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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 28, 2016 5:30pm-7:31pm EDT

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everybody in this great auditorium tonight, we are all pleased and honored to have ronald reagan and nancy reagan come down. [applause] [cheering] to give the leadership to vote on november 2 i put it like, i would be honored to ask my good friend to say a few words at this time. [applause] [cheering] as you look at ronald reagan he went on to get the nomination four years later. what turned the tide and are
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there lessons from 1976? >> there are certainly lessons. there will be fewer unbound delegates in 2016 then there were in 1976 because of the rule that we just talked about. there is a majority of the delegates on how big the pool is but this produced a good moment of unity in an otherwise divided convention and that i would hope would be a lesson for whoever is in what position in 2016. >> mississippi turned the tide for general ford, correct? >> you are the delegates that stayed in the group and were able to put president ford over the top. >> if the delegates are selected in june for example in iowa where you have a lot of unpledged delegates in pennsylvania in late april, how
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does that play into the delicate totals per candidate and those that may not be obligated to vote a certain way? >> the day after the last of the primaries in california, new jersey and three other states are done voting, you will note a highly accurate degree what each candidate's totals are. that is six weeks until the convention begins in cleveland and you will also know who the unbound delegates are. they will become very popular people. >> let's go back to the delegates and can you determine how the delegates will vote after they are unbound if nobody gets the nomination on the first ballot then what happens? >> it's sort of the front-runners dilemma that you face this year because of the rule. well over 90% of the delegates are bound on the first ballot by the time it gets to the second if there is no winner on the first comment in the state then the state rules take over and under the state rules, roughly
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three quarters of the delegates at the unbound for the second. is there a way to tell how they will vote? the campaigns will have to invent terrific new databases to be able to track, contact and know who the delegates can be persuaded by. it will be a new and different phenomenon and operation likely have never seen before on the floor of the convention. >> are the republican candidates right now governor hasek that will guide them through the process? >> i believe they do. each campaign has named a squad of people that will pay attention to the state conventions and the state caucuses and the state executive committees who will choose the actual delegates and each knows the importance of that and are
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working towards picking delegates and then keeping track of the delegates to be able to have them responsive on the floor in cleveland. >> to go back even further, 1948, the last time that the republican convention had multiple ballots, tom dewey in 1940 and robert taft of ohio was very much the so-called republican establishment and mr. conservative lessons from that year? >> the lessons from that year are that you need to to keep track of the delegates and sometimes the candidate is in second place candidate in the first place if it goes to the multiple ballots. which ones would that have the most power over their delicate? and delegation? >> one of the differences from 1948 and 1976 is the way the
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party structure has evolved. the party structures in the individual states will not have nearly this way over their delegates that they did before. and in fact there are no brokers they are just society as a whole and also campaign finance laws but there's a few states where individual political figures will still have control over their delegates. in ohio for example, he will have control over the ohio 66 delegates in the sense that he was able to name. in california is one of the few states in new hampshire is one of the few states where the candidates themselves can pick their delegates. and in those states whoever wins them well i think had a lot of
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sway. in new in new york state it is a state if it's a slate that is chosen entirely by the state central committee state central committee and so, it is not exactly clear who the delegates will be primarily loyal to and in texas which is another big state the delegates are chosen at the state congressional and the congressional district caucuses or the statewide delegates by the convention as a whole those will probably be fairly free-spirited ted cruz home state so you would give them some sway. >> two follow-ups. first, what is the republican establishment and when you hear that, who or what is at? >> that it's tough to say in the presidential context of these days. certainly if the fundraisers. they haven't had a terribly successful cycle. they haven't had the power they seem to have so i'm not sure
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that it's the fundraisers. elected public officials in some instances well when i hear the term republican establishment i think of republican officeholders both in congress and the state houses around the country but the way we do the delegate selection process now is not at all clear that the establishment will have control over the delegates or how the states vote in the primaries. >> if you are senator marco rubio with 169 delegates, he suspended his campaign that he can technically still raise money to pay off debt. does he still control those delegates? >> that will depend state-by-state. what happens when a candidate suspends a campaign is the different state laws have different requirements on whether the delegates were still bound to the candidate or not. in a few states, they will be bound to senator rubio, so they will have to fill in his name on
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the first ballot. in many states the delegates become the unbound. they may listen to him as a matter of loyalty, but they have no requirement under their state law to vote the way he would like them to vote in cleveland. >> so they don't really have authority over the delegates. let's hear the chairman of the party said on cnn about the rules and what you expect in cleveland this july. >> in order to be nominated on the floor you have to have the majority of delegates from each state, and by the way, that was put in in the 2012 convention. the rules committee for the 2016 convention will decide what that role is a and there's nothing mysterious about that. i tend to be a person who likes to keep things the way they are but it's not my decision.
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i'm not the person who gets to decide the delegates they make the decisions for what the rules for the 26th convention will say. and i'm not saying anything nefarious. this is just the way it is. >> let me ask you about the platform process as well is that also included in the rules? >> yes it is. in a sense that each delegation to the convention from each state delegation will elect two people to serve on the platform committee to come up with that. there are four committees altogether, the rules committee that we talked about, the platform committee of the credentials committee that will hear any challenges to the proper seating of delegates, and then a committee called the committee on permanent organizations that can affect reinforces the rules. >> if you hear what the chair of the party is saying coming at
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you are obviously a former counselor that understands this better than anyone preparing for this possibility. >> the chair said that. i think you have to prepare for all possibilities when you've got responsibilities for the convention so that is the proper thing to do. it is now a possibility as we have written the articles going through the delegate. >> based on history would we have been talking about here today in early june, no one candidate has the 1,237 delegates. what is the process going to look like from the campaigns in june until mid-july? >> it will be an interesting time for them. they will need to go and especially concentrate on the unbound delegates. there are 116 from the states that don't hold a statewide votes. there is the pennsylvania delegates that you mentioned so that for that is 166 delegates
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you know will be unbound. there is an additional 12 candidates who dropped out before senator rubio. governor bush got some comment ben carson got some independent marco rubio delegates which are about 159 but slightly fewer than that because of the state rules that will have them vote for senator rubio. so so the campaigns in the period if there is no majority delegate holder will go around to the unbound delegates trying to convince them to come both with them on the first ballot. the delegates are going to be extraordinarily popular people and i suspect they will have many visitors. >> who determines who sits on the committee? >> that is determined by each state delegation so once the delegation is chosen in the state conventions or by state executive committees, the members of the actual delegation
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to the committee will vote to put the people on rules and credentials into platforms, to want a permanent organizations. >> when donald trump says that he is denied the nomination, try its will break out in cleveland. for him or anybody that comes in with the delegates but not the majority over all of those going into the convention, what happens to those delegates come how do they prepare for the anger and frustration and resentment they feel that the nomination was taken away from them? >> the rules are the rules. they said in the tape that you showed you have to have a majority of delegates to the convention. it's not a plurality. historically, the conventions have majority winners cannot plurality winners because you want the strongest possible candidate. you have to get a majority of the base to agree that should be the candidate so that's the historical reason that you have the majority in the rules and
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it's in the republican national convention rule it is the majority of delegates to the entire convention. >> what questions do you think the campaigns need to ask themselves going to this process in terms of what the rules state and the delegates will be up to and how they prepare for all of this? >> the first question is how how do we win delegates in individual states. it's still about winning elections for now. the second question is how do i go to enough states either through the convention process order when the executive committees named the delegates to win the delegates who are sympathetic to my cause. then you need to ask the question what things will look like on the floor. so began on june 8, you tally up what the votes are whether somebody has a majority come how far they are from the majority come how many unbound delegates
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there are. certainly in the rules, there will be a number of questions that will be asked. it is now as the chair said the majority of delegates in each state to sign a petition. you need to be sure you can get enough delegates to get your name in the nomination. it may be that in the rules committee will ask the question do i want to change that number that's changed in 2012 for purely pragmatic reasons having to do with that convention when the 2016 rules committee sets the number member is it advantageous to a candidate to have that number at one and three in five and eight and 18 and 28 and each campaign will need to make the calculation for that. so once they know how many states it is and whether they have enough signatures on the ballot, there's a number of other procedural rules and motions to table, and motions to
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reconsider and for the rollcall all of which will require signed a signatures from the majority of the delegates in a particular number of states to achieve those and make those motions brought before the convention. they will think about that and give some thought to who the vice presidential candidate is in the 1976 policy perhaps where you think that out a little bit. and especially who the chair will be and you have to ask the question of yourself. to get the motion i believe needs to be heard and actually recognized by the chair. >> which leads to this follow-up. we have never seen anything quite like it before. typically, a republican
