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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 14, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> joining us on c-span's "newsmakers" is senator jon kyl. . >> the american people do not
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want the prison closed by 2-1. by 3-1 did not want prisoners in their states. the first question the president had to figure out after announcing he would close it is will he move people from the prison and release them into the united states? i gather they made the decision not to do that. that's a good thing. the remaining question is what you do with those you are going to hold? he's going to have to find some place in the u.s. that will be a prison facility that will hold those people. >> do you think that will be politically palatable at all? >> it will be politically troublesome. the fbi director testified to the house of representatives that there are big problems associated with bringing those prisoners to the united states. people talk about super max facilities that are -- there are
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13 or 15 of them in the country. there are 13,000 beds available and 20,000 prisoners. they are already pretty crowded. if i were the president, i would not have announced an arbitrary date by which it will be done and then try to figure out how to do it. i would have figured it out first and then made the announcement. >> should be closed? >> in my opinion, no. the reason is twofold -- we spent $200 million to build a state-of-the-art facility which everybody who has visited, international organizations, across, they say it is well run and clean. they get better medical and dental care than any of them have ever gotten before in their lives. their religious needs are attended to. it is safe for those folks in our military guarding them. the first question is wide you have to close at? you then have to figure out what you do with the people there.
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you will have to release some. you'll have to imprison the rest in the united states. there are a lot of problems associated with that. the real question is why do it? it's a symbol. a symbol of what? the terrorists do not need guantanamo to figure out a bill like the united states. guantanamo did not exist before 9/11. their work the african embassy bombings, the first world trade center bombings. terrorists have all kinds of reasons they do not like the united states. every time you say something is a recruiting tool, we say we will stop doing it. will we stop having been voting in this country? the culture where we take away women's rights? those radical islamists to not like those things about us. are we going to change our way of life to take away recruiting tool for them? >> it has been an issue among
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leaders in europe. >> big deal. the fact that some european leader -- they did not like the fact we invaded iraq and replaced saddam hussein. we decided it was in our best interest to do it, so we did. i don't think just because somebody in france says we think it's a bad thing you have a prison in guantanamo, my answer is what would you do with them question -- what would you do with them? france is willing to take one prisoner. >> on health care, republicans are talking about competition and market reforms, changing market in order to fix our health-care system and talking about how the democratic plan would delay clear -- the late care, and i care, or ration care. i'm curious if you think the private insurance companies currently delay, the not, or
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ration care about. if if so, how to change the system in order to make some of the reforms and get the results republicans have been talking about? >> great question. at the end of the day, nothing is more important to you and your family, maybe except freedom, then the health of your family. if your doctor says you need a procedure or treatment, you want to do everything you can to get it and you do not want it to lay. the first part of your question is, is that done by insurance companies today? a few years ago, there was legislation call the patient's bill of rights. the was a concern that hmo's were trying to construct to much to care they allowed their members to receive. doctors were getting exercised, patients were getting exercised about it. congress started considering ways to make the hmo's take
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care of people i timely basis. it finally transpired that they made the changes themselves. we never passed the patient's bill of rights because they were formed themselves. patients don't want anybody to get between them and their doctor, whether it's an insurance company or a washington bureaucrat. it's important for us to make sure that does not happen, either in the insurance market or with the federal government. but we know from looking at plans that countries like canada and great britain have that rationing does occur. it's over. they do not attempt to mask it. we should be very wary of any government-run plan or any other features of so-called health care reform that would end up delaying or denying care. >> this idea of some sort of the sacrosanct patient-doctor relationship seems, and a lot of cases in this country, to be something of a mess.
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the insurer, appear, whether it is the government or private insurance, that has a strong effect on the doctor-patient relationship. i'm trying to figure out what it is, where this idea exists the republicans are defending. >> look at the survey data. people will tell you one of their biggest concerns is having taken away from them what they currently have. the vast majority of americans are satisfied with what they have, namely insurance. the concept of the doctor- patient relationship is not a miss. it is very real to tens of millions of americans. -- the doctor-patient relationship is not a miss. -- is not a myth. don't interrupt what i have with some kind of national plan, a one size fits all kind of plan
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that would take that away from me. they don't want people interfering with the doctor- patient relationship or telling them it will have to wait for a test or they cannot get some drug or treatment the doctor says they need. >> even last week, the president said you like your health care insurance, we are not going to touch it. are you saying there will be changes? >> the problem is the two bills that are being written do not abide by that wonderful sentiment. i agree, if you like your insurance, you ought to be able to keep it and it should not be interfered with by this health care reform. but the bill being written the finance committee explicitly says if you have individual insurance, if you are an employee of a small business, as soon as the contract expires, usually at the end of the year, at that point, that policy now longer exists. you cannot keep it.
