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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  September 16, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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tv saturday night, bill clinton joins former british prime minister tony blair for a discussion of their years in office. >> earlier, house minority leader john maynard -- john boehner call don -- called on leaders to have an up or down vote regarding
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all of the spending is one of the reasons why. except for government spending and the uncertainty facing small businesses, our crippling jobs creation in our country -- yet the white house is piling it on. the economic policies of this administration have failed. yet they continue to offer the same kind of stimulus spending and more of the same job-killing tax hikes. this has not worked. the president was to talk about new ideas for creating jobs. let's start with this one. let's try cutting spending rather than continuing to cling to the one al notion that we can spend our way back to prosperity. republicans have warned that excessive government spending along with the continuing uncertainty that faces small businesses is tendering job creation in america.
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we call for bipartisan action to cut spending and to start -- to stop all the tax hikes that are coming. last week press -- last week republicans called for president obama to work with these problems by passing legislation on two things. first, instead of allowing a lame duck congress to pass a spending bill after the elections, let's pass a bill this month that cuts spending back to 2008 levels for all non- security discretionary spending. secondly, let's freeze all current tax rates for two years so that small businesses have some certainty about what their tax load is coming down the road. it is very disappointing that instead of signaling a
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willingness to cut spending, the white house is proposing new spending that our economy and our taxpayers cannot afford. lastly, it is clear that there is a growing chorus of democrats, including the majority leader and others, that raising taxes on anyone, especially small businesses, is the wrong thing to do in a struggling economy. this week i sent a letter to speaker policy asking her to -- speaker pelosi. i reminded her of the public backlash that occurred when they try to short-circuit the rules to run through the president's health care bill. it became known as the slaughter solution. the american people force them to call it off. on the issue of job-killing tax
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hikes, the american people will not accept anything less than the boat that they deserve. the speaker should pledge to the american people. as she stands before these cameras later on today, she ought to pledge an honest, up or down vote. anything less than that is unacceptable. the speaker allows an up or down vote -- i am confident that the american people will not see increases in their taxes. >> mr. boehner, in addition to the bush tax cuts, the stimulus tax cuts of $800 per family will also expire at the end of december. should this be extended? >> i am not familiar with the specifics that you mentioned, but i think they are worth looking at. >> you said that anything less
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than and up or down vote, if the goods split the bill, would it republicans oppose that? >> i do not want to get into a bunch of hypothetical. the republicans in the house and senate or united that this is not the time to increase taxes on anyone in america. >> you probably saw the headlines this morning. gop rivalry because of the tea party candidates. do you think that there is a rivalry going on? how would you govern the different factions? >> every member or candidate has to stand for election. in many cases, both in primary elections and the general election. as i said yesterday, i talked to my members last year about
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making sure that they were in close contact with our constituents. that they were talking with activist in their district. most of them have done a very good job of reaching out to all their constituents. listen, i grew up in a family of 12. my father owned a bar. all the training i need for my job i got growing up. you should grow up in a big family. yet to learn to get things done together. you learn to work as a family. i cleaned dishes. i waited tables. i tended bar. yet to learn to deal with every character that waltz in the door. all the skills i learned growing up all the skills i need to do my job. >> given the fact that president obama will likely veto any effort to repeal health care legislation, and >> patches rather pessimistic.
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>> -- that is very pessimistic. i am committed to doing everything that i can do and our team can do to prevent obama- care from being implemented. i believe that this bill will ruin the best health-care system in the world. i believe it will bankrupt our country. when i say everything, i mean everything. >> you have been in the cross hairs of the administration lately. >> i have done nothing. >> how does it feel? >> you all know me. i am such a scary guy. i am one of those open, transparent people. i have good attributes. i have some that people do not like. i see it the way it is. it comes with the territory. >> this seems to be turned on
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its head here with you. >> it comes with the territory. i can handle it. i need to get a haircut, by the way. [laughter] >> the next two weeks, your colleagues will put some bills on the floor to help the economy. what are your plans for the next couple of weeks? >> we want to extend all the current tax rates for at least two years and we want a continuing revolution to find the government after october 1. we want that at 2008 levels for non security discretionary spending. >> some of your members have alluded to [unintelligible] >> our goal is to have a smaller
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and more accountable government here in washington, d.c. our goal is not to shut down the government. >> how likely do you think it is that the issue of the bush era tax cuts will be resolved before you go home and would it not be preferable to wait and see what the people have to say about it? >> you have to ask nancy pelosi. i think the sooner we get our arms around spending and the sooner we extend the current tax rates for all americans, the sooner some of the uncertainty that is clouding the picture for small businesses begins to clear up. it is important if we want the economy to get going again, if we want to create jobs in america, we have to remove this uncertainty that is driving employers crazy. i know what it is like to meet a payroll. i know that if i was running a small business today, -- they
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are locking their profits up in a bank. they are sitting tight, try to figure out what will happen tomorrow. you cannot have this much uncertainty and expect that people will reinvest in our economy and create jobs. >> congressmen have to wait to -- did you see congressman hathaway? >> he served in my committee which made for at least 15 years. i came to respect them and know him real well. >> now we will hear from house speaker nancy pelosi.
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this is about 15 minutes. a niche to viewers, the two technical problem, we are unable to show you a brief portion of this conference. >> i do not know. maybe for some other kind of meeting. as you may know, a week ago last thursday, we had a devastating checkedy in san bruno,
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california. lives were lost. homes were destroyed. it was shocking. what was wonderful about it, though, was the sense of community. the chief of police, the fire chief, members of the community came together to help those who had lost a loved ones and lost their homes. i had the privilege of visiting there on friday. i hope you never in your life that you experienced what these people had to experience. it was practically vaporization of their homes. i commend our first responders. in terms of the firefighters, they came from 11 jurisdictions surrounding the area to address the situation that was, obviously, explicit.
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they also discussed the water sources and the high turns out that were necessary to put out the fire that they managed -- they manage to do that by friday when i was there. our prayers are with those who lost their loved ones. our prayers are with our first responders, our firefighters, and our law enforcement who came to the rescue. i commend the leadership of the city of san bruno for the care they are taking other people there. hopefully, no more than four lives were lost. "in any event, it is very very sad. there were getting ready for dinner in their home.
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you come home and your home is not there. my thoughts and prayers are with everyone. i commend my colleagues for their leadership and for making sure that the federal response was what it needed to be. after washington, d.c., our members came back this week. they had over 2000 town meetings and other public events revolving around social security, promoting and contacts cuts, and seeing america. the republicans want to hold
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that tax cuts for the middle class and still they get the tax cuts for the rich. we are not billing back to those failed policies. we are going forward. the members were very enthusiastic in their advocacy. we had two bills on the floor yesterday that referred to the point about congress purchasing items that are made in america and homeland security. every week we have legislation. it is important for us to make things here in america. we have always been good at that. in making it in america, it lets people make it in america. maybe by now you may know that
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the senate is passing the small business credit bill. i understand it was imminent when we came down here. when they do, this legislation will help to create 500,000 jobs. it will reduce taxes is for small businesses. s and as we get the bill, -- we think we have some better ideas. the republicans in the senate have held it up. some of these issues will have to be in future legislation because small businesses cannot wait another day for this to be passed. i think it is important to know that august is officially over. in the first eight months of this year, the economy has produced more private-sector jobs than the eight years of the
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bill should ministration. more private sector jobs created in the first eight months of 2010 banned in eight years of the bush administration. we are here to preserve social security, tax cuts for the middle-class, we are not going back. we are here to fight for the middle class, for the people's interest, not the special interests. i will be pleased to take any questions. >> on tax cuts, we are hearing from members urging for a vote. the you believe the american people deserve a vote on tax
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cuts before the election? >> what i believe the american people deserve is a tax cut for the middle class. what we are going to do is to say at the end of the day the extension of the obama and middle-class tax cuts will take place. that is all i have to say on the subject. >> do you feel that people should let their representatives know where they stand? >> i think the people know that the republicans stand for tax cuts for the region -- for the rich. they know how fiscally irresponsible they were. we have to establish our priorities for the middle class, tax cuts for the middle class. republicans have made it clear that their priority is no tax cuts for the middle class unless there is a tax cut for the
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wealthiest people in our country. >> what do you say to the 31 democrats who have asked for a vote on a one-year extension for all the tax cuts? >> what i say is what i have said all along, the tax cuts at the height and had not produced any jobs. they have only increase the deficit. we are still paying the price that they have contributed to the deficit all along. i expect that they had a different view. many of these members or members of the hawks. i certainly support extending the middle income tax cuts. let me just state that 80% of the tax cuts for the people making over $1 million a year -- i do not think that we should go into debt in order to
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underwrite a tax cut for people making $1 million a year. >> this weekend, mr. van holland said the possibility for extending the tax cuts by one or possibly two years, that is something the democrats would have to listen to. he said he would definitely listen to it. is that a non-starter for you? would you absolutely in no way support that? >> let me be very clear, we always listen. i completely identified with what he said. you always listen to people with ideas. there are a wide-range of them, you may be interested to know.
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we have diversity in our caucus. we always listen. i see no justification for going into debt to foreign countries to underwrite and subsidize a tax cut for the wealthiest people in america. 8% of the tax cut goes to people making over $1 million a year. i do not know if anybody here was their children or grandchildren deeper in debt so that we can get a tax cut to the high earners. i do not know what this is such a discussion. the middle-class should have a tax cut. 97% of the people make $250,000 envelope. everybody, up to what ever they
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make, they get a tax cut out to that $250,000. it is a tax cut for all americans. it will not keep on going and going and going. >> you are not open for that one or two year compromise? >> not for the wealthy. i think the president gave us exactly what we needed, clarity. the public is with the president. depending a lot bowl ec, 54%, up 55%, up 86% of american support tax cuts. they do not want the tax cut for the wealthy. the strength of it is that it
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has that clarity. it has that delineation. the money will be used to reduce the deficit. some people even want to have lived as cats for everyone or they want to have low tax cuts for the wealthy and spend money on something else. everybody gets a tax cut a lot to $250,000. people making $1 million a year get a tax cut a up to $250,000. 97% of the people are in that category. why would we get deeper into debt for money that is not creating jobs, has not created jobs to get the tax cuts at the high end? >> yet made the position of the task as perfectly clear. is there any chance that the top bracket tax cuts will be
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extended this congress? >> all i can tell you is that the tax cuts for the middle class will be extended this congress. >> regardless of what happens in november, help other to argue that democrats will rally around and keep the leadership? >> we are going to win in november. i do not accept her purse premise in the rest of that. >> you are in so many advertisements where you are portrayed -- >> spend that money. spend it all. [laughter] >> how does it feel? >> i do not pay any attention to it.
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it is important for these elections to work for families in america. their jobs are threatened, their homes were threatened, their pensions or undermined -- their pensions or undermined. -- their pensions are undermined. that is what i pay attention to. we are going to make sure it does not happen. we are going to go out there and fight. privatizing social security and sending jobs overseas has been their policy. we are very excited about the response that our make it in america agenda has had.
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it is important for us to stand up for the american worker to do international trade agreements that are fair to our own economy. that is what i am concerned with. i do not really even have the time to pay attention to what they say about me. they are saying that about me because they do not want to talk about the facts. they say that the leadership they support was against raising the minimum wage. the biggest consumer protection advert in the history of our country -- they want to overturn legislation to remove the prohibition on receiving health insurance if you have a pre- existing medical condition. we are very proud of many decisions, which by the way, next week they will be talking
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about issues that come due on september 23. they do not want to talk about that, said they have to talk about something else. i think the american people want to know what you stand for and what do you have different in your policies. that is what campaigns are about. it is part of who i am. i love the policy. i see politics as a means to the end, to give us the privilege of debating the policy. all along, it is all about one thing -- it is about the american people and how they are relevant to our lives. our members came back quite satisfied with what they saw in their districts. the picture is quite different than what many of them have told me are painted in washington, d.c.
