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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 31, 2013 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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every single america. every american benefits. 16 million jobs, directly or indreblgtly, rely on ags culture and a positive balance of trade. this is absolutely the kind of work that we need to get done. we are general rating billions. when you combine that w a long-term farm bill, a five-year farm bill, you also generate economic growth. and that economic growth will not only help ri deuce the deficit as well, but it puts people to work: this is important work for all americans. lit's remember, this touches
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every single american in a very positive way. some of the keys i'd lieblg to em fa sies in this bim,en hansed crop insurance. i've heard from across my state that farmers and rampblers wanten hanszed com snurnsz. that's absolute lip a priority. we need to continue the sugar program, the livestock indemnity program for our producers. we need conservation rules that make sense in the house vergsz, you do tie >> i think that is the right approach, and, obviously, under the current program if enroll in the program, you are also tied to the compliance requirements. we need strong support for ag research. for all of you that live and work in farm country, look what ag research has done for genetics and production.
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it's unbelievable talking about productivity. we have to support the programs. the senator was nice enough to mention the work done on a bipartisan basis. she's been an absolute leader in the conservation programs, particularly rural water management. the regional conservation partnership program is app amendment sponsored on the senate side, pleased to cosponsor that with her. this is make a real difference in terms of water management in the rural areas and a big difference in helping to prevent flooding. in the last one to mention is for the crp program, we need to make it safe eligible, all of it. that's state acres for wildlife enhancement to make a huge difference for wildlife and our sportsmen. it's a great program, and i look forward to working with you on it. look, we can get this done, no question about it. we need to get this done this year now for our farmers and ranchers, this benefits all americans, and i very much look
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forward to working with all of you to get this farm bill done for the good of our country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the senator yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. this -- mr. thompson. >> thank you, mr. chairman, my thanks to the ranking members, and all the members in the house and senate ag committee for your hard work and dedication in the process of passing a long-term farm bill reauthorization. this conference committee is long overdue. reforms have been put forward by both chambers that update and modernize the agriculture programs to ensure the long-term stability of farms and broader economy. now while we're one step closer to the end goal, most agree we have heavy lifting before this conference. i serve as a chairman of the house agriculture subcommittee on conservation energy and
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forestry with jurisdiction over titles 2, 8, and 9. at the subcommittee we spent years examining the 2008 farm bill along with the range of other issues under the purview. i'm proud of the product put forward and passedded out of the house. tho this work, we made improvements with a name towards efficiency and value. reforms under all three titles create savings while improving outcomes. while many areas are similar to the senate bill, a number of are different including provisions to address areas that our national forest system affected by invasive species and fire damage. the house and senate addressed the matter through different means. it's my hope through legislation we promote the health and well being of the national forest system as effectively as possible. the preferred language in title 9 # or referred to as the fairness act, bipartisan support, congressman and i along with members of the house have
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worked hard to promote our forestry and forest product industries. this is a much needed change to the program. usda and secretary sill sack welcome the -- vilsack welcome the change. these are a few small, but key differences put forward deserving of the committee's consideration and support, and i look forward to the work in the areas. in addition to the subcommittee's immediate jurisdiction, i'd like to make note of differences on a broader bill, particularly under the dairy and nutrition titles. we absolutely must move towards a market based system. the house and senate bill repealed, old repore programs, and, however, there are bipartisan concerns remaining with the incollusion of supply management program. i permly believe this program is a wrong approach and will only serve to further distort markets and undermind straight and limiting innovation and industry growth. furthermore, that could have further passage of the important
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package. the need for reform nutrition title have been recognizedded by both chambers. these are serious issues which have been the subject of a lot of politics from both sides of the aisle, and i'm hopeful we can reframe from continuing down that road. the goal is to be two-fold, protect taxpayers, and the most vulnerable populations. i assure you these are nonmutually exclusive ideal, and i'm confident we can find a compromise worthy of support from both parties and chambers, and i look forward to working with you as a process moving forward, and thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from colds, senator bennet. >> thank you, mr. foreman. i say thanks because i was worried # the person dead last on this side that it met i was going to have to wait until the very end on the back and forth and back and forth. i appreciate it. i thank you for it. i would have had a great
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education, though, if you had kept me until the end, and i want to thank you and the ranking member for your leadership. we have appreciated it and admired it in our chamber, and also chairwoman stabenow for your effort and sustained effort in getting us to this point. i feel privileged as others have said to be part of the farm bill conference committee and join those who said this is the way we should should be doing our wn congress. this is the way we are going to be able to regain the confidence of the american people, not with the rock throwing and brick throughing and the screaming, but working together in a bipartisan, bicameral way, and that is the expectation of our farmers and ranchers. the farmers and ranchers in rural communities driving colorado's $40 billion agricultural economy, it is critical that we work through our differences to complete this process. mr. chairman, if i could sum up what i heard in the nearly 0 #
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listens sessions we've had all across colorado on this topic, the message is very, very simple. work together to give us the certainty of a five-year farm bill. work together to give us the certainty of a five-year farm bill. the senate farm bill reflects a bipartisan principled and practical compromise and the house is working towards the same objectives. we identified priorities, streamlined duplication, and broke from old, inefficient habits. we end the days, finally, of automatically issues payments to farmers regardless of economic need, and we strengthen crop insurance to protect the farmers on colorado's eastern plains against stubbornly persistent drought condition. as colorado continues to break its own export records, its dairy sector is especially effective in finding markets overseas. our bill moves away from price production on planted acres,
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which strengthens our farmers' ability to export. we should be forward looking to arrive at ad k340ty policy that supports this vital area of potential growth in the farm economy. our bill makes strategic investments in additional areas of innovation and growth. as others said, it provides crop insurance and industry-led research and promotion for organics, an industry creating jobs at a rate of four times the national average. it provides mandatory funding for industry program. it's a huge creator of new wealth in rural colorado. mr. chairman, we need a strong conservation title with robust resources in the final bill. when disaster strikes like the horrible floods that we're facing in colorado, its it's programs like equip providing immediate aid to struggling producers. our conservation title includes provisions to give the agriculture secretary flexibility regarding the match requirements needed to finalize
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conservation, something that is critical to our farmers and ranchers in the west who want to pass their farms and ranches down to the next generation. this practice call idea comes straight from colorado's farmers and ranchers. our bill would also place more land and conservation by once again linking crop insurance participation to basic conservation practices. as for public lands conservation, we upgrade to health restoration act of 2003 to prioritize payments, a national foreign land instruct by outbreaks including colorado's beetle kill, and there's a bipartisan senate agreement for extending colorado's good name authority to our national forests, and, finally, mr. chairman, as a former school superintendent, i see how access to food and life success are closely intertwined for our kids. no program in washington is perfect. structures have proved effective in the period of high need, and we need to find a pat forward to
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respects all people affected by this farm bill. with that, mr. chairman, i yield, thank you. >> the senator yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. mcgovern. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i thank you, ranking members, for all your hard work and dedication, and i, too, want to thank the staff for the many hours of work they put into this effort. let me say at the outset, like everyone else here, i very much want a farm bill. i look forward to working with the members of the committee to achieve that goal. being from massachusetts, there are many important parts of the farm bill that impact my state and new england, the dairy conservation and crop provisions are especially critical for the part of the country i represent, and i strongly support full and robust dairy, conservation, and specialty crop provisions in the final conference report. i'm pleased to see the house and senate including language to
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close the animal fighting spectator loophole, both bills prohibit knowing an animal fight or bringing a child to a fight, and i urge the colleagues to support provisions. i'd like to spend my remaining time on the issue of hunger. i remind my colleagues as chairwoman stabenow did in the opening statement that no matter way we do with the farm bill, a $5 billion cut in snap automatically goes in effect in two days, it'll be 11 billion over three years. on average, this cut means reduction in the monthly snap benefit of about $30 for a family of three, about 16 fewer meals per month. i think it's shameful, but it's going to happen on friday. we have a hunger problem in the country. it's not fashionable to talk about it. it's not a comfortable conversation to have, but it's a fact. there is not a single congressional district in the united states of america, the
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richest country in the history of the world, that is hunger free. 50 million americans struggle every single day to get enough to eat, and it's hard to be poor, it's very hard to be poor. we cannot pile on deeper cuts. i regret to say the house bill written would do just that cutting $40 billion from the most important, effective, and efficient program helping millions of americans put food on the table. the house bill results in 3.8 million hungry people removed from snap all together. about 200 thousands kids lose access to free meals, and 170,000 veterans lose access. these are more than just statistics. behind every number is a human being, a child or a senior or a neighbor or a veteran who is struggling and who needs modest benefits. let me remind every member of
