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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  January 4, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EST

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. it would take a massive increase in the size and power of the force along the 1,250 mile border. independece in south sudan would also boost the independence in darfur. especially if there is another opening. perhaps, with this in mind, this of sudanese president has made extensive efforts -- the south sudan president has made extensive efforts. the most powerful of these groups, the justice and equality movement, which launched a raid on the capitol itself, something previously thought impossible.
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the dispute over a border region, lying along the north- south and border, also has the potential to spike into a civil war. hundreds of local residents were killed in 2008 between forces of the north and south. a separate referendum to be held separately with an independence vote will determine whether abyei joins the north or the south. most are expected to join. the arabs, who pasture there herd's there for most of the year, will be included in the voting. there are few signs the referendum will take place on time. khartoum has said it is necessary. there is new violence in the already war ravaged territory. officials now speak of annexing abyei, but only after making
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significant financial considerations to -- concessions to khartoum. there is an accusation of widespread atrocities against civilians during the civil war. complicating the whole issue of war and peace in the nile valley is a growing and deadly serious dispute over use of the nile waters. the white nile begins in sub- saharan africa, some 400 miles south of the mediterranean. much of this water is lost in massive swamps of the south sudan. more important in terms of water is the blue nile, which begins in the mountains of ethiopia before joining the white nile in khartoum. unlike egypt, ethiopia enjoys a fairly abundant rainy season. in recent years though, the
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rains have become less dependable, and ethiopia is determined to build a huge irrigation system to avoid further famine. ethiopia is also in the midst of bought a rebuilding an ambitious series of dams for hydroelectric polysemy -- hydroelectric power. the egyptians say that this and others is like asking them to abandon their nile culture and go live in the desert. the inflexible attitude is based on two unchangeable facts, and the population has reached unprecedented numbers one of the land is confined to a narrow strip. both food and energy supplies are inextricably tied to nile
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water. agriculture represents one- third of egypt's economy. all of it is dependent on nine water. rhetoric over the water issue is growing extremely heated. -- all of it is dependent on the nile water. they talk about not being able to win a war with ethiopia over the nile waters. the current treaty was signed during the 1920's during the british occupation. over 55entitled to billion cubic meters of nine water -- nigeln -- ile water. it is almost 100%. other countries of spent over 10 years trying to modify this agreement to no avail.
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a new deal to share the nile waters was sound by ethiopia, kenya, uganda, rwanda, and tanzania, in giving the other nile basin countries one year to sign on. some have promised to sign the pact, but others have rejected it. with egypt, their self-described gift of the nile, calling it a national security issue, challenging their sacred control of the nile. however, each of refusal to negotiate new terms is not sustainable. besides ethiopia's massive energy skiing, -- energy scheme, they are building more power plants. as the prime minister says, the egyptians have yet to make up their minds as to whether they want to live in the 21st or the 19th century.
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a political struggle over oil and water in the region could also result in a new wave of proxy warfare. a good example of this type of proxy conflict can be found in the resistance army, eight wild weill group, the survival for decades was solely based on sudanese support as a proxy against uganda and retaliation for the uganda support for the south. the renewed conflict would undoubtedly see shartoum -- khartoum involved. al qaeda would also like to return to sudan, where they're generally unwanted by any party today without even a fish or even covert support by any group. the sudan security service has
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been largely effective in preventing an al qaeda return to sudan, but a general breakdown in security could create conditions favorable to infiltration and the formation of new al qaeda cells. a renewed conflict in sudan would quickly bring uganda, ethiopia, and egypt as sponsors or even military partners of one side or another. uganda, especially, with an experienced, well-trained, well- equipped military has said it is willing to protect south sudan independence. a new civil war in sudan can also easily spark the first major water war, a costly harbinger of future global struggles over increasingly scarce resources.
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the south sudan president has warned of a return to violence on a massive scale if the referendum does not go ahead as scheduled. no amount of military measures will convince most southerners that their future lies in a united sudan under the rule of tribes. failure to conduct this on time could lead to a unilateral declaration of independence. as the south sudan president says, -- of course, it must be recognized that even a vote for unity would not be a guarantee against new conflict without resolution of many outstanding issues. none of which were resolved in the five years that have passed since the conclusion of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement. should china perceive that its energy sources are being compromised by american support for southern independence, there is a very good chance that this
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could drive a downward spiral in chinese-american relations. given the wide ranging economic, political, and security ramifications of a new conflict in the sudan, current concessions over poorly made cargo bombs emanating from yemen and airport pat-downs, these pale as security issues compared to the ticking time bomb in the nile basin. thank you. [applause] >> that was certainly scary. we have time for only a couple of questions. i want to be mindful of the next panel at 3:00 on yemen. perhaps we could take one or two questions and i also encourage you, if you do not get a chance to ask your question, i get in touch with the analyst directly. it will be here for the afternoon. the first question from this
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gentleman here. >> thank you. i'm from the canadian government and thank you for your excellent presentation. i think my question is for jean- luc about the recent statement from aqim in which they informed the french public, they are often the cozy 84 hostages with osama bin laden directly. to me -- could you give your assessment on whether this is a sea change in aqim strategy moving to hostage-taking in support of global jihad? and could this lead to further tensions within the groups, those more focused on the regional agenda versus at those on the global jihadi agenda, and what does this tell us about the relationship between al qaeda
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and aqim, and the level of difference? >> the french mind -- prime minister has made a very strong statements. he said there is no way that the front of our do you will do that. it is almost impossible to negotiate with osama bin laden since we do not have a way to have a communication with him. i think that was mostly rhetoric coming from aqim. after that, i think one lady has cancer, so negotiators have been able to provide for some medication. which means that there is a sort of direct connection.
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but frankly, i do not know anything about that and i do not want to know too much about it, actually. but at the political level, that is a stupid demand, and none since demand. -- and nonsense demand. >> it seems to me a sort of desperate attempt to grain of bit -- to regain -- it seems that there is a central leadership but they are no more in control of the factions in the south, and moreover, if you want to, you should provide that telephone number for osama bin laden. [laughter]
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>> this gentleman over here. >> this is for them again. any indication of aqim connected cells or individual inside europe engaging in lower level distribution on a consistent basis? >> frankly, there is a lot. a few weeks ago, a few days ago, there is an american citizen arrested in barcelona for doing some stuff for aqim. again, there is no membership card. we're not talking about the scandinavian political party either. that is fussy and hard, that connection that can be for sure
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is who has contacted to, and to intelligence thinks. but in many ways, the old name of the group in europe in the 1990's is still more or less there. there is still remaining at work, more central than the guys who had been freed, and some of these guys can have connections. that is moving, but by definition they are there. they were in canada a few years ago. in the u.s., actually, i do not know. you have an algerian community in the u.s., so maybe that is also here. that does not mean that they have a threat capacity. you also have this -- i do not believe in the concept -- but guys who are particularly sensitive to the aqim,
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everything is moving, and there is a continuing between then and now. there is a guy, mathematician, ph.d., if he was from the old group in jail, now he is out, so he is probably under scrutiny by the french intel, but he was freed and he is working in a french public library. that is gray and moving. >> i think that he hits it. there is no membership card. i can talk about what is going on in italy. in the past three months, there have been different allegations about the presence of cells collaborating in my city with
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local criminal gangs. but still, the amount of the affirmation released from the , it has notrities been really high. i think again -- if i decide to turn jihadi and i tried to carry out an attack in naples, they will say, ", he has been trained, and does it mean there is a sort of connection? i do not know, liquid or defined? >> fluid. >> yes, that you cannot say the border between membership and
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who is part of a group or not. there are some self-reminding of the heritage in europe, that is sure. but still, they can be dangerous and there can be a sort of -- someone who can tell them what they should do, but i do not think there is this kind of problem right now in europe. >> thank you very much. we are out of time.
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>> also last year beijing asked south africa to join the nation's known as a brick. rick would never present over
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half of the world's population. it is expected to serve and counter western establishment. chinese at home, the quality of life has not been growing as their countries global status. it is compromised by one single factor, inflation. china's consumer price index hit a 28 month high of 5.1% in december. the soaring prices upset many of the country's medium and low income residents. >> i'm very unhappy with rising commodity prices. things are getting out of control. >> bigger prices might mean bigger margins of the fact is they are not beneficiaries of this round of price hike. >> that's because the cost of production are also getting more expensive. it's not just food.