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we want to up the ante, election day. thank you. representative don edwards will join us to talk about her prospects during the election. after that. david limbaugh. brigham mccown will discuss last week's pipeline explosion in northern california. "washington journal" each morning at 7:00 eastern. >> figures include presidential candidates and senate candidates.
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live coverage is that in o'clock a.m. eastern. >> for me or anyone else that is considering in public service, the question is do you have a positive vision for the direction the country should have? do you have specific ideas that can implement that vision? yet experience that can show you can handle it and get it done? >> tim pawlenty on a potential presidential run, going up in minnesota, and his eight years as governor. sunday on c-span. >> the two major party candidates for iowa's governor met for their first debate this week. the current governor, chet culver, is seeking a former reporter -- former republican gov. jim branstad.
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>> this evening. >> we are your moderators for tonight's debate. this is our very first chance to see and hear i was's to candidates for governor make their case about issues that are important. >> we are fortunate to have this debate in sioux city. we are being broadcast and
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strained by kcau-tv. >> our partners in this debate, lee enterprises, will be straining at this debate live on our website. mediacom is making this available to their waters. >> here is how the debate will work. the palace will have 30 seconds to estate candidate a question. the candidate will then have 1:30 to answer. if we answer 8 -- a week question -- if we ask a follow- up question, the candidate will have 15 seconds to ander. the sioux city journal."
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josh nelson is sitting next to mike, a political reporter for the waterloo courier. on the other side of the stage are ed tibits and arian, an on-line editor at the mason city globe gazette. >> in addition to the questions being asked by the panelists, the candidates will also have an opportunity tonight to ask each other a question, will also feature a question from the viewer of kcau-tv as well as a reader from "the sioux city journal." >> for audience, we have asked the audience live here in the theater not to applaud during the debate so we can get to the issues that are substantial facing iowa. >> there is one exception. that exception is now, let's introduce the candidates for v governor for the state of iowa. governor chet culver is the incumbent and mocratic nominee. [applause] >> and before serving as governor, he was iowa's
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secretary of state. >> republican nominee terry branstad. [applause] he was most recently the president of in university, governor of iowa from 1983 to 1999. >> now, we have determined that governor branstad will get the first queson of tonight's debate. that first question coming from mike of "the sioux city journal." mike? >> thank you. welcome. >> thank you, mike. >> governor branstad, under your watch as governor, the number of state workers increased by 8,000, spending increased by $390 million and the conservative cato institute gave yourerformance as a grade of d citing overspending and lack of tax reform. why should voters believe your campaign rhetoric of governor
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culver is anything more than the pot calling the kettle black. >> first of all, if you look totality of my record, you can see that we not only made iowa more competitive, we took iowa from being one of the high-tech states to below average in terms of taxes and cut taxes by a net of $150 million. we reformed government, reduced the number of agencies from 60 some agencies to 25 agencies. and i left the state in a strong fiscal position after reforming the budgeting process, putting in place the spending limitations and we put the cash reserve and economic emergency in place and had the budget balanced for the first time on generally accepted accounting principles, we reduced the unemployment rate from 8 1/2% to 2 1/2% and i left office with a $900 million surplus. contrast that with governor culver. he's taken the state in the other direction. the unemployment rate has increased from 3.7% when he took
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office to 6.8% today. we have 50,000 more people unemployed and we have a projected budget deficit of $1 million and you've just gotten your property tax bill. the biggest increase in school property taxes in 30 years, that's the difference. that's why people want my experience and leadership again in iowa. >> governor culver, you have a minute to respond. >> first of all, i want to thank kcau and lee newspapers for hosting this debate. i appreciate the fact that terry branstad has joined us here tonight and welcome to the panel and it's wonderful to be here at the orpheum theater. what a magnificent, historic place. mike, i think that's a great question to start with tonight. i am hopeful that we can really get the facts on the table. terry branstad has been misleading iowans throughout the course of this campaign. recently, "the des moines register" said he was not being honest with respect to our record. the fact of the matter is, we
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have a triple a bond rating. the budget today is smaller than it was when i started the job. we have fewer state employees. we've reorganized state government, saving iowa taxpayers $250 million. according to the pugh center, we're number 2 in the nation in fiscal strength and we have the second lowest debt load in america. i look forward to a spirited debate on the facts, on the record tonight. >> our next question comes from "quad city times" reporter ed tibbits. >> i thought that was supposed to be a response. isn't there a rebuttal? >> there's a minute 30 response originally and then a one minute rebuttal from the opposing candidate and we have thoption to ask the follow-up, moderators. >> there is no 30 seconds after that. >> correct. only if we ask a follow-up. >> very good. thank you. >> sure. ed, your question, please? >> thank you. governor culver, your office said in august that the ijobs program supported nearly 7100 jobs in june.
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but with 115,000 iowans out of work and critics complaining that each of these jobs comes at a cost of at least $100,000, governor branstad's campaign has said that the cost per job i as high as $240,000. could you please explain why this is a good investment for the iowa economy? >>well, thank you very much, ed, for your question and i look forward to highlighting the importance of the iowa jobs and infrastructure initiative here tonight. again, terry branstad has been misleading iowans about the facts. the fact of the matter is we've bonded for $800 million to do 1700 projects across this state, to put people to work, short term in the month of june, 7,000 people were working on ijobs projects. right here in woodbury county, 31 separate projects creating job opportunities for local folks here, investing in one of the largest sewer and water projects right here in sewer and
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water -- right here in sioux city, in the city's history, and terry branstad has been misleading people about the record. the fact is when he was governor, he bonded for four times as much money, he bonded for $3 billion in short-term bonds st to keep the lights on. just to pay the bills during a time when he was cooking the books, keeping two sets of books according to richard johnson, the former republican auditor. second, ed, we're focused on flood recovery. i want to do all i can to help those communities, cedar rapids, oakville, coralville, all of those flood impacted communities recover and so we had a choice. to do something to help invest in those communities, bring the university of iowa'sampus back with $100 million in the ijobs funds or pay as you go flood recovery. as terry branstad suggested which would result, i guess, in having bake sales all across the state. >> with all due respect, you
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need to move on to governor branstad's response. you have one minute. >> i'm not going to resort to the personal attacks. instead, i think we need to compare the record. since i left office, state debt has tripled and it's getting a lot worse, of course, under governor culver. i believe in a pay as you go system and iowans do, too. in fact, iowans are reducing their credit card debt. we have the lowest credit card debt in the country in this state and yet, our governor has increased the debt dramatically and the money that would have gone for infrastructure is going to pay back those bonds. it's going to cost us $55 million a year for theext 23 years. i believe in doing things on a pay as you go basis. he believes in doing it with debt fincing and he likes to brag about the triple a rating. th same wall street bonding agencies gave enron and lehman brothers a triple a rating before they went under and the stockholders lost everything. >> governor branstad, i have a follow-up question for you and you will have 30 seconds to respond.
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under your administration, how do you see specifically iowa's unemployment crisis being addressed and how quickly? >> well, i came in when unemployment was even worse than it is today, the beginning of the farm crisis and i worked day in and day out, hands on to bring industry business and jobs to iowa. i want to reduce the tax burden. i want to get rid of this dysfunctional department of economic development where culver has either fired or five people have left who have mismanaged the film office. instead, i want to replace it with an effective private/public partnership that you have in the siouxland and other development groups have across the state of iowa. >> all right. our next question comes from josh nelson of "the waterloo courier." it's for governor branstad. you'll hava minute 30 to answer. >> governor, since 1962, iowa has used a nonpartisan merit based system to select the judges. how would your proposal to give the elected governor sole authority on judge selection do anything tep partisan
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politics out of the courts? >> unfortunately, it's become very partisan under governor culver. we have on the judicial nominating position 12 democrats and many that are very partisan. i believe it needs to be balanced. i believe that it should be like the other boards and commissions and state government where you have not only gender balance which you have in the judicial nominating commission but party balance as well. and if you don't have a balanced board where you have an opportunity to have somebody that you think would be a strict constructionist to a point, then you need to change the system. but i think that's one way you can do it, make sure the board is balanced and instead of having a situation where you now have a very partisan situation and you've had very partisan people appointed, many people are very upset with this. and i believe that we need to restore balance. back when i was gornor, i did not look at the party consideration of the people that came up for appointment and we chose judges on the basis of merit. in recent years, culver has
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appointed some very partisan including he and his predecessor both, including the spouse of a democratic senator. this is not the kind of partisan politics we should have in the judiciary of the state. we need to restore what we had when bob ray was governor, when i was governor, doing it strictly without regard to politics so that we have merit. >> governor culver, you have a minute to respond. >> well, thank you very much, larry. josh, i think that's a great question. it's a real difference in this race for governor. i believe as a former government teacher in the importance of an independent judiciary. terry branstad wants to take that independence away. it's interesting, when he was governor for 16 years, he was all for the merit-base system. suddenly, now, as a candidate for his fifth term, he has changed his mind. he's done the same thing on bonding. i think it's time for terry branstad to be honest with people. he bonded for $4.3 billion.