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the conference committee that outside of children and seniors, the majority of abled body adults do work. they make so little that they still need help to put food on the tables, and those who don't work are struggling to find a job in the still very difficult economy. it is unconscionable and unacceptable we make their lives more difficult. let's be clear. the house bill, especially with regard to nutrition make hunger worse in america. like everyone else, i want to see a robust comprehensive farm bill, and i'm willing to be flexible, willing to compromise, willing to cooperate, willing to be reasonable. our farmers deserve a farm bill, america deserves a farm bill, but i will not support a farm bill that makes hunger worse, and none of us should do that, and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman yields back, and the chair recognizes the
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gentleman from mops, senator baucus. >> >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i appreciate the recognition. all of us spent last week in our home states with the people we work for, and the message was clear. we're fed up, they are not happy with what they are doing here. loss faith that congress works for them, and so our chance here is to begin restoring some of the lost faith. the farm bill is about jobs, between prices, whether the producer faced enough unpredictability. they want certainty, and we are here to deliver it. tomorrow, volunteers deliver their first shipment of south dakota ranchers wiped out by the recent storm. i'm proud of the generosity, but they shouldn't have to do it
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alone. livestock disaster assistance is critical, one of the many areas i think where we all agree. still, our differences are stark. the house proposed farm programs will not work for montana. montana farmers are faced with a difficulty of guessing future prices and yields in order to choose between two programs that address very different kinds of risk. neither of these programs would be affected because a farm level option is due in counties which we have where one farmer is held out and another has a record year. tieing target prices to acres runs the risk of underminding decades of reform by influencing planting, very important decisions made across the country. we must carefully consider how best to honor international trade obligations. american producers depend on opportunity that trade creates. there are many areas behind title 1 where we need to find
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agreement. more than 70% of snap households in montana have children. in the richest country on earth is no excuse for kids to go hungry. we need a solution for those folks who need the help the most. timber jobs depend on the tools to manage beetle kill in trees. we have distinct priorities. i'm going to stand up, fight for those in montana just like i expect all the rest of us to fight for priorities in their home states. if we listen more than we talk, we can produce a bill everyone can proudly support. this is my sixth farm bill, and i'm determined to leave montana and their country with a certainty they can count on. success depends on working together. our nation is watching. let's show people congress can work for them. i might say, mr. chairman, i remember the 2008 farm bill, it was a wonderful conference,
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wonderful, as you recall, we sat there, bipartisan, bicameral, around the table, and we learned about agriculture in different parts of the country, learned about avenue avocados, apple, p, cotton, so forth, and a lot of folks learned about hard bread winter wheat, and it is a very, very good session. we listened. we had tradeoffs, helped each other out in the best sense of term, it was compromise. i'm reminded of the celebration yesterday of the speaker tom fully, and there was one of the most wonderful people i had the privilege to know. i don't know anyone with more integrity, more intelligence, more grace, more decency, more hard working than tom, and the hallmark to the compromise, tom
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fully was a public servant in the bestceps of the term caring about the fifth district in washington and cared about finding solutions, and i urge us to remember speaker tom and remember way we can do here and also remember that people are fed up with us. we have an opportunity here to do something that makes someceps, and that's why we are here in the first place. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the senator, and the senator yields back. i turn to the gentleman from georgia, mr. scott. >> >> thank you, an honor to join you, other colleagues here today, and be part of the conference committee. i'm confident as we work together we can complier things over the next few weeks that result in a farm bill good for the farmers, agricultural industry, and good for the american people. as we sit here today to begin negotiations, cotton, peanuts,
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ab other row crops are picked in georgia. our producers and ranchers who built families and livelihoods on the successful agriculture industry now more than ever need certainty of a five-year farm bill. the harvest will be over soon, and in a few months, farmers begin preparations for the 2014 farm year. talking with their banks and securing operating loans. soon after, they will be turning dirt without the certainty of a five-year farm bill. this would be difficult, if not impossible, for many of the family farmers and producers in georgia. to achieve this, i know we have to meet in the middle on many issues. i urge my colleagues not to consider "compromise" a bad word. in the discussions, there's specific goals i hope to achieve together. first, our country possesses a diverse agricultural industry. no one program can meet the many needs of all sectors. our producers need choices in the safety nets. as my grandmother always said, a farm bill should be only for the
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bad times, not the good times. nothing that we do should guarantee anybody a profit. thus providing producers with a revenue safety net for programs is extremely important. second, i know nutrition programs have been contentious on issues throughout the discussions. our focus should be on changing the culture of the programs, provide recipients with a lifeline when they need it most, while creating a greater economic opportunity for the individuals to vise beyond the circumstances which led to their need for the support. after serving 14 years in the state legislature, i believe nutritional programs can run under greater efficiency if add ministered by the states. i hope we set the programs on a path for future state administration. ultimately, these programs should meet the goal of temporary assistance for which they were created while also helping those they serve on to a pat of self-sufficiency and earned success. another issue in need of resolution is the current
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national pollution discharge i lym nation system. the pesticide perming process, the process is a perfect example of duplicated regulation with no value. the application of pesticides has been evaluated by the epa and under the federal insecticide act, they have been approved. if the current policies remain in place, u.s. farmers can permit the use of pesticides for such purposes that the epa deem safe for use. with current language provided in the house bill, farmers will not be subject to the due publictive permitting for pesticides already approvedded for use. finally, mandatory country origin of use and labeling remains at the prompt of the wto cases. this case has potential to cause damage to the agricultural industries. over the past year, wto ruled in favor of challenges which could penalize u.s. billions of dollars, resolution of this is a
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necessity. again, i look forward to working with my colleagues to address these issues coming to an agreement and providing farmers and ranchers with certainty for another five years. with that, mr. chairman, i yield the remainder of my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair would ask the chairwoman of the senate, my understanding is somewhere after the five o'clock hour there's a potential for a vote in your body? >> yes. yes, that is correct. >> i would note to my colleagues the senate and ranking member stay as long as they possibly can, but that gives us a sense of urgency, and with that, i recognize the gentlewoman from washington state. >> thank you, mr. chair, and i'm pleased to be here and to have the farm bill conference committee actually officially starting today. i want to thank the chairs and the ranking members for all your leadership in getting us here. as the only one from washington state, i understand how
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important this is for us. agriculture is a 46-billion-dollar industry and employees 16 # 0,000 people. my district has thousands of farms producing hundreds of millions of dollars of goods, and it is the nation's number one producer of red raspberries. for my home state and across the country, it's simple. passing a farm bill means healthy families and a healthy economy. as a member of the house agriculture committee, i'm proud that we workedded in a bipartisan manner to address the farm bill. we didn't always agree, but put politics aside to find solutions, and i'm hopeful we continue this positive working relationship and deliver a farm bill good for farmers, our family, and food supply. settling for another extension is not good enough. it creates uncertainty for our farmers, stymies critical research, and negatively impacts consumers and the economy. a comprehensive farm bill should include funding for specialty crops representing more than one-third of the value of all
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crop production per year and increase money for programs like the specialty crop research initiative, specialty crop block grants, and the national clean plant network giving us a great return on investments. a final farm bill should include increasedded funding for programs that support our local organic farmers and growing number of operations around the country. we also must work to protect the safety net which millions of working families, seniors, and children depend on. snap and other nutrition programs help nearly 47 million americans keeping over 22 ,000 in my trick alone from going hungry. reforming a program is one thing. arbitrary richest country cutting a program and calling it reform is another. i believe we can find common ground to bolster programs to be necessary and sufficient. this is why i fought for inclusion of funds to expand
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education and job training programs so successful in washington state. in addition, the farm bill should include the dairy security act. i'm hopeful we can come together and agree op reforms that safeguard our exports, protect producers, and shield consumers from price volatility. as the most trade dependent state in the nation, washington depends on programs that open up new markets and support exports like the market access programs and the foreign market development program. excellent examples of a profitable, public-private partnership. there's so many other issues that must be addressed. i'm also committed to finding a solution working for everyone on country of origin labeling so no company's business is threatened and avoid harmful amendments with no place in the farm bill only making it for difficult for us to reach agreements. for too long, our nation has been without a farm bill. we were sent to congress to advocate on behalf of the constituents and define solutions. farmers and families across the
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country are depending on us. let's not let them down. let's work together and pass the five-year farm bill that our country needs. thank you, and i yield back. >> gentle lady yields bang, and we recognize the lady. >> thank you, i'm grateful for the opportunity to work on this committee and work towards a solution. i want to thank the staff of both committees for all of your hard work over the past several years, and for those past several years we've been working on a new farm bill that meets the country's economic needs while enacting important reforms to farm and nutrition policy, and i'm very, very pleased that today that process is moving forward. this farm bill is a legislative priority for the people of alabama's second congressional district. i posted numerous town halls,
