tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN December 24, 2009 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
>> here are some of the events in washington that before, during and after the health care votes. made about all of the people that work at the capitol during the difficult an intense time. we thank you very much for your outstanding service. it's early and i'll be brief. the most obvious problem with the bill before us is it doesn't do what it was supposed to do. the one test for any bill was whether it would lower costs. this bill fails that test. it's also clear that even many of the people on this side who are going to support this bill don't like it. otherwise, the democratic leaders wouldn't have had such a
tough time rounding up the votes. otherwise, democratic leaders would not have had to have votes in the middle of the night or at crack of dawn or over the weekend or even during a blizzard. otherwise, they wouldn't be rushing it through congress on christmas eve. the first time this body has had a vote on the day before christmas in more than a century. this debate was supposed to produce a bill that reformed health care in america. instead, we're left with party line votes in the middle of the night, a couple of sweetheart deals to get it over the finish line in a truly outrage -- and a truly outraged public. the problem, they were told would be fixed wasn't.
i guarantee you the people who voted for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since thanksgiving. they know there is widespread opposition to this monstrosity. and i want to assure you, mr. president, this fight isn't over. in fact, this fight is long from over. my colleagues and i will work to stop this bill from becoming law. that's the clear will of the american people and we're going to continue to fight on their behalf. mr. reid: mr. president? vice president the majority leader. mr. reid: like so many endeavors that have benefited so many americans, making health insurance more affordable and health insurance companies more accountable is a process. it's one that is required as to
find common ground as we should. that's why, mr. president, we have a piece of legs that over the -- legislation that over the next decade will reduce the deficit by $132 billion. over the next decade, as much as $1.3 trillion. now, mr. president, everyone knows we've had votes in the middle of the note and on christmas eve because the republicans wouldn't allow us to have votes at any other hour. now, it's true when we go home, we're going to hear an earful. i'm going to hear an earful from young caleb. a boy, mr. president, that was born with legs that stopped right here, above his knees, he needed new prosthetic devices because the rest of his body is growing. but the insurance company said no, because he had a preexisting condition. i'll get an earful from caleb and especially from his parents. an earful of joy.
from this day forward insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage because of preexisting condition disability. people like caleb and people who have children with diabetes and other problems, it's over. with so, yes, we're going to hear an earful, but it's going to be an earful of wonderment an happiness that people waited for for a long time. this morning is not the end of the process. it's merely the beginning. we'll continue to build on this success to improve our health system even more and to further ease the terrible burdens on american families an businesses. but that process cannot begin unless we start today. the american people and the american economy cannot afford for us to wait for the next time. because, you see, mr. president, there may not be a next time. nearly 65 years ago, harry truman condemned a system that condemned its citizens to the devastating economic side
effects of sickness. nearly 65 years later we still suffer from the same. just months after world war ii came to crease, president harry s. truman wrote in a letter to congress to this body and i quote -- "we should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern, that financial barriers and the way of attaining health shall be removed. that the health of all of its citizens deserves the help of all of the nation." decades have passed and these financial barriers have grown taller, but we will never solve the problem unless we find the resolve, which we haven't found, until, mr. president, today. this is how long we've waited. think of those who are just 1-year-old in 194 a 5 -- 1945. there are far too many who have
lived their lives have not had any type of health care. any type of health care. coverage got more and more expensive each year. insurance companies found more and more excuses to leave them out in the cold. and for those who worked in small businesses or owned one or moved from job to job, the peace of mind health care can provide was merely a dream. today on the verge of the year 2010, those americans are finally just months away from qualifying for medicare. that's a long time for a citizen to wait for health care in the greatest and richest nation the world has known. how much longer? how much longer can we afford to put this off or ask the uninsured for their patience? until health care costs consume not just a one-sixth of our economy, but a third or a half or until premiums consume more than half of a family's income? we certainly don't have, mr. president, the luxury of waiting until america becomes the only developed nation on earth where you can die for lack
of health insurance. we already bear that blemish. that's why we're bringing security and stability to millions who have health insurance and bringing health insurance to millions who have none. mr. president, can we have order? the vice president: the senate will be in order. mr. reid: what we will do is ensure consumers have more choices and insurance companies face more competition. we'll stand up for insurance who deny health care to the sick and drive millions to bankruptcy and foreclosure. we'll add years to the life of medicare which will add years to the life of seniors. we'll trade a system that demands you pay more and get less for one in which you will pay less and get more. as we do all this, we'll slash our children's deficit in dramatic fashion. we may not completely cure this crisis today or tomorrow, but we must start toward that end. we must strive for progress and
not surrender for one of purity. our charge is to move forward. this is a tradition as old as this republic, one that has always comprised interests and opinions as diverse as the people who populate it. our founding fathers did not promise to form an unfallable new nation. they promised instead to promote the general welfare as we move toward a more perfect union. they valued progress. our nation's earliest leaders promised not absolute happiness but only the pursuit of that goal. they valued opportunity. and like other new programs that improve the lives of many and were since strengthened to improve even more, programs like medicare, medicaid, social security, progress and opportunity are what this historic bill represents. to those who so admirably care so much for their fellow man that they demand more, i say this is just the beginning.
with senator ted kennedy's voice booming in our ears, with his passion in our hearts, we say, as he said, the work goes on, the cause endures. opponents of this bill used every trick in the book to delay this day, this moment. yet here we are minutes away from doing what many have tried but none have ever achieved. we're here because facts will always defeat fear. and though one might slow the progress, they can't stop it. and though one might slow the speed of progress, its force cannot be stopped. mr. president, i'm sorry to say that for the first time in american history, for the first time in american history a political party has chosen to stand on the sidelines rather than participate in great and greatly needed social change. i'm sorry to see that many on the other side have resorted to myths and misinformation and
continue to rely on them long after they were debunked. and it's regrettable that they view our citizens' health care through a political lens, because affording to live a healthy life isn't about politics or partisanship or polling. mr. president, it's about people. it's about life and death in america. it's a question of morality, of right and wrong. it's about human suffering. and given the the chance to relieve this suffering, we must take this chance and deliver on a promise the american people have deserved for six and a half decades. the vice president: the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 175, h.r. 3590, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to modify the first-time home buyers credit in the case of members of the armed forces and certain other federal employees, and for other purposes. the vice president: the question is on the passage of h.r. 3590,
>> i spent a restless night last night trying to figure out how i can show some bipartisanship. i think i was able to accomplish that for a minute today. never before has the senate resolved to make health insurance coverage more accountable and affordable until today. this is a victory for the american people. those fortunate enough to have health insurance will be able to keep theirs. those who do not will be able to have health insurance. this is a victory because we have affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely a privilege for the select few. this morning's vote brings us one step closer to making ted kennedy's dream our reality. the dream of americans, also, are part of that dream and that has also become a reality.
every step of this process has been an enormous undertaking. i want to thank chairman's office, dod and and others. i want to thank my leadership team - durbin, schumer, murray. senators murray and harkin are off with their families. i look forward to working with our friends in the house so we can send a bill to the president as soon as possible. will her from -- we will hear from bachus, dodd, schumer and murray. and we will not take any questions. >> it has been nearly two years since we began work on this. we stand here at the finish line. we are not standing alone. we stand with those who have blazed a trail before us.
champions of away from president theodore roosevelt to our good friends who is with us in spirit, ted kennedy. we stand with millions of american families who were forced into bankruptcy over the cost of health care. we stand with 45,000 americans to die because they could not get health insurance. we stand with small business owners cannot afford health insurance for their employees. we stand with american suffering from cancer and diabetes and those who have been discriminated against or denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. today we made history. i especially want to thank leader harry reid for the terrific way he has managed to navigate the waters and get as here to final passage. this is going to be a day that we will look back upon as senators. i am very proud of what we have accomplished.