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he never earned a triple a bond rating. he kept two sets of books. he was cooking the books, according to the republican auditor so there's really a terry vs. terry campaign going on here. he said one thing when he was governor and now as a candidate, he's saying something else. we need to keep the independence of the judiciary system and i support that and will continue to support it as governor. >> we now turn to arian from "the mason city globe gazette" for his first question. arian? >> hi, governor. i have a question from here in sioux city. en smithfield announced on january 19th it was closing the john morel & company plant, you promised a state rapid response team would meet with displaced workers within two weeks. it took seven and still today, many former workers are confused about how to seek state help. have you done enough to assist
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morel workers in sioux city? >> thank you very much, arian for the question. you know, the first thing i did is i came here quickly to meet with those displaced workers. my thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that were affected by that plant utdown. again, that was a corporate decision. not a decision that the local folks here made. i've also worked tirelessly with local economic development leaders like debbie durham here in sioux city, we've foughtor extension of the unemployment compensation benefits at the federal level, something that terry branstad opposes so the fact of the matter is those workers would not benefit from those extensions of those unemployment benefits if terry branstad were the governor. there are 30,000 people today collecting those benefits. i fought for them. i went to washington and testified in front of senator harkin's subcommittee, and fortunately, we're getting those benefits. in addition, our work force
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development office has worked extremely hard. we have provided services to more than 250,000 iowans. we've placed successfully 100,000 people into jobs and we've created 16,000 new jobs since december in iowa and i will fight for those that have lost their jobs not only at morel but a any other part. any other part of the state and finally, working with western iowa tech, we have secured millions in terms of green collar job training program dollars that we hope to enroll a number of workers into those programs. >> governor branstad, you have one minute. >> the workers at john morel are not the only people that governor culver made unrealistic promises to and didn't fulfill. we have the same thing in lake mills where i came from originally, they never sent anybody to help the workers up there and i went to lake mills when i heard from the workers how upset they were that they didn't get the help. and this is the problem. we have a pattern of big
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promises, but they don't follow through. they don't have the people that do what needs to be done. when i was governor, i was very hands-on, involved working with the departments and agencies and we worked to bring jobs to iowa and replace the ones that were lost. it's not always easy and you're not going to win every one but i can tell you, i will work day in and day out to bring business and jobs to replace the ones that are lost and to revitalize the siouxland economy and that all across the state of iowa. >> governor branstad, follow up with you on this. again, you'll have 30 seconds. if you could be more specific, how would you bring these jobs back? would you use a rapid response team or some other mechanism to quickly as these displaced workers? >> first of all, i'd have work force development people here right away to meet with them and then work with them and also work with the community college to help retrain people and also work with debbie durham and the siouxland -- the siouxland
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economic development people to bring new jobs here to replace the ones that have been lost. i work closely with debbie durham and work closely with the siouxland alliance. they are great people that are very aggressive and there's a lot of opportunities, i think, in this area. >> thank you, governor branstad. >> all right, we have come to the point in our program where the candidates will get a chance to ask each other a question. now, the coin toss has determined that governor branstad will ask the first question and governor culver, you'll have a minute 30 to answer. governor culver, you recently had an ad that you said you'd made mistakes as governor. would you tell us what were the three biggest mistakes that you've made? >> well, terry, like all governors including you when you were in office for 16 years, we've made our fair share of mistakes. the difference is that we've taken responsibility for those mistakes. in your case, you had 20
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different scandals in 12 separate state agencies you continue to not be honest with the people of this state. you attack day after day after day and i think tonight, it's important that you, you know, be straight and honest with the people of iowa. what happened during your administration at the alcoholic beverage division, at elder affairs, at the department of transportation. agency after agency had scandals. go to we'll bring you with a list of those and we've taken responsibility for everything that happened on my watch. like most humans, i've made my fair share of mistakes. i've learned from those mistakes. i'm a better governor because i've learned important lessons and unlike terry branstad who has never owned up to his, we're moving this state forward and govern govern
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g governing better. we've made staff changes and we have terrific new leadership in place including at the department of economic development. terry branstad is not being honest but the record is 251 companies, 20,000 jobs have been promised to this state and i've worked tirelessly to bring those jobs to iowa. >> with due respect, thank you. now back to governor branstad and now you have a choice for asking a question again or having a minute response to what you've heard and governor culver, you'll have 30 seconds to respond. >> in response to my question about the mistakes he made, governor culver just launched an attack on my administration and i want you to say that i think he's madsome huge mistakes. one was in 2009, passing the biggest budget in state's history when the whole nation is in a recession a then denying what the auditor and the legislate service agency said
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about the budget problems facing the state, ignoring it and ignoring it all year until october and then doing a massive across-the-boa cut that led to property tax increases that were now seen to replenish the money in the school aid formula and also pushing through the legislature this massive bonding plan which has put the state in debt. money that could have gone for infrastructure over the next 23 years to the tune of $55 million is going to pay back these bonds for this ill-fated program. i believe in doing things on a pay as you go basis. that's the way we did things before. that's the way iowans do thin. that's why we have people with low debt in this state. >> governor culver, it is your chance to ask your opponent a question. governor branstad, you'll have a minute 30 to answer. >> you didn't believe pay as you go when you bonded for $4.3 billion, terry. you have been accused by a number of statewide newspapers and -- including "the des moines register" of not being honest
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about our record, especially as it relates to bonding. the fact of the matter is, you know that that is not adding debt to the people of iowa because it's being paid for with a sustainable funding stream. you also know that we're number 2 in the nation in terms of having the lowest debt load. yet, you try time and time again to mislead iowans about the real record. my question for you is tonight, will you admit in front of all the voters that 100% of those bonds are being paid off with gaming revenue? >> minute 30. >> those bonds are being paid with gaming money that would have gone to the rebuild iowa infrastructure fund, a fund that i started when i was governor to pay for iowa's infrastructure. if you do it on a pay as you go basis, you can build twice as many roads and twice as much infrastructure. governor culver, on the other hand, decides he wants to do it
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with debt financing. and he brags about he bond being paid back with revenue coming from the gaming receipts but the fact is those receipts would have gone for good projects all around the state of iowa a we could have done it on a pay as you go basis and could have twice as much work done over the next 23 years. instead, we're going to be paying back that debt. i just believe and first of all, i guess it's important that people compare the record. when he talks about all the bonding that wt on when i was governor, the debt load has increased three times since i left office. the fact is we were very low in terms of debt financing. one of the lowest in the country under governor culver, it's gone up dramatically. yes, we're still low but we're going in the wrong direction and the people of iowa know it because they're reducing their debt while the state is following the federal example of increasing its debt.
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it's not sustainable. we've got to change directions. >> governor culver, you look like you'd like your one minute to response. >> so the answer in a long winded way was yes, 100% of the bonds are being paid off with gaming revenue and only if you go to a casino in iowa will you pay one penny for the 1700 ijobs projects. let me try again. you promised to create 180,000 new jobs in 1982. that did not come true. you promised again in 1994 to create 300,000 new jobs. why and you came up a total of 470,000 jobs short in those unfulfled promises that you made to the people of iowa so why should we believe your promise in 2010 to create 200,000 new jobs? >> well, let's compare the records. while i was governor, we created 300,000 jobs. while you've been governor, we
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have lost 50,000 jobs. 114,000 people are out of work right now. so i took iowa from 8 1/2% unemployment to 2 1/2% unemployment. you took iowa from 3.7% unemployment to 6.8% unemployment. >> quit interrupting. let the people decide for themselves who has the best record of creating jobs in this state. >> thank you, governor branstad. >> all right. we go back now to our panelists tonight. mike has a question from a reader of "the sioux city journal." marvin nelson of sioux city. >> thank you. mr. nelson asks -- the cigarte tax was raised by $1 a pack. other fees like driver's license, auto license, hunting and fishing licensehave also been raised. if the tax on beer alone was raised, he says it would bring in millions of dollars. why has the alcohol tax not been raise ed? >> again, this is for governor branstad. you have a minute 30 to respond. >> i don't think we ought to be
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raising any taxes. under governor culver, yes, they did raise a bunch of fees in taxes and fines and the worst thing is the huge increase in the property tax. the property tax is the most unfair tax. it hurts people that are laid off. it hits people that are on fixed incomes and we've just had the biggest property tax in iowa history. i mean in, the last 30 years, the biggest property tax in the last 30 years, why did that happen? because governor culver mismanaged the budget and then he panicked and instead of bringing the legislature back to make thoughtful reductions in a program, he does this massive across-the-board cut. schools have already hired their teachers. what do they have to do? either lay off teachers or raise property taxes so they use their cash reserve money, now they ha to replenish it by raising property taxes and iowans have just gotten their property tax bill. all across the state we're looking at double digit property tax increases that he hoisted on the federal government.
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that's not right. that's not fair. we should not be raising taxes on beer or anything else at this time. we should be reducing the size of government and i said i will do that. like governor of indiana is doing, governor mitch daniels, like the new governor is doing inew jersey, we need make those tough decisions. reduce the size and cost of government and not raise taxes. >> governor culver, you have a minute to respond. >> thank you, larry. another perfect example of a promise that terry branstad did not fulfill and it has to do with taxes. when he ran for -- first time for governor in 1982, he promised the people of iowa, i will not raise your taxes. the first bill he signed as governor in 1983 was an increase in the sales tax. terry branstad suppois not tell the truth abo his record. he's raised taxes 60 times on hard working iowa families. those are general taxes, gas
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tax, sales tax, corporate income tax, business tax, bob vander plaats and i don't agree on a lot but both of us agree that terry branstad is not being forthcoming and honest about his record on taxes. he's done it before and he will do it again. i guarantee you that he will continue to resort to the tax increase, something that i have resisted for four years as governor. >> ed has a question from a kcau-tv viewer. ed? >> thanks. this question comes from paula from ottawa, iowa. and she as what are your short-term and long-term goals for early education? >> governor culver, you have a minute 30. >> thank you very much for the question. this is another real choice in this race for governor. i'm the proud parent of two amazing children. my daughter claire is 9. my son john is 8.
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i believe with all my heart the importance of investing in our kids. my kids and all iowa children. i have fought successfully to increase preschl to 21,000 kids across the state of iowa. when i took office, only 5% of iowa 4-year-olds were going to preschool. today, that number is 90%. terry branstad wants to take $90 million in funding for our preschool schools across the state. he would take that away from our kids. and instead, he give it in the form of a tax cut to out-of-state corporations. this could be the defining issue in this race. again, as a teacher and coach, i believe in investing in our kids. terry branstad wants to take that away from our children and maybe tonight, he can explain why he wants to shut down those preschools for 21,000 kids in
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325 school districts. in my second term, i pledge to expand preschool to every school district, all 359 of them so that every 4-year-old in this state has the opportunity to go to preschool. >> thank you, governor culver. governor branstad, one minute. >> there he goes again making another promise that he knows he can't fulfill and won't keep. you know, when you promised the preschool and so what happens? we had a 10% across-the-board cut. hundreds of teachers are laid off across the state of iowa. and that's not the way things should be done. i support the universal preschool. but i don't think it should be a new entitlement program paid for totally by the taxpayers. i believe people that can afford it. my wife and i provided preschool for our children. and i know many dedicated parents across the state do so. some can't afford it. we should provide financial assistance for those needed. we should provide preschool for all. but it shouldn't be an entitlement program. it ought to be need based. >> thank you.
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>> all right. josh nelson has our next question. it will be directed to governor branstad first and he'll have a minute 30 to respond. >> governor, you've criticized gornor culver's handling of the floods -- flood relief in 2008 saying he overpromised and under delivered. if you would have been governor, what specificalhy would you have done different sldifferently? >> first of all, i would have had somebody in charge. when we had the flood of 1993, i had tommy thompson, deputy general in charge of that. we responded quickly. we had flood recovery coordination. we worked to maximize federal dollars. we had state dollars. we had unsolicited contributions that came in if people saw me on tv and wanted to help and we tried to see that nobody fell through the cracks. and we did it without borrowing money. you know, in cedar rapids, it's real -- i've sat down with businesspeople and also homeowners there. $4 million has been allocated to deal with the floods of 2008. and still, only 33% of it has
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gotten out to the people that need it. so he's promised all kinds of things. he's been there all kinds of times but nobody is in charge and they say that ty keep getting the bureaucratic run around from the department of economic development and from the federal people that are involved in this. there's no excuse for that. need to have somebody in charge and that's accountable. i had tommy thompson in charge of that. in fact, he did an outstanding job and he gave a report. it was all completed and done by 1994. the flood was in the summer of 1993. less than a year later, it was done. cedar rapids flood was over two years ago and they still haven't gotten the help to the businesses and the residents that need it today. it's a crime. >> governor culver, you have a minute to respon >> thank you. wish i had a couple of minutes to respond to that. i think terry branstad just showed the people of iowa how out of touch he is on a lot of issues including flood recovery. general ron dardis, terry, has
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been put in charge. he's from right here in sioux city. he's a three star general. i appointed him to rebuild -- to the rebuild iowa office as the executive director. he has done precisely what you've described. he's coordinated all of our efforts. he's working with federal officials. because of general dardis and our administration, we have secured 4.2 billion dollars. we've also created the iowa jump-start programs and iowans helping iowans programs. $100 million has gone directly to small business owners and homeowners that needed help after the floods of 1993, terry, you devoted $14 million. we devoted a half billion in state funds. >> now, governor, i have a follow-up question for you. looking back on it in hindsight, what would you have done differently with the flooding and what would you say the people of iowa city and cedar rapids about the flooding? many of them, obviously are
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still affected. >> well, larry -- >> 30 to respond. >> yes. you know, it just broke my heart when i drove through the night from des moines to the little sioux camp right near the camp to meet with aaron eilhart's parents. tragically lost four scouts at that camp. i did everything in my power for months and months on end to help those impacted communities. i have been to cedar rapids 100 times to help on flood recovery. i am focused and committed and my second term -- >> what would you have differently now, though, looking back on it? >> i think our response was exactly what it needed to be. we evacuated 40,000 people from 35 cities. i called up as the commander in chief 3,000 troops from the iowa national guard, the largest
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deployment since the civil war in our state and we moved people out of harm's way. and we saved lives as a result of getting people out of the way and my lieutenant governor patty judge, i might add has been an outstanding homeland security advisor and she will continue to be. >> with due respect, thank you. we're out of time. >> we have to move on. our next question is from arian. arian? >> governor culver, i w iowa i of 2 it 2 states with right to work laws. yet, the big labor unions that support your campaign would like to see you champion fair share, prevailing wage and expansion of collective bargaining. would these measures be good for iowans especially in this economy? >> another good question and a difference in this race for governor. i have said since my first condition of the state speech in 2007 that i believe a governor's
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responsibility is to try to bring labor and management together. we want this to be the best place in america to work. we want our businesses to succeed. so i've always encouraged dialogue and discussion. i believe we can find common ground on prevailing wage, on fair share, on choosing your own doctor. i believe it's important that we try to do all we can to reform our labor laws, something terry branstad has said unequivocably, he will have no interest. without receiving a bill, he said any and all labor reform legislation is dead on arrival. i think that's a very narrow view for a governor. i think we should try to bring labor and management to the table. i believe in collective bargaining. i believe in the rights that hard working men and women that have -- that belong to unions, they have a right at the table. they have a right to have the
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best possie work force with good wages, workplace, i should say, with good wages and good benefits and i will continue to strike the right balance in terms of labor and management in this state and terry branstad needs to tell us why he doesn't even want to talk to labor about any of these issues. >> you have one minute, governor branstad. >> you kn, i talk a lot to labor. you'll be surprise about the kind of support i get from labor in working with them and you'll see it. but here's the thing, prevailing wage would drive up the cost of all construction projects. try to lobby to try to push that through. i vetoed that back in 1984 and nine states have repealed it. you couldn't convince six of the democrats in the house of representatives to vote for it because they knew how bad it would be for the iowa economy. we don't need these kind of job killing ideas that are going to
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drive up costs and drive jobs out of the state of iowa. i will work to bring prooif sector jobs to iowa and revitalize our economy as i did before. remember, compare the results. 6.8% unemployment vs. 2.5% unemployment when i left office and we had a record number of people working. i want to do that again. >> governor culver, follow-up for you. at the end of the day, do you feel obligated to big labor because they do support you? >> i feel obligated to fight for hard-working men and women in this state. i feel obligated to help businesses achieve their goals. terry branstad won't come clean on the facts here. we have successfully worked with 250 businesses in the last 36 months. they've agreed to create 20,000 jobs and invest $5.2 billion in our state. microsoft, ibm and google, "forbes" magazine and others have said this is the best place
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in america to have a business. >> thank you. we have to move on. >> we now go back to mike of "the sioux city journal." mike has a question. governor branstad will have a minute 30 to answer. >> thank you. in light of the recent ag recall and salmonella outbreak and revelations about how one egg producer with a checkered past got around regulatory hurdles. do you really believe as you've proposed that now is the time to streamline state's ag regulations? >> let me say that i think jack decoster is an outlaw and we had a habitual violator law. we are in the process of putting him out of business when i was governor. unfortunately, after i left office, they let him transfer ownership to his son and then back to him. now, he gave $10,000 to the attorney general and $400,000 to governor culver through the democratic governors association, your largest contributor is a democratic governors association and the family gave $400,000 to him.
