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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 14, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EST

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15th severe systemic financial crises in the second half of the '20s century. in a decade after financial crisis, economies grow on average 1.5 percentage points slower than he did in the decade before. which is huge. huge recession, slow recovery, modest expansion, settling into a growth path that would've been subpar from the decade before. how come? part individuals, part government of the individual part is there's a wicked leverage cycle. they build up a leverage which made the bubble and the crisis possible, but after you've leveraged you have to deleverage and that's about seven years worth of deleveraging. there's also a government part to it. ..
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>> that's a sea anchor expansion. >> it's not that the administration hasn't tried to deal with the problem. >> the problem is that t.a.r.p. was such sorely exercised that it would be a brave white house that went to the congress and said, well, why don't we try it again. >> you think that's what needs to happen? >> we have to force the financial institutions to recognize the losses on their balance sheets. we want the financial institutions to continue so as in most -- actually all systemic financial crisis, private stakes
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become public obligations. >> they have to face up to it. >> we have to face up to it and a lesson in financial crisis is the quicker you deal with the problem, the smaller the overall cost. >> right. it's a tall order. >> the fact we're the reserve currency, the fact we're the epicenter of a financial crisis and have flight to safety close to us means we're not forced to make the adjustments. our currency didn't depreciate like most, so politicians haven't had a discipline, that stop of credit, and therefore can postpone hard decisions. >> what do you make on this? is there more to be done on mortgage relief? numerous initiatives here, none of them strikingly successful, maybe you disagree, but is there more to be done? >> well, i guess what i say just to start is i think the research that vincent and others have
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done about realities with the financial crisis is sobering, and for us inside the administration, we have been very much focused on the fact that we can't let up and think and be lulled into a sense of complacency when there is a lot of work left to be done to repair the damage, and ultimately, repair the damage for households and for workers. i think it is, you know, it is important to recognize the distance that we've traveled, and that while there is healing left to be done, we are in a dramatically different place than we were a year ago and two years ago, and there is no question that while there is work to be done, there were a set of hard and difficult choices. one place where i might take a modest rn is that --
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issue, is that the political choices that the president and the congress have took at the end of 2008 and imining of 2009 in laying out a plan to address. certainly we're not easy and we're not seen as sort of taking a pass. that said, i think what, you know, in the house, there's no question that we need to remain vigilant about now allowing the housing market to be a constant drag on economic recovery. some of the programs in place have been more successful than people give us credit for. both because they have helped borrowers stay in their home and avoid foreclosure, but also because they helped start to move the private sector into a position where there's more standardized prophesies for foreclosure mitigation across the industry. we still have to work on that, and frankly, we are working on
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it every day at a level to get that right. i think the answer is looking for every opportunity to bolster the economic recovery through financial reform or frankly steps like the tax deal at the edged of last year which if you look at the independent forecasters, some of them added between a half of percentage point to a full point to their forecast which going back to where you started is the very significant thing as we try to recover. >> tim, do you have a view on the legacy of the great recession issue? i mean, what's the key issue in your mind going forward? the key break in the recovery. >> two things. win is i think we have to get -- one is i think we have to get some political consensus on how much regulation we want and how rigorously it should be enforced. until we have that, businesses and the financial sector firms
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are operating in a world of uncertain sigh and then you don't get out there and really buy your trade in a vigorous fashion. >> you don't see this emerging? >> i haven't yet. i see different views of the future out there. i think the realities are going to force us to get an operating census within a couple years, but it's going to be hard, and i don't know when it's going to come out. there's another question raised about the state of the union and what our priorities ought to be, and one of them was identified as investment in r and d. you want to be a research leader in the world and so forth. what i see is that we are world leaders in developing new clean energy technologies, but then the money suspect there to actually implement them to scale them up. >> right. >> in fact, a lot of
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pathological progress is made in implementing and scaling, but what do we have? we have firms that develop new technology. it doesn't have to go to china to get the financing and market conditions to let them build the product and scale it up so it's competitive. i think, you know, what's happening in the financial sector and constraints on lending happened object regulatory side that affects expectations of the market in the future. these things circle back and affect our competitiveness. >> in a sobering way. >> absolutely. >> thank you. we're out of time, but thank you for those observations. i enjoyed that very much. >> president barak obama set congress a $3 trillion budget today. it calls for $1 trillion in savings over the next decade with tax increases. he explains what's in the budget and what's getting cut.
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that's coming up in 15 minutes here on c-span2. in the meantime, looking at president obama's at a middle school in baltimore talking about the budget plan. this is about 10 minutes. >> well, good morning, everybody. i am here at parkville middle school and center of technology outside of baltimore with secretary arnie duncan and jack lou. we are unvailing the budget, and doing so for a reason. i want to thank principal buddy parker for showing us around and as well as the 8th grade science teacher who we just visited with in her classroom. over the last few weeks, i've
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traveled the country talking about what we need to do to win the future, talked about the need to invest in innovation so that the next big idea is discovered here in the united states of america. i've talked about the need to invest in high speed rail and high-speed internet so that companies can move goods and information faster than ever, and this week i'll be talking about the need to invest in education in places like parkville so that every american is equipped to compete with any worker anywhere in the world. these investments are an essential part of the budget my administration is sending to congress because i'm convinced if we have bills to help innovate and outeducate and outhustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industry of our time will take root here in the united states. our people will prosper, and our country will succeed. i'm also convinced the only way we can make these investments in
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the future is if the government starts living listen its mean, we start taking responsibility for our deficits. that's why when i was sworn in as president i pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term. the budget i'm proposing today meets that pledge and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade. we do this in part by eliminating waste and cutting whatever spending we can do without. by start -- as a start, i called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. this cuts the deficit by more than $400 billion in the thex decade. bringing this spending, domestic discretionary spending, to the lowest share of our economy since dwight eisenhower was president. i'll repeat that. because of our budget, this share of spending will be at its
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lowest level since dwight eisenhower was president. that lower of -- that level of spending is lower than the last three administration, and it will be lower than it was under ronald reagan. now, some of the savings come through less waste and more efficienciment one example, by getting rid of 14,000 office buildings, government lots, and properties we no longer need, we save taxpayers bill -- billions of dollars. programs we do need we are making work better instead of spending first and asking later. we are delivering results and to make sure they are not ling up legislation with pet projects, i plan to veto any bill that contains earmarks. still, even as we cut waste and
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efficiency, this budget freeze will require some tough choices. it will mean cutting things that i care deeply about. for example, community action programs and low income neighborhoods and towns and community development block plans that so many of our cities and states rely on, but if we're going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary. i'm also looking forward to working with members of both parties to take steps beyond this budget freeze because cutting annual domestic spending won't be enough to meet our long term fiscal challenges. as the bipartisan fiscal commission concluded, the only way to truly tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it in domestic spend, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. what we've done here is made a down payment, but there's going
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to be more work that needs to be done, and it requires democrats and republicans coming together to make it happen. we've begun to do some of this with $87 billion in -- $78 billion in the defense department's budget plan, by adding tax breaks for oil and gas companies and through billions of dollars in savings in wasteful health department spending making sure doctors don't see the reimbursement flash and that they stay in the system on the same pages, but here's the thing. while it's absolutely essential to live within our means, while we are absolutely committed to working with democrats and republicans to find further savings and to look at the whole range of budget issues, we can't sacrifice our future in the process, even as we cut out things that we can afford to do without, we have a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the
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biggest impact in our future, and that's especially true when it comes to education. right now, this school, parkville, is preparing our kids for the jobs and careers of the 21st century. the school that nurtures what students are passionate about and prepares them for success. students in the mag innocent program here take courses in each of four subjects from applied engineering to environmental science, gradually focusing their studies on one subject over the next couple of years. i'm told the most popular subject at this school is engineering, and that's important because today the most common educational background for america's top business leaders isn't economics. it's not finance. it's not even business. it's engineering. engineering and math, critical thinking, problem solving, these are the kind of subjects and skills that our kids need to
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achieve success in the 21st century and we are spearheading a drive to fund new teachers over the next five years and train 100,000 new teachers in those field and pushing forward on a race to the top in our schools that led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning for less than 1% of what we spend on education each year. that's j we're protect -- that's why we're protecting the more than $8 million increase that we added for the widely used scholarships and putting them on a firm footing for years to come. that's why we're on track to meet the goal i set when i took office. by 2020, america will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. i know the american people understand why this is so important, and i think that those of us who are working in washington need to understand
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why these investments in the future are so important as well. i mentioned in my weekly radio address a letter that i recently got from a woman named brenda. she's a mom, a special ed teacher in missouri, and her husband, david, lost his job. money's been tight for the family, and they've had to sacrifice the little things that they can do without. one thing that brenda knows she can't afford to sacrifice is her daughter rachel's education. that's why she's looking at we speak for a second job to help put rachel through college and ensure as she told me that the money is there to help rachel with her future. what's true for brenda's family is true for the larger american family. education is an up vestment that we -- investment that we need to win the future just like innovation is an investment that we need to
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win the future. just like infrastructure is an inestment we need to win the future, and to make sure that we can afford the investments, we have to get serious about cutting back on those things that would have nice to have, but we can do without. that's what families across the country do every day. they live within their means, and they invest in their family's futures. it's time we do the same thing as a country. that's how we're going to get our fiscal house in order. that's how we will grow our economy and attract jobs to our shores and that's how we will win the future in the 21st century. thank you very much, everybody. >> that was the president speaking about the release of his budget today, a $3.7 trillion budget. you're now looking at an image of the white house. budget director is expected to speak here moment tearily about
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the fiscal request. that budget request calls for a five-year freeze on the portion of the government's nonmandatory spending and director lou is expected to be joined by austin. he will be bringing you live coverage right here on c-span expwrn 2. the president's plan calls for a trillion dollars in deficit savings over the next decade, and he'll achieve that with tax increases and the budget chief is expected here moe men -- shortly. we'll explain what's in the budget and that's being cut.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> while we wait for the budget directors here at the white house, we will take a look at how some of c-span's viewers responded to the budget release this morning. >> was the president's budget cut enough? here's a story from the washington post. $3.7 trillion number for this year and makes the point that the president's budget makes key investments in education, transportation, and research to boost the nation's economy and reduce record budget deficits. senior administration officials cast the document as a responsible alternative to the
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deep spending cuts republicans vote this week on the house floor urging those votes on this year's budget and repeat here that reduced deficits to $1.1 trillion, two-thirds coming from programs that democrats long favored. that's in the "washington post" this morning. "new york times" writes a cautious approach seeking bipartisan appeal. with the budget he is going to unvail today, the president is after the bold comprehensive approach to reign in the debt that his own fiscal commission said is needed. now, that decision partly reflected mr. obama's caution but a white house calculation that, "now is too soon for the nation's political system and that boldness could backfire wounding not just a president facing reelection next year, but also the prospect for bipartisan agreement on the tax and spending cut proposals that all
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sides realize are needed to truly stem the red ink in a nation confronting high health care costs and an aging population." there's plenty people here in both parties agree with that white house logic. let's get your calls. here is a quick look at the white house budget director, jack lew. >> our budget will get us over the next several years to the point where we can look the american people in the eye saying we're not adding to the debt anymore. we are spending money we have each year and working on bringing down our national debt. the notion we can do this painlessly, it's not possible to do that. we're going to make tough choices. the question is do we do it in a way while we make tough tradeoffs, we have the critical investments to create jobs for the american people so can
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compete in the world of the 21st century. we have to find a way to come together and it may well be it can happen in congress. chairman of the senate budget committee, content conrad, people first have to come off their fixed positions. with republicans holding a bigger minority in the senate, the party needs time to at least push its own ambitious agenda to reduce government with the deepest spending cuts in memory. political tea party activists who fueled the party election gains in november. all that being said with the house speaker john boehner speaking yesterday. >> we're broke. what's really dangerous is if we continue to do nothing and allow the status quo to stay in place. when are we beginning to get serious about steady spending?
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our members want to take this leap forward because it has to happen, and it needs to start now. >> host: but if you were serious about cutting spending as you just said, wouldn't you deal with the biggest culprits in the budget? you're not doing that. hold on. you're not dealing with military or intelligence, but a small portion, 60% of the budget. >> guest: this is the first step, and as i said, there's many steps to follow. there are defense spending cuts in this package. there are mandatory spending cuts that you'll see brought to the floor here in the coming weeks. you'll see our budget where i got to believe we're going to deal with the entitlement problem. the president asked us to increase the debt limit, and yes, he's going to present a budget tomorrow that continues to destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much. >> host: one of the themes making news thi mis
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critics blast balm's budget for ignoring panel proposals. that's one the headlines. with that set up, john on the line for democrats from virginia. what do you think of the president's budget? >> caller: well, i have a point i wanted to make. $875.29, that represents monthly the subsidized health care that every congressmen in the congress gets. if they have a family plan, they get almost a $200,000 a year salary, and then their health care is subsidized by their taxpayers out there in your listening land by $875.29 monthly. guys like paul ryan and obama care is not american or muslim.
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it's all tied in with this. i say if they want to do something for the . their $875 monthly subsidize health care. host: got the point, john committed several times in the first thought. republican from lake charles, louisiana. what do you make of what you heard about the president's budget? does it do it for you? caller: not at all. $1.10 trillion cut and he has already tripled our debt by more than that. he added twice as much to the debt as we had when he began. it is going to take 10 years under his plan to cut it down to $1.10 trillion? not nearly good enough. we all have to be willing to tighten up our belts a little bit. i think that applies to every citizen.
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i think the tea party can do a good job. i happen to be a member. i am also a very staunch an active republican. we need to become selling the public on the fact that the pig is dead asers skins bowles said. not bringing home the bacon or dividing up the pork. liz: budget plan tracy:. >> caller: thank you for the opportunity. first of all, let me say, very first caller, my fellow democrat, john, i couldn't, i stole a little bit of my thunder there. but i totally agree with john.
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i think the president's cuts are just about right for this time. if he, if he cuts too much, deeper it could risk us going right back into this recession. as you can see over the weekend the housing market is, very precarious right now. it is teetering. the job numbers are not many coming down fast enough. so i think the president is, in his, people, i really think they are just about right on time with their proposals from what i understand at this point. >> host: thanks for your thoughts. with more detail in this "washington post" piece the president will also call for targeted investments that would increase funding for
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energy and medical research. expand the tax credit for corporate research and development. pay to train 100,000 new science and math teachers and fund a wireless network that would bring high-speed internet access to 98% of the americans. there is more here. obama would raise hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh revenue which republicans adamantly opposed. he would increase taxes on wealthy and limiting itemized deductions and bush-era tax breaks to expire in 2012. he would end subsidies for oil and gas companies and eliminate tax breaks for corporations that do business overseas. he assumes congress will develop a plan to introduce a $556 billion transportation bill by increasing the federal tax on gasoline. sanford, north carolina, richard, republican. how are you doing? >> caller: how are you doing, c-span? >> host: what do you think about these cuts?
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>> caller: is he is spending too much money. like runing into a building. and i'm on social security, low income. and like he is just spending. the more he gets, the more he has to spend. high-speed rail? we don't need high-speed rail. you know. i mean, he is just spending. >> host: let's move on to youngstown, ohio, ronald on the line for democrats. hey there. >> caller: good morning. >> host: good morning. >> caller: i think he is cutting too much. like your last caller, he says he is on a social program, social security. a lot of people out here are just flat-out hurting. anymore cuts by the federal government, for example, the home heating proposal, these things are going to hurt people down, that are low-income people yet you
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still see, almost like you're watching jerry springer. you see people coming out of the woodwork in favor of making these cuts that republicans don't even want to own up to the fact that these cuts didn't just all of sudden appear out of the blue, you know. they have had, 30, 40 years of offshoring jobs. sending industry overseas and now all of sudden they're deficit hawks? it makes no sense. thank you. >> host: lead story -- >> leave this program right now. you can find it in its entirety on's. we have jacob lew with the president's budget request. >> i would make four short points. the first is that the forecast that we use has to be locked in for planning purposes as of mid-november of last year. so it predates the tax deal.
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as you know, many of the private forecasters upped their forecasts based on what was in the tax deal and most of that is not in the forecast. number two, real gdp growth on a year-over-year basis, the administration is forecasting 2.7% in 2011, 3.6% in 2012, and 4.6% in 2013. our growth rate for 2011 is a fair bit lower than the consensus of private forecasters surveyed by the blue chip or by the survey of professional forecasters. the longer-run, we anticipate, catching back up. that the potential gdp of the united states has not been severely damaged by this recession. so our medium-run forecast is a bit faster. it's within the so-called central tendency that comes out of the fed fomc forecast
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of last november. which is a, the reasonable range in which they drop off the highest and lowest. it is, rather in the center of that central tendency. so, over a five-year period, the typical recession since world war ii has been followed by a growth rate of a little less than 4.2% over five years. our forecast is about 3.8% over five years. so it is slower than the typical recovery and, we assume that because it is harder to get out of a financial recession. the third point i'd raise is that the unemployment rate in our projection is that the at end of 2011 it would be 9.1%. by the fourth quarter of 2012, would be 8.2%. that was obviously made in mid-november. the unemployment rate currently stands at 9.0%.