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held regular sit-downs with my own agricultural advisory panel and visitedded with farmers throughout my district. i'm proud that alabama's home to multiple land grant universities that play an important role in developing new farming techniques and technologies, and, in fact, just this morning, i sat down with the president of auburn university learning about their cutting edge research that is shaping the future of agriculture. alabama recognizes that this bill needs to contain reforms that show congress is serious about changing the culture of spending and government dependence. our country needs agricultural policy that makes sense. we need regional equity that allows the same opportunity in protections for all types of commodities, not just those in certain areas. we need an epa that helps farmers comply with the necessary regulations and not aggressive police-like agencies
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bent on punishing those trying to yield a crop. with end of direct payments to farmers, we have to transition to an insurance policy system that allows planning flexibility and time to consolidate duplicated programs administered by the usda. our country needs a nutrition policy that makes sense. food stamps played and will continue to play an important role in taking care of our most needy americans, but the program exists to help list those up who hit bottom, not keep them there. like president reagan said, the success of our welfare program should be measured not by how many the government can enroll, but how many families can get off assistance and become self-reliant. mr. chairman, i know that there are a number of differences between the house and senate bills, but i'm confident we can find common ground. as many said here today in this room, we have a very unique opportunity in this conference committee to prove that congress has not lost its ability to solve problems and make life
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work for americans. by working together, we can be the example to the rest of the congress. let's show the nation that it's legislated leaders can deliver on behalf of the american people. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back, and the chair recognizes the gentle lady from ohio. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. today, we begin the long overdue farm bill conference. while it's not easy to reconcile differences between the senate and house bills, that is what the american people are counting on us to do. farmers and families across the country deserve certainty and stability. let's work across party lines and produce a comprehensive farm bill which recognizes the undenial link between feeding and farming. as ranking member of the house agriculture sub committee, the jurisdiction of nutrition issues, i'm concerned about los angeles in the house bill attempting to deny the long
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standing universally attempt link. it cuts snap to the tune of nearly $40 billion, but the house bill also authorizes nutrition programs for on three years while all other programs for five years. both represent unnecessary and radical changes in our nation's agricultural policy. the house bill eliminates categorical eligibility and ebdz ends ability of state to waive harsh limits to three months of benefit within the three-year period for americans without a job. we all know that snap benefits will automatically be reduced when the 2009 recover ray act temporary benefit boost ends costing needy families as much as $300 a year according to the cbo. snap is the first line of defense for the most vulnerable among us and help insure millions of americans and have access to food. the fact the house proposed and passed a bill with such
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unconsciousble cuts to snap is beyond me. we do not turn backs on farmers seeking help with crob insurance, and we should not turn our backs on hungry americans. according to the environmental working group, taxpayers subsidize 6 # 2% of a cost of farmers insurance premiums. some can be as much as 100% of the cost of the most basic coverage level. crop insurance is the only farm income support program not subject to some of -- some form of means testing. that is why i support the senate language which reduces level of premium subsidies to farmers with aadjusted growth income, and some of the other concerns include the mandatory funding level for outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. the inclogs of central state university as a land grant institution, and the ability of schools to serve more fruits and
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vegetables under the fresh fruit and vegetable program. resolving these issues and others will not be an easy task, but it is the one end trusted to us. i look forward to working towards a collaborative solution. mr. chairman, i yield back. the chair recognizes a member who certainly understands how wicked mother nature can be. i recognize the lady from south dakota. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate all of my colleagues being here today. it's been years we've been working on the farm bill, and i'm certainly thrill to be at the table today. you know, in south dakota, we've been reminded about why getting a farm bill done is so important. a few weeks ago, ranchers in my state had an early blizzard killing temperatures of thousands of livestock, devastating family operations, kill horses, sheep, and, in fact, a rancher told me this storm hit so hard and so fast they found a rattlesnake curled up on top of a snow bank. they didn't have time to take shelter. that was 17 hours of rain
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followed by dropping temperatures, 70 miles per hour winds that turned into a blizzard that lasted three days, and cattle walked off a cliff, walked into breaks, drowned in rivers, piled on top of each other, smothered, eligible for no insurance. we have livestock disaster programs because there's no safety net, and they are struggling today to stay in business. i talked to the owner of rainbow bible camp losing 90 head of horses in the storm. there was a letter he got from a little girl, nine years old, goes to the camp every year, and a part of what she wrote was i heard about all animals you lost, and i'm very sad. i hope we can have camp next summer. a miracle's coming, i can feel it. i will be praying. well, folks, today, i think this farm bill could be a part of the miracle covering a portion of the law. it's not going to make the people whole, but may keep them in business and help the girl go to camp next summer. she sent him $28.39 made up of
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change, a few bills, and she said, i thought you might need this, i'll try to get more. every little counts. every bit does count. we can come together to get this done. this girl represents the way our nation has come together to support agriculture industry, and ensure we have a safe, and an affordable food supply. that's why we have a farm bill. that truly is what it is about. the livestock disaster provisions that i authored in the house bill cover a portion of the losses, help ranchers get back on their feet. for our crop producers, to help strengthen the crop program and protect our prairies act that representative walls worked with me on is incredibly important, kl to taxpayers, gives savings, but ensures we have conservation methods as well. we have to ensure the bill works for all producers, though, and we can include a perm -- permanent office with relations to improve access to programs to the native american communities. i had tribes say they don't know
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how to access programs or get enough communication to do so. this office ensures they have the chance. we have to have a food stamp program responsible, but helps those who need it. we can uphold the integrity of the program, keep it safe from vulnerability into the future. we have to adopt the much needed regulatory relief included in the past bill, section 1013 # # of the bill that ensures we don't have unnecessary permitting requirements of pesticides, and i want to talk about the house and national forest critical area response subtitle applying common sense to addressing the pine beetle epidemic we face in the forests throughout the west. painfully obvious looking at the forest they turned into a tinderbox. it's an emergency situation, and people's lives are at stake, a lightning strike away from losing towns and communities throughout the hills, and we have to be able to go in there and address the issue when we have a chance. communities depend on the forests, and they are key to the western economy.
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the approach in the house bill is reasonable, necessary, and that gives us tools to manage the forests how we should have done years ago. i'm hopeful the senate comes to the table, finds a solution that works effectively for the national forests. way we should strive for in the farm bill is that we work for producers in our states, in our nation as a whole. we all have concerns about certain as sects of the bill, and it's not going to be exactly what we write on our own, but despite differences and challenges, we can come together to bring a safety net to agriculture for the country. i look forward to working with the chairman, chairwoman, and all the colleagues, we're going to get it done. thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. >> thank you, an honor to be part of the conference committee as well as a farmer representing central valley. 81,000 farms, 45 ad revenue annually, 400 commodities.
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california growth half the country's fruits, nut, and vegetables. we are not looking for subsidies, but a fair shake, we want to have priorization of research and development dollars. we want to have trade promotion programs, pets and disease prfts programs that don't allow our different industries to be devastated. simple things to be rectified within the farm bill that keeps not only california's economy competitive, but gives our national ag economy competitive on the global market. we are the number one dairy state in the nation and need this does not prevent them from reaching their true potential. as somebody who served in the state senate and was chair of the ag committee and state senate, i believe in state's rights. states have the right to develop their own ag laws. we must protect those rights to make sure its own agriculture
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production laws are protected. in section 11-3-12 of the house bill threatens states markets animal and plant protection laws. the nutrition program is also an important piece. you know, our school lunch program should be based on nutrition, making sure our kids have the healthiest lunch possible, making sure the foods they get, fresh fruits and vegetables, are an important part, but consider all forms because it should be based on nutrition for our kids. that's something i'm looking forward to seeing in the bill as well as well as work requirements i believe the house bill is the first reform to the snap program since 1996 encouraging able bodied individuals of working age to seek employment. let's get people back to work and utilize america's precious resources to help those in the greatest need. mr. chairman, i yield back. it's an honor to be on the committee. >> the gentleman yields back the balance of his time, and the
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chair recognizes mr. davis. >> thank you, chairman, and thank you to everyone at this table, and i'd like to take a quick moment to wish a belated happy birthday to our colleague, marsha fuming. i come from the land of lincoln. in fact, the district i represent has part of lincoln's olds congressional seat, his home, presidential museum, library, and tomb. president longe advanced as a result in the country, and, in fact, in the span of three months, abraham lincoln signed into law an act to create the department of agriculture, a law establishing the land grant university system, and the homestead act. now, if our predecessors can do that in three months, we ought to be able to take october, november, and december and pass this bill. crop insurance policy, i come to the table as a staunch defender of crop insurance. this year, two floors above us, secretary vilsack testified that crop insurance is working.