we are happy to see people getting health care. we are happy to see health care costs of being much more under control. this is why we came here. this is why we were hired out for these jobs, to pass something very important and historic like this. >> let me also thank senator harry reid. on this christmas eve, i cannot think of a better gift united states senate can give to our fellow -- fellow citizens than lifting the burden from their soldiers -- shoulders. the fear that they would not be able to provide for a loved one at a time of need. this is an enormous victory for the american public. last year, proved that progress is not easy. but today, we were able to prove that it is not impossible. because of the leadership of senator harry reid, max baucus, tom harkin, and others, we are
on the cost of achieving something that has defied generations. there has never been a vote passed in my tenure that has provided more security for middle-class americans in am. i am just proud to have been part of this vote. i thank my colleagues for staying with us. i wish to ted kennedy were here with us today to enjoy this. merry christmas to everybody. >> the corridors of the senate are filled with portraits and statues of political leaders whose reputations in contributions it many times have faded into obscurity. i will tell you the contribution to this nation it made by a senator from searchlight, nevada, will become one of that shining chapters in the senate and our nation. he achieved what others have failed in trying to achieve, and
he did it with tenacity and strength and determination that i have never seen in my time is serving in congress. i am honored to have stood beside him with so many others to see this great day arrived. this is a time of year of long nights and darkness, when history tells us that from the beginning of time, people would gather, with their family and friends, and they will look for signs of hope and light of light and even light a candle. this morning, this vote in the united states senate whiclit a candle of hope for 50 million americans who went to bed last night without health insurance. for the surgical procedures, for the medication it -- it is a candle of hope for this nation that we are tackling an issue that every business and every family knows is central to our
progress as a nation. with the hope and inspiration and leadership of the president who made this the highest item on his agenda and told us that he would work hard, night and day, to help us reach this moment. we owe our appreciation to him and the vice president for presiding over this historic session this morning. >> thank you. happy holiday, merry christmas, happy new year to everybody. the bill can be described in a single sentence. at the same time, it cuts costs, waste and fraud endemic to our system and at the same time, it covers 31 million people. who would have thought we could do both in the same bill? who would have thought we could do it without a single republican vote and getting every one of the 60 democrat
votes? who would have thought that we could finally get a handle on that thing that is driving our budget deficit to great heights, which is health care costs, and at the same time do so much good by covering so many people? this is an amazing accomplishment. it would be under ordinary times. it is more amazing under extraordinary times. the three horsemen of this bill stand behind me -- leader harry reid did an incredible job. i just watched with awe, with how he could weave the legislative fabric. max baucus who never gave up. he started out early and persisted and persisted in persisted. no matter what was thrown in the way. and chris dodd, who kept the flame of ted kennedy in his spirit of doing the right thing and doing a good thing and reaching to the highest values of this country alive. this is a happy day. mitch mcconnell said on the
floor that we are going to go home and your our constituents rail against this bill. i do not believe that. i believe the negativity that leader mcconnell and others have continually displayed on the floor has peaked. now, when people learn what is actually in the bill and all the good it does, it will become more popular, because it is good for america, could for the people, and a true -- good for the people, and a true symbol of what we can do if we all pull together. >> thank you, everybody.
>> after is the senate passed its health care bill, the president spoke briefly with reporters at the white house. >> hello, guys. good morning, everybody. in a historic vote that took place this morning, members of the senate joined their colleagues in the house of representatives to pass a landmark health insurance reform package legislation that brings us toward the end of a nearly century-long struggle to reform america's health care system. ever since teddy roosevelt first called for reform in 1912, seven presidents, democrats and republicans alike, have taken up
the cause of reform. time and time again, such efforts have been blocked by special interest lobbyists who perpetuated the status quo that works better for the insurance industry than it does for the people. with passage of bills in the house and senate, we are now poised to deliver on a promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the american people. the reform bill that passed the senate this morning, like the house bill, includes the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable. companies will no longer be able to deny you coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. there will no longer be able to drop your coverage when you get sick. no longer will you have to pay a limited amounts of your own pocket for treatments you need. you will be able to appeal unfair decisions by insurance companies to an independent party.
if this legislation, becomes law, workers will not have to worry about losing coverage if they lose or change jobs. families will save on premiums. businesses that would see their costs rise if we do not act, will save money now and they will save money in future. this bill will strengthen medicare and extend the life of the program. it will make coverage affordable for over 30 million americans who do not have it. 30 million americans. because it is paid for and curbs the waste and inefficiency in our health care system, this bill will help reduce our deficit by as much as $1.30 trillion in the coming decades, making it the largest deficit reduction plan in over a decade. as i have said before, these are not small reforms. these are big reforms. if passed, this will be the most important piece of social legislation since the social security act passed in the 1930's.
the most important reform our health care system since medicare and the 1960's. what makes it so important is not just the cost savings are deficit reductions. it is the impact the reform will have on americans who no longer have to go without a checkup or prescriptions they need because they cannot afford them. families are no longer have to worry that a single illness will send them into financial ruin. and businesses that will no longer face exorbitant insurance rates. it is the difference reform will make and allies of the american people. i want to commend senator harry reid, the extraordinary work that he did. speaker nancy pelosi for for extraordinary leadership and dedication. having passed reform bills in both the house and senate, we now have to take up the last and most important step and reach an agreement on a final reform bill that i can sign into law. i look forward to working with
members of congress of both chambers over the coming weeks to do exactly that. with today's vote, we are now critical close to making health insurance reform or reality in this country. our challenge is to finish the job. we cannot do another generation of american to soaring costs, eroding coverage and exploding deficits. we need to do what we were sent here to do and improve the lives of the people we serve. for the sake of our citizens, our economy and our future, let's make 2010 a year we final reform health care in united states of america. merry christmas and happy new year. >> do you have a policy which for the troops? >>-- a holiday wish for the troops? >> i do and i am on my way to call a few of them to wish them a merry christmas and to thank them for their extraordinary service. -- in iraq and afghanistan.
>> following the vote, democratic senator ben nelson who supported the bill spoke about its abortion provisions. health care bill, one of my primary concerns has been ensuring that the long-standing hyde amendment would be incorporated into the bill. i have strongly-held views on the subject and i fought hard to prevent the tax dollars from being used to subsidize abortions. i was pleased that the house included strong abortion provisions in its health care bill in the form of the stupak amendment. i modified this language to meet the senate bill and offered the nelson-hatch-casey amendment to prohibit federal funding of abortion. and i was disappointed to see that that amendment was tabled by a vote of 54-45.
i knew then that the underlying bill did not adequately prohibit federal funding of abortion and consequently i would not be able to support it. so i began to look for other language to accomplish the goal that no public funds should cover abortion in the new health care bill. and after long days of negotiations, i believe we came up with a true compromise that stays faithful to my principles. and i want to be clear: i stuck to my guns and stood for my pro-life principles. i did not look for weaker language. i looked for clearer language, and my goal stayed the same to:o maintain the standard that we've had in federal law since the mid-1970's. while i respect the senator from kansas' opinion, i have to respectfully disagree. the senate language fully uphold the hyde principle -- upholds the hyde principle like the lange wimg in the hous -- langue house bill.
