that. host: what is your line of work? caller: it is a family owned seamless coverage of business. -- seamless coverage of business. -- seamless cutter business. our tourism industry has suffered because of the michigan
7:19 am
economy. we get illinois, we get chicago money up here. we get indiana, ohio, but everything around our state, we are literally looking at a 25% unemployment. the numbers game and just last week. can you imagine that around -- the numbers came out just what we. can you imagine that run the country? detroit and other places are almost at 50% unemployment. the west side of the state, we do not see a lot of the auto industry is suffering. host: from the business section of the "new york times" is a story of fannie and freddie.
7:20 am
10 more minutes on your favorite political stories of the year. and the heat from los angeles,
7:21 am
good morning on the independent line. -- betty from los angeles. caller: the health care situation is ridiculous. in 1940, there was a hill -- a bill called the hill burton bill. it was a single payer bill and it went into effect immediately. you might be a little young, but we had community hospitals, clinics everywhere. it was single payer. and for those who do not want abortion, look at planned parenthood. planned parenthood has finan -- has been federalized of 25 $400,000 to kill black babies. this is ridiculous. americans need to learn their policies. people, wake up. host: lots of calls this morning about health care, the health care debate being the political story of the year. inside the "new york post --
7:22 am
correct the, "new york daily news." there is a photo of the kennedy, senator kennedy's widow. -- a photo of a vicki kennedy, senator kennedy's widow. springfield, va., joseph r. republican line, your favorite political story of the year? caller: thank you for taking my call. the biggest story of the year being the senate leadership bribing senator nelson of alaska to secure a 60-vote on the health care bill. everyone except for nebraska is forced to pay for their services while nebraska's are not. article 2 states attacked the vice president and also will office of the u.s. will be
7:23 am
removed from office on impeachment or conviction of bribery. therefore, centers read, nelson, and possibly other senate leaders to include the president and vice president should be charged at once with articles -- with bribery. host: dallas, tx, your favorite political story of the year? caller: for the gentleman that called in from michigan, this economy was bad when george bush was in there, but when robins was in there, everybody tried to keep everything -- when republicans was in there, everybody tried to keep everything hush,. the other thing that i did not like was when they were calling
7:24 am
him hibbert -- hibbert and signs and guns and everything. i think it was distasteful and disrespectful. thank you very much. you have a blessed day and a merry christmas. host: thank you, a couple of opinion pieces from some washington newspapers. this is inside the "washington post" for michael kirsten." -- from michael gerson.
7:25 am
another opinion piece this morning in the "washington *" they have a piece on the war. opinion this morning in the "washington times." what is your favorite political story of the year? caller: i do not know if it is
7:26 am
my favorite, but it is funny. like the one where there were to try to make me buy something, that ain't gonna happen. the lady that just called a minute ago, met at lieberman and stuff like that. you have got to understand that your reed said he was smart for doing that and the centers that were not doing briers and of that or not doing their jobs that good. george bush started a fire broke -- started a fire and the people in there now are just throwing gasoline on it. in a few years, if it keeps going like this, not only will we have a health care even if it is passed, disabled people will not be getting food stamps, nothing like that will happen. they will just not be able to do
7:27 am
it. host: thank you, john from ohio. the senate also had one more vote yesterday. here is the headline on the politics page of the "washington times." pinki urine in a mississippi, on the independent line, genet. your favorite political story of the year? caller: it is hard to say, but i guess i would say health care. i cannot understand how they're saying we will not be paying for it. someone is going to be there to say, yes, you can get this approved, no, you cannot get this approved. they're going to have to hire a lot of people to do that. that is going to be money that someone will have to pay. my other thing is, christianity. 80% of the american people claim to be christians.
7:28 am
a wire we letting the other 20% -- why are we letting the other 20% tell us if we can have a stable in public places? veterans me crazy. the other thing is, who is paying their taxes -- that drives me crazy. the other thing is, was paying their taxes? host: janet, thanks, we are going to get one more call your. and here is an opinion piece from "ville." -- "the hill." last caller, david, on the democrats line. caller: my favorite story is that we got health care for 31 million people that did not have it. i am so heavy the people of canada before it -- are always worked two jobs. i have been ablest person. i have health care.