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i believe that is absolutely wrong. we have a lot of good people in ag production in iowa. and those people that abide by the law, we ought to work with th them. those people that violate the law should be put out of business for the bad work they've done. let me tell you what they did, they not only violated the environmental laws and the health laws with salmonella but violated bringing in illegal immigrants as well. they are bad actors and been trouble from the beginning and they seem to get off much easier than other people because they give big money to democrats. that isn't right. iowans want clean, honest open government. i want to restore that in this case. we've had too much of this pay for play going on. >> governor, minute to respond. >> thank you. thank you. >> it is getting in the way o truth when it comes to governor
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branstad. question is who brought decoster to iowa? terry branstad calls him an outlaw. itas during his administration that he brought him to iowa that s former economic development director, jack bailey wined and dined and testified in front of numerous boards about what a man of character jack decoster was so i think you've fgotten the past. it's been so long ago that you don't remember in the first place. now you want to reregulate the industry and you're not telling the trh about the contribution. the fact of the matter your former chief of staff represented him. he got him the first hog permit and we got the record to show it at >> we have to turn to ed tibbets with a question for governor culver. ed?
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>> governor, iowa has twice lost out on a bid to gai g ways to the top funds to help improve education in the state. do you regret supporting legislation that required school boards to negotiate with teacher unions over ways to overhaul troubled schools in the event that money were to come forward? >> thank you for your question and i do not regret moving this state forward on education reform. what that process allowed us to do is bring people to the table. our final application will the overwhelming majority of the school districts sign on to so we can still use it as a template, as a blueprint. in terms of offering more science and math in the classroom, in terms of implementing our model core curriculum so we can raise the bar in terms of what we teach and when we teach it. i will continue to fight for our teachers. i am proud of the fact that i was endorsed by the iowa state education association.
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i delivered unlike terry branstad on my promises to our teachers. i've raised teacher pay from 42nd in the nation to the national average. as i promised. another broken promise and an area where terry branstad is not telling the truth, he promised the teachers time and time again that he would raise their pay to the national average. when he started in 1983, they were 26th. he continued to promise. term after term after term. when he left office, in 1999, they had slipped all the way to 35th in the nation. i'm going to continue to fight for our teachers. i'm going to continue to fight for our kids. we're going to expand preschool to every school district in this state and we're going to continue to lead america when it comes to education in this state. >> thank you, governor culver. governor branstad, one minute. >> under governor culver education reform has failed and he hasn't been able to convince the democratic adminisation in washington to support his race
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for the top approach much when i was governor, we passed three phase educational excellence program working with teachers and school boards and we provided more money for beginning teacher salaries and reward good teachers that become board certified under the national board for professional teaching standards. since i left, that's been dismantled. in fact, the last bill at the last night of the session in 2009, the democratic legislature and culver signed it, eliminated phase one money for education. so that was a big hit toany small schools that lost that money for their teachers salary and he did 10% across-the-board cut that has caused massive teacher layoffs across the state and the property tax increases that we're now getting to replace the cash reserve funds. this is not the way education reform should be handled. >> all right. our next question tonight comes from josh nelson of "the waterloo courier." josh? >> governor branstad, specifically, how would your
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proposal for a public/private economic development agency result in the creation of more jobs in iowa and how many jobs would be lost by immediately eliminating the current state economic development agency? >>well, the present economic development agency has been discredited under governor culver's watch by mismanaging the film office now required or five peopleavquit from that agency. the travel budget has been dramatically slashed. they're not making the outreach efforts. if you want to sell people on jobs, you need to have people that really understand it involved. what you have here in siouxland, what they have in dubuque and many other places in iowa is a public/private partnership. i did it before when i was governor, when we started the iowa blue ribbon foundation for the state there and we revitalized the fairgrounds. so that's why i think businesspeople, not bureaucrats can be the best sales people that convince decision makers that they ought to locate and
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expand in iowa and having a pro business, pro growth, hands-on governor, not somebody that ignores a problem for months and now the taxpayers on the hook for over $200 million for the mismanagement of this office, and signed the bill that lets people that don't even owe any taxes in the state of iowa get a tax credit and then sell it to somebody else. that was a bad idea from the beginning. and then it was mismanaged. they didn't have financial expertise involved in overseeing it and still, we don't know what the final result is going to be, somewhere between $200 and $300 million, the taxpayers are on the hook for and we have nothing to show for it. that's why we need a new approach to economic development and i have the experience to do it. we did it before and we created all kinds of jobs. highest unemployment in the state's history. >> the time is up. governor culver, you have a minute on respond. >> thank you, larry. and josh, that's a great question. for some reason, terry branstad has a love affair with indiana.
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indiana today has the 10th highest unemployment rate in the nation. it's 50% higher than it is in iowa. they are ranked -- one cy is ranked in the top 10 in terms of cities to do business. iowa has seven cities in the top 10. their program has failed miserably. there's been scandal after scandal in indiana with respect to them lying about the number of jobs they've created. and what terry branstad doesn't know is that i've travelled to germany, to denmark and to spain. i've fought to bring nine wind energy companies to this state. we're now making the towers, turbines and blades. ibm, microsoft and google have come to iowa on my watch and we're the sixth best place in america to do business here
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today. >> your question, ease. >> yes,, governor culver, governor branstad just briefly touched on this matter but do you believe that the film tax credit scandal has undercut your authority and credibility when it comes to economic development in iowa? >> not at all. in fact, we have one of the best roshdz in the nation over the last 36 months, successfully negotiated with 251 companies, just recently cgf tires from the czech republic decided to go into charles city, to create 150 new jobs. i've met with the leaders of that company for years now. we've successfully landed that company. microsoft looked at 1 states in the nation in the last few months, they decided to invest $100 million in iowa to create 50 good paying jobs. the wind energy companies that are coming here are coming for a reason. this is a great placeo do
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business. we're the renewable energy capital of the united states. the silicon prairie of the midwest. we now have 200 companies in the supply chain in 26 counties supplying those nine wind energy companies. we have a record second to none, i wouldn't trade places with any governor in america tonight. this is the best place to do business. it's the best place to get an exciting job, information technology, renewable energy, instead of a brain drain. we're going to have a brain suck because we're going to keep young people in this state so they have the ability and the opportunity for those new, high-tech andexciting jobs of the future and terry branstad wants to follow the indiana model with the 10th highest unemployment rate in the nation and we're the 10th lowest unemploymentmen the nation tonight. >> governor branstad, one minute. >> well, i don't know what fantasy land governor culver lives in but i know there's
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114,000 people out of work in this state. 50,000 more than when he took office. i don't think that's -- >> that's not true. >> not a very good record. and i can compare that to what i accomplished in the past. but more importantly, what i want to do in the future, by reducing the tax burden on business and most businesses, most people that expand and create jobs are small business. we need to reduce the commercial property tax, he promised to do that four years ago and has done nothing abouit. we have one of the highest commercial property taxes in the country. we need to make iowa more competitive and we need to be pro business and pro growth and have a governor that's going to be there to help small business and not threaten them with all kinds of new taxes andurdens and labor regulations. that's right. yes, taxes. the property taxes in iowa are now commercial property, second highest in the nation and we just had a huge property tax increase across the state as a result of your mismanagement and
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property tax by the across-the-board cuts. >> we have one final question, we don't have enough time for a full question from the panel but here's the final question. it's a shortened version, if you whll. you'll each have 45 seconds, governor branstad, you'll be the first to respond. i'm sorry, you're going to have a minute to respond. you'll have a minute to respond to this. >> thank you. >> so far, we have seen attack ads on tv fm both of you. so how do each of you plan to move forward with your mpaign advertising and the time left before election day? >> well, we run a very balanced approach in terms of our advertising. we've had positive ads and we've done comparison ads and i think the people of iowa have an opportunity to compare my record with his record. most importantly, we're going to share with people my vision for the future that i will be hands-on to create jobs and work with the private sector, not some kind of government debt approach which hasn't worked at the deral level and certainly is not working at the state level and it's burdening us with additional debt. iowans don't want more debt.
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iowans have reduced their own debt. we need a government as good as the people of this state. >> ok, governor culver, same question. >> again, i started the debate tonight asking terry branstad to be honest with "the des moines register" number of newspapers across this state have said that he's misleading iowans, that he's not telling the truth about our record. he's saying it again tonight. we are number 2 in the nation in debt load. second only to nebraska. we have a triple a bond rating. the budget has been balanced every single day that i've been governor. yet, terry branstad continues to be dishonest about the record. what we're gonna do is we're going to continue to create the exciting green collar jobs of the future. we're going to continue to invest in power fund projects in places like emmetsburg, in shenandoah, she first commercially viable algae plant.