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convention in recent times has been a coronation for the apparatus for 2012 mitt romney really taking control of the convention and the schedule and the agenda. if this were to happen the 2016 the party would very much controlled the control the agenda and you would have one, two maybe three candidates vying for the nomination but not really controlling the messaging of the convention they just want to get to the nomination. >> it's an interesting point. if there is not a majority of delegates achieved by any one candidate, you have to ask the question which first lady speaks on the first night of the convention about what you do it with a keynote address and when do you start the business of the voting? will who will find convention committees take longer than then they historically have to pass the reports because there are conflicts on those individual committees. >> we provide gavel to gavel coverage as you know that at the convention could start much
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earlier in the day and go late into the evening and it could be unlike anything we have seen before. >> anything is possible at this stage. you don't know. but pragmatically you still do want to have as much messaging as you can in the convention itself so that probably argues for starting things earlier on the first day trying to get through as much of the convention business as you can so you can get to the method part of the convention. >> the question that the chairman was asked over the weekend while all of this be transparent? >> everything that happens on the floor will be pretty transparent if no candidate has a majority of delegates there will be more private conversations with the unbound delegates. so it will be transparent in the sense that there will be votes, but there will be a lot of deal cutting that will not be visible
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until the votes were cast. >> as a longtime republican strategist and activist and former counsel, what does this moment mean for you and the party as you observe this process unfold? >> it is a crucial time in the history of the country so it is very important to have a unified or unifying convention so if there is a nominee can somebody that gets above the majority of the votes people need to rally around that person. if it is a contested convention so that nobody is going into the convention with a majority of the delegates, the moment you showed of gerald ford calling ronald reagan down to the stage as a signal of the unity of the party is absolutely crucial. so it could be positive for the party to have the democracy flourishing in public but you do have to unify things at the end. >> a veteran of the romney and george w. bush campaigned, former general counsel for the republican national committee,
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thank you for explaining this. >> the house and senate are out this week for the easter break about the capital itself both in and of the scene today of a shooting at the capitol visitor center showing the chief of police and capital briefing reporters on a shooting today. they shot him in this afternoon from an afternoon at a checkpoint at the capitol visitor center. the suspect was taken to a local hospital, underwent surgery and also a female bystander the chief report sustained a minor injury. that suspect according to the chief of police was known to the capital officers. however, he could not and did not confirm reports at the time that was the same man who disrupted the house chamber last fall by shouting. the associated press said that man, larry dawson was issued a stay away order by the superior court in october so that income is shooting at the capitol today. the suspect in custody and
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undergoing surgery at a washington area hospital. for that briefing you can go to the white house site to see everything come a and we will keep you posted on any further developments. that happened at about the same time that a white house briefing was underway over at the white house and in the room josh earnest was asked about what was happening at the capital and he couldn't comment because the white house itself was under a lockdown as well. here is that briefing. >> good afternoon everybody. it's nice to see you all. i hope you had a pleasant weekend. i do not have any announcements at the start. so we can go straight to your questions. do you want to start? >> do you have any updates on the investigation to be bombing attack in brussels and the way that the law enforcement responded and any concerns about the investigation.
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out of? >> this is an investigation being conducted by the belgian law enforcement authorities and they demonstrated a series of the purpose that you would expect getting to the bottom of what exactly transpired and understanding if there are any potential gaps in the system that allowed extremists to carry out this attack as you would expect we have offered some assistance in the form of law enforcement and other national security expertise that hopefully can be used to assist them in their ongoing investigation. we do that because the nation of belgium is an ally of the united states and we are committed to the security of our allies and we also recognize there are direct consequences on the safety and security of the international institutions based
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in belgium and the consequences for u.s. national security so we will certainly continue to offer our assistance to the nation of belgium and their national security officials as they conduct this investigation. >> is there any sense that the [inaudible] was the correct thing? spinet at this point i'm not going to provide any additional information about their ongoing investigation. if they have updates to announce about the steps they've taken or mistakes they've recognized they've made in the past but those are announcements that we will be counting on them to make. needless to say, we take quite seriously the responsibility that we have to support them in their ongoing investigations into there have been times particularly in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks where we had urged our partners and allies in europe to undertake
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some critical national security measures were effectively. let me give you one example in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, you heard the president talked president talked quite directly about the need of the european officials to do a better job of sharing information not just among themselves but also with the united states. there has been some progress made with regards to that intelligence sharing that there is more that can and must be done and the attacks that we have seen should serve as a reminder of how critically important it is for the basic fundamentals of intelligence and national security procedures that need to be followed and we certainly are going to lend our support as they've undertaken steps to protect their country. >> so he offered up a 1500
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[inaudible] is that a sign that the changes sought by the president are going to be a long time coming may be more difficult? how much influence influence as they're still in the? >> the fact the former president felt compelled to respond to the president's visit i think it's an indication of the significant impact of president obama's visit. we were quite pleased with the reception that he received from the cuban people. we are also pleased with the kind of conversations that president obama was able to have with other cuban government officials. there is an opportunity for us to discuss what additional steps can be taken to normalize relations between the two countries. the president made clear time and time again both in private meetings with president castro and also in public when he
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delivered a speech to the cuban people that the u.s. commitment to human rights is rocksolid and that isn't going to change and we will continue to be leading advocates and the president obama will continue to be a leading advocate for universal human rights not just in the western hemisphere but around the world and the kind of engagement president obama was able to pursue in the context of his visit is the kind of engagement that wouldn't have been possible had he not made the trip. the president was able to go to cuba and urged the president castro in person about the importance of human rights. the president was able to stand before the news conference at the assembled global media and make a case for the cuban government to better protect universal human rights and that also created a venue where a couple of your colleagues were able to ask about this issue
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directly. that's the kind of thing that has never happened before and there is no d. naim that that creates some additional pressure on the cuban government and again he thought to respond as an indication that they had its intended effect. >> i also want to give you a chance to talk about the response in pakistan. >> the united states condemns in the strongest possible terms this attack at h. lagrange park in lahore yesterday. it is grotesque the fact that you have an extreme organization targeting religious minorities and children is an outrage. the other thing that i think is indicative of what we talked about quite a bit is a even
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though this terror attack was targeted at christians were religious minorities in pakistan, again that is in and of itself grotesque but the fact of the matter is they saw the names we are seeing now that the majority of the victims were actually muslims and it demonstrates how important it is for the world to come together to fight this kind of extremism and that certainly has been the approach the president has taken in making sure that peaceloving people peace loving people of all faiths and religions must come together to fight this kind of extremism and that certainly is what our values and our sense of morality tells us but also as a purely practical matter it's what is going to be required and our success in fighting extremism around the globe is going to also depend on the
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ability of individual nations to fight extremism in their borders borders into certainly the government of pakistan understands this today just how critically important it is. >> [inaudible] i don't think that you can point to one specific event and draw a broad a conclusion about our overall efforts to stamp out extremism around the globe. i think it is an indication that there is more that needs to be done. you heard in a briefing that was led by secretary carter and the general on friday talk about the important progress that we have made in iraq and syria a number of liters of that organization and including the ability to finance their operations has been significantly weakened by
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the steps that have been taken by our coalition partners over the last few months. that's an indication of progress but the president's key understanding here is that our success is going to depend upon the ability of our partners around the globe to take action to protect their own countries and fight extremism in their own countries. and they're not going to do that at our urging. again, they recognize it is their own citizens being victimized be these atrocious acts of -- roberta. >> how can the united states
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help coordinate with the pakistanis on the investigation? there's reports -- [inaudible] -- calling follow military crackdown, and -- [inaudible] >> i don't have the presidentat level conversations to tell you about but we will keep you updated. the united states and pakistan have an important counterterrorism relationship. we certainly value the kind of cooperation we have received. in this instance this will -- the response and investigate will be don'ted by the pakistani government and if they request assistance from the united states, it will be provided. >> turning back to a second you. noticed the left is offering support but i wonder whether belgium is accepting the support that has been offered and whether you can describe the support being provided. >> well, i won't be able to get into the details of what kind of support we're providing.
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obviously are there law enforcement resources the united states has. we have investigators, law enforcement investigators, this country that have a particular expertise in investigating these kinds of incidents. and there are also obviously important work to be done in terms of making sure leads are properly followed but i can't get into details how the assistance is being provided. now is the time when belgium is confronting a very significant threat, and the united states stands with them. in a very real way as they confront this. >> more should be done when it comes to information sharing and basic fundamentals need to be followed. sounds to me like the white house is being a little bit critical of belgium's respond.
