tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 14, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
mr. reid: can we have order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will please be in order. the majority leader. mr. reid: we're going to have one more vote tonight and we're going to have starting at 11:15 tomorrow, we could have up to five votes. so that's it for tonight. we yielded back the time but i ask consent that senator mccain be recognized for up to one minute. mr. mccain: thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i'd like to mention to my colleagues with this vote, we will be making history in some respects and i think we should all be proud of the fact that this nominee, diane humetewa of the hopi tribe will be the first native american woman to be on the federal bench. i appreciate a positive vote. it's a proud moment for her, her tribe and native americans. thank you. the presiding officer: under the previous order -- is there a sufficient second?
considered made and laid upon the table. the president will be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate will resume legislative session. under the previous order, the question occurs on the motion to proceed to h.r. 3474. all those in favor, please say aye. all those opposed, please say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. and the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the bill. the clerk: calendar number 332, h.r. 3474, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health care coverage under tricare and so forth. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: on behalf of senator wyden i call substitute amendment number 3060. the presiding officer: the clerk
will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid for mr. wyden, proposes amendment numbered 3060. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a first-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid proposes amendment numbered 3089 to amendment numbered 3060. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid proposes an amendment numbered 3090 to amendment number 3089. mr. reid: i have a first-degree
amendment at the desk and the amendment is to the bill. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid proposes an amendment numbered 3091 to the language proposed to be stricken by amendment number 3060. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid proposes an amendment number 3092 to amendment number 3091. mr. reid: i have a motion to commit h.r. 3474 but it has instructions. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid moves to commit the bill to the committee on finance with instructions to report back forthwith the following amendment number 3093. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays on that amendment.
the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have an amendment to the instructions at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: nevada mr. reid proposes amendment number 3094 to the motion to recommit h.r. 3474. mr. reid: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. reid: i have a second-degree amendment at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid proposes an amendment numbered 3095 to amendment number 3094. mr. reid: i have a cloture motion for the substitute amendment. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate
hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the substitute amendment number 3060 to h.r. 3474 an act to amend the internal code of 1986 and so forth, signed by 17 senators as follows --. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that the reading of the names are waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i have now a cloture motion for the bill which is also at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the cloture motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provision of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate hereby move to bring to a close the debate on h.r. 3474, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 and so forth, signed by 17 senators as follows --. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived with
respect to both cloture motions. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 92, s. 9262. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. cloition the senator from nevada, mr. reid moves to proceed to calendar number 92, s. 162, a bill to reauthorize and improve the mentally ill offender treatment and crime reduction act of 2004. mr. reid: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 768. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, federal reserve system, stanley fischer of new york to be a member of the board of governors. mr. reid: i send a cloture
motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of stanley fischer of new york to be a member of the board of governors, the federal reserve system signed by 17 senators as follows --. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent consent the reading of the names not be necessary. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask county the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion to proceed. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say nay. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, i just wanted to take a couple of minutes now to underscore the importance of the senate passing the expire act now. and in particular to highlight what the cost of inaction would be if the senate fails to act. this legislation is critically needed because it is an essential tool to prevent a tax increase, and particularly the kind of tax increase that will harm our ability to create more good-paying jobs, high-skill, high-wage jobs, the jobs tied to innovation. because without this legislation, for example, mr. president, in effect what we'd have is a new tax on innovation because we wouldn't renew for a period of two years, as we work on tax reform, the