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unemployment is likely to fluctuate through the year but any revisions that we have will come out at the mid-session review. finally, for inflation we're projecting in that in 2011 the cpi inflation will be 1.3% some actually decline from where it is now. it is very much in line with other professional forecasters. and that in 2012, 2013, and beyond we go back to something like the fed and others, 2% inflation level. that is basically the overview of what the assumptions r if anybody has questions i can answer those. otherwise we'll switch. chuck? >> white house -- [inaudible] as to. >> as you know the running the budget machinery is extremely enter russ. you can only have one
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forecast. we have to make a policy forecast. as of november we had included the middle income part of the tax cuts getting extended for a year but as you also know we did not anticipate that the tax deal in november, we did not anticipate the deal would be as significant as it turned out to be just as most of the private forecasters did not. >> [inaudible]. 1.6 trillion, we have -- >> we have not gone back to figure that exact thing out. there is in the analytical perspectives volume a sensitivity analysis if the gdp growth rate is better or worse by one percentage point what is the impact on the deficit. i think it's about a little less than $100 billion but it's better not to, rather than speculate about changing what the forecast should be, we updated at the mid-session review. we will see what happens over those six months. >> [inaudible].
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>> i believe -- >> deficit projection they made this year? >> into the deficit forecast go many things. the gdp, the unemployment rate and a number of others. on the short-run gdp forecast it's fair to say our forecast predates the full, the full budget deal of december and the tax deal and the blue chip and others have revised up since they have come out since then. okay. no further questions? i will now turn over to the main event. >> thanks, austan, for reviewing the economic assumptions and now i will say a few words about the budget and then be happy to
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take your questions. the budget that we sent to congress today is a responsible plan that shows that we can live within our means and we can also invest in the future. it cuts spending and crucially it cuts the deficit. we have more than a trillion dollars in deficit reduction. 2/3 from spending cuts, and because of our policy, it puts us on a path so that we're going to reach a sustainable deficit by the middle of the decade. the government will no longer be adding to our debts and a share of economy we'll stablize the deficit. we'll in short be paying for what we spend every year. the goal, to put it simply for the deficit to be in the range of 3% of our economy by the middle of the decade. if, it is important that reducing the deficit is a crucial step for us to take. but at the same time, we need to invest in areas where if we don't invest it will undermined the ability to generate economic growth in the future. so we need to outeducate,
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outbuild and outinnovate so the economy will create jobs in the future. let me go through some of the details of how our budget does this. on the discretionary side, the domestic discretionary side we have a five-year freeze which will save $400 billion over 10 years. that brings spending on this part of the budget down to a level that was as a share of the economy when president eisenhower was in office. part of the cuts are in outdated programs. things that are duplicative. and things that we would choose to cut just because it's the right thing to do. part of the cuts are not going to be in that area. they're going to be things that we wouldn't do but for the fiscal challenges we face and we've enumerated many of them. reductions in community development block grants by $300 million. cutting the community services block grant in half. cutting the low income home energy assistance program by $2.5 billion.
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cutting the great lakes restoration initiative by $125 million. these are all things that in a different environment we wouldn't be looking at making those kinds of reductions. we take a billion dollars out of grants to large airports. almost a billion dollars from state revolving fund for water treatment plants. and, in total, we have 200, more than 200 terminations and reductions. we have a book which, i'm sure many of you will get a copy of that lists how we get $33 billion in savings just in this year alone. the savings are not limited to the domestic area. in the national security budget, well, we're not freezing budgets in that area, we are making serious reductions. in defense, which has been growing faster than inflation for more than a decade, we can no longer afford to say on that path. our budget brings spending on defense down to a no real growth level.
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and that means $78 billion of savings over the next five years. it means that we're going to have to reduce certain weapons systems that we can't afford and that the military doesn't believe we need for our national security. things like the c-17 tanker aircraft and the marine expeditionary vehicle. if you look at the spending for iraq and afghanistan, they're not in the base defense budget. they're in the overseas contingency operations budget. and these actually come down considerably in 2012. because of the withdrawal of troops from iraq, and if you look at the savings in that area, overall spending in defense goes down by more than 5%. now, we're not going to be able to get back into the kind of sustainable situation that we need to just by cutting discretionary spending. the budget looks at other areas as well. it looks at mandatory spending and it looks at revenue. i would like to highlight a
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couple of areas where we have savings in those parts of the budget. every year for the past many years action has been taken in two areas. one, the alternative minimum tax where there's a bipartisan consensus that middle class taxpayers shouldn't fall under the alternative minimum tax. another is the in medicare where there is a bipartisan consensus that we shouldn't cut what we pay doctors in the medicare program by almost 30% because if we did they might stop treating medicare patients. the problem the way we dealt with it for most of the last decade is simply to put the expense on our national credit card and to kick the can down the road. well this budget says we can't do that anymore and in the case of the alternative minimum tax we have a specific offset that pays for an extension of the provision that would keep it from hitting middle class families for three years t would reduce the amount of itemized deductions in the
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top income bracket at 28% which is what the people in the bracket below get and take the value of itemized deductions back to where they were in the reagan administration. we think that is the responsible thing to do. it is a first step towards dealing with cutting back on the spending that goes on in the tax code and we put that in this budget as a way to pay for the alternative minimum tax for the next three years. in the case of the medicare provision we have $62 billion of specific savings in dozens of different parts of the health budget which would pay for two-year extension of the so-called doc fix. now last year in december congress worked on a bipartisan basis and we worked with congress to pass a one-year extension and pay for it. that was the first time it was paid for. it didn't have to be paid for under the budget rules but it was the right thing to do. what we've done in this budget, we've said here are the offsets to pay for it the next two years. we need to work together to deal with it on a longer term basis so it doesn't
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become another year to year charge. i'd like to talk about a couple of aspects of the budget that i called the stewardship area. one, it is the pension benefit guaranty corporation. we've seen over the last few years that the risk to federal government, risk to taxpayers of having to bail out entities is something that we really want to avoid in the future. and in our budget we have a proposal to give the pension benefit guaranty corporation the ability to set premiums which are now very low in a way that matches the default risk. this would give them the ability, participation is voluntary in the pension benefit guaranty corporation but it would shift the burden of the risk from the taxpayers back to the companies that get the benefit. and it would very much reduce the risk that there would be a need for a taxpayer bailout in the future. in unemployment insurance, this has been a very tough time for the unemployment insurance trust funds.
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each of the states has a fund. they have bp heavily, heavily burdened by the recession. we have a proposal that would have a two-year moratorium on federal increases in unemployment insurance taxes. and i should point out, because the trust fund, state funds borrowed from the federal government, those automatically would go into effect without the moratorium. and we said, give the states two years to get their funds back in solid shape. that means that going into the next time they need to draw down because unemployment is an issue, they will be in a financial position to do so. then in 2014, once we're well into the recovery, we've proposed that we adjust the wage base in the unemployment system so that in real terms it stays where it was the last time it was set in 1983 under president reagan. let me go through a few other areas of the budget. on the+++
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the most important way that we open the door of opportunity to college for nine million students, it is part of what we need to do in order to have a workforce that's trained for the jobs of the future. and the costs of the pell increases have been rather dramatic. more so than they were originally expected to be. in this budget, we took a number of very difficult decisions to protect the pell increase, to make sure that there doesn't need to be pressure to reduce those annual grants which are now $5550. what we've done we've put in number of provisions. two i like to particularly mention, which have substantial savings that will make it possible to protect the pell grant increases. one is the provision that says, students should get pell grants for the school year but not for summer school. historically, pell grants were only available once a year, for the school year. a few years ago the program was changed so that summer school was treated as a
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separate award. it was expected to cost a few hundred million dollars. it cost several billion dollars. we can't afford that. we're not sure exactly why the costs grew that much. we need to protect the basic pell program. we say summer school shouldn't be eligible one pell grant a year. another proposal, graduate students get student loans. we need to make sure they continue to have access to student loans. we need for access to higher education to be as easy as possible. but under the current law, no interest starts to build up until they graduate. which have a proposal that would start interest accruing while in school but it wouldn't be paid back until graduation. in k-12 we have a variety of reform proposals that really reward innovation and they reward success.
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eliminating 12 tax breaks that now go to oil, gas and coal companies. which will raise $46 billion over 10 years. we also have a comprehensive surface transportation bill which creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in the short term and has a $50 billion up front investment. this is going to support projects of national importance, including high-speed rail and it, consolidates 60 duplicative
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programs which are often over marked into five. now, the investment here is significant and it will require that we work together in a bipartisan basis to make sure that it doesn't increase the deficit. the budget also has a number of reforms which change the way washington does business. putting more federal funding up for competition. cutting waste and reorg miz mizing -- reorganizing government so it better serves the american people. the budget cuts more than $2 billion in administrative overhead. things like travel, printing supplies and advisory contract services it embraces the competitive grant programs based on the race to the top model. and applies that to programs from early childhood education through college. it applies it to allocatedding grants for transportation. workforce training programs and for the way we encourage commercial building efficiency and a electric vehicle deployment.
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we also set up a process that will enable us to quickly dispose of excess federal property so we can actually save billions of dollars by not holding onto property we no longer need and that could be used on the private market. if cutting spending and cutting our deficits is going to require us to put political differences aside, it will require that we work together. you know, we need to make sure that we're making the kinds of cuts that we need to get our deficit under control. but we also need to make sure we're not cutting the things that are vital to the future growth of the economy and how we create jobs for the future. we have a responsible budget which we think does exactly that. it puts us on a path towards having a sustainable federal budget that where the deficit comes down to a level where we're not adding to the debt by the middle of the decade and, in short, it's a program that where we
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will live within our means and still invest in the future. why don't i stop there and take your questions? yeah? >> [inaudible]. ooiled wondering is there a political consideration for the -- [inaudible] >> well, this budget does accomplish what was the task given to the commission to bring the deficit down to 3% of the economy so we would have a sustainable level of federal financing in the future. secondly the budget draws heavily on the ideas of the commission in areas like corporate tax reform which i mentioned. medical malpractice reform. even the government reorganization and handling of surplus property. so there are many, many provisions in this budget that reflect the good work
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done by the commission. i think the commission did something very important. it put on the table a lot of ideas, brought some degree of bipartisan consensus but even more important, civil discussion over things that have been very contentious. and the president in this budget, in the state of the union, tries very hard to distinguish between thedown payment and working together on the long-term solution. this budget is a down payment. it is a very meaningful down payment. if we can accomplish what is in this budget we will set both our federal budget and the economy of course in the right direction. in the areas where, for, the long-term future, you know, there has been a lot of discussion on things like social security. should it be in the budget, shouldn't it be in the budget. i want to make clear first, social security isn't contributing to the deaf -- seven -- deficit in the next
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five to 10 years. we need to make sure workers in this generation and retires in this generation and next generation can reloon or their benefits. the president wants to work together on a bipartisan basis to have a conversation how we can do this in a way that meets our values. i think there is a lot of things in this budget that actually prove that the commission did very important work and that there is still a lot more work to do. >> on the tax reform, did republicans, how does the process get going? >> the process getting going with the president sending a comprehensive budget to the congress. it is a comprehensive budget which puts all areas of the budget on the table. it accomplishes the goal of stablizing our deficit. we look forward to working with the congress on all the areas that are covered. >> thank you on medicare
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payment to doctors, cuts, 62, $63 billion. of that it looks like medicaid provider taxes are the biggest line item, about $18 billion and the second one is pharma cuts of, $12 billion, pay for delay, repeal. could you explain those two budget items, please? >> there are $62 billion of savings in this area. a little over 30 come from provisions which we consider to be program integrity provisions. there are 16 of those provisions. there are things like making sure that if, how a provider has been pay improperly we collect that back in a process called recoupment. it puts in place mechanisms we pay only once for each service and each service we pay for is covered in a legitimate charge. i think all of those, that is roughly half, a little more than half of the
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savings, are things that are, program integrity issues which i would hope are not controversial in terms of, you know, either the political debate or the industry. you know, in the area of medicaid, you know, there's two provisions that have particular savings. one is, a provision that says, that if states are coming in for federal matches, we should make sure we've calibrated the match so that there's a real dollar being paid for a real dollar that is being matched. and that's what the provider tax would do. another piece of the medicaid savings says, as we look out beyond the implementation of the affordable care act, as we look to a time when there is going to be less uncompensated care, we need to calibrate what's called the disproportionate share payment to make sure we're actually giving payments to providers who are treating people with uncompensated, who don't have insurance.
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so the third basket is, in the area of pharmaceuticals, essentially saying that medicare, medicaid, should have access to things like generic biologic drugs. i think all of these fit into a category that are, in an area where everything you do, you know, people study closely, should be a place where we can have a kind of serious discussion and accomplish them. yes? >> [inaudible]. please identify yourself and your outlet. make it easier for everybody. thank you. >> connie law, audio video news. what sort of cuts are you proposing for veterans care, especially, g.i. bill, housing, medical, therapeutic expenses? do you know if the republicans are also proposing any veterans cuts? >> well, we have, you know, substantially-funded the veteran programs. i'd have to get back to you on all of the specific details but, we have not cut
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back on, in a serious way on benefits to veterans. you know, we've, we've worked through the process of forward funding, to come back in and backfill where the forward funding was not adequate to fund levels of current need. so it is a little bit confusing sometimes to look at the va budget now because it comes in two pieces. the part that is advance appropriated. what we did in this budget, in a year, i think this may be the first year this has been necessary. we then trued up the funding so that it va actually has the money that it needs. not just to continue to provide benefits but do some very important reforms that the va is doing to improve the quality of its service and the way it does business. >> [inaudible]. >> you know, i have to say that i have to get back to you this weekend i did not actually have time to look at each of the specific proposals that was on the table.
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>> thanks. margaret tolliver with mcclatchy. the president talked during the state of the union how this was a sputnik moment for the u.s. i'm wondering beyond the 148 billion, if you have to add up everything you think falls into sputnik spending what would it be? if the republicans don't get it, in your opinion, what is your recourse? >> i can't give you a number off the top of my head. i think the 148 billion in research and development is the core of it. education is part of it as well. i just came from a school in maryland where the president announced the release of his budget. it was pretty exciting to look out at hundreds of students whose favorite subject is science, math, engineering. they're getting education that they need to be able to get the jobs of the future and to be able to build the economy of the future. so it is not just the r&d part of the budget. it is also the education part of the budget that really is part of how we
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prepare to be able to stay at the cutting-edge. we spend more than any other country on r&d. one of the things we try to do in this budget is target our spending to those areas with a little bit of a push the united states can get a step ahead so we can be the most competitive going into the future. we can get back to you with some specific numbers that pull together different parts of the budget. yeah? >> mr. director, interesting to hear you say that social security -- >> microphone. >> [inaudible]. mr. director, it was interesting to hear you say social security isn't contributing to the budget deficit but why is social security still on the table? majority leader reid said quit picking on social security. isn't it solvent until 2037 with the money seniors paid into it? >> what the president has said we need to look ahead and make sure people working today can count on the
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benefits being paid when they retire. it is not a urgent moment to do it. it is not anything that will happen this year or next year. it is right thing to do to look way in advance and look far down the road. it is not something that would affect the short-term budget horizon but it is still the right thing for us to do in the right way and the president laid out in the state of the union and the budget principles we think reflect the right way. back here. >> victoria jones, talk radio news. you said it will require all sides to put their political differences aside but you have to know that both sides of congress are very, very entrenched in their views and that house republicans intend to cut $100 billion just in the next seven and a half months. so isn't this really wishful thinking on your part? >> i think that it is fair to say that every side
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begins with its deeply-hell views. we have our deeply-held views. they have their deeply-held views. i think it is also true looking ahead have a hard time looking where the moments of coming together are. last november no one was predicting that the congress and president would come together and do something both important and historic in passing the tax bill we passed last december. both sides had to come off of positions if they pushed them would make it so there couldn't be an agreement and find that space in the middle where there could be an agreement. i think that is the pattern how you work in a bipartisan way. it is true in the '80s. it is true in the '90s and it is true today. i think we put down a reasonable plan, a comprehensive plan. it's our plan and we understand that's the beginning of the process. we've also said that we don't have a monopoly on all wisdom and we look forward to working with the congress. there is no doubt going to be many challenging moments but i think we have to work together and work frankly in the interests of the
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american people to reach agreements where we can agree. . . >> it took years to get back to the point where the parties could get together, and that was facing a financial crisis at the time. i think what the president's trying to do is set a tone for the discussion so that we can engage in a responsible way. i believe that's the way you
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have effective discussions, so i think we've done what's most constructive, most productive. >> boston globe. i have a question and you said this reflects the president's priorities on education and various things. what does the president say to a low income elderly person in massachusetts who can't afford to pay their heating bills. why are you investing in wireless instead of helping her pay her bill. >> you're asking why we are making a reduction in the low income energy assistance program, and i have to tell you this is a very hard cut. this is a cut that has real impactment going back to 2008, the program was funded at roughly $2.5 billion. we had a huge spike in energy prices, and the program doubled to $5 billion. we're now at a price level
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that's close to where we were before that increase. looking at our fiscal challenges, we can't straight line the program at $5 billion. we went back to the level it was at when prices were roughly the same. this does have impact. again, i hate to talk about the old days, but i helped create the low energy home assistance program when i worked for speaker o'neill in the 70s. it's done an enormous amount of good for a lot of people. it was meant to be a grant program that the states administered. balancing our fiscal challenges and the funding change from 2008 until now, we made the tough decision. we said in the documents and the budget that we will keep our eyes on what prices go and what the need of the future is, but we can't cruise at a historic high spending level when we're
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trying to make these very difficult savings. in terms of investing in the future, we've been very clear that we need to create more opportunities to invest in education, in innovation, and in billing the infrastructure for the future, so we've had tough tradeoffs. yeah? >> speaking of those very thing, could you give us a one year, 12 number for these types of new investment? what is the total number for 2012? are they permanent programs or temporary programs or a mix, and if so, what's the 10 year cost? >> i have to get back to you want exact numbers year to year, but general appropriations are annual requests. we have the 2012 funding levels in the budget. in the case of the infrastructure program, what we propose is reauthorizing the
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surface transportation bill, so that would be a multiyear commitment. as far as what the total comes to, we can get back after. yeah? >> with "politico". you said in the opening remarks that we were going to pay for what we spend every year with this budget, but looking specifically at the sgr fix, most of the savings that is paid for is coming from that fix coming in the out year, not in the years you're fixing the payment level. presumably then, you have to find another solution which seems to change it into the year to year problem we had with the sgr payment rate in the first place. speak to how that's consistent with the principles you laid out. >> under the way budget scoring rules work, you typically look at the savings in the entire window and apply them to
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spending in any one of the years. by locking in savings over 10 years, we are actually paying for the two year extension. as far as the future goes, we're going to need to redouble our efforts in this window where we have three years of paid for fixes to work together to come up with a sensible reimbursement approach which we pay for and fix on a more permanent basis. building in a window between law enacted in december and what we've proposed of three years should give us the opportunity to do that. where you have a bipartisan consensus that the law takes affect doesn't make sense, three years should give us the time to figure out how to fix it if you pay for it. >> you're not paying for it out of your -- >> we're paying for the two year extension. we are fully paying for the two year extension so that -- i'm distinguishing that from dealing with, you know, the permanent fix. it's a very significant down payment.