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i wonder if you can expand. >> we have heard of belgian officials themselves acknowledge in their own right, and accept responsibility for some shortcomings they have perceived in the way that they have handled this broader investigation of this terror cell, that was linked to the attacks that were undertaken in paris, and the fact there's some overlap with the cell that undertook this terrorist attack in belgium last week. i think is an indication that there is a very real threat inside of belgium, and there's more that national security professionals inside of belgium need to do to address that threat and protect their people. this is an admission, an acknowledgment, we have heard from belgian officials themselves, but what is -- and we're going to -- what the united states is going to continue to do is continue to
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push them to take the necessary steps to make sure that if there are any gaps in their national security apparatus, that those are filled, and if the united states can play a useful role in filling those gaps, then we'll do it. michelle. >> thanks, josh. -- how closely u.s. authorities have been working with the trench and bell january authorities. the question can be asked when you look at these shortcomings or miscommunications, couldn't the u.s. kind of help them more in tracking down -- [inaudible] >> ultimately these kind of actions and investigations and the steps that are taken to prevent these kinds of incidents are the responsibility hoff the belgian government, and in the immediate aftermath of this attack the president of the united states was on the phone with his belgian counterpart. so our coordination with belgian authorities starts at the top level. but all the way down the chain,
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at the level of homeland security, law enforcement, intelligence, the united states is able to offer assistance to our european allies as they confront this threat, and we'll continue to do that. again, we do that because belgium is an important ally of the united states and because they're an important international institutions that are located in belgium, including nato, but we also do that because we understand there are direct constance fences for u.s. national security when it comes to making sure that belgium is safe as well. >> the community -- there's such a lack of information on the communications leading up to this attack. is is a forgone conclusion that encryption was was involved or what are you saying? >> obviously the belgian authorities are trying to learn as much as they can about how this particular terror cell operated. so i don't have any information to share about what we have learned about how that cell operated or any method of
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communication they use to organize their activities. obviously all of this is getting a close look from belgian authorities, and it shows. >> in sense whether encryption played a role and this couldn't have been uncovered. >> this is exactly what belgian law enforcement authoritiers taking a close look at. i don't have any updates to share. >> we have heard secretary kerry say that the rhetoric of the republican party right now is an embarrassment to the country. does the president agree with that and do you agree with that? >> i think the president himself has observed that the kind of rhetoric that is emanating from the republican party -- not just one candidate, it's from multiple candidates -- is directly contrary to our values, the values that generations of americans have fought and died for, their rhetoric is also
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counterproductive when it comes to protecting the american people and that's a significant problem, too particularly when you're the commander in chief and you're on the hook, the one primarily responsible for the safety and security of the american people, and the suggestion on some of on the part of some republican candidates is to marginalize certain communities in a way that could be counterproductive to our national security. >> a lot of things about the rhetoric. even said some things about donald trump in particular, and you even made a comment at one point. you're not willing to call this embarrassing, even though you may -- >> i don't disagree with sect kerry's assessment at all. >> follow up. >> go ahead. >> you may be surprised to learn that one of trump in responding to what the president says this weekend, about the importance of an open policy for people -- on
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open are door policy for refugees fleeing isil's violence, he called it instain, disgraceful, cass africa could lead to the downfall of the greatest nation on earth. can you give a response to that? >> well, as usual -- >> represents the views of a lot of americans. >> well, his comments don't actually represent the facts of the situation. the fact of the matter is that individuals who enter the united states through the refugee program are subjected to more intensive scrutiny than any other individual trying to enter the united states. typically it takes between 18 to 24 months for an individual who is entering the united states through the refugee program, and the reason for that is individuals who are seeking to travel to the united states as a refugee are subjected to in-person interviews, they're subjected to background checks, their names are run through a variety of databases maintained by the u.s. military and the united states intelligence community.
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these individuals are required to submit biometric and biographical information so that can be used to vet them. and all of this is critical to our national security. at the same time, the united states takes in more refugees through the u.n. program than every other country in the world combined, and we're proud and we should be proud, of the way the united states is viewed around the world as a safe haven for people who have been targeted and victimized nor some cases even the victims of genocide, in their own countries, and there was a big hullabaloo by the republican party. i was asked several times whether or not the state department would conclude that acts of genocide were being carried out by isil in iraq and syria. our are -- are republicans suggesting we should turn our backs on people we have concluded fleeing genocide anywhere country?
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are the suggesting we should be tough on icele and protect people who might be victims of genocide about we shouldn't let them in the united states even after they've undergone two years of intensive background checks? that's not right. that's not what our values bill, and it's why i continue to believe and secretary kerry and the president both commented these kind -- this kind of rhetoric from the republican party is counterproductive to national security, and flies in the face of the values that our country holds dear. >> you get fired up about that stuff. when the president hears donald trump and other republicans say things like this, does he get just as fired up? have you been with hem when he has heard reports that donald trump is saying things like this? how does he responsibility? >> his response is rooted in the fact that as the commander in chief of the united states, his top priority is to keep the american people safe. >> does he get angry and show
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his frustration in oval office? >> there's no denying the president is passionate about the issues and does not condone in any way the kinds of comments we have seen from several republican candidates on this stuff. but, look, i also think that what -- the comments you just read me that apparently are recent comments from at least one candidate, they're difficult to distinguish from comments we have seen these candidates make over the last year. so, maybe i'm just feeling particularly animated today, but -- i got a chance to spend a little bit of time outside before the briefing today. we're talking about core american values and talking about the kind of policies that have ben in place that have safeguarded our security and made the united states of america the beacon of freedom around the world for generations, and the fact is that generations -- therer generations of meshes that have
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fought and died for those values. our country was established by people who were freeing -- fleeing governments that were targeting them because of their religion. there are refugees in this country, including from cuba, who were fleeing the flagrant violation of human rights by their government, and they all turn to the united states because of what we stand for and because of what our values or and for those values and principles and policies to be run down by somebody per suing a cynical ploy to win votes in a party primary? it's disappointing to say the least. >> during the trip to cuba there was a press conference and president castro --'s. >> res there was. >> he made an answer to one question by saying that the u.s., or someone should provide him a list of political
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prisoners in cuba. i know you said you regularly bring up the issue of political prisoners. i'm won kerring if in the days -- wondering if there has been an official deliverance to the cuban government of names of people who the u.s. believes are political prisoners in cuba? >> well, i don't have any recent conversations to give you a lot of insight into. you will recall, though, back in december of 2014, when the president delivered a speech in the cabinet room to the country, announcing this change in our policy toward cube bark part of the agreement was the cuban government being responsive to our requests to release a bunch -- to release about 50 political prisoners whose names we provided the cuban government. so, we're constantly in a position to be urging the government of cuba to do a better job of protecting the
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universal human rights of their people, but we're also making a specific request to look out for those that we know are being targeted because of their political views. so, that is to say, our call for greater respect for human rights on the island of cuba is a generalized call about respecting the basic human rights of then cuban people and also a specific call about making sure that individuals, who have been victimized or targeted or rounded up or tortured because of their political views, are freed. and this is -- those efforts are not going to stop. just because the president had a productive two and a half day trip to cuba. those efforters going to continue, and importantly, the united states and our government is not the only one encouraging cuba to take these important steps. one of the benefits of this
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policy change that the president has announced is that for a long time, our policy toward cuba served as an impediment to our relation with other countries and for a long time we saw countries more focused on the u.s. policy toward cuba than on the policy of the cuban government toward its open people. now that impediment and has been removed and we are seeing greater scrutiny toward the cuban government and tougher questions being raised about the way that the cuban government treats its own people. that's a helpful thing and that add pressure will only be a good thing for the cuban people in the long run. >> want to ask you about the nuclear summit and reports the turkish president requested a meeting with president obama and the request was rejected. and jeffrey goldberg in the atlantic described the relationship between president and the turkish lead are as one of disappointment.
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i'm wondering if you can confirm that the request was made and rejected and if the relationship is broken down to a certain extent between the u.s. and turkey so the leaders -- >> well, over the course of the last six months or so the president has had the opportunity to repeatedly meet in person with president erdogan. when the president traveled to the g-20, which was in turkey, he had a meeting with president -- president obama met with president erdogan face to face. a week or so later, when both leaders were in paris for the climate talks, president obama and part erdogan sat down faves to face. there have been a number of phone called between the two leaders. vice president biden just about four or six weeks ago was in turkey, met personally with president erdogan, and the reason for all that is that
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turkey right now is going through a challenging time. there have been terrorist incidents carried out on turkish soil and that has posed a threat to the national secures of our nato ally, and the united states stands shoulder-to-showered with our nato ally. we also have important business to do with turkey when it comes to our counter-isil campaign and have made important progress in ensuring that the united states and our coalition partners have greater access to military facilities inside of turkey that allow for the more efficient conduct of our counter-isil campaign. we have also seen turkey in the last several months make important progress in securing their border with syria. there's more wed's like to see them do but the fact is because of turkey's efforts to secure the border more effectively we have seen the flow of foreign fighters be reduced. and that has a positive impact
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on our ability to degrade and ultimately destroy isil. so, the point is, there's a reason for all these conversations, which is we have a lot of important business with the turks to do and we have made important progress through the diplomacy and, i would anticipate that the diplomacy will continue when president erdogan visits the united states to attend the national security summit later this week. >> the house is working on a draft bill to deal with the financial crisis there. there's some concerns from the puerto ricans about how the draft bill has been written. wondering if the white house is engaged on the drafting processes and whether you have any concerns about what with what has -- >> the white house has been very engaged the effort and have been for a long time, and it was through our engagement and our joint work with democrats on
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capitol hill that speaker ryan did a commitment that in the first quarter of 2016, that the house would act on legislation to address some of puerto rico's most serious needs. so those kinds of conversations continue, and i think speaker ryan dish'll let his of provide an update whether or not they'll meet the deadline but i think his office has shown an understanding of how serious the challenges are facing puerto rico. when it comes to our proposed prescription for what we can do to offer our assistance, they're essentially four elements to that proposal. the first is providing puerto rico with the kind of orderly restructuring realtime that will allow it to comprehensively address their financial liabilities. this is exactly the kind of restructuring authority that is available to other -- to eve municipality across the united states. we just want to extend those kinds of authorities to the
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puerto rican government. we also brief the puerto rican government should be subjected to independent fiscal oversight to certified that port reek keyed a here's to the -- puerto rico adhereds to reforms it has committed to and we should address the forms of puerto rico's medicaid program. there's more that can be done that would provide better -- better provide for the health needs of the people of puerto rico while also reducing the burden on the government, and then finally we also believe that we should provide the -- that congress should provide puerto rico with access to their own income tax credit. this is a proven tool with bipartisan support that rewards work and actually supports economic growth, and i know that in other contexts speaker ryan has spoken warmly about to the way that the eitc has a way of aligning incentives to both encourage people to be productive members of the labor force while at the same time contributing to the economy.