research and development credit. and this credit is absolutely essential because it's what's used by the employers. and the employers who are coming up with the innovative approaches that will create more long-term employment for our country, this credit in effect is used to help pay the wages for those kinds of innovation-oriented jobs. so in effect, without this legislation we would have in this country a tax on innovation. and i don't think that's where this country wants to go. it will be harder without this legislation to have employers hire veterans, veterans who are now coming out in throngs to job fairs in cities across the country. employers will find it even harder to assist them in terms
of finding employment. without this legislation, when you have an underwater homeowner who gets hold of a life raft that keeps them in their homes, this is when their lender works with them to try to work out an arrangement to reduce their obligations, reduce their debts, in effect that underwater homeowner would be taxed on phantom income. so right when that underwater homeowner is trying to get their head above water, in effect without this legislation, the tax code would shove them back under water once more. i don't think that's where our country wants to go. and i don't think our country wants to in effect give the back of the hand to millions of students already up to their eyeballs in debt. without this legislation, they
would have to go even deeper into debt. and producing clean energy will become more expensive. risking the kind of high-tech jobs that the congress wants to protect and is working in a bipartisan way to protect. so with the expire act, we can address all of these issues, bring greater certainty to our economy, put an expiration date on a broken tax system and lay the foundation for working on tax reform and moving away from what has been a long run of stop-and-go tax extender policies. we ought to get away from that. and the point of this legislation is to essentially use between now and the end of 2015, to work on comprehensive bipartisan tax reform. a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have
talked about their interest in this, and they wish we were doing comprehensive tax reform. i think colleagues have heard me say on the floor of the senate that i'd much prefer to be doing comprehensive tax reform. but when chairman baucus went to china, it became clear to me that it wasn't going to be possible to get comprehensive tax reform done in this session. so what i've sought to do is to make sure we wouldn't do further harm to middle-class families and small businesses and those who are creating the innovation jobs. that's why we need this legislation. and we use the legislation when it passes as a bridge to tax reform. the bill, mr. president, is called the expire act. and people have often said, well, what does that mean. it's not just what it means.
the bill actually does expire. and i've indicated to my colleagues on the finance committee that this will be the last extender bill on my watch. not going to have any more of them on my watch. we're going to move to create a stronger, better, more progrowth, fairer tax system that allows us to be more competitive in a tough global economy and create good-paying jobs. the tax reform process is not going to be a walk in the park, but it's only going to grow harder if the senate fails to pass the expire act first. so we've had bipartisan proposals in the past. that's what our former colleague, senator gregg, who worked with me for two years, did when we sat together on a sofa almost every week for two years to create what is the
first bipartisan federal income tax reform bill in three decades. thankfully, with his retirement, senator coats and senator begich stepped in. and so we know it can be done. it can be done. but that task will simply be harder if the senate fails to pass the expire act. the first thing people are going to say is, well, if the senate couldn't deal with these extenders on a temporary basis, how in the world would the senate be able to take up comprehensive tax reform? now, fortunately at a time when many think that washington is just utterly broken, senator hatch, the distinguished senior senator from utah, was willing to work with me, to meet me halfway in terms of producing a
comprehensive, bipartisan effort to move forward on these extenders. it wasn't easy but it got done. and it got out of the finance committee with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. the bill may not be perfect, but the committee got it done with the kind of bipartisan approach that americans want to see more of. the senate, i hope, will want to do the same thing. i was encouraged by the procedural vote that we had earlier this week. so i simply, with tonight's developments, wanted to underscore the importance of passing the expire act. and now i hope senators on a bipartisan basis will join me in supporting the legislation. it is going to meet urgent needs of our people now, and it will,
if we can get it passed and signed into law quickly, will allow us to turn our attention exclusively to the kind of tax overhaul that is long overdue, that can bring democrats and republicans together, as we saw several decades ago, and progressive democrats and conservative republicans joined together for tax reform. we can go to that agenda as soon as we address the immediate needs, the immediate needs that are behind the urgent requirement of enacting the extenders bill quickly. i hope that we will see the senate do that in the next few days, the days ahead. and i thank my colleagues, my colleagues particularly on the finance committee, democrats and republicans, for their good work, their cooperative work, their bipartisan work.
mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, on march -- i'm sorry, rule 22, on thursday, may 15, at 11:15, the senate proceed to vote on cloture on calendar number 667, calendar number 668, calendar number 669, then proceed to consideration and vote on confirmation of calendar number 693 and calendar number 541. that if cloture is invoked on calendar number 667, 668 or 669, at 1:45, all postcloture time be
expired and the senate proceed to vote on confirmation of the nominations in the order listed. that following disposition of calendar number 669, the senate proceed to vote on cloture on calendar number 732 and that if cloture is invoked, all postcloture time be expired, the senate resume legislative session and proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the substitute amendment number 3060 to h.r. 3474. further, that on tuesday, may 20, at 5:30, the senate proceed to executive session to vote on confirmation of calendar number 732. further, there be two minutes of debate prior to each vote equally divide the i divided inl form, if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate and no further motions be in order to the nominations, any statements related to the
nominations printed in the record and president obama be immediately notified of the senate's action. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, with this agreement, tomorrow there will be as many as five roll call votes starting at 11:15 and as many as five beginning at 1:45. that could change a little bit. we'll have to see how the day goes. i now ask unanimous consent the senate be in a period of morning business, senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each during that time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to executive session and the commerce committee be discharged from further consideration of presidential nomination number 1500, that the nomination be confirmed you can the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, no further motions be in order to the nomination, any related
statements be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent we proceed now to calendar number 272. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 272, senate resolution 314, commemorating and supporting the goals of world aids day. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the coons amendment to the resolution which is at the desk be agreed to, the resolution as amend be agreed to, the coons amendment to the preamble be agreed to, the' amble be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask the judiciary committee be discharged frommess res frommes. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 402, expressing the regret of the senate for the passage of
section 103 of the expatriation act of 1907 that revoked the united states citizenship of women who married foreign nationals. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the prea preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table, there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until tomorrow, may 15, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the time until 11:15 be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. further, following the series of votes at 11:15, the senate recess until 1:45. finally, that notwithstanding the recess, the filing amendment deadline for first-degree amendments to the wyden substitute to h.r. 3474 be 1:00
p.m. tomorrow and the filing deadline for second-degree amendments to the substitute be 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: so there will be a series of votes, as i've mentioned, at 11:45 tomorrow and then another series at 1:45. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate is adjourned until 9:30 senate is adjourned until 9:30
congressional subpoena with some groups calling for secretary shinseki's resignation. >> i was looking at the real estate listings just for destruction and saw at the top of the charts well beyond our price range the most expensive housing connecticut was priced at $34 million but denmark's down to 25. it was a bargain. >> what a deal. >> and it was a cozy charmer with 14,000 square feet and 52 acres and a river. i was curious who on it. i imagined it might be the
chairman of general electric or haps grade-a looked in the town web site and i saw a little note of the zoning records that said this house has been unoccupied since this owner bought it in 1951. that didn't seem possible so i went over the next day to see it and the caretaker asked me he said you know i have not seen any cars. this is mrs. clark's house. i get paid by the lawyer every month and the lawyer in new york sends me a check. no one has ever lived here. there is no furniture in the house. i take care of it. it seemed more like a bird sanctuary and as i was leaving he said can i ask you a question? do you suppose she has been dead all these years?
and has been on television for more than five decades. and claims she is retiring on friday. i don't believe it. i expect we will be giving an interview request within weeks but given that at least officially barbara walters is retiring i would like to offer her congratulations of everyone here at the white house including president obama and the first lady. one more item on a much more somber note. it's a statement for me that you will be receiving in your inboxes about the turkish mining collapse. our thoughts and prayers are with the people of turkey today in the wake of a coal mine explosion in soma in which some 200 have been killed and hundreds more remain trapped. on behalf of the american people we extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and their best wishes for the safe exit of the remaining miners.