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this is a crucial risk management tool that requires our farmers to purchase a policy and experience a loss before collecting a dime. that's called having skin in the game, and it's far preferable than tens of billions of dollars worth of ad hoc disaster bills. not a single penny and disaster assistance was requested after the midwest experienced the drought last year and we have the crop insurance policy program to thank. we should be encouraging participation in the program, and i support the house provisions that strengthen this vital safety net. regulatory relief. in addition to crop insurance, my farmers and producers tell me they need relief from epa regulars. i introduce the an amendment to give farmers a place at the table when epa is considering regulations that impact agriculture. this provision would also require economic impact statements and trigger a review panel where farmer recommendations are considered.
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this is an effort i work closely with chairman lucas and ranking member peterson on, and i appreciate the bipart san support. with respect to nutrition programs, the house and senate agreed there are reforms to make here. we are told unemployment is going down, yes we continue to have a record number of americans using snap. by addressing the loophole as both chambers have done and instituting stronger work requirements as the house has done, i think there's a lot here worth examining. on a separate track with regard to provisions in the bill deal with food served in the food, schools in the district want to flexibility to serve what their students will eat. fieblly, both chambers recognize the importance of reauthorizing university research programs. i represent an outstanding land grant institution in the university of illinois, and i want to thank chairman lucas for supporting the alymny colors on
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the tie here this evening. [laughter] the research pursued in the agriculture and food research institution is an important initiative i've supported. as one of the only freshman on the conference committee, it's an honor to be at the table with a group of folks who want to get the bill done. i came here to work. i hope we can continue the bipartisan momentum of the bill and veterans bill the house passed this week. our farmers, rural america, and all america are counting on us. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. sutherland. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank you, and ranking member peterson, chairman stabenow, and ranking member cochrin. thank you for the meeting, and i convey appreciation to each member around the table and hard work you have put in over the
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last several years. the agriculture industry forms the backbone of the 12 rural counties of florida's second congress district. your shared commitment to advancing sound, agriculture policy is greatly appreciate by my people. in particular, chairman lucas, i thank you for your friendship and your leadership in the house. sir, i said to many people you deserve a purple heart for getting us to this point, and i thank you for your patience and your hard work. i'm honored to participate in the process. both as a former member of the house ag committee and as the only member of the conference committee from the state of florida. the second largest specialty crop producing state in america. this farm bill represents a critical step forward for our farmers, growers, and ranchers, and i look forward to doing all that i can do to help restore the certainty that they deserve. the federal agriculture reform and risk management act of 2013
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makes meaningful reforms to strengthen our rural communities. it provides greater risk management tools, sustains our working forests, includes market based dairy policy, specialty crop tools, and vital regulatory reforms all while streamlining agricultural programs for hard working rural families. i'm also pleased that the house approved bill includes two provisions that i helped craft and sustain the economy's of our rural communities. the bipartisan building rule communities act ensures that small, rural areas have access to the technical assistance and training necessary to enhance local infrastructure all at no additional costs to america's taxpayers. another provision that we fostered was subcommittee chairman thompson would ensure that wood products qualify under the usda biobased marketing
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program. further more, the nutrition reform and work opportunity act of 2013 makes common sense reforms to the supplemental nutrition assistance program ensuring that the truly vulnerable families receive the support they need in more first time and effective manners by advancing the value and the blessing of work for healthy able bodied adults, this legislation follows the proven bipartisan past for success laid out by the democratic president and republican congress during the welfare reform of the 1990s. i look forward to working constructively with colleagues from both chambers and both sides of the aisle on the farm bill conference report that empowers our agricultural stake holders and families who are vulnerable and who need this bill. i appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this important process, and i look forward to sustaining and strengthening agriculture production in
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america. mr. chairman, thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentleman recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, chairman. madam chair, ranking members, first, chairman, i ask unanimous concept that mr. royce, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, unavoidedbly called away have an opening statement committed to the record. >> no objection, so ordered. >> thank you. hard working farmers in my district and across the country work each and every day to provide food for those around the world making a simple request to us in congress: certainty. i live in the middle of five farms, beef, dairy, poultry, sheep, and goats, and in addition to various crops, and, also, my state of pennsylvania, agriculture is its number one
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industry. farmers want certainty for crop prices, certainty for rules, regulations, and certainty the lawmakers will not use them as tools for political game. this gives farmers certainty in the aftermath of a natural disaster just as farmers in the district experienced last year with hurricane irene. last week, i learned from ramona foods, a locally family owned foods back home is forced to lay off 18 employees because the slow economy was too much for the company to bear with a strain already felt from irene's aftermath. ramano foods have been canning tomatoes, beans, and vegetables since 1921 employing over 200 people. these are the backbone of american agriculture.
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these are the businesses that need lawmakers to work together to timize a long-term farm bill so they can have a little more certainty amongst the chaos. in addition to certainty for farmers, we have to do what is right. fiscally and miranda morally. this means eliminating waste, fraud, and redundancies when impossible to save taxpayer dollars and taking steps to further detour the negative culture, the effects of illegal animal fighting, done through a provision i worked with, representative mcgovern, my colleague across the aisle, and i thank you. the animal fighting spectator prohibition act, which i reintroduce to this congress and already had 217 cosponsors eliminate the ability for the organizers of the animal fights to pretend to be spectators in order to avoid prosecution under federal law. it makes it a crime to knowingly
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take a minor to an illegal animal fight and i'm pleased both house and senate included similar language in the versions of the farm bill. as a former prosecutor, i know the illegal drug and weapons deals that take place at animal fights and how they are often hot spots for other criminal activities like prostitution. just last week, two men in miami-daid were murdered participating in an illegal cock fight. it is time we stand up against the cruelty of animal fighting and help protect the animals and the people harmed by these fights by including the senate los angeles against animal fighting in the final conference report. i thank you, and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back, and for a couple housekeeping elements, i ask unanimous concept for the use of proxies on the part of the house during this conference. seeing objections, no
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objections, so orders, and note i have in the remaining order, the gentleman from new york, michigan, and the gentleman from texas. the gentleman from new york is recognized. >> thank you very much, chairman, and chairman lucas, chairman stabenow, ranking member peterson for calling the conference meeting, and i'd like to thank nancy pelosi for naming me as a conferee. members of the staff worked hard on these bills, and i feel privileged to be a part of the process. as you know, the foreign affairs committee has jurisdiction over title 3 of the bills before us which includes international food aid and export promotion measures. i'm going to focus most remarks on food aide reform, but i want to mention new york is the third largest dairy state, and i'm the only new yorker on this conference. i also wanted to address several other areas of concern to the bills that directly affect my congressional district and the state of new york, specifically, i strongly oppose the cuts to
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snap and so many americans are still recovering from the effects of the worst recession in generations. i urge my colleagues to reject the cuts in the house bill that disproportionally impact the ability of the elderly, children, and those who are less fortunate to feed themselves. i really hope we work the issues in a way that does not hurt people who are in desperate need of help, and e urge the conference committee to have strong conservation and animal welfare provision in the final conference report. i believe the conference should maintain our current sugar policy to protect american jobs. as the ranking member of the house and foreign affairs committee, our system for delivering aid abroad is outdates from the 1950s, and chairman royce agrees with me. it takes far too long to get food aid to starving people, wastes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and harms agricultural markets in the countries we're trying to help. in these times of budget belt
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tightening, we need a better way to distribute aid, and the provisions in three are modest, common sense reforms, that help the u.s. save more lives with our overseased food assistance. while asupport all the food aid reform included in the senate bill, i'm particularly supportive of section 3008 which includes flexibility in choosing between cash based resources or commodities thereby reducing reliance on the wasteful practice of monsterrization. this allows food aid programs to include up to 20% cash funding which allows the u.s. to use the most appropriate tools to respond to emergencies, incoming local and regional procurement, cash transfers, vouchers, and agriculture commodities. i would note the 20% cash flexibility provision in the senate bill is now in the 45%
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language included in the amendment, chairman royce and i offered to the house farm bill on the subject which received unprecedented support from our colleagues and almost a majority. as we face food and security crisis in syria, somalia, and the drc, we are charged with the task of deciding who won't get the food aid they need because they maxeded out their ability to purchase food locally. the bottom line is that these artificial restrictions on the ability to respond to human emergencies have to be reformed to make programs flexible and efficient. i urge colleagues to reform title three, and i thank the chairs and colleagues, representative ed royce and tom for the leadership on international food aid and foreign affairs committee, and i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back, and we recognize the gentleman from michigan. >> thank you so much, and looking about, i so admire with everybody else, the tenacity of