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terry branstad keeps talking about property taxes. he has proposed $2 1/2 billion of new spending in this campaign. he's proposed reducing the commercial property tax rates. the state would pay $2 billion over five years so you'd have a $2 billion property tax increase under terry branstad. >> we've reached the point in the debate where we'll let each of you give your closing remarks and you'll get two minutes to press your ideas. that was determined by a coin toss earlier in the day. >> i want to thank our sponsors and i want to thank the people of sioux city for hosting us at the beautiful orpheum theater. this is a wonderful city. this is a wonderful state. we're facing some challenging times right now. john morel has laid off a bunch of peoe here. we have 115,000 people out of work in the state of iowa. we have an office that has mismanaged the film office and we've had all kinds of problems
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with in-state government but i think the people of iowa are much better than the government we have. iowans have made the tough decisions and they've reduced their debt. we have the lowest per capita credit card debt of any state in the country. businesses have made the tough decisions. government needs to do the same thing. i want to lead a revitalization of this state. and i have set ambitious goals from the very get go of what i want to do. i want to see us create together working with the siouxland partnership and others across this state, i want to create 200,000 new jobs. i want to see family incomes increase by 25%. you know, today, last year, the task force ce out and iowa ranked 26th in terms of eighth grade math and 28th in fourth grade reading. that's terrible. when i was governor, we were either number one or number two. i want to get us back into a leadership position in
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education. and i want to reward good schools and good teachers. i want to restore the money that we had for teachers that became board certified under the national board for professional teachers, that honors and recognizes the best teachers and i think we need to have strt state standards and hold schools accountable so we can get the best quality education for our children. i'm proud of this state. and i'm proud to have the opportunity to serve again. i would ask for your vote and support in the election on november 2nd. thank you very much. >> governor culver, you now have two minutes for your closing statement. >> you know, this election like all elections needs to be about the future of this state. we don't want to go back to the past with terry branstad. i am for expanding preschool to every 4-year-old in the state f iowa. i am for health care for all of our children. i am for embryonic stem cell research so that iowa can lead america in terms of finding the
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cures to parkinson's, diabetes and alzheimer's. i'm for iowa becoming the renewable energy capital for america. beming a net exporter of our wind energy to places like chicago. i will continue to fight as commander in chief for our troops and our thoughts and prayers are with those troops who are in afghanistan tonight, we'll continue to fight and do all we can for t families of those troops. i will fight for our senior citizens. i believe in iowa. i believe in our future. the choice is november 2nd is to go back to the past. terry branstad is against health care for kids. he's against preschoo for 4-year-olds. he's against embryonic stem cell research. he's against the iowa power fund that has allowed us to distinguish ourselves as a national leader in renewable energy he's against women's rights. he's against civil rights. he's against independent
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judiciaries and i am for the people of iowa. i am for moving this state forward. and i'm also here tonight to humbly ask for your vote and your support on november 2nd. we have governed through some very challenging times. the floods of 2008. the tornadoes of 2008. the great recession that we all had to deal with, not only here in iowa but across america and around the world. iowa is coming back strong. we are growing again. we have created new job opportunities and our best days are ahead of us and i ask for your vote. >> all right. thank you. >> thank you! >> now like to thank everybody. >> thank you. >> we'd like to thank our debate sponsors, lee enterprises and
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citadel communications for hosting tonight's debate. we'd like to recognize mediacom for their technical support. >> and, of course, the great folks here at the orpheum theater in downtown sioux city. thank you very much for all of your support as well. and thank you for being with us tonight. >> all right. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> sarah palin will address the iowa republican party's annual
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ronald reagan dinner. we will hear from former iowa governor. live coverage begins at 8:00 here on c-span. you are watching public affairs programming on c-span. up next, a senate hearing on federal funding for some cell research. after that, treasury secretary tim geithner testifies on our trade with china and the country's currency. >> c-span provides coverage of politics, non-fiction books, and american history. it is all available to you on television, radio, online, and on social media networking site. find our content any time d.c.'s ban video library. -- on the c-span appeal library. it is washington your way, the
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c-span network. created by cable, provided as a public service. >> a senate hearing on embryo stem cell research. we will hear about efforts to craft legislation in response to a recent court ruling banning federal funding for such research. this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> this is the 21st steering -- hearing. starting back in december of 1998, one month after dr. jamie
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thompson announced that he had isolated them for the first time. i want to note for the record that it was senator specter who led the said committee at that time. he led the hearings beginning then and on to the remainder of the 1990's and into the 2000's. when the gavel changed hands, i picked up from him and we have kept this effort going. it was a very bipartisan basis at that time. i want to acknowledge the great leadership role that he has played in this whole effort on embryonic stem cell research. it is a shame that we have to revisit this issue under the circumstances that we find ourselves today. when president obama lifted the first administration's restrictions on since the research, most of us stop the fight was finally over. at last we thought there was a new approach to scientific research in this country, one
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that was dictated not by politics or etiology, but the epochal science. -- ideology, but it's gonna science. -- but on signs. at last we thought we would begin to realize the embryonic stem cell research. we were all on track to do that. the institute of new guidelines to ensure that this research would be conducted ethically and responsibly. the number of stem cells eligible for federal funded research rose from 21 to is granted -- its current total of 75. the scientific community has responded.
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every otic stem cells have very special properties that no other cells can match. they offer so much hope to people who are suffering. that is why so many scientists are excited to have access to the stem cell lines. at of the blue, came the preliminary injunction from district judge royce lamberth. that has placed a call of uncertainty over the scientific field. thanks to a temporary stay, research is progressing just as it was before the ruling. how long that will last is anybody's guess. we have come too far to give up now. if we do not win this battle in the courts, we will have to take it up in congress. this research must continue. the politicians and activist judges to oppose this and need to respect the views of the
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overwhelming majority of the american people who want this research to go forward. people across america have too many loved ones and friends who have died from parkinson's, from spinal cord injuries, and other diseases that might one day respond to treatment made possible by every on extensive research. i remember christopher reeve testifying before this subcommittee several years ago. i wish we still have him around today. i remember a newspaper man from iowa who had als. i wish we had him around, too. as long as there is a reasonable chance that this research could help ease human suffering and save lives, i believe we have a moral responsibility to pursue it. the purpose of today's hearing is to examine the promise of stem cell research. we will look at the science.
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we will not really a great beat -- none of the witnesses are prepared to discuss the legal argument for or against the injunction. i ask members of the subcommittee to refrain from asking them questions that are not in this area of expertise. i say to our witnesses, if you receive such questions regarding legality or court decisions, you should not still required to answer them in any way. we want to stick to the science, what is happening with all forms of stem cell research, what role at the embryonic stem cell research is planned and that whole area today. before we begin, i would like to turn to senator cochran. >> thank you very much. we appreciate you calling this hearing. trying to support the research
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that is so and portents and finding up chores for illnesses. but we for started looking into this area of stem cell research, my brother-in-law was dying of leukemia. he was one of the finest young men that are state had produced at that time and he had an outstanding future and was a wonderful person in every way. i am sure that is something that i will always keep in mind and remember, his great loss. there are many others who might benefit from findings that are made through additional research and how to combat these terrible illnesses. i thank my colleague who is here today. he has been a leader in this area for some time. we commend him for his successes and his efforts. >> thank you, senator cochran.
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if you want to incorporate your statement and your opening questions, that would be fine, too. before we go to our panel, key allies as to make a brief opening statement -- he has asked to make a brief opening statement. the stable be made part of the record in its entirety. >> thank you very much. i appreciate the opportunity to be back with you. as you know, i served on the subcommittee in the house that is the counterpart of the subcommittee and so it is wonderful to be here today. if i am doing something wrong on the microphone, maybe i will be the guinea pig and it will be ready for the rest of the panel. i appreciate the opportunity to appear on the subject of every on extensive research. as you know, i co-authored an
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amendment to the labor hhs appropriations act prohibiting the use of taxpayer funds of creating a human embryo for research. this so-called blank which has remained block of the land for a decade and a half. in my opinion, the body of scientific evidence since 1995 has served only to strengthen the argument in favor. the basic premise for the provision has not changed. it is this. the destruction of human embryos for research purposes raises profound moral and ethical challenges. the federal government should not be involved in subsidizing this controversial life altering research with taxpayer dollars. there are limited federal funds available for health-related
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research. if him -- if human embryonic research is to be done at all, it should be paid for with non taxpayer funds. the chair mentioned dr. james thompson. he was the first and one of the scientists discovered the groundbreaking embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells. it is known as induced stem cells. they are adults cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to embryonic stem cells like state. this discovery has changed the debate on its embryonic stem cells. we are discussing the ethics, dr. thompson him sad -- himself said, if human embryonic stem cell research does not make u.s. least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it and not. recent polling proves that
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embryonic stem cell research makes many americans uncomfortable. according to a 2010 poll, 57% of americans opposed taxpayer funding of every on extensive research. the majority of americans support the current ban on using taxpayer dollars to fund research in which embryos are destroyed. the question is, if we can use adult stem cells, up reprogram them to act like a periodic stem cells, and avoid the ethical challenges, why would we not take that approach? some people would have us think that prohibiting funding is stopping science it entirely. i disagree. private funds can be used for this research and are being used for this purpose. the distinction is whether or not the federal government should be subsidizing controversial, life altering research with taxpayer dollars.
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especially when the majority of americans oppose such a move. federal funding is scarce. we are simply unable to afford all the research we would like to do. i segment that we should use limited taxpayer dollars on already proven research demonstrated in the areas like adults stem cells. adult stencils are the ones that are treating people right now. treatment had been so effective that many doctors have turned to adult stem cell transplants as a standard lifesaving therapy while hundreds of thousands of people, people suffering from dozens of diseases and conditions, including cancer, juvenile diabetes, parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, spinal cord injuries, are turning to adult stem cells. an estimated 500 -- 50,000 adult stem cells transplants are
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occurring annually worldwide. using some cells from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and other tissues. research with adult stem cells has produced therapies for more than 70 afflictions and inserted promising results. advances in this field are happening every day. tremont ago, researchers reported they had restored vision to people whose eyes were damaged from chemicals. doctors took a stand cells from the patient's healthy eye and multiplied them in a lab to transplant to be damaged by. -- damaged eye. spinal cord injury patients have also been promising. at age 16, she was paralyzed on the neck down in a car accident. doctors treated her with a spinal cord injuries using her own nasal adult stem cells.
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as a result of the surgery and extensive physical therapy, she has regained feeling and movement in her lower body and she continues to make progress. research is another promising field. these are producing unprecedented opportunities in madison, toxicology, and drug discoveries all of the world. hospitals are developing from individuals with very diseases. a clinic and ontario, canada, has already created over 130 lines for 11 diseases. this clinic is also working on making lines to address diseases such as autism, schizophrenia. if there are additional funds, congress should invest in this type of a ground-breaking research. supporters of the embryonic research would like to ignore such accomplishments.
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they would suggest that providing federal taxpayer dollars on its embryonic stem cell research is the only means of getting results. however the accomplishment among adults -- it proves otherwise. i am proud to say that for a decade and a half, this amendment has protected life. this debate involves profound ethical, and moral questions. this is a matter of conscience for me, but more importantly, it is a matter of conscience for millions of americans who are deeply troubled by the idea that there taxpayer dollars may be used to destroy another human life. when there are other proven techniques available. i want to thank you very much for your time and i appreciate the opportunity to testify.
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>> senator weicker, thank you very much for your statement. i know of your long-term interest in this area. we thank you for your appearance before the committee. i know you have a lot of important things and you are a busy person, so we thank you for being here. you are excused if you would like unless you have something else to say. thank you very much. we will call our first panel. that will be dr. francis collins. dr. collins is no stranger to all of us here and to the subcommittee. dr. collins was sworn in last year as the 16th director of the national institute of health. noted for her discovery of disease and outstanding
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leadership for the heat -- human genome project. shoot -- he received his m.d. from the university of north carolina at chapel hill. last august, he was confirmed unanimously by the united states senate to be our 16th director of the national institute of help. dr. collins, welcome back. your statement will be entered part of the record in its entirety. i have the clock set at 10 minutes. please take deadliest of that amount of time. -- please take at least that amount of time. give us your thoughts and your views on where we are with every on its debt -- stem cell research and the whole area of stem cell research and what the
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status is right now. >> thank you. good morning. q -- i will make an abbreviated version of what is in a written statement. thank you for the opportunity to describe some of the exciting science. i have some visual aids that will convey some of these points. you should have hard copies of those visuals in front of you. it is an honor to be pure before you today to discuss the topic. i would like to think this subcommittee for its steadfast mission.of the nih's applying the knowledge to fight illness, reduced its ability, and extend help a life. i want to thank you for your leadership in advancing the embryonic stem cell research straight from your very first hearing, this subcommittee has
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provided a forum for discussing the great promise of this research and has an able to nih to invest in this promising research. there is a cloud hanging over this field today. the preliminary injunction issued on august 23 has created deep uncertainty in the field of research. some of our nation's most promising researchers are now asking, should i even bother to submit my new ideas? young scientists who were excited about careers in stem cell research are not worried about going into the fields given the legal uncertainty. let's keep the focus of this discussion where it belongs. the real reason for distressed about the current legal
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uncertainty is the patients have to put hope on hold. while we continue through this legal process, we must keep patients and their families of foremost in our thoughts. patients are what is at the heart of the mission. they are the ones who stand to benefit the most or to lose the most by the stem cell policies that we are discussing today. i am not a lawyer. i speak to you today as a doctor and a scientist. i appreciated the chairman's exhortations. i want to take to it -- a few minutes to outline the promise of this research. research that could be hobbled prominently on less stable federal funding can be a short over the long term.