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skyrocketing real estate prices also frustrated the public. less than 15% of chinese families can now afford to buy a home. economists say the massive inflow of hot money from overseas contributed to the soaring prices. it pointed out that weakened u.s. dollar and expectation of appreciation lowered capital inflows to china. at the end of 2010 china's leaders have assured its people on many occasions they can rake in inflation. the central government will have more forceful measures in the new year to make homes more affordable and stabilize prices of necessities. >> many hope china will continue to serve as a leader of emerging economies and help them gain more say in local governing bodies. it is hoped the country's leaders will bring more tangible returns to the public such as better wages, more job benefits and giving inflation under control. for world insight, i am in
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beijing. >> china faces its own challenges for the future if it wants to continue growing as fast a pace. talk about china's past and future shifting power as some say from west to east, we are joined by the unesco peace gear in india. derek caesar, research fellow with the heritage foundation, washington, d.c., and professor with beijing foreign studies, university. let's begin our question by talking about china's economic situation. mr. caesars, is it possible for china to rein in inflation giving the fact there is a growth momentum in this country, there needs to be some loose policy to maintain growth rates, and also the pay rise in china? >> if you going to ask a question about maintaining growth then it's going to be harder to add inflation.
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the current inflation results from this team is that china put in place with the financial crisis hit. whether financial, at first it probably and a heating food and other necessities. china really wants to have to maintain nine, 10% growth, it's going to of higher inflation. the better economic policy would be to limit monetary stimulus and bring inflation down as well as growth. >> and professor from beijing, what do you think? many say it's about food prices but others say it's about the growing trend of the china spirit it's not just the food items. is a general situation. i think the central bank of china should be praised and congratulated for raising interest rates for interbank loans and for tightening money supply. but however this is not a game that even for lehman, i'm not an economist, you are increasing the interest for loans but you're not increasing as rates for saving. in other words, you are making it harder for people to borrow
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money from banks but you still have to increase the rate for saving so that people will put more money to the banks so that you can get the cash back into the banks. without that, fewer people are going to have the incentive to put the money out of stock market or property speculation and back into the banks. still needs to do more come especially encourage the rates for saving. >> you talk about policy, certainly policy had to replace to juggle about at the moment. inflation, maintaining economic growth which is also very important for the political stability, and also change the economic, transforming that. how can china juggle with all these economic, all at the same time? >> i think the central government and his five year plan, may be very explicit. we will have we will call inclusive growth. that means they're probably going to see slower, i meant
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lower gdp growth rate next to five years. enemy while the chinese government will shift its attention more to the shorteni shortening, and also to pay more attention to social welfare especially to some of these social community building in rural areas. like you said this is going to be enormous challenge in any country, especially for country with such a large population. especially like to mention we have to keep our economy growing. we met -- >> china is doing with its own economic. the world to do the change. your posterity, emerging economies, working on inflation, united states thinking about another round of economic stimulus. so the world is very divided never is there any hope for the economy? >> i think there's a lot of hope for the economy and i think that one has to understand that the
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common -- chinese economy, china is still an underdeveloped country. chinese chili country with hundreds of millions of very poor people. so i think a priority of the authorities in china will have to continue to be economic growth for at least the next 15 or 20 years. i'm a little worried frankly about this belt tightening and by this monetary contraction we are seeing in china. some of the central bank policies that are designed to limit inflation, but they have effective limiting growth. the fact of the matter is that there is a reasonable rise of income, it is not a series problem. >> but what about the world situation? is the world is divided? >> oh, no. well, i think the world is going to face a situation, jura. europe has been very the high-cost producer and also high quality.
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when you see a country like china that is no low-cost but getting better in terms of quality, then europe is going to have a severe problem. so yes, i do see the world getting divided. the problem is going to be united states. are you going to buy from your traditional friends in europe even though it's more expensive, or are you going to buy from china, it may be cheaper but china is not as close as europe is. so these other questions that united states could ask. >> mr. caesars come it seems that the professor post you a question spent my answer is china is a much larger import than your. it has been for some time. there's tension over that. the united states runs its biggest bilateral trade deficit with china by far, but we made a decision up to a point, up to this point in which the u.s. is quite willing to adjust to china's rise. if you look at china's foreign exchange reserves which are in
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excess of 2.5 trillion, you can trade all of them almost back to the bilateral deficit of the united states. so this point u.s. has been willing to buy from china and to accommodate china's rise. we could change that view. that's more our problem and china's problem. >> what about the role of the transit countries, bric countries. do you think, professor, there'll be more coordination and hope about the economic situation as well as the political situation with the rise of the emerging economies as they say? >> well, i would sit i would hope so. if you look at brazil, russia, india, especially to india and china, our premier just visit we signed a big deal. obvious ego play a much important role in economy. as for other areas, i remain hopeful, but we know there are many issues out there for very
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close negotiation and cooperation, coordination. so in the future we have to look ahead, remain optimistic but in the end where to sit down and work out these decisions. >> there seems to be two situations we have to consider here. one, there seem to be division among the emerging economies on certain issues. and secondly some from the west are trying to say one emerging economy is going to be more hopeful than the others. for example, basic india is going to maintain that are economic growth rate and china. how do you see the coordination possibilities among the emerging economies at all? >> well, india has got a very vibrant private sector your and an extremely sluggish sector. in china, the engine of growth and in india is retarding growth. it is expanding at a rate of three or four times that. in terms of efficiency. of the garment sector.
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the question in any is while the private sector be given more, or whether government tried to keep the private sector not one from the point of you upgrading obstacles but also from the point of view creating more opportunities, more individuals to make money? so i think this will be a serious problem for india. >> what about the coordination among the emerging, briefly, please? >> i would like to say the reality is that even today, 90% of research comes from the developing economy. from the united states and european union. china and india are still very, very backward in terms of research, in cutting edge technology and a new innovation. so china and india can become better at this, i don't see much of a chance of our economies developing at that speed. >> emerging economy needs to work on their technology and also innovation, but politically, china, they have
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been pushed to the center of the state so quite possibly that the country has to adjust very quickly as well. is it adjusting well? >> depends on which area you're talking about. i think politically yes we are, then pushed into the front and center for example, climate change. on some of these responsibilities we are supposed to showed up during the work of financial crisis and i think during the financial crisis china has done very excellent job and is has been widely acknowledged. in terms of regional cooperation, china is done probably more than many other countries around the world together. and in terms of cooperation between china and india, i can china should be praised. i think china in general you asked me to give a score from one to five can i get china somewhere between four and five. >> would you get that score as well, mr. caesars, as we're seeing some conflict when it comes to territory between china
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and our neighbor countries in asia and also the peninsula has been shadows in years to 2010 china as a mediator serving as a better role to play. what you think, mr. caesars? >> i think there's a split between economics and politics. if you look at the economic side i agree with professor that china has done well the last few years trying to meet the new expectation that it has as the second economy. the political side china doesn't do as well. you know, from a conflict prevention perspective. i think north korea illustrates that. it's going to take a while. the country does push onto the world stage or moves itself on the world stage doesn't automatically become comfortable as all of us are. the first time we're in front of a camera we don't do as well as we might. i think of the economic side we can praised china to the a large extent. on the political side we hope china can do better as it becomes customs to its role in
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the world. >> i have to say, mr. caesars, you are doing very well on our show. let's go to another question regarding the relationship between china and the united states. some say their latest situation seems to suggest whether china is mature in its opposition in asia right now and also seems to suggest the u.s. analysis about its role in asia right now. how do you see u.s.-china relations reflect this region and whether the two countries can work together? >> well, i can. >> is an economic perspective as an economic perspective the adjustment for the united states is china is the first global economy other than ours. the nsa did you to having the only real global economy. now china is a global a common. that means it's interest ranges more widely. that's an adjustment the u.s. is going to have to make. on the chinese side i think professor refer to an earlier. china is not used to being a
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state called at the level that it is at. in a climate change discussions china keeps acting as if developing economy. that's fine but china is also now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. china needs to adjust to its weight and he was needs to adjust to china's reach. those will take a few years and those are problems in 2010, 2011 shouldn't be surprised. it's a big adjustment. >> i almost agree with what the professor said. i think he is right. engines of economic front. on the political front again i think china is being trying very hard to do what it is supposed to do internationally, especially during the northeast area. however, like we said, china is still fumble and so went on big international stage and i think china is still learning. >> all right. thank you very much.
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and with that can we are coming to the end of his specific addition of the world inside of cctv news. we would like to hear about anything as seen on our program. send us an e-mail at world inside that is it for our special edition. for all our team, thank you for watching and join us again in seven days for more insight, on world inside. goodbye. >> the 112 congress convenes this wednesday at men. in the house ohio republican john boehner will be elected speaker and members will vote on rules for the next two years. the house is live on c-span.
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>> in a few moments to look at how the gop will use the constitution in the new congress.