the wording may be different but the principle is in fact upheld. urn the health care bill, if you cannot -- under the health care bill, if you cannot afford insurance, you will receive federal assistance to help pay for a plan. the stupak language prohibits that federal assistance from paying for insurance that covers abortions. if you'd like a plan that covers abortion, you must purchase a rider or an endorsement to your plan with your own funds. you could do that as well by writing just one check to the insurer. for that you'd get a separate piece of paper addressing abortion. the senate language with my added compromise also prohibits federal funds for paying -- from paying for private insurance that covers abortion. the only difference is that in the senate bill, if you're receiving federal assistance to buy insurance and if that plan has any abortion coverage, the insurance company must bill you separately and you must pay
separately from your own personal funds, perhaps a credit card transaction, separate -- your separate personal check or automatic withdrawal from your bank account. now, let me say that again. you have to write two checks: one for the basic policy and one for the additional coverage for abortion. the latter has to be entirely from personal funds. so under both the stupak and the new senate language, no federal funds can be used to pay for a plan that covers abortion. and if you choose to purchase abortion coverage, if it's available, you must pay out of your own pocket. furthermore, the senate language allows states the right to ban public and private insurance from supplying abortion covera coverage. already, 12 states ban abortion coverage on public plans and
five states ban abortion on both private and public plans. so, in short, the senate bill ensures once again no federal funds would be used for aborti abortion. i'd like to note that the senate bill goes beyond stupak in two life-promoting ways. one, it adds funding to support pregnant and parenting teens and women. and, two, it expands the adoption tax credit to help adoptive parents with the considerable expense of adoption by making that credit a refundable tax credit. this means that many parents -- potential parents who lack the regular resources to adopt will now be in a better position to do so. the senate bill also contains the same strong conscience protections included in the stupak language. we tried winning approval for the nelson-hatch-casey abortion
language in the senate but we were unsuccessful. however, we did not give up. i know people have very strong feelings about the issue of abortion and i respect those who disagree with my position. but i could not support health reform that did not maintain the 30-year standard barring public funding of abortion. i did not compromise my pro-life principles. we just found different wording, different language that both will work. i believe people see that no public funding will go to abortion. now, in addition, my provision empowers the states to pass laws that -- banning the sale of insurance that covers abortion. we make it clear that this new law, this new bill does not in any way preempt the rights the states to be able to continue to make that ban in the -- and the decisions that they might make
legislatively and we wanted to make certain that there is no doubt but what this bill has no preemption of the states' rights. but despite what some partisans and talk-show hosts say in their scare tactics, the conscience clause remains. also, despite what those same people and even some of my colleagues have said, the bottom line is that the senate health care bill will want allow taxpayer money -- will not allow for taxpayer money to pay for abortion, >> for details about what is next for health care legislation, we spoke with a reporter. the u.s. senate came in on this christmas eve at 6:45 a.m. eastern, shortly after 7:00
a.m., they voted on h. r. 3590. it passed the senate with a vote of 60-49. she writes for "congressional quarterly." what is the next step? >> now that the bill has passed out of the senate. the next step is for the house and senate to meet in conference and resolve differences between the two versions. >> what will be some of the most contentious issues between the house and senate negotiators? >> it is going to be a lot of the same issues that were contentious during the debate -- the public option. potentially, abortion language. and also a lot of questions about how the bill is financed. each have different mechanisms for paying for the bill. >> as is typical after passage of major legislation, a number of members and senators
releasing a statement. senator feingold released a statement saying that he is deeply disappointed that the bill does not include a public option to keep costs down. can a bill that does not include a public option pass the house? >> the house bill that included does include a public option. the senate bill did not. there are a number of senators who had pushed hard for the public option. senate leader harry reid, the bill he originally brought to the floor, did include a public option with the option for the states to opt out. the republicans led the fight against that and there were enough moderate democrats that oppose it, most notably independent joe lieberman from connecticut, who is very much against that. the public option was dropped from the bill. does not seem as though the contours' of that debate will change between that -- between
now and january. it seems unlikely that there will be support in january it for something there is not support now. >> already at their indications that congressman bart stupak is not happy with ours -- happy with regards to language about abortion and the bill. >> that was the main sticking point for senator ben nelson from nebraska. there were marathon sessions for two days last week to work out compromise language. i spoke with senator nelson, and he is adamant that that language does not change in conference. the language she worked out would not change. i know that congressman's department has been talking on his side about pressing -- congresssman stupak has been talking about moving in the house direction. they could lose the support of liberals who signed off on
senator nelson's language. >> thank you for the update and have a happy holiday. >> thank you. you, too. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> coming up next, a report by the center for american progress on women and the work force. that is followed by the senate vote on health care with reaction from president obama. later, in an interview about the army's wounded warrior program that assists disabled veterans. this week on "newsmakers" our guest is the director of the national institutes of health. he discusses stem cell research, genome technology, and how his agency can be affected by the health care bill.
c-span, christmas day. a look ahead to 2010 politics, including republican congressman eric cantor and nbc's david gregory. buzz aldrin and fellow astronauts on the legacy on the pot -- of apollo 11. a former c.i.a. intelligence officer on u.s. strategy against al qaeda in afghanistan. starting at 8:00 p.m., remembering the lives of william f. buckley and senator ted kennedy. >> in october, the center for american progress and journalist maria shriver at released a report discussing women in the work force. later, a keynote address by labor secretary hilda solis.
>> good morning, everyone. so happy to see everyone here. i am the executive vice- president for the center for american progress. it is my great pleasure to welcome you all here for our conference on the publication of the shriver report. this is a joint project between the center for american progress and the first lady of california, maria shriver. this is available at bookstores near you. in this report, we explore what it means that women will soon make up half of the work force for the first time. many of our families now have a woman not only as the sole breadwinner or an essential co- earner of support for the families economics. these facts have far reaching consequences for all americans businesses, government, education and media and places
of worship. we have -- we as a society have not adapted to these changes. this conversation began on friday when "time" magazine published. -- this -- an article, published with the help of the rockefeller foundation. we are grateful for their support. this poll helps to give us a good grounding in what it means for women and families and their attitudes on these issues. on sunday, on "meet the press." ," maria shriver talked about the importance of these issues for the families economic security. they reminded the american public that we have much more work to do it to make sure that americans have access to workplace flexibility and paid sick days.
rian and john are in new york city doing a wide range -- maria and john are doing a wide range of interviews in new york city today. we'll talk more about both of them and their role in a moment. it is our job to discuss the findings and help policy, government and all of our institutions to reflect them. it incorporates essays from a wide range of cultural leaders, not just the policy wonks. by bringing those perspectives together, it makes it a unique document. that is one of the many ways, the first lady of california, lead this effort she went out to talk about -- talk to real people about how this is affecting them on the ground. we are grateful to maria. she is inspirational. she brings a human perspective to talk about the important
policy issues we are debating. she brought inspirational and intellectual leadership to the project. rededication -- -- her dedication convinced us that some family change is necessary. leslie miller and olivia morgan also worked with us. we are grateful to her. in 2004, as we were developing our first policy agenda, which began at the park -- a process as defining the future direction of the country. health care reform at a time when no one thought were would be today. the transformation to a low- carbon economy as a source of economic vitality. economic mobility. these were the things we thought should define the debate about the future of our country. we are proud to have been present in identifying those.
i think we helped steer the conversation to those key questions. the issues we are here to talk about today we believe will be as important to the defining issues for the next round of debate about where our country is going. john best believes that women becoming primary breadwinners -- and that the issues we have today must be one of the central areas we were gonna go in for. -- going forwards. . please allow me a brief indulgence to acknowledge our remarkable team who we are proud of. it was a labor of love. it was the herculean effort. the time crunch was extraordinary. the project team was managed by our senior fellow glory nickels and its policy work and editing was driven by our senior economist and our senior fellow
anne o'leary. no less thanks is deserved by the in-house communications and our teams -- and art teams. the report also features a chapter -- that we did with the rockefeller foundation about a poll. they helped to shape and design that poll and interpret it. we are fortunate to have dozens of contributors whose work is in body here. i encourage you to take a look at copies of the report and the executive summary. so many great voices are here. if you go to the e0-book addition, there is even up quote by "oprah" winfrey. the fight for health care
reform is a critical component improving the lives of american families. it is ensuring that women are not discriminated against in purchasing health insurance. the administration has promised that the issues addressed by this report will not stop with health care reform. the white house adviser yesterday, valerie jarret, recognize the administration needs to do more to continue the conversation started by this report. and to spotlight particular businesses that are doing magic -- a good job for their workers. we will hear from secretary solis momentarily. this is a report is a first shop in many efforts. we will focus on these issues -- it is only a first stop in many efforts. we will work on flexibility, gender equality, we must turn these buzzwords into reality.
we are really like -- lucky to start with a true champion of families, the secretary of labor held assemblies. i know she has to rush to go to the white house, so i will abbreviate her background. she was confirmed as the secretary of labor earlier this year at -- and a farce latinoiro hold the position. our party is included health care, and improving the lives of working families. she is a nationally recognized leader on the environment. she is the first woman to receive the john f. kennedy profile in courage award in 2000 for her work in environmental justice. she had a long history of holding elected office in california. she increased the state's minimum wage act.
less known is your efforts to ensure that california became the first date in the nation to offer paid family leave to its workers. -- it was the first state in the nation to do so. she is a former federal employee, having worked in the carter white house of hispanic affairs and later appointed to the office of management and budget. she is proud of her family and your heritage. she is the first in her family to graduate college. as secretary, we know she is working hard to improve job training for women. we look forward to working with her as she leads the country on many critical issues, including many we talked about in this report. expanded family leave, access to greater flexibility, control over a work schedule. and assistance in gender equity. we are so thankful to have the secretary here today. we look for it to her leadership. please join me in welcoming secretary hilda solis.