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yes? >> sean riley, federal times. you are anticipating a growth in the work force of about 15,000. given the emphasis on the programs you cut, what do you contribute the growth to in general and any specific areas in which you expect expansion? >> many agencies are shrinking, few are growing, and the growth is an area for the most part that relates to new activities, so, for example, implementing reform requires new personnel at the frsh ri department, at the fcc, at the commodities future trading commission, so i think if you look agency by agency, you'll see it's not a story of broad-based growth. it's in the most cases pretty concentrated.
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>> i'll ask a one year question. at a time when your friends in the house are talking about cutting like $60 billion, it looks like your policies are actually increasing deficits from 2011 and 2012, and i'm wondering if that's a reaction to the state of the economy, you know, intentional, and if you think it risks sort of antagonizing the process because republicans are reacting with a certain amount of disappointment to this document. >> well, 20 11 is -- 2011 is not a set of policies, but policies already made. we had a bipartisan agreement in november to pass a very important piece of legislation which is one of the reasons we're seeing economic growth and faster job creations, and it was the right thing to do, but it had a clear consequence. it increased the deficit in 2011, and it increased it in a number of wayings. first, there's the payroll tax
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holiday which is putting $1,000 in the average family's checkbook to spend this year. it also extended provisions that would have expired and had they been extended for a normal year, some of the expense would have fallen into the prior fiscal year and concentrated all the expenses in fiscal 2011, so the last part of the calendar year and the beginning of the next calendar year. there's a lot of things making the 2011 deficit go up, but it's really a reflection of policies made. in 2012, you know, there is some tail to the tax agreements. some of the provisions were two years, and we're seeing the end of the some of the spending associated with, you know, the extraordinary measures of the last few years. we said, and i think the commissions have said, and you know, there's a general
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agreement that throwing the brakes on right away is not the chance. if we were to be able to make enormous savings right away, we would say that you only have to start worrying about what the impact on the recovery is. the question is what's happening as you get into 2012 and 2013, are we putting in place the policies to get us to the sustainable level of deficits. we think we put them in and have a sensible mix of policies. they do grow overtime, but once we lock in the five year freeze, there's real impact. the path of defense has real impact as you get into years two, three, four, and five. the entitlement savings, the $42 billion, go on like the tax provisions to pay for the alternative minimum tax. >> john from washington
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journal. can you walk us through how the two-thirds and one-third calculations are made. if you look to the $1.1 trillion in budget deficit, i can see the freeze money, but are you counting the debt service money as a spending cut, and where are the other spending cuts beyond that? >> so the spending includes the freeze, the mandatory savings and all of the other spending programs. it does include interest on the debt which is a spending item. on the tax side, it's a net number, so it is -- it is showing that a third of the part of our $ trillion deficit reduction is the net tax increase. we have a considerable number of provisions that would reduce revenue as well. going through the tails with detail, there's things that raise revenue and other things
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lose revenue and it nets to the number that gives us the savings which is one-third of the 1.1 trillion. >> [inaudible] >> i'm not walking through the numbers, but i gave you the structure of it. it's net savings and net tax cuts with the interest payments counted as spending. >> thank you, usa today. it's a little confusing in four general categories and don't be specific, but maybe there's overall logic to it. when it comes to the wars which you lay out in a table, but then you don't count in sam ways cosh some ways, the amt and the tax cuts, middle class and wealthy, it's a little confusing what the theory is in terms of what's in baseline, what's in budget, what's counted in the deficit
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deficit, ect.. is there a way to explain how you laid these out? >> it's a good question, and i can see it's confusing. there's a lot of aspects of baselines that's very confusing. you know, the baseline assumes that the middle class tax cuts where there was a bipartisan consensus extended is permanent and the upper tax cuts is not extended. we don't cut the spendings to let the top brackets go back. that's in the baseline. on the war spending -- spending for afghanistan in iraq is in a category that's called oversea contingency operations. we do see that coming down from 11 to 12, and that's really reduction in outlays. we have projected in the future that, you know, we don't know
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exactly what the levels will be, but there will be some level of ongoing activity, and we have estimated that to be $50 billion in the outyears, so as we get to each year, that will be a little higher or low depending on where we are, but the budget is not the place to project very specific precise estimate that implies when your troops move and what your levels of activities will be out in the future. on sjr, we assume it will be fixed. we put it in a savings going forward. on the amt, we have only taken credit for fixing the part of amt that we've provided offsets for, so in the baseline, the amt is assumed to be fixed, but it's not assumed to be paid for except for the offsets that we provided, so i hope that helped walk through them in a clear enough way.
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yeah? >> from "politico". you mentioned earlier you hadn't read the republican counterproposals. >> i said i didn't read any, but i had not read them all. >> saved yourself an early valentine's day present. in terms of what you're facing in the negotiations, there are eight divisions within the republican conference in the house. do you feel at the moment that you have a coherent bargaining partner, and how would you rate the complexity of the upcoming negotiations with ones in the past? >> you know, i think that we need to see how things play out this week as the house takes up the 2011 appropriations bill. you know, it's clearly a very deep set of reductions, and there are provisions in it, some of which overlap with things we'd look at, other things we could take issue with. i think it's early for us to
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kind of be responding until we know really precisely what they are going to do. then the senate has to act. this is the first step in the process. there will be opportunity for the white house to engage. i think that it's always complicated when you have a house and a senate that are likely to have different views and a white house that has to work with them to reach a consensus. i think what we do have agreement on is it would not be prudent to shut the government down, and, you know, we look forward to working through these differences once things settle down a little bit more in the house and not -- and in the senate. >> [inaudible] >> you know, i think that the challenges of managing the, you know, either the house or the senate is the responsibility of the leadership. they are working to deal with
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getting a bill through the house. i'm going to wait until they've taken action. >> steven jones. a lot of the message of the budget seems to reflect the theme of the state of the union of winning the future. if you were one of the 8 million or so americans who are unemployed who asked what's in the budget for me in sort of near term or short term job creation benefits, what would you point them towards? >> first, the fact coming out of december, it was a matter of enormous importance to extend unemployment benefits so we're going into the year having a system that still provides a safety net for workers who are struggling. it is a very important backdrop. secondly, looking at the infrastructure proposals, the fact we look for head start that would come at the beginning is very much with an eye towards
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creating immediate opportunity. i think that, you know, while we are very much of the view that there is a recovery underway is reviewed and unemployment is going down, we're not satisfied with where we are. we need to do better. we need to have the economy grow faster. we tbheed to have -- need to have more jobs created, and this budget is designed to deal not just with the short term, but over the hoer horizon that has an economy that does provide those opportunities. >> jew lill davidson -- julie davidson. can you imply how they will balance the work force with discretionary and pay freezes? >> it's going to be a challenge for every agency to work in very constrained fiscal -- in a very constrained fiscal environment. you know, as every family has to
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make choices and every business has to make choices, priorities will have to be set, and getting our priorities oriented around doing the things that are most important is going to be critical. i don't think it's going to be easy. we have a great work force that works very hard, and there are additional burdens being put on the federal work force. we've tried to provide growth where those burdens can't be managed within totals, but we also have to look interimly to get administer to savings in most places. there are more agencies on the domestic side going down than up overall, and these are going to be challenging, difficult years. >> last question. >> yeah. >> you've outlined things for clean water and sewage treatment and relatively small programs where the cuts will be felt.
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how did you single out programs like that where there's expensive programs where $2.5 billion, the impact wouldn't have been felt as much. >> we went through every item on the budget looking at where savings were that we could achieve, and in the case of some of these programs, you know, we see proposals out that that would have deeper cuts. we tried to strike a balance where we think, you know, the social work can go on, and in the case, i went through the case of a detailed explanation of why the funding level was chosen. look at the way we're managing our resources in education, it really does underscore that even where we're investing, we're going to have to take tough tradeoffs to live within our means and invest in the future. it's going to be challenging in many departments to contend with resources that are either frozen or shrinking and challenges that are still important.
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that's why we think this is a budget that shows that we're tightening our belts to live within our means, that we're achieving savings in all areas of the budget. we just didn't say domestic discretionary spending, but it's domestic discretionary spending, defense budgets, revenues, and we have what we think is a comprehensive approach that gets us to that bottom line, and now we look forward to working with the congress so we can get something enacted that's really in the best interest of the american people. >> how will you settle this in the budget? [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> and that was from the white house budget director jack lew. they call for a cut on nonmonday story spending cutting the budget in half by the end of the president's first term. you can find links to details on the budget on our website, the administration is holding a number of briefings today on the president's newly released budget plan. at 2 p.m. eastern, c-span3 has live coverage with defense secretary gates. the defense budget calls for $78 billion in reductions to pentagon spending over the next decade by cutting a number of weapons programs such as the c-17 aircraft, the alternative engine for the joint strike fighter aircraft, and the marine expedition their vehicle. the u.s. senate gavels in at 2 p.m. eastern to continue debate on aviation programs. they are trying to reach an
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agreement on amendments, and at 4:30 eastern, the faa bill will be set aside for debate on a couple judicial nominations with votes on those no , ma'am vaitions at 5:30 eastern. live senate coverage for you on c-span2.
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>> now author and columnist talking about the obama administration's foreign policies. she speaks at the conservative political action conference, and this is about 45 minutes. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. i hope i can talk. i just about completely lost my voice, but i'll try to choke it out. the big news this week is liberals favor democracy in the middle east. [laughter] where were they back when we were taking out the guy with the broom, the one who gassed his own people, who invaded his neighbors, tried to assassinate
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the president of the united states and the one who crawled out of a hole looking like charlie sheen after a three day party? [laughter] liberals could be less interested in democracy when it came to chasing out saddam hussein and starting democracy. [applause] so, it's really adorable seeing them get chocked up about democracy now. you know, if they want to get rid of overbearing out of touch spots, can we start with janet that poll dnaplitano? oh, yes, that's right. we inprovided and we found out he didn't have files of weapons of mass destruction. he had weapons of mass destruction, but liberals told
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us, well, he couldn't have had mass piles of weapons of mass destruction for five years, five long years. while, we invaded in march 2003, so by march 2008, israel would be gone and saddam would be in control of the entire middle east. thanks, liberals. [applause] now they are shocked and appalled to discover there's a dictator in the middle east. [laughter] mubarak supports u.s. policy, used his army to fight islamic terrorists, and he failed to recognize israel's right to exist, or as liberals call it, three strikes and your out. [laughter] also, they shut down google, and you do not stand between a liberal and his internet porn.