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would you will have to do is find a policy that fits within the new regulatory regime being considered where the insurance company has to do all kinds of things. there's talk of regulating premiums, doctors would be regulated, the insurance that he used to have you do not have any more. maybe they will change that. we are not in the room writing the bill. this is not a bipartisan exercise. the democrats are writing the bill. but that's the way the bill was first described to us. >> i hear what you are saying about people liking their health insurance plans, but we could easily be talking about medicare. people like medicare. is that not a testament that government can do health insurance with good results? >> medicare is unsustainable. the president himself has said that. it cannot work. we're talking about adding 45 million more americans to the system and somehow saying this is not going to cost anywhere?
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the experts say will public cost between one trillion dollars and two trillion dollars more. if it is a medicaid model, that's not sustainable. who is going to pay for this? are we going to go deeper into debt and we already are? these questions have not been answered -- these questions have not been answered. we're taking this up in the senate without even having a score, meaning the congressional budget office figuring out how much will cost. before you decide to buy something, you want to know how much will cost. we should know what that score is and how we will pay for it. >> you say that medicare is unsustainable, which is generally agreed upon. but there is an argument made that the cost of private health insurance, as the premiums go up and take out a bigger portion of wages out of people's pockets, how is that any different? >> i do not think that's true. medicaid is unsustainable because the government has made
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a commitment to the seniors of america that we cannot afford to keep over the long period of time. the more baby boomers retire, the more impossible it is to provide benefits that have been promised with the money we have or do not have. so the new switch to private insurance. that's not a promise anyone has made to provide something in the future. it is true. the costs continue to increase. one of the reasons that is so is that in america, especially, but the western world particular, new drugs and treatments, new devices are being invented and discovered every day and every week. those prolong life, give a greater quality of life. it is a tremendous improvement in the care we get. if we want that, americans have shown they're willing to pay for it.
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the other thing applies is the kind of insurance projects that have been created, instead of home insurance for auto insurance -- if a hurricane blows your home away or a fire burned your home town, your insurance enables you to rebuild the home. but if your daughter falls off, the insurance is not say we will -- if your gutter falls off, your insurance company will not pay for that. unfortunately, with health insurance, there is what we call first dollar coverage where very small deductibles or co-payments so that everything we are charged for when we go to the doctor gets paid by the insurance. if we had a bigger copayment where you and i pay as well as the insurance company or a bigger deductible so instead of a bit -- is in a visit to the doctor, it is it cost $100, we would be better shoppers.
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we would probably not spend as much on health care and insurance would not cost nearly as much. those are some questions we have to decide. do we want that kind of health insurance or do want catastrophic insurance like we have for automobiles and so on. >> one of the plant's start to gain traction was a proposal to create a health care corporative instead of doing the public, government-run option. d.c. then gaining broad attraction among republicans? -- do you see that gaining broad attraction among republicans? >> why is it being proposed? there are two reasons. for those on the left -- this is acknowledged. in a conservative republican for anyone who does not know. but i think i'm being absolutely objective when i say everyone acknowledges there are a lot people on the left who want a single payer system run by the
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government. or a government-run insurance company that substitutes for that. that is the idea, and the president wants this to. they call it an option. the government-run entrants' company that frankly would be described so powerful that it could compete or out compete private insurance companies. that is one problem. republicans are naturally very wary of anything that would be a substitute for that or a foot in the door or a first step toward that. second, why would you need that? the only argument is that in some states, you don't have enough insurance companies competing, so we want a government alternative. the question has to be asked, why did you have that competing? there are two reasons. either the state imposed such heavy mandates on the insurance companies, such heavy rules and regulations that most insurance
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companies say we cannot make any money on that and we will leave the state. that leaves only water to insurance carriers. or, in some states, like north dakota, you have very few people all spread out so it is hard for insurance companies to put together networks, hospitals and doctors and other providers if you sign up for the insurance plan and that's a real problem. but that will be a real problem for a public insurance company or a private insurance company. that's just the way it is. there are other ways we can deal with it. we have done it through medicare advantage subsidies to go into rural areas for example. that is up to the states. if the state make such poor policy that it drives out insurance companies, it should not be up to you and me in another state to pay for a government-run plan to go in and compete.