>> thank you for that wonderful introduction and good morning. it is great to be here. congratulations to a woman's nation and the center for american progress. i want to extend my best wishes to our real shriver -- maria shriver and john podesta. on the trip back to washington, i read the "time" magazine article which references a lot of important data that the department of labor, through the bureau of labor standards puts out. very good and timely information. but i want to tell you this morning that the shriver report is so important for this very important debate we are having on that these policies issues and shining alight on critical issues for today's workplace and
working families. let me begin by thanking you again, the folks here at the center for helping to put this together. for all the women's groups who, by my to beat -- department of labour, i want to thank you. for those who have not had the opportunity to come by and meet with my staff, please do that. you are welcome. i care very much about the department of labor issues and i have an open-door policy. i want to make clear of that. today you have a very exciting group of people who will be speaking to you. one of my very good friends and i have worked with years ago and led the wage and hour so ably at the department of labor some years ago. she will talk about child care and elder care. . .
how we can help women succeed. we know that we have to tackle this challenge. it cannot be an easy task it is an honor and privilege to be working for a president who is committed to improving the lives of women and girls the first bill he side was the act, restoring basic protection against discrimination for women and other workers. the president helped to establish the white house council on women and girls to provide a coordinated federal response the council will help agencies consider their policies and programs and how they impact women and families. it is of most importance to the president and all of us.
i am strongly committed to improving the lives of women in their children and girls. i entered into public life working class families working hard to help realize the american dream. today the families are filling the pinch. our unemployment rate is that an. this is not a victory. or families are dependent on women as a bread earner. they earn less than men. millions of working women do not
have a single paid sick day. millions have no flexibility at their work. it becomes harder and harder. these needs are a priority for us. my department has been working to get men and women the appropriate tools necessary to find and keep good jobs. the jobs that can support a family by increasing income in nearing the wage gap. jobs that are safe and secure and get people a voice at the workplace. jobs that provide the benefits and flexibility. jobs that are sustainable, that will last, like green collar jobs. jobs such restore a strong middle class. in this economy, that is a hard
task to follow. that is what our president belize. that is what i believe. we move quickly to protect workers to of lost their jobs and provided them with training opportunities for those looking to upgrade their skills or prepare for a new career. the recovery act has had a tremendous impact to help ease some of the pain of the recession. we have increased unemployment benefits so that workers will get an extra $25 each week to help pay for their family necessities. we have injured the workers previously excluded can access unemployment insurance for their this is a great example of the type of policy changes that we will be discussing. many low-wage workers were
excluded from the system. that was based on an outdated view of the work force. only 33% of unemployed women could receive unemployment support. a woman's nation start as at a big place. i hope we can work together to help strengthen the system for all of our women in families. during this effort to restore and secure our economy, we went to great lengths to enlarge our safety net for the of working women and men could still have health care coverage. one of the major ways we will bring stability to the economy will be health insurance reform.
the department of labour is charge of making sure workers are paid wages and they are treated fairly. it is charged with making sure that women get their wages in the workplace and that the provisions are carried out. we welcome your expertise, it inputs, about how to increase awareness and enforcement of these laws. those are a feafew of our progr. i'm proud to say they house and agency concerned with serving in permiting the interest of women. our nominee [unintelligible]
we will be able to do so much under their leadership. we will improve the lives of workers. while we know that it is a major issue for working women and their families, it is a major issue for me and the rest of the it ministration. i have as my agencies to justice. -- to address this. one initiative is the flex options project, which is helping businesses expand workplace flexibility, policies, and programs for their work forces. it brings together employees and business owners interested in developing flexible workplace programs like schedules, family friendly policies, and others.
this helps the navigate their work and personal responsibility while helping employers meet their needs. i see you have a panel this afternoon of businesses who will be responding to the women's nation report. we need to lift of employers better realizing that a balance can be a win-win situation for good business. they are working to help prove the economic security of winter financial literacy. through free classes on line, women can learn on how to apply for unemployment insurance and how to buy iphone -- buy a home. women will take advantage of new opportunities being created. as the transition, we need to make sure that our sisters and
daughters are included in this. we need to encourage women to pursue careers in science and math areas where we are underrepresented. we are investing $500 million for high growth job-training projects. by hosting a round table, it they are already starting to ensure that women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds are aware of these new opportunities. we always know that information technology is an area that is the fastest-growing in our economy. that is why my agency has announced two and $20 million in competitive grants to train workers. they will work to ensure that women have access to a growing
field and that the jobs paid well. these images some of the areas that we are working on. our families and facing tough times. we are ready to give you the tools and services you need to help make this a better place for all americans. i am deeply pleased to be here. i am honored that so many of you are just as excited as i am. it is a well and long overdue. we all play a significant role in our economy in recovery. thank you very much. thank you. >> i think we have to get the
secretary to the white house shortly. we have time for a couple of questions. are there any members of the media who like to ask questions? please, wait until someone comes with you -- to deal with a microphone. let me open it up to the public. does anyone else up questions? -- have questions? >> what i'd been [unintelligible] nothing is really based on merit. if it is not based on merit, it is easy to be of use. -- to be abused.
if you can spend time based on the merits and resolve [inaudible] >> that is a very important question for our department. we are going through a review process right now. we have not been able to gather information about our enforcement policies and how they were carried out. all of these issues are going to come to the department of labor in a timely manner. many of the appointments that i have made along with our demonstration have created a bountiful diversity. we have one in front of first backgrounds. they are going to help lead us. soccewe can go around the countd
talk about women can access services better. it will bring forward any complaints that they might have to our appropriate agency. we are the second largest enforcement agency. >> one thing we noted was that men and women to share these concerns. let me talk about the role, hunches -- how does it affect this? it is a shared set of goals that they both have. >> we want to take a look at what policies we can labette to make it easier for women to have this time.
we are finding the challenges show there is a lot of support on behalf of our male colleagues in partners. if these issues are not just focusing on one gender. they affected the entire makeup of a family. these are important areas that we will be looking at. they will get more women involved. they will get employers to come forward. that will be very essential. we want to highlight those good employe years. -- the good employers that are doing the right thing. we are there. we are ready to hear from any of you the one to provide us with that expertise. >> we are lucky to have per working on this issue. we are very pleased to have her
of this report. i wanted to give a special thank you. i understand the issue is my dearest friend. thank you. we will be hearing from her on the next panel. my job is to give you a bit of a detailed overview of the report. they structured this to mirror the report. how are we going to work through the read -- through the days.
this is a dramatic shift that changes everything. we were purposeful in a title that a woman's nation changes everything. we think the fundamental change of how women have spent their days has had far reaching implications not just for women but for all of the institutions around them. i see so many of you who have dedicated to live is to working on getting the kinds of policies that we need to enable workers to be a good worker. the institutions have not fully change. we have not seen the kind of changes that we need to see.
many policies that we have relied on an outdated model on how families are. this first figure that is in our report shows that it used to be the case that the traditional male breadwinner was the family. that is no longer the case. now we have an increase in a variety of families. we also now know that women are increasingly the breadwinners for their family. a woman is the primary breadwinner. she is either a single working mom or she is a married mom who brings as much or more than her husband. an additional quarter of them are co breadwinners. this is it dramatic shift from a
couple of generations ago. the typical working wife brings 42% of her family's earnings. she is bringing in over four out of every $10 that is coming in. even so, equality in the workplace has not yet been achieved. i cannot stress how this is more important now than ever. this recession has amplified when in the coming breadwinners. there is a woman who is bringing home the bacon because men have lost seven out of every 10 jobs. those women remain underpaid and less likely to get health insurance from their employer.
if even though the recession has decelerated this comic it is not a short-term lift -- this, it is not a short-term lift. this is not a short-term problem. this is a permanent change in our economy. we need to push the institutions around as to adapt. they stressed this. this is not just a woman's story. this is a story about everyone. it is a report about how women working changes the lives of the people around them and how men have been affected just as much as women have. it is about the ripple of that of women working. maria shriver is doing live
television coverage. we are very sad and she could not join us. i want to focus on some of the key things that she brought to the report. a lot has to do with the conversations with them. one thing she did was that she was a journalist. she took her journalistic sense and tell conversations with everyday americans about what it meant that women were working. what does it mean that women are working. one thing she called -- culled is that families are now negotiating the balance between men and women.
everywhere, people are negotiating this a new gender balance. she talks of how the battle of the sexes are over. many croats -- quotrees are highlighted alongside essays that they took from a fantastic array of authors, many of whom are in the audience today. she talks about what a woman's nation means to them. we are very grateful for our collaboration. five they are going to be talking about government and about how government needs to respond.
the focus of the panel is a chapter written by medco editor. -- written by my coat editor -- co-editor. the focus of their chapter is that up until now government has focused on allowing women to enter the workforce and compete with men on the same rules that were there before women injured. it is a workplace where policies were designed around a male breadwinner who presumably had no caregiving responsibilities. we know that too many women and to many low-wage women simply cannot compete in the way that a traditional male breadwinner could because they do not have a stay at home wife to take care of all of life's little and big emergencies and to provide the care for the family.