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especially the four of you. tenacity is an understatement. senator stabenow and peterson and i talk often about how long this has taken, and i think this provides a rare, to date, rare bipartisan opportunity. the provisions within domain of cotton and sugar programs, we leave to your good judgment. as long as you maintain the necessary provisions that we're obliged to under our international responsibilities. if i might, i want to take a minute to speak more personally. our family owns some agricultural acreage just a little bit. there's apple trees that are
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always filled with worms. we have a raspberry patch that went bad, and picked a few asparagus that they call in this agricultural area, as stabenow knows, speer grass. i'm not an expert, to put it mildly. i do want to say something, though, personally, about snap. in our suburban district, it's very suburban. there's 48,000 people who rely on nutrition assistance. when i have talked to teachers, and these are in suburban school districts, in many cases, they have a drawer in their classroom filled with food because
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children come to school hungry. one of the large food banks is in the district i represent. 17% of the population they serve face food insecurity, and 70% of them do not utilize snap, so there is a severe nutrition challenge to millions of families in this country. as you all know, the average amount available is 450 a day. that's the average. with some other colleagues in the house, i took the challenge and lived on 450 a day for a week. i just urge that everybody put themselves in the shoes of these
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families, and i finish with this. i remember going to a pantry in a parrish that i represent, and talking to the families there, and these are families in need. thank you for hearing me. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes, i believe for the concluding comments, the gentleman from texas. >> thank you. you'll be happy to know i'll cut it real short. [laughter] but, good afternoon, i appreciate the leadership that chairman lucas and ranking member peterson shown throughout the process and look forward to working with all the members of the committee to produce a sensible and comprehensive farm bill. i represent a district that includes about 140 miles of the south texas gulf coast and virtually all the king ranch exempt for the part that's in
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florida. my district has significant cotton, sugar, citrus, and grain b and livestock interest. there's an understanding that each of the commodities have their open particular variables and such an approach that addresses those differences. farmers currently planning the planting season need to reauthorize farm bills to plan accordingly. we must come to the republican agreement op title 4 cuts. my district has one of the highest members of snap recipients in the nation. most are elderly, young, and we can want allow a chopping block approach to snap to deprive this country's elderly, young, and needy of very basic human sub stan nans. there's a lot of work to be dope. i look forward to working with everyone and getting a farm bill reauthorized for the next five years. >> the gentleman yields back. there's copies of house bill hr2642 and the senate amendment.
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..em copies of house bill hr 2642 and the senate amendment. the legal language comparisons and the section by section comparisons. does the -- as we're about to conclude our business today, does the chairwoman have any concluding comments? >> well, mr. chairman, i just want to thank you again and thank all of our members. i think we're off to a great start. it's very clear to me that everyone wants to work together and get this done, and so we will. so i look forward to continuing and completing this process. >> chairman recognizes himself. i think the chairwoman is exactly right. we've come a long way down a very difficult path. we still have challenges to overcome. but we can, and we will. and with that, this meeting of the conference committee is adjourned, subject to the call of the chair.
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[ background catte ] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius testified on capitol hill on wednesday about implementing the health care law. in the problems with the website to sign-up for health insurance. you can see the entire event online at and here is a sample of the hearing. >> i want to talk about the website because this is what is happening right now with this
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website. we have someone trying to sign-on and it is down and it is not working. last week i asked from each of the contractors that were with us as of last week. can you give me a ballpark of what you have spent on the website that does not work that individuals cannot get to and what is your cost estimate? >> so far, congresswoman, we have spent about $118 million on the website itself and about $56 million that has been expended on other i.t. situations to support the web. >> would you please the met a detailed accounting of exactly what has been sent and when do you expect constituents to start getting these kinds of error messages? >> i talked to the president of horizon over the weekend on two
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occasions and they host a cloud which is not part of the website but is a host for a number of websites. the system of verizon was taken down from is down almost all day and then they had an additional problem that they notified us about yesterday and it continues on. so i would be happy to talk to the president of verizon. >> let me come back to that. because i would like to get to this issue of exactly who is in charge of the project. you are now blaming it on the contractors and saying that it is the fault of verizon. did you ever look at outsourcing the role of the system integrator, and obviously you did not from the contractors that we had last week. they had several different people, whether it was you or gary or henry that they thought were in charge. so who is responsible for
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overseeing those projects? is it you or your designee? >> let me make it clear that i am not pointing fingers, but i am trying to explain away this site operates. the website has had serious problems. >> who is in charge, madame secretary? >> the person now in charge. >> who is in charge? >> who is the individual. >> michelle snyder is the one responsible for this debacle? >> well, excuse me, congresswoman, michelle snyder is not responsible for the debacle. hold me responsible. >> thank you, i yield back. >> in a few minutes congressional budget negotiators hold their first formal meeting and many suggest the cuts known as sweet restoration be replaced. in two and a half hours, the hunt for a mole inside the fbi and then we will we air the farm
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bill conference committee. >> on the next "washington journal", washington bureau chief david koren talks about the funding and mission and then the legal and affairs domestic policy reporter talks about a recent study that shows the crime in the financial safety net of poor families with children. and then a discussion on politics and campaigns. then lauren williams gives an update on the political battle over women's issues. "washington journal" is live every morning starting at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. >> a couple of live events to tell you about tomorrow morning. the senate homeland security committee examines the shooting of the washington navy yard and that is at 10:00 a.m. eastern.
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at 10:15 a.m., the senate foreign relations committee looks at the situation in syria. >> i never expected to write an entire book on cancer until i was diagnosed at a relatively young age of 36 years old. and i was astonished at how different it was going through treatment. than what i had heard and what i had expected it to be. and i sort of expected it, i expected it to be a well oiled machine in which there wasn't obviously a guarantee, the people knew about this cancer and i would be followed and what i found was something really different. so i couldn't help but to write about it. >> a cancer survivor explores the economic impact of cancer in
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american society on "after words." as part of booktv this weekend on c-span2. house and senate negotiators held their first formal meeting on wednesday on the 2014 federal budget with many recommending that the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration be replaced. democrats suggested that you posing with acs tax loopholes while republicans focused focus on the cost of entitlement programs. this is 2.5 hours. >> good morning. this budget committee will come to order and welcome to all of our committee hearings and committee members, the tradition in the committee is the body the last chaired it hands the gavel over and that apparently is what this is, to the new chair. so i am very proud to open this up and follow the tradition of this committee and it is my
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pleasure to hand this big gavel over to my colleagues. >> it looks like a keeper. [laughter] >> thank you, i will put this somewhere else. >> thank you, chairman. welcome, everyone. i feel the house members are here. and today we are considering the resolution on the budget in the house amendment and we will begin with opening statements and i will recognize myself in and senator patty murray. each house will be recognized in the order of seniority alternating between minority and majority and since there are more from the senate and the house, asked her if they have made their statements from the remaining will be alternating between republicans and democrats. due to the large number of
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conferees, each statement is limited to five minutes. and that is how we intend to proceed for the day. so before i recognize the chairman, i would like to share a few thoughts and i want to hold myself to the five-minute rule wherever the caucus. you will notice that there are three senators for every congressman and so as we see that, that's an even match. and i like to think that quality beats quantity. and we have to work it out and it's not going to be this way always. today i would like to talk about why we are here and what we need to do. we are here because we want to get an agreement. we have a budget conference. we want regular order and we want to make things work and we want government to to get something done. for too long both parties have ignored our national debt. and the threat it poses to our
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country. the democrats and create all these problems and neither did republicans and everyone was part of the problem. so everyone has to be part of the solution. you have to make an accurate diagnosis before you can fill out a prescription. we have to recognize what we are dealing with and i don't know if the av is running, we we have a problem in iges fertilizer. but the debt has doubled in just the last five years and it's only getting worse and 10,000 baby boomers are retiring everyday and medicaid and social security are two incredibly important programs that are going broke. the congressional budget office says that if we don't act, we will have a debt crisis and if that happens, most horrible will be suffering the first and the worst. this debt, it weighs on our economy right now today and it's a drag on economic growth and job creation today. right now we are not doing much about it. we can't keep kicking the can down the road anymore and we have to get a handle on the debt and we need to get a handle on it now.