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if you look the reasons, you can appreciate why republicans are wary of having an alternative, government run call or insurance company or whatever they want to call. >> you said you are not writing the bill. do you have a seat at the table? is this administration talking to you listening with the 40 votes that you have in the senate? the answer is mixed -- >> the answer is next. i have -- i cannot think of one thing i have said that has been accepted. i have said we need to slow this down to get the scores on how much it costs, for example, to understand what is actually in the bill. we're talking about a markup where the committee actually starts voting on amendments and of voting on the bill -- we do not have language yet. republicans have not agreed to anything. it will be a purely democratic product and must want to delay it and let republicans come in and helped write it. >> delay for a long?
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>> as long as it takes to have made generally -- a genuinely bipartisan effort. >> you sit on the finance committee as well, and i think we are expecting legislation sometime this week and then the chairman is talking about a markup a week after that. in terms of republicans having influence on this legislation, the finance committee to many people -- is that your last best hope? given what is happening on senator kennedy's health committee, i'm curious, how are republicans going to influence this legislation? are you going to work through the few remaining moderates or is it going to be to slow the process down or stop until democrats have to give then? >> i know the reviewers are sophisticated in these matters, but let's back up to make sure everyone is on the same page. the two main committees working on the bill are the health
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education committee, ted kennedy is the chairman, although he has not been healthy enough to oversee that. his staff has written a bill that's a very partisan, there is no republican input. it has a government run health insurance, rationing, it has the mandate that employers have to either pay for policies or they will be fined and so on. it is very left-wing policies from my perspective. the finance committee, there has been more discussion and we have had a lot of meetings where we have talked about this. but the bill is not being written with republican input. republicans have not ever sat down and said here is what we believe about x, y, and see. we have had general conversations back and forth and democrats know full well what our views are. they may or may not take into
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account those views when they write the bill, but we are not being asked to write the bill. the bill the chairman comes up with and says this is my mark, now let's and it, will not be a bipartisan product. >> just last week was talking to some finance democrats and they insist there will be the chairman and ranking member meeting. i'm wondering if they are just grasping at straws trying to grab may be a libya's know from maine who sits on the finance panel -- olympia snowe who sits on the finance panel? >> that is what they're doing. senator grassley has been giving no authority to negotiate anything by all of us republicans on that committee. he has said that while his staff has talked to senator baucus
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staff, they are not negotiating with max baucus. if there is only three days left to produce a bill and we will not have had a republican meeting to decide what the republican position is on this, that is why i say it may reflect the fact that i know our democratic friends know what all of us are thinking. that may be reflected, but it's not as if we have sat down with them to write the bill. >> we have been through this before with bill clinton in 1993. regardless of what happens, it has to happen this year before we move into the midterm election year, would you agree? >> no. nothing has to happen this year. >> realistically, politically, can happen? >> the president says we have to do it now or it will happen. why is he saying that? he is saying that because he knows the longer these left-wing ideas are hanging out there,
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left the american public likes him. when they realize their care will be rationed under his proposal, they will reject it and say that. when they realize they have to pay a lot more, they will be worried. the president is correct from a purely political standpoint that if we do not hurry up and do this, it may not pass. but the american people will say we are not for that. everybody wants reform. everybody realizes we have people who don't have insurance and many to get uncovered. there are costs going up the need to be dealt with in different ways, but that does not argue for this big, government run system the president has in mind. he may be right from a purely political standpoint that if he doesn't do it quickly, the american people will say no to what he is proposing. but that does not mean something good couldn't pass at the end of this year or next
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year. >> you talk about slowing the process down to the point where they can be more influence and discussion, but are you worried if he did not come to the table now that democrats will use the reconciliation process to push this through? >> again, i know you have sophisticated yours, but what does that mean? there is one exception to the rule that important legislation takes 60 votes. it is the process you just articulated. it is in the budget and the democrats do have the ability if they want to to use that particular method for getting a bill passed with only require 51 votes. we have never had major legislation done under that procedure, but they could theoretically do it. that is a gun held to republicans head. if you don't agree to what we put on the table, we will go to let ourselves and pass it with 51 votes. there are 59 of us here and there may be 60 when the minnesota races finally decided.