their key conclusion is to update our basic labor standard to include a focus on family friendly employee benefits brita for i hope we can co op to this. we need to reform our anti- discrimination laws so they cannot exclude women from workplace benefits. we need to modernize our social insurance. we have a system that was developed in the 1930's when most families had a stay at home caretaker. it needs to be updated for today's families to incorporate family leave as well as account for time spent out of the labor force. they encourage government to increase it foretell care. parents and families need to cope with. responsibilities.
this talks about the role of immigrant workers in our economy. it makes it possible for other families to work. we need to recognize and value that work. many recommendations center in the government chapter we will talk about and underscored in the poll. this was a poll that we did in collaboration with "time" magazine. it was done in early september. it focused on how men and women are responding to the fact that women are on the payrolls. over the course of the day, we will pop up on the screens questions on the pole.
you can think about how you would respond. at the end of the day, they are going to come up and tell you the answer. there are a couple of things i want to point out. we find that men in women overwhelmingly agreed that working women is good for society. this is consistent with the work by michael kimmel who finds the most things and move -- have moved along the path of acceptance. we need more. we talk about how men have not fully stepped up to the plate to make sure every worker can be a care giver. both men and women needed the kind of policies that make it
possible for them to fill their goals as father. on this panel, michael is going to be joined by a few others. she provides evidence that high- quality marriages are the ones where men and women shared domestic and business work. over lunch, we will do something innovative. it is a fantastic events team. they have said it up today that will be a series of tables for other authors to tell you about their findings.
faugthey explore the implicatios of women working on women's health as well as women's health insurance, finding that women's breadwinner has not led to help benefits. for h leath -- women's health benefits. they find that even though women have made significant strides, there is still clear evidence that women face barriers and have not made the lead that we would like to see. they explore the ongoing role of religion and spirituality and how to additional communities have responded to women working.
they find that some congregations have been actively engage. many have not. many need to adapt that families need different kinds of help. susan douglas shows is how the media that we are surrounding with -- surrounded with has overshot the actual reality of the way women have lived in our society. for it is often suggested that women have made it. in real life, we have not caught up. after lunch, we have a session on business.
[unintelligible] yesterday we were on "to meet the press." it was fantastic year everyone talks about these issues. before i stepped down from the podium, i want to give a shout out to someone that has been so important to help us with the report. histhey were our fantastic edit. in a big project like this, we know that they did all of the work to make these things happen.
that it is women -- that it makes a difference between maternity leave and not. it is playing a key role. we have essays. it is a quiz. i cannot remember the author's name. i focused a lot on differences in terms of occupational segregation. apologies to ever -- to whoever's name i forgot. >> good morning.
i am with the national association. i understand that the main focus of this is women moving to the labor force and generating income. as i'm sure you are familiar with, is that they generate capital as well. this has economic ramifications. can you talk a little bit and tell me if there is anything in this report about the still economic roles? that is a great question. >> the theme is the moment a woman in the workplace. we focus on that.
we will care for the elderly and care for sick family members. first we talked a lot about how we need to make sure that families can be both good workers and every worker can be a good worker. we talk about work place flexibility policies. we were very heartened yesterday. this was a key theme of what folks were talking about, and the need for flexibility, the need for us to think about something like a right to request kind of law.
that is the way we thought. we spend a lot of time talking about how it is that those parents and families that have caregiving responsibilities can be in the workplace and be able to do that important work. >> if i understand this is a wonderful window of opportunity to insert these policies. i certainly advocate this. in former previous conferences, the issue of the fact that we are in a recession -- we have to
get people back to work -- the flexibility argument -- i am sure you have heard all of these arguments. i wonder if you can to speak to that. some researchers feel it is not the right time. some feel it is not a right time. >> that is a great question. we are in the deepest, darkest recession of our allies. we have not seen anything like this in a generation. we are seeing massive unemployment. we are seeing sharp declines in work. it is the lowes the we have never seen before. many firms are furloughing workers. they are trying to figure out
how to keep their employees on the payroll and not have to pay for all of their hours of work because they cannot afford to. that is a perfect opportunity to do the kind of education outreach around good flexibility policies. many employers to not know how to do this right. one thing we would like to see them do more of this provide more information to employers to help them implement this kind peace -- kind of flexibility. it is an excellent opportunity to talk about flexibility. family still have these responsibilities. there are millions of women who are working in dealing with their responsibilities. they still need that time off.
we need to make sure of the workers can keep their jobs. fothey do not need to be laid of because they have a sick kid. that is pushing the irresponsibility on to those types of family and is bad on the economy overall. if it is a good time to focus on it. millions of workers have been laid off. we need to make sure they are not discriminated against. thank you for your attention.
i believe i need to introduce the next introduce her. you'll be seeing a lot to me. i would like to introduce the fantastic ellen bravo, a dear friend and colleague. she is a long-term activists for working when them. she is currently a professor at the university of wisconsin at milwaukee. she is the author of one of my favorite books, the game changing book that explains what feminism is good for families. it provides strategies for system a game.
i have many favorite advocates out there. she is definitely one of my favorite advocates. she is the executive director of an amazing organization, of a good value families at work." -- "valuing families at work." thank you. >> i am really thrilled to talk about the role of government. i wish for you to shut your eyes. there has been [unintelligible] in some of the rooms, there has been asbestos in the wall. if you were a passenger in a car with a baby this morning, chances are you would have been holding a baby on your lap. maybe your father in another
state had a heart attack. you ask for permission to help take care of them and were told, "sorry, you cannot do it, but if he dies he can have three days of instead of 1." maybe you are the only woman on the job and found that they were paid less than all of the men into said, "that is not right. i will complain about that. it would to the supreme court. they said, too late." that brings us what you people do. they got together in said, we have to change this. we need new rules. the first function of government is a protector. it is to give oversight or establish standards.
the second role of government is to enforce those rules. if you do not do what you have to do, there will be consequences. the third role of government is to offer a terror of -- tarrif in say we will get extra points for good policies. if a fourth function is to gather data. it will create reports. it will help millions of workers and their families.
it will be a model employer. it will said the expansion project to showcase what they have to bring the work place in line with the reality. she is the director of the center of health economics. she was the legislative director for hillary clinton. please welcome me -- join me in welcoming her. >> she is so fun. there are so many gray women like her the piatt had the great privilege of working with. -- with her that i had the great
conversation. women are going to work. they deserve to do so. we still keep 40 hours a week. if there is over time, we do it or do not keep the job. neither men nor women can combine working in parenting under these rules. we knew the -- need a new ways of working. more than 30 years ago, there is a study covering students in the changing dynamics of work and family life. if we have come a long way but not far enough. despite the progress, technology makes it easier and often more addition to work out of the office and major changes have made too little progress. that is why we are here today.
i want to talk a little bit about some things that are perfectly legal today. faugan employer has every righto change a worker scheduled from week to week and a day to day. it means that one day you may work in 9:00 to 5:00. the next day may be different set of hours, making it impossible to set a consistent top care or to court in a with their spouse purdah it may be that you are about to leave to pick appeared chap-- pick up yor child.
our schools are still open. we need more extensive learning opportunities. one other thing that is perfectly legal today is that if you are pregnant women who does not qualify for this, that means that if you are pregnant any to take a couple of days of to give birth, it does not offer is sick leave for disability leave and you can be fired. five it is not immediately.
the employer can say goodbye. the anti-discrimination laws have been incredibly helpful. for these were rules that were created. we need to look at those laws. a woman who needs to take lead to support your family cannot do so. we are one in the few industrialized countries of the paid family leave. it means not only does our government not offer it, but we do not even provide incentives to employers to operate. we do not do so for paid family
leave or sick days. in addition, a you can work for many years are earning more pay but take some time off to do caregiving. you may want to go part time. this is something that needs to be updated. we know too well that had a young child is expensive. it is a delight. it is expensive. we find that in child-care it becomes a second highest family after housing. what do we do? our government does not do enough. it is not even enough to make sure that those on the weightless get off the weightless.
we do, -- wait list and get off the wait list. we have congress to pass it. iwe have not done in effort sine that time. we should. one thing that find frustrating is that too often they hold conferences in do not do the heavy legislative listing and make the budget commitments necessary to transform the labor standards. one of my dear friends often says we need families that this is our own private hell. we are all struggling. we need to step up and help workers. it is not because it is the right thing to do but because it
is good for business and our families. heather went over the findings. we need to -- update our standard laws. faugwe need to make sure this it as one in talking about these issues. -- this is not just women talking about these issues. i look forward to this conversation. thank you. >> he is the head of the department. he has done a lot of work about the bipartisan solution. i wonder if he would like to respond to little bit. if water and some things did you have been working on?