turkey is a close and long-standing friend and ally of the united states. we are ready to assist the turkish government if necessary and we will continue to stand together in this time of tragedy. now i am ready for your questions. >> jay on that point there are some protests and people are angry at the government and i wonder what part of the assistance united states wants to provide for better mine safety. >> i am not aware of conversations of that nature at this point given how recent the tragedy was and the fact that there are still miners that are trapped. the state department may have more on the conversations in the kinds of assistance we might be offering. the kinds of conversations we might be having and the assistance we might be offering but at this point i don't have anything more. stay in the ukraine the governments holding talks as
part of the osc process and they don't include the separatists. should they be included in this to make some progress? >> we command the ukrainian government on their efforts to hold roundtables beginning today on constitutional reform and national unity facilitated by the osce including with ukrainians from eastern and southern regions and we call on russia to support this effort. now we understand certainly the unwillingness of the ukrainian government to have participants in these roundtables who literally have love on their hands but those who represent the regions where there are issues that merit serious dialogue around constitutional reform and levels of autonomy for different regions as it relates to the center are certainly part of this effort. >> on another domestic issue does the white house support private chelsea manning's request to be transferred to a civilian prison?
>> that is not a conversation i think that takes place here. i have not heard. i don't want to discuss that here. >> tensions are rising in the southeast asia region over china's construction of a drilling rig in the south china sea area something the president sought to address on his tray. is there anything in that states can do to defuse the tensions there? >> well we have made our views clear most recently and publicly the various instances during the president's trip to asia where he was asked about these tensions and addressed these matters. our review has always been that these are issues that need to be resolved through dialogue and not through intimidation and we are not a party to the specific disputes but we again urge a
dialogue in their resolution and that would apply in this case. >> on domestic issues the president tomorrow is visiting the ceremonial event of the memorial museum in for september 11. obviously there's a deep wound in the american psyche from the relatively recent event. without asking you to talk about say tomorrow what does the president hope to achieve or communicate to the american people with this is it? >> i think you spoke to it in your question. 9/11 is an event that i think every american who is old enough to remember the day remembers with searing clarity and we lost a lot of americans on that day. that horrible day. we also saw extraordinary feats of heroism and selflessness on that day and we as a nation and
new york is a city demonstrated a capacity for resilience and unity that i think made everyone proud here and was noticed around the world including by those who saw it and seek to do americans harm. so i think the president and first first lady look forward to this event. are especially mindful in their positions but also as citizens about the need to remember the power of memory in our nations history as well as the need to properly grieve and rebuild and move forward. >> i would like to get back to a much more mundane subject area
democrats are in today's legislation making a push for refinancing student loans at lower rates. has the white house expressed support for this measure and how does the president stand on that? >> you know i don't have a position at this point on that to provide to you. i will have to take the question and get back to you on it. jim. >> getting back to the 9/11 memorial museum and its ceremonial open tomorrow morning mayor de blazio in new york city has called for federal funding for that museum saying there's no federal funding for that museum at this point that exists and it's going to operate basically through the admission fees that people pay to visit that site. is that something the white house has talked about? >> i haven't heard discussion of that request or observation by the mayor. i think tomorrow the president and first lady will be focused on the opening of the museum and
all that it means to the people of new york and the people in the country. so i just don't have a view of the white house to express on that point. >> and jumping to the nigerian girls senator mccain as i'm sure you saw is making a call for special forces to be used, u.s. special forces to be used to rescue those girls. what is the white house take on that today? is that something that might be examined? >> two points. first let's not get ahead of ourselves. we are actively advising, including through military personnel the nigerian government as it seeks to find to locate and to rescue these girls. finding them is the first step. our military personnel at the embassy and any additional
military personnel they deploy will be in nigeria in an advisory capacity. at this point we are not actively considering deployment of u.s. forces to participate in a combined rescue mission and again i think it's important to be mindful of where we are in this process and not get ahead of ourselves. we are engaged at many levels now is part of this group that has been stood up at the embassy with personnel from the embassy as well as africana and elsewhere including military state and fbi to assist the government in effort underway to find the kidnapped girls. that effort includes manned fixed-wing reconnaissance flights and it also includes now unmanned reconnaissance unmanned unarmed reconnaissance flights in the effort to find them and i would note that even the narrow