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that's what our proposal is. you'll notice that even in the long description of what we should propost office to be done but never describe a bailout for puerto rico. we do believe there's a way for us to provide them with significant restructuring authority, and oversight, that would certify them following through on their reforms that would provide puerto rico with what it needs to get back on its feet. go ahead. >> thanks, josh. i can follow up on that? >> sure. >> what about the outward migration? would any of those things you mixed last or have a lasting impact if you're by the towns losing people from the island know hainland. >> a lot of these proposals would lay the groundwork for the puerto rican economy to recover, and that ultimately is what is going to allow them to thrive again. we need to help them lay a new foundation so that they can build back up the strength of
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their economy. it's their weakening economy that has been coupled with the financial problems of the government, have led to a very difficult situation in puerto rico. so by offering this restructuring authority to the puerto rican government we can allow the government and hopefully the know get back on its feet and that would be good for the commonwealth of puerto rico. >> let me ask you about cuba. it was asked of the pruitt but he didn't answer at the time, has the been an invitation extended for president castro to come here to the u.s.? >> not that we're aware of. >> is that something the president would be interested in. >> well, at this point i think lot of the business that we need to get done was conducted during the president's trip to cuba, but there's -- if we determine there is a need for an additional visit and that would serve a useful purpose, then it's something we'll consider but right now it's something i don't envision. >> let me ask you about this --
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be interesting to folks in law enforcement about the fugitive question. i asked you about previous to the trip. i'm wondering, with so many accused cop killers and fugitives and others on the island there in cuba, did that topic come up at all in the conversation between the presidents? if so, when and what was said and is there any movement on rectifying that -- >> the had the opportunity to make clear the kind of work being done in law enforcement channels to try to coordinate the return of some of these fugitives is a priority of his and he made that clear at the highest levels in the cuban government. and we're going to continue to push for those kinds of issues to be resolved because they're a genuine irritant in our relationship. >> a couple more. special envoy lieu where lieu lu lewis talking about gitmo detainees having killed americans upon release. that was last week.
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there is an official word from administration, true, not true? what can you tell us about the fact that there may be -- [inaudible] >> what i can tell you is that when president obama took office in 2009 he instituted a tougher screening program to be implemented to evaluate underwhat conditions certain individuals could be transferred from guantanamo bay to other countries. none of the individuals who have gone through that process have been assessed to carry out acts of violence against american citizens. so, that means no one who has been released from the prison at guantanamo barracks on president obama's watch, has been implicated in violence again americans. that's why implementing those reforms was so critical to our overall success and eventually closing the prison and we'll continue to do two things. the first is continue to apply that rigorous screening process to those remaining detainees at the prison at guantanamo bay and
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that means working with other countries to determine suitable locations where the individuals could be transferred but at the same time we're also going to continue to push on congress to help to encourage them, to urge them to remove the barriers preventing us from closing that prison entirely. >> special envoy lewis, was he wrong or referring to somebody from a previous administration? >> you should ask him that. it's possible he was referring to somebody who may have been released friar president obama taking office but i don't have enough data. you'll have to ask him. >> last one on donald trump if you'll indulge me. you said it was inconceivable among the descriptions of mr. trump but you used to describe -- encouraging the idea of having more syrian refugees and others come here to escape the problems in their homeland and i'm just wondering if you can understand the hesitance on the part of americans, some of them, many of them, who feel like we have enough issues here
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at home, we have joblessness here already, we're dealing with crime and violence and need help. maybe we have a big -- maybe we ought to turn our focus inward before we focus outward. can you understand that and what would be the president's response to people who feel that way. >> the response from the president would be focused on the fact that protecting the safety and security of the american people is the president's number one priority. that nothing exceeds that priority. but part of what keeps this country safe is the fact that we continue to be viewed by the rest of the world as a beacon of freedom. that we don't do the thing others countries do. we don't apply religious tests to people seeking to enter the united states, for example. we don't marginalize specific minority communities, particularly religious minorities, and suggest that si somehow we would beer the communities were subject to additional patrol and surveillance. that's counterproductive to national security yet that's what we have been offered up by
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some republican candidates for property. what the president is put forward is a specific plan which puts the safety and security of northwestern people in his mind and that is ramping up our refugee program to bring more refugees to the united states, but only after they have gone through the kind of intensive screening that makes refugees who enter the united states more theory vetted, subject nor background checks and more screening, and more information about them being collected, than anybody else who tries to enter the united states and that's consistent with our need to protect our values, but most importantly to protect the united states of america. >> the process by which the san bernardino killers, for example, were subjected to? this is what people are saying -- >> no. that's drift. those individual did not enter the united states as refugees. andrew? >> going back to the --
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[inaudible] -- allegedly involved, also been involved in the surveillance of the nuclear scientists in belgium. i wonder if you have any information about how much closer they got to -- [inaudible] and secondly, how did this feed into the nuclear summit this week, the agenda? >> well, andrew, let me answer that question a couple different ways. the first is, the united states and belgium have a long history of cooperation on nuclear issues, including nuclear security. both countries take those threats seriously, and we're working together, including on activities such as eliminating excess highly enricheddian uranium and plutonium and converting actors to enriched fuel. we understand the belgian government has decided to deploy on site military quick response teams also nuclear plant while
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it determines of what other actions may be necessary. obviously ensuring the safety of those kinds of facilities can and should be a top priority, and again, with other elements of the steps that belgium has taken to protect their country, we're prepared to offer assistance, if necessary, in safeguarding belgium's nuclear facilities and when it cams to the nuclear summit i anticipate that issues related to nuclear materials, and safeguarding them, is high on the agenda. i don't know this specific threat is exactly -- let me say it this way. this is obviously something that is a top priority. the nuclear security summit is more focused on those nuclear materials that aren't under the same kind of careful watchful eye they are in belgium. and if there additional steps that the belgian need to take, we'll support them.
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we want to make sure that other aspects of other countries' nuclear programs are effectively safeguarded and secure. i should hasten to add that since there will be so many world leaders in washington, dc for the nuclear security summit, the president is planning to hold a meeting focused on isil, and focused on our coalition's efforts to degrade and destroy the terrorist organization. that is not because our foremost concern is that isil is in grave danger of getting their hand ons nuclear materials. it is focused on the broader threat but obviously the prospect of isil getting access to nuclear material is something that must be avoided and that will be part of the conversation. >> given the -- [inaudible] --
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how do you ensure this continues beyond the january next year, hopefully not just fall by the wayside. >> well, i think the dish certainly hope they incoming president would understand that safeguarding nuclear materials reasons the globe is a top national security priority of the united states, and president obama has made this a priority because this is an issue he worked on prior to entering the white house. the president has spent a deposit amount of time working across the aisle with senator dick luger of indiana, on efforts around the globe to safeguard nuclear materials. so the president -- this has been a priority for the president since before he took office. that's why we created a venue like then national security summit to give additional attention to this issue and to make clear to the american people and to governments around the world that this is a top priority of the united states. the next president will come in with a mandate to make their open decisions about what elements of our national
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security need be prioritized. we would welcome a future president convening additional nuclear security summits, but given the important progress we have made over the last eight years on this issue, those kinds of summits will be different because of the the progress we have made and will have more to talk about over the course of the week. >> a couple for you. in how many democratic primari nationwide has the president endorsed one democratic candidate over another? >> off the top of my head i don't know the answer but we can take a look at it. >> hough did he make that decision? >> obviously the president has a political team here at the white house that can take a look at individual races and assess what sort of impact the presidential endorsement would have. obviously that includes careful consideration of the records and agendas put forward by individual candidates.