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let's go through this. there are three different times of human stem cells. all of them are interesting and important for it is important to describe the properties of each. let's begin with human embryonic stem cells. i will begin with a brief overview of the remarkable properties of these cells and then describe how they can be used to understandable lecturer -- molecular base and development of disease, and do -- -- to screen for a new therapeutic. human embryonic stem cells have unique characteristics. these cells are called potent. a word which means they have the potential to become nearly every one of the different types of cells and the human body. second, the cells ourself renewing. they are able to multiplied and lent less numbers in the lab over many years and to be shared with researchers around the world. before i go on to describe the
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potential applications, let me emphasize that as scientists, we are interested in other types of stem cells. each have different properties. let me speak for a moment about adult stem cells. these are found in various organs and tissues throughout the body. these cells have been steady for more than 50 years and have saved many lives. because they do not divide indefinitely and produce only a limited repertoire of cell types, they are called multi potent. that limitation makes them less than ideal for some types of research. let me be clear. we are strongly committed to research using adult stem cells because there may be other clinical applications for which they are useful that we do not know about. we have been spending
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considerably more on adult stem cell research then on human embryonic stem cell research. a new and third category of stem cells are the so-called induced party potent -- pluripotent. this type of stem cells was only first produced in 2007 when scientists used a virus to insert molecular instructions into the dna of skin shells -- skin cells that turned back to the cells developmental clock. these new cells possess many properties of human embryonic stem cells. they continue to divide indefinitely and they have the potential to give rise to all the cells in the human body. these cells have the added potential clinical benefits of avoiding rejection. they can be derived directly
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from the patient. but let's be clear. did they are not well understood yet. there is growing evidence for subtle differences between the cells. whether this will matter for clinical application is not yet clear. virtually all investigators working in the field agree that ongoing comparisons are critically important. human embryonic cells remain the gold standard for potency. to prohibit work on human embryonic stem cells will cause damage to the new exciting research. i want to turn to the first of three key uses of human embryonic stem cells. there -- their value and understanding the molecular pathway is in development of disease is the first of the
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three. for example, what the genes are expressed in human embryonic stem cells and house that programming altered as these cells move down path ways to become muscle cells or brain cells? how does that go awry in the presence of the disease mutation? one of the very best when those we have now into a human development is trudy's human embryonic stem cells. scientists are using these cells to study diseases, such as fragile x syndrome, rett syndrome, and huntington's disease. a second area and the one that has generated the most public excitement is regenerative tissue. they could be used as a cell therapy to replace the damaged tissue.
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for somebody with parkinson's disease or diabetes. one of the most exciting and most advanced possible therapeutic applications of human embryo lacks some shells is for patients to have been paralyzed by catastrophic spinal cord injuries. researchers at the university of california and several other universities are pursuing the possibility that the stem cells can be directed to generate spinal cord cells for transplantation. this summer, they began a phase 1 clinical trial of its technique for converting human embryonic stem cells into a type of narrow cell -- neurocell.
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i will show you a computer animation that will show you what this looks like. we will now zeroed in on some r axons.and and thei ax that is the site that provides the insulation that allows a signal to pass. the spinal cord is injured, the signals cannot go through. this has been documented in animals. it should allow a repair of what is otherwise a block signal. the potential of this approach has repeatedly demonstrated in animal tests, some of which are pretty dramatic. no one is sure whether this will work in humans. even if it does, it will take
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years of additional research and testing before a standardized there be to be developed. if anyone looking at this opportunity would say, the potential here is truly amazing. a third area of opportunity for human embryonic stem cells and one that has not received as much attention is the potential to catalyze advances in therapeutics. by using these cells as a tool to search for a new -- we desperately need new drugs for a disease called als. you've had a witness on this very topic speaking about that was along for with us. this is a disease that progresses rapidly. this is lou gehrig's disease. characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, which normally
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provides a connection between the brain and the muscles of the body. ideally, we would like to find something that stabilizes at these neurons. but how? suppose you could test a library of hundreds of thousands of candidate drug compounds known that some are in their there might be one that would be valuable encouraging motor neurons to survive. that would be a very attractive approach. can we actually do that? i am showing you a video of robots who are doing drugs screenings. this is in a facility in gaithersburg, maryland. this is done in a miniaturized format spirits -- formats. it can save months or years of time. this is not a pipe dream. it is a reality.
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it is carrying the same kind of experience in harvard fork -- right now. the possibility that stem cell research might one day enable us to identify their before the disease that claimed the life of so many gives you some hope that this new application may provide answers that we desperately need. in conclusion, mr. chairman, i would like to emphasize that research provide enormous, but untack promise for medicine. this field has been pressed into a precarious state. if this research is halted, the greatest loss will be suffered by the millions of americans with conditions that might be helped. such people include those suffering from heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, a vision problems, spinal cord injuries. many messages i have received from patients since the issue of
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the preliminary injunction reflect these deep concerns. let me just read you part of one such message written to me by the mother of two boys to have juvenile diabetes and she suffers from early onset parkinsons' disease. here is what she says. i held my breath would hope that my sons would benefit from the earliest and some research. i watched as american scientist fell further behind on the global scene. into a dozen nine, i had such hope that once again our medical schools and universities would begin to attract the best and brightest young minds to work in this exciting area. she finishes with this. this week's news was devastating. i had no idea how strongly i would be affected by it. your message of support for the research gives me hope, hope that there will be changed, hope that we will see effective treatment in our lifetime for these devastating diseases. when someone is seriously ill or
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has a loved one who is facing a life-threatening disease, it is often hope that sustains them, provides the strength and determination to prevail. moving forward responsibly with all types of stem some research gives us and them a good reason for hope, hope that is not found -- hope that is found in a rigorous science. please help us do our part to turn that hoping to reality. thank you, mr. chairman for your strong support of stem cell research. i would be happy to answer any questions. . .
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>> there are many advances in the science over that timetable and many other stem cell lines being derived during that timetable since 2001 were not available to scientists who had great interest in studying them. in particular, to be able to have available embryonic stem
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cells that have specific genetic mutations in them would be a great advance in terms of the ability to study certain diseases, such as fragile x, for instance, for huntington's disease and such were not in the collection of 21 lines. furthermore, those 21 lins were non-diverse in terms of their origins. nearly all of them coming from individuals of northern european backgrounds. and if you were thinking about the possibility of ute lidsing these therapeutically for spinal cord injury, that could greatly limit the ability to use them for people of different backgrounds. so there's enormous enthusiasm and intense interest on the part of the scientific community to have this panel broadened and the obama executive order in match, 2009, made that possible under carefully described conditions, to maintain the most ethical standards in terms of how such lines would have to have been derived in order to qualify for federal funding. and n.i.h. now has on its registry 75 lines that have met
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those standards and more to come. >> very good. and in the senator's opening statement, he said the following -- "people suffering from dozens of diseases and conditions including cancer, juvenile diabetes, park inson's, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, spinal cord injuries and regeneration, among many others, are turning to stem cell treatments for help." it's been my understanding that while adult stem cells are used routinely to treat blood diseases, this is not the case for any other type of disease. could you please enlighten us on that aspect? >> sure. although stem cell research has been studied for more than 50 years and certainly has been primarily utilized clinically for bone marrow transplantation, where it has been of great value. we are, as you saw from the graph, spending almost $400 million a year on non-embryonic
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stem cell research looking for different applications where adult stem cells could also be of benefit. and the senator's opening statement mentioned some areas of potential interest. but they are far from being what you would call standardized care yet. they're experimental. i think one of the unfortunate aspects of the discussion about human embryonic stem cells is that it has somehow implied that scientists are opposed to research on adult stem cells. not at all. speaking for myself and others who will be here today, we celebrate all of the ways that every kind of stem cell can be utilized for effective research. but shouldn't we be pursuing the most exciting options and parallel and not assuming that we know one of them is going to be better than the other. because right now we have absolutely no reasons to say that. and most would assume that depending on the politic, adult stem cells may be better in one instance.
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embryonic stem cells may be better in another. we'll never know. >> so it's not just two different camps, it's a blending of all of this. >> absolutely. dr. daly would probably tell you he's made major advances in both those fields, and he'd be right. >> lastly, we sometimes hear opponents say federal funding isn't needed, there's other potential sourceness the private sector. how would you respond to that? >> well, of course, that was an argument that basically prevailed before there was any allow yans for federal funding for human embryonic stem cells and led to some states taking action. but most of the really critical observations that need to be made in terms of understanding the potential of human embryonic stem cells are unlikely to happen without the kind of federal support in our best universities and medical centers around the country. that is where the talent often lies for doing those really fundamental explorations of the nature of those cells. to assume that private-sector
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investment, although it's critical in terms of the steps is going to be sufficient, is to not understand the many steps that we need to pursue now in order to fully flesh out the potential of this approach to treating a long list of conditions. >> thank you very much, dr. collins. my time is up. i do have a couple of follow-up questions, but i'll wait my turn. i'll turn to the senator for his -- >> dr. collins, we were talking specifically today about the options for federal support for research, and specifically, using embryonic stem cell therapy. what, in your judgment, would happen if we didn't approve federal funding, or if for some reason the sources in the federal government to support this kind of research dried up for whatever reason, action of congress, or heaven forbid, running out of money?
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>> if federal funds were terminated for the support of human embryonic stem cell research, that would be an absolutely devastating outcome. you would see large numbers of scientists who have already developed a lot of momentum in this field becoming extremely disillusioned. you would see many of them potentially moving into other areas or moving overseas. most importantly, you would see that hope for the treatment of many diseases that we currently lack effective ways to intervene being dashed. i don't want to overstate here the potential for human embryonic stem cell research to solve all those problems, because we just don't know, and we have to be careful that our hope doesn't turn into hype. and i think people here will be careful about that. but, you know, if you were in 19r50 and somebody said, you know, those iron lungs are working pretty well, maybe we don't need to do anything more
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about polio, what a terrible mistake that would have been. so we have some science now that is working in some areas, but we have this new potential to have something that is game-changing. to have that cut off at the knees would be a defense stating blow. let me -- devastating blow. let me say, we have not introduced -- we have to compare those side by side every step of the way right now, because we don't understand the subtle differences between them and what that might mean. and if we give up doing that comparison to the gold standard for potency, we may damage the potential for i.p.s. cells as they are begin together gather momentum. >> i appreciate very much you being here today. i think your testimony has helped us understand in a real way, a practical way, what the consequences are in a breakdown
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of federal support for this research. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you for your generous comments and for scheduling this early hearing to take up the important subject of embryonic stem cell research. i look forward to debating with senator wicker the issues which he has raised more appropriately on the senate floor than in this hearing, i think, and i would ask unanimous consent at a commentary by bob schieffer on "60 minutes" included in the record where there is a comparison between those who oppose stem cell research with those who challenge the use of galileo's telescope because they believe their doctrines and tradition have already told
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them what was necessary to be seen. the decision by the district court in the district of columbus has had a very -- columbia has had a very serious impact on the research, and may the record show that i will ask dr. collins specifically about that, but in our informal discussion he said that while they have been able to proceed with the eggs penned ture of federal funds with a circuit stay -- expenditure of federal funds with a circuit stay that, the researchers are very, very concerned about their ability to move forward. and we have a stay which has been issued until next monday, september 20, and we do not know what will happen after that, and that is why i moved very promptly, as soon as we were in session on monday of this week. we went into session at 2:30, and before 3:00 i had the floor
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to introduce legislation to overturn the court decision, because congress has the authority to make this determination. it's not a constitutional issue. it's a matter of statutory interpretation. and the evidence is overwhelming about the importance of embryonic stem cell research to deal with the maladies of the world and that there are 400,000 frozen, which will be lost. and we are not dealing with human life. if it would be turned into human life, no one would suggest using them for medical research. and the legal battles are very, very uncertain as to what will happen in the circuit court, whether the state will be maintained or whether the supreme court might issue a stay. there have been surprising studies issued by the supreme court in the past several
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months. there was an arizona campaign finance law which provided for public funding where the court of appeals for the ninth circuit upheld the law, overruling the district court, and the supreme court of the united states, without even a petition for sore show rear granted a stay dr serb year, granted a stay. really unheard of. we had a trial in process before chief judge walker in san francisco on the issue of gay marriage, and the supreme court intervened to stop televising on closed-circuit television. so the legislature, the congress, had better get busy and had better act on this subject so we do not await court action.
