tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN December 19, 2009 10:00am-2:00pm EST
do this on the floor this morning, i want to make a statement from the podium here and i will try to answer your questions. the questions will be about the things that i worked on, that i think are important. they are still doing the managers package and i will not be the one to make that announcement about it. .
3471594 and know of no member of the things that we do not need to change the system. the way that we fixed up health care system, i believe that the free marketplace is the foundation of our economy. it is the primary focus that should drive us in our debate. i believe that a competitive health-care system will lower costs and provide better health
care for the american people. i want to talk on abortion. i have fought hard not to use tax dollars to pay for abortion. i think we have accomplished that goal. i have tried to protect the right of states to regulate the kind of insurance that is offered and to provide health insurance options for every state that does not provide coverage for abortion. i know this is hard for some of my colleagues to except. i appreciate their right to disagree. i would not vote for this bill without those provisions. i would like to acknowledge the assistance of the administration for working with us as well.
the most remarkable of all is the leadership of senator reid. to craft this landmark legislation and to shepherd it through the legislative process and deal with the many competing interests that deal with this and get the necessary votes to end the filibuster is an accomplishment of historic proportions. i believe this legislation will stand the test of time and be noted as one of the major reforms of the 21st century. much like social security, medicare, civil-rights which are milestones of the 20th-century. because of the dedication of senator reid, the lives of many americans will be improved. lives will be saved in our health-care system will once again reflect the better nation of our country our debate has
been passionate. and has been good for the country in many ways. and the far right to the extreme left, the american people have voiced their opinion. that is good, that is part of our democracy. there are reckless in ludicrous claims of this debate that have been hurled at one another from both sides. opponents of this legislation are not insensitive to the health-care crisis in america. supporters would not be standing here today if for one moment they thought this legislation would cause harm to the american people. but yet, if you turn to the news and read some of the statement and listen to others from both sides of the debate, you would think otherwise. the quality of this debate has
not always measured out to the quality of the american people. we can do better. there is still much work that needs to be done before this legislation becomes a reality. in the weeks ahead, a look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make it even better bill. without intending to be threatening. let me be clear, this vote is based on the full understanding that there will be a limited conference between the senate and the house. if there are material changes in that conference report, different from this bill that adversely effect the agreements , i reserve the right to vote against the next vote. i reserve the right to vote against the next load if there are material changes to this
agreement in the conference report. çóand i will vote against it if that is the case. i know it is hard for some of my colleagues to accept. i appreciate their right to disagree, but it is clear that i would not have voted for this bill without these provisions. [unintelligible] >> how are the concerns about this bill summed up? >> what is in it for me is what is in its for people of nebraska and the country. first of all, i am opposed to any kind of public plan that would undermine the private insurance of 2 million americans. the by engine and medicare -- the by enuy-in of medicare was a
concern. i raised certain concerns about other provisions within the legislation. let me refer to a few of them. i was concerned about the flexible spending account cat. that has been dealt with. i was worried about the home health-care and nursing homes. i believe that is being addressed. these are all issues that affect not only my state but every other state. because of my experience and knowledge as a senator and former governor, i requested changes. i believe those changes will be made and announced. i was concerned about medicaid
and the fact that that becomes an underfunded federal mandate. i believe that will be addressed and there'll be comment about that. i think there needs to be further work done on the so- called mandate to find a way to create open enrollment rather than financial penalties. the obvious problem you get is if everybody is not in the insurance package you have eliminated some of the conditions. the concern about political malpractice -- i believe we will work on a steady to look to see what works in medical malpractice and tort reform. that is based on certain states
to find more information out about it. i think there are a lot of thoughts about how this should work, but not necessarily any data that would tell us what is the appropriate way to handle it. [unintelligible] >> i will leave it up to the leader to talk about another package. all the members of the conference have not been told about it. i will leave it to him. i uncomfortable that it taking care of the best way that it can be. it is important that other states are taking care of it as well. >> when you look at the polls, they have been fairly universal
over the last couple of weeks. >> what bill that is being talked about? one of the challenges that is there is this bill as we are moving in every step of the way is changing. now we are seeing how people respond to the bill with the managers package and modifications. there is opposition with the public plan because that is what i heard. that is what i have heard in my town hall meetings. there is concern about a public plan. some are opposed to doing anything. they are not going to change their minds by doing something. that has to be dealt with. making sure federal dollars are not used for abortion as a plan we put together here. we have agreement on that.
they are certain that the plans do not use federal dollars to fund abortion. i think if people take a look at what the package is now, they may have different opinions about it. i think that people in most circumstances would take a look at what the plan is today. quite a number of changes to the abortion part. can you talk about which of those are the most important ones? >> defac that the requirement is that there are 12 states that ban abortion in public plans and five that ban in both private and public plans. we wanted to make sure in this
legislation that there was no pre-emption of right of state to continue to make those bands if they choose to do so. that is spelled out. there is nothing that would restrict the states to do that. we are concerned that because it was not addressed, they had less of an intent to appeal. in each exchange, they will have to have in it at least one plan that does not offer abortion. it does not require states to offer plans with abortions. if they do, then a premium is calculated. let me give you an example. say my subsidy is 50% of the premium. that is the underlying premium for the basic benefit for the plan, not including abortion. i would write a check for the
other 50% of that coverage, and i would write a separate check for the portion of abortion coverage and the premium for that. [unintelligible] a choice between a plan that does not have it and that does have it. it is not about riders or anything like that. [unintelligible] they could do it right now. it does not change. we want to make sure the current situation is the same. [unintelligible]
you have to do a couple of separate transactions. it will be accounted for. [unintelligible] they have to provide for one plan that does not provide for abortion. >> what does congress think about what you are describing? >> i have not had a chance to talk to certain people. this is very similar. there are other provisions.
the conscience clause will be included. up to $250 million for teens to continue their pregnancy and go to school to support them from from believing that they have to have a -- an abortion to continue their lives. in addition, the adoption credit has been increased. it has been made a refundable tax credit so that lower income people, adoption is getting more expensive. this will mean that lower income people would have the opportunity for adoption as well. when you look at this package
together, we think this is the package that we ought to have. >> over the last weeks a month, there are a lot of things that you lobbied to come out. many things had to come away from the bill for you to support it. do you feel like this is a good bill or a less that bill? is it the good bill that if it popped up you would have supported it. >> if i would have done it incrementally, i would have dealt with the cost first. i would have focused on extending covered second. you have to take the process that is in front of you. that is what i have attempted to do.
the process was a very limited conference because we do not want any wholesale, subsidy material changes because my support is conditional. >> [unintelligible] i told the leader about my concerns. i made it clear who i am and he understood it. i am sure that in doing his job, he will find a way to make it happen. >> what about the more liberal senators? >> not that i am aware of. it is my understanding that no one has walked away from the bill.
i do not know about the final vote tally. i am not aware of anyone walking away from the next vote. >> [unintelligible] >> i have outlined to them what this bill is. i am not seeking approval. i am just informing them of what it is in how we have gone about doing it, and why it is not only the best way we can handle it but i think it is good enough. it does what everybody wants to wall off the money is after. they are looking at it. people are still looking at it and trying to go over it. there is a time where you have to move forward. there are modifications to keep
your mind open. you may want to handle this whole question of funding abortion -- be ending federal funding of abortion. >> with any applause? what is the meaning of that? >> it may have been one of walked out of the door. [laughter] i think it was for the leader when he came in. i cannot emphasize enough whether you like this legislation or support it or not. senator reid has really tried to work with all groups. it is not an easy job to do. it is not the easiest job to work with me. i know i have my own views.
i look for ways to create more implementation or find some modifications as long as it does not ignore principle. >> [unintelligible] one person said a number of things. what does it mean? every major piece of landmark legislation has some bipartisan support. the challenge is that others do not want to participate -- they can't reach what they are after and you cannot make it happen. that is important. the voice levels are so high that the price of doing anything
has also gotten very high. it is easier to do nothing then do something, but it is not better. i want to try to get some things changed. i did that with the last administration. i supported the president when i thought he was right. i opposed it when i thought he was wrong. i did not obstructed. i tried to find ways to work together. i did that then and i seek to do that now. >> have did you get that moment last night when you shook hands that's what did you tell senator read about what you needed to do at that point? >> i wish i could remember exactly how that occurred. this was an evolving process
where if this proposal did not work, there were efforts to see how you would modify it to find another way of getting the same results. there is usually more than one way to get to something. the problem was you had those who were opposed to one item or another. i am talking about abortion. it seems like it is a matter of choice about having options, having won policy that does and potentially one that does not. people can make up their own minds. if you have states that have already spoken about it by saying no, you do not want to disturb their local public
policy. i thought the public auction created a gigantic insurance operation run out of washington. i do not think that is the way to do it. i cannot move in that direction. one of the main concerns that people had during the town hall meetings was that very thing. they did not want washington telling them to take more of the insurance business and tell them what to do from washington. i heard the mulally and clearly. -- i heard them loudly and clearly. >> [unintelligible]
>> it is up to one organization to negotiate the best deal they can. there will not be any effort to try to shave it does. they do not have the policy interest here. [unintelligible] >> i will be watching santa claus to come down my chimney here. i hope to be home as soon as i can be home. >> thank you. [unintelligible]
[unintelligible] >> and democratic senator ben nelson of nebraska announcing his support for the democratic health care bill on the snow saturday. it should give the democrats the 60 votes they need to get the bill passed. as we go live to the senate floor where once again the senate is in session for the third weekend in a row. they began this morning. they voted 88-10 to approve the $636,000,000,000.2010 dispense pending bill. the president is expected to sign it. at the conclusion, the senators moved on to the democrats' health care bill which started with the senate clerk reading what is called the manager's amendment. it is still being read.
it is several pages. it will take several hours to get through. there has been no debate on the senate flows since this got under way. you can read the complete amendment on our website. further debate on health care is expected later today after the reading of the manager's amendment. a number of senate democrats having a caucus. we understand they will have remarks after the meeting. we hope to have that live for you here on c-span. our contacts on capitol hill says there are lots of applause coming from the meeting. it will be interesting hearing what majority leader harry reid says. that will happen at about 10:45 eastern. we plan to have that for you live here on c-span. the debate is expected after the beating -- reading of the amendment later today. you can see live coverage of the senate on our companion network cspan 2.
>> his mark on history includes manifest destiny. in his new biography, and robert merry looks at the life and times of our president. >> c-span christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics. we will have a congressmen and david gregory. they will speak on the legacy of apollo 11. they will speak on the rolls of most loans -- muslimroles of mus in america and the world. they will also speak on different topics. next week, a rare glimpse into the highest court in america through and and president on the record conversation with 10 supreme court justices about the
court, their work, and the history of their iconic supreme court building. five days of interviews starting monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> live remarks from the democrats' caucus coming up at about 10:45. until then, a discussion from this morning's washington journal of president obama's decision to send troops to afgh. continues. >> juaning us now is ashraf haidari who is the embassy of afghanistan political counselor and acting defense attache'. presidents announced he's sending 30,000 troops for addráional afghanistan support. the moves by the president, karzai to keep current ministers in their top cabinet jobs. tells us what you know about
that? guest: yes, the president has a list of the new cabinet members to the afghan parliament for approval. includes current members as well as new ministers and some that have been moved around. host: and are most of these ministers friendly to the united states? do they want to continue the current type of diplomacy between afghanistan and united states? guest: yes,@@@@@@mn based on qualifications and the fact they look forward to >> moving forward. so far from the people you're talking to in afghanistan about the president's announcement or plan to send additional 30,000
troops to afghanistan? what's the response on this? guest: response on the street, i was in kabel recently for two weeks, and only met with the government officials but also members of the civil society and ordinary people i left with and their response was positive. welcoming and government is welcome. they are increasing the number of troops to be deployed primarily to protect the civilians and to help provide that transitional security so that we, overtime, train and equip our national security forces. both afghan national army and police so that we increasingly take over security responsibility from the united states, and our a lies to help defend our country with our continued support and government
is already taken charge of providing security in kabel and central parts as well as north and northeast and our forces are actively participating in combat along with nato forces in the south and east and they've conducted a number of successful operations, even internationally of the coalition forces and in the south and east of there. host: afghanistan citizens do they feel they're country will be ready in july of 2011 to begin the transfer from the united states military to afghanistan security force? guest: they're looking to see whether, really to see whether the government of afghanistan along with allies will accelerate peace building in afghanistan and especially
equipping and paying our security forces and as well as several services in afghanistan, adequately as well as implementing theness reform so that we hopefully in 18 months particularly in three to five years as karzai in his speech said, we'll get where we need to be in terms of helping drive the process on our own, with the continued support of the international community. it all depends on where we will be in 18 months as president barack obama said in his new strategy that in 18 months we'll see where the situation in afghanistan stands. all depends on local conditions at that point of time. host: talking about u.s. policy in afghanistan with the political counselor and acts defense attache'. here in d.c. ashraf haidari and if you want to get involved in the (jjuápáion the number is (202) 737-0001 for republican and democrat, (202) 737-0002 and
independent, (202) 628-0205. tell us, what makes candahar so guest: south afghanistan and particulp) there and two provinces where the taliban have been reinsurgent over the past, at least five years where the government has been moáu leader absent or extremely weak and that's why the taliban come back áo those two provinces so it's stra teamically important for the government of afghanistan and the coalition partners to show results in those two provinces and by and large. settle this as soon as possible so we take the initiative away from the taliban and increasingly provide securráy and job opportunities for a large population in that part of afghanistan. host: what kind of job opportunities you talking about?