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[laughter] liberals angerly site the unemployment numbers in egypt to prove mubarak is a beast who should be gotten rid of. did you see the january unemployment numbers for the u.s.? the only employment sectors that are growing are medical marijuana cashiers and hollywood living sober coaches. [laughter] talk about job security, larry king lost his job. [laughter] are we one jobs report from liberals riots in the streets? oh, you know, another country where obama could not have cared less about democracy, yes, that's right, iran. iran is ideal for democracy. it has a huge young pro-western educated population and happens
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to be led by a holocaust denying lunatic. the liberals say, why upset that apple cart? everything is fine. when ahmadinejad held elections in 2009 and then stole it, iranian students were upset that an election was stolen from them and some pro-ahmadinejad districts, the voting was over 100%. [laughter] oh, no, i'm sorry, i was thinking of al franken's election in minnesota. [cheers and applause] [applause] but the iranian election in 2009 was pretty crooked too, and liberals could not care less. even when the iranian protester was standing peacefully on the street and was shot dead, obama
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responded forcefully by going out for an ice cream cone. [laughter] he didn't acknowledge the existence, but egyptians take to the street and decapitate mummies, and obama says, we hear your voices. [laughter] he couldn't hear our voices, and we were protesting on the streets of washington, d.c.. [cheers and applause] [applause] but, seenings as long as obama -- see, as long as obama is hear their voices, maybe he should ask them what they they of obamacare. [laughter] maybe we needed to decapitate mummies. try that next time. [laughter] to summarize, liberals did not want democracy in north korea, vietnam, china, russia, the
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soviet satellites, east germany, nick roughing way, minnesota -- [laughter] but now, a loyal american ally comes under attack, and they are burning for democracy. time and again democrats recklessness terrified allies and boldened the enemies. in fact, i think that was the official slogan under jimmy carter. [laughter] the u.s. department of state boldening the enemies and hurting american allies since 1976. [laughter] [applause] the lesson of history is do not allow democrats anywhere near foreign policy. [applause] i know what you're thinking, but, nope, not even to keep them
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away from domestic policy. [laughter] it's a problem when people who don't like america are out to defend us. [laughter] for 50 years, democrats have harbored traders, hob knobbed with american enemies who are past american allies, they lost wars and continue innocents to communism. if liberals were stupid, the laws of probability would dictate us, but at least some of their interests serve the united states. [applause] let's review a little more of the democrat's history in the middle east or as i call it the great pyramid scheme. [laughter] there was jimmy carter's masterful handling of the crisis in iran leading america to betray another loyal ally, the shaw of iran and allowing lunatics to take control of that
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country even as carter was back stabbing america's loyal allies, but the shaw assured him don't worry, america has always been our friend. sadly, there was no one to warn the shaw there's a democrat in the white house, run for your life. [laughter] [applause] that little exercise in democracy led to american citizens being held hostage for 444 days until the great ronald reagan was inaugurated. [cheers and applause] yes, america was standing tall under carter. in another show of america's force in the world when the russians invaded afghanistan, jimmy carter did not go for ice cream, but struck a forceful blow by withdrawalling from the
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olympics. 14-year-old girls were hurt when they spent their lives trying out for the olympics. carter claimed he was attacked by a giant swimming rat. [laughter] that doesn't have anything to do with foreign policy, but i thought you should know. [laughter] but in honor of the new civility, i wanted to point out under the advice of george bush, a nuclear sub is named after jimmy carter. it's a good sub, but there's some problems. the periscope works only in hindsight. [laughter] they are subject to hyperinflation. [laughter] whenever it's in a u.s. port, it immediately attacks the united states. [laughter] in carter's defense since he left office, there's not been a single attack on u.s. citizens
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by a giant swimming rat. [laughter] with young people in the audience, now you know when people compare obama to jimmy carter, it's not a complement. it's hard to believe when obama ran for president, he presented himself as a moderate democrat, just a young attractive 14-year-old without a record to be mailed on, and then he got into office, and immediately he turned over our entire health care system to the department of motor vehicles. [laughter] [applause] those lines at the dmv, now imagine you're in one of those lines, but this time you're in a hospital gown that's open in the back. that's obamacare. [applause]
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obama says the price of hurricane will come down -- health insurance will come down if only it's mandatory. it's like the guy never ordered food from a hotel before. [laughter] when you have no choice, does the price go up or down? now republicans are going to have to repeal national health care so we can find out what's not in it. [laughter] [cheers and applause] on immigration, the president's plan is to find the states enforcing our immigration laws and sue them until they stop. i love this argument that we need a pass of citizenship. we have a pass to citizenship. it's called legal immigration. [cheers and applause]
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and after the democrats got clobbered in november elections, they are around the idea that the problem was they were outspent. it was all the corporate money. yes, if only the democrats could get a hold of some part of the mainstream media, just a tiny piece to hold on to for dear life. [laughter] the way things are going, obama might want to look into becoming the president of egypt. [cheers and applause] nobody would complain about him being a muslim there. [laughter] [applause] , but let's end on a happy note
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before i take your questions. wasn't it great to see republicans and democrats sitting together at the state of the union address? [audience reacts] i guess that explains why all over washington they were sold a t-shirts that say i'm with stupid. [applause] i really liked seeing nancy pelosi in the audience and now -- [inaudible] [applause] but the strainest thing was seeing obama not on a golf course. [laughter] every time i see him, the guy's on the golf course and it's like he trying to get his handicap down below his approval numbers. thank you, you've been a great add imrens. don't --
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audience. don't go to law school, and i'll take your questions now. [laughter] >> ann, you have a voice and you still know how to strike a crowd. i was going to ask this question last year, but where do you get your energy to keep going like this always? >> i find leading the "new york times". [laughter] it keeps you going. it's my exercise regime. [laughter] is there a mic there? i don't know where to look. oh, there. >> there's nobody there. >> go. >> who, me? [laughter] last year the voters of rhode island were asked to change the state's name to just the state because it offended some people. just to inform local people,
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there's a big island called rhode island and the may was called the plantation, and i'm sure you have familiarity with my state. what do you think of that suggestion that was overwhelmingly defeated by the voters of rhode island. >> good for them. it's like a liberal. they import slaves. they hold slaves. they go to war in a civil war to defend slavery. they install legal discrimination against blacks for 100 years, and then, you know, 20 years later they act like it was republicans doing it, and they are going to rush around and change names. we can use help from the democrats when it matters, not when it's been -- [inaudible] [applause] >> i'm ms. coulter, thank you. you mentioned this earlier in
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your speech, but why is it exactly that republicans believe that free and fair elections ors democracy could exist in iraq where we invaded, and yet it can't exist in egypt which is also an arab nation when they are calling for democracy in a sort of grass roots movement? >> well, perhaps it will. it's not as clear what the outcome is in egypt. it was clear in iraq, and we had american servicemen there to make sure the elections were held fairly, and when those iraqis were out waving their hands thrilled to have democracy, you could not find more long faces on the democrats, and not just john kerry. [cheers and applause] similarly, in iran, and by the way, iraq and iran are similar
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in this regard. they are perfect for regime change because the people are saying their leaders were insane. that's where you want to take out the leader. in some countries, in fact, it's one or the other in the muslim countries, either the leaders are crazy and the people are sane or the people are crazy and the leaders are sane. in the latter case, don't take out the sane leaders and allow democracy in pakistan or afghanistan. egypt isn't quite that. it seems to be a little closer to iran or iraq, but what's the obvious outcome here? in iran there had been an election. the moderates had won, and ahmadinejad stole the election. we don't know what's happening in egypt. it may be okay now. the military is running things. don't tell liberals. [laughter] i mean, i think republicans were
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no longer and isolationist party, but were not a busy-body party either. if it's not broke, don't fix it. if we have an ally who is helpful to the utes as mubarak was, why are you wanting to stir up trouble like that? we can't help every country like iraq and turn them all into beautiful peaceful democracies. we can't do that in every country across the world. there's a point where we end up wasting our resources. i'm a bigger fan of the war in iraq than george bush is i think, but you don't disturb countries where you have a loyal ally. >> what is more important to american values though, being friends with israel still or knowing that they are jailing journalists? [applause] >> what do you mean knowing there are jailed journalists? i think there should be more
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jailed journalists. [cheers and applause] [applause] >> hi, ann, i'm brian from massachusetts, and i was here last year and almost the last question. i'm proud to be from massachusetts after we took back the kennedy seat and scott brown won. my question for you is, well, actually two questions. one is how do you -- i know i'm at a point now in politics where i feel the lack of true conservatism doesn't come through as much as it ought to. [inaudible] >> oh, it's massachusetts, give him a break. you're lucky it's not joe testify -- joseph stalin.
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>> could be worse, it would be barney frank. i worked on the campaign. >> the question is why don't we have real conservatism? i think this is probably changing, but i mean, the defense i give to republicans who come to washington running as conservatives and not os governing as conservatives is they don't get rewarded at the ballot box for cutting programs. i think the tea party may change that now, but when you have all of these -- [applause] i mean, the perfect key of it is arnold in california who puts these items on the ballot when he first comes in to take away some of the policies the public sector has, but every public sector in california, all their relatives and neighbors are
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going to vote in that election, but a lot of rest of california woke up the day after the elections and said, oh, was there an election yesterday? he lost all of his initiative, and then he started governing like a democrat, and the same thing happens in washington. you move to cut something that's utterly useless like the national endowment of the arts, the department of agriculture or the most depressive organization of all, the department of education -- [cheers and applause] and every one who works for the department of education, everyone who gets a grant from the department of the state is the sworn enemy, but how far credit do you get from americans who are for the programs, but that's why you need an
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observance electorat. start demanding that programs get cut. [applause] >> thank you. >> hi, ann, i'm from texas state university. thank you so much for coming to speak with us, and i did see the interview you did with joy hehar and whether people -- >> with who? >> joye behar. the specific one was where she wondered if the people loved you or hated you, and i wanted to let you know, we do love you. [applause] >> thank you. >> and my question is what would you say to college students who want to promote conservative values on campus? >> go get them. [laughter] i mean, what do you do precisely? i mean, the one thing i'll say
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is as much as you feel oppressed and like you're the minority, the appeal, and you'll be surprised when you speak the truth how many people will listen, and how many people may be either already agreeing with you or when one hears the truth will agree with you. don't be like a politician and take a poll and then decide what your position is. the truth is inherently appealing. [applause] >> we have another microphone over here. >> oh, sorry. >> oh, we're going there. >> i'm wondering what you think of the playing field of the 2012 elections. >> what i think about that? >> the playing field of the 2012 elections. >> i may as well tell you my prediction because i'm -- you can either totally congratulate me or laugh at me two years from now.
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i think, i think, i don't like to attack republicans. many of them have excellent characteristics and they are good in the positions they're in now and i support them and their positions as representatives or governors or fox news hosts -- [laughter] but i think, well, it's in nutshell, if we don't run chris van chris van chris christie, mitt romney will be the nominee. [cheers and applause] by the way, i warned you about mccain, lone voice in the woods. [applause] >> i was going to ask a question, but who's your least favorite democrat? >> oh, boy.
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[laughter] it's like asking my least favorite disease. [applause] >> also, who is your favorite democrat, if you have one. [laughter] >> i was just thinking about democrats. i just can't say. i can't do my least favorite, i'm sorry. cancer. [laughter] i can pay jim webb. he served our country honorably, and even when he votes for things that i think are very bad for the country, he is such an honorable american. i'm really glad he's not running again because i hate have a democrat out there that i can't hate. [laughter] there are a few others, bobby rush, former black panther.
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[laughter] i'll give you one more just because of the history, terrible, terrible liberal now, but john louis was a total hero during the freedom ride, and you can't make somebody like that. it drives me crazy he's become a liberal, but he's one that's hard to hate because of his proud history. [applause] >> thank you for being here today. i'm tom from new york. so much of the structure of the overreach is based or not commerce clause. as leading voice of the conservative movement, do you want to repeal and replace with an amendment that clarifies that government cannot be overstretched? >> no, just add an amendment that says please read this document before you make a decision. [applause] >> unfortunately -- >> there, we have it. it was my law firm who brought
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one the two big commerce decisions. we got the morris act declared unconstitutional because violence against woman is not the matter of commerce, and the other was lopez, the gun free school zone act, and that was the first time in half a century the supreme court found anyone for the commerce closes, but they found those two, and as i said on hannity a few weeks ago, if the supreme court finds that congress has authority under its constitutional right to regular late interstate commerce to force americans to purchase a product such as health insurance, then they need to introduce bills requiring all americans to buy a gun, to buy a bible -- [cheers and applause] [applause] to buy drinks for blonds.
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[laughter] >> my name a gimme. i have a serious question. do you think our situation as a country, ann, is more complex than just right versus right, conservative versus liberal or republican versus democrat? [applause] >> well, there's nothing good about liberals, so they will constantly be a boil on american's backs, but, yes, i mean, as i said, you do have this problem of democracy where people keep voting goodies for thoamses whether it's the department of education grant or corporate welfare, and that's why it's hard to cut spending unless you start rewarding republicans who cut spending, they are not going to cut spending. they are getting reelected. [applause] >> thank you. >> go here now. >> i'm cody from patrick henry
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college. i'm a conservative. i think truth is important, but i'm a sophomore journalism major, is there hope for me? >> take the college off your resumé. i don't know, i think the mainstream media would be championing us a bit to have a few conservatives and fox news comes along and crushes all of them by feeling out what appeals to this niche of american tv viewers, half of america. [laughter] wow, why doesn't anybody think of that before, and the strange thing is, you know, normally when someone comes along with a fantastic product that everybody wants to buy, you know, and ann iphone, there's imitators coming up and everybody is imitating google. it's popular. you have imitators trying to get an alternative search engine,
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but fox comes along, and the rest of the mainstream media acts like it's 1960. they refuse to imitate skees. [laughter] -- success. [laughter] >> oh, last question. >> given controversies, do you think -- [inaudible] >> there's a long answer for the last question. yeah, i was so proud for the speaker, and i talked about dropping the gay marriage. no, i think it's very important because we watched this for 30 years. the west keeps using one group of another to destroy the family. that is their goal, destroy the family. they used women, the feminists come out for no-fault divorce and i can have a child without a husband. they use the blacks, and
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congratulations, liberals, you about destroyed the black family with these brilliant promotions of single motherhood policies, and now they are using the gays. i mean, this is the whackiest thing. like many of you, i was friends of the gays, and then liberals come along with some idea no one thought of a thousand years of gay marriage. i wake up a friend, and next week i'm a homophobe. no, you can't do that. it has nothing to do with them liking gays. only do use this as a way to attack the family because liberals want the family destroyed, religion destroyed because then you have loyalty directly to the state.
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[cheers and applause] [cheers and applause] i have one more point. [cheers and applause] okayment i know it's the end and you are giving me a standing ovation because you want me off the stage, but i have one more point. look, i am a born again, evangelical christian as they come. i am a friend of the gays. on one hand, i mean, i -- look, the conservative argument is, well, look, first, the gay argument is why do conservatives ask like our spin is worse than
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any other spin. do none of you have premarital sex? all of you are tithing every year, and, no, of course not, so i think there is a little extra animosity directed toward gays, but the conservatives say, fine, but we don't go to cpac called republicans against tithing or republicans for premarital sex. to that it's different than being gay. you have culture telling gays you should be liberal like culture used to tell women, you don't support abortion, you must hate women. this is the left trying to co-op. for now, i want gays to be a part of conservatives the way women and blacks are without -- [applause] without a special designation. [applause]
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we don't need the special designation for it. i would prefer that, but, you know, there is something to being gay a part from this. this is what i want their no motto to be by the way. [laughter] there is something -- this is why i get along with gays. we like the same music, same cocktails, often the same man. [laughter] there is a whole culture to it, and i know gays who are chased, and i don't want to diss them. i honor them, god is saying to gays what he said to abraham, give up something you love for me. that's a tough cross to bear. i admire gays who do it, but i can't tell you that i'm without sin as none of us are, so i
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guess that's, that's the big point. the left is trying to co-op gays. i don't think they should be. they should be on our side. gays are natural conservatives. i will now say thank you and good night. ♪ [cheers and applause] ♪
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>> now taking you live to the floor of the u.s. senate about to gavel in. senators will continue debate on federal aviation programs and a number of amendments that are pending. leaders are working off the floor on an agreement where amendments will be allowed. at 4:30 eastern, they set aside the faa bills for debate on two judicial nominations, and votes on those will begin at 5:30 eastern. the house is also in session today debating a bill to continue expiring provisions. patriot act, and you can see live coverage an our companion network, c-span. now live coverage here on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. hear our prayers, o lord,
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and deal graciously with our petitions. we put our trust in your word as we lean upon your loving kindness and tender mercies. bless this land we love, infusing its citizens with strength, wisdom, and faith. lord, guide those whom we ourselves have set in authority, keeping them from disorder, discord, and division. lift them to the heights of your great purposes so that they will have daily insights into your will and way.
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we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, february 14, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable richard blumenthal, a senator from the state of connecticut, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore.
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, following any leader remarks the senate will resume consideration of the f.a.a. authorization bill. i've spoken to the chairman of the committee, i've spoken to the republican leader and we're going to do everything question to move to matter forward as quickly as possible. those that have amendments should offer them. we'll try to set up the votes for those that are already pending at the earliest possible date. we could do some of them in the morning. we may even be able to get a number of them out of the way tonight if we can work something out on that. at 4:30, we'll turn to executive session to consider the nomination of james graves of mississippi to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit and edward davila of california to be a u.s. district judge for the northern district of california. at 5:30, there will be a voice vote on graves and a roll call vote on davila.
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senators should be prepared for additional roll call votes this evening in relation -- relating to the amendments to the f.a.a. bill. the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, earlier today, president obama showed the american people just how he intends to spend their tax dollars and how much more he intends to borrow to fund his vision of the future, and it's a huge disappointment to those in both parties who were hoping the president would take this opportunity to address the grave and imminent fiscal crisis that we face. the president's budget is the clearest sign yet that he simply does not take our fiscal problems seriously. it's a patronizing plan that says to the american people that their concerns are not his concerns. it's a plan that says fulfilling the president's vision of a
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future of trains and windmills is more important than a balanced checkbook. it's a plan that asks our children to pay for an imaginary vision of the future that may or may not come about by adding trillions to a debt that will be very real to them, indeed. the president's budget comes in at close to a thousand pages. the people who voted for a new direction in november have a five-word response -- we don't have the money. we don't have the money, mr. president. americans have been asking a crucial question as we approached this debate -- how do we get back to balance? how do we get to a place where washington spends less than it takes in? and the simple fact about this budget is that the president and his advisors couldn't come up with a single year in the next ten -- not a single year in the
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next ten -- where we do that. that's the key question in this debate but it's the one question that the president and awful his advise -- all of his advisors don't seem to have been the least bit interested in. the white house wants us to engage in a debate this week about percentage cuts at this or that agency, about multiyear projections and c.b.o. scores. it all misses the point. the real point is this -- we're broke. we're broke. we don't have the money look, there's a time to experiment with high-flung plans and to test theories, but you have to balance the checkbook first. you have to be able to afford it. the american people get that. the administration doesn't seem to. after two years of failed stimulus programs and democrats in washington competing to
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outspend each other, we just can't afford to do all the things this administration wan wants. the president has said he wants us to win the future but this budget abdicates the future. it spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. it says that the president does not have the will or the ability to do what we need to do with the money that we have. but that's precisely what the american people are demanding that we do. americans reject the idea that they have to live with another $13 trillion in debt to fund the president or anyone else's vision of the future. the budget was an opportunity for the president to lead. he punted. it only pretends to do things people want, and the reaction we've seen from across the political speck strowm far tod today -- spectrum so far today suggests that nobody -- nobody's
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buying it. the president may be determined to keep spending levels at the current high levels, high levels that he put in place, in the hope that people will get used to them. but he's clearly misread a public that has had enough. we must live within our means. we must begin to do the difficult but necessary work of reining in a government that has grown beyond our ability to pay for it. we must acknowledge the mistakes of the past two years and work to correct them. the stimulus failed. the budget says, do it again. the president has already added more than $3 trillion to the debt as we lost another 3 million jobs. the budget says, let's add more debt and see if we get a different result. the president had an opportunity to cut domestic spending from the 25% he's increased it since he came into office.