>> -- and what are some of the themes that you have been working on? wexfor>> structural changes a bipartisan interest. -- change is a bipartisan interest. it is an opportunity for a broad conversation about a total systemic change. i am trying to encourage them to look at this moment and not lose it by not focusing done some of the same policies. and trying to take a systemic change which includes business. there has been a massive shift in the way it works.
most have not kept up. there are issues around healthcare. there is surprising bipartisan opportunities. the general flexibility [unintelligible] been there is a strong interest across parties and gender and labor that there is a need for flexibility. faug>> thank you so much. i remember when the family met up when it was first implemented. maria would pick up the phone and call the employer. she is now a fellow here. she is paying a lot of attention
to people who, because they work, others are allowed to work. iwould you talk to was a little bit about that? >> my essay in the booke -- i want to thank maria shriver for saying this -- was to focus on immigrant workers in particular. i thought one thing that had not been discussed needed to be discussed was if women are half the workforce and others are 2/3 of breadwinners or co breadwinners, who is minding the children? who is cleaning the house? there are hundreds of thousands of workers who are caring for families and children.
they often have no protections under labor law. they often are paid very low wages . they often do not have health insurance. one question i posed is, is it that the nurturing care that was done by the traditional wife and mother be so undervalued that when other people to over that work we just do not value it? is it because it is being performed by immigrants, some legal and some not? why is it we entrust our children and our parents to people and not respect it? it is not as care givers. i have an interest in farm
workers. they put the food on our table. we do not care about their conditions. i feel that what i tried to do in the essay is that oftentimes it is a middle-class and upper- middle-class women in families that are discussing the challenges for in the gives and takes in negotiations between who is picking up the child or travelling around the country. my husband somehow does not manage to do that. he is in berkeley. . .
>> did the department of labour have the authority to exclude these groups, and the answer was yes. that means they also have the authority to include them. i wonder if we could talk about two things. right now under the law, is there a minimum wage or overtime violation, our worker is protected even if they are
outside this. and what could the department of labor due to redefine this definition? >> is the microphone on? i am hearing complaints? is it it the employees? many people work for small businesses. unless you work for a business that has 50 or more employees, you will not be covered by family medical leave. that is a significant problem. i think we need to look at workers' rights that have nothing to do with the size of the establishment. i know that is very hard, but it is something we need to think
about. on the wage and hour, you are supposed to be paid minimum wage. there are exemptions for when the overtime rules can for home health and child care giving. >> this is very tricky, because we want to increase wages. they are workers and they help with the economy. as we have seen over the last 30 years, that in come for many groups has stagnated or gone down. when you talk about increasing wages for this type of work, as you said, child care tends to be very expensive. so is eldercare. it forces us to confront as a society what is a living wage, what is inappropriate wage, how
do we lift the wage rates so that in fact you -- the economy create havoc. this is a hard conversation to have, and most policy makers don't want have it because it is very difficult. >> if we leave it as parents pay more and they cannot afford to, we will never win. the question is, can there be a third leg to that school. what would it look like if a child care were a priority? >> some child care workers are not making a minimum wage, and they are breaking the labor standards. our government has in some cases
done a good job. let me applaud the obama administration for what they have done in the economic stimulus package. they put a tremendous amount of money into increasing child- care, because one of the things we have seen is that there has even been an erosion in the job care subsidies that we do have. we are trying our best to ensure that our low-income families have access to child care. they cannot afford to purchase child-care in the way that middle and upper income families can. it is a start because it ensures that there are jobs for the child care workers and access for the parents. unfortunate, it is just not enough. one of the things we really need to look to is how we cannot continue that federal support and how we ensure that our state and local governments are doing the same and that businesses are stepping up? one of the things that is most challenging is that our states have had massive budget cuts so some of the stimulus has gone to ensure that we do not lose child
care workers and opportunities. a lot more leadership needs to be done and it cannot all be government. businesses -- we do have tax incentives to have businesses provide child care. not enough businesses take advantage of those tax incentives. let's encourage them to do more. >> we do have a leave policy in this country for all workers. if you leave, cannot come back. when you talk about flexibility, there are so many elements. it is exciting that there is this broad support, but for people i work with, this is the real question for them. the health officials tell them if you get the flu or your kid
gets the flu, stay home. their employer says, if you do, at the minimum you will lose your pay and you get points that lead to termination. for some of them, there is not even that gap, they are just gone. that is the kind of flexibility that is so basic. it is not about stress, is about survival. how can we not say -- we need a floor that says nobody can say you will be fired for doing the right thing. >> the swine flu is uncharted territory. there are so many people who are little under the weather and would have gone to work sick, but now there is a real -- it has raised the level of awareness. a lot of people are staying home. it highlights do things. businesses do struggle with this. employers have an incentive to
retain their best workers and not decimate the rest of the work force by having someone there who is sick. therefore they have an incentive to provide some sort of flexibility for their workers. it also highlights the need for some sort of centers or ability for people to be productive at home, because many people will be at home care giving. the health issues of the next few months highlight the need for what is really a bipartisan issue, the need for flexibility in terms of telework. >> we have to confront the tensions that exist. in light of the family medical leave regulations, there are two observations. most employers just want to know what they are supposed to do. i really don't want to get in
trouble. employers value some workers more than others. when we were riding in the fmla regulations, we had to do with the fact that you were born to be accommodating to a valued and trusted employee, but when the employee who has consistently pushed the limits and your patience actually has a qualified f m l -- fmla reason to be out, you will be less likely to be sympathetic. one of the challenges in government is how do you write regulations and pass laws that actually provide guidance for the majority of the work force and not just try to write the reg to ensure that that one individual who was going to push
the limit would be protected. that is going to end up in litigation. let's worry about that 80% of people who just want to know what their rights are. the other thing is, flexibility -- there are a lot of jobs where you actually have to be present. you cannot open this door remotely. how do we balance that? >> one of the things that is so challenging, we have to recognize that professional workers have a tremendous amount more flexibility in our society and our low-wage workers. the same can be said of paid maternity leave. we have a ways to go on paid parental leave, particularly for fathers. in a large part, our workers have had wonderful opportunities when we have had children or elder care needs.
i think we need to really stress and focus on that we are not just talking about workplace flexibility to help us on this panel do a better job of making this work, but highlight the workplaces who are doing a good job for their low-wage workers. we have cvs and marriott who have done a good job to make sure they have predictable schedules. i want to know that i have to be there to open the store so i can arrange my child care. that is the type of conversation. as you look back on this, you have many reports of good businesses that have been going on since the 1970's. let's do more of that and not just pop at highlighting the ones who are doing a good job.
they talked about the possibility of doing something like the right to request an blogs ability -- collectibility like they do in the uk. i don't want to be fired for having a conversation about the need to have a predictable or flexible schedule. >> the focus on some of the corporations and that have the least amount of opportunities to provide some sort of telework flexibility. that does not exclude the fact that there are a lot more corporations who provide -- could be doing much more in that area. some of the companies that have a need for people to be
physically on site are harder hit in the recession than the average. it provides a challenging environment for them to be overly regulated. it will be interesting to see. the conversation -- a lot of employers will say that if the employees will simply ask, they are happy to provide flexibility. the hammer of that is when they come recession does not go well, what kind of mechanism do you provide in terms of the employee. it becomes a sticking point. you lose the bipartisan portion when it turns the that hammer.