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from this perspective, taking more from hard-working hard working families of america is not the answer. i know my republican colleagues feel the same and i would like to talk about this from the get-go. if we look at this as an argument about taxes, we are not going to get anywhere. the way to raise the revenue is to get people back to work and we need to write a tax code and likely democrats and republicans in the house and senate, they are working together to do just that. so today our tax code is full of carveouts and kickbacks on me to get rid of them and when those bipartisan talks occur, that is just a way to do it. let's do all we can to encourage that effort and focus our energy on the task at hand in a smarter way. our goal is not to further federal budget but the family budget and to do that we need to get people back to work and we need to grow this economy. over 90 million americans are on
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the sidelines over a third haven't had a job in six months and household income is down significantly and we may disagree over why the economy isn't growing as it should, but i hope that we can agree that the status quo is not acceptable. so let's work together to provide real relief for families. if we get control of our debt, we will restore confidence in washington. the bar is pretty low. let's see if we can clear it. and today the federal reserve is keeping interest rates unusually low and if we lock in some structural reforms now, we will help keep interest rates low in our economy and this will not last forever. as it rises, debt payments will eat up a bigger slice of the budget and we know that the federal will start to taper next year. if we keep kicking the can down the road, the payments could
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bankrupt us and structural reforms are crucial to economic growth and we should act to get a down payment on this problem and no one one has to abandon the principles here. what we ought to do is fine with principles overlap and find common ground. we all agree that there is a smarter way to cut spending and the economy can represent us. we can make a good start because we owe it to the country and let's focus on achievable goals and find common ground and make a down payment on the debt market the economy growing faster. and with that i recognize the chairman for her remarks. >> thank you, i look forward to working with you and i want to thank all the members for joining us today to make the opening statements indicate this important conference.
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i know many people across the country are angry at their officials and pretty skeptical that we didn't get anything done. and this includes an opportunity to rebuild trust and work together to create jobs and boost the federal economy. and this includes ideological corners and we won't be able to tackle every one of our nations challenges in a few short weeks. making sure that we can break free from what has dominated us for gridlock in the capital for far too long. the house and senate debated and passed our budget and secondly,
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the deficit has been cut in half and our budget build on the 2.5 trillion and deficit reduction that we have passed to continue tackling this challenge responsibly. and third, our budget keeps promises that we have made to our seniors and our families and our communities and the budget passed the house and reflects different values and priorities to a long-term budget year content deal and finance path is not easy. and the american people thought i was in push our economy to the brink of catastrophe and they are demanding that democrats and republicans work together and do everything possible to avoid another crisis. families find ways to compromise every day and they do it in their homes and offices and they
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know it isn't easy. but the only way to make progress when there is an agreement on the path forward. so i agree the very least that the absolute minimum they should do is to come together with replacing sequestration and setting a budget level for a short term. the house and senate budgets are very different even for justice here. but both sides are willing to offer up compromises and i'm confident it can be done. let's start with something we do agree on, democrats and republicans have said that it should be a priority and what sequestration deepening and extreme cuts continuing in/investments and our children's schools and cancer research and the law enforcement, there is clear consensus that this is a terrible way to cut spending and
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the question is no longer one sequestration should be replaced but how. and every member of this conference committee knows that the house phone and the senate budget calls for changes to the budget control act and replace the sequestration in different ways. the house budget fully places the defense cuts and with the cap and pays for that by keep domestic investments. in this replaces all of this was an equal mix of responsible spending cuts and revenue by closing tax loopholes to benefit the wealthiest americans and it is corporations. this includes sequestration in the bipartisan deal and there is no way around it. i'm going into this budget conference ready to agree to cut spending cuts that unlike them it disappeared, it would be
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permanently lost its will on another that many republicans would be very interested in swapping some of the inefficient and damaging cuts would structural changes that would save multiples of the cuts over the coming decades and i'm ready to listen to their ideas and as long as they are fair for the seniors and families, i'm ready to make concessions to get a deal. but it runs both ways. we have responsible savings and republicans also want to work with us to scour the tax code and close special interest subsidies. because it is unfair to ask seniors and families to bear this burden alone. many republicans already agreed that the loopholes distort the market and her growth and incentivize outsourcing overseas and it's nothing more than wasteful spending and not to be closed. i'm hopeful that we can work together. to get to a balanced deal.
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sequestration is that policy and democrats and republicans have said that it is not sustainable and that it will continue to cost us jobs and cut vital services until we get a bipartisan deal to replace it so is there for seniors and the middle class and i know it won't be easy. compromised by definition requires each side to make some changes that they couldn't make on their own and i think that we owe it to the american people to find a way to work together, and i know that there are democrats and republicans in this room and outside this room who agree. because if there is one lesson to be learned, it is this, the only way we can avoid gridlock and crisis and either side can do what they want is through compromise and bipartisanship and that is what the american people expect and want and i'm looking forward to doing that. >> i like to talk about our next meeting on our calendar
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overlaps. and we will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it could be on same side of the table as you and with all of our colleagues and it's great to be here for a long-overdue budget negotiation and it was just two weeks ago today that we ended the shameful government shutdown and the threats on our nation's debt. in the country has paid a steep price for those reckless actions it estimates it is $24 billion in the peterson institute have calculated the economic uncertainty which has cost our country 900,000 jobs since 2010 election. and i hope every member of the committee, democrats and republicans alike will focus our efforts to help our economy grow. a houston republican and some
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senate democratic budgets have very different visions for the future of the country. we're not going to be able to resolve the differences, but i hope that we can make some progress and that will require tough compromises. it's also important to be honest about the nature of our differences because to govern is to choose and our budgets reflect different choices altogether. the primary objective of this should be to immediately accelerate job growth in place our economy on a stable and long-term foundation. democratic budget does this by investing in national priorities and reducing the long-term deficit in a balanced way. it provides for vital investment to ensure that america remains the world's economic powerhouse. we allocate resources to put people to work and modernize our schools and our bridges and ports and other infrastructures
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that are the backbone of our economy. these investments used to be a bipartisan priority. and unfortunately the republican budget assumes very big cuts in our transportation spending and it was practically going to eliminate highway projects as soon as 2015 in our budget definitely invest in our nation's most valuable resources, including an early education initiative. the republican budget results in the cut of 20% low sequester levels for that part of the budget that funds education and these choices have real consequences. we also know that the immediate sequester cuts are hurting our economy and the nonpersonal budget cut tells us that this will result in a hundred thousand fewer american jobs by this time next year.
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and we know there are smarter ways to achieve this without economic harm and in the house, many of us have offered a plan to replace the sequester with a balanced mix of targeted cuts wasteful spending and this includes special interest tax breaks and unfortunately we have been denied an opportunity to vote on a plan. finally, this committee should continue the work to reduce the long-term deficit and shrink the dead. because over the last two years we have cut the ten-year deficit by over $2.7 trillion, excluding the. three quarters of those savings come from budget cuts in order, key factor in the trillion dollars in savings from slower than expected health care costs, which are due in part to changes in the affordable care act, the ratio is more than four to one. but so we can and should do more than there are dramatic
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differences as to how we tackle the challenges and the democratic budget adopts a balanced approach recommended by budget house takes a different approach to the tax rates for the very highest income earners by a full third, providing a windfall to the very top 1% and at the same time, undercuts other employees what their commitments. any agreement will require difficult compromise. and we should not start a negotiation by taking things off the table. finally, mr. chairman, i would just like to mention one other national priority to help get the economy moving and strengthen social security. and that would be to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that would accomplish a lot of the goals in this committee that
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we simply need a vote to make it happen and i hope that we will look at all the possibilities with reducing our long-term deficit. and i think you. >> next up, we will hear from the ranking member of the senate budget committee, senator sessions. [inaudible conversations] >> thank you. and this room the people in our congress and our nation and the challenges that we face with a budget the budget and that, i believe that we can make some progress as the committee goes forward. the purpose of a budget is without a financial planner in the future of america is that it's not easy and our differences are real and it's difficult to bridge them, but
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their actions which we can take that we can agree on that will improve the financial standing of america and economic growth. so it is important that we work at it and i think the process of this is a positive development for sure. my colleague, ron johnson, is a successful businessman and he has told us if you want to develop a strategic plan, the first thing that you have to do is get in contact with reality to agree on the problem. for the past five years we've had record deficits and this stimulus vision and spending agenda that has been what has govern america than projected unpredicted vigorous growth has not worked and we have seen it play out. with more spending and taxes and borrowing and regulation in all
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aspect of american life and this has not added to the improvement of our economy and we have added $6.9 trillion to the debt. and that includes regulation of debt that we believe will never work. they can never be the foundation for lasting prosperity and growth. and it is a plan guaranteed to fail. it has fallen for the last five years and the household income is lower today than in 1996. we have the lowest labor force participation rate in 35 years, a small percentage of americans are working today than in 35 years and we have 12 million more residents than in 2007 with these workers and what we should do is create a growth oriented tax system that makes america a more globally comparative place.
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we need to produce more american energy and ensure that trade is fair and our work is fair as well and we need to enforce an immigration policy that shows our national interests and we need to reject those programs that we cannot afford that kill jobs and people from balancing the budget and we need to balance the budget. that in itself is a strengthening factor with today. these are commonsense programs that will work and these ideas are consistent with the american ideals that have served us so well over the century. the budget control act reduces the growth rate in federal spending by $2.1 billion and that is an important first step after this year, and we will see a 2.5% increase in the programs that are affected by the budget control act.
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so this is the top gear that we will have the same growth will occur in our discretionary account. congress and the white house must keep their promises to the people and in the plain plane law that it is, i can respect the american people cannot believe us when we make new promises about what we will do in the future. we cannot ignore the impact of the affordable care act and it has concluded that the legislation is does not pay for as promised and will likely add $6.2 trillion over the 75 year window. we need to be shoring up social security and not adding another unfunded liability. adding $36.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the
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same period. medicaid is a free program and has no trust fund and is on a particularly unsustainable course and it will reach 4.3 trillion in the budget control act makes progress, but it leaves us on a path a 69% over the next 10 years. in certain discretionary programs in many are left totally unfounded and they have told us that this is unsustainable. we are not on a sustainable path that. we will be back to our annual deficit within 10 years. the senate budget includes this
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and part of the trillion dollars to raise taxes by proving it. the truth is that we must recognize that this is only the beginning and more will have to be done to remain with it on an unsustainable place. and i think that there is a different spirit today and we have the potential to recognize the differences we may have envisioned and somehow we can make this step for america. >> thank you. i'm intent on enforcing this loan. and here is what it is. so hopefully we can see this in with akamai want to recognize
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that vice chair of the budget committee, doctor craig. >> thank you, chairman brian. his two years ago we surpassed $70 trillion in debt with chileans were on the horizon and we are on a completely unsustainable path that is threatening our nation and mortgaging our children's future. we must act with honest purpose to sauber challenges. at this point, there is not much on who's to blame for this fiscal mess and what we should be concerned with is how we are going to clean it up, each and every one of us sitting at this table has been entrusted with that responsibility in this opportunity and we are blessed to live in the greatest country ever, a nation that has met every single challenge and we haven't done so because we have used use those challenges as a zero-sum game. we have done so because leaders have worked together and solutions that work and i
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challenge is that the federal government is spending this and is continuing with the annual deficits on hundreds of billions of dollars, large enough to be unique in the history of the world, and this, in spite of the fact that the federal government took in more revenue last year than ever before. and there's also more to this the numbers on the page. more than 16 million americans still live in poverty and nearly 50 million of our fellow americans live on $23,000 a year or less than that is the highest poverty rate in two decades and to make matters worse, life has become too painful and expensive for almost everyone. unprecedented labor force dropouts and sky rocketing health care costs are resulting in many of our federal americans struggling. washington has spent more and
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more in our problems get worse and worse. and taking out of the pockets of hard-working americans won't solve anything. and the bailout and the bailout for them is a recipe for more fiscal and economic pain. so the question becomes how do we begin to make government more effective and accountable. there is no question that we must protect a vital services the government provides and we want a safe and secure program like medicare and social security and programs that they paid into and the programs that support independent actuaries that will not have the resources needed to survive if they are not strengthened and we want to repair america's safety net so we can protect the most horrible among us in a fair and caring manner and strengthen our defense of the greatest nation the world has ever known remains strong and independent and free.
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and we want to grow the economy so that millions of americans who are underemployed to back to work to support their families and realize their dreams. so this is to identify the common ground and this includes the savings that might be had if we were serious about identifying real waste in government every single day or a visa systems that are meant to help for reforms that concentrated on duplicate and redundant programs that do nothing to further their goals and imagine those kinds of savings giving away from this we win and you lose mentality here in washington. my friend asked me the other day what he doing different that you wondering yesterday. and if you are not come out why would you expect a different result.
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so let's do something different and work together and imagine an agreement that would inspire the american people and begin to rebuild the trust so lacking now and let's not lose this opportunity. the status quo is not working for millions of americans to make ends meet and every day to day filled with more debt and less security and opportunity for the american people and i look forward to having all this put aside our talking points with we win and you lose and coming together to meet this challenge and meet it in a way that respects each other and our constituents in the history of our leaders that have come before us. thank you. >> thank you very much, chairman ryan. i think that i want to make it
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clear that there is a constructive tone that we have heard from colleagues on the other side that is very helpful as well. this budget conference as an opportunity to transition from crisis to consensus and the government shutdown has hurt our economy and slowed economic growth and i would say that one headline is particularly painful is a conservative confidence collapse and this includes finding policies that grow wages and create jobs and help our people and we want to make sure that the middle class can stay on the wrongs of the middle-class economic ladder and we want to help those that aren't there get their and they key is to provide a new measure
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of stability and predictability for our economy and i want to kick off these points. the first is taxes and it just turned 100 and it looks every day that it had aged and it is a broken and efficient mass and it's time to clean it up and bring it into the 21st century and i want to make it clear that i am totally committed to the tax reform and also there are plenty of ripoffs and loopholes for us to close in the meantime without jeopardizing the goal of tax reform and my hope is that this conference can put our feet in both camps for tax reform and against tax ripoffs and certainly the provisions in the tax code that has asked them to move jobs overseas is a good
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place to start with respect with the loopholes and then colleagues here that have discussed in the past a pretty good model from bipartisan tax reform. future for medicare is better care at lower cost and medicare in 2013 is very different than medicare in 1965. chronic disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, heart problems, it drives medicare like never before. current government rules and practices impede our efforts to deliver these horrible services to the seniors and we are working on a bipartisan proposal to address these issues and we look forward to working with you on those questions and there is
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something between slashing benefits and looking forward to working with all of you on that. my view is that there has to be parity between defense and nondefense and the overall efforts of this non-agreement and the rules of the whole sequestration debate, we all know what sequestration is, but they do know what fairness is in the and the rules are that you are going to cut this equally intimate those rules, i think it would be a substantial mistake and it seems to me that what we do with respect with adding money back there, we need to make an equal commitment to health and education and infrastructure and investments that will secure our future and those three areas, and this includes better care at lower
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cost through medicare reforms that strike me as three areas where we can as colleagues come together and find common ground and it is working with all of you to do. >> thank you. a member of the leadership team on the democratic side of the house. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the task force of this committee is to agree on a budget for the remainder of 2014. i am pleased that we are now beginning our nation's fiscal priority and we must address the automatic spending cuts that are hurting how the economy works and undercutting priorities like education and medical research and national security. and we must put this in order
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and reduce our long-term debt to imagine it at this level. there are different ways to do that, and of course, some better than others and is easy on the screen, there are two lines, the red line tops the deficit over the past six or five years and then there's the unemployment rate over the same period of time. the relationship is obvious. when unemployment is down, the deficit goes down. when unemployment goes up, the deficit goes up. the reasons for this are clear because when you don't have a job, you don't pay taxes and when you don't have income, you are not paying payroll taxes and you're more likely to need government assistance. unemployment is a double whammy for federal budget and if you
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lower the deficit we have the lower employment. it includes deficit reduction for the most vulnerable under medicare and medicaid and children's health insurance program and nutritional assistance and other services that ignore the fact that when you cut the essential benefits, you shift the cost of this on to senior citizens and parents and lower income hard working people in these cost shifts take money out of the pockets of consumers that would otherwise be spent in other parts of the economy and creating growth and jobs. it cuts jobs and cutting jobs is not the way to reduce the deficit. securing the deficit reduction by cutting the key investments and telegrams and infrastructure
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and job planning and research and development and economic growth in the short and long-term with the physical, we need to have a strong economy and a 21st century workforce and cutting investment jobs, cutting jobs is not the way to reduce the deficit. democrats have a different approach and we fully recognize fiscal responsibility and what we know is that this is at times counterproductive and it reflects on our most vulnerable citizens and makes our economy more vulnerable as well. we know that a reasonable and balanced approached is not only
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the fairest way to cut the deficit, but it is the most effective. we also believe that higher levels of revenue are fully compatible with strong economic growth and we have seen the tax cuts for the wealthy have increased the deficit and do not create jobs and we know that much of our national debt as a result of two wars. we have ended one in wine and dine to the other in significant savings have been generated, which i believe have been used to illuminate sequester and target those that suffer disproportionately for the last 30 years. it will generate economic growth and close the wealth gap that is threatening family security and our nation's stability. and i'm very pleased that my colleague, with who i am sitting today is a good friend.
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the reality is that you will have to have a deal here and the deal means that everybody give something up and i agree with my partner and look forward to working with deals to go our economy and ensure that we remain on sound fiscal footage. thank you. >> going in to order, we will next hear from senator nelson from florida. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> it is our intention to address the serious issues with candor and an open mind as well as a willingness to listen to the opinions of others. if we are true to god, it will be a refreshing change from the unwillingness and shouting past each other that has dominated
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washington and has dominated not only our discussions on the floor, but have dominated the talk shows where people are shouting past each other. you think back to a statement that president kennedy made and he said that he preferred to find not democratic or republican answers, but to find the right answers, and i hope that they will take that approach. the only certain thing that we have to overcome is ourselves. and the thing that could derail a bipartisan agreement is a reversion to the display that we have seen an excessive partisanship and ideological
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reverberation. we have a responsibility to put aside these political differences in favor of finding a bipartisan solution. i am basically an optimist and i am optimistic that we are going to find a new bipartisan spirit here, and i am hopeful that we can talk openly and honestly about how to move this country forward. there are some of the questions that seem to have obvious answers. for example, we need more targeted budget cuts wasteful government spending coupled with realistic tax reform and who among us does not believe that we cannot do serious tax reform? we need to close some of those loopholes that allow some of the
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more privileged and more profitable corporations and a system that allows them to avoid paying taxes, and we need to find ways to prevent things like the so-called offshore tax dollars. the difference between the house and the senate is about $90 billion. that is just about what published reports say that the treasury loses each year from offshore tax havens. that is just an example or two that could save more than enough to resolve the differences between us. and so why we go about trying to negotiate his budget plan, i would also be mindful and i ask that we be mindful of the need
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to support a strong and hopefully a growing instead of shrinking middle class and the needs of folks on housing and access to affordable health care. the senator does not want to do this on the backs of medicare and social security beneficiaries. so in the meantime i would say let's stay focused on the problem and not our differences and let's judge ideas not as republican or democratic, but as a good idea or a bad idea and i thank you. >> congressman, please go ahead. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the challenges we face in this committee are significant. according to the long-term budget outlook between 2009 and 2012, the federal government
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afforded the largest budget deficit since 1946 and federal debt held by the public is now about 73% of gdp and that percentage is higher than any point in u.s. history except for a brief time during the second world war and twice the percentage at the end of 2007. our nations that will continue to rise with no end in sight if congress does not act. there is a real opportunity here to show the american people we can set aside our differences and negotiate long-term reform. we can succeed with a super committee and other bipartisan groups have failed, but it will not be easy. my friends have a very different proposal from the house physician one that significantly raises taxes and all stabilizing the debt as a percentage of the gdp, basically accepts the over $17 billion of debt already on the books. and at the same time, i am sure that there are a number of things in our budget proposals
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that the senate finds upsetting, like premium support for medicare and balancing the budget within 10 years and i am hopeful that this committee can come to an agreement on limiting the cuts associated with sequester by replacing them with changes to mandatory spending, like those suggested by president obama. mr. chairman, we must break the pattern of moving from crisis to crisis and relying on short-term funding agreements and it has become a dangerous, please have at this last time we agreed to budget in 2009 and we need to provide the appropriations committee with certainty so that they can craft bills that have the possibility of becoming a law and we must find ways to deal with our growing debt. there is much work ahead to improve our economic situation and solve our current fiscal crisis and i am hopeful that we can find some common sense reform to improve our economic outlook and provide a better future for our children and our
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grandchildren. the negotiations and reform stone and here in this committee. this is a starting point that encourages congress to address our debt and is the appropriations committee has demonstrated, we can cut discretionary spending and in fact, we have cut it in each of the last three years. it is a feat not accomplished since the 1940s, but mr. chairman, with all due respect, it's time for the ways and means and finance committees to do the same. as i'm sure you are aware, mandatory spending programs and net interest on the debt comprise three quarters of all federal expenditures and on the same time, the over 200 tax expenditures amount to more than $12 billion over a 10 year budget window and i find it hard to believe that every one of these expenditures is necessary or could not be limited in some manner. i have been quoted as saying that revenue should be on the table and i believe that it should. but on the way that some of my friends from the other side suggest. tax rates are at extraordinarily
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high for hard-working american families. there are a number of progrowth policies that are enacted that will generate revenues for the federal government and grow our economy and policies like bandit oil and gas operations offshore nonfederal lands and federal asset sales and the like. more revenue does not and should not mean higher taxes, but at the same time i believe this committee should set forth a path to allow for expedited consideration of a tax reform proposal and it's been over 25 years since we've taken a conference of look at the tax code and in that time the fundamental nature of our economy has changed. it is important that our tax code reflects the priorities of the 21st century and americans want solutions that reduce the deficit and overhaul the current tax system and create more jobs and spur economic growth and preserve the full faith and credit of the united states and every stamen has heard the quote
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that human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and act as founded on compromised and while republicans maintain that the majority in the house in the last election, democrats maintain their majority in the senate and the president is reelected. no party will do everything at once and no side can dictate to the other. it has become a dirty word, compromise, in washington, how it divides government. otherwise the american people are the ones you lose and now is the time for us to show the american people that even in divided government, we can find ways to function and achieve common ground and make all the voices heard and considered and i look forward to working with my friends in both chambers to find common ground and hope that we can avoid any debt path which the cbo calls unsustainable and i yield back. >> thank you. >> senator grassley. >> mr. chairman, there's a great deal of camaraderie and i hope
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it's successful in getting us together and i'm glad to be here to work together to reconcile differences on the 2014 budget and this is a regular order and in recent years, it has become an oddity. our country is on an unsustainable fiscal course, yet this is the first time since 2009 that we have worked together to reconcile it. this is just the first step and i make a simple request regarding this process. the people's business ought to be public and we have important and difficult matters before us. the liberation should not be done in the dead of night with only a few individuals. to regain the trust of the american people, we need to demonstrate working together to confront our fiscal challenges. there is much cynicism about what goes on here in washington. part of that is coming from the fact that many of the recent budget deals have been concocted
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in the back office and many were left to take it or leave it and they want debated and there was no deliberation and nearly no one had an opportunity to even read it. this is a terrible way to govern and part of the reason people don't trust washington to do what's right and we should use this budget conference to change that perception and hold our meetings and public and the president and the senate democratic leadership have insisted upon a balanced approach to replace the sequester cut and this so-called balanced approach would include pending cuts and the problem with this logic is simple. the fiscal problems facing the federal government are not balanced and the problem is not that we taxed too little but that we spend too much. the author of this so-called balanced plan, the problems we face are caused by a one-sided
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problem and the congressional budget office projects that by 2038, federal spending will be 26% of gdp compared to the 40 year average of 20.5. spending on health care entitlements and social security will double over the next 25 years. in the resulting debt will grow faster than gdp which is unsustainable. the cbo projection includes revenue levels higher than the historic average. and there is the root of the problem and spending growth and higher revenue. the president talks a great deal about growing our economy and creating the middle class and i don't believe that we need to grow government in order to create jobs and grow the economy or increase the prosperity of america. a more prosperous america does not result from an ever larger and more intrusive government.
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president kennedy knew the virtues left in the hands of entrepreneurial americans and that it would spur economic growth and grow the economy and president kennedy stated this in 1962 the tax system exerts too heavy a drag on growth in peace time and that it siphoned off private economy too large a share of business and purchasing power and it reduces the financial incentives for personal efforts and investment and risk taking. if the senate budget, which i think would increase taxes by $1 trillion, president obama got his tax increase on the fiscal cliff deal of 2013 and we increase taxes by $600 billion and now is the time to focus on the other side of the ledger, the spending side and i remain cautious about plans to trade
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spending reductions as a result of the budget control act for the promise of spending cuts or entitlement reforms at some future date and i will not entertain a so-called balanced plan that punishes small businesses and job creators with higher taxes in exchange for minor entitlement reforms that do not change the deficit or the dutch directory of our country. if we are going to reform entitlement programs to ensure the viability for future generations, we should do just that. ..


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