narrow -- narrowly drawn area where there is the greatest suspicion that the girls might be is an area that is something along the size of west virginia virginia -- the state of west virginia so this is a pretty fast expanse of territory. >> have they been broken up and split apart? >> we don't have intelligence to share about the location of the girls or whether they are altogether but the time is of the essence as we have been saying and that is why we are so eager to assist the nigerian government in this effort. the nigerian government of courses leading but it's important to note, to step back and understand the challenges that this search effort is facing. >> responding to tweets in news that is broke in the last several minutes and just before
you came out though clinton at an event this morning said that that -- he said several things the one thing he said is that perhaps the long-term repair process quote unquote would be needed over the coming years and democrats should not run away from it. they should talk about it and not be afraid to talk about it but also a long-term repair process is needed. >> i didn't see that particular tweet but i think what former president clinton is reflecting his a few held at the white house and among democrats and among a majority of the american people which is that we need to move forward with the implementation of the affordable care act and improve it where improvements are necessary. there is no program of this scope in american history that has not required adjustments along the way. we have as you know instituted adjustments and fixes when
necessary in this early stage of implementation and that is absolutely the right approach to take creative and fortunately we have seen in that now more than 50 efforts by republicans on capitol hill to repeal in essence the affordable care act and interested in reliving getting those battles against the will of the majority of the american people and instead of focusing on how we can make even better a system that allows for access to private insurance for millions and millions of americans who need it. private quality affordable health insurance. so that is certainly a perspective that we share. >> getting back to jim's question about funding for the 9/11 memorial museum many of the victims families have objected to the entrance fee which i believe is $24. as does the president believe those objections are justified?
>> i haven't spoken to him about that and i don't have any eyes into the debate if you will about the funding for the museum. right now i think the president and first lady look forward to the opening of the and what it means for the city and the american people. you know i am not saying that those questions in debates and concerns aren't valid but at this point the president and first first lady will be focused on the memorial itself -- not the memorial but the museum itself and the offense that will provide an opportunity for so many people to recall because of the significance of that moment and its aftermath to our history into so many people around the world.
better serve our veterans of now and in the future. he would be the first to tell you that there is more work to do. the stress on the system that two additional wars, long wars caused is something that the secretary and the president recognized very keenly, and that is why the president has insisted on increased funding for the va throughout his time in office. as we deal with the need for maintaining tight budgets as a general matter it is why we have had the va under the secretaries lead. 2 million veterans and high quality health care, reducing the hamas does but 25 percent composed 9/11 educational gi benefits to more than 1 million
students and decreasing the disability claims backlog by 50%. and now you were here the other day when the issue of the investigation into phoenix and the lists for care were discussed with them the context of the reduction in the disability claims backlog. i wanted to make clear that these are two different issues, and it is important to note that and the specific investigation that is under way is one that we have to allowed to take place before we understand fully what happened there and what action needs to be taken. the secretary has begun an investigation and made clear to the independent inspector general at va that he would like to see our comprehensive review conducted of the situation. >> jeff miller who chairs the veterans committee yesterday saying he wants a bipartisan outside commission to
investigate this. how can you trust that the va ig and others can investigate this when it has been going on -- we don't know how long. is it clear that as these allegations pile up maybe an outside panel needs to review it. is that something the president will consider? >> let me say a couple of things inspectors general are independent and are cited as such when -- should be cited as such because they are. sometimes there are cited as such only when it is politically expedient fur someone on capitol hill to do so. but the fact is, inspectors general are, by their constitutional makeup, independent of the agencies that they oversee. secondly, i would say about the letter itself, the white house received the chairman's letter and we are reviewing it.
at this point we don't have any assessment to make about his suggestion of the recommendation , but we are reviewing the letter. >> the letter a year ago to the president, and he says he got disturbing silence from the white house and one excuse after another from the va. so what has been done? >> well, i can cite c-span2 has been done, including the increases in spending for va services that this president has insisted on, often -- not always -- well, ed, as you know, that is under investigation. we will assess what happened there when the facts are fully known. we take that situation and the allegations around it very seriously. the president does. he has made it clear himself. i have made it clear on his behalf. certainly the secretary has made it clear on his behalf and on behalf of the va.