>> i appreciate what david said, it makes sense. employers know this is the way to keep your best people. you don't want to make other people sick. here is the problem. for many reasons, employees do not always do what makes sense. the people who make the decisions don't always live the lives of their employees. the world a live-in -- they may not know the world has changed or they may not function as if it does. when the fmla pass, one of the things the commission found is that two-thirds of all the employees who were covered, and that was a mark -- a minority of all employees, they had to change at least one of their policies. that meant they were not covering men before they were not covering adoption or time off for caring for a parent or for sick children.
they bring up the problem employee, and this is what i would always say. if you have a problem employee, you have every right to set goals and expectations and coach and have consequences. but don't wait until her mother has a stroke to tell her that she is a problem employee, because that will be against the law. >> sometimes employers do things that did not make sense. the role of government in terms of setting the floor and then providing the framework for these discussions, i remember the battles we had, changing the fair labor standards act to allow employees to substitute
time off for overtime. it was a huge battle in which i remember a meeting in the white house. the problem was there were people who works 20 hours a day saying people should be able to have, time. there were only two people in that room who had ever punched a time clock, me and another person. you have to step in other people's shoes. it sounds great to be able to substitute comp time, but how many of us will be able to stand up to our boss and say i really do not want overtime, or i actually need the overtime, i don't want a timeout. i still think there is a kernel to that that ought to be explored, perhaps not in the current economy. people might be willing to trade off some overtime for time off
and flexibility. >> the most important thing is the word predictability. it is not predictable, if over time is something you cannot choose. if it is not voluntary, we cannot even begin a conversation. there are ways for people who want more time off. employer's right now could say i will give the the unpaid time off if you have enough money from your overtime pay, i will accommodate your schedule. the comp time was the only way of looking at a problem we could solve right now. the real issue is how to we get the flexibility of schedules, making sure people have enough hours and not mandatory time. >> a number of organizations have signed on to a valuing
families at work agenda that helps show what kind of legislative changes the secretary was implying we do need to help expand, bring systems up to date and make them work smart to accommodate the realities in the work force today. we thank you so much for doing that. you said legislative changes. there is a lot we can do without making legislative changes. one of the things i have been working on through the center for american progress is the idea that our federal contract thing we can make good policies -- it affects about one-quarter of the work force. we could incentivize are federal contract employees to do a much -- much better job and to be those model employees. we could have a ripple effect
throughout the private sector. >> there are business opportunities. how many businesses offer evening hours, weekend hours, there is a lot of opportunity there that we really does have to think about the fact that people are working with different schedules and are constrained by their own schedules. if businesses saw that as an opportunity, it could also help. it is not legislative. i have a service and i am going to make it more flexible. >> that is really well said. the business case for business
opportunities, market incentives are strong and should not be lost in the rush for government to do it all. the government has an important role to play, but the conversation now, there is enough of a change in terms of women's leadership in business and in terms of a bipartisan conversation that it is possible to take a step back and really look at the moment and say things have structurally change. how do we solve the structural change problem? it is a difference problem and how to pass a specific piece of legislation. if one starts with the discussion that says we really have had a fundamental structural change in the way we work and the way families need support, had we provide that support and what is the right role of the different aspects of our society?
that becomes a very helpful and surprisingly optimistic as to where that conversation leads. >> british reston a brilliant job and encouraging all of these -- maria shriver has done a brilliant job. do we have time for audience questions? >> i was just going to open it up to the audience to see what you would like to ask. >> thank you all for your wonderful work. going back to the child-care issue, my specific question is this. understandably, most of us focus on the lack of child-care, there is simply not enough of it. for those of us to study child- care, one of the major problems
is just very poor quality. we saw this very dramatically after welfare reform. some of our colleagues at uc- berkeley did wonderful research. is there anything in your report that will address the question of the quality of child care? >> one of the exciting things that is happening, because health care has been dominating our public discourse, the obama administration has a big push in congress for something called the early learning challenge fun. it has already passed the house as part of the higher education act. it would provide money to the states to really look at comprehensible changing our early childhood policies so that we did have a focus on quality
and a more seamless education program for early childhood. right now we have infant, a toddler, and preschool programs, but we do not look at the transitions and the importance of early learning development from 0 to 5. that is the exact type of leadership we need to be focused on. >> it is a good example of where government can partner with state governments to demonstrate projects and show the models that work so they can go on and become national models. >> government has a lot of employees, but i was watching tv last night and there was a show on walmart. it said walmart has 1.4 million
employees, the largest employer in the united states, is what the show said. i encourage government being the role model, but i would like to raise the issue of using alan's metaphor of the carrot or the state. incentive versus mandate. you said we have been talking about these issues for 40 years. at one. you say incentives are great, keep throwing out the model employers. when did you start talking about mandating these issues in government? >> i would start as the secretary said earlier this morning, in force what is there. this is a nonpartisan group, and we want to speak about opportunities for bipartisans
hip, but let's be clear. there was a time in this country between 2000 and 2008 in which the department of labor -- is half of what it was before. it had a report that came out this summer that totally criticized the inadequacy and ineffectiveness of what once was basic labor law enforcement. we should talk about all the structural things we need to do, but part of it is what laws do we have and how to we better in force and see what is missing?
>> although it is good you have women coming into that labor force, [unintelligible] to improve the well-being of our families. [unintelligible] you have some enjoyment and some happiness, and now everybody has to struggle to work and get some bread back home. it is not enough to bring the people together. they do not even talk to their children. they do not have a chance to talk.
i wonder if women studies can really look into the problem. how or going to reduce the taxpayer's burden and to read deuced the congestion. they do not need to go to work if they can just stay in the home. nowadays is the husband who stays home. we have to penalize those who ask for -- who ask people to work more. people suffer everywhere from domestic to global. >> the point david raised before about telework and kirby mandatory overtime, and i would add in this situation where
part-time workers are penalized. you may work part-time, but you work full-time every hour on the job, and you should get the same rate of pay at least prorated benefits. some of those changes would have if it would help people have more time with their families. >> we are seeing more women getting married later or not getting married at all and not having children. very often while some of their own female colleagues are getting married and getting pregnant, they are also leaving the work load to those single women. that being said, how is it that the single women in offices and who do not have children will not get the shaft with some of
the new proposals you are putting forward in these books? >> i think everybody has these problems. it does not matter if you have children. most people have parents, siblings, or someone in their lives. very few of us are without any family. it is important to recognize we are not talking only about child care policies. rea schreiber talks a lot about the struggle many people have who have a parent with alzheimer's or issues like that. it is important that these issues are not only about parents. they are about all workers and the responsibilities we all help. there has to be a shared sense of responsibility, and employers need to provide assistance so that the burden does not fall on
the smaller work force when someone is out. there needs to be recognition that all workers will have this happen to them at some point in their lives. >> one of the numbers i am always struck by is equal in the labor force but still not equal in wage. i am wondering what you see the government's role in addressing the wage gap is. >> what was it, 30 years ago it was something like 56 cents to the dollar? now it is 77 cents or 78 cents. it is still not completely full. it underscores what many women know, the significance adult
lilly ledbetter case and what the supreme court did, what president obama did as the first piece of legislation that he signed. we need to have people informed of their rights to ensure that we start to eat away at that gap. >> half of the narrowing of the wage gap comes from loss of pay for men. this is not exactly what we had in mind. one of the things we need to do in addition to enforcing the laws we have an raising awareness about that is we need a new policy that will revalue women's work. as maria pointed out, the people who take care of our kids make less than the people who take care of our cars and our pets. we need to revalue women's work and remove gender and race as
criteria in compensation. that will certainly help. >> i wonder if you have had any views from those on how we might support employers in financing leave. a lot of people are uncovered by the fmla, but of those who are, many cannot afford to take it or say that is why they are not taking it. you find good employers to pay maternity leave but small employers might see women go on maternity leave and suddenly their insurance rates triple or quadruple. should so security or through taxation or by creating pulled funds for ensures that might help employers level costs arising essentially from this.
>> the institute for policy research has been such a leader on these issues and for many years has done positions on this. in terms of your question, to really take the next debt and debt into these hard policy questions about financing and some of the issues that david raises about how we ensure that we get these things done in a way that we can all come together on. my colleague has some terrific ideas on this on the website. i encourage you to look at it. look for great detail policy report coming in december. >> i just want to suggest, and is underneath all of this discussion. we are looking for policy answers, and many different levels.
there is been at this tremendous change, but the institutions have not kept up. this country has such a focus on individualism. it is a source of creativity and energy and intellect and all those things. at times, it stops many of us from actually looking for common solutions. for example, if we thought regionally, why not think of pulled funds for health care -- pooled fund for things like maternity leave and sick leave. the fact is, there is no mandatory paid sick leave. people forget that. there is no federal law that says you should have sick leave.