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we do not put pressure on knowing what may or may not happen. i have a couple of questions for you, dr. collins. the first question relates to the impact of the judicial decision. and i have gotten information that more than $500 million has been expended on embryonic stem cell research -- well, actually, three questions. question number one is, what has the impact been on the scientists now using n.i.h. funding for embryonic stem cell research in terms of the uncertainty of the future? number two, what results have been taken in a positive sense,
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which i know are very good for the more than $500 million already expended? and what has been the consequence of the $10 million in the stimulus package where you informally told me that it has created the tremendous excitement and a new wave of enthusiasm by researchers who had been discouraged by the failure of congress to keep the pace, which we have moved from $12 billion to $30 billion, but failure to keep the pace in funding since 2003? >> senator, thank you for the question. and let me first say how appreciative i am personally and everyone at n.i.h. is for the strong leadership you have shown over these years in your advocacy for the value of medical research, and especially because we're talking about it today for stem cell research, that has been much appreciated, and your articulation of the importance has always been right on target, as it just was here in
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your opening statement. we are all grateful indeed for the way that you have shown that leadership. and you, together with our chairman, have played such a significant role in n.i.h. being at this exciting place that we are right now in terms of medical research opportunities that frankly, i didn't dream we would be at 10 years ago. but we also are here with this cloud over the enterprise in this very specific area of embryonic stem cell research. when the judge issued that preliminary injunction we were stunned and basically after interpretations by the department of justice took steps that we felt we had to with intramural researchers, who are working with federal funds at that very time, doing embryonic stem cell research, we had to ask them to stop. with extramural grantees, if they had already received a grant and were spending down the dollars that they had already been allocated, they could continue, but they would need to come back for a renewal on an annual basis.
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and we basically said within a year there will be no more funds because those annual renewals cannot be adhered to. and frankly, we had a bunch of new grants and renewals right in front of us -- about 244 grants, adding up to about $200 million -- that were immediately put on hold, not to mention a whole other set of grants that were ready for peer review that we had to stick on the shelf because we felt that the judge's order prevented us from acting on them. fortunately and to our great relief, although temporary relief it apparently is, the stay on that particular injunction last week allowed us to catch up and to go back to doing what we had been doing along, and we are working vigorously to be sure that we are doing the right thing here in terms of supporting the research that we always had intended to. but there is this cloud of uncertainty that hangs over the situation because of not a clear path forward.
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and i think as you will hear from others at this hearing, that is creating great anxiety, particularly among other young scientists, who wonder, do i have a career path here or is this something i better not get involved in because it's too uncertain? so the impact so far has been quite significant and is uncertain going forward. we are, as i tried to show in the graph in the opening statement, spending in the neighborhood of $188 million -- sorry, $138 million on non-embryonic -- i'm sorry, on embryonic and other types of non-adult -- let me try that again. we are spending $138 million on human embryonic stem cell research and all of that was put into jeopardy. and that's an estimate for fy-10. in terms of your question about the era dollars that have flowed to n.i.h., that has been an enormous infusion of energy and capability and excitement in a community that had been
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frankly struggling after five years of flat budgets. and many innovative ideas gogolaking for support. that infusion -- going lacking for support. that infusion energized a whole host of projects. one of my jobs is to read a lot of the grants that came in and it is some of the most exciting science that you can imagine, and we have used it specifically to encourage people to put forward out-of-the-box ideas that otherwise might not have seemed worth trying in a tough budget. this is breakthroughs in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autism, things that really have changed the whole landscape because of this opportunity to empower the community in ways that they had not previously been able to do. and i want to thank you for your remarkable leadership in making that possible. of course, we have another anxiety there that the two years of the recovery act are coming to a close, and the
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momentum that was started is now somewhat in question -- >> if you would just talk about the advances generally, but specifically on stem cells with the $500 million expended. tell about the big results there. >> mr. chairman, before dr. collins answers that, a vote's been called and i want to go to the floor. so i want to say really quickly -- >> i understand, if i can deal with this really quickly. >> doctor, your testimony is compelling, and i really appreciate it. it clarified a lot face-off me. i want to thank senator harkin for his leadership but i want to thank senator specter, too, and we'll continue to carry your spirit forward on this critical issue. i just wanted to say thank you very much. we do have a vote and i want to make sure we get to the rest of the panel, so thank you. >> thank you. >> well, just focus for a moment, if you would, on the $500 million already expended
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on embryonic stem cell research and what tremendous advances have been made there. >> so that's a long list. it has given us the opportunity at the basic level to begin to understand what it is that takes this cell with all of this potential and triggers it to become a neuron or a muscle cell or a pancreatic beta cell that makes insulin. those signals, that elaborate pathway of development, are now being sorted out by researchers with very powerful technology, some of them coming from the genome project. in terms of specific applications, you have heard of the application to spinal cord injury, which is now in its phase one clinical trial. that's the first one, which has actually made it through that. that was a lot of f.d.a. review, believe me. but there are also applications which are looking very promising for eye diseases and for type one diabetes, where human embryonic stem cells have
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been differentiated and then been used in an animal model to show clear benefit and rigorous science, setting the stage, then, for human clinical trials in the not too distant future. on top of all that, human embryonic stem cells are being used to do drug screening. because if you're looking for a drug that might help somebody with a muscle disease, you'd really like to test and see, does that work in human muscle cells? we now have the ability to make human muscle cells because you can take human embryonic muscle cells and tweak them to do that, and then test hundreds of thousands of compounds and find out what's there to stabilize this disease and make it better able to survive. a huge opportunity in drug screening, which is happening both in the private sector and in academia. all of those things add up to that roughly $500 and some million dollars, but we think we're just scratching the surface. >> thank you, dr. collins. that's powerful. >> thanks, senator harkin. dr. collins and others, there's
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two votes. we have about six or seven minutes left in this vote. so i'll recess the panel. we'll go vote on one and then we'll vote on the next one. so it will be probably 15 minutes before we get back here. so i'd like to see if anybody needs to use the facilities or something. we'll be back in 15 minutes. what i'd like to ask -- dr. collins, i hate to impose on you, but we're just -- there's a lot of things we need to cover. i'd like to ask you'd stay. while we're gone i'd ask the guards to put the nameplates of the second panel up there. but i do have follow-up questions for you, dr. collins, when we come back. >> no guards needed. i'm happy to stay. >> thank you, dr. collins. we'll be right back.
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>> the subcommittee will resume its sitting. dr. collins, two other things i wanted to cover with you. one, in your testimony -- and you mentioned it also in the slides -- was the power of embryonic stem cells as a research tool. sounds like even if these cells never actually end up being used as therapies in which they are transmitted into human
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beings, they can still teach us valuable information that can lead to treatments and cures. i just want to ask, is that correct? and just a slight elaboration on that. >> that is correct. and in two ways. one is that human embryonic stem cells, because they represent that most potent, most undifferentiated cell type, but can be encouraged to go down various pathways to become brain cells or blood cells or muscle cells, they give us a window into how that development happens in humans in a way that we didn't have before. and, again, if you are able to understand what those signals are, you can also infer what goes wrong if one of those signals misfires, and many birth defects and genetic diseases are in that category. the second way is the ability to use these cells, particularly if you turn them into neurons or muscle cells or whatever it is that you need to study most to screen for new
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drug therapies. the way we get drugs in the past has been involving a variety of approaches, trying to identify a small molecule and organic compound that would have the right properties to do something you wanted to, but you've often had to try that in an animal model. these are human cells, and they're human cells that you can convince to behave pretty much the way they would as a person, except they're there in the dish, so you can do it without the risks of toxicity. very powerful new way to feigned the next generation of -- find the next generation of drugs. >> dr. collins, this is more on a personal note. opponents of human embryonic stem cell research sometimes argue that it's immoral. they've raised it into a moral issue. quite frankly, i have a number of friends, but i have one very close family friend who had a lot of trouble conceiving a
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child. she and her husband tried many different things. they finally went to a fertility clinic and to in vitro fertilization. she was able to conceive and have a wonderful child. actually, twins. they are very healthy. and so that's a real blessing that science was able to help them. now, i don't know this for a fact, but in many of these cases a lot of the embryos are left over from a process of in vitro fertilization, and at some point the donors of asked what they want to do with them. obviously, they're not going to keep them in liquid nitrogen forever. so they're discarded, to which
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sometime ago my friend said to me, well, but i understand they could be used for embryonic stem cell research that might help someone who is suffering. and i said, well, yes, that's true. i would much rather do that. so seems to me there's some morality there that we haven't thought about. and as you know, under the guidelines that were issued, only stem cells derived from leftover in vitro fertilization can be used, with full consent of the donors and with no monetary consideration, and could not be transplanted into a uterus. had to only be used for stem cell derivation. so those are the ethical guidelines. i thought i'd lay that out. a lot of people don't understand that. but you are well known not only as one of the world's most well
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known scientists but as a man of faith. i actually did read your book. i thought it was very good. "the language of god." i think it's one of the wonderful crossover books between science and faith. it's a wonderful book. can you talk about why you personally, as a pre-eminent scientist, are comfortable with this research? how do you reconcile your advocacy for embryonic stem cell research with your own faith and your own moral judgment? >> thank you, senator. i think you've already articulated the issues extremely well. i do believe that the human embryo deserves moral respect. it is a potential human being, this coming together of sperm and egg. it's the way we all got started. and that is not something to be taken lightly. but when you look at the circumstances that you have just outlined in terms of the consequences of in vitro fertilization efforts, benevolent as they are, giving couples a chance to have children who otherwise could
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not, one of those consequences is the existence of hundreds of thousands of frozen elm bee yoss and others that are -- embryos and others being discarded potentially all the time. and then faced with the ethical choice in that situation, i have come to the conclusion as a person of faith that the alternative of discarding this embryo that's clearly not going to get used versus, for a small number of these, trying to turn them into a stem cell line that might ultimately teach us something about human development and medicine and ultimately help us come up with a treatment for parkinson's disease or diabetes or spinal cord injury or some eye disease or liver disease. which of those is the more ethical choice? i think it's too easy to simply say, well, the embryo is an entity that is a potential human and, therefore, any consideration of using the word "research" in the same sentence is something we should be
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opposed to. we aren't really being given that as an alternative. these embryos exist. they're going to continue to exist as long as in vitro fertilization goes forward, and it is. certainly it's given many couples a chance for a new life and their families. so putting the reality test here, i believe that most people who look carefully at the issues, whether from a faith perspective or a purely humanistic perspective, come up with a conclusion that what is potential here justifies what we are talking about in terms of federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. >> well, thank you very much for that profound statement. thank you very much, dr. collins. now our panel -- i'll introduce our panel here, and then we'll have our testimonies. dr. george daly, professor of hematology and oncology at children's hospital in boston and the dana far ver institute,
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also at harvard medical school. dr. daly is past president of the international society for stem cell research and chaired the international task force that wrote ethical guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research. he received his ph.d. from m.i.t. and his m.d. degree from harvard medical school. dr. shawn morris, director of the university of michigan for stem cell biology, is also a professor of immediate sib and a professor in the life sciences institute. es he also a director of the international society for stem cell research. received his ph.d. in immunology from stanford university. gene nelson is an prosht professor at the department of aanatomy at wayne state university school of medicine. dr. nelson received her b.s. from the university of michigan, her ph.d. from wayne state university. and ms. unser is the founder of