so the fact of the matter is, we are working aggressively to better serve our veterans, provide the more care, and to take care of them not just when it comes to their health needs, but also through the gi the -- post 9/11 gi educational bill that provides an opportunity for returning veterans from iraq in afghanistan through the efforts by joining forces with the first lady and doctor baden have helped set up to make sure that the private sector is focused on the extraordinary talent pool that our veterans are present and that they are looking to veterans on their looking to fill positions. a comprehensive effort to make sure that those who sacrificed so much for all this did the assistance and the services and
the respect they deserve. >> the central issue is the services veterans are receiving for care they're seeking and will we are driving and is an increased evidence that it is not happening. sicker weight limits, bonuses paid so we don't get things when the services are not being rendered. >> and not going to collect about allegations about one office and an allegation now about another. how many veterans affairs offices there are around the country, and simply state that what is required in circumstances like this is a clear eyed focused investigation and review, the likes of which are under way now. again, we will look at the chairman's letter and review it. i think we all share a concern, extreme concern and that comes to making sure our veterans are getting the care that they deserve. when they are not, certainly when there -- if there is
inappropriate conduct involved in preventing them from getting care the president and the secretary will be the first to insist that action be taken. >> democratic secretary today set on ms nbc that he thinks the viejo department is doing a pretty darn good job. do you think overall they're doing a pretty darn good job? >> well, i will deliver the sound bite you are looking for. at think the va has aggressively focused on the need to provide better care to our veterans, aggressively attack the disability claims backlog that exists. was expanded before it came down the effort to% because of the decision to make sure that those who had claims related to exposure to agent orange and the zoo had claims related to posttraumatic stress disorder mean were prejudge desmid likely to receive
disability because of those claims, and that was the right thing to do. added stress and created one an additional backlog which the va under secretary action secchi has been very aggressive addressing. >> can you address this report that claims that more than 36,000 illegal aliens who are criminals and were being processed for deportation were released by the administration. this report was climbing the some of the more violent offenders. 200 of them had homicide convictions. close to 500 sexual assault convictions. >> the study. i will -- the record on making sure that enforcement is focused on those who have committed crimes, felonies, one that we discussed quite a lot as it relates to the partition. but in terms of the specific document our study, i have not seen it, so i don't have
reaction. >> he said that the administration is not actively considering? does that mean that option is off the table? >> what i said is that we should not kid ourselves. we are involved right now with the nigerian government advising the nigerian government as they seek to find the girls so that they can be secured and returned to their families. so i would say at this point we are not actively considering the deployment of u.s. military personnel in a combined rescue attempt. we would have to know where the girls are. as a simple proposition before we could discuss rescue attempts at this point we are not considering, as i mentioned earlier, the deployment of u.s. military personnel. the military personnel who are involved in this effort are involved in an advisory capacity
>> they should be so that once the girls are found, whenever that should happen, was the location is determined those forces are at the ready. is there some validity to that argument? >> i have not seen the specific comment. i am aware that he is talking about sending special forces personnel. i would say that in terms of readiness and personnel, that is a question better addressed to the department of defense. right now we are working with the nigerian government on their efforts to find the gross and, you know, if there is discussion about having found them, how to retrieve them, you know, we will get to the discussion. i'm not going to get ahead of the process right now that is taking place in nigeria, and i would point out, as i did earlier, but i will emphasize it again. we are talking in the narrowest terms about the search area that is roughly the size of the state
of west virginia. that is the narrow search area. some estimates have placed the possible location of the girls in an even more vast expanse of territory. so this is not as easy piece of business that we're talking about, and we are focused right now in our assistance to the nigerian government as bases distrusts. >> file report today. they decided to move forward with selling a warship. a question about that just today can you update us? can you confirm those reports given action. >> we have -- as i think i said yesterday -- conveyed our concerns, but i have not seen information to suggest that they made an announcement about of formal decision. so we have conveyed our concerns