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so, obviously earlier today the president announced his endorsement of congress woman debby wasserman schultz from florida, a staunch ally and advocate for the kinds of priorities that president obama has put forward and we have been pleased to have her support on important issues, including protecting the international agreement to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. chev is somebody who has been a leader in advocating for a strong relationship between the united states and israel. he she understands the consequences of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, not just bat of the impact on u.s. national security but the impact of national security of on allies in the middle east, israel, and having her support for our proposal like that obviously was important and that's why -- just one example of why the president felt it was important to announce his strong support for her re-election.
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>> i couldn't think of another intrademocratic race where he weighed in. >> actually there's another one in florida. the president did endorse congressman murphy in the senate race, he is facing competition in the democratic primary as well. i'm just thinking off the top of my head there may bee examples but florida is on both of our minds. >> on cuba, you have described latin america unhappies in with the embargo. has the president every asked a leader to other doing some been told no because of the embargo? >> i think the issue -- i don't know whether or not that's true. maybe it is, maybe it isn't. i mean it in a different way. i can tell you that in every meeting the president had with a latin american leader that at some point in the discussion when they could have been talking about an important economic priority or security priority related to immigration or narcotics, at some point the
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discussion was actually consumed by the nonsensical u.s. policy toward cuba, and that was getting in the with a of the ability of the united states -- the way of the ability of the united states to engage in the kinds of conversations that actually are helpful to our national security interests, and some cases that actually has opened up and created space for the president to have a conversation with other world leaders about the human rights situation in cuba which is the whole point of this exercise and was the point of the policy. that's white the president viewed it as failed policy that had negative consequences for our relationship win other countryies in latin america, they were talking too much about the embargo. >> lauren. >> what dot you say to president's critics who urged him to come home after the belgian issue and to say he
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should have not stayed for the baseball game and shouldn't have gone to -- >> i think president had the opportunity to confront thursday directly, both at the baseball game in cuba and at the news conference in buenos aires the next day. the goal of terrorists, particularly extremists like isil, is to carry out heinous acts of violence to try to be disruptive and to advance their agenda, and the fact is that as a country we're at our strongest when we are dictating the terms. when the president is the one setting the agenda, and when the president sets the agenda that item at the top is the safety and security of the american people. and that's why, even on the trip, the president had conversations with his senior members of the national security team to make sure we're taking the necessary steps to protect the american people. the president was on then phone with his counterpart in belgium, to have that conversation, to talk about if any u.s.
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assistance could be helpful to the belgian as they responded to this particular situation. at the same time, the president was also able to undertake the critically a important work that was part of his trip, and that meant seeking to normalize relations with cuba and to make the kind of trip to argentina that could essentially transform the relationship between the two countries. there's a tremendous opportunity there, and the president's trip sent a strong signal about the likelihood of this administration, this country is going tike advantage of that opening. >> what was the president's involvement in the genocide decision, if any? >> this is a decision made by the secretary of state, and obviously the president agrees with it. but this is a decision made by the secretary of state. john? >> thank you, josh. i think you answered this question already so forgive me
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for asking is temp conclusion of the joint statement between the president and cuban president raul castro, raul castro grabbed the president's arm, to raise its, and the president seemed reluctant to have his hand raised by the cuban president. can you explain what happened there? i haven't seen an explanation. >> i do think that president castro had in mind a rather iconic photo with president obama and his arms raised together. i think president obama believed that would imply a whole lot more agreement on some priorities than actually exists. so, the president was, of course, entirely comfortable at appearing on stage with president castro. they had important conversations behind the scenes. but i also think there are differences of opinions on important priorities and also was evident from that news conference and that's why the president resisted the idea of a photograph like the one that
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president castro wished. >> pretty quick thinking on the president's part. did he anticipate that raul castro would do something like that at the conclusion of the press conference? >> i don't think that president castro that a standard protocol for the end of news conferences because i don't think they have nut conferences as part of their standard protocol. so i don't know that anybody was expecting him to do that. but i think the president did observe that for an 84-year-old, president castro still has some pretty quick reflexes. >> on that subject, do you see any value in the fact that castro seemed to be very uncomfortable answering questions, given that this is broadcast on cuban tv? >> well, the observation i did make is that obviously president castro is not used to pressing
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questions, particularly when it comes to questions about human rights, and the fact is, president castro would not have been subjected to those questions had president obama not decided to travel to cuba, and the would not have been subjected to the questions had president obama not insisted on the two leaders actually taking questions from reporters at the conclusion of their meeting. so this is a real-world tangible example of how the president's consistent and persuasive advocacy for things leak the freedom of the press, actually bears fruit in a real tangible way. the presidentes proud of that explode that would be an important part of his legacy. >> anything calculated in trying to show that there was a lack of freedom of the press there by having him answer questions? >> i don't think there was anything calculated. obviously the journalists who were given an opportunity to ask questions were able to ask whatever question they wanted. there certainly are other pertinent questions that could he been asked but it's understandable that journalists
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who had traveled to cuba with an american president for the first time in 90 years, might have some pretty direct questions they wanted to and of the cuban leader about the human rights conditions in his country. reporters could ask whatever they wanted but i wasn't surprised that they gravitated towards questions about the human rights conditions in the country, and again, think this is a testament to the kind of advocacy that the president has regular lice engaged in as -- regularly engaged in around the worlds, and it's been true when we traveled to other countries that don't have the kind of commitment to human rights we see in this country. >> tell us a little -- maybe preview of what the president is likely to do at the summit tomorrow? >> we'll have more information about that before the end of the day today, but we'll certainly follow up. jim? >> last friday, chairman of to the joint chiefs of staff, general joe dunford, revealed
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that he and secretary ash carter were putting together proposals to increase number of u.s. military on the ground there in iraq, and i was just curious, are they putting that together as a result of any request from either the nsc or the president? >> jim, the way the president has managed this policymaking process is when -- one that has been focused on results and what he asked his team to put together are variety of tactics that would be a part of our overarching strategy to degrade and destroy isil. a range of tactics have been involved. the best example would be sort of focusing on isil's financing and looking for ways to destroy the facilities where they store cash, to take out the leaders of their financing operation, and in the context that news conference that you mentioned the department of defense did announce that they had taken action against the so-called
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finance minister of isil. that's one indication that those tactics are actually bearing some fruit. the point is, the president's direction to his team has been, when we sense there are some tactics like this that are showing progress, then come back to me with suggestions about how we can reinforce that almost of our strategy. so, that is what has led to the focus on isil's financing, that's also why the president has approved the greater commitment of manpower to these expeditionary targeting forces that can be used to carry out raids against leading isil figures. that is not -- that is only something we have been doing over the last several months but that was in response to the president's request for how the compare of advantage that the u.s. military has, particularly expertise in these raids, can be used to app advance our
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campaign. i don't know exactly what secretary carter and general dunford have in mind when they made that specific comment, but surely the president is eager to hear suggestions from this military leaders about the way that we could reinforce to the elements of our strategy that have shown progress, and if that means a commitment of greater resources and including additional personnel to that effort, then the president will give it careful consideration. >> and over the weekend, the syrian military forces were successful in driving isis fighters out of elmira, the ancient city, and to retake -- is that somewhat of a mixed bag? while it's a victory against isis, doesn't that further entrench syrian military operations who by the way were
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successful with the help of russian air strikes and iranian shia militias? doesn't that in effect only cement assad's hold on syria? >> well, think, jim, what it does is that we'll never forth about what isil did to palmyra. this was a city that reflected our common human heritage and many of those cultural sites were destroyed by isil, and in fact the archaeologist responsible for protecting the sites and studying the sites, was in fact beladied by -- behead by isil. palmyra is a good illustration of the brutal assault isil has carried out across syria and on innocent syrians in a way that has a tangible impact on the rest of the region and the rest of the world. but what is also true, is that
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over the long term, the syrian army, under bashar al-assad's command, cannot bring lasting peace to syria. that's why we remain committed to finding a political solution to the conflict. as long as assad's around and in charge of the country and in control of the military, we're not going to be able to resolve the political chaos inside of syria, and that's why the united states has made this political transition a priority and we're pleased to have the support of the russians who have made that a priority. but there's a lot of more important work to be done to bring about this kind of political transition because that's the only way we can address the root cause of so many of the problems or what are an outgrowth of the chaos. >> -- as a victory for the syrian military and president assad. >> we certainly are priesed to sigh that isil has been driven out of palmyra, but what is also
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true is as long as president assad is in charge of the syrian military there while not be peace inside of syria expects why weed in the kind of democratic political transition inside of syria because all of these problems in syria, terrorism, extremism, genocide, millions of people fleeing their homes, including to other places in the region and around the world, all of those problems, at the root of them is the failed leadership of bashar al-assad and these why we need democratic transition in syria. >> [inaudible] >> i've been sitting up here since it occurred. i notice ited the distraction. >> [inaudible] >> i'm not able to comment. i've been standing up here. we'll take a few more questions. scott?