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>> the new congress begins -- >> this week we are focusing on the new congress swearing-in of the house and senate. we are also here in the lincoln auditorium of the new residential an academic facility. this is our meeting space for
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today. each year at this time we bring together experts on politics for two weeks so college students around the country to get a closer look at the issues that will impact the nation and the world in the months ahead. next year at this time we will be focusing on the presidential election of 2012. the eyes of washington are on the world of this week. the eyes of the world are on washington this week. the new congress will be sworn in on wednesday and we will be here to get a close-up to see what's going on. he will have a chance to go up on the hill tuesday and wednesday afternoon. but to guide us on this endeavor of his art faculty director of the week, political scientist, doctor ross baker of rutgers university or dr. baker is an esteemed scholar and teacher and highly recognized observer of congress. he often spends his sabbaticals on capitol hill working for members of congress and he's done so with both republicans and democrats.
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he's the author of the widely adopted book house and senate and is well-known to readers of such newspapers as "usa today," the "washington post" and the "new york times," and if you're good listener, also in pr. so you should be smug to you. whenever there is anything but a to congress in the news, media outlets will turn to dr. baker for his opinions and commentaries. he knows congress well and his knowledge and understanding of the institution is exceptional. i can't think of anyone else that i would want to have with us this week, guiding us in interpreting and helping us to understand what is really going on on capitol hill today, and what the future will hold for congress and the national policy agenda, and the obama administration as we move forward in the months ahead. i am therefore very pleased and honored to present to the faculty director for inside washington and a new congress, dr. ross baker. [applause]
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>> thank you, gene. i was just thinking this morning what a wonderful thing it would have been too that the washington center when i was an undergraduate. it such a great opportunity for you to be here. and i think to be a particularly interesting and auspicious time. on thursday morning, something very unusual is going to happen. in the house of representatives. the full text of the united states constitution is going to be read. you think to yourself, what's so unusual about that? the constitution is read all the time and should all the members of the congress be familiar with the provisions of the constitution? well, we have a tea party to thank for this. which has brought us into what might be called a period of constitutional awareness. we are going to be hearing a lot
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about the constitution. in the early days of the 112 congress, and perhaps for the entire lives of the 112 congress. and much of it has been initiated by what congress did in the 111 congress. and most active congress which, of course, saw the enactment of the national health insurance reform, regulatory reform, financial services, a number of other very important pieces of legislation. which, although they did enjoy it enough support to be enacted in congress, generated a fair amount of the political opposition. opposition which manifested itself in the 2010 congressional election, which the democrats suffered what president obama was characteristic, referred to
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as a shellacking, a term of art used among politicians. and i think cause many people to question whether or not these things, health care reform, regulatory reform, other things were actually authorized by congress' power under article one of the constitution. article one of the constitution by its very scope tells us a lot about what the framers of the constitution were thinking about. you know, when you arrive make up a loose, whether it's a list of things to do or a grocery list or something, we usually list the things that we consider most important at the top of the list. this is what james madison and alexander hamilton, and all of the other members of the founding generation did. they said congress is not only going to be the most important
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part of this new government, but perhaps the most dangerous. they of course have experience with a very weak legislative body under the articles of confederation. they didn't want to repeat that. they want to make sure that congress had sufficient powers to do what it needed to do, but they didn't want to do too much. what they did in article one was to set forth the powers of congress in excruciating detail. so while there are many powers that are given to congress under article one, they are very clearly specified. and it's interesting to note that the scope of article one exceeds that of any other article in the constitution. in fact, if you do an actual word count, the number of words awarded to article one and the powers of congress, exceeds by a factor of two to one those in of
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both the president and the supreme court. so they thought congress was pretty important. and, in fact, they did certain things which almost assured that they would be controversy. i don't think there's another provision of the constitution that has generated more litigation over the years than the congress clause particularly of article one which is the heart of the constitution. article 1, section 8 which really resides, as they say, exquisite detail the powers given to congress. such things as power to create post offices and post roads. the power to protect inventors, the patents, the original intentions of writers and so on. and at the end of article 1,
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section 8 there is a rather interesting passage, which i would like to reduce you because i think it's one that has the generated enormous amount of controversy. and that is something called necessary and proper clause. and after this very detailed explanation of the powers of congress, it says congress should also have the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying and execution be the foregoing powers. for example, the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof and a foreign coin and fixed standard of of weights and measures. now, it says that also the fact that congress has the power to punish counterfeiting. it doesn't say that congress shall create the secret service. but under the necessary and proper clause is a reasonable conclusion that if congress has
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the power to punish counterfeiting, then there needs to be an organization that chases down counterfeiters. so the constitutional authorities and the secret service when addition to protecting president is also responsible for prosecuting counterfeiters is really a kind of necessary and proper inference that you can make from article 1, section 8. it says congress shall have the power to collect taxes. it doesn't say congress should create an internal revenue service, but if congress has the power to collect taxes somebody's got to do the leading and collecting. so it's reasonable to infer that internal revenue service is constitutional. it says congress shall have the power to create a post office and post roads but it doesn't say congress shall create the post office department. but it's reasonable under the necessary and proper clause to
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come to that conclusion. and, of course, what is created the debate and the challenge that the obama administration faces of course has to do with the health insurance reform. that's really the red flag. that's the thing that seems to have generated the most intense constitutional debate. that is, did congress have the authority to create this national health insurance reform? and one particular aspect of it of course is one that seems particularly meddlesome to critics on the national health insurance reform, and that's something called the individual mandate, which is a requirement that everyone at a certain time by health insurance, or pay a fine. the find could be administered through the tax system.
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now, the obama administration defending the national health insurance reform maintains that under congress a power to lay and collect taxes, they can do this. but critics say that search the constitution hard as you will you cannot find a provision which requires an american citizen to purchase commercial product. that is, health insurance. so this is how the debate has been joined. and it's interesting to reflect on the powers of congress at this particular time, because certainly over the last 70 years congress has used the commerce clause to enact the most astonishing array of laws, most of which have been upheld by the supreme court. for example, the civil rights act of 1964. now, you would say to yourself what in the world does the civil rights act have, have to do with
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the commerce clause. civil rights act seems like something we should have done. that to deny all americans the right to public accommodations is something which might be in the constitution somewhere else. there must be some high and resounding in the constitution that says you shall not forget people access to hotels and restaurants because of their race. yet there's nothing there that says that. what the constitution says is that the congress shall have the power to regulate commerce, the four nations and among several states. and that, believe it or not, it's a source of the constitutional authority for the most important piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted. and in 1964 civil rights act was not just directed at the kinds of obstacles base by -- faced by african-americans. there was widespread discrimination on americans based on religion, hotels that
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restricted their clientele, to christians, that no one who was not a christian could register and so on, hard thing to enforce but these exclusionary laws didn't exist. these exclusionary practices that exist. what knocked them down was the congress clause. that was congress' authority to do. and we think about it, it makes sense. because of the greyhound bus company is forced to maintain a set of restrooms for black men, black women, black ashen white women, white man in memphis, tennessee, or at a railroad was forced to make passengers get up from one part of a train and go to another part of the train across the street -- across the state line, it interfered with interstate commerce. ..
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and congress and the supreme court is in general been very relieved with congress since the time of the new deal in the 1930s in the use of a commerce clause for the constitutional justification of what it does. in recent years there have been two significant efforts by the supreme court to at back on that free-wheeling use of the commerce clause. one involved a piece of legislation passed by congress called the gun preschools act. what this did is created a zone around public schools in which a person could not have possession of firearms or be subjected penalties. and this was challenged in lopez versus--the united states versus lopez. the supreme court came to the conclusion that restricting guns from the vicinity of schools had
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nothing to do with commerce. that you could not make a case that the possession of a firearm within a particular zone around the school somehow you impeded the flow of commerce across state lines. and subsequently the supreme court held violence against women act saying violence against women was not in and of itself interfered with by the interstate commerce. so while there has been a general acceptance by the supreme court after congress passed using the commerce clause as constitutional justification, there has been a narrow in more recent years and that is perhaps what the opponents of the national health insurance program are looking to, hoping
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that somehow if but law is challenged and has been challenged already in four states, there have been four different results. auld four of these cases occurred in united states district court please the trial court level of the federal judicial system. in two cases the new health-insurance reform act was upheld and was found to be constitutional. what happened in cases like that typically is the supreme court sees within the lower judiciary conflicts and we have to solve it and it seems to me unquestionable that the question of constitutionality of the national health insurance reform is going to get before the supreme court and perhaps later ron you can ask one of our panelists about likelihood that
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that is going to get to the supreme court in the very near future. what is going to happen in fact is when the 112th congress convenes one of the first acts of the newly elected house of representatives with of the new republican majority, they will vote to repeal the national health insurance reform. it is going to be kind of interesting because in all likelihood when the president goes before the american people, standing there in the chamber of the house of representatives, he will face a house of representatives that has just repealed the signature accomplishment of the obama administration. however, as you know, those of you who are political scientists who have taken inter-american government it takes the senate to act and it is pretty unlikely
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that the senate will follow suit and also repeal the national health insurance reform but even if that were the case, even if some of the senate went wrong with the house the certainty that president obama would veto it because to allow that repeal to take a left -- effect could deny him the major accomplishment. that is something we can look forward to. we will see other things happened this year, for example, one of the interesting developments recently has been a challenge the birth rate
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provision, the part that is under attack. the fourth sentence of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution which says subject to the jurisdiction thereof, the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery, and the fourteenth, it nullified the effect of that jurisdiction. black people could not be citizens of the united states.
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the fourteenth amendment reverse that. most people were who were held in bondage, representative steve cain. and the fourth sentence of the -- is a nevertheless he will try. what has caused this to become a
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big issue. and they would be citizens of the united states even though their parents were not. the critics of the use of the birthright privilege say that people come deliberately to the united states for the purpose of having children so there citizenship could be conferred upon them and making it more than likely their parents would be deported. this is what they call the anchor baby problem and this is what generated an enormous amount of controversy. in some states, states are trying by state action to nullify the birth rate provision. but can they do so? that brings up another interesting but -- that is
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federalism. the relationship between the federal government and the state. the constitution is pretty clear the federal government is going to be responsible for laws relating to naturalization. and toward the province of the federal government. what are the states doing to get involved in this? we begin with arizona. a border state which is the place through which enormous amount of illegal immigration across the mexican border taking place. arizona has been under siege. the legislature passed the law which empowered the police to make stops to detain people suspected of the united states illegally. this again becomes a constitutional question. just one of many that are going
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to be the subject of debate during the 112th congress. it is enormously exciting time to be here and particularly to focus on issues that have not been very widely debated including just what is the proper scope of the federal government. the big debate in 1788 about whether we should have a constitution. the people who favor the constitution won. we have a constitution. in large measure because of the superior argumentative powers of people like james madison and alexander hamilton, john j. collective authors of the federalist papers. the federalist papers are not like the constitution or even
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the declaration of independence. the federalist papers were basically an effort through the use of what sells the constitution. and people who were selling it, federalist, were successful. the people who tried to block ratification of the constitution were the losers. history isn't kind to losers. did they have reason to fear what many of them considered in this new constitution, potential vehicle for dictatorship? these people who believed the states stood at the protector of individual rights against the unknown thing called the federal government? the debate doesn't stop in 1789 with gratification of the
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constitution. it has been a continuous debate throughout american history. just what are the limits of what the federal government can do? what is reserved for the state's? are the state's and -- colorful license plates? many americans don't comprehend the fact that on a day-to-day basis much more of our lives are regulated by actions of the state's. you and i can't get the driver's license in the federal government. we wanted to become -- authorized by the federal government to practice in ohio. they need to confer that on you. if you want to be a barber or a petition or any licensed employee or licensed profession, you would need the permission of
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your state. the federal government in many ways is a much more direct influence on your daily lives. we need to pay federal income tax. we need to abide by federal law and so on but where do you draw the line. 112th congress has a lot of debate where the line is going to be drawn. one of the aspects of the debate has to do with what is proper or improper but what is so entrusting about the debate is the country's that are most likely in the low world in terms of respect for individual rights, political rights, organizing political opposition but does little freedom of the press and so on so what i'm talking largely about is the countries of western europe, great britain and scandinavian
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countries and so on. but there's one significant difference between us and the europeans and that is the breadth of governmental power is so much more comprehensive than ours in the united states. there is a wonderful little book by a very fine political scientist called america of the unusual. we are really unusual in regard to particularly things like social welfare benefits. an american would be pleased for example to be in a country like sweden which provides day care, reserves jobs for women on pregnancy leave, provides not only for maternity leave but paternal leave the personal very
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generous, well-paid and so on. i think americans kind of like that. when you turn around and look at what they pay in taxes, americans would be horrified and there is a very significant difference in terms of, between us and the ones that are most like us and what they regard as the proper scope of government. what has been going on since the ratification debate since reforms, precipitated the civil war. in which basically the state's charged that the federal government was interfering against the constitution of the states, that is slavery and
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states had the ability to withdraw. that issue we thought settled at the end of the civil war. when the confederacy was defeated and hall of the southern states were reconstructed back into the union. very recently gov. rick perry of texas suggest the possibility that texas might secede from the union if things tend to go in a direction that texas didn't like. that is pretty unlikely. what is should suggest is the debate continues. it is an interesting debate. another thing we are going to see in congress in addition to the reading of the full text of the constitution, fear they they are going to do it. under the new republican rules
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in the house, when a bill was introduced, a member introducing the bill would have to provide a constitutional basis for that bill. it raises an interesting question about congress. those congress really debate the constitutionality of operability that it passes? constitutionality doesn't figure prominently in these debates. there's an assumption that what congress does is constitutional. unless it finds otherwise, in the supreme court, very reluctant to make it constitutional. in fact the constitutional debates which we think ought to take place in congress rarely
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do. they rarely do for a fascinating reason. it has to do with what we all know about congress and members of congress. members of congress once elected like nothing better than to be reelected. and the ingredients for getting reelected are not that difficult. basically what it amounts to is making sure if you are a member of the house of representatives with 700,000 people in your congressional district are satisfied with your performance. when you go up to the hill to visit the office of your members of congress you are not coming there has an uninvited guest. your presence shouldn't be anything that the staff finds annoying or distressing. you are the boss. you belong there. and members of congress like to have you there.
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they want you to know who you are. they want you to like them. one of the things members of congress do to make themselves likable to constituents is to be responsive to them. when people have a problem they are angry about, they feel the federal government should do something about, send e-mails. they will visit, come to washington and protest and so on. and congress being composed of people who want to be elected will apply. what happens is in their desire to be responsive in a very understandable way will enact laws which they may suspect are not constitutional but the feeling often is so what if it is? what is the practical effect?
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we do something that is unconstitutional. if it is popular we have satisfied our constituents and if it is unconstitutional the supreme court will declare it unconstitutional and no harm will be done. so all will have prizes. i mention this because this is a good thing that congress be required, at least the house of representatives be required to state exactly what it is in this bill you are introducing that has some constitutional authority. where is it in article i? what provision is there? through the necessary and proper clause should be inferred from the very specific delegation of powers to congress. i think that the idea of us becoming constitutionally aware is a very good thing.
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the constitution does mean something. one of the things i think you should do, i asked people to emulate me in any way, to carry this around with you. we get into an argument with a taxicab driver over something. take it out of your pocket and say wait a minute. i have been wrong. one of the things, all the congressional offices have these. and win arguments with your friends, it is a great thing to have. this is unconstitutional awareness and as these things are, this high level of political polarization,
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undoubtedly year more this week. and by partisanship and the harmonious and love each other and so on. there are very few things, and the sun rises in the east every day, some of these differences can be harmonized and some -- in the well ordered political system, the mechanism for solving these things. in the coming week, we will be looking at what the likelihood is of this democratic president in the third year of his incumbency, this republican house of representatives whose
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majority is required in the 2010 elections, this democratic majority, reduced in the united states senate to cope with some of these issues in a manner in which debate is embracing and exciting, sometimes a bit over the top. but all within the bounds of civility. partisanship is not a bad thing. polarization has created problems basically of the debate getting beyond the bounds -- generally human propriety. when i talk to you the following days, i am going to talk about what we have been talking about, what speakers have said, and try
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to put in context with you the best i can, we will come away from this experience with a much fuller understanding of what goes on in town and what the prospects are for this 112th congress and beyond. and having spoken ten minutes beyond the amount of time i thought i would be spending of like to take your questions if you have any. [applause] >> if you have a question raise your hand. >> everybody is a little bit inhibited the first day. we have a courageous soul right over there. >> thank you very much.
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you talk a lot about a good intensive -- we think the constitution is going to slow down making progress with all these people that are outdated or irrelevant? >> the constitution i hope is not outdated. there may be some procedures in congress which are outdated. one thing you will be hearing a lot about is the filibuster in the senate. senator udall of colorado has proposed that the filibuster in the senate be modified. the filibuster is an interesting creatures that exists only in the united states senate. the filibuster is a peculiar animal that could only thrive in a small institution like the
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senate. filibuster in the house of representatives would lead to other chaos. you cannot have 435 people being able to slowdown or stop the legislative process. that would not work in the legislative process and people in the senate either. basically the history of the filibuster is fascinating. what it comes down to, any of you in the organization of rules of order, posted a previous question. that is when something must come to a vote. from the early nineteenth century, by the time of the first world war there was no way at all to stop debate in the senate and come to a vote to bring something to a vote unless it was by unanimous consent.
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interestingly enough much of what the senate does today is by unanimous consent. think about how is it possible that 100 men and women, democrats and republicans, centrists and liberals could agree on anything? they do. they do a fair amount of the time. what happened around the time of world war i vet cause for the first time since the early nineteenth century the senate to terminate debate and come to a vote was a proposal from the wilson administration to arm american merchant vessels who were being sunk by german submarines during a period of unrestricted submarine warfare that led to american entry into world war i. this was when the united states was still neutral. in world war i vet woodrow
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wilson warned of civil and merchant vessels to be armed to protect themselves and small groups of senators from the midwest,th president wilson referred to contemptuously as a small group of willful men. blocked the enactment of that arms shipment and in the first time the senate allowed for the termination of debate. filibuster was subsequently -- in 1975. when the threshold cutting off debate went from two thirds to three fifth where it is now. thank you. and the proposal now is to make
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it even easier to cut off debate. one of the things that is in this proposal is seeking is to require the senators who are blocking legislation to get up on the floor and speak against it because the filibuster increasingly is involved, senators noting the absence of a quorum. ..
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>> yes. >> [inaudible] and do you think that the constitution might be updated in any way to reflect the current info war being waked and what not? [inaudible] and it really is having a global effect. [inaudible] do you think any updates will be made to the constitution regarding --
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[inaudible] >> well, there may be some, some updating going on with the espionage act which is, apparently, in the opinion of most people the only thing on the books that we could use to prosecute julian assange. and that was enacted during the first world war shortly after woodrow wilson got the bill, and that, of course, was to prosecute people who were propagandizing for germany in the united states and so on. the problem, as i understand it -- i'm not a lawyer -- with the espionage act is there really haven't been any successful prosecutions. and it, i mean, you can prosecute, but you can't necessarily convict. and that, i think, is the problem. and by the way, we're also going to be seeing a continuing debate about the -- and we're going to see this, we're going to hear about this on friday when chuck rosenberg comes to talk to us about the zacarias moussawi
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case. the ability and the vitality of the so-called article 3 courts -- those are the courts created by the constitution, the supreme court and the other courts created by congress under its power to create the, to create federal courts -- whether or not these, these courts will be adequate to deal with the problem of terror suspects. there was really recently a case in new york involving a man named gal landny --gallani who received a 0-year term for terrorist acts but was acquitted on nearly everything else. and it raised the concern the article 3 courts would not be up to the task of trying these terrorism suspects, they would have to be tried by the so so-called military commissions. and we're going to hear a lot
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about this debate now, too, because, of course, president obama has been thwarted in his efforts to close down guantanamo and to transfer the people who were in prison there to the united states to civilian courts. so there are a lot of challenges that are emerging that may well cause us to wonder about the adequacy more, i think, of the federal laws than the constitution itself. but certainly, the novelty of the challenge posed by julian assange is really quite remarkable because he claims to be a journalist. he refers to himself as the editor of wikileaks. and, of course, the broadest protection is offered by the first amendment to journalists. and if you call yourself a journalist and other people regard you as a journalist, i think it would probably be difficult to curtail your right
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to publish even though, certainly, in the first dump of documents that wikileaks put out there there was material that i think very clearly jeopardized individuals. they've backed off, and they've begun to edit some of the materials that they're putting out, and, of course, the newspapers -- among them "the new york times" -- who had gotten the material have imposed additional limits on what they feel is publishable. but, yeah, there are going to be all kinds of novel sorts of challenges that are going to be emerging as a result of new technologies. i mean, things that we don't even, can't even imagine now. you know, the question of whether, for example, you know, violent video games in some ways can be restricted. you know, those are all things that i think are probably well within the capacity and flexibility of our judicial system to handle. yes.
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>> [inaudible] >> wait for the microphone. >> [inaudible] on your article do you think that if obama decided to change something or do something, do you think that will -- [inaudible] >> you're referring to the article i had last week in "usa today." i think that there's probably nothing president obama could do that would ingratiate him with the members of the tea party. [laughter] i think they just, you know, there's planet obama, and there's planet tea party, and they are not, they're not in the same gravitational field. i think that the real question is not so much the president's relationship with the tea party so much as it is with the republicans in congress and their relationship with the tea party. certainly, i don't think anybody would doubt the fact that much of the passion generated on
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behalf of republican candidates in the 2010 election came as a result of tea party activism. and what, i think, is different about the tea party as opposed to other social movements in the past is they not only seem to want to be involved in elections, but involved in the legislative process as well. there's now a tea party caucus in the house of representatives led by representative michele bachmann of minnesota. dick armey, who was one of the heads of one of the various tea party groups, is in washington for the purpose of looking over the shoulder of congress as a former member of congress from texas. who is, you know, says, you know, we -- you were elected to make changes that the tea party members wanted, and if you don't do it, you will be accountable. and i think that representative
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john boehner, the new speaker of the house, is very mindful of the influence of the tea party. on the other hand, members of congress, i think, have a sense of the gravity and the importance of what they do. they're aware that certain things need to be done, that money needs to be provided to keep the government going. even those elements of the federal government that you don't like. and i think it's important, you know, that bills need to be paid. one of the things we're going to be confronting perhaps as early as march is something called the extension of the debt limit. the current debt limit, borrowing limit of the united states is $14.3 trillion. that will have to be raised. we're continuing to borrow money.
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and some of the people who were elected with tea party support have said they would not vote for an extension of the debt limit. unless very radical changes were made in the way the federal government spends money. it's a daring challenge, but it's one that has potentially apocalyptic consequences. and that is if debt limit extension were, in fact, defeated, the united states would technically go into default. that is, we would not be able to pay off our bondholders. and this is something, by the way, ha going back to 1787, 1788 was one of the things that the framers of the constitution knew the united states had to do. we had borrowed in a completely reckless way to win the revolutionary war against great britain, and it was important that our credit be restored. the states had borrowed
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irresponsibly and so on, and one of the things in the constitution was that we would assume the debts not only of the united states government prior to the adoption of the constitution, but the states as well. again, we're a commercial republic. we have to be creditworthy. and if we're not creditworthy, nobody's going to lend us a dime. the question is, do you want to use the debt limit as the instrument to force greater economy on government? are there other ways to do it? i would suggest that there are. you can do it through, through the budget, through the appropriations process and so on. but i think that toying with the extension of the debt limit as a device to induce legality in government is a very dangerous thing. it's kids playing with matches. it's something that we have to be very careful about. yes.
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>> i also go to wesley college. what do you think some of the challenges for the obama administration will be in the next two years now that the house of representatives is majority republican? >> oh. hardly know where to start. [laughter] one of the things i think is really interesting has to do with the control of greenhouse gases. there was a cies that came -- case that came before the supreme court, epa v. massachusetts, in which the supreme court said that the environmental protection agency could legally regulate the emission of greenhouse gases. that question had been tackled by congress early in the 111th congress with the so-called cap and trade bill.
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enormously popular among environmentalists, hated like poison in kentucky and west virginia and wyoming and all of the places in which coal is mined. and the fact that a huge amount of power in this country is generated with coal. and so the concern was over jobs, concern was over whether or not we could even function as an economy without coal, and cap and trade -- although passed in the house of representatives -- never got anywhere in the senate at all. now, having lost that battle the obama administration now had the authority under that supreme court decision to go ahead and have the environmental protection agency, a regulatory agency, begin to impose limits on, for example, power plants and how much greenhouse gas they could e michigan -- emit. and this is something, of course, that the opponents, the
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original opponents of cap and trade -- and it's not just the senators and representatives from the coal states, it's other people concerned about the impact of a very, very widespread regulations by the epa. they are going, they will do things like try to withhold money from the everything pa to enforce -- from the epa to enforce. you know, government agencies can't run on bake sales. they require appropriations of money from congress. and if congress wants to say, you know, we're not going to give a penny to the epa for enforcing greenhouse gas emission limits, they're not going to be able to do it. there will undoubtedly be a large number of oversight hearings. one of the names you're going to hear a lot about this year is representative darrell issa. california republican.