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instead he locked it into place. he had an opportunity to start to pay down the tremendous burden of debt that he's added over the last two years. he wants to increase it instead. he had an opportunity to work with republicans on reforming long-term entitlements like social security, medicare and medicaid. he took a pass. this is a status quo budget at a time when serious action is needed. this is business as usual -- this is business as usual at a time when bold and creative solutions are needed. this is not an "i got the message" budget. it's unserious and it's irresponsible. we need to look for ways to preserve what's good that does not put us on a path to bankruptcy. that was the challenge of this budget. the administration failed the test. after years of overspending by both parties, it's time to make tough choices, just as any
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family does when times are tou tough, even among very good things. we have to cut even from programs that are good, as difficult as it is, recognizing that the values we're fighting for in this debate are more fundamental than the survival of any one program. we need to face the fact that we don't have the money. we don't have the money. it's not an american value to borrow frommers to pay for programs we don't need -- borrow from others to pay for programs we don't need and can't afford. and it's not an american value to put off tough decisions because you refuse to say no to things you want. if there's any good news in this debate is that we're finally beginning to talk about how much to cut in this town instead of how much to spend. but we're going to need more people to join the fight. we need the democrats to join
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us. above all, we'll need a president who gets it. and this president clearly does not get it yet. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask that the quorum call being suspend the. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask consent to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, three years ago today, a mentally disturbed gunman walked into the campus lecture hall at northern university in dekalb, shot 22 students, killing five of them. the president of northern illinois university, the students and faculty and employees pulled together after that tragedy, and i join them at an observance with then-senator and now-president obama, to acknowledge the grief that they all felt and we shared. i'm proud to report that the northern illinois university community is stronger and more resilient today than ever.
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in the aftermath of the shooting, we asked a lot of questions about what led to it. naturally, there were so many innocent victims. we asked what we could do to prevent it. three years later we're still trying to make sense of it. some believe that just nothing can be done. if a disturbed person is going determined to commit an act of vssments i believe something can be done. for a long time we have overlooked a very obvious and compelling fact: many young people do not demonstrate serious mental illness until they've left their home and high school and go off to college. we have overlooked the mental health of students on campuses. many mental illnesses manifest in this period when young people leave the security of home, regular medical care, and the support of a network of family and frefnedzs. -- family and friends. a friend of our family, a young man, went to the same university over 30 years ago.
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garry was a peculiar, kind of his own type of person, in high school. but within 30 days at the university, living in a college dorm, certain mental illnesses that we weren't even aware of manifested themselves and he suffered from schizophrenia the rest of his short life. it manifested itself at that campus. it's easier for a young person's problems to go unnoticed when they're away from parents, old friends and high school exphiewnts t community. sometimes they get worse. people don't even notice. the consequences of mott addressing or detecting mental health needs among students is very real. 45% of college students report having felt so depressed it was difficult to function. 10 iii even contemplated suicide. while the need for mental health services on campuses are rising, colleges are having trouble meeting the demand. a recent survey of college
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counseling centers indicates the average ratio of professional staff to students is 1 to 1,952 and at four-year, 1 to 206 students. it is no wonder that many young people with these problems go unnoticed. shortly after the tragedy, i wrote a bill to help schools meet the needs of their students mple the bill would provide resources for colleges and universities to improve their mental health services and would call for the development of a public nationwide campaign to educate campus communities about mental health. we know that troubled student whose receive appropriate counseling and support can succeed in college and life. these services make an impact. students who seek help are six times less likely to kill themselves. by providing critical resources to colleges, the mental health on campus improvement act would ensthiewr more young people southeast help they need before facing a crisis.
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the main elements of this reconcile are included in a proposal that reauthorized the garrett lee smith memorial act last year. i'll continue to work on this legislation to get it enacted so we can give colleges the help they need to identify and treat students with mental health issues. we also know from northern illinois university as we will as from the tragedies at virginia tech, tucson that we need to fill the gaps in the federal gun background check system. now, no one is proposing to take guns away from responsible american hunters and law-abiding citizens. the supreme court has made it clear that individuals have a right to own guns. i respect that decision. but the court has also said that the second amendment -- quote -- "is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose" -- end of quote. for years laws on the books have prohibited those with histories of serious mental illness and substance abuse from buying
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guns. state agencies and federal agencies need to work more closely together make sure the background check system is fully updated with this critical information. today is a time for our country to remember the lives and mourn the losses of five promising young americans at northern illinois university, whose life stories were cruel cut short three years ago. awe as we look back, we must also, as they say at northern, their slogan, "move forward, together forward" in the true illinois university spirit. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. rockefeller: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i ask unanimous consent that the order of the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller:
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mr. president, might i ask what is the pending business? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 223, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 5, s. 223, a bill to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety reliability and availability of transportation, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. rockefeller: my cochair, senator hutchison, is on the floor, and i know she wants to say something. it just occurs to me that we are back on the federal aviation bill. we've been on this bill for several years. there's an interesting sort of dilemma which has developed. if you listen to the conversation on the floor and around in the hallways, everything has to do with slots, how many flights in and out of national airport, what are we
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going to do about the west coast, seattle and all the rest of it. actually that's a very small part of the bill, of the overall bill reflecting on the overall health and progress of the federal aviation administration compared to things like nextgen, new air traffic control system entirely and a variety of other things which are already in the bill which the senate passed last year 93-0. so i'm a little bit losing my patience with slots. kay bailey hutchison and i agree on most things in our work, and we have an amendment. other people seem to be going back and forth. they are amenable, then they're not amenable. we're running out of time. i think the leader, with that in mind, is going to ask for cloture on this to sort of force everybody's hands. and so what i'm really suggesting is that those who are
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working on slots try to come to an agreement within the next -- during the course of the rest of this day because i think we're talking only about that perhaps a little bit tomorrow morning. and then i think the senate is just kind of -- i know the leader on our side, look, we've got to do the bill. we've been debating these slots for six and a half months this year. we did it for a whole bunch of months last year. progress is made, progress is not made. people agree, people don't agree. senator hutchison and i are getting a little bit frustrated by that. we think we have a good amendment, but let's see. so we have some pending amendments. i'm hopeful we'll be able to work through this evening and the remainder of the week. i think we've made reasonable process on some matters. but on the question of the bill
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itself and the substance of the bill and those amendments which are germane to the substance of the bill, i think we've made a lot of progress. a lot of that progress actually comes from last year on our unanimous vote to approve this issue. so i believe that we can and must finish this bill this week. i think my cochair agrees with me on that. or that we risk further extensions of the f.a.a. and a less stable agency. i point again that i think we're on our 18th, 18th extension of this massive bill which keeps all of our planes in the air and everybody have work, safety and all kinds of things. we need a very swift resolution. i urge the senate to promptly move forward in the passage of the f.a.a. reauthorization act. i yield the floor. mrs. hutchison: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: mr. president,
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i am fully in support of what the chairman has said. we have been on this bill now for over a week of actual senate time. it is an important bill for our country. because we are trying to set in place the next generation of air traffic control, america has over 50% of all the air traffic in the world, and we need to be the leader and the next generation of air traffic control systems. we are trying to transfer from the ground-based radar system to a satellite-based system. and it will be more efficient, it will open up many more opportunities for airspace, and we need to be able to move forward so that more planes can use the airspace that we have. and yet, we are finding a
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reluctance to vote on amendments. there are several amendments that are pending. we need to have votes on those amendments. there are safety measures. there are consumer protection measures in this bill. and the chairman and i have worked together on making progress because we both want to pass this bill. it's good. the sticking point is the slots at national airport, reagan national airport. honestly, the chairman's staff and my staff have worked with all of the affected airlines and staeupts and constituents to try -- states and constituents to try to come to a fair opening of washington national airport to people who live west of st. louis, missouri. i mean, basically west of st. louis, there are very few straight flights from washington
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national. most of them have to stop. so we are trying to gradually add to the capabilities for people who live out west to come into washington national airport, but we are also trying to keep the people who live around the airport from having undue noise or undue traffic or congestion at the airport. so we're trying to come up with a fair system. but, to be honest, the sides are not giving. there's a western senator position. there is a virginia senator position. there is a far alaska far-west position. and nobody is giving an inch. well, it's kind of hard to negotiate when you kaoepl putting things out -- when you keep putting things out there which the chairman and i are
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doing, and we've gotten no response but "i want everything my way." everything my way is not going to work. we are facing a deadline now where possibly we wouldn't be able to get a vote on slots. i think that would be very bad for the western half of the united states because i think they are being unfairly kept out of access to the convenient airport to the capitol and downtown washington. i hope that the sides will meet, come together with something that abg accommodates all of the needs and concerns. and i hope that we can pass this bill this week. and i think that the majority and republican leaders both are in support of the bill going forward. so we need to get our amendments up, get them voted on, and let's try to make progress.
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thank you, mr. president, and i yield the floor. mr. rockefeller: mr. president, let me just add on to what my distinguished colleague said. people who are working on slot amendments should remember that in the bill that was passed and, therefore, the pending legislation, s. 233, there are no slot amendments. so they have to be under the discipline of understanding that slot amendments at this point are nongermane. and that will change as circumstances change in the next day, or they won't. at this point, with the indulgence of senator hutchison, i know that senator murkowski from alaska is going to give a speech with which i know i'm going to fully agree. is that all right? ms. murkowski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. ms. murkowski: i ask unanimous consent that a coast guard fellow in my office, charles
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banks, be granted floor privileges for the duration of the consideration of the f.a.a. reauthorization bill. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: thank you, mr. president. i want to acknowledge the chairman and the ranking member on the commerce committee. i know they have been working diligently throughout this process not only with this particular reauthorization, but have been great leaders on this issue over the years, and i appreciate that. we are working on some difficult issues and contentious issues. the issue of the slots that both of them just discussed is one that is critically important to a person like myself who represents the farthest of the west along with hawaii, and so we look at how we are able to gain access through our airways and to travel. so the issues that are in front of us are incredibly important. but i don't want to speak to the issue of the perimeter slots today. i'd like to address an amendment that was raised exactly a week ago by my colleague from
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arizona, and this is regarding the importance of the essential air service to my state of alaska. i think the members of this body have heard sroefpb not only from -- very often not only from myself but senator begich and prior to the two of us the years of the alaska senators who have stood on the floor and said alaska is different. and when we are talking about the essential air service and what it allows and what it provides, i repeat, alaska is different. it is unique from anywhere in the lower 48. and the necessity to maintain the essential air service is yet one more example. it was last week that the senator from arizona referred to a figure from the f.a.a. that stated -- and this is -- this is the statement, 99.95% of all
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americans live within 120 miles of a public airport that has more than 10,000 takeoffs and landing annually. that's the end of that statement. that statement, mr. president, clearly does not refer to alaska. when the essential air service was created back in 1975, after the airline industry was -- was deregulated, congress correctly determined that air carriers that supported our rural locations would need financial subsidy to ensure that their passengers could receive not only a price, a quantity of flights and a quality of service that would be necessary to provide for effective transportation and -- and movement of goods. and at the creation of the e.a.s. program, nearly every community in the state of alaska was affected by the deregulation of the airlines industry and
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there were about 130 communities that were put on that list back in 1978. today we've got 44 communities in alaska that are receiving essential air services. so let me just tell you some of the things about alaska that do make it unique. and when we refer to essential air services, you can see that that title is actually a very apt description of what is provided in my state. got the map of the state of alaska. the red lines here it look like little arteries, that's our road system. we have 11,000 -- just short of 11,000 miles of road system in the state of alaska. i said, well, that seems like a lot of roads. put it in context, california
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has 2.3 million miles of road in their state. but our -- our road system is one -- if you look and it's just up and down here. you don't have much in southeastern. you don't have a thing -- you don't have anything in southwestern or north. just just a few roads around the seward peninsula. 80% of the communities in the state of alaska are not connected by a road. not connected by a road. so how do you get there? well, if you happen to be in the southeast, you get there by boavment but the bottom line -- boat. but the bottom line is we fly. this is not a luxury. this is a necessity. you have to fly. we are the flyingest state in the country. so about 80% of our communities are not accessible by road. so while the rest of the country, you can't to get the road -- get in your car, you've got an emergency, you have to get to the hospital.
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you hop in and you drive. you want to go for spring break, you drive four or five hours and you're down at the beach. if you want to get to somewhere, anywhere, you pretty much have an opportunity to do so. we don't have that opportunity in alaska. so given what we face with the limited road system, weather, terrain issues, we in the state treat an airplane or -- or helicopters like most americans would -- would treat your minivan. aircraft in alaska are not just -- just a -- a nice thing to have. they are a lifeline for survival, for subsistence, for travel, recreation. they're truly an essential part of our every day life. the -- the city administrator of atka -- atka is all the way back at the end. at the end of the islands. the city administrator of atka,
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julie dirks, sent a letter to the alaska delegation explaining how the loss of e.a.s. subsidies would negatively affect the they of atka. and in the letter she writes, the loss of this program would be devastating to remote rural communities. atka is not on a road system connecting the communities to other place nor is there any type of marine ferry service connecting atka to other islands or the mainland. you can't get there by boat. air transportation, she writes, presently is the only meth add are available -- vet method available. costs of service are already high. without the subsidy service, it would be too expensive or even nonexistent. mr. president, i have the letter from the city administrator that i would like to have submitted as part of the record.
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the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: so i mentioned, we've got 44 communities in the state of alaska that receive an e.a.s. subsidy. 38 of those communities are not connected in any way to this road system here. so they're forced to use air travel as their primary means of travel. so then you have to say, well, okay, that means that you've got six, then, that are on a road. why -- why can't they use the road? why do we have to provide e.a.s. for these six communities? so let's look at some of these communities. mccarthy is -- i think it's this green dot right up there. mccarthy -- oh, wait. mccarthy's down here. excuse me. they don't have any -- they don't have any road maintenance during the winter months. so pretty much between october and april you're looking at a
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situation where your community is shut off. and that means no mail. that means no emergency services. that means no ability to -- to get food supplies in. you basically have to the way it out until the road thaws in the spring. so if you don't have air service in a community like mccarthy, even though there is technically a road, for about seven months you're without. another of the communities, gulcana, is on a two-lane paved road, but it's over 210 miles to the nearest medium-hub airport. the other four communities, which are circles, and manly hot springs, cento, they require driving distances of at least 125 miles to the nearest hub
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airport. you need to remember what kind of roads you're driving on. this is not like jumping on to i-95 or i-10. these are, for the most part, sing osingle-lane roads during f the year. they are snow covered, limited visibility. it's pretty dark during this time of the year. i mean, it is not a read that you just say, let's drive to town. now, it has been noted by some of the opponents, the essential air services program, that the spending in alaska is out of whack. it's too much. let's look at the facts as they relate to alaska. there are currently 153 communities receiving subsidies according to usdot. the department of transportation said, i mentioned, 44 communities in alaska, 148 for
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hawaii and puerto rico. the critics say that alaska has almost as many half as many e.a.s. communities as the rest of the united states. okay. that may be true. we'll grant you that. but what they ignore -- what they forget is how we compare in alaska in -- in conjunction with the rest of the country. so -- i know people get tired of looking at these maps about how big we are. mr. president, the fact of the matter is we don't make this up. we don't just super impose alaska on the happen of the country and say, isn't this a nice shape. we put it on the map of the lower 48 states to show the size. we are not that little state that's down in the water next to hawaii or off of california, despite some of the maps that are stilt out there on peep --
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despite some of the maps out there on people's walls. we are this big. we are this big. we've got over 47,000 miles of shoreline as you go all the way out here and come all the way up 47,000 miles. more than all of the other 49 states combined. we cover an area of over 586,000 miles. so we go from california to florida up beyond the great lakes and into canada. the comment was made that if -- if i want to go from adac, which is right here, one of the e.a.s. communities, to anchorage, which is the largest city in our state, it's -- it's a $1,400 fare roundtrip with e.a.s.