7:29 am
i am happy for people that do not have it. -- i have been a blessed person. i have health care. i am happy for people that do not have it. if it cost me a little bit more, i do not care. i want to see people live their life out as long as i can live mine out, with good health care. also, in flint, mich., we do have high unemployment because we are regional -- general motors down. unemployment in michigan is about 16% as a whole. the gaudette called in from michigan was not telling the truth. -- the guy that called in from michigan was not telling the truth. our unemployment is not 50%. it is 80% or 17% for the state of michigan. host: thanks for your phone calls. coming up in the next half hour
7:30 am
we'll be talking to soldiers in afghanistan, starting with the brigadier-general gary patton. we will speak with general patton in just a moment, and other service members as well. we will take your calls, coming up. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> c-span, christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics, buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy of apollo 11. the discussion on the role of muslims of america and the world. later, a formal cia intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. and remembering the lives of william f. buckley jr. and
7:31 am
senator ted kennedy. >> in the mid-1990s, newsweek named omar wasow one of the most interesting people to watch in cyberspace. and since then, he has helped found a charter school in brooklyn and explain the new technologies on oprah. sunday night he talks about his current cities and what is ahead on c-span's q&a. >> "washington journal" continues. host: brigadier-general gary patton is the deputy for the combined security transition command in afghanistan. we do want to let folks know we are going along distance to get this signal from afghanistan, so there may be a bit of delay both in the general's response and your phone calls. general gary patton, thank you for joining us this morning. guest: bill, thank you for
7:32 am
having me. and from everyone on our end, all our service members, and merry christmas to everyone back there in the united states. thank you for having me on your show today. host: why don't we start with some essentials and what do you tell us where you are and the primary michigan -- the primary mission of your group in afghanistan? guest: sure thing, it is 5:00 p.m. christmas day. we aren't in kabul, the capital of the country -- we are in cowankabul, the capital here in afghanistan. our mission is to train and go the afghan national army and the national police force. we do that with about 1500 service members, army, navy, air force, marines and military professionals. also, number of police
7:33 am
professionals, both from the united states and other contributing nations. we are a component of the international security force here that is the four star general headquartered also appear in kabul. -- up here in kabul. host: general, we're going to let our viewers call in with their thoughts and ask questions of you. we will get to that in just a moment. let me ask you, general, about the different roles that the afghan national security force and the afghan police take under. can you define that more clearly for us? guest: we call it the afghan national security forces, but the two main components are the afghan national army and the afghan national police. i will just start with the army.
7:34 am
the army is about 100,000 soldiers strong right now and our goal is to grow them here in this year until october 2010 to grow them from 100,000 to about 134,000. that will improve both the quality and quantity of the security force. moving over to the police, the police currently are about 95,000 across the country. we are shooting toward a goal of about 109,000, again, by october 2010. there are several the different components in the police. you have your unit police, which are essentially your cops on the beat at the district and precinct level. and you also have your national police. this is a force quite similar to our your -- european partners called the gendarmerie or the coronary -- coronary.