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he is going to be the new chairman of the house government affairs and oversight committee. and representative issa's a very aggressive legislator, and he's going to have members of the obama administration up in front of that committee. this is a committee the democrats used to devastating effect when representative henry waxman, for example, brought up members of the tobacco industry and, basically, had them, you know, flogged publicly in front of the public. so the oversight process of congress can be used. basically, you know, you can have, you know, considering how many committees and subcommittees are on congress, you could have, you know, the administration immobilized by subpoenas to come and testify in be front of congress. and, of course, it has a debilitating effect on the administration. the senate, for example, could
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refuse to confirm presidential nominations to agencies, for example, that were responsible for policing environmental laws. so there are lots of things that can be done to make it very, very difficult for the obama administration. the question is, what is it? or what combination of things could this moderately liberal democratic president and this conservative republican. minority in the senate, what do they agree on? and that's going to be an interesting challenge. one of the questions, i think, that the members of this panel that convene at 11:00 are going to talk about, and there doesn't seem to be a lot. people talk about, well, there are certain things about education, perhaps, or foreign trade that they might be able to
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agree on. but certainly, in order to accomplish anything during the second two years of the administration the president's going to have to find some common ground with the republicans, and the republicans, candidly, do not want to be in the position of simply saying no all the time. you know, they want to have legislative accomplishments as well. certainly, the republicans are very happy or many republicans are very happy with the, with the extension of the 2001 tax cuts. but they also felt the administration, the obama administration got much too much including an extension of unemployment benefits and other, and other things as well. so, you know, it's not impossible. i mean, i don't foresee 112th congress in which nothing is accomplished, but at this point i'm kind of interested in finding just what exactly is the
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sort of southern remedy -- sovereign remedy that's going to be able to come up with something that both the congress and president can agree on. but it's going to be a very combative congress, i don't think there's any question about that. i think you can pretty well assume that the republicans particularly in the house of representatives are going to really attempt a kind of incapacitation by inquisition of the obama administration. the obama administration's going to probably give as good as it gets. so it's going to be exciting, i think, and i think -- as long as i think the debate can be kept within reasonably civil grounds, it should be quite an interesting spectacle. yes. i saw a hand here. >> [inaudible] san diego. >> yes. >> why is --
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[inaudible] >> you say why is the supremacy of the constitution -- >> like, the primacy of the, like, why is it such a good thing to have constitutionality within the congress if law itself is just? like, having that as the center of -- >> well, i really, i think the congress really has to conform to the requirements of the constitution. and it may be that, for example, the reading of the constitution or the new republican rule that says the constitutional basis for a law has to be stated at the time the law is introduced. i don't think it's an important change, but i think it's generally a good thing just to be aware of the fact that what congress does can't be just something that's at the whim of congress. something, well, this is something that would be good to do. you know, there are a lot of
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things that are good to do that the constitution doesn't authorize. so i think it's good, it's good intellectual discipline for the members of congress to have to think about that and say, you know, when i introduce a bill, it really does have to have some basis somewhere in the constitution. yes. >> i'm from clark university. kind of a follow up to that, do you think certain things in the constitution -- [inaudible] less purposefully to spur the debate over time? >> yeah. i think one of the things about the constitution is it can be blessedly vague. i mean, there are, there's, there's wawferl, wonderful flexibility in the constitution. give you an example. article ii. here is article i which
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expresses in the most excruciating detail the powers of congress. you come to article ii and what do you get? phrases like the executive power shall be vested in the president of the united states. what in the world does that mean? he shall take care to be sure the law is faithfully executed. again, completely vague. however, you think about it, it's in terms of what the framers envisioned of the government in 1789, certainly the most changed institution is the presidency. you know, congress would really be recognized -- james madison somehow came out of his crypt and wandered into the chamber of the house of representatives, you know, it'd be larger than it was in 1789, but they were, basically, doing the same things. the presidency, i think, would shock many people.
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who were of the federal era. in the fact that some presidents have really pushed the constitution to the limits. and particularly the ability of presidents to assume much greater powers to the office during times of national emergency. that's been the real, the real expansion of the presidency. you kind of look at those period in american history in which presidential power has expanded; the civil war, the the great depression, world war ii, the period in the 1970s, for example, a lot of regulatory growth like the establishment of the occupational safety and health administration, so on. and then, of course, after 9/11 and the presidential powers expanded then, too, and be president bush very aggressively along with the help of vice president cheney very vastly
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expanded the reach of the presidency in national security cases. so, yeah, i think that the vagueness of the constitution, i think, is on the whole a good thing, but it does allow for a certain amount of mischief. and then presidents will do things that they know are unconstitutional. you know, president lincoln, for example, the constitution's pretty clear about the power of congress to raise, to raise armies. president lincoln raised an army. he raised an army because congress wasn't functioning. and had he just been constrained by the precise wording of the constitution, we would be two countries today. but, you know, and he acknowledged that he was breaking the law, but he said, you know, how would it be if we obeyed one law absolutely puck till crousely and the entire country disappeared as a result of that? so i think there's a recognition of that.
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and then when these things happen, when people step over the boundaries, the assumption is that under the system of checks and balances somebody's going to push back, you know, whether it be the supreme court in the case of finding something unconstitutional or congress pushing against the president in terms of denying the president funds to do things. and president reagan was determined to help the anti-communist resistance groups in nicaragua in the 1980s. congress said, no, you can't to it. we're not going to give you the money to do it. so, and, you know, these things tend not to be resolved at the immediate time of the problem. it sometimes takes years for these things to develop, and it's interesting because america's really unusual in the sense that in most parliamentary democracies there's only one way to make law, and that's by a legislature passing laws. in the united states, a huge amount of law is made by people
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suing. you know, you basically, you know, you're arrested under a particular law, you think it's unjust, you appeal it, it goes to the supreme court, the law's overturned, and new policy is created. and it's one of the things that, i think, that people from overseas marvel about the united states, is how much influence judges have making policy in the united states. it's pretty often deplored by people who regard this as part of an assertion of judicial power, but it's been the case in the united states ever since the beginning that not only legislatures make law and make policy in the united states, but courts as well. yes. >> [inaudible] i'm wondering if you think that justices' arguments on constitutional theory and the makeup of the supreme court can
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drive which arguments congressmen use to justify their own constitutionality of different bills? >> oh, yeah. i think that you can, that members of congress can find an abundance of justification particularly in a court as diverse as this. you know, if you want kind of originalist interpretations of the constitution, that is the constitution is exactly what the framers of the constitution said and no more, you can get justice scalia or justice thomas as your sources of support. if you want a more flexible interpretation of the constitution, the constitution has to take account of the changes and the differences in society in the 21st century than in the 18th century, you're going to get that from judge breyer or from judge kagan or, you know, any of the more liberal justices. so, yeah, i think that members of congress can find abundant ammunition for whatever position
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they want to argue on the floor of the house or senate from things that the justices of the supreme court have written in their opinion bees. opinions. yes. >> my name is george hurley, i'm from the university of san diego. my question is about federalism. and the states, there seem to be more and more states that are going quote-unquote bankruptcy or acquiring more and more debt. what are your feelings about the federal government? seems like they're bailing out some states here and there. what role is the federal government going to continue to play in that, and could that spur on a change in our constitution whether in writing or just by practice that would alter our understanding of federalism as it is right now? >> yeah, george, i think that is, that's the big challenge of federalism. most states, perhaps all states i'm not quite sure, have
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constitutional requirements that they have balanced budgets. the stimulus, $787 billion stimulus that was enacted in the first weeks of the obama administration, a lot of that money went to the states to pay, basically, to avoid layoffs. of public employees. but there's a real crisis, there's no question about it. my own state, new jersey, is very much in the hole. governor christy has, you know, basically said, we're broke. and it really limits the amount that states can do. states have been very generous with pension plans in the past for public employees, and those people signed on with the understanding that they get a particular pension, and the feeling is that, well, the states were a little bit too generous. maybe we have to cut back on those. and the question is whether
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contractual obligations of the states have to be met. certainly, there are going to be large-scale firings of public employees that, that the thing that states can do are going to be much more limited. and the question is, will these states be able to borrow money? if you're bankrupt, it's hard to get people to lend you money. you know, state municipal bonds, for example, are one of the ways that states and cities have been able to raise money in the past. probably it'll be harder to sell those on the bond market. so that, i think, is the real hidden crisis. i think we tend to focus more on the national issues, but it's at the state level, i think, that there's real, there's real pain and real trouble.
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two more questions, yes. if we have them. >> i think in the antifederalist papers there's an argument made by the delegation from virginia which kind of -- on the question of the bill of rights -- makes an argument which i'm going to paraphrase roughly as they didn't want to have a bill of rights because they thought by listing out specific rights, you know, 100, 200 years later, some fool's going to come along the and say that any rule laid out as one we don't enjoy, and they thought -- [inaudible] so when kind of thinking about congress and the constitution and, like, the whole, like, range of problems we face now which i don't think there's any way anyone could have envisioned 2, 300 years ago, i wonder, like, can't you make the argument that anything -- like, congress, don't they have kind of an obligation to fix problems? i feel like unless they're doing something that's specifically prohibited by the constitution,
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i would have a problem, i think, if we tell someone, like, you have an issue, but we can't solve it because of a document issued 200 years ago because of wording problems. could you maybe speak to, like, how we could account for those changes and those two different ways of viewing these formulations? >> great question. you know, there's the ninth amendment which says the enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others by the people. they're saying, in effect, that just because we didn't mention them doesn't mean there aren't others to be found, be discovered. the debate over the bill of rights is fascinating. alexander hamilton felt it was unnecessary. there's something called article i, section 9 of the constitution. it's, you know, it's still within congress' article of the constitutioning that comes right -- constitution that comes right after the commerce clause. and it forbids three things;
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suspension of habeas corpus except in times of war or rebellion, it blocks things called bills of attainder in which, basically, congress acts as a court that finds people guilty or innocent, and ex post facto laws which are laws that are, that criminalize something that wasn't criminal at the time the act was committed. and that should be enough. that takes care of it. and hamilton made that very case that you were just saying that, well, you know, if we begin to enumerate rights that are being protected, there are sure to be others that we're not going to enumerate, and will those simply be unprotected? but, i mean, i certainly think that judicial interpretation by the supreme court, you can kind of look at the incredible breadth of protection under the first amendment. and you really have to come to the conclusion that if there's a right out there that seems to be legitimate in some way that the
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courts will usually protect it. i think probably the next big test of that is going to be the defense of marriage act which, of course, congress passed and, in a sense, was an effort to try to get around the full faith and credit clause of the constitution which requires states to honor the enactments and contracts this other states, basically protecting states that do not allow same-sex marriage from, from respecting a same-sex marriage contracted out of state. so that let's say if a same-sex couple's married in massachusetts, mississippi -- which specifically rejects same-sex marriage -- do they have to honor that marriage? defense of marriage act basically protects mississippi. so the question is, is the defense of marriage act constitutional? undoubtedly, there are going to be challenges to that. whether or not same-sex marriage will be enshrined as a right
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along with freedom of speech, protection against self-incrimination and so on. >> [inaudible] >> last question. okay. thank you very much. [applause] you've won yourself a five-minute break. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the 112th congress convenes this wednesday at noon. >> one of the new house members is republican rich new gent from florida's fifth district along the gulf coast including the northern part of tampa. the 59-year-old has been hernando county sheriff since 2001 and replaces ginny brown wade who retired. wisconsin's new senator is businessman ron johnson. in his first run for political office, he defeated democratic incumbent senator russ fine gold. mr. johnson and his family live in oshkosh.
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>> every weekend on c-span3 experience american history tv. starting saturday at 8 a.m. eastern, 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. hear historic speech by national leaders. visit museums, historical sites and college campuses as top history professors and leading historians delve into america's past. american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> in a few moments, a panel of journalists on what to expect from the new congress. and in a little less than an hour, a forum on the ethics of war.
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>> more, now, from monday's conference discussing relations between congress and the president. this is a little less than an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> welcome back from your well-deserved break. the any of you are feeling a bit cold, we're going to try to do something with the temperature. well, what we're going to do now is kind of depart from somebody standing behind a lectern talking and have a little more relaxed conversation along a nice long table with three very remarkable journalists. and i extended an invitation to them not only because they are
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unusually appropriate for this occasion, but because they're friends of mine and very nice people. and they are supremely knowledgeable about the areas of political life that they cover. gail chaddock is the senior congressional correspondent for the "christian science monitor". "christian science monitor" is a rather small paper in terms of circulation. it's not a big, flashy paper, but for its size it's enormously influential. in fact, one of the big events in washington is the so-called god friday-sperling breakfast which is something sponsored by the monitor. every major political figure wants to be the speaker at it. and gail is somebody who knows congress very, very well, and she and i have talked about congress for a very long time together. tony mauro is the supreme court
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correspondent for the national law journal, and tony is someone i have known for more years than i care to think about since he was a journalist as an undergraduate at rutgers university when i first came there. he was on the staff of the daily target which is our campus newspaper. and someone who for a nonlawyer is more knowledgeable about the supreme court than any lawyer i know. and, finally, ken walsh, another former rutgers journalist who is the white house correspondent for "u.s. news & world report," who travels around the world with presidents, who sits in that small, stuffy place where correspondents ask the president or the president's spokesperson embarrassing questions, provocative questions and questions which they hope will reveal something about what the president's plans are. so what we're going to do is ask
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them to sit down here and talk about what they think is going to be happening in the coming year. and i'm not going to restrict it to the 112th congress pause tony, i think -- because tony, i think, is going to get a lot of business this year in terms of what's going on in the supreme court be. so please welcome gail chaddock, tony mauro, ken walsh. [applause] >> okay. gail, ken and tony. and me. [laughter] i have this lengthy list of questions for you guys, but i'll start out with just a kind of general question and that is that over past 20 years we've
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seen a lot of divided government. and a lot of comparisons are being drawn to this year, to 1995, to the great republican victory in the 1994 election. is this, do you see the same things happening this time as happened in 1994, or is this going to be a completely unique experience in congressional life? gail? >> i think what's very interesting about this class is that they have the historical pkd of the last one -- background of the last one. when republicans took over the house in '95, '94 elections, it was the first time republicans had been in power in more than 40 years. there wasn't a republican in the congress that even had any knowledge about what it was like to hold a gavel. or to set an agenda. the whole notion was you somehow, the only way you could
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do anything good for your district was to come to terms with the people that did have power, which is the democrats. and then came newt gingrich and be some insurgents in congress who thought, you know, we really don't have to put up with this. there's a way to take down this majority, and we'll just go after them relentlessly using media on issues like corruption. they've been in here too long, they're not listening to you, they're out of touch, they are literally corrupt. and what was toppling speakers in those days might be laughable today, you know, a book deal. trivial compared to some of the things that happened subsequently. but when this class came in, what, 74, 75 strong? there was a tremendous sense that history was behind them, the wind was at their back, they were going to do some very dramatic things. their leader, newt gingrich, no shirk to the power of personality, was on the front
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cover of newspapers, magazines really pushing his own leadership style and identity. the difference today is that these republicans -- greater in number -- understand that it's not permanent. the democrats swept back to power and then lost it very quickly. so what's most on the minds of the republicans i talk to, including some of the freshman, is that they're not seeing this as necessarily a historic shift of long duration. they figure they only have a few months to make a strong case that the way they're governing is going to be different than the way the others did. so you have the speaker-elect, john boehner, no four-day inaugural, no renaming of streets, no tony bennett singing songs. a very modest, simple inaugural.
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the theme is austerity. the major element of the boehner inaugural will be his 11 siblings whose very presence, you know, covering a tremendously different range of experience than most politicians' families have. you know, very modest family. that modesty, that sense of austerity, that sense of almost a nonpersonality. i mean, i can't promise you that john boehner won't cry. he does that a lot. [laughter] but i think what you'll see from him is very much a sense of stepping back. there are voices in my caucus, i want these voices to be heard. changing the rules of the house so that people have a chance to make amendments, that committees have a chance to function. it's not all going to come out of the speaker's office, he says. you're not going to come here just to vote, you're going to come here to be legislators. i'm going to help you do that. i'm going to help all the voices participate. it seems to me that's a huge
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change there the spirit of the neuter rah which was i -- era which was i am the leader of this, i'm going to centralize powers in the speaker's office. frankly, this freshman class wouldn't put up with it, and john boehner knows it. >> ken, one of the things people are talking about is this visual that's going to happen during the presidential state of the union address in january when a republican house which in all likelihood will have voted to repeal his health insurance reform will be sitting in the audience while he delivers the state of the union address. does this signal a kind of hostility that's going to prevail, do you think, or is there some basis for agreement? >> right. well, from the white house perspective i was actually here covering the white house during that period gail was talking about when the democrats lost control of the house and senate, and then president clinton had to deal with the opposition
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party. just a moment on that. that was the era when clinton had to decide whether he was going to go back to what he campaigned as which was as a centrist as opposed to president obama who campaigned more as a left of center progressive as he called it. but clinton decided that he would go back to his roots. he was, i think, pulled to the left by the democratic leaders in this congress at the time of the first two years, then they lost control. so clinton came up with this idea based on the theories of his pollster, dick morris, of triangulation. the idea is he would borrow from the left and the right and come up with what he called a third way. that meant he was moving to the center, and it worked because he was able to counterbalance what the country felt were the excesses of the republicans. so he won the election solidly.
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what we are now, as ross says, is going to be this interesting moment at the state of the union where you will have, you know, his opposition right behind him, and i'm sure he'll turn around and shake hands with boehner and make nice at the moment. but the question is that we're asking at the white house in the white house press corps these days is will that sense of accomplishment from the lame duck session where they did get quite a bit done. now, you can argue about whether it matters, and we can maybe talk about that later because i think the country is much more or focused on results in people's lives now rather than action in washington. people are distinguishing between legislation passed and what does it mean for me. and so far people don't feel like what the congress has done and what president obama has done has made a lot of difference in the their lives. maybe they'll change their minds. so the question is will the spirit of accommodation from the
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lame duck session where you recall that this extension of the bush era tax cuts was passed, unemployment benefits passed, the senate ratified the s.t.a.r.t. arms control treaty, there was the passage of the legislation to help the first responders after 9/11 which became a big issue, will that continue? and without taking too much time, i think that's up in the air. because they're getting a lot of noise in the system now that the republicans pushed by the tea party -- this conservative movement around the country -- a lot of republicans are nervous that if they don't stand up to obama and draw contrasts with him, they are going to be challenged in primaries by the tea party, and a lot of them are afraid of that. and so they have this feeling, i think, among a lot of republicans that how far do they go to compromise, and if they go too far, does that mean they're going to be in trouble within
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their conservative world? and so i think that's the big question, you know, as gail and ross are saying. we have a lot of things that are going to come up immediately such as health care, the house wants to repeal it. may have the votes to do that. doubtful the senate does, but then you have this whole question of defunding health care. in other words, trying to take it on piece by piece by not paying for it. and there's a piecemeal approach to it too. i think that's going to be a real flash point in the next few months. and there's really no way to know how it's going to turn out, but i think that's going to be a real test of accommodation, compromise and the spirit of comedy which everybody's talking about, but i don't know if they're going to deliver on. >> tony. constitutional challenges for the health insurance reform. four judges have come down with opinions on that. challenges to the first sentence
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of the 14th amendment about the question of whether people born in the united states are citizens of the united states. it's going to be a busy year on the court? >> it is, although some of those issues may come to the court -- it takes a while. it may not come to the court for a year or so. but you were talking about the state of the union address, and there is going to be this interesting dynamic between president obama and the congress where they're trying to, maybe trying to repeal health care reform. but then you have, you'll also have a group of supreme court justices in the audience who also, who may hold the final say on health care reform unless it's ree peeled. and i think there's a bit of suspension as to how many justices will attend. you may recall last year's, president obama kind of chewed
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out the supreme court. the justices were right there in front of him for the citizens united decision which repealed or overturned a part of the campaign finance laws and allowed corporations and unions to make unlimited expenditures in campaigns. president obama criticized them, the justices -- as is their custom, they don't react. they sit glumly there because they're not supposed to be political. and all the other democratic senators kind of stood up and cheered obama and glared at the justices. it was kind of an awkward moment. and several justices have since said that they're not going to attend this year because of that. they don't want to be seen as political pawns. so i think there is this dynamic between those, these two
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branches, the supreme court and the executive, and, of course, congress as well. of course, ross wrote a book about the relationship between the supreme court and congress which is a very useful text. but anyway, i think there is a real danger for obama in these, quote, challenges to the health care reform legislation. several judges have already said it is constitutional. one judge last month ruled that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, in other words, that there's a part of the law that says that all people must get some kind of health insurance, and this judge said the powers of congress don't extend to forcing people to buy something. and that's a real test of the power, of the power of congress.
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so how it'll come out, i'm really not sure. i would guess that the bill, the health care reform legislation will be upheld in the end. even this supreme court may not feel like it should overturn this massive piece of legislation. it should, perhaps, leave it to the elected branches. >> so, tony, there is on the supreme court and traditionally has been a kind of presumption of constitutionality in actions of congress, there really has to be something fairly glaring to have them actually find an act of congress unconstitutional. >> well, that's right. that's the tradition although it's a tradition that fades away. you know, you get five votes to strike something down -- [laughter] and that has happened fairly often. in fact, senator specter who's
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departing from congress voluntarily, he made a speech after speech about how the supreme court is dissing congress, it isn't deferential enough to congress and its enactments. and i think he had a good point in a way. of course, you know, if congress enacts something that's obviously, patently unconstitutional, that's what the supreme court is there to do is to say, you can't do this. but in a kind of gray area i think, you're right, there is or should be a presumption of constitutionality. >> well, there are a couple of really interesting kind of explosive things. the whole question about the extension of the debt limit coming up which i think most people is going to happen
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sometime early march. is there some kind of really childish chicken game being played here by people who just want to use this as leverage to force down government spending? >> nothing childish about that issue. it is, it's real, and it's big, and people have run on it. they're committed to it. but it does sound a lot like, i don't know how many of you have studied world war i history. are you familiar with the phrase glorious little war? that sense that a war is coming, it's going to be great, and then they discover trench warfare for, what, how long did that go on? three years or something? you know, it's actually not great once you're in a middle of it. but there are freshman who are very eager. you've heard them on radio stations, television making comments about it. you know, we are ready for this, we want to see this, we want to see this through, and we're not going to vote to raise the debt limit. well, i think part of the
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difficulty of this issue is that there's a lot of people think that the way o not reach the debt limit is the way you don't reach your debt limit, you just sort of stop spending for a while and then gradually things will even out. but most of our budget, the federal budget isn't discretionary spending. it's things like interest on the national debt, interest rates go up even a little bit, and, you know, $14 trillion of debt interest mounts up rather quickly, and be bankers want to be paid. so that sense of what can actually be done between now and april to stay below that debt limit, that question hasn't been engaged yet. freshman are still talking about it as if it's just a matter of political will, and if only those foolish democrats will agree to some cuts in spending, we'll be fine. and what i'm excited about with this congress, especially on the house side, is a promise.
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we'll see if speaker-elect boehner keeps the promise. it's a promise that there will be amendments on the floor. that hasn't happened in quite a while. where you can see a real debate on the house of representatives in an issue where a volt actually means -- vote actually means something. so you're going to see a whole series of very pointed discussions about what actually is a wasted dollar. where can we cut, what will happen when the country runs up against the debt ceiling? we have some nice examples in europe. it's not pretty. greece is not a pretty picture right now. the thing that concerns me beyond the fact that i don't think we're really understanding what the consequences are yet of hitting the debt ceiling and what reasonably can be done between now and then to prevent it is a lot of freshman have told me, many that i've talked to, that they think fox news will save them.
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they think that the difference between now i and when newt gingrich went toe to toe with the white house over shutting down government was that people just didn't understand that it was really clinton's fault. they think that this time, thanks to fox news which a lot of people listen to, people will understand that it's the democrats and president obama who are not willing to rein in their free-spending ways and that the republicans are really standing up for righteousness. they also think that if government does shut down, it will be short. well, the reason it was short the last time was that, you know, republicans got scared about the outcome. i think a lot of this is even though this -- i started out by saying everyone remembers history. there's a sense in which we don't remember history or that we're remembering it in this a fresh way. and i think the fresh way of understanding this very important vote is, one, it's going to be a splendid little war, two with, we have a 500-pound gorilla on our side with fox news and, three, we can, we can really stare the
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democrats down into making spending cuts they wouldn't otherwise makeover the threat of a shutdown. but i in the end, we know it won't actually happen. >> ken, there are a couple of kind of interesting things that are going on in terms of things the white house wanted to do, would like to do, have, obviously, encountered obstacles. one, of course, is the environmental problem of greenhouse gas which, of course, they do have a supreme court decision behind them on this, that 2007 massachusetts v. epa case. do you think they're going to push the regulatory lever far enough or whether the republicans are going to try to push back on that? >> yeah. well, that's sort of a fundamental question we're asking ourselves looking at the next two years. the president does have in place an activist epa administrator and a lot of people around him
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who want him to do just that, to use the epa's regulatory power and that supreme court decision to push ahead and, in effect, circumventing congress and take on greenhouse gases. and i think obama is amenable to doing that, but one thing about obama is that to some extent he's somewhat of a mystery as to how far he will go. not only on the epa issue and regulation, but just in confronting the republicans and so on. this idea of him using regulation and using the powers of the executive to get things done is something they're debating actively at the white house because of the problems they feel they're going to have in congress. so you're going to see a lot of that unilateral action for president obama. but the question i have and a lot of other people have is, as i say, how far will he go?


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