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we'll just pass this and you will having to say about it. i don't like to be threatened that way and i will stand up for what i think is right for my constituents in arizona rather than what i think politically has to happen. >> going back to the possibility of bipartisanship on the finance committee. even if you have a couple of republicans to join onto whatever mark comes out of that panel, do you feel that could sustain itself through the entire process? the merging with a health bill, the house bill? is this the last best chance for bipartisanship? does it matter? >> you got right to the bottom line. you have the house of representatives, which will come up with a very liberal bill. you have help committee which is coming up with a very liberal
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bill. the finance committee will be more moderate in the legislation it proposes. but as the chairman of the committee let slip the other day, max baucus, says this bill will be written in conference. that means that after the house has passed a bill in the senate has passed a bill, members of those committees will get together and they will decide what the bill is and will come, take-it-or-leave-it, to the house and senate. my guess is the answer to your question is it will be very liberal bill. the american people are going to have the ultimate say here. they are either going to say we do not like it, the president was right, you do it really fast or we don't know what's in it and we will like it. or, they realized they'd better get some republican, bipartisan input and then maybe we could have a bill that is bipartisan. >> i want to see if we could change topics.
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>> i will filibuster. >> that's exactly what i was going to ask you about. is there anything in judge sonia sotomayor's record, the nominee for supreme court, that you think would merit a filibuster on the part of republicans? >> i don't know yet is the honest answer. we are in the process of going to the speeches she has given, the review articles, decisions she has participated in, and there is a big body of work to go through. there are some troubling things that have come to public light. i was reading last night -- there is a lot of reading involved. i was reading some very troubling things last night about her views toward international law, saying they you can interpret the united states constitution by looking to see what public opinion is in europe.
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public opinion in europe has nothing whatsoever to do with what our constitution means. if that is a point of view, that is very troubling. i could not vote for a judge who believe that. she said that on several occasions. i'm going to have to ask her what she means by that. so i do not know is the answer to the question, but that's one of the troubling things. we have all heard about her view of the superiority of identity politics or racial politics to just looking at the law on its merits. that is very troubling also. >> even if you wanted to filibuster. after you've gone through the four thousand decisions and what not, you decide she cannot be on the supreme court. do you think you can get the votes? >> that's the other question. when people talk about a filibuster, understand republicans cannot filibuster this nomination on our own. there are not enough of us.
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by the way, none of us are talking about filibuster. that's all in response to questions from the media, which are fair questions. we are not opposing this. it would be very difficult to pull off anyway unless the democrats joined in. >> center john kyl, thank you for joining us. -- senator john kyl, thank you for joining us. we continue our conversation with our reporters. how is the fact that republicans in the minority in the senate translates into what some interpret from the interview as senator kyl past frustration -- >> it reflects what it means we have the congress split like this. the republican congress is increasingly conservative and kyl seemed to dismiss the idea getting a few remaining republics -- republican market -- republican moderates would create a better bill.
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there's a question of how far into the cockpit yet to go for something to be bipartisan result. the need senator kyl possible vote? the five republicans? -- do you need five republicans? their views are so divergent at this point, there's a wide chasm between the two parties on many of these ideas. >> what are you hearing and seeing? >> when the republican minority was diminished, all that was left for the conservatives and that is why you see people making a big deal about guantanamo bay, sonia sotomayor, because the band of the republican conference in the senate and to the house as well is very much more conservative where is the democratic ranks of centrists have expanded. >> you brought up the issue of guantanamo bay and he became animated as to that.
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his response was "who cares?" >> that is how a lot of republicans deal. we don't have to bring these people into this country and -- this is a recruitment tool -- he speaks for many republicans in that way by saying we don't care what they think. we don't need to give them -- they don't need more reasons or they have plenty reasons they hate us already. >> and on the issue of judge sonia sotomayor -- what will we continue to see from republicans on her nomination? >> i think they are really looking for something to spare her west. they have not found it yet in my opinion, but -- they are looking for something to spear her with. th


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