7:35 am
in the year 2011, as president obama has told us, we want to be able to have the conditions to be able to start transferring security responsibilities from the coalition elements over to our afghan partners in both the army and police. host: general, how will that increase interest the president obama has announced, how will that specifically affect your mission there? what will it do for you? guest: the troops surge is really important, bill. i was part of the surge in iraq several years ago and the most important part of the troops surge is that it creates the security conditions on the ground -- i will call attraction it gives you on the ground -- that allows you to bring these -- i will call it the attraction that give -- ther tr5action
7:36 am
we will do with the u.s. infantry battalion in the army is take the soldiers and leaders and place them across some of the different training centers that we operate here, so that we can improve the ratio of traitor to trainee. one of the elements, a key component of trying to improve the quality of training that we are able to provide a the afghan soldiers. host: a reminder to our callers it will be a bit of a satellite delay, so do not expect an immediate response. go ahead, darlene, in michigan. caller: thank you so much for
7:37 am
what you do and i would like to say god bless you all of our troops over there and i wish them a speedy return and a very merry christmas to them and their families. i would like to ask you, do you feel that we are accomplishing something over there? i just cannot wait for all of our men and women to come home and to know that they are safe with their families. without you over there, i could not be doing what i'm doing over here, so thank you, bless you. i cannot say enough to you and i wish you a speedy return. and guard bless america and their christmas to all americans. and -- god bless america and merry christmas to all americans. guest: thank you for your best wishes. you make us proud, you and all the americans who support us every day. we are doing it for you, for our country. we have got a complex mission
7:38 am
over here. i have been here about a month. i served 27 months in iraq and i'm on my first month here in afghanistan. my first impression is that it is a complex mission. we are trying to build an army and a police force in a nation that is at war. we're trying to reverse an insurgency and help this nation get on its feet. but i am impressed by what i've seen, the teamwork and partnership with the international effort. the generosity, the commitment of the afghan partners. i'm impressed with that and i feel good about what we are doing. it is a hard job, but we are here to do our very best and i believe our tough mission is very doable, given the resources we have here, the chairman and marines we have here, along with the 30,000 more we will see in the next several months. and also along with our international partners. it is a great team and i'm proud to be part of it and i'm proud
7:39 am
to be representing you, doreen, out there in michigan. host: here is our next call, detroit, dara and for the general. caller: i would like to give my support to the soldiers out there and afghanistan. guest: i have no audio, no sound. host: go ahead, darrell, restate your question. guest: i have no audio with "washington journal." host: darrell, i'm going to hang you up there and just see it's a general can hear me. we may have lost our audio signal to kabul and to general patton. we will wait until we get it back and go next to dennis in las vegas. dennis, the general may not be able to hear you, but if you want to weigh in with your
7:40 am
thoughts, go ahead. caller: i completely respect of our military and i think our leadership in our country should be based off that and i would like to as the general what he thinks about someone like general patraeus running for our next president. i would like to get his thoughts on that because that has been thrown out there. and go back to the days when we had eisenhower and stuff like that as president. host: general patton, it appears we have you back. did you hear that call? guest: i heard part of the call. it sounded like he wanted my opinion on general patraeus running for president. that may answer it this way, i was sitting with general patraeus just a few days ago. i was serving with him over in iraq and now we are together again in our chain of command here in afghanistan. i will just say this, the leadership in the military, we have to stay apolitical.
7:41 am
we have got to focus on the machine -- on the mission. we are here representing the values of a great democracy. and i really think we need to stay out of the political fray at this point and stay focused on our military mission. i'm sure general patraeus agrees with me on that point. host: you have been in afghanistan for one month. you spent 27 months in iraq. number one, your impression so far, and how long you think you will be in afghanistan? guest: let me take the last part of the question first. bill, i do not really know how long i will be your. i'm starting with 12 months and i will work my way beyond that. i really want to be here to make a difference, and however long it takes me to do that. if i did not think this mission was doable, i would not be here.
7:42 am
and i know our leadership and our soldiers feel the same way. in terms of first impressions, and in comparison to my days in iraq, of course, is a bit colder over here. we are at a higher altitude. kabul is at 6,000 feet. it is very rugged land, much more rugged than anything i saw in central and northern iraq. of course, there are similarities. the people of iraq and the people of afghanistan are very religious. predominantly a moslem country -- muslim country and very strong travel connections, family connections and values and that sort of thing. in terms of conditions i would say that the afghan country is a fairly poor country. where do not have the resources that we saw in iraq in terms of natural gas and oil reserves and that sort of thing. and i guess i have been impressed with two things, one,
7:43 am
the depth and breadth of the international effort to hear in afghanistan. and we have 46 countries with representatives in our team. just yesterday, we brought in a european gendarmerie force and integrated that into our force. a policeman, 300 of them from france, italy, portugal, spain, netherlands and several other countries. what those policemen will do is go out to the afghan precincts and try to help make them better. i have been impressed with that and i've also been impressed with the afghans. the senior military leaders that i need with, for example, the minister of defense that i have met with this week, and one of the several -- one of the generals of the army, they are committed individuals. they want to make this country better and are very thankful to the degree to which we are contributing to make
7:44 am
improvements in their nation. i have been improved -- impressed with the general warrior spirit as well. host: back to your calls, thomas honor republican line. are you there? this is palm springs, i'm sorry. is this the archbishop? caller: yes, host: it. go ahead. -- caller: yes, it is. host: go ahead. caller: i would like to send my blessings to you and your troops and remind people, baghdad has a cushion -- a big christian community. i'm sure you have a lot of troops that celebrate kwanzaa day coming up.
7:45 am
and let's not forget boxers day. and well, ramadan and how a car over, but let's just remember that -- and hanukkah are over, but this is trevor that we're all in this together. host: thank you for that call. i will ask the general, on this particular date, how are the service members? guest: that question was extremely distorted and i could only make it a few words on this end. i did pick up the collar was from las vegas. i heard him mention the word ramadan. i would just say this, as i mentioned, the people of afghanistan are deeply religious. of course, is predominantly a country of muslims practicing the islamic faith.
7:46 am
ramadan is one of the most prominent ones this time of year. we have a common bond with the afghan people in trying to improve security. the common afghan once a secure home and education. it is a fairly literate society, but they want to improve themselves. they want to read a livelihood, it means to produce for their family. safe streets to walk to and a grocery store to go to end of the ability to care and feed for their family and that sort of thing. we are partnering with them to do some things across the board that will not only improve their security, but their living conditions. and that is based on some initial impressions here for my first four weeks over here. >> there's -- host: there is a
7:47 am
near story announcing the pay increases for the security forces there. what is that going to mean for those forces? guest: it is a tremendous incentive in terms of improving the number of recruits. before this month, the greatest number of records that we have seen in to the afghan national army has been around 4000, but it averages around 2003 thousand. -- if but averages around 2000 or 3000. we implemented a pay raise and we have seen this month a record high recruiting numbers. part of that can be attributed to the pay raise. part of it is also the degree to which the leadership of the afghan national army and police have put into improving and
7:48 am
increasing the number of mdot -- the number of recruits coming into service. let me give you an example about the pay raise. an afghan army sergeant previously would have earned about $140 per month. but with the pay raise, the pay raise is a $45 increase. now he is getting a a -- $185 per month, which is a significant pay raise in this economy. we also relented what we call a hazardous duty pay. if your service -- we also implemented will recall hazardous duty pay. if you're serving in a high-risk part of the country, you get more on top of your pay. $75 on top for hazardous duty pay. that brings them have to repay about that is almost double what he had before. we use that as an incentive. again, impressed with the record number of recruits we have seen
7:49 am
this month. we have got to see that as a pattern and a trend in the months ahead. one month is not going to be good enough. we will have to see consistent, high level of recruits in the months ahead to build to the 134,000 man army by october 2010. we will be looking at that very carefully in the coming months, to sustain that. host: brigadier-general. patton is joining us from kabul, afghanistan. -- brigadier-general gary patton is joining us from kabul, afghanistan. next call is from california. caller: i was pleased to hear you mention education and the infrastructure around people who live there. i think by reaching out to them more in a humanitarian effort and acting like a police force
7:50 am
to try to protect them to allow them to try to grow their culture [unintelligible] host: michael, thank you for the call. general patton, your thoughts on his comments? guest: i'm sorry i did not pick up his name, but i did hear that he was from oakland, california. their christmas to you, sir. he was talking about dallas -- merry christmas to you, sir. he was talking about elements of their society. we realize there are parts of society over here that we have to work on, especially one area is corruption. that is just part of doing business over here. the military and the police force are not exempt from elements of corruption.
7:51 am
another thing we're looking at doing is in the electronic fund transfer program. in the past, a soldier got paid in cash and with that pocketful of cash he had to make his way back to his down through territory lenders and other -- predatory lenders and other forms of corruption you can imagine. now with electronic funds transfer, that pay goes straight to his bank and believe that is having a positive impact and will help to eliminate some of the temptations how of corruption out there. that is just one gore -- component of the overall program. i think the caller also mention education. we're involved in a literacy program for the police and army. it is important for us to teach the afghans have to read and write. it is hard to fly a helicopter, drive and artillery piece, or
7:52 am
fly a hummer if you cannot read. that is a very key component to the overall training program here vote on the police and army side. host: we your next from tampa florida, mike, go ahead. hot caller: mayor christmas to you, general. and i'm wondering if we can get these people moved over to a better crop, may be weak or sorry or something? guest: i got that call, asking and what we can do to help with the agricultural side and maybe eradicating not the use of drugs.