guest: job opportunities to keep expanding the population. we're talking about, of course, we're talking about, of course, an agrarian or agriculturelvzza" host: our first call comes from a judge in miami on the republican line. caller: you guys are doing grea. you know, i appre(rpáe you working with our country and all that stuff, but my question to you is this. how can you have a president that's been re-elected ma'y times and you can't even take care of yourself? if your really a country why
can't you take care of yourself? i think we've done enough for you. i'm not trying to be disrespectful but we're die iing and your coming over here and buildr'g businesses and you should be the first ones on the line for the your own country. then come back and here start to become american citizens and all like that. guest: appreciate that question. i would like to extend on behalf of the government and people of afghanistan, our deep condolences to the fallen soldiers and their familys and loved ones for dying to help secure afghanistan to make the united states safe and the rest of the world securer place for all of us. we deeply appreciate that, and we have been saying from the very beginning that afghans are ready and willing to defend our country on our own, but it all
depends how quickly we enable "trá's not matter of courage, is a matter of lack of wealth. it's - every afghan is courageous and willing to defend and die for their country but we lack the skills, equipment and training to take overcome bat and security operations to help defend our country. host: next up is martin in new mexico on the line for independents. go ahead. caller: yeah, i would - let me move this. ho host still with us? caller: no, i probably got the wrong. yeah, afghanistan, host: let's move on to peg inx phoenix on our line for
democrats. good morning, peg. caller: good morning. i have a couple of questions. you k'ow, in our own country we have so much difficulty with greed and corruption in our financial institutions and banking and so on, and i know that the problem for people in afp'istan, and i wondered how - what are the plans to address the corruption? host: we've lost peg. um... was there enough there to - guest: think so. a question about corruption. we have heard about this enough. it is a problem that we acknowledge and it exists in afghanistan. we're firm&y committed fighting corruption. as president karzai said in the inaugural speech promise together hold a conference as
conference on anticorruption, 450 people from across the country. governments of different society as well as partners from the international community participated in the conference to discuss this practices in the fight against corruption. they have adopted a resolution. which we hope we will be helped by our allies. to implement and in the coming months and years to fight corruption effectively in afghanistan and our particularly in different government institutions. host: via twitter says it possible to change centuries of cultures and beliefs by force and is a force a tem(orary solution? guest: well, force or@@@@u)iá
our life expectancy. it is about 42 years old. the average man dies at that age. that means that more than 70% of our population about 25 years of age or below that. this age is looking at democracy and freedom with the rest of the world. if you ask any afghan leader in kabul, they will tell you that they demand a government that is functioning, that will deliver basic services and not be isolated under the taliban and
before that. we do need a security assistance from our allies to help build an institutional capacity. and enabled us to help us with the process. host: our next call. caller: it was the corruption part that i wanted to address. 62 $100 billion of just -- they cannot even find it. i think that is a huge issue in and of itself right there. just the issue of credibility for us to even attempt to rebuild, that money would have gone a long ways for infrastructure and to help the
population to about and dig out of that hole. host: lay aside the corruption for a second. dc enough training going on to believe that they are going on and able to take over in 2011? caller: i do not, because it is corrupt. that is the main point. host: thanks, we will leave it there. guest: dysfunctional corruption committed -- much of the assistance has been channeled through non-government
mechanisms, mostly contractors in multilayers of sub- contractors all of the way through the region. as well as others. much of this assistance, but the time it reaches the targeted beneficiaries is wasted because of the huge overhead costs and a lack of expertise and experience. that is why the government has been requesting our partners to help us build capacity for observing -- absorber in direct assistance -- absorbing direct assistance. we have been national solidarity program. it is reaching more than 20,000
villages of the local level. there are many studies that show that assistance channeled through joint mechanisms such as this and our solidarity program are far more effective than aid provided through contractors and others. that is what this government is committed and our administration -- the other thing that is a problem is the waste through contractors. host: did you think there would be more accomplished if there was more non-military aid going on in afghanistan as opposed to the surge of 30,000 u.s. troops and more allied troops? guest: 20 to balance military search with civilian surge. if you look at the appropriation, you will see that
about 60-80% of funding is appropriated for military operations. many of that goes to back up our allies. canada and others help. everything else that fall under civilians -- a while ago of that 20% of civilian assistance, about 80% is channeled through non-government mechanisms. that means a fraction of the over all civilian -- some $35 billion that had been given to us -- only about $2 billion have been channeled through government institutions since 2001.
that is why they either remained extremely weak. host: we are talking about policy in afghanistan. our guest is a political counselor at the embassy of afghanistan. the numbers are there on the screen if you want to get involved in the conversation. our next call is on the democrat line. >> from what i read and see on television, the major problem with the taliban is that they regroup and base in pakistan and come back into afghanistan. as i understand it, there are only a limited number of passes through the mountains. what i have never understood is why we cannot effectively blocked those passes and cut off the flow coming in.
can you answer that? guest: i agree with that observation that insurgencies' normally have the support of the people. they have a popular cause. the taliban is an entity that is sustained, supported, finance, armed and ideologically indoctrinated. pakistan -- [unintelligible] a country test suffered a loss
-- it has always tried to cooperate considerably. based on a win-win situation where we all benefit from regional economic cooperation from one another including pakistan. the united states have been working -- unless we tag -- target the taliban leadership and the infrastructure in pakistan, it is hard to defeat them. national security forces are fighting along with coalition forces and other forces. the government of pakistan said
their military and intelligence -- they are working on the taliban on their side of the border. host: as president obama laid up enough of an explanation of why the u.s. is in the country of the afghans to begin with? >> yes, the strategy that he announced was very clear as to why the united states are there. they are there to defeat al qaeda and the taliban and help us stand on our own feet. to facilitate that, this will ensure regional peace and security for the rest of the world. it is very much a share a partnership.
host: does the current afghan view the conflict as the obama war or something left over from the bush administration back? guest: they see this as one that must be fought by humanity, a fight against terror, extremas them, violation of human rights, women's rights and to defend its streets against terrorists and extremists. it is to ensure regional peace and security. they want to ensure the survival. host: our next call is from
canada. caller: i have a question for you. a person called earlier and said something interesting about the u.s. spending a lot of money. i know you are not giving us a little service right now. we are spending a lot of money up there, and as soon we are going to go to congress again and see if we will send you more money. i was watching a video the other day of the marines in afghanistan. i believe they are from britain. i was reaching -- reading the body language of some of the citizens that were supposed to be training or something, and the body language was telling me that they thought it was a joke basically. it looked as if the royal marines said these guys are not getting paid enough. they put their lives on the
line. what i want to ask you is how long do you think it will take before you can take over? that is my first question because what i watched the video, it looked like a joke like there was no way these young kids would be able to keep the taliban out of the country. my second question is, i read where you guys have an opium problem and a lot of the people there are addicted to that narcotic. host: we will leave it there. guest: it will take time. there is no shortage of courage on the part of afghan people to defend our country.
i remember in meetings that i attended that there were the sources -- forces that wanted to take over combat from our partners. it does not only become effective -- how much it cost to maintain one international consortium. think about 1 million per year. with that, we can train and equip more than 4250 afghan soldiers for at least one decade. unfortunately, we could not until the changes the administration.
it is hard to take over this unless they are properly trained. at the end of the day, it is the people and country of afghanistan that asked that we defend our country. i agree that the quality of training and equipment as well as time are all necessary to make sure that our security forces in the next three-five years will be prepared to take over security. it is a global problem. there are figures that say that opium produced is worth enough $30 million on the black market. we are not only fighting the problem as a supplier in
afghanistan but also a fight the demand side mostly in consumer countries like europe and western europe. we need to provide resources for law enforcement to go after the driver's of the narcotics business as well as provide assistance to sharecroppers to cultivate it to support their families. host: next is a caller on the republican line. caller: my question is, i guess the american public would like to know -- in the united states we have the state government and a federal government. how did your country set up at
this point? if it had not worked, i guess it would not be there. what do you expect to change in the next five or 10 years? what are you working for? >> that the government is a central one. there are pretty free relationships between the government and the center with local, and state institutions, a provisional district. in most cases, there is a lack of capacity and resources to deliver basic services. we hope that in the next five
years, we will build an institutional capacity to help implement a national development strategy from the time we present it to the international community. last year, at a conference, paris, -- read a copy of the strategy,. it is the afghan national development strategy. thanks. host: you can get more information about afghanistan overall at the embassy website. our last call comes from denver on our line for democrats.
caller: thanks for allowing me to be here. thanks c-span for all of your coverage. i think the world is like a neighborhood. many are producing drugs out of their house. they are not able to keep their children in line. they go over to other peoples' housing, rob and cost discretion -- destruction. then you want us to come out of our house to come to your house and get your house in line and get your people in line and finance for you to have a bigger and better new house. that opm that you are growing -- you could grow other items. it does not have to be opium. you have to have some type of
oil reserves there. i know there is water or something in those mountains. host: we have to leave it there because we are running out of time. guest: i disagree with that analogy. the afghan culture and the constitution as well as its long -- islam are against the cultivation, production, and the use of drugs in our country. some cultivated the opium poppy for livelihood. if they were given a choice between a legal and a legal likely that, they would go with the legal likelihood as opposed to the illegal one to support their families. for supply, there is always the
afghans will have a choice to cultivate legal crops. host: thank you very much for being on the program this morning. >> you can see "washington journal" every morning here on c-span. we are going live to hear from senate democratic leaders on a possible agreement of the health care bill. this morning, and nelson and up support for the bill. democratic leaders are expected to comment on that and continue the debate, and we will have those remarks when they begin shortly here on c-span. the house will meet for a brief pro forma÷(t session at noon eastern, and we will get comments from lawmakers,
>> again, we're standing by in the gallery, waiting to hear from democratic leaders on a possible agreement about health care. we plan to have better for you live when it gets underway. until then, your phone calls from this morning with "washington journal." editorial section. get more north. gaping hole in administrations plan to move terrorism detainees to a u.s. prison. they write the obama administration is right to continue steady march to close the facility as that the u.s. naval base in cuba, but it will under mine the benefit office a f it merely moves them office a from one place to another without changing the policies that led to international condemnation of the prison. white house announced on tuesday it plans to purchase the
thompson correctional center in illinois, a state prison to house some of the retaining 200 guantanamo detainees. the prison was built in 2001 as a maximum security center and a maximum security center and can hold up to 1600 inmate's although only 200 are there. administration plans to usq different parts of facility to hold federal criminal inmate's and terrorism suspects. plans for call for construction of court rooms for military commission proceedings and we'll get back to more of this editorial and some other items in the news this morning regarding guantanamo but first the phones and brian in michigan. i don't want to, is that - good morning, brian. caller: good morning. first i'd like to support the president barack obama administration concerning
guantanamo closing. we'll regular liez our legal system. these people that are guilty will be tried in court. some of them tried in military commission's and we're going to close something that's an abomination. secondly, this about the global warming folks in washington d.c. look at your window. look at the snow coming down. global warming is not just global warming it's chaotic climate change. the atlantic diver is climbing beneath the fresh cold water in the ice melt in the green land and poll. host: thanks for the science lesson. stick with the discussion this morning about what's accomplished by moving detainees to guantanamo to illinois. next call from pennsylvania. steve for republicans, welcome. caller: good morning. yeah i think that my opinion, the only thing that's accomplish supply and demand president barack obama will be able to go before a joint house of congress
and say look i closed guantanamo bay like i said. politics here and simple the man is nothing but a campaigner and chief. i don't have a lot of faith in the president barack obama administration and i hope they close it. host: steve, before you go, if the president of the administration didn't move them from guantanamo to some place here in the united states, is it your opinion that they should stay in guantanpsz indefinitely? caller: yeah, so what. it's better than the other choices. especially for is soldiers on the field. i'd rather be captured than kill and t$e battlefield. host: thanks for your call. lawmakers should not stand in the way of this dep&. some in congress have raised security concerns about holding terrorism suspects on the american soil. fear mongers has thought american has held convicted
terrorists without incident. the editorial says lawmakers should reject administrations claim that it need no new legal framework to offer in definite detentijju of inmate's without charge. like the push administration before it points to the 2001 detention. as federal court as ordered 20018 sufficient to protect the right of the detainees and multiple agency executive task force will review cases to determine where detention is still necessary or justified even if a federal court signs off on the original detention decision. back to the phones our topic for the first 25 minutes of the program. moving detainees from guantanamo to the united states. what's accomplished? dc, washington.
new caller: i actually agree with the editorial your reading. i kind of agree with that. all we're doing is warehousing these detainees. for in definite appeared yous of time and it doesn't answer the question. what will we do them for the rest of their lives. lot of these people are dangerous but we don't have a framework for actual justice for the people. host: so in your opinion what's the difference between housing them here or in guantanamo bay? >> none as far as i'm concerned. it's just moving them from one warehouse to another. host: so you're saying nothing accomplished by moving them here? caller: like the last caller "tsaid, you know, virtually all >> we are going to leave this segment to go live to senate democrats discussing the status
of the health care bill. >> every part of this process, passing two carefully crafted bills into one comprehensive bill, to reaching final consensus, has been an enormous undertaking. we would not be in this position today without partners in the process. i just want to say shoreward but senator harkin -- a short word about senator harkin. most of the work was done in the committees.
you all saw that. senator kennedy died. we have no new chairman. we have a lot of persons with a large ego. senator harkin, who worked in the committee his entire career in the senate and became chairman has been so helpful to us, never wanting in the limelight, staying out of the way because he knew what had been done by senator dodd. thank you very much. from the very beginning, we know the end result had to save lives, save money, and save medicare. we did that. we knew we had to save the
insurance and stabilize and keeping secure. we needed to keep people healthy and reduce the national debt. we did that. we needed to stop insurance companies from running health care. we are in the process of doing that. the bill from a few weeks ago has every single thing we've mentioned. make care more affordable. we did a lot, create more choice and competition with consumers. we kept in mind that we could let the market control what takes place. we also have controls to make sure that the insurance
industry does not go wild like to have with people in insurance policies. all this is about a level playing field between american families and the insurance industry. some are progressive and feel that this bill does not go far up, and they say, we should get a public option. this bill, this bill will do so many good things were so many people. and we explained that in some detail just a few minutes ago to the caucus. someone us stopped -- someone us stopped. -- some whawant us stops.
i say to them, spend a couple of days reading our mail. i go to bed every night praying. i don't know if i should pray to die or. to stay alive, whose diabetes has turned into disease. he does not know whether to stay alive or die. so i say to those people, the broken system cannot and will not continue. we will officially end the year in which insurance companies control health care. all senate democrats stand
shoulder-to-shoulder with president obama. this bill is about providing health care making hard choices. all of that tax incentives and credits in this bill, almost five and did billion dollars worth. -- $500 billion. through the twists and turns, people have tried to make us go of course, and we have state true. that is why we have succeeded and we will succeed. but we will have a detailed briefing by our staff. so save the questions for about.
-- for that. >> thank you. we came forth with a good bill, with many people who have spent a good time on creating a health care system. we will reduce the national debt. we will produce consumers protected from harmful company practices. we will provide billions in tax cuts to help working families and small businesses support all the health insurance, the largest cut costs of the year 2001. we will extend insurance coverage to more than 13 million americans.
we will drive down print cost for all of them -- premium costs for all of them. the bill today makes a good bill even better. it will provide even more protections against harmful industry practices. that will hold companies accountable for excessive rates. much tighter provisions. we will impose tighter restrictions on the limiting of benefits, ensuring that companies cannot discriminate against children with pre- existing conditions. that goes into effect, by the way, in 2010. we will provide tax credits to small businesses, a big improvement. more choices 3 more multi-state
option, insuring even more access for medicare and the children's health insurance program. working with my colleagues to pass quality health care reform in the coming days. >> let me begin by thanking our leader, harry reid. a lot of people have been involved in this for a long time, and we have been truly blessed to have him as our leader. this is a difficult task as i have seen in 30 years in the senate.
this is a major hurdle that we have to overcome. this month, 69 years ago, franklin roosevelt outlined freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. one of the great fears americans have lived with for generations is the fear that their child or a loved one will be hit with an illness for which they cannot receive treatment because they cannot afford it, and cannot see a doctor because they cannot afford it. this bill does not guarantee will not get sick. it does not guarantee you will not die. all it guarantees is if you are a fellow citizen of ours who is ill, you will never again have a fear that you'll end up losing your home, your job, your
retirement, or the savings. that rational freedom all americans have. the bill frees americans from the fear that if they lose their job, they will not be denied insurance. freeze americans from the fear that if they get sick, they will not be able to afford treatment. it frees american from the fear that one accident will cost him everything. as a nation founded on freedom and sustained by prosperity, this bill is long overdue and critically important. this cause is older than most of us, and r papp has been eliminated by a courtroom a long
time ago, and sustained by a good man and women who believed in franklin roosevelt's vision of a nation free from fear. ted kennedy never expected we could cure all society's ills in one fell swoop. that is why over the years, we have fought together to make our country a little bit better, more secure, a little freer from those fears. ted kennedy and i have fought for the patient possible of rights and the health insurance program. the efforts fell short under president nixon and clinton. but with every step forward and every step back, ted kennedy never stopped believing that in the wealthiest country in history, every one should be guaranteed access to decent health care, and he never start
-- stopped believing that in the freest country in history, this would some day come to pass. we're prepared to pass legislation guaranteeing no american will go broke because they got sick. no american will die because the carpet treatment they need it -- needed -- because they did not get treatment that they needed. >> first of all, let me thank our leader, senator reid. he has been our quarterback. he has called the plays, and now we have the goal, and we're going to go over the gold shortly. if you want to get to know anything about harry reid, read a couple books first. the town that would not die, about search light, and his other, called the good fight.
he is going to act out a revised edition to add a last chapter on to the good fight. this has been a good fight, and harry reid has led the good fight, and we have won it. to max baucus, who bent over backwards, not only going the extra mile but an extra hundred miles to involve the minority in the process, and he did such a great job on the finance committee of bringing this bill forward. and to my friend, who did a masterful job of leading our committee, getting the bill through, bringing these things together, i might make a note here that chris and map and i are all classmates. we all came together in the same day in 1975. a lot of things have been said about the bill.
i just use an analogy. i know a lot of my progressive friends have been upset that certain things were not in it. but what we're building here is not a mansion. it is a starter home. but it has got a great foundation, expanding health- care coverage to 31 million americans. it has a great protective roof, and room for expansion and additions and the future. but if we do not start, we will never get there. this is not the end of reform. this is the beginning of reform. >> i will take a few questions.
bill, you will see a number of interests different sectors half. >> [inaudible] >> to dr.'s fix was done because the doctors thought that was the best way to move forward. we all believe, certainly democrats believe, that the doctor possible fix should be in it. we certainly believe that. they are entitled to more than a one-year fixed, and there are a number of issues dealing with the fix, and we're going to work on that. >> the reality is that senator
nelson, and more specifically, the state of nebraska, it looks like that is one state that gets federal health efforts. >> if you read the bill, you will find a number of states treated differently than other states. that is what legislation is about. compromise. it is compromise. we worked on different things to get a number of people, including efforts to get a few republican votes. many things you look at at this legislation and say, why did that happen? a lot of times, you think something was done that was, though, that is how your boat. -- that is how you get your vote. we started working on the provisions weeks and weeks ago.
? >> the senate talking about the health care bill, sounding like they are at the home stretch of getting it passed. we also hope to hear from senator minority leaders, including senator mcconnell and coburn. live coverage on c-span. at the same time, the house will double in for a short pro-forma session scheduled for noon eastern. we are committed to the house, but we hope to have all these
items live for you here on c- span. live now to the fore of the senate. they're working on health care after having passed a defense spending bill earlier today. right now, the clerk is reading the manager's amendment to the bill, something typically dispensed with but that was insisted on by mitch mcconnell. it is still being read, and takes several hours to get through. when this is done, we expect further debate on health care. by the way, you can read the complete amendment at our website. further debate is expected again later today after the reading on the manager's amendment. further briefings are coming up, including remarks from mitch mcconnell. until then, we go back to your phone calls for today's washington journal. n
port ann, new york. caller: good morning. on a practical side one thing accomplished by moving detainees is probably great savings in cost to shipment back and forth to care for them. to bring in supplies and so forth. but on the larger issue, it's really important that people implicate themselves on the complicated issues of this áu!ject before they have an opinion. and i would recommend that they read the dark side by jane mayer. the big complexity here ironically enough, obama is protecting george bush by not trying many of@@@@@@@@ áhs@ @ testimony and evidence torture.
so it is a very complicated issue. before having an opinion, find out the various aspects before deciding, you know, black or white on the issue. thank you for letting me speak. host: jacksonville, florida. what is accomplished from moving detainees? >> lots of people will get a new job? that was not very funny. guantanamo bay is a naval base. they do not have to move anybody anywhere. there have all this facility to take care of them. and they are isolated from terrorists being able to attack the surrounding cities. these people are terrorists. they are not enemy combatants.
host: back to the funds. san francisco on our line for republicans. good morning. >> these are murderers and terrorist and soldiers that hide themselves as they should be tried militarily. i do not think that holder should bring the case to new york, because everyone will have their eyes on it. every child will be taught how horrible we are. these people will have a method of speaking to us, and it will be a terrible thing. i say to leave guantanamo the way it is. the head of iran just said he is
hoping he will get rid of the united states and how wonderful the world will be without us. the best thing we can do is keep guantanamo. also, why is president obama trying to get rid of it when he has a chinese friend who helps get the oil they're taking out of florida. host: let's stay with guantanamo bay. those that paid us for whatever reason know we have the keys to guantanamo bay, so what difference does it make? >> because you're focusing the united states prisoners in the country. everyone in chicago -- we have black muslims in this country, and they will be hitting us for
the fact that we are holding them here. nobody hears anything about what is going on at once, because it is all done religiously and militarily. if you do not have a place to hold this prisoner, it is going to be a problem. i do not like to predict much, but i'm telling you, holder has no reason and the world to take this to your -- in the world to take this to new york. host: no president, regardless of party, should be able to wield this power unilaterally, as the obama administration argues they can. congress should establish clear guidelines that require periodic review, set up clear rules of
evidence, and guarantee each detainee has an attorney. president obama will defeat the purpose of closing guantanamo if he continues to embrace lawless policies. next up is joe from philadelphia. what do you think will be accomplished by moving detainees from guantanamo bay? >> nothing. i know most of the war veterans are aware of who is seriously a terrorist. the public has been duped. it is something left over the last administration. if people would just pay attention to what was going on,
this right here is meaningless. host: thank you for your call. day from independence. good morning, dave. caller: guantanamo is a way to get around the jiva convention -- geneva convention. host: how far is thompson from chicago? caller: 100 miles west. host: ok. so if they go ahead with this plan to move thebñcv detainees m the prison, are you more concerned that your area but, under tax? -- your area could come under attack? caller: i am concern from all areas.
host: fort lauderdale, republican line. caller: what concerns me is the air space we have to protect. in cuba, the cuban government takes care of their air space and people are well aware of how dangerous it is to fly over cuba. the other part is down there by guantanamo, covered by our navy and air force. illinois is so much an open space, i liken it to what happened in new york, how long it took them to get any sense out of a presidential plane flying over new york without much able to be done by it.
everyone was concerned about it. can you just imagine what will happen in illinois with wide open spaces? and perhaps they might try and make the best place a target. the other thing is the circus that will create their in that little town, with all the media and everything else. it just seems so counterproductive to our american way of life that what we have always done is the military takes care of the military. and why our president wants to change depth --v that, what is his purpose? what is he trying to do? host: we are continuing our discussion.
the president is wrapping up discussions in copenhagen regarding climate change. the "new york post" this headline, hot air, and this is how it looks in this morning's "wall street journal,": the u.s. calls a compromise between china and india a first step. this is the headline from this morning's "new york times." a breakthrough as declared by obama, but many nations are unhappy. take a look at more stories, some editorials, as well. back to the phones. welcome to the program. caller: i have a basic question
to ask. how do we feel about our detainee's held in vietnam? we hated the vietnam people for holding our people. that is what we're doing now. guantanamo was a neutral site, and we're adding more than jobs. we're adding a part of the country that is going to be a target, and i do not think 3000 jobs is worth what we are going to incur as far as the hatred from the world.
host: howard, what is accomplished by bringing them from guantanamo bay? caller: the attack the united states. move them to the united states, try them and get that a guilty conviction, execute them in the united states. it was against the united states. try them here. host: more coverage of the just- concluded copenhagen talks about climate change. the talks fail to craft a treaty. the deal falls far short of many countries's expectations for the summit and leaves a comprehensive battle plan for private change potentially years away, although the agreement
included major players. it was not agreed upon by the one of the 93 nations attending the summit. in fact, some leaders left early in apparent frustration. and the article goes on to say for the obama administration, the focus on debate now shifts from the global stage to the domestic one. obama voiced hopes for greater results, but the modest agreement may help the administration as it presses congress to pass what mark legislation. back to the phones. jeff on our republican line. good morning. caller: i do not think bring the president's ear is good. i think it opens the door for letting them be released.
they can decide that the evidence found out by using torture can be disavowed and they can be found innocent. the whole purpose of them being tried by military court was to use that stuff. it was tried already and convicted. and we need to stand by the military court. it has worked for us for so many years. it is what worked in the second world war. it happened in bosnia. nobody said anything about that. host: do you think the administration is expressing that it is not satisfied or does not have the confidence you have
in a military commission? caller: no. everyone was saying about what was going on there is illegal. these people are terrorists. they attacked us because they do not have a good enough life -- >> we are going to leave your calls now to go live to match, on the status of health care legislation in the senate. >> good morning, everybody. it is an incredible debt. -- it is an incredible day. i have a rugged current commute.
i live about half a block away. is everybody set? let me just say that if they were proud of this bill, they would not be doing it this way, jamming it through the middle of the night on the last weekend before christmas. and that really sums up what we have seen on full display here as they try to bob and weave and hide from the american people who have made it clear they do not support what they know about this bill. they have an expanded version now, and it is important to figure out what is in it.
so i am here with the message for the american people. this morning, a democratic leaders in washington stood on the senate floor and sprung a new piece of legislation on the american people that will have a profound impact on our nation. this is not renaming the post office. make no mistake, this bill will reshape our nation and our lives. democrats are forcing a vote on it, as i indicated over the weekend, counting on the fact that the american people are preoccupied with christmas and not pay much attention to what they're doing. and the reason is that we know from all the data that americans are overwhelmingly opposed to this bill. it is a legislative train wreck of historic proportions.
but they are so eager to claim of victory that they will simply do anything to jam it through in the next few days. here are a few things americans need to know. with medicare, we know that the bill foch's hundreds of billions of dollars from medicare to fund a massive new government bureaucracy. we know that there are cuts to hospitals and nursing homes and home health care and hospice. with regard to taxes, the bill includes massive tax increases on american families and on american businesses. doing that and a time of double- digit unemployment, taxes will make it much harder to create
jobs as we try to come out of this economic slowdown. there are taxes on health insurance. there are taxes on medical licensing. there are taxes on madison. and there are taxes on working families with very high medical expenses. abortion. the bill includes permissive language on government-funded abortions, language that would lead to federal government violation of longstanding policies on abortion funding. the class act. referred to earlier this year by the chairman of the budget committee, it is a ponzi scheme. it is in the bill. medicaid. this is particularly interesting. the bill imposes massive burdens on states that are already struggling under the
weight of the cost of medicaid. at the same time, however, it gives special sweetheart deals to a select few states. interestingly enough, two are nebraska and vermont. what is the upshot of this for taxpayers? they end up in effect paying more so that nebraska and vermont can get a special deal. so our conclusion would be this, based on what we know so far about the bill be read and analyzed.
our friends on the other side like to talk about making history, about historic steps they're taking. the history being made here is ignoring of the will of the american people. the history that is being made is that a bill sold as having a major problem in our nation help makes the problem worse. because independent nonpartisan scorekeepers tell us that premiums, taxes, and overall health care spending will go up under this bill. if this were a good bill with bipartisan support, i assure you they would not be trying to
pass this the weekend before christmas and in the middle of the night. the next vote literally will be in the middle of the night, at 1:00 a.m. monday morning. the presumption is that no one will be watching. if this were a good bill with bipartisan support, if we had followed senator snowe's advice, to sit down and write this bill at a way that could pass the senate with 80 votes, we would not be doing what we are doing. this is an absolute outrage perpetrated on the american people, an absolute outrage. americans need to know what is going on, and will turn to give them every opportunity to learn
as much as we can about this as the process moves forward. thank you for your questions. >> [inaudible] do you plan to use any tactics to make sure that this bill does not pass? >> i'm not going to amounts -- an ounce in advance what moves will make. the important thing is for the american people to understand that there is an effort to deceive them and pass this bill at a time when their hope is because of preoccupation with the christmas holidays but nobody will notice. i do not think that is going to work. this issue is pretty big. people are paying attention and are concerned. this is health care.
regardless of how old you are, every one of 3 million americans cares about this bill. >> democrats are hoping that on similar lines you guys will yield time back if they get closer monday. >> i want to talk about the outrage that has occurred here. this effort to jam and deceive the american people on a weekend before christmas on an issue of extraordinary magnitude. i think people are rightly outraged. >> what would happen if democrats went back for a week
and came home and voted? >> we would be happy to deal with this bill next year. it would be an opportunity for people to get familiar with what was in it. >> what is objectionable to you about the abortion language? >> we are still analyzing it. but the early evaluation, as a said, as you know the bill is still being read for the first time, the first time most senators have had a chance to look at it. step is still going through it. -- staff is still going through it. we cannot do a definitive take, but i gave an earlier indication that the language was not adequate. >> you were debating a decoy built, a debate switch in
parliamentary procedure, with the amendment read on the floor. can you talk about that? >> nobody had seen it before today, except a few people you could fit in a phone booth. it was important to give everyone the opportunity to understand it. and what i have given you today is a preliminary take on what is in there. we know that a class act is in their. we know there is a disparate treatment of medicaid there.
>> can you talk about the democrats using their 60 votes this way? you have time to come to a solution. >> this is not about acrimony. this is about policy. this bill is a 21 to us -- 2100 page monstrosity. they are playing these kind of games with the nation's health care. this is an outrage, and it needs to be called that. we are upset about it, but it is not personal. acrimony assumes that we are upset at each other. i know you like to write about, but that is not the case. it is a policy program. anyone else? ok, thank you.
>> mitch mcconnell on health care this morning. shortly, the house is going to gavel in. we also will hear from tom coburn right here in the radio and tv gallery. we will bring that to you after the house session. and heavy snow is falling all over the region, but that is not keeping the senate from working.
the defense spending bill is now back to health care. since 8:35 this morning, a clerk has been reading the manager's amendment. this is expected to last until 3:00 this afternoon, after which they are expected to begin debating health care. it is expected get an agreement will be reached after ben nelson agreed to support the bill. he says he will build for the bill after winning concessions on abortion. the democrats as he would not have supported the bill without the change. the vote gives senate leaders the 60 votes they need to pass the bill. you can see coverage of the senate on c-span t2.
"(d) quality measures. again, we are anticipating remarks from tom coburn. we will have that for you like. now to live coverage of the house for a short pro-forma session. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's room, washington, d.c., december 19, 2009. i hereby appoint the honorable donna f. edwards to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication from the sergeant at arms. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of
representatives, madam, as you are aware, the time previously appointed for the next meeting of the house is 6:00 p.m. on saturday, december 19, 2009. this is to notify you pursuant to clause 12-c of rule 1 of an imminent impairment of the place of reconvening at that time. the impairment is due to the weather. signed, respectfully, willson levinggood. the speaker pro tempore: they notified members accordingly. the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend gene hemrich, washington, d.c. the chaplain: lord, during this holy season which prompts us to especially lift our thoughts to you, may you bless this congress with your wisdom. and the peace and justice it
creates when we turn to you. we further pray that in this inclimate weather you give its members safe passage home to be with their loved ones and to experience the joy this creates. amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the chair lays before the house a communication from the clerk. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, madam pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on december 19 at 10:00 a.m., that the senate concurs in the house to the amendment of the senate to the bill h.r.
1377. that the senate agreed to wowed amendment house concurrent resolution 218. that the senate agreed to without amendment house joint resolution 64. with best wishes i am. signed sincerely, lorraine c. miller, clerk of the house. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-c of rule 1, the house shall stand in recess until 11:30
>> well, i know you haven't had anything to do this morning. the snow is beautiful and you've been going back to back on this, as somebody who has delivered thousands of babies and have a personal interest in the life issue that the claim that this is a pro-life ride anywhere this bill is absolutely fictitious. for the first time in the history of the country under this bill, federal tax dollars will be used to pay for abortions. the negotiations, whoever did them, threw unborn babies under the bus. and let me detail with you specifically. this, if you read the language, it irk vents and vylates the intent of the hide, the stupak and the nelson amendments.
and what will happen is federal funds throughout the country, even with the opt-out, will be used to provide abortions. that is a drastic change in policy in this country. there is no prohibition on abortion coverage in federally subsidized health care exchanges. the state opt-out still requires each state to pay for elective abortions. the new will cover abortions the manager's amendment includes reauthorization of the health care improvement act without the hide amendment language. never before have we approved that so it's been dropped. in terms of that, the manager's amendment rejects compromised proposals on abortions. this is far worse than the casey proposal, far worse than the caps proposals. and in fact, will eventually in my opinion eliminate through the courts the hide amendment.
kay bailie. >> well, i think the hide amendment has been the law of our country since 1977, and it has been very bipartisan in its support. today, i think we have the first time that the hyde amendment is really going to be watered down and no longer existent at all. i think that the house clearly voted in a bipartisan way to protect the hyde amendment. the fact that we would not have subsidized abortions in this country because so many people feel so strongly about it. and i am in absolute support of the hyde amendment and i believe watering it down should defeat this bill. i think the rest of the things that we are learning about this bill that we're in the original underlying bill should also be recommended for the rejection
of it. and that is all of the tax cuts that are going to start just in two weeks, and the bill does not become implemented for four years. so you're asking people to pay taxes for four years, higher premiums on their insurance policies if they're covered, higher prescription drug costs, and higher medical device equipment costs because of the higher taxes on those companies that start right away and yet there is no bill that anyone can sign up for for four years. it is unconscionable for the united states senate to pass this bill. >> well, this is not the christmas present that i was hoping that we could give the american people, a process that is reinforcing that everything -- reinforcing everything that's wrong with politics. it's a 2400 page bill with a
300-page amendment being read as i speak. at the end of the day, i'm hoping president obama will live up to his campaign promises of changing the way we do business in congress. when he was a can't date for president, he said when it comes to health care they'll be on c-span. everybody will have a seat on the table, it will be transparent and you can see the negotiations. maybe i just don't have that channel on c-span because i can't find it anywhere on tv. as a matter of fact, i can't find a room where i can go as a united states senator and voice my concerns. there is not a place that i know of that will receive any input that i have. but what about the u.s. conference of catholic bishops? they are opposing the nelson compromise and are urging those who follow their advice and counsel to oppose this health care legislation. so if you're wondering if this is a partisan fight between
republicans and democrats, i would argue that the catholic church is not part of the republican party or democratic party. they care about the unborn. and what struck me the most about senator nelson's news conference, there was not one pro-life group standing behind him. if i had negotiated something good for the unborn and i was going to make this big a decision for the country, people would have been standing by me that care about this issue. that's all you need to know about this deal. is he couldn't find one group to stand by him and validate wheas saying. at the -- what he is saying. at the end of the day, this bill reinforcing everything that the american people hate about their congress. and the price tag of this bill hasn't changed one bit for the better because the class act, this new entitlement program for long-term health care hasn't changed at all. they're going to create a new enentitlement where you collect premiums beginning in 2011 sand
you don't pay any benefits out until 2016 creating 72 billion dollars of money to pay for the offset. kent conrad said that the class act was a ponzi scheme of the first order. something bernie maidoff would have been proud of. 11 democrat senators wrote to the democratic leaders saying do not pass the bill with a class act. it's fiscally irresponsible. well, it's still there. and millions of americans are dying to have their congress act responsibly and not use their taxpayer dollars to fund abortion. well, they were disappointed too. so as we go forward between now and christmas, my democratic colleagues have come to me and said, well, we got the votes. why can't we go home? we're not going home. why couldn't we have waited until after christmas to pass the bill? because it was in their interest to jam this thing through. the longer we talked about it,
the worse they did in the polls. so they've rounded up the 60th vote. they're applauding themselves and there's nodsing to applaud. so we're going to talk about this until christmas day so the american people know the truth about what's in this bill. the question is not about why can't we go home. it's why can't we do what the american people expect of us and be responsible when it comes to legislating. >> senator brownback. >> i think this bill is clearly fiscally irresponsible and also morally reprehensible. the abortion language in this bill funds abortion for the first time since 19 77. last time the federal government funded abortion, the numbers that were funded, taxpayer funding of abortions tarking place were about 300,000 a year. so you're probably going to go north of that number. and yet, we're told that it's a pro-life bill. it is not.
and the groups that track this that have for many years are saying this is not a pro-life bill. that this breaks the hyde language that's been in place for 30 years. and it is funding abortions with federal taxpayer dollars and with premiums that are going to go through federal taxpayer established insurance plans or proposals. that's morally reprehensible. it's fiscally irresponsible and the overall price tag of this that we don't have the money or wherewithal to do this with. and finally it's just a process issue. here we are on saturday morning just now getting the bill and people competing saying what's in it, what isn't in it, and rushing to pass it. if it were a traditional health care bill that we've done many of in this body it would be one that would work through a process that everybody has a chance to look at and at the end of the day would probably have somewhere between 70 and
80 votes. everybody is for health care. but this hide the ball process and then throw it out at the last minute and vote at 1:00 a.m. in the morning is a very sort of process that people hate and that we hate seeing take place. it shouldn't happen. it should be put off until after christmas. the full debate looking at it. and people being able to examine it instead of it being done in the dark of night when washington's jammed in with if snow storm. >> i think today signifies an important thing for the american people. this is not about the differences between republicans and democrats specifically as relates to health policy. this is about members exercising their ability to get special treatment for their
state when others in this country will pay for it. i agree with everything that's been said. i could go further on the abortion language. i think the original language that harry reid had was better than what was negotiating. but you've got to compliment ben nelson for playing the price is right. he negotiated a medicaid agreement for nebraska sca that puggets the federal government on the hook -- puts the federal government on the hook forever. not for six years, not for ten years. this isn't the louisiana purchase. this is the nebraska windfall agreement. it means that if you're a taxpayer in virginia or you're a taxpayer in ohio or you're a taxpayer in arkansas, you're going to pay taxes to make sure that nebraskaance don't have to pay any portion of the medicaid expansion in the future.
this isn't what the american people signed up for. this isn't how this process is supposed to work. when we legislate we're supposed to tax equally and we're supposed to apply equally. what we're in to now is a continuation of what has been so awful for the past 12 months, and that's picking winners and losers. harry reid's only allowed some to win and others to lose. but let me assure you in this whole process the american people are the ones who lose. this health care bill will be incredibly expensive, will cost jobs in this country, and as has been proven not just by republicans but by former dnc chair howard dean doesn't reform health care, it raises taxes too high, it spends too much money, the american people lose in an agreement like this.
>> may i just very quickly -- what this provision does as senator nelson negotiated it is set up a supreme court challenge. row v wade is clear on federal funding for abortion and now we're seeing that law that was laid down years ago in row v wade thrown up in the air. and it's pretty obvious that votes have been bought. i mean, whatever it took to get a vote, that's what the majority leader did. if it was sending money to states, other states are going to pay for it. the taxpayers of america are sending money to nebraska to, louisiana to vermont, to nevada. and the list goes on and on, in order to get votes. is that the way that the
electioners envisioned the change that ought to come to america that they expressed in the last election? this is not business as usual. ths business far worse than usual and having negotiated contracts for 26 years as a lawyer and negotiated with individuals for 26 years, i know a little bit about the subject. and if this is what negotiation is all about, then it's a poor way of doing business and a poor way of negotiating. >> we'll be happy to take any questions. i would make one final statement. the crisis of confidence in this country is now at an apex that it has not seen in over 150 years. and the lack of confidence undermines the ability of legitimate governancey. and we need to be paying attention to that, because there's a lot of people out
there today to, when through this process, not just is the bill but through the process will say i give up on my government. and rightly so. questions? >> help me out a little bit on your position of how this compromise, the nelson compromise, is worse and provides taxpayer funding of abortion. i understand that it doesn't explicitly say no abortion on the exchange. but of course their position is that you're segregating the parts of the exchange that are private of >> all federal taxpayer dollars. when you get paid a tax, it's going into the kitty. the fact is that the policy in this country today under no federal program or federal taxpayer dollars used to pay for abortions. it's been that way for 32 years. that changes with this bill. and what will happen is as
senator chambliss mentioned, as soon as fife states opt out there will be a legal challenge utilizing the row v wade press dense to say they can't do that. so consequently we will have the hyde language stripped forever. the numbers on those who don't think we ought to use federal taxpayer funds is capissive 75% o in this country. they're going to be paying for it. there's also no conscience protections in this at all as well. so we're also going to be going after those in terms of training systems and private hospitals where in fact when they may not want to offer that. >> [inaudible] >> we can't find it yet and that comes back to other point. we're going to vote on this at 1:00 monday morning. i think that's about 30-some hours from the time we first start getting to look at a
400-page amendment to a 2400 page bill. you can see why people don't have confidence in this congress because the average bill in this congress is less than 400 pages and we've had ten republican amendments voted on in three weeks on a 2,074 page bill and now we have no ability to offer amendments. so the description by the leader, our leader in saying this is a jam, is exactly right. they don't want the american people to absolutely know what's in this bill. >> senator, when you say the worst crisis of confidence in 150 years, can you explain that? do you think that we're on the brink of a civil war? >> no, i'm not referring to that at all. >> [inaudible] >> i picked 150 years. there was no reference to the civil war. but what i can tell tell you, what i hear from constituents, not just in my state, everywhere i travel, is you all don't represent us.
yeah represent you. you represent what's in the best interest of you as a politician, nots what is in the best long-term interest of our country and people have no confidence in us to govern. and when you lose confidence, then you lose the ability to effectively govern. and what we ought to be about is restoring government, thinking about the lock-term prospects for this country rather than how we benefit parochially or politically or our own careers. >> aren't they segmenting, trying to segment private money to be used? >> there's no segmentation in the health care improvement act. the hyde language is gone. so we will on indian reservations use federal government money to pay for abortions. >> what about the exchanges? >> how do you segment the money 1234 how do you segment federal tax dollars? that's like saying segmenting we're not going to let social security money be spent on other stuff.
you're saying we're going to have a lock box. >> is this the same argument they put forward on caps. this is caps redone and they've just tried to say, ok, we're going to set another category over here. but it's the same sort of segmenting that we went through that debate earlier and everybody said, ok, this isn't funding for abortion because we're segmenting. but it's federal dollars. you're just putting them in another pocket. and so that is funding of abortions. and then in the exchanges you're going to have one that will fund abortions in it, which we've never done something like that. so that's where you get at this as saying, well, this is doing something we haven't done. well, we're putting it in a different pocket. it's still federal money. >> i'll just answer one other question. if barbara boxer is ok with this language, nobody in the right to life community could be ok with it because her position is very well known. and she thinks that federal government ought to be spending
money on abortion. >> and i heard the explanation today about writing two checks. well, the two checks go in the same pot. that's what senator coburn and senator brownback just alluded to. this is federal money. it's like social security money going in the general fund. the money is going to be mixed with federal money. it's not segregated. i don't care whether there's additional separate premium for it or not, it's still mixed with federal money and that's what pays for the abortion. so they're disingenuous when they say that there's going to be segregation among the funding for abortions versus nonabortion policies. >> in your statement, at least what i grabbed from it, you seemed to imply that senator nelson used the abortion issue as a bargaining chip, wound up with worse language than reed had in the first place but used abortion to get a better deal
for nebraska. did i perceive that correct? >> you received it correctly. and i think that it shows a tremendous willingness to allow some in this country to win and many to lose. by one member of the united states senate. and i think that's wrong. >> if i could just add, i think we're changing one-sixth of the economy and you can't get one republican vote. now, that says a lot. it either says a lot about the republican party or it says about the process. i'm one republican who does not mind trying to find common ground with democrats on tough issues. i'm going to try to do it on energy policy. i've done it in the past, i will do it again. but it vuzz virtually impossible for any republican after this thing started to have a meaningful say. senator collins and senator
snow are not on board. the class act is a devastating new entitlement program that is going to create long-term financial problems. what senator nelson did. he may have helped the state of nebraska on their medicaid problem, but it sure hasn't helped the doctors and hospitals with the medicare cuts in this bill. so at the end of the day i hope that the american people realize this game is not over. this is a long way from being done. in you want to change what washington is doing, speak up. let people know in these states that have been identified that you don't want to do that to your fellow citizens. that the medicare cuts are going to affect people in nebraska. the tax increases are going to affect people in nebraska. and this abortion language, you can look at it all you would like and we know you will, but the u.s. conference of catholic bishops understands the difference between the stupak language and this language. and they have decided to oppose the bill because of what senator nelson negotiated.
now, that says to me all i need to know about the pro-life issue is when the conference of catholic bishops say they will oppose the language and oppose the bill because of the language. that's all you need to know about abortion from my point of view. and i don't always agree with the catholic church. but i'm with them on the right to life issue. but at the end of the day it's abouts 60 votes. they could care less about what's in the bill now. they've just got to pass the bill because the democratic party's future is at stake. that's the way they've look at this thing. we've gon from reforming health care to being worried about the democratic party. whatever it took is what they did. it had nothing to do with the overall best interest of the country and that can happen to both parties, i gess, but that's what this is about now. this is not about health care reform, this is about the democratic party trying to save themselves. >> thank you all.
>> senate republicans offering their thoughts after an apparent agreement by senate democrats earlier today on a health care bill. nebraska democratic senator ben nelson announcing his decision to get behind the bill. his support would give democrats the 60 votes they need to get that bill passed. we are standing by here in the radio tv gallery to hear in a short bit from independent senator bernie sanders from vermont standing by for his remarks. we expect him to talk about health care. we'll have that live for you here on c-span.
also, president obama is set to address the media this afternoon and that will be at 1:30. it is our plan to also have the president's comments. we don't know what he is going to talk about but we plan to have that live for you here on c-span. >> again, looking at the floor of the u.s. senate working on health care for the third weekend in a row, having passed that defense spending bill. senate reading clerk has been reading the manager's amendment to the bill. that started at about 8:30 eastern. it was insisted on by senator republican leader mitch mcconnell. that started at 8:30 eastern. we expect that will be wrapped up at about 3:00 this afternoon. 383 pages and you can see and read the entire bill, the manager's amendment on our website c-span.org.
>> conducted under this subsection to the extent determined appropriate by the secretary if, one, the secretary determines that such expansion is expected to reduce spending under title 18 without reducing the quality of care or b improve the quality of care and reduce spending. two, the chief act ware of the centers for medicare and medicaid services certifies -- >> again, live coverage of the u.s. senate this afternoon as they are working on health care. the senate reading clerk reading through the manager's amendment. 3:00 the expected time that that will wrap up and then further debate on health care expected after the reading of the manager's amendment. we are still standing by and waiting for remarks from vermont independent senator bernie sanders. he is expected to talk about health care this afternoon. we will have his comments. he is actually standing right there in the doorway. and as soon as he makes his way to the podium we'll have his comments live here on c-span.
and a quick reminder that the president will be speaking also. he will talk about health care. that is set for about 1:30 eastern. we plan to have that live. and it looks like we do have senator sanders. >> thanks very much. i'm here with senator ben carden of maryland who wanted to say a word on one aspect. in the midst of the overall health care crisis, there's one particular that we have focused on and that is the crisis in primary health care and that means that some 60 million americans today do not have access to a doctor on a regular basis. and what that ends up meaning is that when people get sick they end up in the emergency room or they become sicker than they should have been and they end up in the hospital. a great personal suffering and pain. and sometimes in death. we have 45,000 americans every single year who die because they do not get to a doctor on a regular basis.
what this manager's amendment today does is add $10 billion more over a five-year period into community health centers and the national health service core. what that will mean is that an additional 25 million americans will now have access to federally qualified health centers which means high quality primary health care, dental care low cost prescription drugs and mental health counseling. it also means because of a very significant increase in the national health service core we're going to be forgive debts incurred by medical students who go into primary care. 20,000 more primary health care physicians and dentists and nurses will be developed as a result of the increased money in that provision.
so i can tell you that in my state where in recent years we have significantly increased community health centers it has a profound impact on the health and we will being on our people. and what studies indicate is that medicaid saves money because we keep people out of the very expensive emergency health rooms and we keep them out of hospitals. so this is a win-win proposition. we have $10 billion in the senate bill working with our colleague jim clyburn in the house. they've got $14 billion in the house bill. we believe that the final number will probably be $14 billion. and if that happens, there will be a revolution in primary health care in america. 25 million more people having access to high quality health care dental care mental health counseling and low cost prescription drugs. let me introduce senator carden. >> well, first i want to
congratulate senator sanders for his leadership on this. i have sat through many of the meetings of our caucus where senator bernie sand ers has raised this issue over and over again. and let me try to underscore how important this is. we all know we have a shortage of primary care health care pr fessionals. we also know we don't have enough facilities in our community to handle all of our population who want to seek health care. senator sanders and i have been fighting for many years for universal health coverage. this bill is going to do a great service to america in getting a lot more people insured. 31 million is what the congressional budget office says. but the question is where are they going to get their health care needs met? we don't have enough primary care physicians today. we don't have enough space in our clinics. i have visited the community health centers in maryland. they have one thing in common,
they all need more capacity. they already are stretched in capacity as to what they can handle. we need more locations particularly in the rural areas where people are having a hard time finding a primary care help. and we need more capacity generally throughout our nation. aid chance to talk to one of the leaders at johns hopkins hospital in baltimore. who is a strong proponent of this bill. because he believes that america we should have universal access to affordable health insurance. but he told me that if we don't do something to produce more health care primary care professionals, and if we don't provide more community health center capacity, that we're not going to be able to provide the care and the most cost effective way. the bill that had on the floor of the united states senate needed to be improved in this area. and senator sanders has accomplished that. and i know that there's a great
deal of focus on some of the major controversial issues, but our objective is to make sure every american has access to affordable health care and senator sanders' initiative will help 25 million more americans reach that goal. congratulations, senator. >> any questions? >> senator sanders, senator mcconnell singled out vermont as receiving special farse in that bill. >> he used the term sweetheart deal. >> you know, vermont was -- and i don't have all the details in front of me. vermont has been very aggressive in making sure that all of our low income kids and others have access to health care. we were there in doing the right thing. and what many of us in vermont and around the country felt that it was wrong to penalize a state that had done a better job than perhaps any other
state, i think massachusetts was up there as well. you don't penalize states because states on their own come up with money to do the right thing and say thaumpling very much for taking care of your low income kids, thank you for taking care of more people and now we're going to penalize you for doing that. we did not think that was right. that is saying you're not going to penalize states that have done the right thing. and we're proud in vermont that we've done the right thing. but our taxpayers should not be penalized because they've done that. but the bottom line here for me on this bill, as senator carden said so well, is that if you expand medicaid and if you expand health insurance in general, that is enormously important. but at the end of the day it doesn't mean much if people can't find a doctor or they can't find a dentist. and what we have managed to accomplish is a substantially increase community health centers, 10,000 communities in
america as a result of this legislation will now have access to community health centers. 10,000 more communities, 20,000 more primary health care physicians and dentists. and we think that that is going to help revolutionize primary health care in america and is an important step forward in health care reform. thanks very much. >> independent senator bernie nelson along -- bernie sanders. along with maryland senator ben carden on health care. president obama is expected to address the media on the health care bill today. that will happen about 1:30 eastern and we'll have life coverage of that here on c-span. and with an apparent agreement
on health care reached in the senate, we'll go back and hear from senator ben nelson, he was the democrat's lone holdout. here are his remarks now on his decision. this is about 25 minutes. >> i really want to make the statement from the podium here and i'll try to answer the questions. it's not going to be about the manager's package, it's going to be about the things that i worked on that i think are important and try to keep my focus there, because they're still doing the manager's
package in there and i ought not to be the one to make the announcements about it. well, let me say at the outset change is never easy. but change is what's necessary in america today and that's why i intend to vote for cloture and vote for health care reform. on the floor of the senate in town hall meetings throughout our states and in one on one meetings with our constituents, we've all heard heart wrenching stories of people who have been left behind or forced into bankruptcy or caught in the grip of a health care system that just didn't work as well as it should have. and while each of my colleagues may differ on how to fix the system, i know of no members who are suggesting that the current system is satisfactory. i know of no member who doesn't think that we need to change our health care system. where we differ and i say so
with great respect to all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle is in the way we fix our health care system. and i believe in the free marketplace as the foundation of our economy and as the primary focus that should drive our health care system and our debate. and that's why i oppose the public option and yet supported the market exchanges. i truly believe that a competitive health care system will lower costs and provide better health care for the american people. and i would like to touch on the issue of abortion. as you know, i have strongly held views on the subject and i have fought hard to prevent tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions. that is long standing at least 30 years federal law under the hyde amendment. i believe we have accomplished that goal. i also have fought hard to protect the right of states to
regulate the kind of insurance that is offered and to provide health inshurebes options in every state that do not provide coverage for abortion. i know this is hard for some of my colleagues to accept and i appreciate their right to disagree, but i would have not voted for this bill and would not vote for this bill without those provisions. i would like to acknowledge the assistance of the administration in working with us as well, and perhaps the most remarkable of all has been the leadership of majority leader senator reed. to craft this landmark legislation and to shepherd it through the legislative process and deal with the many competing interests associated with this legislation and acquire the necessary votes to end the fill buster is an accomplishment of historic proportions. i truly believe this legislation will stand the test
of time and will be noted as one of the major reforms of the 21st century. much like the social security, medicare, civil rights legislation were milestones of the 20th century. and because of senator reid's dedication and hard work, the lives of millions of americans will be improved. lives will be saved and our health care system will once again reflect the better nature of our country. i would like to take a moment to talk about something that will likely fall on deaf ears, the debate about health care debate has been passionate and i believe it's been good for the country in many ways. from the far right to the extreme left, the american people have voiced their opinion. that is good. thass part of our democracy. what has been disheartening about this debate are the reckless and ludicrous claims that have been hurled at one another from both sides in the
heart of the debate. opponents of this legislation are not less patriotic or insensitive to the health care crisis we face in america. and supporters would not be standing here today if for a moment they thought this legislation would cause harm to the american people. but yet, if you turn to the news and read some of the statements and listen to others coming from both sides of the debate you would think otherwise. the quality of this debate has not always measured up to the quality of the american people. we can do better. there's still much work to be done before this legislation becomes a reality. in the weeks ahead i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make it an even better bill. and without in any way attending to be threatening, to be more in the mode of
promising, let me be clear. this cloture vote is based on the full understanding that there will be a limited conference between the senate and house. if there are material changes in that conference report, different from this bill, that adversely affect the agreement i reserve the right to vote against the next clotur vote. let me repeat it. i reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes in this agreement in the conference report. and i will vote against it if that is the case. i know it's hard for some of my colleagues to accept and i appreciate their right to disagree, but it's clear i wouldn't have voted for this bill without these provisions. >> do you have what you call a laundry list of other concerns about this bill? how were those summed up and
what might be in this for you? >> well, what's in it for me is what's in it for the people in nebraska and the country. first of all, i have opposed any kind of public option that would undermine the private insurance of 200 million americans. i didn't believe that the expansion or the buy-in on medicare was an appropriate way to deal, because that puts more of a public plan rather than let the private market prevail as i believe that it will. i raised certain concerns about other provisions in the legislation and let me refer to a few of them. i was concerned about the flexible spending count cap. but that now has will be dealt with. i was worried about both the
rural hospitals and home health care. and nursing homes. i believe that being addressed. these are all issues that affect not only my state. they affect every other state. but because of my experience and knowledge of it, both as a senator and a former governor, i requested changes and i believe those changes will be made and will be announced. i was concerned about medicaid and the fact that that becomes an underfunded federal mandate. i believe that that will be addressed and there will be comments about that. i think that there needs to be further work done on the so-called mandate to find a way within the world of insurance to create open enrollment and closed enrollment periods rather than financial penalties to get people into the system to avoid the problem the obvious problem you get with
adverse selection if everybody is in the in the insurance package and you have eliminated the restrictions on preexisting conditions. the concern about medical mall practice, i believe we're going to work on a study to look to see what works in medical mall practice. tort reform, i should say, based on certain states to find more information about it. i think there are a lots of thoughts about how this should work but not necessarily any data that would tell us what is the appropriate way to handle it. >> on medicaid [inaudible] it looks like your state will receive federal funding as opposed to the states. >> i'm going to leave it up to
the leader to talk about the manager's package. he hasn't finished telling all the members of the conference about it. and i'm going to leave it up to him. >> [inaudible] >> i'm comfortable that it's taken care of in the best way that i think it can be. but i think it's important that other states are taken care of as well. >> talk about the voice of the people. but when you look at the polls they've been fairly universal over the last few weeks where public opposition has run against this bill. >> which bill? are the bill is being talked about with the manager's package or the bill that existed before? that's one of the challenges that is there. this bill has been moving in along every step of the way and changing. now what we need to see is how people respond to the bill with the manager's package and the modifications. now, there's an opposition to
public plans. i happen to know. because that's what i heard in my town hall meetings, that's what i see, the concern about a public plan. there are some people opposed to doing anything. absolutely opposed to doing anything. you're not going to change their mind by doing something. so that is something that has to be dealt with. the abortion issue has been a concern that makes certain that the federal dollars are not used for abortion. the plan that we've put together here we have agreement on in fact walls off that money in a very effective manner. and makes certain that the plans do not, we use federal dollars to fund abortion. so i think as people begin to take a look at what the package is now, they may have some different opinion about it. i don't think the well is so poisend. i think it has been, efforts have been to poison it but i don't think it's been so poisend that people in most
circumstances will take a close look at what the plan is today. at least from my perspective i think that's what will happen. >> there are are a number of changes. can you talk about which of those is the most important in ensuring you [inaudible] >> well, the fact that the requirement is that in every -- first of alling, there are 12 states that ban abortion in public plans and five that ban in both public and private plans. we wanted to make sure in this legislation that it was clear that there was no preempttion of the states right of states to continue to make those bans if they choose to do so and so that is spelled out that there's nothing that would restrict the right of states to do that. we were concerned that some court would say because it wasn't addressed that, well, there must have been the intent to repeal. second, thing is that each exchange will have to have in
it at least one plan that doesn't offer abortion. that does not require the exchanges to offer plans with abortion. but if they do, then the premium is calculated as follows. let me give an example. let's say that my subsidy is 50% of the premium. that's the underlying premium for the basic benefits in the plan not including abortion. so i would write a check for the other 50%, the second 50% of that coverage and i would write a separate check or a separate transaction if it's a credit card for the portion of abortion coverage and the premium for that. >> but you have specifically chosen to have abortion coverage. >> you get your choice between a plan that doesn't have it and a plan that has it. it's not about riders.
it's not about anything like that. it's a plan that happens to be incluesive of abortion. >> is it your understanding that states could ban private insurance? even if some of their customers don't get federal sbuzis? >> they can get it right now. it doesn't change. what we want to make surthat is that current situation is the same. >> on the question of protection and the purchasers, checking insurance companies did you check or do you? does that make sense? or -- [inaudible] >> you have to do two separate transactions. it walls it. it makes it clear. no question about it. now, the insurance will account for it accountingwise and in risk pools separating out the coverages as well. fipically that's the way it's done. >> e can any state decide not to include a plan that is free
of abortion? >> no. if they have an exchange, they have to provide for at least one plan that doesn't provide abortion. that way you avoid the opt out. >> what does congressman stupak think? >> we've talked but i haven't had a chance to talk to him this morning yet. but this is very similar. we think it's clearly like the stupak language but we think it's different. there are other provisions to it as well that i think are important. first of all, the conscience clauses will be included. the -- there will be up to $250 million over ten years for essentially teen pregnancies and people who want to continue their pregnancy to go to school, support them to move away from putting people in a position where they believe they've got to have an abortion to be able to continue their
lives. this economically, this would help the with that. in addition, the adoption credit has been increased and in addition to that it's been made as a refundable tax credit so that lower income people adoption is getting more and more expensive. not like when i adopted. much more expensive. and this will mean that lower income people would have the opportunity for adoption as well. so we think that when you look at this package together, that this is the package that we ought to have dealing with this. >> there were over the last weeks and month a lot of things in this bill that you lobbied and insisted come out. most of the thing that is had to come away from the bill to support it. now that you've gotten an agreement do you feel this is a good bill or a less bad bill? do you think that this bill instills the imperative that the leadership wants? do you think this is a good
bill? >> i think it's good enough for us to move forward. if i had my drutsdzers i would said earlier i would have done it incremently. i would have dealt with the cost containment first and extending coverage second. that wasn't the choice that was accepted. you have to take the process that's in front of you and try to improve it. and that's what i've attempted to do both constructively and productively improved this legislation to the point where i can support it with a calf yat that i said we have to see what happens with a very limited conference, because we don't want any whole seal substant yi or material changes because of my support is conditional. >> to that provision, how was that able to give you assurance? and was there reaction across the dome?
>> well, let's put it this way. i told the leader about my concerns and made it clear where i am and he understood it. and i'm sure that he is in doing his job will find a way to make that happen. >> assuming it's in the bill does that possibly lose some of the more liberal senators from the actual bill itself? >> not that i'm aware of. it's my understanding that no one has walked away from the bill. a cloture at this time. i don't know about final vote tally or anything like that but i'm not aware of anybody walking away from the next cloture vote. >> tell us about some of the conversations you had late last night or early this morning with abortion rights groups back in nebraska and have they agreed to this? >> what identify done is outlined to them what this bill is. and i'm not seeking approval.
just informing them what it is. and why, how we've gone about doing it and why i think it's not only the best way we can handle it. i think it's more than good enough. i think this actually does what everybody wants to wall off the money is after. you know, they're looking at it. people are still looking at it trying to go over it, i'm sure. but there's a point in time where i think you have to move forward. if there's some modification or something like that you always keep your mind open. but i believe in my heart of hearts that this handles the whole question of funding abortion of banning of the funding of abortion by federal money either directly or indirectly. >> [inaudible] beginning of the -- particularly loud round of applause and cheering at the beginning of the caucus meeting you can hear it. what immediately preceded that? can you talk about that? >> it might have been when i
walked out the door. no. no. i don't know what -- well, i think it was for the leader when he came in. i can't emphasize enough how, whether you like this legislation, whether you can support it or not, i think everybody has to understand that senator reid has tried to work with all groups. it's not an easy job to do, not always the easiest job to work with me, i know. i have my own views. i hold tight. but i can always look for ways to create more implementation or find some modifications if it doesn't involve bending or ignoring principle. >> [inaudible] a number of meetings occurred over the past year. what does that mean? no republican support. you said you wanted to see substantial republican. >> yes, i do. every major piece of landmark
legislation has had some bipartisan support. social security and clearly civil rights. the challenge is that others don't want to participate or you can't quite reach what they're after, you can't make it happen. and that's unfortunate. i think the voice levels, pro, and con, have risen so high that the price of doing anything has also gotten very high. it's easier to do nothing than it is to do something but it's not better. and i'm one who will not obstruct. that doesn't mean i'm going to support. but if i can't support something the way it is, i've felt obliged to help get it changed so it could be something i could support. i did that with the last administration. i supported the president when i thought the president was right. i opposed when i thought the president was wrong. but i didn't obstruct.
>> you had those who were opposed to either one or both. on abortion. that is what i am talking about. it seems if it is a matter of choice, of having options, having won policone policy thatd one that does not, people can make their own minds. if you have states that it spoken about it by saying no, you do not want to disturb their local, public policy. i am a jeffersonian when it comes to recognizing and respecting the rights of states to make many decisions. that is one of the reasons why i thought the public option created a gigantic insurance operation run out of washington. i do not think that is the way to do it. i could not have moved in that
direction. one of the major concerns that people had during the town hall meetings was that very thing. they did not want washington telling them -- taking more of the insurance business and telling them what to do from washington. i heard them loudly and clearly. [inaudible] >> are you convinced it will be affordable? >> it is up to the opm to negotiate the best deal they can. we trust them to negotiate our plan. i guess i have to trust them to negotiate a good plan there. that is why they have been put in charge of that. there will not be any effort to try to shave this. i hope that opm will not attempt to do that.
they do not have a policy interests. they have an administrative interest. tell me when we are going home and then i will tell you. i will be watching for santa claus to come down much to me here if that is the case. i hope to be home as soon as i possibly can be home. thank you, everybody. sticking point? i think what happened is that my chief of staff and i developed this idea to offer a choice between this plan and that plan. if they do not like riders -- you do not have to explain for anything. we already had a plan to account
for the premium dollars. that was the next thing. i guess we just stumbled onto it. >> was abortion the last thing? >> yes, it was. yes, we did. >> did you have to sleep on it? >> we had not seen the language. we agreed on the concept. >> while senator nelson was holding the briefing earlier today, the reading clerk was in the middle of reading the amendment to the health care bill. we go live to the senate floor. that reading began this morning. it is still going on. we expect them to finish at 3:00 p.m. today. earlier today, the congressional budget office said the new bill would cost or. the original bill was $108
billion. that is from the estimates released a short time ago. you can read both on our web site c-span.org you can see continued live coverage on the senate on c-span 2. president obama will hold up a press conference. here is a look at today's "washington journal." the c-span table caller: this is >> we have about 15 reporters and photographers working on the project. it is an attempt to tell the story of the auto industry in
the state of michigan, have affected the people, and the state. we were at the epicenter of the clash in the last year. the story has affected most of our readers. we wanted to go back and show how the changes affected people's lives on an individual level. we wanted to dig deep into the stories that develop as the year went by. stories as the year goes by. there was a meeting in pittsburghuq the race against time for the u.s. auto makers that you are able to make this pivot as quickly as possible. >> he's provided more bridges than i think he dreamed he would ever have to going back
to thatñr visit. about six months after that visit they had gone through a wanchingrupsi and come out on the other side. they are existing, which is far better than what the alternative was going to be. the only alternative given their financial state by the end of 2008 was to go into a bankruptcy that would have cost hundreds of thousands of jobs with not justa makers but their suppliers as well. you had the opportunity to meet with president obama early in the month. how did his ideas change
>> the president has been far more involved than he ever imagined he would be he would love to be out of the auto industry by the time i leave office. that would be the key to getting them back on their feet. it's going to take several year for that to develop. gm is in a better position. they have things coming out. they have things pretty competitive. there's a lot of changes there
host: give us a call on the line. we have a special line this morning for auto industry workers 202-628-0184. we want to hear from the folks in the auto industry. particularly, in this series, you write about colleen mcdonald. who is she? >> she is a woman who owns a couple of dealerships around the detroit area. as we have seen, she feels thef brunt of the down turn starting last year and is pressured by chrysler to boost their sales. they target both of her franchises for closure. she gets the news that she is going to shutdown in a matter
of days. the next day, she gets a letter from chrysler that they will take the dealership as well. >> it's unusual that@@@@ guest: the deal allowed the companies to go back and petition for binding arbitration on how they chose which dealers to close. host: tom is on the republican line from wisconsin. he is a retiree from the auto industry. >> i was in material handling. right now, there are more of an industry jobs in the united states than there has been
previously. they are not in the detroit area anymore. down south, there are a lot of plants all over. during the negotiations with the union, the union did great for the workers. the thing is that women would take a vote for a strike if we did not get what we wanted, the company would say to give them what they want and worry about it later. now is later. the union should have gone back and sat down with the company and said that to save the industry, we have to give a little bit back to the companies and then later down the road, we will have negotiations to make it better for the union workers. the unions are being stubborn. it is hurting detroit terribly.
i do not know what they are going to do. ford motor company is doing good. they did a buyout of a lot of the plants and paid off the workers. i am not going to say this for sure, but i think they asked the union to back down a little bit to help them get going again. it happened. general motors and chrysler should do the same thing. have the union work with the company to help everybody. thank you. guest: it is very interesting with what happened with the union over this process. they were deeply involved with the issue. while they were part of the negotiations, they had to take care of the cuts as well. it does not matter what happens between now and 2013, it cannot go on strike to change the convert. the other concession that uaw gave up is that their health
care is now tied into an investment in gm and chrysler. the health care trust for retirees owns a majority of chrysler. they own a smaller stake in gm. 1.1 million people will be depending on those investments for health care beginning this year. that is a major risk for an industry that has not returned for shareholders in a decade. concessions will be worth tens of billions of dollars. it was necessary to get the companies the position where they did not have enough debt to joke themselves. host: next call is from melissa in the florida keys. caller: if anyone wants to listen to you too, there is an obama conspiracy. -- if anyone wants to listen to youtube, there is an obama conspiracy. [no audio]
host: melissa? caller: youtube, obama conspiracy. host: she sounds a little distracted. tell us about the point she made in turn to make. guest: the government has put money into the bottom dealers. the last estimate from the government is they probably will not get back $30 billion of what they put in. it is gone. the companies in such bad shape that the money was there to keep the doors open. the obama administration admitted that. the acknowledged a certain loss to take. their goal is to get out to balance the amount of money they can get back for the shares. there is a lot of political pressure around the government owning a majority of gm and a smaller stake in chrysler. it opens the door to political
interference from the federal government and other agencies. i think the obama administration wants to close the door as soon as possible. host: was there anything that the administration or congress could do to save the auto industry before 2008? did it have to happen to take a look at it? guest: the credit crisis in 2008 pushed the industry off the cliff. the auto makers have been struggling. they had been able to push their reckoning days further into the future by borrowing against future earnings. it is a lot like a lot of people in the country. if you get into trouble, even put your bets on the credit card and live to fight another day. that is what happened with the companies.
it turned out the only way to deal with it was bankruptcy or to get help. host: the next call is from raleigh, north carolina. caller: there were some interesting things of the autumn show last week. one of them was turbine powered cars they built themselves. it is supposed to have a 500- mile range. could you talk about the future of micro turbines as range extenders for electric vehicles? guest: turbines are sort of this jump over technology. automakers were interested in them in the late '60s. chrysler even build a few prototype cars that are collectors' items now. they were expensive, wound, and you could get a lot of the same benefits by improving gasoline engines. -- they were expensive and loud. you could get a lot of the same benefits by improving gasoline
engines. they have been set aside for now. these would power the generator to power a battery pack that would power the wheels. it sounds complicated but it is the process chrysler will use. we've seen people experiment. it is possible it could come back. i think more people are still looking at the internal combustion engine before they get back to something like turbines. host: is the auto industry seriously looking at electric cars? is it something to placate the government and public until the price of gas comes down and makes cars easier to afford? guest: is a serious effort. every autumn maker has some sort of electric car under way. regulations are a big part of it. it is not just regulation. last year, the gas price hike affected the entire country and
the world. that put a lot of fear into automakers'. if the technology was not there, you have to reach out for it. regulations regarding global warming and carbon intensity are getting stronger around the world. that is going to play a role in moving electric cars for work. they should be better than what we have today. host: robert is on the line for republicans from indiana. caller: this electric power thing, i think they're trying to tell people they will not be able to take vacations anymore unless you are going to get out every 50 miles and plugged in. -- and plug it in. look out the window. the global warming stuff is a scam. i worked in michigan. the governor there has the highest unemployment rate.
obama has hurt advising him on how to create jobs. what kind of people are we dealing with? thank you. guest: as far as global warming, it is for real as far as science can tell this point. as far as electric cars, there will be a variety. the ones available now are expensive and have short ranges. the prototypes that the costs down a little bit. they're still more expensive than regular vehicle. the ranges are limited. there will be people who do not drive that much but still need a vehicle to get around. the potential market for electric cars is growing. with gas prices now, they're not competitive without government help. if gas goes up to $4 per gallon, electric cars will start making more sense. i think he will always be able to find some vehicle to take a
long trip in for decades to come. host: how has the michigan governor worked as a go-between between the auto industry in the obama administration? guest: our story to date talks about how government ran hor grm has been advising the administration. she was a daily e-mail in the administration the number of calls coming into the michigan unemployment hot line. michigan does of the highest unemployment rate in the country. they have had that since 2004. it is leading the nation in terms of the economic crisis. when general motors went bankrupt, she was very concerned it would foreclose the
possibility of a comeback for michigan while she was governor. host: we are speaking with the washington correspondent who has been with "free press" since 2005. are you focusing primarily on the auto industry and its relationship to washington? >> yes. host: the next call is from daniel on the independence ts' line. caller: i think the auto industry has been dissolvent since ronald reagan was in office. he started nafta. since then, the auto industry has been going downhill fast. it is getting worse and worse here. host: what kind of work were you doing there? caller: right now, i am unemployed, unfortunately.
i used to be production supervisor, material handler, a similassembler. we were suppliers to the big three. all of these jobs since nafta went down to mexico and areas like that. the latest plant closings were all apup here. the plants in mexico stayed open. i think nafta was the beginning of the end. guest: his experiences are similar to those we read about in the project. in the past, the turmoil was not as great. if you lost a job, there would be another job available. there is not the the same kind of back filling in michigan. a lot of the supply industry jobs have been affected by of shorif shoring of jobs.
we had a conversation with the white house earlier this week. trade and currency are the things the experts say you have to deal with before you start adding things back. the u.s. has fewer people working in factories now than it did before world war ii. host: the series is called "rising from the wreckage." you can find it on line. scott is on the line for democrats. caller: you touched on a number of subjects. i wanted to comment on the disparity between health care systems in japan and the usa. japanese manufacturing does not seem to be suffering. they have a health care system that is only about 7% of gdp. everybody is covered.
the monthly premiums for a family of four are about $280 per month. we have been debating health care. until we have this region, we will be at a disadvantage when it comes to foreign manufacturing. why can we not get the high mileage cars like to see in europe? volkswagen had a car that was getting 60 or 70 miles per gallon. i would like to see that kind of thing here. you mentioned the electric car. i remember the ford ranger electoriic truck. there was a big protest about that. guest: other nations with strong manufacturing have nationalized health care while the u.s. does not. it has been a factor. a lot of the jobs union states
has lost and gone to other industrialized nations. a lot of the manufacturing jobs have gone to lower-cost countries like china and mexico. health care is a factor, especially for start up businesses. the has been some involvement on capitol hill by the uaw. is one of the issues that plays a role. it has not been an overarching role. you will give your wish granted on the high mileage electric cars. they're looking at bringing in these smaller, high mileage cars from europe. fiat will bring in the fiat 500. they will build the engine in michigan. they will assemble it in mexico. it is an experiment to see how much demand there is among americans for the smaller, high mileage vehicles that dominate
the european markets. the opportunity seems to be to hedge against gas prices. as more people live in cities, they will not have to drive as much as the typical suburban american does today. host: years an article about gm closing saab after not finding a buyer. guest: saab has been outside of gm for some time. they've been working on finding a buyer and won in dummy operations. there will be a couple thousand jobs lost their. gm tried to put the deal together as part of the bankruptcy. the buyer fell through. they were not able to find another one. a similar thing happened with saturn. an outside buyer was going to try to take over the company and keep in business. that bill through as well.
there is far more capacity to build cars in the world than there are buyers to buy them. >host: the last call comes from new york. caller: do you have any snow there? how are you caller: you got any snow? >> take a look behind me. caller: my question is why do we thinkford was so much better positioned than chrysler or general motors second would be what would have occurred had gm and croiceler just gone chapter 11 as opposed to today.
happened. it is now trying to get out of bankruptcy after four years. you would have seen something close to an uncontrolled shutdown through the businesses that depend on the activity. it was fair >> heavy snow is continuing to fall in the capital. if you look closely, even see the capital in the background. the senate continues to work on health care this afternoon. you can see the senate on c-span 2. president obama is scheduled to make remarks on the health care bill. we're standing by for that. we will have that live when it gets under way. until then, your telephone calls from today's "washington
journal." editorial section. get more north. gaping hole in administrations plan to move terrorism detainees to a u.s. prison. they write the obama administration is right to continue steady march to close the facility as that the u.s. naval base in cuba, but it will under mine the benefit office a f it merely moves them office a from one place to another without changing the policies that led to international condemnation of the prison. white house announced on tuesday it plans to purchase the thompson correctional center in illinois, a state prison to house some of the retaining 200 guantanamo detainees. the prison was built in 2001 as a maximum security center and can hold up to 1600 inmate's although only 200 are there. administration plans to usq different parts of facility to hold federal criminal inmate's and terrorism suspects.
plans for call for construction of court rooms for military commission proceedings and@@ host: we want to go to the telephones. brian is in michigan. good morning. caller: i would like to state my unequivocal support for the obama administration concerning the guantanamo base closing. we're going to recognize our legal system. the people who are guilty will be tried in court. some will be tried in military commissions. we're going to close something that is an abomination. we've been hiding those people. i want to say something about global warming. look out your window of the snow that is coming down. global warming is not just warming. it is chaotic climate change.
the atlantic conveyor is diving beneath the fresh cold water in greenland and the poles. host: thank you for the science lesson. we want to stick with our conversation about what is accomplished by moving the detainees from guantanamo bay to prison. steve is on the line for republicans. caller: i think the only thing that will be accomplished is that president obama will be able to go before a joint house of congress and said that he closed guantanamo bay but he said he would. he is nothing but a campaigner in chief. i do not have a lot of faith in the obama administration. i sincerely hope the only last one term. host: if the administration were not to move the detainee's from guantanamo to the united states, is it your opinion they
should stay in guantanamo indefinitely? caller: yes, so what. leave them there. i would rather be captured and killed on the battlefield. host: with more from the editorial in "the washington post" this morning. it's as lawmakers should not stand in the way of this deal. the fear mongering ignores the fact that the united states has long imprisoned extremely dangerous deficiendefendants wit incident. the editorial goes on to say that lawmakers should reject the claim that it needs no new legal framework to govern possible in definite detentions of terrorism suspects without charge. this administration points to the 2001 authorization for use of military force as permiting indefinite detention. it argues that federal court review is sufficient to protect
the rights of detainees. officials promise that a multi- agency executive task force will review prisoners cases' periodically to determine whether detention is still necessary or justified even if a federal court signed off on the original detention decision. we go back to the telephones. our topic for the first 25 minutes is moving the detainees from guantanamo to the united states. what is accomplished? washington, d.c. caller: help are you? host: i am fine. caller: i agree with the editorial you are reading. all we're doing is warehousing the detainees for indefinite periods of time. it does not answer the question of what we will do with them for the rest of their lives. a lot of these people are dangerous.
we do not have a framework of justice for people. host: what is the difference between having them here in the united states or in guantanamo bay? caller: 9 as far as i am concerned. we're moving of one warehouse to the other. houghton >> there is no difference as far as i am concerned. removing them from one warehouse to the other. this is so obama can save that he is doing what he said he would do. there is no answering of the larger question of how we will go and solve this for good. it is pushing aside the problem for later. that is not why i voted for obama. i voted for accountability down the line. it was my mistake for believing i could get some accountability for stuff like this. host: the next call is from pam
in new york. caller: on a practical side, one thing that is accomplished is probably great savings in cost to ship men back-and-forth to care for them, to bring in supplies and so forth. on the larger issue, it is important the people educate themselves on the complicated issues of this subject before they have an opinion. i recommend the reed "the dark side." ironically enough, obama is projecting george bush by not trying many of these people in open court. the testimony against them came from torture. in many cases, they would be let go because you cannot accept testimony or evidence that is obtained through torture. it is a very complicated issue.
before having an opinion, find out the various aspects of it before deciding walker white on the issue. thank you for letting me speak. host: the next call is from bruise on the independent line. cues from jacksonville, florida. what is accomplished by moving them? caller: lots of people in illinois will get a new job. that was not very funny. guantanamo bay is a naval base. they do not have to move anybody anywhere. they have all the facilities there to take care of them. they are isolated from terrorists being able to attack cities surrounding the only prison. -- the illinois prison. these people are terrorists. there not enemy combatants. they are not covered under the
geneva convention. there is no precedent for what to do with them. some were caught on the battlefield. i do not understand other than the president promised to do this. we're creating 3000 new jobs in illinois. he is from illinois. you can draw your own conclusions. host: speaking of illinois, this is from "the wall street journal." it is talking about the illinois town expecting an economic bonanza. bonanza. talk the waining about the maximum security prison and there is some nervousness about the plan in the article by joe barret. but most peo(le are eager for the 3,000 jobs the facility brings to an area where unemployment is about 7 pq)cent. read more about the town where
they hope to move the guantanamo bay detain theees in this morning cash "washington journal". good morning. caller: good question. what is accomplished? i don't see anything accomplished. i think these are murderers terrorists and they are soldiers. they're soldiers that hide themselves and they should be tried militarily and i don't think that they should bring the case to new york because every muslim in the world will have it's eyes on it and every child will be out the how horrible we are and these people are going to have a method of speaking to us the terrorists will and it will be a terrible thing for the united states in front of the world. i say leave guantanamo the way it is. it's much safer to have them there. the terrorists are not going
away. okay me the head of iran said he's hoping to get rid of the united states and how wonderful the world will be without us. the best thing to do is keep guantanamo and whys >> we will go live to president obama making remarks on the democrat health care bill. >> it is starting to feel like home. i am sorry to drag you out in this weather. i wanted to speak briefly on the significant progress we've made on two challenges facing the american people. health care and our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels. it now appears the american people will have the vote they deserve on reform that offers security to those who have insurance and affordable options for those who do not. i want to thank senator harry
reid and every senator who has been working around the clock to make this happen. there is still much work left to be done but not a lot of time left to do it. today is a major step forward for the american people. after nearly century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health care reform and reality in the united states of america. as with any legislation, compromise is part of the process. i am pleased that recently added amendments have made this landmark bill even stronger. between the time the bill passes and when the insurance exchange gets up and running, there will be penalties for insurance companies that arbitrarily raise rates on consumers. insurance companies will be prevented from denying coverage on pre-existing conditions once the exchange is open. in the meantime, there will p be wil-- there will be a high- risk pool to purchase insurance.
insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage to children immediately after the bill passes. there is explicit language that will protect the choice of doctor. small businesses will get additional assistance as well. these projections are in addition to the ones we have been talking about for some time. -- these are in addition to the ones we've been talking about for some time. you will not have to pay unlimited amounts of pocket for treatments that you need. families will save on their premiums. businesses that will see costs rise if we do not act will save money now and in the future. this bill will strengthen medicare and extend the life of the program. it is paid for and gets rid of waste and inefficiency in the health care system. this will be the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade. we just learned from the congressional budget office that
this will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade of the program and more than $1 trillion in the decade after that. this reform will make coverage affordable for over 30 million americans who do not have it. as i said before, these are not small changes. these are big changes. they are fundamental reforms. they will save money. they will save lives. i look forward to working with the senate and house to finish the work remains so that we can make this reform of reality for the american people. i want to briefly mention the progress we made in copenhagen yesterday. for the first time in history, all of the world's major economies of come together to accept their responsibility to take action to confront the threat of climate change. after complex negotiations, this breakthrough lays the groundwork
for international action in the years to come. this progress does not come easily. we know that progress on this particular aspect of climate change negotiants is not enough. going forward, we will have to build on the momentum we established in copenhagen to significantly reduce emissions over time. that means continuing our efforts to build clean energy economies. it has the digital to create millions of jobs in industries. it means -- has the potential to create millions of jobs in industries. it means passing legislation for it. we have a long way to go. thursday question we have accomplished a great deal over the last few days. -- there is no question we have accomplished a great deal over the last few days. as the mayor believes in green energy, we will need in growing our economy, putting people back to work, and leaving a stronger
and more secure country for our children. that is why i went to copenhagen. that is why i will continue in these efforts for the weeks and months to come. thank you, everybody. >> that is president obama remarking on the senate bills on health care and climate change. senators appeared to get the 60 votes they needed. there are still debates scheduled. the reading of the manager's amendment continues at this hour on the floor. this is usually bypassed. mitch mcconnell has insisted on it. you can see lives in a coverage on c-span 2. here are remarks from democratic leaders on the health care debate. this is about 20 minutes.
>> what date is it? [laughter] every part of this process in passing two carefully crafted bills into one comprehensive bill, after reaching final consensus, has been an enormous undertaking. we would not be in this position today without partners in the process. -- we would not be in this position today without partners in the process.
most of the work done was done in committees. the health committee met for weeks. the finance committee met for months. you all saw that. senator kennedy died. we had a new chairman of the health committee. we have a lot of people in this senate. that is the way it should be. senator harkin worked on the committee his entire career in the senate. he became chairman. he has been so helpful to us. he never wanted any spotlight. he knew most of the work had been done by senator dodd as kennedy turned it over to him. tom harkin, thank you very much. we knew the end result had to be
a bill that save livd lives, mo, and medicare. we did that. we knew that we had to stabilize insurance for those who had it. we have to lower the cost. we have to reduce the national debt. we did that. we have to stop insurance companies from denying health care to the dying. this bill does everyone of those things. the revision being read on the senate floor right now, some of the new elements will further rain in health care costs. it will make care more affordable by expanding small business tax credits. we did a lot in the last few weeks in that regard. demanding greater accountability from insurance companies, trading greater choice for consumers. we kept in mind to let the
market control of a lot of what takes place. we also have a lot of control to make sure that the insurance industry does not go wild with costs for people who have insurance policies. all of this will help to level the playing field between american families and the insurance industry. some progressives feel the bill does not go far enough. there are others who ask why we did not get the public option. i liked the public option. i spoke out strongly on it. this bill will do so many good things for so many people. we explained that in some detail to the caucus a few minutes ago.
some of the right think it goes too far and want it stopped. to them i say, you have a lack of understanding of the problems in america today. spend a few days reading our mail. a talk on the senate floor abou a letter i got last week. the man said he went to bed every night praying. he did not know whether he should. to god -- he did not know whether he should pray to god to stay alive or die because he could not watch his son suffered. i say to the people who want this thing stopped that they need to read our mail. a broken system cannot continue. it will not continue.
when president obama signs this into law, we will officially end the era wind insurance companies when while others lives. -- while others lose. american people know that inaction is not an option. this will strengthen the economy and help make the hard choices to do what is right. one of the senators wanted a chart of the tax incentives and credits in the bill. we're going to do that. there's almost $500 billion worth. throughout the process, many have tried to knock us off course. we've stayed true to the principles. that is why we have succeeded in both continued to succeed. we will take a few questions on
my colleagues in this their statements. at 1:00 today, you will have a detailed briefing by our staffs. save a lot of your questions for that. >> thank you. we came to the floor for the good bill. it is a product of years of hard work, study, and debate in committee and among people who have worked to get as better health care system. our bill is fully paid for. it will reduce the national debt. it will protect consumers from harmful insurance company practices. it will provide billions of tax cuts to help working families and small businesses afford quality health insurance. it is the largest tax cut
congress has passed since 2001. it will extend insurance coverage to more than 30 million americans. that is no small item. it will drive down premium costs for all of us. the amendment introduced today makes this good bill even better. it will provide even more consumer protections against harmful insurance industry practices. we will hold companies accountable for excessive increases in rates and require them to spend more on consumer benefits and less on administrative costs and profits. there are much tighter provisions on the limiting of annual benefits. it will ensure the company'ie cannots discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions. it will provide tax credits for small businesses right away in
2010. it is a big improvement. it will provide more insurance choices the offer consumers the same health care insurance that congress has today. it will insurer even more access to quality health care for children and seniors. these are improvements from the earlier bill. i look forward to a healthy discussion on the amendment and to pass health care reform in a couple days. >> let me begin by thanking our leader, harry reid. the lot of people have been involved in this issue for a long time. you have to have a team captain that brings everyone together. we have been truly blessed to have harry reid as our leader through this. this is been as difficult a task as i have seen in thmy 30 yearsn
the senate. we still have work to be achieved. this is a major hurdle we've overcome. today, we stand ready to pass a bill into law that finally makes access to quality health care a right for every american. it is not a privilege for a fortunate few in our country. 59 years ago, franklin delano roosevelt outlined four freedoms. the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear. one of the great fears that americans have lived with for generations is the fear that their child, spouse, loved ones, or themselves will be hit with an illness for which they cannot receive treatment because they cannot afford it. they cannot see a doctor because they cannot afford it. this bill does not guarantee you will not get sick. it does not guarantee he will not die. all we're trying to do is
guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen and you are struck with an illness or a loved one is, that you will never again have the fear that he will in of losing your home, your job, the retirement, in life-saving speakers you have been afflicted by an illness rigid or life savings because you have been afflicted by an illness. americans will not have to suffer the indignity of not being able to afford health care. it frees americans from the fear that if they lose their job, they will not be able to find insurance. it frees them from the fear they cannot afford the treatment they need. it frees them from the fear that one illness or accident could cause them everything. if a nation founded on freedom, sustained by unimaginable prosperity, this bill is long overdue. it is critically important.
this goal or cause is older than most of us who serve in the senate today. our path is been eliminated by torch lit a long time ago, sustained for decades by good men and women who believed in fdr's vision of an asian free of fear. -- vision of america free of fear. senator kennedy never expected we could cure all of the ills in one fell swoop. over the years, he and others have fought to make the country a little bit better, more secure, freer from those fears. we fought for the medical leave act, the patients' bill of rights, the children's health insurance program. he saw our efforts fall short under president nixon and president clinton. with every step forward and every step back, ted kennedy
never stopped believing that in the wealthiest country in history, everyone should be guaranteed access to decent health care. he never stopped believing that in the freest country in history, it would someday come to pass. that someday is upon us. we are prepared to pass legislation guaranteeing that no american will go broke because they got sick. no one will die because they could not afford the treatment they needed. these moments do not come often. we will not and must not let it slip through our hands. tom? >> again, let me thank our leader, senator reid. has been our quarterback. he has called the plays. we have the goal in sight. we will go over the goal shortly.