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>> [inaudible] a political journalist who understood how important political journalism is in the united states. she throughout her career -- about the future of our country, and the president wants to use this opportunity to pay tribute to robin and her career and her life, but he also wants to use this as an opportunity as her family has done, to reward and recognize journalists who are committed to those same principles, and it will be an honor for the president to speak
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to the dinner and it will be an opportunity for him to highlight the role that political journalism has in the success of our democracy, but the president will say it much more eloquently than i just did and we'll see if we can get some excerpts from his remarks. >> [inaudible] >> i think what you're more likely to hear is why political journalism is important, why it's important for people to consider facts and evaluate on a fact basis, on a factual basis, the statements that are -- and claims made by candidates for president and frankly for candidates up and down the ballot. this is not something that is exclusive to the office of the presidency. and i think you'll hear the president observe that when you're in a position of power, having your assumptions challenged is sometimes -- can
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be an uncomfortable thing but it's necessary for the success of our country, and i think the president would acknowledge it's made him a better president. >> fred. what you got? >> thank you. as far as the three primaries this weekend, some concern that we're going to see this turn into a long slog and that -- >> the end of march, fred. might be some who would say it's already attained that status. >> [inaudible] >> had the opportunity to answer those questions after the new hampshire primary, after the michigan primary, and now here after the results in alaska, hawai'i, and washington. but my assessment hasn't checked. i continue to believe and i think the president continues to believe that the longer the
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primary in 2008 where we saw a similar dynamic, ultimately made the individual candidates and the democratic party stronger and i use this example before so i'll just repeat it again. in 2008, there was a primary in may in indiana, a place that is not used to having presidential nomination contests that brings attention but in 2008 they did, on the democratic side. a state democrat candidates at the presidential level had not been particularly competitive but did give both candidates a strong incentive to campaign aggressively across the state. the president did numerous events across the state of indiana, campaigning and trying to win over the support of democratic voters in nat, but he gave voters across indiana in both parties the opportunity to see what he had to offer. the other thing that it did is it also gave an inincentive to the democratic party to invest
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in the cupid of grassroots operations that are critical too turn ought votes inch the general election, six months later in indiana, democratic barack obama won in indiana. that's the best illustration i can give you how these kinds of primary contests, they've go on longer than expected that can have a positive ben photo both for the candidate and the party as a whole. remains to be seen whether or not that it i will be flew 2016. the truth is i don't think we can reach that kind of conclusion until well see the results from the general election. >> looks like we'll have the long slog on both sides. the republicans -- could it help both sites? >> i don't knee single republican who i would sat holidays happening right now is good for their party. maybe you can name one but i can't. >> i still have a question. then -- [inaudible] --
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socialism, capitalism, new generation, whatever you -- [inaudible] -- and want to ask you about that. is that something you could explain a little bit more -- >> i think the fact that we're at a -- at least the president had just the day before hosted an entrepreneurship summit on a nominally communist country, i think is a pretty clear indication of where the president comes down. the president is making a concerted effort to reach out to entrepreneurs and innovate temperatures bus the understands that capitalism is a system that brings freedom better than any other one, and the truth is, i think what he is observing is that the degree to which the government regulates the economy varies in a variety of countries, and you covered these debates, fred, and you understand there's a vigorous
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debate in this country about the degree to which the government should be regulating the economy. but nobody questions the fact that our country's economic, political and social strength benefits significantly from a robust capitalist economic system. and the president certainly believes that making sure that other countries understand how the united states has benefited from this kind of system is an important part of our diplomacy and that's why the president again on a very busy trip, where he had events back-to-back-to-back, carved out time in cuba to have a conversation with young entrepreneurs in cuba to encourage them to pursue their visions of an entrepreneurship society.
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>> whatever works, dot that undermind -- >> i think the president is making the case that the united states is not going to impose a system on some other country. that ultimately the citizens need to determine the path that works best for them. i think the president was also clear that he believed that they would find that the path characterized by capitalism is the one that is most likely to lead to a prosperous and free country. okay? yes, ma'am. >> thank you, josh. there, does the president have any schedule to -- [inaudible] -- >> we'll have more details about the president's schedule at the national security momentum, at the nuclear security summit later this week. so stay tuned and we'll have an update soon.
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>> going back to -- >> okay. >> -- vice president bide was asking how -- if trump wins the g.o.p. nomination it will be come.jive i think vice president biden is giving voice to something president obama and others have regularly urged democrats, which is that we shouldn't take mr. trump lightly. and that even if he is the republican nominee, the democrats are going to need to mount a serious campaign to ensure that he is not elected the next president of the united states, and that is certainly why i think you can expect that both the president and the vice president will be active on the campaign trail, making a forceful case for the democratic nominee, whether that, frankly, is secretary clinton or senator sanders. >> [inaudible] -- fair to
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presume that al qaeda is no longer a greater threat to the world isis is now. >> well, i think the administration has been quite clear that we are concerned about the threat that continues to emanate from al quite, but -- al qaeda but what is different is that al qaeda core that operated with impunity in the afghanistan and pakistan region, has been decimated because of the actions taken by the united states military, in that region of the world. but there are other affiliates of al qaeda that remain dangerous, and this didn't get a lot of attention last week but i thought i would point out that last week, the united states conducted an air strike in yemen against an aqap target, that took dozens of fighters off the battlefield. that is an indication that for all of the chaos inside of yemen, and all of the chaos inside of the region that is being perpetuated by isil are this administration has not
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taken our eye off the ball when it comes to the threat polessed eye al qaeda, and the fact that the president ordered the strike carried out by the united states military is a clear indication that's a threat we continue to take seriously. >> the fact that does the white house believe that the actions taken by the pakistani -- have been effective in decimating the terrorists. >> listen. obviously there is a serious extremism and terrorism problem inside of pakistan, and the pakistan government understands that, and the united states has certainly been supportive and encouraging of the pakistani government, as they considered the steps necessary to combat that extremist threat. this terrorist attack we saw in this park over the weekend is, as i mentioned, grotesque and chilling, but unfortunately it's
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not the only effort we have seen on the part of extremists in a large scale way to carry out an atrocity against a large group of innocent people, including children. a year and a half or so ago that we saw extremists inside of pakistan attack a school and we saw i think more than 100 kids were killed in that attack. so that's an came that there is a -- there continues to be a serious problem there, and the united states will continue to support the pakistani government as they try to confront and combat that extremist element in their country. [inaudible question] >> i have details of the president's schedule later this week. thanks a lot, everybody. we'll follow up with you, chris.
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>> tonight on c-span, the supreme court cases that shaped our history come to light with the c-span series low land make cases: historic supreme court decisions" covering dramas behind the most significants additions in the american history. >> john marshal said this is different. the constitution is a political document. it sets up the plate cat structures and it's also a law and if we have a law we have the courts to tell us what it means. >> dred scott is the fact it is the ultimate antipresident precedential case. >> who should make the decisions about the debate and the supreme court said it should make the decisions about those debates. >> type of woe look at the case that established the constitution as the people law of the united states and
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affirming the supreme court's power of judicial review, measure bur -- marbury vs. madison. >> irs commissioner john cost ken anyone worns that budget cuts could many do cline in -- he touched on the irs's mention to -- from the national press club, this is about an hour. >> welcome to tax season. for our speaker, every day is tax day. he is the commissioner of the internal revenue service and oversees the collection of $3 trillion each ear in individual, corporate, employment, gift, and estate taxes. it seems that every tax season generates a headline or two just
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few. this year they included the irs's concerns about scammers who telephone or e-mail taxpayers, ask for identifying information, something cost he claims the irs would never do and a presidential nominee says the irs has odd differented his returns for 12 years because he is a, quote, christian. last fall he was accused of obstructing investigation into the allegations the irs targeted conservative groups before the 2010 and 2012 elections. the committee has taken no action on the revolution and the treasury secretary has vigorously defended our guest's career that included president of the u.s. soccer foundation, deputy mayor and administrator of the district of columbia, acting ceo of freddie mac and chairman of the president's where 2k counsel. no amount of irs travel is going
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to put him in a bad mood this week. he is a super fan of the duke basketball team, and the ncaa final four this weekend. ladies and gentlemen, please extend a warm national press club welcome to john . thank you for the warm welcome. after a description of what is going on at the irs for my job, i think this is a good time to leave. but i am committed to being here to the end of me term which compares november next year. it's always fun to come. really do appreciate being invited back to speak her in the middle of tax season. you have already heard our public service announcement that it's -- the end is near, so we hope all of you have failed. i'm also also intrigued with the desserts i exchanged it my cookie because i had the pig and i just didn't think that was
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appropriate, much more appropriate what i have, the dollar. but i also appreciate being here during march madness because if i weren't speaking here today i'd be spending a lot of money trying to figure out how to get to anaheim for a particular game tonight that shall remain otherwise nameless. as a way of showing my gratitude i will try to keep down to a minimum the reminders that your taxes are due pretty soon, even my wife, pat, is tired of hearing about how close we for april 18th. but she is a good trooper and is here with us on the podium again this year and get through hi fun-filled 27 months as the irs commissioner wouldn't have been possible without her strong support, which i greatly appreciate. so that's -- [applause] and i never dispute the notion that she is indeed the better half of this partnership.
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that must be the daughter cheryl. i'm delighted to be speaking once again to a room that includes a number of journal-its. in fact there are enough reporter here i began to wonder whether there was a presidential candidate lurking in the building here. reporters ask me a lot of questions all the time and believe it or not i enjoy appearancing them because it gives me ant opportunity to explain to the press and the public what we're trying to accomplish at the irs and especially what we're doing to improve the tax system and taxpayer service. one our my favorite questions so far is when i got last month during an interview and the reporter asked me, what does the public not understand or appreciate about the irs that you learned while you have been here? and it was a great question and at the time i had to give a quick answer, and so i talked about our dedicated employees and all the work they do to help people to file their returns and to be on time with it.
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but that question caused me to wonder what i would say on that subject if i had a captive audience an hour. i'll pause in case anybody would like to take the opportunity to leave before the i continue. but now that i've been irs commissioner for a little more than two years, i've come to recognize that there are a number of things taxpayers don't know or focus on about the agency. i know the irs is not anyone's favorite government institution, and will probably never win a popularity contest, especially during an election year. in fact in a recent poll that came out i think earlier this week, actually, enshowed that 12% of taxpayers like vladimir putin petitioner than the irs. -- better than the irs but dote along for a shoot of me on cnn without a shirt riding a horse. [laughter] >> obviously with the nation's tax collector but that's not the whole picture. this public needs to have a
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clearer idea how important the irs is to the nation and to taxpayers. people also need to know the challenges we face in moving our agency into the future. in other words i wish everyone could see first hand the irs that i see and have come to know and appreciate over the time of my tenure. first let me begin where i was during the interview. focusing on our work force. and all of my years of leading organizations in the public and private sectors, i can honestly say not a group of people i've worked with has been more dedicated to their mission than the employees of the internal revenue service. i've also been amazed by the number of people who have spent entire careers serving the public as irs employeesment one example. when i went to visit our detroit office a while back, i met angela, a revenue agent who was retiring after 60 years with the agency. 60 years of service. i asked angela, if the irs
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violated child labor laws when we hired him. and he assured me he was older than ten years old when the started. then i asked him why he didn't retire when he was eligible 20 years earlier, and he said he liked his job at the irs so much that he wanted to keep working because he really believed in public service. and that to me was a great indication of dedication. but we see this across the irs. when people come to work at the agency, they want to stay because they love their work, and the opportunity provides service to the nation. others employee i want to mention is sitting here at our head table, bill crissman who has been with the irs for 40 years, good example of people we often see at ther is who is come into the agency and then develop careers eventually doing something very different than they did when the first started out. bill began by, quote, carrying the bag, which at the irs is shorthand for working in the field as a revenue officer. these are the people who actually collect past, due
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taxes. bill's career path eventually led him into our communications area, where he is a wiz now at putting technical tax information into plain english and i'm delighted to honor him for his service to to ther is and is the -- too the irs and the nation. [applause] >> and they're two terrific public servants and very typical of our work force. without such dedicated employees the irs could not do its most important job every year, and that is delivering a smooth filing season. for most people their only interaction with ther is and is possibly the u.s. government each year is to file their tax returns and in most cases receive a refund. to the average person the irs may in fact seem almost like a vending machine. put your return, in pausch --
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push a button and out comes a refund. but it's a lot more complicate than that. process 15000:00:00 individual tax returns and issuing refunds is an automatic and it doesn't happen by accident. it happens bus of the commitment, expertise, and can-do attitude of the irs work force. to illustrate my point, i'm going to check um on people in the rupe here. anonymously, of course. but consider this your chance to engage in audience participation. by a show of hands how many of you have already filed your tax returns? very impressive. you're in good company. we have already received more than 80 million individual tax returns so far on the way to the 150 million total. now, of those who filed a return, how many are claiming a refund? also pretty typical there. how many of you have gotten your refund already? very good. okay. i want to did whether you spent
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it all? so far this year, we have already issued more than 65 million refunds out of the 80 million returns we processed for a total of almost $190 billion. last question. if you received a refund, did it come in less than 21 days or three weeks? if so, you're like most people because even with the increased efforts we put forth to stop identity theft and refund fraud in the battle against criminals from around the world, the irs still issues 90% of its refunds in 21 days or less. i should pause for a moment to think about those are amazing numbers. and if we're doing our job right the average person won't really notice how much work it takes to make thing goes smoothly like issuing millions of refund. in fact another thing that has impress medicines i arrived at the irs is the amount of time and effort and resources we devote to assisting taxpayers. almost 40% of our budget goes to
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helping taxpayers comply with the alive by providing critical services and investing in taxpayer friendly technology. for example this year we have already had 248 million hits on our web site, and we have answered more than eight million calls from taxpayers this filing season, seeking help or answers to their questions. something else that i think gets overlooked along the lines taxpayers service is the amount of effort we put into protecting taxpayer data and the security of our i.t. system. safeguarding taxpayers and the taksim from the growing problem of identity theft is one of our top priorities. so much so that a year ago, we convenes a securityies summit to bring teeth to the private sector tax industry, the states and the irs so we could form a real partnership, joining forces against the threat of identity theft and refund fraud. all of us understood, whether in the private sect york, state tax commissioners or the irs, each of us couldn't continue to try
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to deal with the problem on our own if we would we service. since then this partnership has focused or joint efforts on making sure the tax filing experience would be safer and more secure for taxpayers during this filing season and beyond. over the course of the year, we put in place a number of new protections, including certification when you actually log in to file your return, which is a huge step for taxpayers and for tax administration. it's giving us a better defense against criminals, trying too use stolen taxpayer information, to file tax returns, and claim a fraudulent refund. because of these new procedures those of you who have already filed with tax software may have ??ed there were new sign-in requirements to access your account. many other new safeguards we put in place are invisible to taxpayers but all invaluable us because they will help us do a better job of protecting everyone during this tax filing season. but while a security summit
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group has made progress, we also came to realize we were missing an important partner in this effort, the tax paying public. so last november with the strong support of all the members of the security summit we launched the taxes security together initiative to raise awareness about things people can do to protect themselves and avoid becoming victims of identity theft. many of the steps we talked about in this regard are basic, really common sense, but i think we all know someone who may be technologically challenged in one of way or another and given that 150 million households filed tax returns every year, the chances are good that someone right now is clicking on a link they shouldn't, is skipping a computer security update, leaving them vulnerable to hackerred that's why having the public's health with strengthen in and improve the new tool weir petting in place to stop the crime of identity theft. another answer to question
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people may not think about or appreciate this irs's role in providing revenue for the nation, as i said a moment ago people think of the irs simply as the tax collector, but what does that really mean? the irs brings in 92% of all federal rev enough that funds the operations of the government. we collect almost 50 to $60 billion a year through our enforcement activities and another 3.3 trillion -- that's right -- trillion -- comes in from people who voluntarily file returns and pay what they owe year in and year out. one of the most interesting things i've learned about this organization is how efficient we are in collecting those revenues, and i'll show you what i mean. everyone, did you find the envelopes on your chair or plate that looked like this? i'm assuming you all followed the instructions that said please do not open until commissioner explains so the commissioner is enough about to explain. if you don't have one of these ask your neighbor what he did with yours.
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now, if this were in a television situation and you were the studio audience, either for "the ellen degeneres show" or oprah, you could have homes the envelope might hold something about like a key to a new car. well, you got to remember this is the irs we're talking about. so, nobody should shoo get their hochs one it you opened your envelope, everybody open their envelope, what did you see? well, 35 cents. that's not even enough to mail a letter these days. mine shines and before anyone calls for an investigation into the use of tax fair funds for this 35 cents, met assure you the coins from from our media staff and and i want to thank them and their children for emptying their cookie jars and looking behind all the sofa
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cushings at home to allow to us collect the 35-cents for everybody. now you have flower 35 kens. let me show what the irs does with that money. suppose i said that give me that 35-cents and i'll give you back there is 1 machine will. how many of you -- $100 bill. what do we be better deal? that's the deal you get with ther is. may sound like a million trick but simple my the result of good efficient tax administration. if you i add up all the work we do for the task system, issuing forms, helping taxpayers, send out notices, conducting odd dids and everything else. it now collsess 5-cents to collect $100 in federal revenue. i think it's a pretty good deal for the american public. it's even a better deal when you pit it into context. another fact that often gets overlooked is that the u.s. is much more efficient as a tax collection agency than the agencies in virtually every other country in the world. according to statistics come --
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the average company spends almost twice as much as the united states to collect a dollar of revenue. this includes countries like germany, france, the unite it kingdom, canada, and australia. so it costs the irs 35-cents to collect $100. now, if congress were to give us the 1 bill increase requested in the president's budget for fiscal year 2017 that means we be able to do even more. if congress were able to fund the president's budget, we estimate that the additional enforcement actions we take and have planned would yield $64 billion over the ten, year budget window that is commonly used. that would average out to $6 billion a year. keep in mind i'm not talking about new taxes. this is money that is already owed and not collected due to our staffing shortages. so, $6 billion. it's lard to picture that amount
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of money but let's try. my crack research staff, in their spare time, tell me that a stack of 100-dollar bills, $10,000, is a little less than half an inch high. you'll note that we don't have a real life example of what that half inch looks like, but if you multiply that $10,000 stack out, stack of $6 billion of 100 -- bills would be higher than the length of 60 football fields. those stacks of $100 bills don't go just to the major programs we hear about out the time like social security for national defense hail. fund men a actives and programs many take for good. ed but would not want toulouse, like maintaining our beautiful national parks, ensuring the safety of the food we eat, and guarantees on loans to small businesses and home owners, benefits for our military veterans veterans and upkeep of the nation's highways and bridges. all of the this is captured in a
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quote from oliver wendell holmes which eninscribed over the entrance to the irs headquarters biffleing in d.c.. taxes are what we pay for a civilized society. which brings me to why i'm so concerned about the funding cuts the irs has had to absorb since 2010. our budget for this fiscal year is $900 million below what was six years ago in 2010. 70% of our budget is personnel we have on absorbed these and no not re-placing workers who leave. we expect the work force to some rink by 2,000 to 3,000 employees bring us to 17,000 full-time employees lost through attrition since the year 2000 -- or 2010. those losses have been felt across the irs. our compliance programs have suffered.
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a portion of our full jim work force lost since 2010 includes over 5,000 enforce. personnel. these are people who audit returns and perform collection activities, as well as the special agents and our criminal investigation division who investigate stage identity refund fraud and other major tax crimes. you might imagine, these staffing losses have translated into a steady decline in the number of individual audits over the past six years, last year we completed the fewest audits in a decade. plus our offered did coverage rate in 2015 was the lowest since 2004. and that trend line of future audits because over the funding constrained will continue this year. not surprisingly, audit rev enough has continued to decline as well. historic collection results suggest that in cutting the irs budget the government is foregoing more than $5 billion a year in additional enforce. rev enough just to -- just to achieve those of budget savings of a few hundred million dollars
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it's costing us $5 billion a year, and weakening our compliance programs these cuts also create risk for our system of voluntary compliance. also a deeper issue here, and it goes to the heart of our tax system. i believe the taxpayer service and enforce. must be seen as two sides of a compliance coin. i mention a minute ago that over $3 trillion comes in every year as a result of people meeting their tax obligations number the law without being asked further. even at the irs, we don't del lewd ourself -- dilewd ourselves into the fact people enopenpaying tax ands 20% of people would we billing to get an irs tattoo to avoid paying taxes. as an additional public service announcement i'd toed a you my tattoo has been totally ineffective on that score. no matter what your tattoo says, you still owe is the money. but tattooed or not, people keep
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paying their tacks because they believe in the essential fairness of the system. if people begin to think that many other people are not paying their taxes and their fair share or that if they cheat they're not going to get caught, or they're just frustrated because they can't get the help they need from to us file their taxes, our tax system will be put at risk and when that happens you're talking before the losing real money. consider that a one percent drop in the compliance rate translates into a revenue loss of over $30 billion a year or $300 billion over the usual ten-year measuring period. whenbe we do get funding want tome fa sites the irs will continue to put it to good use. as evidence ex-congress in dem approved a $290 million additional boost to irs founding for fiscal 2016. this fiscal year. the funds were designated for improving taxpayers service, protecting against identity
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theft, and strengthening cyber security. all top priorities or in the irs and the congress. this is the first time in six years that the irs has received significant additional funding and it's a step in the right direction. to illustrate how helpful the additional funding has been we used a portion of it to hire a little over 1,000 extra temporary employees to help improve our service on the phones. as a result we're already seeing service improvements this buying season. then've of service on our toll free line is over 70% and the average for the entire filing season will probably be at or above 65%, vast improvement over the somewhat miserable level of service last year. once the seasonal employees are gone, however, we can expect the number to drop significantly simply because we don't have funding to keep them on longer, and our average for the year will probably be in the 47% to 50% range which is still a significant improvement over last year.
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but what i want everybody to understand this isn't where we think we ought to be or where the taxpayers would like to us be. if we receive again the president's fiscal 2017 year budget request our phone level of service next year for the entire year would be 75%. for the entire year. i should mention another critical challenge for our agency, that has been made worse by our budget situation. last year, when i spoke to the press club i said large portion of our work force would be eligible for retirement soon and the number of younger employees was dwindling to the point where the irs was facing its own version of a baby bust. so i'm here today to provide an update, and i will tell you the edge demographics of the irs look no better than they did a year ago and some actually look worse wimp expect more than 40% of the irs work force will be able to retire in 2019. look at the other end of the age
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vehicle spectrum. the number has dropped to 200 of employees under the age of 25 and that's out of a work force of 85,000. things have got son bass worry our under 25 group misend up on the endangered species list, and especially for those on behalf of those for whom age 25 is a foggy memory, let me say that i know how important it is for any organization to have older workers with their experience and institutional knowledge, so the fact that our agencies skews a little older is not the problem. what i worry about is we don't have enough young workers in the pipeline ex-irs will have great difficulty developing the next group of leaders it needs five or ten years down the road. continued underfunding of the irs threatens to erode its effectiveness mitchell concern is we're getting dangerously close to that point. and that at a minimum i don't want anyone to say after my term is over that they didn't understand the seriousness of the situation.
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they can continue to ignore it if they so choose but at least they won't be able to say they weren't warned. but i don't want to give anyone the impression we're trying to go back in time. it's important for people to understand that our goal isn't to get enough funding to perform the way we need 2010 with the same number of employees. we're not going to build the irs back to that stage. although it's clear we need more staff. what we need to be doing and what we are doing is looking forward to a new, improved way of doing business. if you attended last year's luncheon or tune into chance you heard me talk about our intention to move the irs forward into the future and to improve the taxpayer experience. this is driven in part by business needs. consider it costs $40 to $60 to provide assistance to a taxpayer in person and less than one dollar to provide that assistants online. we have to take a fresh look hugh we provide the best possible taxpayer experience in
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response to taxpayer expectations and demands while not luigs -- losing sight of providing one-on-one help for people. we're talk bat new but natural outgrowth of modernization made to our business systems over many years. modernizations are mostly unavailable to the average taxpayer but have refer luigsizeed interactions with the internal revenue service, a grandma example is the customer account data engine, or cade2, the first phase of which was put in place two years ago. cade2 allows towels process taxpayer account information daily instead of weekly, so we're generating faster refunds, notices, and account updates, for better customer service. we converted the old master file data stored on our tape drives with 250 mlion individual taxpayer accounts, and more than 1.2 billion individual tax modules to a modernize and
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secure so-called rational database for taxpayer accounts and data model. this is transforming tax administration and paving the way for new digital self-services for taxpayers. but don't take my word for our on the other hand cade2 is, the gao was so impress it if removed our business systems modernization program from the high risk list, siding cade2 as the reason weapon had been on the high risk list since 1995 and many end sadders thought we would never get off the lister. another advance was modernized efile. we can process tax returns electronically in near real-time sew welcome accept a return, send out an acknowledgment, much faster than we war able to do in the past and the numbers are amazing. to give you an idea. on our busiest day in the filing season our systems accepted 4.4 million tax returns with nearly 450,000 accepted in one
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hour at the peak. that's 125 returns accepted every second. changes like this don't come about without the expertise and know-how to make them happen in our case we were fortunate to have the guiding hand our our chief technology officer, terry mulholland who is here with us today. terry came to us in 2010 after a distinguished career in the private sector, in six years with the irs, terry has overseen not only cad2 and modernized efile but many a critical projects as well inch fact it's fair to say we have had a renaissance in our information technology because of his leadership. terry, i'm delighted to be able to salute you and your team here today for your infinite patience and dedication in immediating the never-ending challenge of improve eyeing i.d. system inside the face of jung funding -- ongoing funding costs. thank you, terry. [applause]
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terry is also symbolic of an important change at the irs. when congress re-organized the agency in 1998, lawmakers recognized the need to bring in the best minds from the private sector, to help modernize the irs agency's aging technology so congress gave us a special tool called streamline critical pay authority. the most significant part of that authority is that it lets us recruit and hire tech nick contractual and talenteds experts. we have to tell a great candidate we want to hire you and if you'll just sit still for three to six months while we process you through the government hiring system we can make this all work. needless to say cyber experts and those interested in expert at online services have a lot of competing opportunities that don't come with those limitations or challenges. unfortunately the special hiring authority expired at the end of fiscal


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