7:53 am
we know there are drugs and drug use and cultivation in this society year. it is a form of agriculture. we know that the taliban exploits that and tries to help fund elements of the insurgency with drug money. we're trying to do some things to eliminate drugs from the military and police. you cannot be an effective police been on the beat or an effective soldier in the ranks if you are using drugs. we have eliminated drug use almost entirely from the united states military, to a great extent, and we hope -- we hope to aim to help the minister -- the minister of the interior and ministry of defense with that as well. this is a 100% accountability of every policemean and making sure
7:54 am
that we are paying the cops are serving the public. as part of that, we are conducting a 100% drug test of every police man in the force. those that are found to be drug users are being dealt with. again, we realize this is part of society that we need to eliminate from the military and police in order to make that a more effective security force for their people and protect the population. host: here is a call from rhode island, thomas, you're on the line. caller: we just want to know here how the morale is over there and what more we can do to pick up the morale. we sent some packages over there from the korean war veterans. we want to know what more we can do to help keep the morale up.
7:55 am
host: a question about morale and what folks can do. guest: and that is a great question. i appreciate the support of the caller in trying to improve our morale. their morale is what keeps you cohesive and motivated and so forth. i was a couple of things about that. just like the caller, we are getting a flood of christmas cards and packages and so forth over year. literally, my office is wallpapered with cards and letters from the great american public. many of them are anonymous and just random "der souljah" cards. it does a german -- "dear soldier" cards. it does a tremendous job in motivating me and my soldiers here.
7:56 am
it is a tough time to be over your during the holidays. we would rather be under the christmas tree and wrapping presents right now with our family members. i have cut two daughters and a son and my wife beckham in northern virginia. but what motivates me -- i have got two daughters and a son and my wife back home in virginia. but what motivates me is the mission and i have seen the same level of determination in the eyes of the soldiers and service members when i went to talk to them yesterday on christmas eve. it is a large ship, but we are prepared to face that a hardship because it is an important mission. i would like to thank the caller for his support. i brought in a couple of the cards around my front door in my office. i want to thank the first presbyterian church of clarksville, georgia, for their well wishes.
7:57 am
i would like to thank mr. william sayers, who sent me this can of christmas cookies. i have no idea where he lives or what organization he belongs to, but it was "dear soldier" and i hope he is listening here today. lastly, i would like to thank the kindergarten class in hazleton, pa.. those kids, probably with the help of their teacher, 10 kids in the class said mary christmas to the american soldiers. thank you for keeping us safe. love and blessings at christmas time. that goes a long way toward keeping me motivated and in rollup our service members very high. host: seems like an appropriate way to wrap up our conversation. except that we have one more gift for you, your family is on
7:58 am
the line with us. mrs. patten, are you on the line? caller:hi. host: go ahead. you're on the "washington journal" and doretta and talk to your husband and dad. caller: mary christmas. guest: mary christmas, i know you are currently unwrapping presents right now. i love you all and thanks for your support. i will be calling you later on today and seeing what you got from santa claus. caller: mayor a christmas dad. caller: -- merry christmas dad. caller: hi, dad. guest: i cannot see you from this end, but i can hear you and
7:59 am
i just want to thank you for being there for me. i am thinking about you. merry christmas from all the soldiers and service members over here. we are all missing our families. host: we want to thank your wife and children as well for calling in this morning. general gary patton joining us from kabul this morning. we appreciate your time this morning, general. guest: thank you for having me on the show. thanks for bringing my family into the show. it was great to talk to the american public out there. again, mary christmas, happy new year to you all. we're going to get back to our information, but thank you for talking me -- talking to me this morning. happy holidays. host: we will continue our conversations with u.s. service members from afghanistan


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on