, and we will -- i will take the question. i am sure will get the question of theirs for the development on a. april. >> one follow-up point. is there among an issue that -- when it comes to of the nigerian government. we have understood. but when countries of issues in the united states or other countries come and you can assist. is that some of the issue? >> i guess what i would say is that as would be the case in any country in a situation like this , nigeria -- and the nigerian government leading the effort to search for these girls we are offering assistance. specific tangible assistance and
personnel and materials as part of our effort to advise them in an effort, and assist them in that effort. that is entirely appropriate. and i think it is important to note that that includes the personnel i think alice to the other day as well as the assets that talked-about just in and citizens question, fixed-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, part of the reconnaissance surveillance effort to search for girls. and that is what we're focused on right now. we have personnel who are experienced in hostage negotiations are experienced and law enforcement aspects around matters like this, kidnappings. as well as in the reconnaissance effort. so i -- that we are not the only country obviously assisting the nigerians in a separate. we noted early on as i started discussing this terrible
situation in this briefing room that there is not time to waste your. it is now more than 25 or 26 days, i believe, since the girls were kidnapped. it is certainly incumbent upon the nigerian government as well as those nations like the united states carries cesarean government work overtime in the search for them. >> when you have the united states and other countries to have much more equipment, intelligence and security matters than nigeria, why wouldn't there be more of a presence. one and nigeria, why not let
other world bodies, and. the dennis by themselves very much. >> i guess i would say a couple of things. nigeria is a sovereign nation. the girls were adopted in nigeria. they are nigerian, and it is entirely appropriate that nigeria would lead the effort to help finance what you talk about in terms of the unique capacity as the united states could bring to bear is true. that is why the assistance we are offering is something that only the united states can offer or the kind that the united states as the most experience or the best inside were the best equipment. and time we are actively engaged in deploying those resources on behalf of the search. i also think -- and i think our
was hoping to send that message when i was describing the scope of the search, that it is probably not the case that the united states or any other country with sophisticated means some would have an easy time finding girls to have been kidnapped, individuals who have been kidnapped in an area as large as west region or, perhaps, even larger. this is a big challenge no matter how you commented. that is why it is involving so many nations and the assistance they are providing to the nigerians. >> brown v. board, anniversary saturday. eric holder will be speaking at moorhead university. could you talk to us about the significance of brown v. board? landmark anniversary. >> sure.
i don't have any announcements to make in terms of how the anniversary is being marked here at the white house, but i can certainly tell everyone here what they already know. this is a landmark decision. that when asked one of the core issues around civil-rights and access to education, african-americans. it is one of the most important decisions that the supreme court ever issued. so it is obviously an important anniversary. >> what does the president think about what many see as the fact the segregation that continues on many levels, many school districts. >> the president has addressed these issues in general. i want you -- a variety of times he has spoken about the
importance of education for every american child. i have not had a specific conversation with about those issues. >> this anniversary. >> i would point you to what the president has discussed on these matters in the past. >> thank you. >> susan rice said the other night,? and what do you expect? >> the first question obviously is one that depends on the willingness of both sides to come back to the negotiating table, if you well, and focus on the differences between them. because in the end the best possible solution here is a
peace agreement in which the palestinians have a sovereign state and is row is of jewish democratic state that has security. and i think that has always been the better -- barack principal has driven this semester's in a previous assertions focus. when approaching the very difficult issue of middle east peace. so there's that. what was the second question? well, i don't have any scheduling an ounce to make. obviously president perez is a remarkable figure. a friend to the united states and any encounter with him is one of the president would welcome. jan. >> thanks. wanted to ask you. the has come a lot of attacks
from progressive groups. gay-rights and abortion, the confederate insignia on the georgia state flag. wanted to seek, does the president's support democrats voting their conscience on this? >> the president supports voting your conscience as a general matter. what i was saying is that the president believes that judge bob's is qualify for the federal bench. the criticisms of them are not based on his 10-year track record as a state trial and appellate court judge. that is one. we will make. the second point i would make is a reiteration of what i said yesterday which is important. when you cover this issue you must inform your readers in your case for your viewers and listeners in other cases of the context of how these nominations come about. the president and the former senator agrees state senators