>> but there could be. >> the federal government did play a role encouraging employers to offer these types of benefits. >> this extended time of peace is very difficult. -- the extended time off piece is very difficult. in this economy you have to think through that. providing support for the financing of extended time off is a very challenging piece. when you are using the tax code, it is fraught with potential negative consequences. the social insurance model of thinking about social security is a created an interesting opportunity. you have a system -- the majority of workers have some
sort of connection. some states have looked at the disability insurance model. there is a broad interest in changing the social security system because it is not sustainable financing wise. if we are going to value the type of work and family that the people in this room are interested in, when you open this conversation, i hope this is part of it. >> all this talk of encouraging and modeling, i find altogether baffling. we have women in 50% of the labor force. we do not have women as did the% of the decision makers and people who have access of the wealth of the nation.
we are all paying the price for that right now and will be for some time to come. no other industrialized nation has been able to cajole their business community into paid family medical leave. they have had to pass laws. i don't understand what we think we will accomplish by opening dialogue and encouraging good behavior. as a practical matter, child labor laws just happen because employers were persuaded it was not such a good thing to employ children. they made a good business case you could pay them less. there is a real limit to what modeling and encouraging can do, and i think the government's role in public policy is to cover that gap between what is fair and what the business community will pay for. it is not fair to sideline and marginalize half of your educated labor pool and not have them participate equally because they are the ones who have children and do the bulk of the
caregiving. [applause] >> i agree there is legislation we need to pass. in order for legislation to pass there has to be public pressure for it to pass. right now there is not enough public pressure. one of the things heather and i have been really eager to work on policy and support the great work in terms of legislation. the fact of the matter is, we have not just all of us in the room demanding yet but people across the country demanding it. looking at the role of how you get legislation passed in such a critical part of this. someone was remarking to me last night about meet the press, trying to remember the last time and washington sunday talk show actually talked about these issues. it was probably 17 years ago, back in 1993 when we passed the family medical leave act.
i agree that we have more work to do. we have a tremendous role to make sure that our voice is being amplified. >> all these things actually work together. the more we have this conversation and showcase it, the more we make the case that everyone should have access to it. the wonderful thing -- is very broad. it includes school nurses and people who care about alzheimer's and asthma. many employers -- i am part of that community and i do this. we are building this broad movements and trying to make more visible the work that is
>> this christmas holiday we have three days of "booktv" beginning friday morning at 8:00 a.m., we have several books including taylor branch on his recent book and sarah palin on her book tour. the recent miami book festival is also mentioned. you can get the full schedule at booktv.org. follow us on it twitter.
merry christmas. >> this morning the senate passed its version of a health care bill in a 60-39 vote. it will extend coverage to an additional 30 million people. here are some of the events, beginning with floor debate on the bill. votes. made about all of the people that work at the capitol during the difficult an intense time. we thank you very much for your outstanding service. it's early and i'll be brief. the most obvious problem with the bill before us is it doesn't do what it was supposed to do. the one test for any bill was whether it would lower costs. this bill fails that test. it's also clear that even many of the people on this side who
are going to support this bill don't like it. otherwise, the democratic leaders wouldn't have had such a tough time rounding up the votes. otherwise, democratic leaders would not have had to have votes in the middle of the night or at crack of dawn or over the weekend or even during a blizzard. otherwise, they wouldn't be rushing it through congress on christmas eve. the first time this body has had a vote on the day before christmas in more than a century. this debate was supposed to produce a bill that reformed health care in america. instead, we're left with party line votes in the middle of the night, a couple of sweetheart deals to get it over the finish line in a truly outrage -- and a
truly outraged public. the problem, they were told would be fixed wasn't. i guarantee you the people who voted for this bill are going to get an earful when they finally get home for the first time since thanksgiving. they know there is widespread opposition to this monstrosity. and i want to assure you, mr. president, this fight isn't over. in fact, this fight is long from over. my colleagues and i will work to stop this bill from becoming law. that's the clear will of the american people and we're going to continue to fight on their behalf. mr. reid: mr. president? vice president the majority leader. mr. reid: like so many endeavors that have benefited so many
americans, making health insurance more affordable and health insurance companies more accountable is a process. it's one that is required as to find common ground as we should. that's why, mr. president, we have a piece of legs that over the -- legislation that over the next decade will reduce the deficit by $132 billion. over the #@ @äta)17 >> mr. president, everyone knows we have had votes in the middle of the night and on christmas eve because the republicans would not allow us to have those at any other power. it is true when we go, we will hear an earful. i am going to hear from young caleb, a boy who was born with legs that stopped right above his knees. he has needed a set of new
prosthetic devices because the rest of his body is growing. but the insurance company says hainaut because he has a pre- existing disability. -- and they said no. companies will not be able to deny coverage because of preexisting condition disability. people like caleb and people who have children with diabetes and other problems, it's over. with so, yes, we're going to hear an earful, but it's going to be an earful of wonderment an happiness that people waited for for a long time. this morning is not the end of the process. it's merely the beginning. we'll continue to build on this success to improve our health system even more and to further ease the terrible burdens on american families an businesses. but that process cannot begin unless we start today. the american people and the american economy cannot afford for us to wait for the next time. because, you see, mr. president, there may not be a next time.
nearly 65 years ago, harry truman condemned a system that condemned its citizens to the devastating economic side effects of sickness. nearly 65 years later we still suffer from the same. just months after world war ii came to crease, president harry s. truman wrote in a letter to congress to this body and i quote -- "we should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern, that financial barriers and the way of attaining health shall be removed. that the health of all of its citizens deserves the help of all of the nation." decades have passed and these financial barriers have grown taller, but we will never solve the problem unless we find the resolve, which we haven't found, until, mr. president, today. this is how long we've waited. think of those who are just 1-year-old in 194 a 5 -- 1945.
there are far too many who have lived their lives have not had any type of health care. any type of health care. coverage got more and more expensive each year. insurance companies found more and more excuses to leave them out in the cold. and for those who worked in small businesses or owned one or moved from job to job, the peace of mind health care can provide was merely a dream. today on the verge of the year 2010, those americans are finally just months away from qualifying for medicare. that's a long time for a citizen to wait for health care in the greatest and richest nation the world has known. how much longer? how much longer can we afford to put this off or ask the uninsured for their patience? until health care costs consume not just a one-sixth of our economy, but a third or a half or until premiums consume more than half of a family's income?
we certainly don't have, mr. president, the luxury of waiting until america becomes the only developed nation on earth where you can die for lack of health insurance. we already bear that blemish. that's why we're bringing security and stability to millions who have health insurance and bringing health insurance to millions who have none. mr. president, can we have order? the vice president: the senate will be in order. mr. reid: what we will do is ensure consumers have more choices and insurance companies face more competition. we'll stand up for insurance who deny health care to the sick and drive millions to bankruptcy and foreclosure. we'll add years to the life of medicare which will add years to the life of seniors. we'll trade a system that demands you pay more and get less for one in which you will pay less and get more. as we do all this, we'll slash our children's deficit in
dramatic fashion. we may not completely cure this crisis today or tomorrow, but we must start toward that end. we must strive for progress and not surrender for one of purity. our charge is to move forward. this is a tradition as old as this republic, one that has always comprised interests and opinions as diverse as the people who populate it. our founding fathers did not promise to form an unfallable new nation. they promised instead to promote the general welfare as we move toward a more perfect union. they valued progress. our nation's earliest leaders promised not absolute happiness but only the pursuit of that goal. they valued opportunity. and like other new programs that improve the lives of many and were since strengthened to improve even more, programs like medicare, medicaid, social security, progress and opportunity are what this historic bill represents. to those who so admirably care
so much for their fellow man that they demand more, i say this is just the beginning. with senator ted kennedy's voice booming in our ears, with his passion in our hearts, we say, as he said, the work goes on, the cause endures. opponents of this bill used every trick in the book to delay this day, this moment. yet here we are minutes away from doing what many have tried but none have ever achieved. we're here because facts will always defeat fear. and though one might slow the progress, they can't stop it. and though one might slow the speed of progress, its force cannot be stopped. mr. president, i'm sorry to say that for the first time in american history, for the first time in american history a political party has chosen to stand on the sidelines rather
than participate in great and greatly needed social change. i'm sorry to see that many on the other side have resorted to myths and misinformation and continue to rely on them long after they were debunked. and it's regrettable that they view our citizens' health care through a political lens, because affording to live a healthy life isn't about politics or partisanship or polling. mr. president, it's about people. it's about life and death in america. it's a question of morality, of right and wrong. it's about human suffering. and given the the chance to relieve this suffering, we must take this chance and deliver on a promise the american people have deserved for six and a half decades. the vice president: the clerk will read the bill for the third time. the clerk: calendar number 175, h.r. 3590, an act to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to modify the first-time
home buyers credit in the case of members of the armed forces and certain other federal employees, and for other purposes. the vice president: the question is on the passage of h.r. 3590, which is amended, is the patent protection and affordable care act. there is a sufficient second. the -- there appears to be. there is. the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote: