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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  December 23, 2009 10:00am-1:00pm EST

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first? help our own country. stop sending this money over there. and when we are happy and have our lives together with our own jobs, we can take what is left over and said overseas and help other people. -- send it to overseas and help other people. if i were to help -- i would be sent to jail for neglect and abuse of my family if i give money to my neighbors. guest: clearly, there is a lot of people hurting economically in this country, and around the world. i think we have to realize that we live in an increasingly interconnected world. the microloan organizations around the world have come together mainly through local finance, not foreign aid, and are a major force in combating climate change, one of the
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issues that has been a hot topic recently. national borders are becoming less and less relevant. i will say also that a lot of americans have a perception that much more money is going into foreign aid by a matter of five to 10 times that actually goes overseas -- than actually goes overseas. there is exciting work bringing microfinance and social innovation that came from overseas and applying it to the united states. we are involved in programs in texas, project enterprise in new york, and a sister organization, grameen america, that is in new york and, hot and moving beyond. -- and omaha and moving beyond. problems cross national borders. we need to think of it from that perspective. absolutely, people are right to think first about taking care of themselves and then branching out to what can be done
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throughout the world. host: alex katz, president and ceo of the -- alex counts, president and ceo of the grameen foundation, thank you for sharing your time. we are back tomorrow morning with "washington journal" at 7:00 a.m. eastern time and a chance to weigh in on the senate vote that will take place on c- span2. "washington journal" gets under way at 7:00 p.m. eastern time, 4:00 on the west coast. thanks for joining us this wednesday, and have a merry christmas. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> u.s. senate gaveled in about
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15 minutes ago. for more debate on health-care legislation, holding procedural votes at 2:15 eastern today with the vote on final passage set for thursday morning at 8:00 eastern, later on thursday, a vote on increasing the federal debt limit for two months. live senate coverage now on c- span2. senator jeff sessions is holding a news conference about the bill and about 45 minutes. senator sessions just on the floor, talking about revised congressional budget office cost estimates. he will be talking about that and more in his news conference, likely joined by senator kyle as well. we will have live coverage here on c-span beginning at 10:45 eastern. until then, a look at today's debate in the senate from this morning's "washington journal." host: walk us through what is happening today. the senate convening today.
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what are you looking for? guest: it looks as though the outcome is more or less all but assured at this point. the democrats have twice got 60 votes to break republican filibusters on various parts of the bill, and the final one of those so-called cloture votes to make a filibuster is coming at 2:00 or shortly of thereafter today. that was set up -- that would set up a vote for final passage at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow. host: this is the third in a series of votes to end cloture. can you explain to the audience why this took place, why this process happened based on the reid amendments? guest: republicans have been saying for weeks they are opposed to the bill, unified in opposition. under the senate rules, it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster, in the way the bill itself is structured, there are three aspects of it, a manager's amendment, introduced saturday. then there is the base bill.
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then under -- actually, because of the constitution, the bill had to have a house bill number, so there is a shell bill used as a vehicle in the senate. so under the senate rules, the republicans were able to filibuster all three levels of the bill, and therefore democrats had to get 60 votes three times to overcome each of those filibusters. host: may be the last two or three weeks has been congress 101 in terms of the legislative process, particularly in the senate. can you explain what john ensign introduced yesterday, what he called a constitutional point of order? guest: once the first cloture vote was over and democrats delivered 60 votes, the writing was on the wall for republicans. they realized it was a matter of time that democrats would be -- so they were looking at
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different tactics they could use to try to delay or make political messaging. or substantive ideological points. what senator and send it, the republican from nevada, was introduced a constitutional point of order. basically what that means is he's claiming that the bill, specifically the individual mandates to purchase health insurance, is unconstitutional, that it violates the powers clause in the constitution. so under the senate rules, you are allowed to make a constitutional point of order, and it is a non debatable motion. it takes a simple majority, 51 votes, to prevail, which makes it different from other types of points of order which have higher thresholds. so this is a tactic that republicans have used several times throughout the year. it does not usually work, and legal scholars for the most part think that the constitutional
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claim that senator ensign is making does not hold much validity and would not prevail if it went to court. but he will get a vote this afternoon on his constitutional point of order, and in all likelihood the democrats have the votes to overcome it. it allows republicans to force yet another vote on this issue and also to delay the process further, and also to kind of underscore a point they have been making about this bill for several months, that one of the many reasons they do not like it. host: kate hunter is part of a team of reporters with congressional quarterly and "roll call." you can repeat -- you can read her reporting and others by logging onto the web site at as it moves to final passage, final vote, we will continue to get the expertise of cake hunter and others -- of kate hunter and
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others. the democrats of nebraska are getting a free ride off a republican taxpayers of the rest of the nation, thanks to senator reid did this deal, called the cornhuskers kickback, and also the so-called louisiana purchase, as some republicans are calling it, is in the senate bill. does that necessarily mean it will be in the final bill? guest: no, it does not necessarily mean that. the measure has to go to conference, so the senate and house have to meet to resolve differences. however, it took a lot of negotiation in the senate to get all 60 democrats on board, and conferees, if they ultimately want to send the bill to the press of a company to be cognizant that the votes may not be there if they do not keep these types of measures in. host: what is to prevent the
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other 49 senators saying we want the same deal that you gave the nebraska senator, ben nelson? guest: in some way, nothing, but the point becomes what democratic senator is going to be willing to stand in the way a final passage if they feel they did not get as good a deal in the bill. it is worth noting that much has been made of the $300 million that senator landrieu got from louisiana and the specific medicaid expansion. however, there are other provisions in the bill that are tailored toward other democratic senators. they just have not gotten as much attention. the other point that is probably worth making is that majority leader harry reid made the point on monday -- and i think this is somewhat true -- that congress regularly in acts earmarks and appropriations bills. the idea that car routes of
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individual senators is something unusual is probably not correct because these sorts of things happen fairly often. senator reid went as far to say if a democratic senator does not have something for their state or did not get something they want, then they probably are not doing that good a job as a senator. >host: we should point out that the subject of one of the editorials from "the wall street journal." tyler is joining us from stillwater, oklahoma, on the independent line. caller: first i would like to thank you very much for taking my call, and i'd like to ask -- i guess in a question form -- how it it do you think what needs to be done, in terms of what president obama -- when president obama was elected, the platform that he said this is what needs to be done, how are
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the compromises in the process such as the nebraska kickback or the louisiana purchase, these deals basically designed to get congressional figures reelected -- hardee's corrupting one needs to be done -- that we need a strong feature that incorrect -- a strong figure that correct this type of flaw host: thank you. let me refer you and our audience to the "wall street journal." there is a box called "your senate at work. the senate finance committee, for example, in the bill, $100 million for the university of connecticut medical center. florida -- a grandfather clause that would -- the cost of a $3 billion to $5 billion.
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in massachusetts and vermont, $500,000,000.600000023 dollars respectively. in michigan, exemptions from the entrance fee -- $500 million and $600 million respectively. in montana, the home -- the home state of senator max baucus. some of the examples take hunter of "the wall street journal" points to. guest: it is true that some points are tailored for individual senators. some democrats will say that is part of the process, and that these things are coming to light before the vote, so there could be -- i think we're seeing it already, there could be political fallout already, potentially, so the public could decide whether these things are appropriated or not in the next
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election. host: ken joins us from cincinnati on the republican line. you are on with kate hunter. caller: thank you, mary christmas to all. they are going to get what they really want. they're thinking they are going to get free health care. they keep saying it will be affordable health care, but i have not heard nancy pelosi or anyone define what is affordable. what is affordable to someone who just got a pink slip and is losing their job? i know there will be subsidies, but if you are fighting to put food on your table, pay your rent or mortgage, healthcare is down the list. i do not think many congressmen or senators read the bill, and i think it is unconstitutional because my understanding, the with federal law is, should be uniform. in ohio,, across the nation at the federal level. when you have different deals like with ben nelson, i do not
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think it is fair because you have a federal law that is not uniform. i think ultimately you are going to have people with health problems because they are basically going to go to nebraska because they know they can go there because ben nelson has paid-for deals. i think somebody is going to challenge this in court. i think it should be deemed unconstitutional because the law is not uniform from state to state. host: thank you. kate hunter? guest: senator kay bailey hutchison made this point that we will see later today that the bill is unconstitutional for essentially the reason that the caller said because the bill treats states differently. therefore, she's making the case that it violates the equal protection caused -- equal protection clause under the constitution. that nebraska will be treated one way with medicaid expansion, and another state a different
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way, that that runs afoul of the people protection clause. there is likely to be five votes on these types of orders, potentially all of them raising constitutional issues. it does seem as though senator ensign said on the floor yesterday that somebody would file a lawsuit, that somebody would bring a court challenge, challenging specifically the individual mandate. but it does seem like republicans are -- no one has done this yet because the bill has not passed yet, and there is no sign of any specific group doing this. but it would stand to reason that there is a reasonable chance that someone could file a lawsuit challenging this, and republicans seem to be laying the groundwork for that with these constitutional points of order. host: first, the process question, kate hunter. this vote could have taken place christmas eve at 7:00 p.m. why the earlier time tomorrow?
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guest: essentially the short answer is that there is a snowstorm in the midwest, senators come from all 50 states and are eager and anxious to get home to their families for the christmas holiday. republicans have been saying for weeks that they were going to insist on debate as long as possible, and that would have put a final passage vote and probably 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. on christmas eve. however, there seems to the some weakening of that result from yesterday, starting in the morning, and people were looking at the weather reports and starting to think about what it really means to be in the senate. by people, i mean the senators. it looked as though yesterday afternoon there was the potential for a deal. then about 3:00 yesterday they did strike a deal. all 100 senators have to sign off on the procedural issues, so all 100 signed off on moving the vote up to 8:00 a.m. instead
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of 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. also, it seems like a good middle course because it allows everybody to leave town like they wanted to end a home for the holiday. but it also allows republicans to say they insisted on a vote on christmas eve, the last possible day. it's kind of seems like both sides were happy with that outcome. host: one of the photographs we want to show you is from "the new york times," senate democratic leaders including senator baucus of montana, senator dodd of connecticut, senator reid of nevada, talking about the votes that they have and trying to sell the package. meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, senator mitch mcconnell talking about what the bill means and how republicans continue to respond to this. guest: one of the things that is interesting is the idea that senator mcconnell is beginning to make the point that this bill is being enacted only with
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democratic support, with no republican support, and we expect to see that continue. host: here is what he said yesterday. donna and the american people expect us to continue to repeat -- >> and the american people to expect us to continue to repeat this. we know they are overwhelmingly opposed to it, but they are still interested in what the details are and we are going to continue to read and expose the details of the bill that have not gotten actually as much attention in the early stages. we will be here until christmas eve, completing work on this bill, and i think it is important that we take the time to analyze it in every way that we can before the final votes are taken in the senate. let me just add the final vote in the senate is not the final vote. there are substantial differences between the house and senate bills and this debate is not over. the american people are still
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going to have another month or so to weigh in and express their concerns about this package to each of their representatives. it's " kate hunter, in order to move the story forward, that was senator mcconnell yesterday. there will be a vote to stem the debt limit, -- to extend the debt limit. why the difference? guest: well, again, the senate is bumping up against this christmas deadline at the end of the year, and the house has already adjourned for the year. the way the senate decided to handle this is to extend the two-month extension which would -- basically it is some demand is to be done about the debt limit by the end of the year. this is a short-term breather, a short-term fix. republicans were saying they
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were going to draw this out, and as part of the agreement, they got to expedite the process of having a final vote tomorrow in the early afternoon on the short-term extension, the short- term fix. the republicans secured a commitment from the democrats that, come january, it would take office larger bill and republicans would be able in january to offer up to -- well, they got a list of about one dozen amendments that would be deemed in order to the broader fix come january. host: a twitter, and from a viewer say how can we mandate that people buy into a system that has proven it does not have the public's interest in mind? dorothy joins us from rancho cucamonga, california, on the democrats' line. caller: thank you for taking my call. i love c-span and i truly believe you might just be part of our last hope for any real democracy in this country because of the influence of big
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corporate money on legislation just like this. i am a democratic activist, i am a strong supporter of the president, and as much as i hate losing the public option and i hate losing the medicare by and, i also think there are a lot of -- the medicare and buy-in, i also think there are a lot of good things in this bill. i would like to ask your guest, kate hunter, who incidentally is one of the best i have heard. you always have good guests, but she is wonderful. am i correct that if the house can be persuaded to accept the senate bill, the one that presumably will pass tomorrow, without any changes, does that mean it does not have to go back to the senate at all, that it would go straight to the president? also, at a quick second question.
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because i am willing to take, as an active, paying-attention democrat, willing to take this bill as significantly better than nothing at all rather than lose it after all of this. the one change i would still like to see in the senate bill at the way it is is i would like to see a restoration of the repeal of the antitrust exemptions for the insurance company. i was wondering if the guest has any opinion on whether that is an outside possibility of being put back in the senate bill because that is the only thing that would make it really easy for me to get on the farms and push to have the house do anything i can to try to help the house passed the senate bill the way it is. host: dorothy, two good points. kate hunter?
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guest: well, i am antitrust exempt -- the antitrust exemption, for those unfamiliar with it, is a proposal, and the idea is that it would repeal the anti-trust exemption that the insurance industry has enjoyed for four decades. there is a lot of support for that in the senate, actually. even majority leader reid is a co-sponsor of the bill. however, he did not include it in his base bill that he unveiled in late november. the reason why is because there are among some moderates not the support for it. senator nelson was, in addition to being nebraska's governor, he was the state insurance commissioner and he kind of brings that perspective to the table. he opposes the idea of the antitrust exemption. because his vote is so critical, the democrats being able to get 60 votes and get it
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through the senate, it seems unlikely there would be any support from a practical standpoint to put it in because it would probably lose them a critical vote that they need. also from a procedural standpoint, they have passed the point in which they are able to tinker with the bell. the bill they have right now -- with the bill. the bill they have right now will be the one that passes out of the senate. to answer the caller's sort of first question of whether the house could just agree to what the senate passes, i think it is pretty unlikely because both chambers exercise their prerogative. the likelihood the house just except with the senate sends them is pretty unlikely. if they were to do that, the bill itself would not include an antitrust -- an appeal of an antitrust exemption. host: didn't the democratic leader of the house, steny hoyer, tell a newspaper that that would not happen, that they would have the conference
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process in january? guest: yes, he did. also, senator baucus was talking about the idea of the conference, and it seems to be -- it seems as though the informal talks about pre- conference negotiations are going to get underway shortly after the senate passes the bill. host: state of the union scheduled for when, do you know, kate hunter? guest: it is usually the last tuesday of january, but i do not know if that is official yet. that seems to be the deadline for when the democratic leadership in congress is looking to send a bill to president obama and have it signed at the civic union. host: the front page of "the washington post," if photograph of 92-year-old senator robert c. byrd from west virginia. since he arrived in 1959, the
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senior senator has cast more than 18,500 votes. this week, amid a historic blizzard, the 92-year-old senator arrived in the wee hours after midnight, in the frigid minutes just after dawn. here is this quote from senator chris dodd, who sat next to him in the chamber and took note of the senator's cheery attitude this week. "he looks a lot better, he seems a lot better than a few weeks ago." he added that he is clearly aware of who his colleagues are, their families, and their legislative interests. your reaction? guest: there had been a lot of questions, political reporters like myself, we like to sometimes imagine or speculate about all the things that could go wrong. senator byrd has had some health problems. he is 92 years old and has had some health problems in recent months, in and out of the hospital. there was some question about whether he will, given the snow
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and the late hours, early hours, be able to make it in. but sitting in the chamber during the votes and seeing him, he does look as though he is doing very well. host: william joining us from olympia, washington, with kate hunter, independent line. caller: good morning. i would like to ask your guest if she is familiar with the united states public health commission focorps. host: why do you ask? caller: i ask that because it was established in 1798 and its mandate is to provide health service to the united states public. over the last 200 years, that has been their goal, and that has been what they are doing. their mandate has changed over the years to include more and more citizens, but that is their goal, to provide public health
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care service to the country, and people go to them and they do not pay a fee because these medical practitioners -- meaning doctors, nurses, dentists -- are government employees. host: k. hunter, if you want to respond to that, but also joe was saying that people will clamor for a government-run single payer system. maybe that is the plan if private health insurance is crushed. guest: we have not really talked about the public option in the -- the idea of the public option being jettisoned from the plan. there is definitely many people out there, many democrats, liberal democrats especially, who believe the idea of some sort of system of a government- run health insurance option is something that is desirable.
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it to the president sitting down with the "washington post" story this morning, talking about the health care bill. he was scheduled to leave later today with his family to go to hawaii but will stay in town through tomorrow morning until the final vote is cast. then according to the white house, his plan is to leave for his christmas vacation. he will stay through new year's, probably later tomorrow. kate hunter, did that surprise you? guest: i noticed that yesterday during the press briefing out of the white house, the -- robert gibbs said the president was going to make his holiday departure plans based around the senate vote. i have not heard anything about the president planning to come up to the senate. he has done that a number of times during this debate to try to rally support. senators went to the white house a few weeks ago to meet with the president and talk about the
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president underscoring the idea of passing this this year. it looks like what perhaps the president should do. also because i guess potentially the president would want to be around to perhaps issued a statement or deal with any last- minute problems that could arise. host: we are hearing that perhaps the president will have something to say after the final vote tomorrow. michael has the final call with kate hunter. good morning, republican line. caller: good morning. how're you this morning? host: fine, thank you. caller: i am informing army -- i'm a former army intelligence officer. for the first time in my life, i am ashamed of my country i know
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we are on c-span, but where is the transparency here? i understand the -- poll after poll, people do not want this. we cannot afford it, and it has never been about health care, it is about the redistribution of wealth, just like the climate change hoax. don't you think that the democratic party is committing political suicide here in 2010? they have all three houses. are they trying to get all of this done before the window of opportunity closes? host: thanks, michael. guest: it is definitely true, and i guess this is what republicans are banking on, the idea that in the midterm elections coming up next year, that if the bill, which a lot of polls have shown it to be unpopular and continues to be unpopular, the democrats will pay a political price in the congressional midterm elections. host: are we now moving from getting the vote to some of the
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plan, and is that we can expect from democrats over the christmas recess? guest: definitely, i am sure not all of america will be paying attention to the politics of washington over the holiday season, but it does seem like in the coming weeks, once the senate passes the bill, it will be competing message wars with the republicans talking about all the problems they see with the bills, the backroom deal, the democrats talking about how great they think it is for the american public and all the things that are in it. whoever wins that message war, we may see gaining of political capital going forward. host: kate hunter's expertise is available on-line at we will continue to check in with her and her colleagues over the next couple of days. have a merry christmas.
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>> the health-care debate under way, with a series of votes including the final procedural vote, set to begin at 2:15 eastern. that will include the senator and sensign vote on constitutiol order. jeff sessions and others talking about the congressional budget office and their additional budget analysis of the medicare trust fund, the impact on the health care legislation. there is a letter, information received on the cbo. as jeff sessions mention on the floor this morning. you can do so on our website, c-, posted there for you. we will have a news conference coming up about an hour from now, at 11:30 eastern. from this morning's "washington
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journal," discussion on crime and dr. line -- host: thank you for joining us. let's begin with some statistics, the so-called crime clock. you'll see that a violent crime is committed once every 22.8 seconds, a murder, one every 32 minutes. a forcible rape every 5.9 minutes. a robbery every 1.2 minutes. aggravated assault, one every 40 seconds. what does this tell you? guest: it tells us we have a problem with crime in the scourge. but it tells us there are many, many victims. -- in this country. but it also tells us there are many victims. host: what rights do they have? guest: we have rights. they have rights at the federal
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level but also at many state levels, state constitutions. there are victims' rights, and we have been working at that for 25 years. enforcement of those rights is important. host: we want to hear from you on our phone lines for democrats, republicans, and independencts. you can also join in the conversation by sending us an e- mail or a twitter comment at c- spanwj. does the system work? guest: many feel that it does not work, that they do not get justice. the system is not particularly compassionate. it is a system of the law, and violation of the law means processes that are not necessarily serving the victim. from the standpoint of justice, it is the perpetrator verses the state. when that happens, that pulls
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the victim out of the system and basically made them a non entity unless they were a witness for the state. we have been working to change that. host: are there specific examples and cases in your years with this organization that come to mind that are egregious? guest: there are plenty. not long ago, we have a victim assistance line and a woman called. she had been raped and in the process of that prosecution of that, she received her subpoena to testify. she showed up at 9:00, according to her subpoena. the case had been handled at 8:30, and because the witness was not present, it was dismissed. host: in today's age where we have cell phone technology, email capacity, the iphones and ipods, with all of this technology, is it making it easier to try to track down the criminals and put a case
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together against them? guest: i do not know if that is the case. you have to have the personnel to be able to do that. there are complexities to that, especially from the victim's standpoint. host: one other statistic, from the department of justice, in terms of property crime. there is a burglary every 14.2 seconds. there is a property crime every 3.2 seconds. larceny, every five seconds. motor vehicle theft, about two per minute, every 30 seconds. guest: the one that is striking to me is the homicide rate, when every 33 minutes roughly. that means there are many victims. host: what can we do to change this? guest: the system? we have been working to promote victim advocacy, and victims' rights are inculcated in state constitutions. we would like to see that at the federal level. what about a constitutional right amendment for victims? and enforcement. we're working hard to see that these rights are also enforced.
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host: good morning, norma. what is your story? caller: when i first came to texas, i was kidnapped, raped, and held captive for three days and drug. the system works. the problem is, we fought for 20 years to change the way the questions were asked. when we first had questions -- cases here in texas, when the victim is put on the stand to testify, what happens is they used ask questions like what part of the rape did you enjoy? the your rapist's do the exact same thing that maybe your husband or -- did you enjoy it and one point, and how do you feel about it now? the he do anything that you would like, that you would probably end up marrying him later? that is one of the worst problems we have here. then they hire people from the district attorney's office that says they are for the victims.
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i have had so many cases where women have come to my center and say i do not want to testify anymore. the victim's advocate talked to us so bad and says you should not have been where you were. host: let me just jump in without getting into too many specifics. can you explain the circumstances that led to your abduction? caller: i was working at a recreation center here in dallas. two of my supervisors have been raping me for years. i was leaving the recreation center one year. the person over the the supervisors talking about -- overheard the supervisors talking about what they had been doing to me, and i was only 14 at the time. so they snatched me coming from work, took me to a hotel, and they kept me blindfolded. the blindfold slipped, and different men and women, i saw
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that they had been doing things to me. they drug me. the district attorney's office did not prosecute the case for the simple reason they said that, ok, you have been raped by your supervisors for two years how do we know that they didn't take part in that? we cannot go back and sue them because they were city officials. so my case went unsolved for years. even though i was able to identify them, i left marks on them, they were called in, i remember birthmarks. a person had a stab wound on his chest that did not heal correctly. still the case went unsolved. host: when did this happen? caller: it happened in 1994. host: thank you for sharing your story.
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guest: is not an uncommon story. it is a common misconception to blame the victim. host: we go to amy from frederick, maryland. caller: hi, good morning. i have a question. i was wondering what your thoughts were about -- host: you are breaking up. are you still with us on the phone? caller: i was wondering what you thought about things like the projects were so many african- american men are in jail for 27 to 35 years. are they victims as well? when it comes to victims like rape and assault, i also think the way it is handled by the criminal-justice system, there is some racial disparity. i was wondering what your thoughts were on that. thank you? guest: the issue is focusing on victims and making sure they get justice, and that is the starting point. certainly, most victims
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recognize the need for justice at every level. they want the purpose -- the person who perpetrated this against them to pay for that crime. so things like the innocence project are important. but with a murder every 30 minutes, roughly, we have lots of victims there. but we have perpetrators that need to be helpers -- held responsible and accountable. that is our focus specifically, making sure that the victims that exist in our country get justice. host: one of our viewers wondering why is the rate of crime so much higher in the u.s. than any other industrialized country? guest: that is a social question that i cannot answer. i wish i could, but i cannot. host: next caller, good morning. caller: what kind of -- what would you think about feliz being able to vote? i am a felon myself -- what
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would you think about felons being able to vote? i am missing a lot of elections. as far as obama, i wish i could have voted. what do you think of that? guest: what we tried to do is emphasize the needs and rights of victims, and also what should be the rights of people who committed crimes. probably a case by case basis should be the start of that. certainly it is a discussion other people are taking up, and we would come into the discussion, but what we would like to do is be part of that discussion. host: donald saying that the prison system is what he calls the new slavery. they simply prosecute to jail who they want. if you are not money, then good
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bye. guest: with any crime, many times what is overlooked is the victim. we all appreciate that in terms of the justice system, prosecuting the criminal, but there is always -- host: the web address is we're looking at -- donna is joining us from new castle, pennsylvania. good morning and welcome to "washington journal," on the democrats' line. caller: i have been listening to the house debate throughout this whole thing, and i just wanted to say, the thing about the malpractice thing that the republicans are pushing -- they only want to stop the trial lawyers on the victim's side. they want to cut out that part
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of it. now, you know, there have been so many cases where a person has had the wrong leg cut off. i mean, i lived in tampa, florida, and went to the same hospital that that actually happened. lots of things like that. but yet we have republicans pushing for these trial lawyers, for this to be stopped, when in fact there are many victims. granted, there are some people that just want to sue just to get some money, you know, but there are true victims out there, and i myself, not as far as medical, and i have been a victim of crime from early childhood, from infancy, molested by uncles, aunts, boyfriends, my mother's husband.
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i went to court and testified and everything, and nothing was ever done to any of these people. it was done to me. i was sent away to an institution. i mean, it was horrible. there is not a day that goes by that i do not relive some of those things did it has affected my life. host: let me ask you this, donna. why did the system not work for you? why did you continue to face this abuse? caller: well, i did not know what to do. we were very poor. i did not know what to do. i reached out to certain people, but they in fact did not know what to do either. so finally, you know, i ran away from home and that is when i was then picked up and put in detention center, and then it was investigated. i mean, there were other kids in the home that were not -- that
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were in fact his kids. but i did not know if he was molesting them. i knew he was beating them. we were all beaten with horsewhips. he worked in a steel mill, and we were whipped with these things like belts from the steel mill. these things were horrible. host: did you ever confront him? caller: yes, i did. i did confront him. it was the scariest thing. this guy was huge, i am very tiny. it was very scary, and the so- called mother, the woman who gave birth to me, left me in the room alone with him and went upstairs and just left me there with him a i mean, -- and left me there with him. i mean, i was scared to death. i was in my early 20's at that time, you know, i mean, some of the things are still going on.
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children are being abused horribly today. i mean, right here in this town, i have called these different groups and agencies to tell them about things that are going on, but nothing is ever done. it is never done. i understand they have to have proof, but i do not know. it is such a problem. host: donna, thank you for calling and sharing your story. guest: steve, that is just horrible. i am so sorry for her. that is just a dreadful thing. one of the things we can emphasize from her story is we realize there are folks working on the injustices within the system, incarceration rates and so on. but for every crime there is a victim, and these folks are still dealing with the aftermath of that. she is a testimony to that, whether people were prosecutor not.
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the perpetrators had the choice, the victims do not. host: based on that, there are a lot of conversations on our web site if you want to join in. "what is the role of the current justice system in encouraging crimes." and this question, "do different sentences provide a solution?" guest: the penalty should match the crime. what we say is follow through with that. that is about justice. we can debate and argue about the penalties and what they should be. the problem is, if they are not applied correctly. host: sarah joins us from lincoln, nebraska. good morning, sarah. caller: -- mental health -- host: x-er, we did not get the
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beating of that. caller: there are people going through -- people did not have the same rights as what we think of as regular court. what they have committed are not crimes, yet i understand that your organization is working with the council for state legislatures to bring that situation under the victim's rights act. could you please comment about your rationale for doing that? guest: i am not aware that we are doing that, to be honest. caller: very good, then. i will be in touch with your office. host: again, the web address is dan joins us from south boston, virginia. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you all doing? first thing i wanted to comment on is, with the recent
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unfortunate circumstance with the little girl from north carolina, as tragic as that situation was, there are so many more situations like that goes on. is there a way that your organization or any other organization that you are affiliated with can try to push more strict laws for pedophiles, for child rapists, because of they do not suffer the penalty, a just penalty. i believe they get a slap on the wrist or are too easily let off the hook. maybe we can try to work together and an act asian i davis type of law -- and enact a shania davis type of law. guest: a great comment by dan, working together to solve that problem. host: we will saba -- we will
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show you again what the crime clock statistics look like from the justice department, as we listen to john from los angeles. good morning. caller: good morning. host: what is your story, and john? caller: i have been assaulted by the police twice. i have a degree in political science, and my only crimes were nonviolent drug offenses. five years ago i was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious in the city of torrance, california, in custody, and sent to the wrong hospital. the rules of the jail said i was to be sent to harvard. anyone who was injured or had a health problem was to be sent to harvard ucla medical center, and instant i was sent to a little company of mary hospital next to the police station. i came to there and had my driver's license suspended because i had lost consciousness after being beaten up by the police. then i got arrested for what was
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a ticket. in march of last year. transferred to the towers -- the twin towers and los angeles. i apprised another inmate of his constitutional rights to confront his confaccuser, and to guards came up from behind and stomped my feet to trick me. there were large, about 6'3", to under 40 pounds, linebacker- sized people. they drove me into the floor. the officer on my right had me in hammerlocks on both arms, dropped their knees in my back which cracked my ribs. i lost toenails on each fioot from them stomping on my feet with large shoes on. what can be done? i am not a minority and i did
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not do anything violent to anyone, and the perpetrators of the violence in the police. i have heard this from other people who have been in custody here in los angeles, and i know the lapd had a federal supervision for quite a while until just a few months ago for several years. but the entity that is in charge of the custody of prisoners in los angeles county jail is the l.a. county sheriff's department. it did not have any federal supervision. the city of torrance has its own police department. host: does he have any rights? does john have rights? guest: well, he does. as one accused, he does have rights. unfortunate, it is not my area of expertise. host: but when you're dealing with so-called abuse from law-
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enforcement officials, how easy or difficult is it to prosecute that? guest: i guess it can be difficult. we empower people to enforce the law, and when states violate that, there is no question it is complicated. host: mary has this from our twitter page. guest: yeah, and victims. just get back to victims. host: our guest is the director of the national organization for victim assistance. bill joins us from schenectady, new york. caller: good morning. my question for your guest is that with all the resources that law enforcement puts into enforcing the drug war -- and i do not really see them as being victims. they are just possibly hurting themselves -- do you think the drug war is a wise investment for the criminal justice system? guest: well, the drug war
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involves victims. there are really no victimless crimes, no matter how we slice it. that is a different angle than our focus, on violent crime. there is plenty of that and plenty of victims with that. host: john joins us from palm beach florida. good morning. caller: the last caller just talked about the drug war. it should be part of policy, but the congress does not want to hear about that. they do not want to pass a public option. you look up your make-you look at your makeup of congress. what we really need, we need laws like the bahamas and things like that. you go to jail for that one bullet that is in the chamber. over there, the police are walking route with nightsticks
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and no guns. they do not use guns. we are so incensed over here, -- we are so advanced over here, we do not know how to govern. one thing about the catholic churches -- all those rape victims, boys in the catholic church, they are like acorn to me. host: a couple of different points. do you want to respond to them? guest: i guess not. it took you hear from victims, especially those dealing with rape from family members, relatives. how often do you hear that story when they let it continue? that they do not feel they can prosecute the stepfather? guest: is a complex issue, especially with children. how do children know that they know they are being violated, but who do they go to?
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they're very close power sources, their parents, are the ones perpetrating on it, so it is difficult for them. we recognize and we understand that there could be years ago by before we can muster the courage or the strength to do that. host: thank you very much for joining us. >> less than 24 hours left in the health-care debate in the senate. senator jeff sessions is holding a news conference, talking about an updated analysis from the congressional budget office on the impact of the bill of the medicare trust fund. he may also get a question about yesterday's announcement of representative parker griffith in the house switching to the republican party. back to this morning's "washington journal" until then, and a discussion of the impact on the fiscal crisis on state spending for prisons.
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thehost: we continue to -- we wt to welcome the executive director of the sentencing project. let me share one statistic with our audience. for a male born in 2001, if he is black, there is a one in three chance he will be incarcerated. for hispanics, it is one in six. for white males, one in 17. guest: i think that is a shocking figure. the message we're sending to children growing up today, for a black, male child, you have a one in three chance of going to prison during your lifetime. there is something wrong with that picture. we can debate where that comes from, what it means, but that is not a good future for our children. host: so part of it, as we were talking about in the last half- hour, this society. what is wrong with society?
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is it education? the unemployment rate? what are the factors? guest: is a mix of things. it is a question of opportunity. most of those kids will do pretty well. we had a growing divide between the rich and the poor in our society. that is a real problem in terms of opportunity. we focus our criminal justice policies on building prisons at the expense of opportunities to invest in treatment. we're seeing the results of that today. host: looking at 2008, americans incarcerated and the number of inmates has increased nearly
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sevenfold, about 200,000 back in 1970. more than 1.5 million in 2008. guest: it has been a remarkable ride. unprecedented in the history of this country or anivillized nation. if you look at it internationally, the united states now is the world leader in a rate of incars raeufplgts we look -- incarceration. we lock up citizens five to eight times faster than canada or france. it is very much out of control in a nation a prides itself on democratic traditions. t host: we have heard the line put them in prison and throw away the key. do the tougher sentencing guidelines reduce the crime rate in guest: putting people in prison has some effect on crime. if you take charles manson or a serial rapist and incapacity them clearly we are somewhat
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saf safer. what we have been doing the last 25 years is locking up lower level drug offenders and property offenders, the whole massive approach of the war on drugs. we000 have half a million people in prison or jail for a truck offense and the vast majority are not the kingpins of the drug trade. they are the lower level players selling drugs on the treat corner and what happens is they get arrested, sent off to jail, 0 minutes later somebody comes on the street corner to replace them. unless away address the demand for drugs we are merely filling up prisons, we are not doing anything about the real problem. host: by the way, if you have served in a pitcher or you work -- in a prison or work for a correct al factual call 202-628-0184. what is the solution? guest: i think it is multi-facetted. within the criminal justice system we need to reassess the
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mandatory sentencing policies of the last 25 years. doesn't mean substance abuse is not a problem but putting a low level drug offender in prison five, 10, 20 years as many of the mandatory sentencing laws require, $25,000 to keep somebody in prison we can do better. we have treatment programs that can be successful in curbing drug abuse. we have a range of drug courts that divert people with drug problems and it is treatment rather than incarceration. we should make soming the problem the first approach we take rather than assuming that incarceration is the first approach. it doesn't mean we don't need prisons. clearly there are people that present a threat to public safety. but we need to be more judicious about how we use prison and invest in problem-solving approaches. prison has lots of negative consequences. it separates people from families and communities. it is very difficult to recover
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from a prison sentence so we should use it as a last resort. host: based on that let me put a hypothetical. you have a male, black or white, age 15 or 16, robs a 7-11. caught with drugs, convicted. ste sentenced to jail and in jail eight to 10 years. don't finish high school. don't have a college education, get out in their mid 20's and he is rehabilitated. what kind of future can he expect? guest: not a very good future. one thing we have all learned the last 10 careers or so is this whole concept of prisoner re-entry. that both liberal relies and conservatives are coming together to recognize while we can debate how many people should be in prison, the fact is that 95% of the people who go to prison are coming out some day. so, it is in everyone's interest when people come out of prison
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they be better prepared to make it in the community. that means they need to have education, some vocational training, deal with a substance abuse problem or mental health problems. we need to address that in prison as well as the transition back to the community. if we just put hem in prison and throw away the key, it may make people feel good but it doesn't make us safer. host: all of that costs money. so is it part of our society that feels we don't want to spend money because they are in jail, why should we help them? is that part of the mindset? guest: i think it has been the mindset of far too many political leaders the get tough movement which is basically saying let's get tough on crime by putting more people in prison, keeping them there a longer p. i think the public wants to get tough on crime. all of us who have been victims or have close friends or family that have been but the way we do
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it needs to be smart. we should not put people in prison indiscriminately and forget it. if the goal public safety we need to address the underlying issues and will need to be consequences for breaking the law. we need to combine those, not just say we are putting people in prison and we solved the problem. >> our guest is the executive director of the sentencing project, the website is sentenci what does your organization do and where does your funding come from? guest: we are a national n nonprofit research and advocacy organization. we look at the impact of sentencing and policies and work for reform of laws we think don't make sense. it is from private foundations and individual contributions. host: robert joins us from pittsburgh. caller: good morning. well, my question is partly a statement and partly a question.
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you compared the united states to other industrialized countries. personally the united states has the largest population of any industrialized country. so, it stands to reason that we would have the largest population in pitchrison. host: let me stop you and i will go becoack. you had 200,000 in 1970 and in excess of 1.5 million. how does that correlate with the prison population? guest: the prison increase is far greater than the population increase. if you look at the number of people in prison per capita, in other words take into account the population that is where we see the disparity. when i said we have a rate of incarceration five or eight times that of other nations that is taking population into account. so it is both more people in prison but a greater percentage per population as well. caller: population in the united
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states cannot be compared to any other industrialized country in the world. we have third word pld populati due to things like immigration, lack of education. we have one of the worst education policies in general in the world compared to other industrialized countries. we try to send everybody to college when maybe 25% of the kids that go to college really should go to college and the rest should go to some kind of trade school like germany, england, france, they have programs. even canada does that. but we think a everybody is supposed to sit behind a desk and a computer where maybe they should be learning how to do plumbing and carpenterry and
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other trades that are needed in the society, too. host: thanks, robert. let me use your point to share with the audience information you put together. pass host: crime rate is not up? guest: what we have seen the last 30 years is the crime ratu gone down but most of the increase in prison population is from the sentencing policy. across the country we have adopted mandatory sentencing policies, three strikes and you are out. a quick example california has the most extreme form of three straoeubikes and you are out. the first two strikes need to be serious. the third one can be any felony. in the cases that went to the supreme court one man's third strike was dealistealing three clubs.
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the other stealing $153 of video. one is doing 25 to life and the other 50 to life. i don't mean to suggest those are typical but that is an example of what these policies have produced. host: a 28-year comparison on the prison population if you have a drug offense. in 1980 about 41,000 jailed because of a drug offense and half a million in 2008. guest: right. this is the impact of the war on drugs. and if you went down the street and asked 10 people do you think we are winning the war on drugs i think nine will say no. i think that is because we have made investments in incarceration without providing the treatment resources to prevent. host: our guest is mark mauer. phillip joins us from port charlotte, florida. republican liene. caller: i'm calming more so for
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a statement. i have been a reserve deputy and i have also been an inmate. my son right now is an inmate. host: what was your offense and what is your son? >> caller: it was drug related. i was severely burned and fought addiction from painkillers but jumped from one drug to another. i have wrestled with that for years. but i sat back, i have had six children that were molested by a friend of their mother's and i went to p.d. in illinois and the attorney general said he didn't have enough evidence. the state said -- the city said they have a case and the state didn't want to go forward. he is still walking around. i had my stepson had a shotgun stuck in his mouth they blew the back of his head out.
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one guy got 55 years for pulling the trigger. the other guy who was there only got eight years because he turned state's evidence. being when i was locked up i have only been to the county level but i firmly believe in my hea heart, it goes back to the basics of how that child was raised or what was her parents' situation. were the parents addicted? what is the social economic problem in the family? it is a big, big thing and when kids out this see people making mo more money selling dope on the streets than working at mcdonald what are you going to do with that? there is so much anger. and i challenge you to do this, i'm a written, i'm not a fanatic al christian but i heard one other person that did this.
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survey. when they took spirituality out of the schools, stopped everything, check out from the decades when they started in the 1960's to where we are at now how the crime increased with the young people and i will tell you what your mouth will drop open. i'm not saying fanatic al christians but basic moral things. we won't tale, murder. you take it out and you have trouble. i have seen enough of it. host: thanks for the call from florida. guest: you raise a lot of questions, a lot of social issues. i think one of the key points is of right now what we are seeing because of the fiscal crisis at the state level is states are recognizing that the prison expansion the last 25 years has really cut in funding for services like higher education and other kinds of supports we need. and governors of both political parties are grappling with can they afford to maintain such a large prison system and looking
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for ways to reduce the population in ways that don't compromise public safety but provide more funds for intervention early on. absolutely, we need to work with children as they are growing up. there are a tvariety of things. if we do that successfully we won't have a need for so many prisons. host: we are looking at the crime rate in the population and prison population. another point to bring to the audience is you are writing about the consequences of incarceration. host: student loans. you call it felony disenfranchisement. guest: we have laws in almost every state that takes away the right to vote and a felony conviction. 48 states and the district of columbia take away your vote will you are in prison. about two-thirds of the states
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also prohibiting -- preview from voting what you are on parole. 11 states, you can use -- lose your voting rights for life. if you live in virginia or kentucky, you can be an 18 year- old convicted of a first-time drug possession case and the drug sends you a treatment program and to complete it successfully, you lose your right to vote for the rest of your life. these consequences are lifelong these days. host: good morning. calling us on the democrats line. caller: thank you for c-span. i was a victim of an attack. i was walking in that philadelphia and was surrounded by a group of -- i am a white, older individual. i was surrounded by a group of
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six or seven african-american young men who proceeded to assault me, punched me knock me to the ground. me, knocked me to the ground, kicked me, rifled through my pants, took my wallet. called me all kinds of racial epithets. all kinds of curse words and the like. one guy pulled a knife out. fortunately somebody was driving by and started pwaoepg there their horn and kept pwaoepg in and they ran off. the police were spb full and a -- the police were unsuccessful and really didn't show the level of interest or concern that i had expected and consequently he was a pretty angry fellow. so, to raise the seriousness of the crime i insisted that they consider it to be a hate crime. and i was informed that it
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didn't apply to me, only applied to minorities. and i was just in shock and disbelief and proceeded to go to the district attorney and whatever and was repeatedly told it just didn't apply to you. and there had been other similar incidents and it was never solved and no one was arrested and i was never even brought in to see a lineup. host: when did this took place in frpblgt it was season years ago. but, if i could finish, please, i don't think the listening audience is aware that there was an additional hate crime legislation just passed recently that was attached in the senate to the defense appropriations bill because it couldn't get through on its own. and it was extended to sexual --
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homosexual and transinvestigate tights and -- transvestites -- i don't know what the word would be. but i saw on c-span testimony by attorney general holder where he was testifying to the senate about the pending legislation. and senator sessions specifically was asking him questions and he readily acknowledged that the legislation only applied -- didn't apply to white people. that it only applied to what he called traditionally discriminated people. so, consequently, what you have is the hrlaw applies to the wealthiest jewish people community in the country and most violent, west the african-american country.
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host: do you have a response? guest: first of all i'm very sorry to hear what happened to you. nothing that should happen to someone. two points quickly and i don't know the details of the case or what the police response was. first, nobody can prosecute anything as a hate crime unless you find the perspetratorperpet. why the police were not able to i don't know. that is the first issue, can they find the people they believe did it. if so, then they can consider whether it is a hate crime. the hate crime issue i'm not an attorney, my understanding is that hate crimes can be committed against white people as well as people of color, too. typically for a long time in our history many hate crimes had been committed against people of color but i don't believe the legislation limits it in that way. we would are to look into that more. host: our guest is mark mauer with the sentencing project. mike is joining us from sacramento, california.
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what is your story, mike? caller: i'm an inmate, or i used to be an enmate. i think that part of the problem is when you go in there you can't get anything. you can't get any education. you can't get any job help, any nothing. so, when you get out you have nothing and you go back to nothi nothing. you get out here and you don't have money, you go right back to doing the same thing you were doing before. people don't want to help you or give you any jobs. it is really an economic issue to me. host: how old are you, michael? caller: i'm 39. host: what were you convicted of and when? caller: i was convicted 20 years ago over drugs. and when i get out here i'm
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still being hassled over ex-felons right now. right now in these times it is hard and it is really frustrating and makes me feel like i really want to go back and do the same thing i was doing before. host: how are you surviving in caller: my wife. that is the one thing about it. your wife or your family members. when you are in there, when you make the calls on the phone and they charge you all this money and your family really doesn't want to have anything to do with you if you are putting a bill on them, you know? when you get out of there you really don't have any contact, or when you are in there you don't have contact with your family. host: how long have you been out of jail? caller: i was sentenced in 1990 and i have been out of jail 20 years. host: mark this guest: i'm sorry to hear your
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story. unfortunately i think it is far too typical. we hear stories like that every week in our office. i think it does get back to, as you point out, yes, there are some prisons in parts of the country that do a half decent job of providing education, counseling, vocational train. but they are usually the unusual ones. what we have seen is the prison system has expanded so enormously there's been money to build pitchers but the programming never keeps one that expansion. in far too many states the day you get out of pitcher as the caller knows what you get is a bus ticket home and usually $25 or so and somebody says good luck, we hope you make it after not addressing many of the factors that contributed to the person being in prison in the first place. this is not just about mike or people getting out, this is about public safety. if we want to encourage people who are in prison to refrain from coming back to prison we need to create opportunities and give them the skills they need
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and of course they need to live up to that as well. but unless we create some of those opportunities there is a set of vikes against you the -- strikes against you. host: we encourage you to join the conversation. a lot of you are on the website at one comment from emma. guest: it has not been eliminated but cut back significantly. the fiscal crisis do not help. many of these areas we didn't do a very good job to begin with. you look at member health and illness one of every six people in prison has a history of mental illness. we are talking about more than a quarter million people in prison mentally ill. yes, they committed a crime but part of the problem many of them is they are living in a community setting, they were not
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getting the services they needed to try to cope with their problems. they committed a crime and end up in prison which is a terrible place for anybody to be but certainly anybody with mental illness. host: you can log on at sentenci jeff joins us from stevens point, wisconsin, on the independent line. caller: good morning. i think we have to have a new conversation about what we call a drug. i'm a christian. i believe in god. i believe the only thing that will get you away from crime and getting back into the prison system is to have a focus in your life to give yourself a little bit of pride and respect. so, we go to religious organizations to do that. we read on page one of the bible that we are supposed to eat every sea bearing plant and there are four.
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so we look at drugs and say cannabas is supposed to have thousands of uses to replace pollution. we are not talking about crack or coke. those are all chemically induced products. we are talking about cannabis and the fact that it is a gift from god and because we called it a drug we have incarcerated people and violated the first amendment, trashed the constitution, we have a drug state, a police state. violent and crime, trplgs of dollars wasted doing nothing. the d.e. afpa. spends $1.5 bill and you make a big bust but the amount on cannabis alone each year is like $20 billion. you can't have a pitcher system based on justice and truth unless you go back to the original laws and say we need to look at what plants are plants and produce things and are good for people and not just do the
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same old thing saying it is a dr drug. the only thing that is different from crack, coke and cigarette is smoking cannabis which comes from god. so unless you address that issue you are going to be back and forth in the same stupid argument. and right now in any city in america you can go to wal-mart and buy a h everyoemp product. until we just the laws everything else is fake. host: thanks for the comment. also this from donald says the c.i.a. is pumping the drugs into the cities and i get arrested for smoking. yeah. guest: well, i don't think that -- when we look at how we use our resources i think the drug war has been very much overblown and overextended. it is not in faculty the case that will is tens of thousands of people in prison for
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marijuana offenses. but if we look at the area of law enforcement we made something like 1.# million drug arrests every year. of them about 40% are for marijuana offenses. so whether or not anyone thinks marijuana is bad we need to look at the scale of harm we are talking about. . passno carrierring caller: we need to think of alternatives to jail. for example, being a man, i do not know what it is like to be a woman testifying in a rape case. it seems to me that whenever she
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does that', she has to go throuh the whole thing all over again. to i would like to see if the victim of greece and the defendant agrees, that a man ought to be surgically sterilized, we can forget about the whole thing. guest: that is a provocative statement. we have seen a very significant move in that direction in as many years. there are many courts now, and judges are increasingly using community service, having offenders into unpaid labor or making restitution to their victims. sometimes we have programs called restored of justice. we need to be creative in general about how we deal with some of these problems and what directions we want to go.
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host: one final point from a viewer who sent in this tweet -- guest: i think many judges would agree with that. many judges feel like their hands are tied. that does not tell us anything about who that person is and what their crimes are all about. host: thank you for joining us. >> the u.s. senate in session, a couple of procedural votes for health care -- before health care wraps up in the senate. mandating the purchase of health insurance falls outside the scope of congressional power. the senate is live on c-span2. those votes are coming up this
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afternoon at 2:15. coming up momentarily, a news conference with jeff sessions of alabama. the house is also coming in. we take you there live. 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 22, 2009, at 9:45 a.m. that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 2877, h.r. 3072, h.r. 3319, h.r. 3539, h.r. 3667, h.r. 3767, h.r. 3788,
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h.r. 1819. with best wishes i am, signed, sincerely, lorraine c. miller, clerk of the house. the speaker pro tempore: the you chair now lays before the house another communication from the clerk. the clerk: the honorable, the speebling, house of representatives, madam. pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of u.s. will the house suspend the rules and pass, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on december 23, 2009, at 9:17 a.m. that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 4284,, that the senate agreed to o without amendment house concurrent resolution 206. appointments, united states china interparliamentry group, two. with best wishes i am, signed sincerely, lorraine c. miller, clerk of the house. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 4 of rule 1, the following enrolled bill and joint resolution were signed on saturday, december 19, 2009.
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the clerk: by the speaker. h.r. 3326, making appropriations for the department of defense for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2010, and for other purposes. april by the speaker pro tempore pore rarery van hollen, h.r. 264, making further continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 2010, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 11-b of house resolution 976, the house shall stand adjourned until noon today unless the conditions specified in section 11-c of that resolution have been met. in which case the house shall stand adjourned sine die pursuant to house concurrent pursuant to house concurrent resolution 223.
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>> i heard another one of my colleagues this morning on a cable television network making the same statement. she said we have extended the time of solvency of medicare and we are also adding to our budget surplus with the legislation. as my colleagues would explain here, once we very carefully read the actuarial report and
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then our colleagues talked to the director, it became very clear that what had been represented in the past as achieving both of those objectives is in fact impossible. you can achieve one, but not both. my colleagues will now explain why that is and why it is so significant before we vote on this legislation. >> we have seen a colossal manipulation of the accounting scores of cbo. they do their accounting in separate ways. if a private company had done this, they would be going to do. what is being stated about the legislation and the statement today from the congressional budget office makes that clear. in fact, they say this about
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the improvement in medicare financing. those improvements would occur as a result of cutting benefits and increased medicare taxes. the improvement in medicare finances would not be matched by tarp fund improvements and the federal government's overall financing. they go on to say "the key point is that the savings to the trust fund under the health-care reform bill would be received by the government only once said they cannot be satisfied to pay for future medicare spending and at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or other government programs." they know that the accounting ignored the burden that would be faced by the rest of the government later held by the trust fund. if we have a chart, i will show
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you how this matter occurred and why is so important. it is a $300 billion misrepresentation. that $300 billion converts a $132 billion alleged surplus, a reduction of the debt by the legislation, to $170 billion increase in the debt. we will have cost in medicare. we have had the debate over that period we would have an increase in medicare taxes. that money would be transferred to u.s. treasury. that money would be used to fund the health care reform. what is missing in this understanding of the transaction is the united states treasury has to issue and i owe you --
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iou. it is an actual bond that evidences a debt to medicare. this money is the medicare trust fund. i have been paying into this 40 years. how are you taking my money to fund a new program? that is essentially correct. this money is a debt to the government. the medicare accountant, they issued a statement on december 10. it states that. this is richard avery, that chief actuary. trust fund accounting considered the same lower expenditures and additional revenue as extending medicare part a. the new money and the reduction in expenditures will extend the life of medicare, but in
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practice, he says "the improved part a financing cannot be simultaneously used to finance other spending outlays. such as coverage expanding under the health-care bill. despite the appearances of this results from the respective accounting conventions." no one knows this better than he, but medicare scores their accounting based on the trust fund. they use a unified budget and they simply see that money comes into the treasury and it is spent here and they do not score that as a debt. when you listen to both of their reports, they make clear that it
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does increase the debt. instead of a $130 billion increase -- reduction in debt of america, the tenure deficit would be increased by $170 billion under this plan. >> thank you very much. thank you for explaining it. let me try to put it in simple terms. the seniors have been had and our kids are going to get the bill. that is what this comes down to. we're talking here about spending the same money twice. it is about taking their money and spending it. claiming that senior citizens program which is medicare would be better off because of that. as jeff has pointed out, both the actuary and the cbo has said that that is dishonest
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accounting. i want to read that language again for you. i have not heard this blunt of language from cbo on the manipulation of numbers by members of congress ever. this is unusual for cbo to be this blunt. gains are being played around here. "to describe the full amount of the medicare trust fund savings as both improving the government's ability to pay future of medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of medicare would essentially double count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government's fiscal position." in other words, they have been called on it. the demand -- the democratic leadership of the senate, they have been called on it by the cbo. they're playing games. they are manipulating the
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medicare trust fund. they're sticking to our seniors. our kids are going to get a massive bill for this. this new entitlements that is being funded will not be able to be sustained. there is a great movie his starkly with a pullback the curtain and there is the wizard of oz. it is a little guy running the machines. cbo has pulled back the curtain and we have the same guy running the machines over there making this look like something that it isn't. there is no fiscal responsibility here. t>> why is this important? at 2:00 this afternoon, we began a series of votes. these boats have been accelerated to the point that our colleagues are not going to understand or appreciate that they have been found out on this. very few people will appreciate that this disclosure now reveals a massive hole in the argument they have been making.
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it will come down and vote and they will not even be aware of this because of the schedule to have this done before christmas, exactly the thing that all of us has been saying is wrong with the process. we will find other things that are wrong with this, too. secondly, many of our democratic colleagues have made the statement that they could not support a bill that did not improve the deficit. this bill, as both of my colleagues have said, causes a greater debt burden. a greater deficit. it does not cause a surplus. it causes a deficit because he cannot count the same money twice. as a result, every one of them, if they're honest about it, should vote know. some of them won't even realized the mistake they are making. we hope that by talking at this time of day, to point that out to them. for all of our colleagues that
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have made the commitment that they would not support a bill that added to the deficit, that is precisely what they're doing. >> i want to make one more point. the action had a vote. we did we actually had a vote. we're not getting any amendments right now. we got there about 10 amendments and then they suddenly shut the place down. it was the only amendment that had a mechanism in its that said that you could not use medicare funds to create this new entitlement. it was voted down. if my amendment had passed, this language which cbo has pointed out that is duplicitous and fraudulent, it would not have been enforceable. we would have had the bill have fiscal responsibility at least
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in that one area. it was voted against by all democrat except four. >> what do think of the new head -- what do think that the president does not think he will be able to sign this bill and that it won't get to his desk before the state of the union? >> let me simply say, why are we doing it so fast? why aren't we out there two weeks from now still airing out this bill and allow the legislative process to work the way it is supposed to? the senate is supposed to be -- the senate has become the urn were the hot coffee is being boiled. we do not have to do this before christmas. the majority leader can stop right now. let's come back next week, after new year's and take up this bill and have some amendments and correct this problem, if nothing
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else, so that our seniors don't end up with a problem and our kids in up with a debt. >> i think it is a potential game changer because i do know a lot of our senate colleagues have said they expect this bill to be budget neutral or at least budget neutral and it is not. also, i do not know what the dynamic is in the house, but to have such a major misrepresentation in the financial status of the bill should shake support over there. remember, there is an additional $250 billion debt that has been moved out of this bill to protect it and that is money that is necessary to fund the position. it should have been in this bill. it is supposed to be a part of
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it. because they did not have money to pay for, they tried to move it once already by paying all of that by more debt. the idea that the bill is going to create a situation to reduce debt is just not true. >> thank you. >> thank you. > >> just an update, the information that senator sessions were talking about from the congressional budget office, that is on our website. democrats will also hold a news conference today. democratic leadership in the senate and that is coming up at 4:00 eastern. we will have that life for you
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on c-span. the debate continues in the u.s. senate. a series of votes including the final procedural votes. follow all of that on c-span2. earlier today, we talked to a capitol hill reporter for a preview of the votes that are so upset to happen this afternoon. call has been tracking this and she joins us this morning. thank you for being here again. guest: thank you for having me. host: the senate committee at 9:45 a.m. this morning, one more procedural vote. what you looking for? guest: it looks like the outcome is more or less all but assured. democrats have twice got and 60 votes to break republican filibusters on various parts of the bill. and the final one of those so- called cloture votes is coming at about 2:00 or shortly thereafter.
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that would set up a vote on final passage of the bill it o'clock a.m. tomorrow. host: this is the third of a series of votes to end cloture. can you explain why this took place and why the process happen based on the reid amendments. guest: republicans have been saying for weeks they are opposed to the bill. they remain unified opposition baird 60 democrats in the senate and 40 republicans. under the senate rules it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster and the way the bill itself the structured to there are three aspects -- manager's amendment, to introduce on saturday, and then the base bill and then action because of the constitution the bill had to have a house bill no. so there was a shall build used as a vehicle in the senate. under the senate rules, the republicans were able to filibuster all three levels of the bill and therefore democrats had to get 60 votes 3 * to
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overcome each of the filibuster's. guest: may be the last two and a half to three weeks has been congress 101 in terms of legislative process particularly in the senate. can you explain what senator john ensign introduced yesterday which recalled constitutional point of order. what was that all about? guest: once the first cloture vote was over, the writing was on the wall for republicans. they realized it was a matter of time democrats in all likelihood would be able to stick together. they were looking at different tactics they could use to try to delay or make political messaging points or substances ideological points. what senator john ensign it is introduced what is called a constitutional point of order.
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claiming the bill, specifically the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, he is claiming that is unconstitutional, that it violates the powers clause in the constitution and the takings clause. under the senate rules you can make a constitutional point of order. it is a non-debatable motion so it is submitted automatically to the senate for a vote and it takes a simple majority, 51 votes to prevail, which makes it different from other points of order that have higher threshold. this is a tactic republicans have used several times this year and is not usually work and legal scholars for the most part think that the constitutional claim senator john ensign is making does not help much validity or would not really prevail if it would go to the courts. but he is going to get a vote this afternoon on his constitutional point of order and in all likelihood democrats have the votes to overcome as so it is highly unlikely it would prevail, but it allows republicans to force yet another
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vote on the issue and also to delay the process a little further and to underscore a point they were making about the bill for several months, one of the many reasons they don't like it. host: kate hunter is part of a team of reporters with congressional quarterly and roll call and you can read by it logging on to during the debate in the senate and as it moves to conference and final passage, we will continue to get the expertise of kate hunter and others explaining the process and digging in the details of what the legislation means. kantor says -- this deal, called the cornhuskers kickback and the louisiana purchase as some republicans called the agreement merely landrieu had for always and it is in a senate bill.
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will this be in the final bill? guest: it does not necessarily mean that. assuming the senate passes the bill, which it is looking like it will tomorrow, the measure has to go to conference in the house of house and senate have to meet to resolve differences. however, it took a lot of negotiation in the senate to get all 16 democrats on board. conferees need to be cognizant of the fact that the votes may not be there when it comes to the senate as a conference report if they don't keep these types of measures in. host: what is to prevent the 49 other senators from saying, wait a minute, we want the same deal you give the nebraska senator ben nelson? guest: i guess in some way, nothing. but i guess the question of some point comes which democratic senator is going to be willing to stand in the way of final passage because they don't feel they got as good a deal. it is worth noting that much has
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been made of the $300 million that senator landrieu got for louisiana and specific, medicaid expansion and nebraska. however, there are other provisions in the bill that are tailored toward of the democratic senators but just not gotten as much attention. the other point probably worth making it is majority leader harry reid made the point on monday -- and i think it is somewhat true, congress regularly and that's earmarks and appropriations bills. the idea that carved out for individual senators is somewhat unusual is probably not correct. these sorts of things happen fairly often. the leader went as far to say if there is a democratic senator who doesn't
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>> buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy of apollo 11. a discussion on the role of muslims in america and the world. later, a former c.i.a. intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. starting at 8:00, remember the lives of william f. buckley jr. and senator ted kennedy. >> now available, c-span2 book "abraham lincoln." the perfect gift for the history buff in your life. it is a unique contemporary perspective on lincoln from 56 scholars, journalists, and writers. from lincoln's early years to his life in the white house and as relevant today. it is now available in digital audio to listen to any time. >> the u.s. house comes in
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momentarily, about five minutes for another procedural session. no votes expected. until then, part of today's "washington journal." also from "the washington post" is an interview with scott wilson. obama defending his first-year record. talking about his efforts on the economy and financial overhaul. from the jump page, including a photograph of the present. he said the president vigorously defended the legislation, saying he is not just grudgingly supporting it -- i am enthusiastic about what we have achieved. he goes on today -- say -- host: we will hear some of the debate on the se the chairman of the finance committee max baucus. but mark is joining us from
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philadelphia on the democrats win. good morning. caller: how were you? host: fine, thank you. caller: i think it is working. it is not pretty obviously. there are certain things i am not happy about. being a liberal democrat here in philly, a blue city and state. i would like to have seen a public option. unfortunately that has been negated. i'm a retired federal employees and now they want to in effect model of the employee health benefits. the only problem is what i see, on my plan, a lot of that elderly federal employees and up in blue cross, the one planned, therefore the premiums are rising steeply and i thought the whole purpose of the whole exercise was to control health care premiums. i don't see how you can control
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premiums without a public option. host: some of the comments from the editorial appeared "orange county register." technically the senate could be in session as late as tomorrow evening, christmas eve, a vote that could happen 7:00. we, of course, will have live coverage both here on c-span with more on your comments and the expected result, 60-40, the democrats say they have the 60 votes necessary to end the filibuster and bring the final vote to passage tomorrow. of course, live gavel-to-gavel coverage. tonya from martinsburg, west virginia. has it worked? caller: no, it hasn't. it made me mad. this is not change you can believe in. my senator jay rockefeller, they all gave nice speeches and then
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they vote when you don't want them to compromise. it should be change you can compromise for. every issue, a single pair off the table. public option, medicare by end. you cannot keep your same insurance have last year if you are on hunan a plus in 2010, and if you call them they will charge $70 out of your souls security for a better plan you had this year. we would deny liberals -- war crime arrests, bank bailouts, escalation of the advanced and war. how many times you tell the liberals of your party to shut up and keep quiet and expect them to keep coming out and vote when you take their voice away on every issue -- war crime arrests. the same people who were in the
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bush administration are allowed to come back in next year. host: we will leave here. thank you for the call. neil king has the impact on businesses -- business is brisk for health care costs. the essence is this, with all eyes turning on health negotiations next month, a corporate lobbyist to jockey for modification double buffer the impact. host: spot construction companies want an exemption from employee coverage that the senate bill already applies to other businesses with fewer than 50 employees. across the spectrum, businesses worry that a series of new taxes and fees to pay for expanding senate health care coverage will push up premiums, particularly for smaller employers. you can read more in this
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morning's wall street journal." caller: good morning. my name is scott. thank you for c-span. i think it is a great program. i think that the republicans >> we are going to leave this and take you live to the u.s. house coming into a short pro- forma session and no legislative business is expected. 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 rooms. washington, d.c. december 23, 2009. i hereby appoint the honorable james p. moran to act as speaker pro tempore on this
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day. signed, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by our guest chaplain, the reverend gene hemrick, the washington theological union in washington, d.c. the chaplain: in the old testament the canical of the prophet with the exaltation of god's mother nature, cold and chill, bless the lord, ice and snow, bless the lord. nights and day, bless the lord. light and darkness, bless the lord. lightning and clouds, bless the lord. o lord, the recent snowstorm in our nation's capital reminds us of this can'tical and the wise means you employ in maintaining the order and rhythms of nature with which you have blessed this world. bless this congress with the
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heavenly wisdom that is needed to be present, to be prudent stewards of their ecological systems. endowed with your divine counsel and understanding as it seeks the most efficient and effective names while preserving their god given order and balance, amen. the speaker pro tempore: thank you, reverend. the chair has the examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. 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. the clerk: the honorable the
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speaker, house of representatives. madam, this is to notify you that the honorable parker griffith of alabama has resigned as a member of the democratic caucus. signed, sincerely, john b. larson, chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house another communication. the clerk: the honorable james l. oberstar, chairman, committee on transportation and infrastructure. dear mr. chair, this is to advise you that representative parker griffith election to the committee on transportation and infrastructure has been automatically vacated pursuant to clause 5-b of rule 10 effective today. signed, sincerely, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house. the honorable nydia velazquez, chairman, committee on small business. dear madam chair, this is to advise you that representative parker griffith election to the committee on small business has been automatically vacated pursuant to clause 5-b of rule
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10 effective today. signed sincerely, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house. the honorable bart gordon, chairman, committee on science and technology, dear mr. chair, this is to advise you that representative parker griffith election to the committee on science and technology has been automatically vacated pursuant to clause 5-b of rule 10 effective today. signed, sincerely, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 11-b of house resolution 97 , the house shall stand adjourned until 10:00 a.m. on saturday, december 26, 2009 unless the conditions specified in section 11-c of that resolution have been met, in which case the house shall stand adjourned sine die pursuant to house concurrent resolut
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>> several official statements on rep parker griffith from alabama who yesterday announced he was switching from the republican party to the democratic party. the house will be back -- won't be back into legislative work until early 2010. pro-forma sessions, one coming up saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern and live coverage here on c-span. the senate is wrapping up their work for the week. the last procedural work on health care bill and other boats this afternoon beginning at 2:15 p.m. eastern and final tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. eastern and follow the senate live on c- span2. c-span, christmas day, and look ahead to 2010 politics, including republican congressman eric kanter and nbc's david gregory, buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on apollo 11, discussion of the role of muslims in america and the world, and later, former cia intelligence officer of u.s.
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strategy is against al qaeda in afghanistan and starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern remembering the lives of william f. buckley, jr., and senator ted kennedy. all next week, a rare glimpse into america's highest court threw unprecedented on the record conversations with 10 supreme court justices about the court, their work, and the history of the iconic supreme court building. five days of interviews with supreme court justices starting next monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. still on time for the holidays, american icons on dvd, three original documentaries on iconic homes of the three branches of american government. the special three-disc collection is only $24.95 plus shipping and handling. for this and other gift-giving ideas visit >> one year after the arrest of bernard madoff of this house hearing exam of the legislative
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proposal to protect security investments. witnesses included former mayor of investors and president of the government agency responsible for recovering money from fraudulent brokers. congressman paul can jurors be chairs the hearing and it is three hours and 20 minutes. >> this hearing of the subcommittee on capital markets will come to order. i ask unanimous consent that permission be granted to anybody who is a non member of the subcommittee who is present today to sit with the subcommittee. pursuant to committee rules, each side will have 15 minutes for opening statements without objection. opening statements will be made part of the record. the morning, everyone. one year ago, federal authorities arrested mad bernardoff -- bernard madoff for
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perpetrating the largest ponzi scheme in history. we are examining for the third time this massive securities fraud. this is a case study to guide our work in reshaping and reforming our financial services regulatory system. last month, our committee hashr3817, the investor protection act. the house will begin to consider it does today. both bills contain a number of provisions that directly swindles.. .
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the bills owed -- also provide for an expeditious, independent, and comprehensive review of the entire securities regulatory structure by of high caliber entity with experience in organizational change. this study will identify specific reforms and improvements that the commission and the other entities that oversee our securities market must put in place to ensure superior investor protection going forward. the madoff episode also revealed the need to elevate the
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importance of whistleblowers like mr. markopolos -- who made repeated entreaties to the commission regarding mr. madoff s common -- by establishing incentives so that more of them will come board. our regulatory reform package therefore includes a bounty program to help identify wrongdoing in our security markets and reward individuals whose tips lead to successful enforcement actions. with a bounty program, we will effectively have more cops on the beat. in studying the madoff case, we have additionally learned that the public company accounting oversight board lacked the powers it needed to examine and take action against the auditors of broker-dealers. our legislation closes this loophole so schemers like -- schemers like madoff will no
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longer be able to rely on inept or corrupt accounting firms to rubber stamp their criminal activities. through our investor protection reforms, we are further sought to strengthen the secured her -- the securities investor protection act, law that helps investors to recover funds when a broker or dealer fails. weaving please the resources available to the securities investor protection corporation to fund liquidations, boosted the level of cash coverage an investor is entitled to, and raised penalties on brokerages for violations of the wall. we have also broadened the eligible types of investments covered. we can do more to reform this law. if we will continue to move this process forward as we examine the ongoing efforts of the securities investor protection corporation to mitigate the sizable losses suffered by mr. madoff's victims, as well as the casualties of the $8 billion
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stand -- stanford financial fraud. we will also explore the intended and unintended consequences of several proposed changes to the securities investor protection act that aim to address problems that some madoff and stanford financial victims have encountered. what each of these amendments seeks to fix a perceived deficiency in the law, each proposal -- each proposal will also benefit from a robust debate in order to identify potential problems and possible refinements. some have advocated that the securities investor protection corporation should not claw back the profits taken by early investors who unwittingly partook in a ponzi scheme. i have concerns that such a plan, if implemented, would treat later investors unfairly. that said, clawing back profits already used by charities could prove especially devastating. as such, we must walk a fine line in determining how to
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proceed, if at all. in closing, i would like to extend my appreciation to my colleagues from new york, mr. ackerman and mr. maffei, as well as mr. ellison of minnesota, mr. klein of florida, and mr. perlmutter of colorado who have helped to select today's witnesses and advance discussions on reforming the securities investor protection act. together, i hope that we can learn more from these terrible events and figure out how we can further improve our regulatory system. now what would like to recognize the ranking member for his opening statement. >> and i thank the chairman and all of the witnesses for joining us today to testify before our subcommittee. from people situated similar to yourself, i have been all aware of the suffering inflicted on so
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many investors, and in my area, that the district of new jersey and across the country as well, due to the madoff situation and the stanford situation as well. it is important that we hold this hearing today to hear first hand from some of the victims. not only to get a better render standing of their situation and their plight, but also to hear your ideas. having been to this experience personally. how to make this process work better and perhaps more importantly and appropriately for all the injured parties involved. let me take a moment with the statement, and i would like to enter two statements into the record from constituents of mine. both of them have been adversely impacted by the madoff fraud. >> without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. the frauds themselves were tragic for so many innocent victims.
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the purpose of today's hearing is to examine ways to improve the process so that the victims do not have been needlessly supper once again. as the chairman says, we're looking to reform the process. one idea is to offer a pension fund or other fines bonds. others are talking about this clawback process in which they are seeking to recover funds recovered by some of the madoff investors. there are also calls for a more timely process in extending coverage to affiliate's that we should consider. all of these ideas deserve to be fully explored and vetted by the subcommittee with a private discussion of the pluses and some of the minuses as well. this belief that we can do for the many investors affected --
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affected by the past fraud as well as the future ones as well. unfortunately there will be future schemes that will try to bilk unsuspecting investors. and the specific failure to detect -- or the sec spell your, i should say, to detect the -- the sec's failure, i should say, to detect this fraud is well documented. this could happen in the future. and as fortunately -- and unfortunately, as prof. coffee has indicated, it could be worse. i am committed to exploring other ways to explore the efforts of that agency. i may welcome any insight you will have on this in regards to the hearing today. one thing i think we should not be doing as far as the solution
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to the problem is saying if we can throw more money at the sec and not asking for any more results from them. unfortunately, as you all know, as part of the investor protection act approved by this committee, part of the package of bills that will be going to the house for this week, there is an authorization for the sec to be doubled with no strings attached basically on where the money goes. my colleague offered an amendment that i co-sponsor to scale back increases for the sec and what of tied increase is going to the sec to -- for them to half of the recommendations made by the inspector general. you have an organization that did not do his job. we will not reward you by sending more money unless you can prove to was that you have over the last year now begun to implement some of those changes. if you want additional funding
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in the future, if you will have to continue on that better path. i appreciate your comment on that. i have a number of other questions related to the witnesses' written testimony. and with that, i yield back. >> now what i'd like to recognize the congressman for three minutes. >> thank you very much for your continued pursuit of this issue and this series of hearings that you have cheered. it is an awful years as bernard madoff told his own house of cards and and added that he had operated the largest ponzi scheme in history. you would think that by this week, a full 12 months removed from his admissions, our financial regulators, some of whom have admitted they were negligent in protecting investors from his fraud, would have helped them -- as many
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victims as they could. with the enormity of his ponzi scheme in the human tragedy that it calls, they would have been generous as possible. and you would think that the causes investors receive detailed statements, his victims had every expectation that the money in their accounts was really there, belong to them, and that they were fully protected by the security laws. sadly, you would be wrong. instead, in the years since he turned himself in, largest, most sophisticated financial system and the world, rather than providing restitution to the investors were the largest fraud in history, has manage to create classes of victims who have turned one another, offered pennies on the dollar on what they reasonably thought belonged to them, and there is no end in sight. if there is anything we have learned in the year since bernie madoff turned himself in is that
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the confidence that the investors had in the system to police our markets, the specific protection against fraud, was misplaced. today's hearing begins in earnest the process of providing additional legal remedies to madoff's victims. in my view, there are two issues as the subcommittee must address as we clarify this act. the limitation of specifics ability for callbacks for victims who were never -- who are neither complicit or necklace said in a ponzi scheme, and finding insurance for defrauded investors. i look forward to looking together with you, mr. chairman, to address these issues in the coming weeks and to hear from our witnesses today. i would also like to win knowledge that our witnesses, madoff victims, thanking them all for appearing before the subcommittee. there are scores of others who wanted to appear.
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most of them just could not afford a car fare or the bus fare, the train or plane fare, to get here. we appreciate the witnesses who are with us here this morning and i testified. i look forward to hearing their testimony. i would ask unanimous consent that at the appropriate place, that this folder of statements from additional witnesses be placed in a witness. >> without objection, so-called -- so ordered. and i will hear from mr. king for five minutes. >> let me thank you for holding this hearing and your attention to this matter. but we also thought -- thank my colleague from new york, mr. ackerman, for the energy he has shown in this matter. the first time i heard the name bernard madoff was a year ago tomorrow night, december 10, i was stopping by a holiday event on the north share to speak with constituents. the person hosting the event told me that shot was through the room because they had just
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learned that day that they're like it's fortunes -- they're like fortune's handled by mr. madoff had been part of a ponzi scheme. the next day, the story broke. i could see the shock on people's faces. and since then, the situation has only gotten worse. i have a number request since regarding what has happened over the course of the last year. like mr. ackerman, you see a tragedy like this unfold and did you see over the course of the next year the victims being victimized again. i know that there are no easy answers, but jimmy there has been imputation of fraud to the victims themselves. -- but to meet there has been imputation of fraud to the victims themselves. somehow that they should have known, that there were co- conspirators with bernard madoff. and yet there is no evidence to suggest that at all. we have their redefinition of
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net equity, and the clawback which could be devastating, and that taxes paid for many years on nonexistent properties. we have a bond issue, including a former member of congress who said he had never heard of bernard madoff, and it turns out that his life's savings had been invested by bernard madoff. and he has lost everything. and then the entire issue of unfettered power being given to the trusty to change definitions, decide who was born to go after, why people go after them, whether they're specific authority to do that are not -- and these are all issues because this will not be allies ponzi scheme. this will not be the last massive fraud. i don't think enough attention -- and all of us should have enough responsibility to this -- what you do when a massive fraud like this develops? we have to address this.
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we also have to find ways to protect those who are currently the victims. i look for to the hearing and to working with all the members of the subcommittee, trying to come up with legislation to address the real needs of victims and also to do what we can to ensure that there is better and more strict enforcement in the future to make sure this does not happen with the spirit and with that, mr. chairman, i look for to the testimony. i thank the witnesses for being here today. i think that victims it took time to be with us here today. and i yield back my time. >> now we will hear from the gentleman from florida for two minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, from holding -- for holding this important hearing. i'll also like to thank the witnesses and the victims who have come forward with their stories and their rights to be made whole in different ways. mr. madoff's ponzi scheme, thought to be the largest securities fraud in modern
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history, has defrauded thousands of people in my district, charities, lots of people around the indicted states. this episode was not only an embarrassment to the sec as they allowed this massive fraud to continue for well over redacted, despite repeated warnings, but time and time again the sec "investigated" mr. madoff and pronounced his business to these crown -- and pronounced his business to be sound. if you are an investor, if you would think that this would be a sound investment with the sec stepping its regulatory approval. there have been a lot of issues already mentioned, clawback, taxes paid, how were we made whole from this terrible situation? the fact that this is, of -- that this has gone on for over a year is an outrage. the most important thing we have to recognize as citizens and as members of congress and even the
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victim's it that we have a rule of law and the united states. we have responsibilities as members of congress and americans to make sure that the sipc and the sec are living up to their statutory right and responsibility. it is important in restoring confidence in our entire investment system. and yet some investors we know were in -- were complicit and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the lopper and yet most others were not. many hard-working americans have invested their life savings, and the sipc symbol and the symbol has to mean something. the sec reported late -- repeatedly gave mr. madoff a clean bill of health. it might has to mean something when you move forward and make an investment in the united states system. to go after the investors who lost everything now violates a sense of fairness. how can they be held to a higher
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sense of standard than a professional analyst at the sec? or investors to drew more money out of the account are not entitled to full sipc coverage? i again, i see an inconsistency in interpretation here which needs to be resolved. the purpose of the sipc is to make knowledge load your the month expectation of customers. it is important to provide this protection of the five and a thousand >> not only for the victims of this fraud but to ensure on a going forward basis that americans can have confidence in the security markets in the united states. outlook for to the testimony and a productive discussion and an appropriate conclusion. thank you, mr. chairman. >> and now as unanimous consent -- and now i ask unanimous consent that congressman ellison provided the opportunity for an opening statement.
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he is recognized for tw of minutes. >> beattie mr. chairman. let me thank all the witnesses as well. i do not think i will need two minutes. i simply want to say that the amount of disruption that this massive ponzi scheme has caused americans cannot be overestimated. in my on congressional district of minnesota, i have heard from people who thought they were a unqualified to learn that things that now things are not going to be as they were ex -- as they expected. five people -- i heard from people who run charities who had been devastated by the impact of this lapse. i look for to this hearing and from hearing from the witnesses. i want to thank the witnesses for all the work that they have done. and i want to thank the members of the committee as well. i also want to thank the work of mr. mcveigh. he and i have been working together -- mr. maffei.
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he had been working together. and i want to thank the chairman. >> thank you very much, mr. ellison. now what is up to the panel. i want to thank them for appearing before the subcommittee today. your written statements will be made a part of the record for you will each be recognized for a five-minute summary of your statement. please continue remarks to five minutes. i would now like to recognize ms. jeannene langford, an investor in the mott family investors and an indirect investors and mr. madoff's fund. >> chairman kanjorski, ranking member garrett, and members of the committee, thank you for holding these hearings and looking into the sec's complicity with bernard madoff
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investment. my name is jeannene langford and i live in san rafael, california. as one of the more than 16,000 victims of the madoff ponzi scheme, i am grateful to have the opportunity to present how financially devastating scandal was to me personally. it shattered my trust in my government's ability to serve and protect us. my hope is that/gg)k i provide for myself and my daughter. in the areas where i have little
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expertise, i recognize the necessity to hire a specialist. personal investment was one of those areas and i knew that there were systems such as the sec in place to protect me. from my research there was no reason to believe that this investment was not a viable place to put my life savings. i have no way of knowing a partnership where i place my money was invested with madoff. money i had invested with madoff represented my life savings. it was my retirement, a down payment for house, investment for the business i was starting, and it was my daughter's education. in short, it was the foundation for my future. i do not have another 30 years to earn this money again. if the sec had done its job, i would have my savings and i would not be looking at working
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the rest of my life just to get by. i was shocked to find out my money was gone, and i was outraged to find out that the very governing body that sanctioned this business i need help in understanding how the sec could ignore expert testimony, be lax in its investigations, be influenced by the aura of madoff, and not carry out its duties. i find it tragic and ironic that the interpretation of the language by the sipc leaves out the indirect, hard-working people like myself who are not wealthy and who are now struggling to keep up because their lifetime of hard earned savings or their pension has been stolen. these of the very investors for whom the sipc insurance protection is most important.
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congress needs to take action to restore confidence for all future investors. i understand an update to the definition of the word "customer" in the sipa to include indirect investors would ensure that the sipc symbol protect both indirect and direct investors in the financial markets and would begin to restore a sense of trust. if nothing is changed, the current situation would be similar to having a catastrophic landslide, and the government came in to assist those on one side of the street but not the other. i cannot believe this is the intent of this committee or of congress. though i appreciate extending the sipc coverage through the amendment to investors in er i saw -- erisa plans, this does
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not go far enough for it -- are not. all of us who invested are also victims of the sec's inability to find the fraud. we are all victims of the same crime and we all need to be granted equal protection. the sec's website reads, the missions of the u.s. securities and exchange commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. i urge you to rectify this current disparity of protection by carrying out the mission you set forth. thank you. >> thank you very much, miss langford. i like to recognize my colleague from minnesota to introduce our second witness. mr. ellison? >> thank you again, mr.
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chairman. i am pleased to introduce one of the witnesses, mr. joel green of upsher-smith laboratories, a pharmaceutical company in minnesota. i've heard for many people in my district and state who are victims of the madoff scandals, people who are not high rollers but regular people, ordinary people who work hard and make america great. people like the ones mr. green represents and his colleagues, who were part of a pension profit plant that invested with bernard madoff. they thought that they were protected by the securities investment protection corporation, and unfortunately it sipc held itself out and has not followed out on the petition in many cases. that is why employees to work with my colleague on an amendment to clarify the protection. i look forward to hearing -- to continue to work with you, mr. chairman and members of the
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committee, on this reform and others to ensure that sipc makes good on its promises. mr. greene. >> thank you, congressman ellison, and mr. maffei, and chairman and members of the committee. as congressman ellison said, i am told greene, and i work with upsher-smith laboratories of minnesota. i'm here ask your support for legislation that will protect working people throughout america whose retirement security is imperiled by the madoff fraud, including -- including current and former employees of upsher-smith laboratories. i urge your support for the legislation prepared by a the congressman for individual members of qualified plans lost in the madoff fraud. hunter smith laboratories is a family-owned pharmaceutical company. it has approximately 550 employees in the twin cities,
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denver, and around the country. in 1974, our owners established a profit sharing plan to share the profits with our company's employees, and beginning in 1995, plan assets were invested with mr. madoff. over the next 12 years, the company contributed over $8 million to the plan for the benefit of our employees and on december 11, 2008, mr. madoff was arrested for fraud and approximately 615 of our current and former employees lost their retirement savings that had been in a profit-sharing accounts invested with mr. madoff. our plan and our plan participants are representative of the average american workers whose retirement savings was intended to promote and his investment sipc was intended to protect. of our 615 plan participants, approximately 550 -- 89% -- had contribution balances of less
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than $650. this plan covers the average american worker. yet sipc has stated that only $500,000 is available. is it because the plants account with mr. madoff was held in the name of the plan trustee. but this was required by an administrative requirement imposed by erisa. our plan lost in excess of $8 million in contributions in the madoff fraud, and it could be in excess of $18 million. i symbol sipc recovery of $5 million will not go far enough to recover the losses of our plan participants. the rule under erisa cannot be
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allowed to defeat individual investors. for most americans, their primary retirement in are in these plans. if the administrative role is allowed to defeat protection for the losses of individual plan participants, then sipc fails to invest -- protect the investments of the individual investor, as when congress created sipc. the fdic offers a parallel for what we propose here. if a profit sharing plan invested its azides and, even though they were held in the name of the plan trustee, the
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fdic would cover each plan participant out to the fdic limits. we had been asked by congressional staff in the spring whether it was possible as a matter of policy to extend sipc protection to individual participants, and not also extend such protection to in the individual investors of feeder funds to invested with mr. madoff appeared with great compassion to those individual investors, and great compassion for ms. langford, we believe that the answer is yes, as a matter of public policy, a distinction can be made. but we support any relief they can be given to the individual investors in feeder funds. the result -- erisa's situations differ. they are not prevented by a
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federal investigation from investing directly in their own names. nor is their investment governed by the public policy of encouraging worker savings. for these reasons, if the distinction must be made on a policy basis, we believe that it is possible to provide sipc si coverage for the losses of plan participants of erisa plans. thank you for your time and attention and consideration of this important legislation to extend protection to the plans of in the drugstore -- to the individual participants. >> thank you very much mr. green. and now turn to my colleague from florida, mr. klein, to introduce the third witness. but thank you mr. chairman. it is my honor to introduce helen chaitman, an investor in the limited liability partnership in new york. she is the author of the book.
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she is counsel to the madoff coalition for investor protection, a combination of a number of investors who lost assets in a ponzi scheme. she has been someone who has had a fairly good view of the issue and it unhelpful to many others in understanding the nature of what went wrong and what should be done to resolve it. miss chaitman. >> thank you, congressman climb. congressman kanjorski, thank you for having me here. this time this representatives, i think you as well. it was a year ago that i learned that i have lost my life savings and my grandson's college fund in mr. madoff's limit liability fund. it took me a little bit of time to get over the shock and devastation. when i did, i realized that i was one of the lucky ones. i am still working and able to support myself. i devoted myself to the next six
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months to working completely on a pro bono basis helping hundreds of destitute madoff investors and their 70's, 80's, and 90's, who had been hit by financial tsunami who can never recover. this committee has dealt with that financial tsunami in the investor protection act of 2009, and i'm not here to speak about that. unfortunately, the madoff investors who i represent, and i represent hundreds of them, have been hit by two financial tsunami is that this committee can do something about. my client profile is a person in his 17's, 80's, and 90's who worked hard his whole life, who trusted this government -- many of my clients served in the second world war with distinction.
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i have climates -- clients who are disabled and the korean war and receive medals for their service. they trusted this government, and they worked as honest, law- abiding citizens. they worked in professions, they built up businesses, and when they reach retirement age, they retired and they put their money in an entity that had been blessed repeatedly by the sec. blessed repeatedly by the sec. mr. madoff bragged to potential investors that jealous funds had complained to the sec about his results and he had been repeatedly investigated and always came out clean. these are people of whom we should be proud and of whom we should be protected and instead these people have been victimized by the government since december 11, 2008. the sec and tsunami that hit my
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clients was the announcement by sipc, with the blessing of the sec, that the statute that this committee played a key role in drafting in 1970, that statute doesn't mean what it says. my clients relied upon the promise of sipc insurance as required by the securities investor protection act. they invested in madoff and knowing that the first $500,000 in their accounts was insured by sipc. they invested in madoff knowing that congress mandated that upon the liquidation of a broker, sipc was promptly pay up to $500,000 by replacing securities in a customer's account. the statute mandates how customers claim is to be determined.
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that equity is clearly spelled out in the statute. it is clearly spelled out on sipc's web site, even today, yet sipc decided it doesn't insure the first $500,000 in the accounts, it only insures the net investment going through generations of investors because of a lot of my clients are people whose grandparents invested in madoff. and what sipc is doing is going back three generations to net out investments and they are discounting inherited balances unless the investor can come forward and prove how much the grandfather deposited into the account in 1970. no one keeps records going back that far. and now where did the government put people on notice that if they want to happen sipc claim, they have to keep their records going back 30 and 40 years.
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the sec that tsunami was sipc's defiance of net equity. we know from mr. connolly testimony, posted yesterday on the web site, that the sec does not feel it is bound by the statute. american citizens have to trust in the loss. if the statute gives them a promise of insurance, they have to rely upon that. and how can we as a country instill confidence in the capital markets, if we do not stand by our laws and if we won the governmental agency but defies the law? the sec has not taken a persistent -- has now taken a position that people would delegate to their broker and faster decisions do not get insurance as defined by the statute. they do not get net equity. the sec announced yesterday they get their net investment plus
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some adjustment for the increase -- a decrease in the buying power of the dollar over period of 30 or 40 years. "what is the purpose of this committee deliberating so carefully on a statute, if the sec can then after there has been a big loss this side, we don't think congress got a right and we do not feel we have to go back to congress. we are going to decide what the law is. how can we make people feel comfortable that they are protected by this government, which days serve and to whom they pay taxes, if the sec, funded by taxpayer >>, can thumb its nose at this institution? the third tsunami that my clients had been hit with is that the sipa trustee has taken a position that he could demand repayment of all withdrawals
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within the last six years, even mandatory withdrawals from ira accounts on which people pay taxes, if the net investment going back for generations is a negative number. let me give you one very simple -- -- one simple example. my time is up? you'll have to look to my wrist and testimony. -- to my written testimony. the oilers if you want to state the example, go ahead. >> my grandfather put $500,000 in 1970, and he died in 2003. at which time, the account was worth $3 million. and i took $1.5 million at that account to pay his estate taxes, and then from 2003 to 2008, it would to $2 million. mr. picard would be saying to me, "pay back $1 million.
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you owe me $1 million." my clients, who have a lot -- who lost their life savings, who were forced to sell their houses and a down market, and work cherishing the tax-free funds that they have received as the only funds they have to live on for the rest of their lives, now are faced with giving up those moneys in order to do what? nobody wants that. i never took money out of my account and i am receiving the beneficiary of the cloth bags? i and many of my client just like me, never took money out, we do not want this money. this is blood money. these people are entitled to keep what they took out. thank you very much. [applause] >> the rules do not allow demonstrations. i know that these are emotional times. we will be lenient with the
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rules. and now we will hear from our friend from colorado to hear it -- to introduce the fourth witness. >> i appreciate the witnesses being here today. and the strait for testimony that you're giving to all of us. -- and the straightforward testimony that you are giving to all of this. there are four things that we have to consider. one is on the floor of the house today. where was the examination? where was the investigation? where was the oversight? and where is the prosecution of swimmers, croats, bombs, cheats, what everyone to call them? in colorado, we had at least three in these last eight or 10 years. the victimized hundreds and hundreds of people in colorado, some of my closest friends and colleagues who lost their life
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savings to one of these three crooks. what kind of environment led to these giant ponzi schemes and frauds? and i would like to thank the chairman and the ranking member for bringing for the investor protection act and some of the precautions and safeguards built into that that we will hear on all four of the house today. the other three aspects of this, which is what this testimony in this hearing is about, the bankruptcy aspects and the call by. the reach of sipc to anybody who was swindled and victimized by this, and finally, what tax ramifications are there? can someone take an immediate loss? we have today a constituent of mine and a friend, mr. pete leveton, from lakewood. he is a share -- a co-chairman of an investor committee, which represents over 200 indirect
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investors of a lot -- of a colorado investment group. i had been working with them and members of the investor committee for months, trying to develop remedies to the inequities between direct bond investors and indirect investors like the actual group. -- the agile group. many others who invested in the securities are ordinary people who invested their life savings on what they thought to be safe pension plans, trust funds, an investment account. they did their own research to determine the best investment group, and they believe big birds like agile invested their savings plans. they trusted groups like these investors to turn investors in the safe legal funds. unfortunately, agile and other investment firms were defrauded
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by bernard madoff, by stanford, by others, and all of -- all the savings were lost. many are eligible to recover $500,000, but indirect investors are not. mr. chairman, we have the opportunity to restore at peace of dignity to the indirect investors. through no fault of their own, they lost their life savings and some are losing their home. i look forward to the testimony of mr. leveton today to describe some of the travails of the people in colorado. >> thank you, mr. perlmutter. mr. leveton. >> members of the committee, as
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congressman perlmutter just said, my name is peter leveton. i live in lakewood, colorado, a denver suburb and congressman perlmutter's seventh district. i am an unpaid co-chairman of the and agile group llc investor committee. agile was a hedge fund manager based in boulder colorado. thank you for giving me this opportunity to testify on behalf of agile's 205 investors, several hundred ponzi victims, from more than 20 states, and by extension, all made out indirect investors to file more than 11,000 claims -- sipc claims honored before the date of july 2. -- on or before the date of july
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2. it is clear that you have a clear understanding of many of the issues and i will try not to belabor those. the indirect investors are not a homogeneous group. it includes farmers, doctors, teachers, lawyers, businessmen, entreprenuers, and other hard- working americans who have over a period of years diligently saved for their retirement. many of us are your constituents. many of us are now devastated financially and psychologically. many of us have sold or are trying to sell our homes just to obtain money to live on. many of us are retired. some indirect investors have had to beg for support from our siblings and our children. discrimination is not a word that any of us in this room
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would use lightly. however, because only direct investors are considered such sipc customers, discrimination is what indirect investors are facing. that is clearly not congress's intent when they created sipc in 1970. pursuant to the current interpretation, direct investor victims who knowingly invested with madoff have an opportunity to recoup up by the thousand >> for each of their accounts. indirect investors, many, maybe most of us, had never heard of bernard madoff until it was too late and they were not considered customers. we will recoup $0. i ask you, where is that justice in that type of interpretation? because the sec has admitted extreme culpability in missing the warning signs of the madoff
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scam and others, and because the irs essentially endorsed madoff in 2004 by naming his firm as a non-bank custodian of ira's and other tax referred -- tax- deferred retirement accounts, we believe that congress has a duty see that relief be provided to all victims, not just some victims. the concepts outlined in the maffei/ellison amendment would be a wonderful solution if it were expanded to include all indirect investors. unfortunately it addresses only erisa plan victims and excludes thousands of other indirect victims, including those in self funding retirement plans such as ira's. i ask you again, where is that
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justice in that kind of an approach? we see no moral basis for congress to amend sipa to provide customer status to the relatively small special interest group of indirect investors in erisa plans, and exclude all other indirect investors. we indirect investors lost our we indirect investors lost our savings to the same fraudulent ponzi scheme, suffered the same financial devastation as they plan members and investors. we firmly believe congress should end this discrimination and not perpetuate its as the draft amendment would do if passed as is. we urge congress to enact legislation which clearly defines sipc customers as


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