should be consulted in the judicial nomination process, but problems arise and senators abuse the blue chips system either by the time potential nominees are refusing to engage in our efforts of consultation that time and manner. this abuse is a significant constraint on a president's selection of potential nominees and the visibility the cook to nominate individuals to fell long-term vacancies. in the case of jordan this nominee, supported by republican senators of georgia, we have been trying to fill these judicial vacancies in the state for more than three years. two of the president's nominees were locked -- blocked for nearly 11 months. the choice is clear in a circumstance like this which is what i mean about the context around our nomination like this is made. do we work with republican senators to find a compromise, or do we leave the seat vacant? what is the better option? i'm sure there are arguments on
both sides, but you're talking about seeds that are vacant in four cases where you have judicial emergencies because of the vacancies. and we believe it would be grossly irresponsible for the president to leave those seats vacant. as i mentioned before, judge blog -- judged by its has recommended to the president's as part of a compromise to fill six judicial vacancies in georgia. the two senators have now also agreed to support the president's nomination of lesley abrams to fill the vacancy. again, context is important. seven nominees, of them fought for women caught one who would be the first team of district court to throw judge on record and to who would be the first african-american lifetime judges ever in georgia. again, based on his trial record and the state trial and appellate court judge record the president believes that judge
pons is qualified as should be confirmed, but it is important to know, as you inform your readers about the debate on this nomination and, the full context for how these decisions are made and the essential compromise that is at the heart of this nomination. >> the white house to make a compromise. and two republican senators. the white house kept up its end of the deal, supporting the package. the two republican senators, so the deal that was created there is done. now it's in the hands of senate democrats. >> i think it's a man's of the united states senate. >> which is run by democrats. does the president's support democrats voting against? did believe -- >> well, the president would disagree with the assessment by any one that reaches the conclusion that judge boxes not qualify for this.
the president believes he is or you would not have nominated him. but the president, of course, believes that the senator should but as he or she sees fit. he believes that all of the nominees he says about are qualified, and that includes judge box. yes. >> today agree with russian foreign minister that the deteriorating situation in ukraine is on the brink of civil war? >> well, that was set in the context of segment elections should not go forward, which is a convenient position to take when you actively exacerbated and stoked tensions and instability within ukraine
clearly in an effort to undermine those free and fair elections, but i would note that the only does the united states disagree with his view, but the osce has said that ukraine's preparations for a free and fair presidential election are on track. they are consistent with preparation and other countries were recent elections of gown for and been successful despite violence it is not just are few but the view of the osce that has been monitoring these elections on may 25. is that election going to be free and fair and should go forward. that has been the focus of our attentions. that has been the focus of the attentions of our european partners in our g7 partners. it is essential that the ukrainian people be allowed the opportunity to vote in a free and fair election for the next president. and we look forward to then be
able to do it. russia ought to support the process instead of taking steps to undermine it. yes. last one. >> a quick question on turkey. i wondered. >> i don't have any calls to preview for you. as i noted that the top, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victim's aunt with those who are still trapped. our condolences go out to the turkish people in the turkish government during this difficult time. one. >> to leave the country. what do you make of it?
>> not familiar with the specifics. as a general principle we support the ability of journalists to freely report on countries around the world, every country which would include pakistan. so that would be our general view. i don't know that that has been the case. >> there are harrowing reports prepared in our national bodies that monitor the circumstances confronting journalists around the world. it is often worth noting net in a country like the united states where we rightly debate issues related to freedom of the press that there are places around the
world where the attempts to squelch that freedom too often include homicide, murderer of journalists and other steps that are taken to silence in free and independent journalists and prevent them from reporting on the facts from the world won. that's good because it gives of belote to rightabout. if we were in new yorker since the store chicago the cities and places are also well known. ..
in and around all these things for hundreds of years so it's been extraordinarily rich subject to take and of course along comes the oil spill in 2010 where all of a sudden we are at center stage and people are beginning to look at the gulf coast and think about wow what's it like there or what moves them or we didn't know we got so much of our oil and gas