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subsidies. but it's almost 1,200 miles. that gets you from adac into anchorage. it doesn't get you down to the rest of the lower 48. you put that in context, and that's like going from kansas city to boston, where, i might add, their roundtrip is $74. monetarily alaska gets abou about $12.6 million in e.a.s. subsidies, the rest of the nation gets over $163 million in e.a.s. subsidies. in alaska we've got over 700 registered airports, 1,200 registered air strips and 10,000 registered aircraft. when you look at the 44 communities which receive the subsidies, which receive less than 10% of the lower 48, to suggest that they're getting
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something that is not equitable, again, i think it's important to put it into context. there's no roads to most of these communities. now, it was commented by my colleague from arizona that there was a 2009g.a.o. report on the essential air services program. and it was indicated that the g.a.o. thought that the essential air services program might have outlived its us usefulness. there's a section of that report that was left out and i think it's important to note that the writers of that report stated -- quote -- "the review focuses on communities within the continental united states that have received e.a.s. subsidie subsidies -- subsidized service. we focused our review on these communities because the requirements in alaska are different than for communities
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in other states. and airports outside the contiguous states are not representative of the program in the rest of the country." i think it's critically important that we look to what that full g.a.o. report said and how it recognized that the situation, the circumstances in alaska are entirely different and are not representative of -- of what we see in the lower 48. so i think when we look to that g.a.o. report, i think we need to put that also in context again. and another thing that must be kept in mind is that we're talking about essential air services. this is what we're all talking about on the floor now is jobs and what's going on with jobs. the number of jobs that would be lost, the number of negative impact that would result from the repeal of the program in alaska would be consequential. aviation in our state provide provides $3.5 billion to our state's economy. it represents 8% of the gross
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state product. it is the fifth largest employer in the state employing 10% of our total workforce. it's not just the jobs, mr. president, that would be lost. these folks that handle and sort the mail, load the packages in the aircraft, they would likely lose their jobs. the commercial fishermen would be impacted. emergency medical professionals, tourist industry, recreational professionals, they would feel the negative impacts of the repeal of e.a.s. in alaska. all of these vital industries and services are connected to the every day alaskan by one common thread and that's aviation. i think many of us look forward to the fresh salmon that comes -- the wild, fresh salmon that comes out of the copper river in may. that comes from a community in prince william sound, cordova. 2,200 people live there. they receive essential air
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services. the fact that they're able to fly into this community that does not have access to a road allows those fishermen to receive a price for their product that maintenance and sustains them. the repeal of e.a.s. means hundreds of my constituents would be forced to purchase expensive airline tickets just so that they would have access to the most basic and, yet, very essential things. down here on -- on kodiak, and i will go back to the other map. kodiak island is the recipient of many e.a.s. communities. island air is -- services these communities. 11 of these communities are served by float planes because there's no runway. so we don't even have the basic runway. you're flying in on a seaplane. two of the communities that they support are carlick and airtack.
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round trip air to kodiak, round trip air is $254 a person. to ilictik, it's $246 a person. flights to these areas occur only three times a week. if you're going to fly into kodiak, you're going to assume you have a couple nights of hotel costs, lodging expenses, so this brings the price of your trip to over about $500. but if the e.a.s. program is repealed, the costs per person to get to these locations jumps to over $1,800, and this is just to get from the little village to kodiak. this is not getting you to anchorage where you can get medical services. it's not getting you to where you can get to -- to the stopping -- shopping that you and your family need. these expenses are also just for the air and not for the lodging. it doesn't allow for the purchases of supplies, mail,
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tourism, any of the other activity that members and visitors to these communities might engage in. so i think it's fair to say that if we repeal e.a.s., island air will no longer be able to serve these communities. they will be forced to lay off their employees, but you don't have service to these areas. mr. president, i can't speak for every location in the united states that receives funding from e.a.s. and tell you how each would be impacted by the mccain amendment, but i can say without any reservation that this amendment would create an economic and a transportation disaster for alaska, including the loss of jobs, livelihoods and would potentially impact health and medical situations. the complete elimination of the e.a.s. program could destabilize
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many of our rural communities, could negatively impact the integrity of alaska's interconnected aviation system and severely reduce air services to essential parts of the state. e.a.s. has been and will continue to be a critical and an instrumental component of alaska's aviation transportation system network while providing important jobs and allowing necessary and critical access to rural and isolated communities within our state and across the nation. mr. president, i have consumed the time that -- that i was allotted here this morning, but i cannot repeat enough, i cannot reiterate the importance of a program like essential air services to a remote and a rural state like alaska. it truly is essential, and when this amendment comes before the body, i would urge defeat of the mccain amendment. with that, mr. president, i
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yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i am only going to comment for a minute, but what the senator from alaska said obviously is completely true, and it also points out in this overall philosophical question of what are we doing with this bill, are we going to pass it or are we going to spend all our time fighting over slots? i'm for passing the bill and leaving slots for conference or whatever unless we can work something out. nobody wants to agree. everybody thinks they have got the leverage. maybe they do, maybe they don't. but in the meantime, a bill that has been languishing for all these months and which, in fact, solves one of the problems of alaska in its entirety because the -- the nextgen system which i have been talking about, which i'm going to talk about more but not today, it's a global satellite network. it will provide the safety and
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capacity that's needed for really safe flight in weather where weather changes quickly, and in fact it is now in place in alaska. so that doesn't in any way take from the essential air service problems which the senator from alaska was talking about. i totally agree with her on that, but it just shows that by -- if we hold this bill up and make ourselves slaves to working out slots agreements, which probably can't be worked out on this floor -- maybe they can. i hope so, but i doubt it -- that we are depriving her of being able -- and other states from being able to get -- since theirs is just a test state which has this system in place, because of the change of weather, because of the unpredictability of virtually everything when you're flying, it's -- it's in effect there and four other states, and we're trying to get it to all states
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which will change the whole future of aviation. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, today the president released his budget for fiscal year 2012. if this is an idea of a valentine's gift to america and to the american people, he has an odd way of showing his affection. it is the equivalent of taking your fiancee to dinner, asking her to marry you, and asking her to take the check at your maxed out credit cards, underwater mortgage and a bill for the ring. this budget is quite simply an abdication of adult responsibility and it is a particular abdication of the responsibility of the president of the united states who takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend our constitution. our economy is dealing with a dangerover of the 2008 economic collapse. the greatest fiscal crisis that i have seen and that we have seen in several generations.
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our recovery has been sluggish and is not being helped by this administration's regulatory overload and obamacare which is set to kill 800,000 jobs. yet we could already see a still larger crisis approaching. this is nothing short of an existential challenge. continued deficits and accumulated debt are a genuine threat to individual liberty, continued prosperity and national security. absent immediate action -- and let me stress that this needs to be immediate action -- we face a future where our union is not more perfect and where government will stand in the way of enterprising businesses and citizens whose only wish is the opportunity to thrive. yet the president's response to this impending disaster is to vote present. his response was to pass the buck. with due respect, the budget released today is a sorry joke. i would hate to be the white house staffers forced to spin this budget as a step in the right direction. the united states is demanding a
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churchill on the issue of deficits and debt, but the administration has delivered us a chamberlain. let me break this down. the administration is going to reduce the deficit by by $1.1 trillion over ten years. that sounds like a mighty big number, and i am sure that the white house has some consultants who have told them that the american people can be duped into thinking that this represents meaningful deficit reduction or change. let me be clear. this is not meaningful deficit reduction. the administration wants to reduce the deficit by by $1.1 trillion over ten years, total over ten years. and what does the administration project the deficit to be for this fiscal year? $1.65 trillion. at 10.9% of the gross domestic product, this is the largest deficit as a share of the economy since world war ii, unbelievable. but it is consistent with the way democrats have behaved since taking over washington.
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in 2010, the deficit was was $1.3 trillion, and in 2009, 2009, $1.4 trillion. so let's put this in perspective. the administration is out there touting -- today touting its fiscal responsibility, yet its ten-year total deficit reduction is smaller than this year's deficit. the president's much-touted five-year freeze on discretionary spending which will save $400 billion is smaller than the congressional budget office's recent upward revision of the 2011 deficit. spending this budget is the fiscally responsible thing to do portrays a profound lack of respect for the intelligence of the american citizens. this budget contains $53 billion for construction of high-speed rail in florida, california, and several other states. if there is a bigger government boondoggle out there, i'm not aware of it. but the vice president in promoting this spending spree
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tells americans that they need to get a grip. with due respect, the american people's grip on the situation is just fine. they understand something that apparently has eluded the best and brightest overall on pennsylvania avenue. we are out of money. the well that has been financing the new deal and the new frontier and the great society and the stimulus and obamacare has finally run dry. it is past time that we stopped playing politics with the deficit and debt and make the tough choices that are necessary to put america's finances back on solid ground. yet there is no effort in this budget to take care of our long-term fiscal problems, none, none at all. not even "the washington post" is able to spin this one. this is a $3.7 trillion budget, and what is the future of our deficit and debt? this is what the post had to say. after next year, the deficit will begin to fall, -- quote --n a year in 2018 as it would once
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again begin to climb as a growing number of retirees tapped into social security and medicare." unquote. the new normal under this budget is one of permanent budget deficits long after president obama has returned to private life. he will be out working on his presidential library while americans are left holding the bag for his big spending policies. he may not want to admit it, but the most fitting volume for his presidential library might be the road to certificate ofdom. how exactly does the administration propose to pay for social security, medicare and national defense under this budget? the bottom line, it doesn't. this budget amounts to gross negligence. even the progressive blogger ezra klein concludes that when reading this budget, it's almost like the fiscal commission never happened. remember that? the president's fiscal commission. it issued a report recommending over $4 trillion in cuts, including adjustments to entitlements. it afford controversial but
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apparently appropriately bold proposals to get our nation back on the right track. the president and his team looked at those proposals and bravely decided to leave these problems to the next administration and future generations. clearly, i am not a fan, but there is one useful item to consider in this budget. it is what progressives might call a teachable moment. to achieve these paltry deficit reduction numbers, the administration had to resort to massive tax increases. as the post concludes, the tax hikes in this bill will be around $1.6 trillion over ten years. and here's the point that people need to be reminded of. even with $2 trillion and possibly more in job-killing tax increases in this budget, it still comes nowhere close to reining in our deficits of debt. for years, we have heard
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democrats say that if rich people and businesses paid their fair share in taxes, we could balance the budget and reduce the debt. they sure tested it out on this budget. they soaked the so-called rich and american businesses with a fire hose, and yet we are still facing trillions in debt and hundreds of billions of dollars in deficits. after the much-maligned bush tax cuts expire and undermine small business job creation, we will still have to borrow an additional $7.2 trillion through 2021 to pay the bills. the bills that are becoming due from the obama administration's spending policies. this budget should be a turning point in our debate about deficit and debt reduction. tax increases simply cannot get us there. unfortunately, the message that tax increases lead to deficit reduction is the democrats' good word.
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over the past decade, i have participated in many discussions about spending and tax policy. as my colleague from iowa, senator grassley, has noted, democrats basically have two talking points: first, all of the good fiscal history of the 1990's was delivered in the partisan tax increase bill of 1993. and second, all of the bad fiscal history taking place within the past ten years is owing to the bipartisan tax relief plans originally enacted during the last administration and continued under the present administration. the democrats' platform does not -- it does have the virtue of simplicity. higher taxes, good. lower taxes, bad. this record needs to be corrected. regular viewers of cable-satellite public affairs e probably heard others on my side do so before, but it bears repeating, particularly in light of today's budget, that higher taxes will not right our fiscal
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ship. the myth that higher taxes lead to lower deficits is a persistent one. this is the mainstream account of the clinton tax hikes. according to this theory, the positive fiscal history of the 1990's resulted from the 1993 tax increases. it is a simple enough argument. according to the other side, by raising taxes and taking more money out of the economy, the government successfully reduced the deficit. yet, as you can see from this chart, the clinton administration's own office of management and budget concluded that the 1993, the 1993 tax increase in the green accounted for only 13% of deficit reduction between 1990-2000. just look at this chart. well, as a percentage of deficit reduction, the 1993 tax increase
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ranks behind other factors such as defense cuts and interest saving. defense cuts, 35% in the brown, interest savings in the purple. the message sheer simple. tax increases -- the message here is simple. tax increases did not drive deficit reduction. it may seem counterintuitive, but raising taxes does not necessarily mean that revenues collected by the government as a percentage of g.d.p. will increase. consider this chart which compares changes in federal revenue as a percentage of g.d.p. and this is for two -- two key four-year periods. each of these four-year periods was preceded by a major tax policy change. now, let's look at this chart. first four-year period occurred after the 1993 tax increase was enacted.
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that's the blue line. that's the first four-year period. the second four-year period occurred after the jobs and growth tax relief reconciliation act of 2003 was enacted. the jobs and growth reconciliation act was the second of the major tax increase bills enacted during the last administration. it featured reductions on tax rates of capital gains and dividends. now, let's take a look at the first of those four-year periods in each case. one year after the 1993 tax hi hike, we do see increased revenues in that blue line. one year. okay? one year after the 2003 tax cut, revenues dropped, on the red line, from 1993-1994. take a look at the second through fourth years following
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the adoption of each bill. you'll see the trend of the first year reverses itself in the second year after the tax hike. the blue line starts down in the second year, the red line sharply shoots up. as the policies in boal bills had time to -- both bills had time to take effect, the trends are clear. the growth in revenue was generally greater after the tax-cut bill than it was after the tax-increase bill. there is no doubt that our deficits are a serious issue. they threaten the future of our nation. it is irresponsible, however, to say that our dire fiscal situation is the result of government not extracting enough money from the people who actually earn it. the president's budget, with its massive -- with its massive new tax increases and permanent deficits demonstrates again that our problem is spending.
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just look at it. just look at it. spending not growth arithmetically. it is not grown geographic. it has grown exponentially. over the past few years while democrats have had complete control over washington, non-defense discretionary spending has grown by over 24 per. and as i said before, that figure does not even include the bloated stimulus bill enacted in early 2009. yet these deficits continue to grow in spite of increased revenues. on january 26, c.b.o. published its budget and economic outlook for fiscal years 2011-2021. going on to quote from that report, by c.b.o.'s estimates, federal revenues in 2011 will be $123 billion or 6% more than total revenues recorded two
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years ago in 2009. this increase in federal revenues for 2011 includes the net effect from the one-year across-the-board reduction in payroll taxes. the important fact here is that revenues have increased over the past two years and the deficit has still increased. our deficit and debt problems are not being driven by tax relief. and despite this evidence, many of my friends on the other side still see raising taxes as the best and only solution. they want find out -- to fund out-of-control spending by taking more money from the people who actually earn it. proponents of this approach know that the confiscation of what has been lawfully earned can be a hard sell. that's the reason they resort to clever rhetoric, telling us that paying taxes is inherently patriotic. or we hear talking points about some people not paying their fair share. these sound bites might sound good to the base but they are
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not grounded in reality. c.b.o. has published a booklet entitled "the long-term budget outlook." in its most recent version, c.b.o. confirmed that federal revenues have fluctuated between 15% and 21% of g.d.p. over the past 40 years averaging about 18%. because of the recession, revenues dipped to around 15% recently. but that should not deceive us into thinking taxes are an normally low. -- abnormally low. using current law assumptions, c.b.o. projected revenues to reach 23% of g.d.p. by 2035. arguably, those current law assumptions are unrealistic since they assumed the bipartisan tax relief enacted in 2001 and 2003 would expire along with relief from the alternative minimum tax at the end of next year. yet c.b.o. evaluated an alternative, more realistic fiscal scenario. in that scenario, c.b.o. assumed that most of the tax relief
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enacted in 2001 and 2003 would be extended through 2020. it still assumed that tax relief would expire for so-called high-income taxpayers. but c.b.o. did anticipate that a.m.t. relief would continue along with other deviations from current law. a.m.t. meaning the alternative minimum tax. even using this alternative fiscal scenario, c.b.o. found that revenues as a percentage of g.d.p. would increase to just over 19% in 2020 and stay at that level for several years. that is to say in this scenario, the level of taxation would still be above the 40-year historical average of 18% of g.d.p. now, i want to briefly return to the january c.b.o. analysis that i referred to earlier. that analysis, which assumes that most of the components of the tax package enacted at the end of 2010 will continue to be
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extended along with the modified estate and gift provisions also in that same legislation. calculates that annual government revenues will steadily increase going forward but still average about 18% of g.d.p. through 2021. i spent the past few minutes discussing the c.b.o. projections of various policy scenarios. i'm sure this presentation has made for some very gripping television. but the point i'm trying to convey is a critical one. the fiscal reality is that taxes are not abnormally low. continuing current tax policy yields federal revenues at about the historic average of g.d.p. for the past 40 years. increasing taxes on anyone, even so-called high earners, will push government revenues above the 40 years historical average as a percentage of g.d.p. i know there are many who would still support raising taxes
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above this historical level. the president has made it very clear today that he certainly does, but it is important to heed the words of the c.b.o. before we raise taxes. in its long-term budget outlook, c.b.o. had this to say about a scenario where the bipartisan tax relief of 2001 and 2003 expired along with a.m.t. relief. according to c.b.o. -- quote -- "marginal tax rates on income from labor and capital would rise considerably under the extended baseline scenario. the increase in the marginal tax rate on labor would reduce people's incentive to work and the increase in the marginal tax rate on capital would reduce their incentive to save." now, the basic point that i'm making is that tax hikes aren't like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. that money has to come from somewhere and there will be
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consequences to redistributing it. moreover, as we saw in the budget released today, even spiking taxes by over $2 trillion will not help us to balance our books. abnormally high spending drove the deficits of the past. it is like driving the deficits of today. it is driving the deficits of today. and it will drive the deficits of the future. some folks in response to the question of whether the president is triangulating after the democrats took a drubbing in november, they just say no. he supported big government as a community organizer, you supported it as a senator on this floor and in committees, he supported it as a presidential candidate. he supports it today. but the stakes are higher now. he is the nation's chief executive and ultimately the president is responsible for guiding our nation through the treacherous waters of an impending fiscal crisis.
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these are not easy shoals to navigate. yet the statesman really cannot shirk his or her duty. as senator henry clay once put it, i would rather be right than be president. some things are bigger than the next election and getting our deficits under control is one of those things. the american people know that president obama's budget is not right. the present administration is spending 25% -- almost 25% of our g.d.p., historically high except during and shortly after world are war two. -- world war ii. the last time we had that kind of expenditure was in 1950. that's why i'm so strongly for a balanced budget constitutional amendment. i wish we didn't have to go to that but i don't see any other way that we'll get spending under control.
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because i think congress has been institutional incapable of bringing down spending. and one reason is, is that with the help of the mainstream med media, people out there actually believe that -- or members of congress actually believe that they'll be kept in office by spending. and up till now, that's been pretty true. but the american people are starting to wake up, they're starting to realize that as sincere as some of my colleagues are on the other side, their economic philosophy is corrupt. maybe corrupt is too strong a word but it's wrong, definitely wrong. well, we know that the american people are not going to stop demanding real leadership on this issue and i feel badly, because i know -- i personally like the president, no question about it, i showed him great friendship when he was here. i've shown him friendship since
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he was elected. and we all know that in order to resolve these problems, we have to -- we have to get entitlements under control. and as good as some of us are here in the congress, we can't do it without presidential leadership, we just can't. i have a suggestion for the president. he will go down in history as one of the truly great presidents if he would work with us to get -- and work together, bringing bipartisan people together, and work to resolve these conflicts. you can't do it with just 15% of the budget and you can't do it with just tax increases. you can't do it with an ever-expanding federal government. you can't do it with an ever-expanding set of federal employees. you can't do it with ever-expanding regulations, although some of them are important. all of these things may be important, but you can't do it
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with those concepts. the only way you can do it is to get in and take the whole budget and work with both sides and see what we can do to bring people together and see if we have the courage to be able to resolve these problems not only for today but for our kids and grandkids and in my case, great-grandkids as well hereafter. i don't want the froze fail but i have to -- i don't want the president to fail but i have to point these things out. let's face it, he's getting some very poor advice. and even when he wants to come to the center, he gets rapped really hard on the knuckles by the far left in hi party, most of whom -- in his party, most of whom are far left, at least here on the senate floor. very few moderates left on the moderate side. i find those who say they're moderates are moderates when their vote doesn't count. but the vast majority of my
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friends on the other side really believe we should keep spending and we should keep taxing and that will keep them in power, but all the power in the world doesn't count if we're wrecking the greatest country in the world. i think our side has to wake up a little bit too. we can't just do it with tax cuts either. on the other hand, i'd much rather have tax cuts that spur on the me and create small business jobs than to continue to spend us into oblivion. nevertheless, we're all going to have to work together if we're ever going to get this problem solved. the only way i know to solve it is through presidential leadership combined with courage on the part of members of congress. but the way they're solving it on this budget is pathetic. there are so many gimmicks in this bill, that it's just plain pathetic. and i'll repeat what i said he willier -- earlier. and that is, the little over $1 trillion -- $1.1 trillion in
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deficit reduction that this bill says it will do over ten years -- what is that, a little over $100 billion a year? -- that isn't even as much as our deficit for this year alone. 2011. and during those ten years, there will be hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars of continued deficits until we reach a point in about 2022 when we will be around 2 $22 billion in debt. mr. president, i don't know about you, or anybody else in this chamber, but i think it's time for us to start standing up. i think it's time for the president to lead. i think the democrats who have control over of the bureaucracy ought to start working with us on, let's get that bureaucracy trimmed down. and let's really consider the
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one aspect of constitutional politics that really has worked; and that is, allowing 50 states to participate and through 50 state laboratories we can pick and choose the things that work best. have we dhoo -- had we done thah health care, we would not be in the mess we're in today, and the oblivious that it's headed for today. and frankly, my experience has been that tax increases really don't work. what really does work is giving the small business sector incentives, real incentives, not -- quote -- "investments" -- unquote -- but real incentives to keep creating the 70% of jobs that only the small business sector can do. if we increase those taxes, we're going to be in a mess.
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and i can just tell you, the budgeteers at o.m.b., and c.b.o., as dedicated and sincere as they may be -- i like mr. lew very much, they are always low in their estimates of deficitted. i think it will be much worse than what we know right now. mr. president, i hope that we'll have the guts. i hope the president will have the guts to lead and i hope we'll have the guts to follow that lead and hopefully turn this ship of state around. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. begich: thank you very much. and, mr. president, i want to talk on essential air service, but i do want to make a couple of comments after hearing my colleague talk about the budget. i want to assure him there are
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some moderates over here that understand the value and the managing. budget. and someone comes from alaska -- we support gun rights, oil and gas drilling, we support a lot of things that maybe the senator may not be aware of as a democrat. but the other thing is, leadership is about all of us working together. i look for the president's budget. that doesn't mean we're going to sit hey and wait for him to make decisions. we have responsibilities here, mr. president. and i know last year i sat here and voted for the session-mccaskill amendment that would have reduced some of the spending, controlled some of the spending, that we couldn't get all votes on the other side to make happen. i supported every dime that came back from the tarp repayment to go to pay off the deficit, which now we're close to 80% or better of that money coming back, maybe as much as 90%. i supported the gregg and i
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would devin legislation, a bipartisan he effort to deep with tax reform to get corporate rates down to about midstream, lowering the six individual rates down to three states, making it -- three rates, making it simplified 10 so that people can fill out their taxes on one form and get rid of all the loopholes. it is a combination of all many of us. it is republicans and democrats and independents sitting on this floor making tough decisions, not a bunch of political speeches. so let me end there and just get to the topic i wanted to talk about. at some point i'll come down here and talk about the budget as it's rolled out. mr. president, i came down here to talk about essential air services. i want to thank chairman rockefeller and senator hutchison for their leadership on this very important bill. they've worked tirelessly to pass this bill in the 111th congress. they are again putting in long hours on it this year.
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the bill before the senate is incredibly important piece of legislation. the f.a.a. bill is about creating jobs. it puts americans to work with building our nation's deteriorating airport infrastructure, it modernizes our air traffic control system to reduce congestion in the skies, and it makes our nation's airspace safer and more efficient. there are so many important reasons why we should succeed in passing this legislation, which passed the senate 93-0 last year. even in a year that was marked with contentious and partisan battles, this f.a.a. bill walls truly a -- was truly a bipartisan piece of legislation. and that can hardly largely be credited -- and it can largely be credited to the hard work of chairman rockefeller and senator hutchison and their staffs. this bill has been delayed far too long. we are currently on the 17th
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short-term extension since the last comprehensive f.a.a. bill expired in 2007. we owe it to the american people to help reduce airport delays, put americans back to work, and provide the 21st century airspace our nation needs to facilitate commerce and compete in a world economy. this bill is especially important for states like mine. aviation is the lifeblood of alaska. it's truly our highway in the sky. we have six times more pilots and 16 times more planes per capita than the rest of the country. in alaska, small planes are the equivalent of minivans in the lower 48. they are how alaskans get around smed i would like to talk briefly about essential air service program which is vital to my constituents. my friend from arizona has introduced an amendment which
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would repeal the essential air service program, and i truly have grave concerns for what this would mean, not only for my rural alaskans but for rural americans as a whole. the essential air service program originalled at the same time as airline deregulation in 1978. when airline deregulation passed it gave airlines almost total freedom to determine which markets to serve domestically and what fares to charge for that service. this is not a bad thing. some good things came out of airline deregulation. it fostered competition among airlines, it brought down ticket prices for many air routes between large, urban centers; but bh congress passed airlt deregulation -- airline deregulation, it also recognized that something needed to be done to protect rural communities. they weren't the most profitable routes for air carriers so the idea was to maintain a minimum
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level of service. that is where the essential air service program came from. the program provided modest subsidies to air carriers to provide service to communities that would have otherwise lost all air service through deregulation. since 1978, the essential air service program has successfully guaranteed small communities that were served by certified air carriers before deregulation. it would maintain a minimum level of scheduled air service. the program has been a vital aid for rural america. there are very repeal consequences to eliminating this program for sunlights, especially in the 44 communities served by the e.a.s. program. let me show you this poster. this shows alaska's limited road infrastructure. 82% of alaska communities are not on the road system and rely on aviation as a primary means of transportation, for goods,
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people, mail. it all has c to come by aircraf. we does not overstate the size of alaska. this is actually the size of alaska in comparison to the lower 48. the red lines show the road network. you can imagine the road network that would shown in the lower 48. but this is all the road network that we have. so for the the rest of the state, it is by air or by boat. people in communities face some of the highest costs of living in the country. rural alaska quans can't drive to a safeway when they need something. there are no roads or safeways. if you eliminate the e.a.s. program, it is going to drive these prices even higher in rural alaska. gary williams from the village of kake sevmens sent me a lette.
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the e.a.s. ensures that kakes received flights during the winter. this is not a jetliner. in alaska we may think it is a jetliner but that's a very small plane. "i frankly can't imagine being without service. it would isolate and cripple us on many levels." in addition to eliminating the only source of transportation for many communities, senator mccain's amendment would actually put people out of work. it would hurt small businesses in alaska and across this country. it's truly a job-killing amendment. mr. president, i'd like to read from a letter my office received from the owner of penn air. penn air is a family-owned business started in 1955 by a young 19-year-old teenager named orrin seabert.
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when or are instarted his business, he had a two-seat taylor-craft and a two-seat piper. he is an example of the pioneering spirit that embodies alaska. he grew the tbhies a successful regional air carrier serving communities throughout rural alaska. penn air is now run by his son danny. this is a letter from danny seabert, the president of penn air. "for many of these communities, penn air is the only scheduled passenger air service link to the rest of the world." he goes on to say, "if the mccain amendment is passed -- quote -- "it would have a devastating effect on many remote communities in alaska. on many air carriers who provide those communities with the air transportation services and on alaska's economy." here's an e-mail my office received from the copper valley air service.
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copper valley flies two e.a.s. routes serving two communities. the e-mails read. 'if this amendment is approved, it will put copper valley air service out of business. it will cost eight jobs. this cannot pass'." this is an e-mail from bruce phillips, the chief pilot of wings of alaska. 'repealing e.a.s. would not only did he minutish jobs and raise costs but also abollish air to some communities entirely. villages have no roads and limbed ferry service making air service a lifeline." this is how they receive everything from medication to mail, to groceries as we will as how they travel for medical, personal and business. spoif a got a stack of these letters that my office has received in the past few days from communities that would lose
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air service if the mccain amendment is adopted. from individuals in the communities who are terrified about what this would mean for the price of goods in their community, from those worried about the cost of air travel if they get sick and they need to seek medical attention at a hospital, and from small air carriers worried that they would -- they will either have to lay off employees or go under altogether." mr. president, i ask consent that all these letters be entered into the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. begich: it's also -- it's easy to call this wasteful. if you don't understand the needs of rural communities. they don't have any other means of transportation. when he introduced the amendments, my friend from arizona suggested that folks are bypassing essential air service flights to drive to a hub and hub airports where they can get cheaper fares to more destinations. consider how that applies in my state.
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for the community of the aleutian island and the connection to the nearest medium hub is anchorage. i laugh a little bit because i want to put this truly in perspective. it is almost 1,200 miles. so if you want to -- as senator mccain says -- "drive to the hub," you can't do that because you're here. in order to get to here, you have to go by air or catch a boat, assuming the weather is good. so his analysis that people are driving off to these hubs and catching flights that are cheaper is inaccurate. to put the number in perspective, it's about the same distance from los angeles to houston, except unlike los angeles and houston, there are no roads between these two places. i agree with senator mccain that we need to do something to address our nation's budget
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deficit. before i started this i made comments on things i have done and i will continue to work in that vein. but i don't believe you should balance the federal budget on the backs of communities in people facing some of the highest costs of living in the toughest conditions in this country. and that is exactly what the mccain amendment would do. when senator mccain introduce this had amendment, he cited a july 2009 g.a.o. report in suggestion that the e.a.s. has outlived its usefulness. i've got that very same report. you know, it's always -- sometimes people when they make speeches they do selective, so i'm going to page 2. this is from the g.a.o., what they said. our review focuses on communities within the continental within the united states, we like to refer to the lower 48, that received e.a.s. subsidized service. we focused our review on these communities because the requirements for communities in alaska are different than the communities in other states.
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airports outside the contiguous states are not representative of the programs in the rest of the country." i can't speak for senator mccain's constituents in the four communities in arizona that receive essential air service. maybe the folks of kemen, page and press cot and sholo, arizona, that receive e.a.s. don't think it's necessary. i'm not sure if skphaeupbl checked with them -- if senator mccain checked with them, but i can speak for the rural alaskans who contacted my office, who are terrified about this amendment and what it would mean for their community, for their way of life, for their very health and well-being of their families. we are in the midst of a recovery from an economic collapse. mr. president, it makes no sense to eliminate a valuable program that helps rural america and puts small business to work. this amendment would take us in
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the wrong direction. i strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. thank you, mr. president. i yield back my remaining time and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: consent to speak as if in morning business mg. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: each year the president presents a budget. it's the beginning of the formal conversation about what next year's budget will be. and each president presents their offering and their suggestions. then, of course, the house and the senate have to try to reach an agreement between them as to what the actual budget will be. the president suggests a bottom
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line in spending and then the house and the senate make appropriations decisions within that bottom line. so today president obama kicked off this conversation by presenting his budget to america. he presented it in a time when he faces two very significant challenges, how to create more jobs and less debt. it's a tough balancing act. because we know to reduce the debt we need to reduce spending. and what the president reminds us is let's not cut spending in areas that are critical for the growth of our economy and for the creation of good-paying jobs. the unemployment rate is about 9%. 13 million americans rout of work. there are 620,000 people in illinois actively looking for jobs. too many people want to work because they want to keep a roof over their heads, but can't find a job. we have a $14 trillion debt. i hope that the chair will forgive me for a little history.
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it's worth noting when we talk about the debt of america how we reached the point where we are today. the fact of the matter is that 10 years ago -- 10 years ago when president william jefferson clinton left office, the debt of america was $5 trillion. the president said to his successor, president george w. bush, the budget is in surplus as i leave office we're collecting more money than we're spending in washington and we project $120 billion surplus in the next fiscal year. welcome to washington, president bush. now fast forward eight years later. the next transition from president george w. bush to president obama. what was the state of play? the national debt was no longer $5 trillion. eight years later it was $12 trillion. $12 trillion and president george w. bush said to president
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obama, welcome to washington. i can't give you a surplus, but i can give you a deficit of $1.2 trillion for the next fiscal year. in eight years what a massive turn of events. how did we go from a $5 trillion debt to a $12 trillion debt? how did we go from surplus to deep deficit in eight years? well, you do it by waging two wars that you don't pay for. being the first president in the history to call for tax cuts in the middle of a war and by creating programs, such as the medicare prescription drug program, that's not paid for. put those policies together and you end up with the sorry state of affairs that president obama inherited. now that deficit has grown frdz dz 12 trillion to -- fro from $12 trillion to $14 trillion because of the recession that he inherited and we're still struggling to get out of this mountain of debt that was created during the
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eight year of the president george w. bush administration, and continues to this day so president obama is trying to strike the right balance. how do you responsibly go after a deficit that calls on us to borrow 40 cents for every dollar we spend and at the same time not kill the economic recovery? so he's trying to parse out those things that he thinks -- and i agree -- are critical for economic growth, education, innovation, and building america's infrastructure. he's done it with this budget. and i think done it in a responsible way. he calls for freezing our spending for five years, which will save us $400 billion off of the anticipated deficit. and he also talks about the same period of time reducing the amount of money for domestic discretionary spending to a level, as a presentage of g.d.p., where it was under president eisenhower, back in
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the 1950's. we understand there's more to do. i think the president sets out on a course that's responsible. we'll change it. we always do. i think the goals he's given us are worthy goals. we know we have to act on our fiscal situation. i was appointed by the majority leader to be a member of the president's deficit commission. and with erskine bowles, a former chief counsel to the president, alan simpson, former colleague in the senate, our bipartisan commission studied it for months and came up with a proposal that we should deal with this budget deficit in a sensible way. and one of the things that they suggested, and i agreed with, was let's not cut too soon. if you cut too soon in some areas, you're going to spoil the recovery. you're going to slow down the recovery. you've got to make sure that the investmentses are there that will help build jobs. the republicans see it differently. they called for cuts in spending
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and trumped with their own membership to raise the cuts to $100 billion. among the things which the house republicans want to cut are among the following, $74 million from the small business admission at a sometime when small businesses are turning to the s.b.a. for loans so they can stay in business an hire more people. $1.4 billion from the clean resolving water fund that local communities use for basic infrastructure so they have good drinking water for the families in their communities. $600 million in tiger ii grants. these are grants that went from washington to local units of government, no middle man in involved for economic development. we need them in my state in communities like peoria. $2.5 billion from high-speed rail that. is a national project of significance that hires thousands of private-sector highwayees who would be -- employees who would be out of
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work. in education the house republicans would cu cut $1.1 billion from head start. how many people have to remind us that if we don't intervene in the lives of small children from families at risk, that those kids, sadly, may end up as poor students or worse. head start gives them a chance. and it's one of the first programs the republicans called to cut. $700 billion from schools across america serving disadvantaged students. they're going to have to lay off 10,000 teachers because of this house republican cut. house republicans also call for for $845 per student cut from pell grants for eight million college students across america. mr. president, there is a way for us to make sure that pell grants are well spent, but cutting the assistance for these students will discourage some from the training and education they need to find the job of the future. $1.5 billion from grants to states for job training. again, at a time when we need
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new skills, when many people have lost the job they can never return to, cutting this money could be very tragic. and then when it comes to research and development, i think the house republicans have lost their way. they want to cut $300 billion from the national science foundation. cutting grants to researchers, teachers and students across america. $1 billion from the national institutes of health, what are they thinking? what are they thinking to cut cut $1 billion in medical research funds from the national institutes of health? if there is ever an area where we cannot lose our edge, not only for the good of humanity but for the good of our own people, it's in medical research, and that's one of the first areas the republicans turn to cut $1 billion. and money from the office of science at the department of energy, $1.1 billion. that is research for innovation in areas such as batteries for electric vehicles and other
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forms of clean energy, and that is clearly the future. what the republicans want to cut, sadly, is too much in areas that really do promise a better future for america. we can do better. government can't directly create jobs at the pace that we need to get this economy back moving forward, but we can make the right investments. for example, in infrastructure. in illinois, we need to make sure that we invest in high-speed rail. i'm glad that our state was chosen. it's going to mean more and more passenger service within our state, fiewrs cars on the highway, more construction. ultimately, it's a benefit to the environment. so high-speed rail is an important infrastructure investment. modernizing o'hare airport, not just for the flight times so that they will be more -- so that there will be more on-time arrivals and departures, but also for safety. the modernization of o'hare needs to continue. we need to have safer roads and
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bridges, and we need broadband, across illinois and across america so that small towns have the same advantages as big cities. we need to put money into head start for education. we can do this. there is waste in this government to be cut. we can work on that together and find it, but let's not eliminate the jobs of teachers that we need so badly. the money for elementary and secondary schools, grants for families, loans to help them put their kids through college, in work and training. these are things where the president has the right priorities and sadly the house republicans do not. it's a sharp contrast. it's an important debate, and it's one that you'll hear on the floor of the senate and the house in the weeks ahead. we can reduce our debt. i think the president is right. his budget would reduce projected deficits by by $1.1 trillion over the next ten years. he wants to freeze nonsecurity discretionary spending for five years, and i think he has shown leadership in making that proposal.
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we need to work with him to come up with a bipartisan plan that reaches our goal of reducing debt in america while still creating jobs. i went through that exercise with the deficit commission. i didn't agree completely with their product, but i thought that it was a move in the right direction and joined the bipartisan group of 11 who supported it. the fiscal commission report was called the moment of truth, and it was. with funding for the current fiscal year unresolved, with the next fiscal year looming, and with the debt ceiling within shouting distance, this is a seminal moment for the fiscal and economic future of america. i commend the president for his approach in the f.y. 2012 budget proposal. just as america has faced down great challenges throughout our history, we can do this, too. we can meet the duel challenges of more jobs and less debt. it takes leadership and constructive activism and realism. bringing those together, democrats and republicans can work together to make equally painful but important political sacrifices.
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it will take a lot of work, but we can do it if we want to get this. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, which the clerk will now report. the clerk: nominations, judiciary. james e. graves jr. of mississippi to be united states circuit judge for the fifth circuit. edward j.davila to be united states district judge for the northern strict of california. mr. leahy: mr. president, i understand there -- every sunder the previous order there, will be one hour of debate with respect to the nominations with the time equally divided in the usual form. mr. leahy: mr. president, i will not use all my time but i did want to note by starting the week considering two of president obama's judicial nominations, the senate is building on the progress we
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began to make last week. we do have in this country judicial vacancies remaining over a hundred. worse yet, nearly half of them are judicial emergencies. so the senate's action on the two outstanding nominees we consider today is much needed. i thank the majority leader for scheduling the time. i thank the republican leader for his cooperation. james graves of mississippi is a justice of the mississippi supreme court. he's been a judge in mississippi for 20 years. president obama nominated justice graves to fill a judicial emergency vacancy on the fifth circuit. when he's confirmed, he'll be the first african-american from mississippi to serve on the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit. edward davila has been a california state trial judge for ten years. for 20 years before his service
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on the bench, he was a deputy public defender and worked in private practice. president obama nominated judge davila to fill a judicial emergency vacancy in the northern district of california. now, both of these nominations were reported unanimously by the judiciary committee this year. but they're also both that have been reported by the judiciary committee unanimously last year. we've reported them out now twice unanimously. it's time now to vote on them here. they were among the 19 judicial nominees that we had voted out unanimously, were ready to be confirmed by the senate last year before we adjourned. when ther there was objection, however, from the other side to proceeding last year, vacancies persisted, the president renominated them, the judiciary committee reconsidered the nominations, we passed them out
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unanimously, all republicans, all democrats from the committ committee, and i expect the senate will confirm them tonight and do so unanimously. both have the support of their home state senators. i'll begin with justice graves. both senator cochran and senator wicker worked with the president and me in connection with the nomination of justice graves. both have been enthusiastic in their support of justice graves. the governor of mississippi, governor barber, came up to me a few days ago at an event and urged me to move it forward. i -- i told him i voted to move him out almost a year ago and i'm all for it. but it's an example that this is somebody about bipartisan support. senator boxer and senator feinstein worked with the president and me in connection with judge davila.
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so i hope by the votes that we had last week and what we're doing tonight means we're going back to the regular order, the regular order i've been seeking for months. if you have nominees that have been voted out unanimously by every republican, every democrat on the senate judiciary committee, we ought to bring them up for a vote on the floor. my experience over 37 years, when you have somebody like th that, 99.9% of the time they also go through unanimously in the senate. so we ought to do that. they are two of the eight judicial nominees unanimously vortd breported by the judiciary committee that are currently ready for final consideration and final action by the senate. and i hope that the other six judicial nominations to fill vacancies in georgia, california, north carolina, the district of columbia can all be considered before the president's day recess. as i indicated before, when these two nominees are confirm
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confirmed, there's still going to be a hundred federal judicial vacancies around the country and that's too many. if you're a litigant and trying to get a case heard, you don't care whether a republican or a democratic president nominated somebody. you just want to make sure there's a judge there so your case can be heard. but all over the country you can't get them heard because of the vacancies. it's judge chief justice roberts, attorney general hold holder, white counsel bob -- whitehouse counsel bob bower, and many others, including the president of the united states, have spoken out and urged the senate toage. that's why the front-page story in "the washington post" last tuesday bore the headline, "vacancies on federal bench hit
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crises point." front page. as that report stated, vacancies are increasing workloads dramatically and delaying trials in some of our nation's federal courts -- some of the nation's federal courts. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to include in the record at the conclusion of my statement a copy of the "washington post" report on the judicial vacancy crisis. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: you have to look at nearly one in eight of every federal judgeships across our nation, east to west, north to south vacant. that means, as i mentioned earlier, americans can't get a fair hearing in court. the real price for these unnecessary delays falls upon judges already overburdened can cases, unable to put the time into them they should, and the american people who are
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dependent on our courts are being denied hearings and justice in a timely fashion. in contrast to the sharp reduction in vacancies during president bush's first two years in office, the democrats were in charge for only a year and a half of those first two years. we confirmed 100 of his judicial nominations, including a number that many democrats were opposed to, but we confirmed them. the first two years of president obama's, only 60 of his judicial nominations were allowed to be considered and voted on. we haven't kept up with the weight -- the rate of attrition, let alone brought the vacancies down. and judges die, judges retire, judges reach an age where they don't -- they shouldn't be sitting on the bench. there are vacancies all the ti time. and those vacancies should have
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been cut in half. instead, they continue to hover at above 100. i believe the senate can do better. in fact, i believe the senate has to do better. the nation can't afford further delays by the senate in taking action of the nominations pending before it. judicial vacancies in courts throughout the country hinder the federal judiciary's ability to fulfill its constitutional role. they create a backlog of cases, prevent people from having their day in court and that's unacceptable. i want to thank senator grassley and all the members of the judiciary committee 40* for working with me at the start of this congress to establish a fair and timely schedule for holding confirmation hearings. considering nominations in committee. i ought to note that during president bush's first term,
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four tumultuous years in office, we confirmed 205 of his judicial nomination -- 205. 105 of them done in the two and a half years that republicans were in charge, 100 during the less than a year and a half that democrats were in charge and i was chairman. so we've shown that we're willing to move. contrast that to only 65 allowed of president obama's we have to do better. so when we approach it, we can reduce vacancies from historically high levels. again, i commend both the majority leader and republican leader for moving forward on this, and, mr. president, i would yield the floor, reserve the balance of my time -- and my voice. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee.
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mr. corker: mr. president, thank you. and i thank the senator from vermont. and i will be very brief. i know today the president has put forth the administration's proposal on the budget and i know a lot of people on both sides of the aisle have spent a tremendous amount of time during the course of this last year -- mr. leahy: if the senator would yield for a moment, i assume you're speaking on the time reserved for the republican snide. mr. corker: that is correct. thank you, sir. thank you for being so fastidious. mr. president, back to what i was talking about ... i know that a lot of people on both sides of the aisle have spent a great deal of time looking at ways for us to lessen, if not close, the tremendous amount of deficit that we have in this country. and i think everybody understands what a threat this is to our economic security, candidly, i believe, to our national security, and i think many of us have paid close attention to what's happened to other countries who certainly are in this type of situation. i think there's a strong sense
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on both sides of the aisle and becoming even stronger that this is an issue we as a country have to deal with. mr. president, the thing that's unique i think about the issue of this fiscal deficit that our country has -- this is something that's totally within our hands. in other words, we can deal with this. this is not like some of the situations we deal with in afghanistan or other places where it takes others, if you will, working with us to ensure that our efforts there are successful. this is something that we as a congress can solve. unlike again the economy. the economy requires private-sector investment and people doing things outside of this body to really create the kind of prosperity we'd like to see. this is totally within our control. so, mr. president, i really do try to look at the bright side of things. i want to say that, on the other hand, i was disappointed to see
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the president's budget today and the lack of urgency that was displayed there, the lack of concern. i twhai that means is -- i think what that means is those of us in this body and those of us in the house are going to have to, as we should, deal with this issue. i think it's much more difficult when you're dealing with a national crisis not to have the administration pulling along with you. and it's my hope that even though i think the president did miss an opportunity to lead on this issue, i do hope that over the course of the next several months that they will come to the table and deal with this issue in a responsible way. with both the house and senate. so, mr. president, i want to again urge us -- i know the house is wrestle with these issues right now, and my guess is that by the time they get ready for recess here this weekend, they will send over something that deals with some cuts in discretionary spending. i think we all know we have to deal with the entire budget, if
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we're actually going to make the type of headway that all of us know needs to be made. but i do hope that what dwoal this spring early is go ahead and volt and pass some large -- vote go ahead and vote and pass some large reductions on spending. i hope we'll vote on something like the act that senator mccaskill and i have. i would think most people in this country would consider it would be to be a responsible approach over a ten-year period that would would be a straitjacket on congress to ensure that we actually make those cuts. so those are two steps that need to occur. and it is my hope that the administration, after putting forth what has been put forth that they will join us in this effort. mr. president, i think all of us know that for us to deal with the big issues of this country, it's going to take the executive
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branch, the house, and the senate. we've got divided government. this is a perfect opportunity for us as a country to deal with this huge issue that really threatens certainly the future of the young people sitting before me, but threatens our country's economic security hand our national security. so, mr. president, and i thank you for the time, i hope that all of us will deal with this in a serious, sober, and responsible manner. i think we've got several months over which we have a tremendous opportunity to come together and do the right thing, as it relates to our country's economic and fiscal situation. with that, i yield the floor. thank you, mr. president. mrs. boxer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the snoer from california. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. what is the order right now? the presiding officer: the senate is concurrently debating two nominations. mrs. boxer: okay. is it appropriate that i speak on one of those mom nations but
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also make some comments about the budget? the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mrs. boxer: thank you very much. mr. president, i am very happy today to know that we're about to cast a vote on edward davila, nominee for the u.s. district court for the northern district of california, and this is a wonderful nominee, and he deserved this up-or-down vote. i am convinced that he is ago go tote an overwhelming vote. and i am going to speak to that in a moment. but the senator from tennessee was critical of senator -- of president obama's budget, and i wanted to just make a response to that. the senator from tennessee is not the only republican to criticize president obama's budget. it's -- they're all reading out of the same playbook.
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and i just have to say, while no one agrees with every line in that budget -- i certainly don't -- the basis of the budget is critical, and this is the basis of the budget. the president is addressing the deficit in a very responsible way, freezing domestic discretionary spending. very tough, very tough. cutting billions and billions and billions of dollars of red ink while not jeopardizing the economic recovery that we are in the midst of. and, to me, it's very interesting because i had the privilege of being here in this body the last time we balanced the budget. as far as i know -- i don't recall any republicans voting for bill clinton's budget; maybe there were one or two; i don't recall. but that budget was in balance, and we went into surplus, and,
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frankly, we learned how to do it then. and what did we learn? we learned that when you are facing a crisis like this, a budget deficit that's growing too fast and an economic recovery that you don't want to disrupt, that you have to be responsible. you don't take a meat ax to this economy. and cut things just for the sake of telling the american people you met a certain number. every $1 billion of cuts, that's real people with real jobs. and then the republicans are criticizing our president for investing in the infrastructure of this country. mr. president, you and i know, you can't have a great nation if you can't move goods, if you can't move people, if people are stuck in traffic, if you are a sewer system that's over-- if
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you have a fewer system that's overflowing, a water system that's antiquated, and you have, you know, millions of people who can't get access to broadband, and the internet. we all know the value of that. so i would say to my republican friends, please don't be against something simply because our president is for it. he's reaching out his hand. don't give him the back of your hand. and, you know, i'm very optimistic we can work together. i'm certainly so pleased that the president has reached out his hand, and republicans and democrats have reached out their hands too in this congress. i'm pleased to say on the highway bill i'm working very closely with congressman mica, who is the chairman of the transportation infrastructure committee in the house. i'm working with jim inhofe, my friend and ranking member of the
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committee. and so let's, in our rhetoric, not each go to our corners. let's welcome this president's budget. let's take a look at it. let's ask economists what is the impact of cutting so much that you derail the economic recovery. we can do this. we did it under bill clinton. we balanced the budget and created 23 million jobs. under george w. bush that was gone in five minutes. tax cuts to the people who didn't need it. and with it, a horrible economic recession, which this president, president obama, stepped up to the plate, without much help from the other side -- a couple, yes, helped us -- and i'm preparing a little presentation on what we did and what was the impact. we had capitalism on the brink of failure, and this president had the courage.
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there were calls from the republican side of the aisle to nationalize the banks. i remember that. and president obama said, no way. we're not going to do that. and has it been rough, has it been tough? horribly so. in my state -- suffering from this mortgage crisis. we have to do more. we all know that. but economists are saying that we are moving forward. we turned the corner. and, therefore, i think this chorus of negativity coming from the republicans toward our president, when he was able to take the worst recession since the great depression and bring us back to a stable situation, let's work together. let's not, you know, heat up this rhetoric. we can do this. we did it before. we know how to wrap our arms around this deficit, and we know
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how to grow jobs. so let's take a page out of that book. it means that you take bold steps, but you don't go so far, so fast that you derail economic recovery. we can do this. the attack by the other side on the environmental protection agency is unbelievable. i saw a cartoon, mr. president, in the gannett papers in my home towfnlt it had a drawing of an elephant representing the republican party. and in the elephant's trunk was a can that was obviously poisson. it had skull and bones on it -- spraying the flowers, the trees, the air. and under the republican logo it said, "environmental destruction agency." that they called the republican
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party the environmental destruction party. they have cut a third. that's their proposal, a third of the e.p.a.'s budget. now, when i go out to talk to people, not one of them ever said to me, the air is too clean, senator. make it dirtier. my kid only missed two days from this school year, and i want dirty air. nobody ever said, i want unhealthful water. nobody ever told me they want to live close to a superfund site. so i say to my friends, watch out what you're doing. you're taking a meat ax to the environmental protection agency that protects the health and the safety and the we will-being of our -- and the well-being of our children and our families. if you can't breathe, you can't work. you notice that? you lose time out, you lose time from work. so let's be careful here.
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let's not be radical.


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