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the first step foundation, an organization dedicated to raising research funds and public awareness for people afflicted with spinal cord-related paralysis. ms. unser graduated in may with a degree in biopolitics and is now a graduate student at the george washington university school of public health studying health policy. i thank you all for being here today. i thank you for your indulgence because of our votes. i will make sure that all of your statements are made a part of the record in their entirety, and starting with you, dr. daly, working down, if you could sum up in five minutes or so -- i won't hold you to an exact time, but we'll start with five and try to get there so we can open it up for some discussion and question. again, dr. daly, no stranger to this subcommittee. welcome back. >> thank you very much. chairman harkin, thank you for the invitation to testify. i am here to assert that human cells offer unique advantages
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for understanding human diseases and are essential to a vigorous national portfolio of stem cell research. however, recent upheavals in the federal funding are disrupting our research and dissuading scientists from entering the field and threatening american pre-eminence in the research. as director of the stem cell transplant program at children's, i wish to first speak to the success we have in using adult stem cells. and we're using adult stem cells to cure kids with a variety of life-threatening diseases. we perform some 80 stem cell transplants per year for childhood leukemia, genetic diseases, and indeed, we have cured many kids. i was on rounds last week the i met an adorable little girl about to receive her transplant for a very rare genetic immune disorder. and i found out she was the second in her family that we could very confidently say we would cure. so it's very, very heartening to save the life of a child. but i'm also here to advocate
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as a scientist. and as a scientist, i'm sobered by the statistic that fewer than half of all patients treated with stem cells are cured. and despite 50 years of research in adult stem cell transplants and practice, this is our most successful. blood cancers still relapse and patients still die. so as a scientist i'm working to improve these treatments through research on adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells and induced potent stem cells. i think it's a flawed argument to say that scientists should restrict their focus to adult stem cells and it's a mistake to cast the different types of stem cells as competing priorities. adult stem cells are not better than or more promising than embryonic stem cells. embryonic stem cells are different and to many scientists they offer more hope in certain diseases like diabetes. would it make sense as a federal policy to fund cancer and cord ya vascular research
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but not diabetes research? all of these are essential, and the most successful strategy to advancing cures is to let scientists decide which cells to study. now, i've been a student of the adult stem cell for 25 years, but starting about 15 years ago i began envisioning a new approach to the research to generating blood stem cells from embryonic cell cells. and the idea was that we could generate customized blood stem cells in a way that would solve the immune rejection problem and the shortages and allow us to perform gene repair, together with bone marrow transplantation. now, we've succeeded in mice and we have a lot of promise in humans. in 2007 i was one of three laboratories to produce induced plurey potent stem cells and in 2008 my lab produced the first large repository of human disease-specific i.p.s. cells. so why, given that i have
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pioneered the development of both adult stem cells and induced potent stem cells do i continue to advocate for human embryonic stem cells? well, there's several reasons, and the first is that i.p.s. cells and many other future areas of research are founded on the knowledge we have gained from human embryonic stem cells. second, my own research and that of others is pointing to important differences between i.p.s. and e.s. cells. and third, some diseases are simply more effectively modeled with human cells than. i p.s. cells. we showed that you can model human anemia, a disease that pre-disposes kids to leukemia, as well as fragile x syndrome, which is the most common genetic cause of autism and mental retardation and these were better modeled with human embryonic stem croils. while we have so much to learn, how can we conclude that we don't need to fund the
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research? we're told that restrictions on federal funding won't inhibit stem cell research and that private philanthropy will fill the gap, but realistically research careers are founded on the architect of federal support. investment by the n.i.h. has made u.s. research pre-eminent. it's given us domination in the nobel prizes and it's been an engine for our very vigorous biotechnology industry. now, opponents of e.s.l. research will argue that adult stem cells are more promising. that embryonic stem cells have yet to cure anyone. this is like arguing why try to develop new classes of antibiotics when we've got ben sill lins and let's continue to improve those. it's very curious. the only time i confront the argument that adult stem cells are superior and that embryonic stem cells should be replaced is at hearings like this. at scientific meetings, we discuss and debate adult and embryonic and induced pro tent
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stem cells as all complementary aspects of cell and developmental biology. in my opinion, the arguments that adult stem cells obviate the need for embryonic stem cells are not scientifically driven. they are etiologically driven arguments to suppress e.s.l. research. and no matter how much progress is made with other forms of stem cells. e.s. cells will remain a vital research tool. e.s. cells are not contestants on "survivor" that should be voted off the island. expelling these cells will gravely weaken the search for cures. president obama's policy has expanded as sess to more e.s. cell lines and the court challenge has really come on us as a major blow. we've had immediate disruptions, but the long-term uncertainty is even more insidious. and i have several trainees who have toiled to make their projects on human e.s. cells work and the uncertainty has really compelled some of them
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to abandon those plans. so these decisions, which are driven by politics and not science, are deeply disturbing. so let me finish by saying that although the injunction has been stayed with the latest upheavals, we're again reminded that human e.s. cells are fragile and new legislation is needed to sustain the mo ten tum of e.s. cell research and to allow scientists and not politicians nor judges to determine which research priorities to pursue. thank you. >> dr. daley, once again, thank you for alhave profound statement and for all the work that you've been doing in this area. now we turn to dr. morris. dr. morris, welcome. >> thank you, senator harkin, for the opportunity to testify today. i've spent my entire career doing stem cell research, almost exclusively adult stem cell research. the research in my lab has won a number of awards, including an award from president bush in 2003.
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nonetheless, like nearly all leading stem cell researchers, i believe the federal government must support all forms of stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cells. we simply do not yet know what kinds of stem cells will yield the breakthroughs of the future and must pursue all forms of stem cell research to develop new therapies sooner, rather than later. stem cell scientists don't cluster into adult versus embryonic camps. this framing of the debate comes from political lobbyists. i interact regularly with hundreds of the leading stem cell scientists throughout the world and virtually all of them believe that research must continue with all types of stem cells for the reasons george just articulated. stem cell research is a remarkably fast-moving field that has taken a series of unexpected twists and turns over the past several years. there's no point in the last 10 years where we could have predicted, even two years down the road, where the field would be. yet, at every point there have been people who believe they could predict the future and
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who could tell us which avenues of research should be abandoned. but until the research is done, we don't know what the answers will be. think about the arguments that opponents have made as alternatives to embryonic stem cell research. first they suggest that umbilical cord stem cells could replace embryonic stem cells. i can tell you that there was any any scientific plausible basis for the argument that cord stem cells could do what embryonic stem cells can do. instead, they subsequently suggested that amniotic cells could replace embryonic stem cells, but those cells are biologically different from embryonic stem cells and were never a plausible alternative. again, you never hear about those cells anymore. then opponents circulated lists of over 70 diseases they claim could be cured with adult stem cells. what they don't tell you is that only diseases of the blood-forming system are routinely treated with adult
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stem cells and many of the other treatments, in quotation marks, they cite are highly speculative are often not based on sound science and are prohibited from being sold to patients in this country by our food and drug administration. the reality is that many types of stem cells are likely to yield scientific advances and potentially new therapies. and it would be foolish to place all of our bets on certain stem cells at such an early stage in the development of this field. for this reason the international society for stem cell research has repeatedly recommended that all forms of stem cell research must be pursued and that patients should be cautious about claims regarding unproven adult stem cell therapies that are offered overseas. where would we be right now if you had taken the advice of opponents of embryonic stem cell research and directed the national institutes of health to focus their funding on umbilical cord blood cells or amniotic cells? promising research would be abandoned in favor of the
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alternatives, sacrificing scientific progress and the opportunity to develop new therapies. the award my lab received from president bush was for our work studying stem cells to give rise to the central nervous system. one of the things we discovered is that a birth defect is caused by defects in the function of these nurel stem cells during fetal development. in kids with this disease, the neweral stem cells failed to migrate into the intestine -- part of the intestine, rendering that segment of the intestine nonfunctional. our work suggested that we might be able to bypass that defect by transplanting neweral stem cells into the nonfunctional portion of the gut. the problem is that those cells only exist during fetal development. so we decided to generate those cells by deriving them from human embryonic stem cells. i want to emphasize this point, because for the therapy we want to use a tissue-specific stem cell, a cell that in the newspaper is generally referred to as an adult stem cell and
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yet, we have to obtain it from embryonic stem cells. so this illustrates why it's scientifically meaningless to frame this debate as a choice between adult and embryonic stem cells, because we sometimes need embryonic stem cells to derive the adult cells that we want to use in the therapy. so this research in my lab is funded by the national institutes of health, but it's suffered from repeated delays. first the grant was delayed while n.i.h. put in place its new embryonic stem cell policy. then we received the grant but unable to spend the money until n.i.h. had the opportunity to review new stem cell lines for funding. and finally, we were able to start the research but eight months later the federal injunction was issued. in the first few days after the injunction i told my lab if our funding was cut off, we would abandon our work on that disease. i have with me today jack mosher from my laboratory -- jack, you might want to stand up for a second. jack is the guy in my lab who does this work. the project i've been telling
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you about is jack's work and his salary comes exclusively from this grant. jack has dedicated the last nine years of his life to studying peripheral nervous system development culminating in this project, attempting to translate the basic science that we've done to the benefit of patients. yet, in those early days after the injunction, jack didn't know whether his work would survive the injunction, whether he would still have a salary, or what would happen to his career. so i'll just sum up by saying that american science is the envy of the world because it's a mery tock crease in which there's fierce competition to funds the best ideas. if we accept the principle that those who are not judged to have the best ideas can obtain judicial relief that blocks funding of the best ideas to allow the lesser ideas to compete, this will erode the very hard of american competitiveness. we owe more to the patients suffering from incurable diseases. we owe it to them to support all forms of stem cell research so that no matter where the science leads and where the
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cures come from, we can follow the most promising avenues of discovery. so i would urge you to clarify the wicker amendment so that there can be no question regarding congress's intent to fund the most meritorious science. >> thank you very much, very morrison. and mr. mosher, thank you. i may even have a question for you when we get to the questions here. we turn now to dr. nelson, and welcome and please proceed. >> thank you very much, chairman harkin, for the opportunity to present this information today. i am a translational neuroscientist from wayne state university. and today i am -- there are two types of stem cells, embryonic stem cells from elm bee yoss and adult stem cells. today i'm going to talk about adult stem cells. and we use the term adult stem cells to mean not just stem
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cells from adults, but also from children and umbilical cord from blood. and what you have to understand is that the first human adult stem cell was isolated in 1992. now, we do have a long history of doing bone marrow transplants which contain stem cells. but adult stem cells are actually, in terms of looking at other diseases and injuries, is a new field. and it was only in the late 1990st that we realized the potential for other diseases other than cancer and various blood disorders. and, yes, most of the federal funding does go to adult stem cells, but the majority of that goes to old, but very important studies, in terms of treating cancer and blood diseases.
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the biotech industry that has a much larger budget for research than federal funding is not interested, in most cases, in adult stem cells. and we only have a limited amount of federal funding available. and where we are in adult stem cells, i'm sure the members have seen previously that there are some examples of people being treated with adult stem cells where there is considerable improvement. but the research is going from isolated incidents, and i'm going to present clinical trial data in respectable journals where we need to move through clinical trials to standard of care. and to move from a basic science study is relatively
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inexpensive. several hundred thousand dollars. but for each clinical trial, you need billions of dollars. so we need a lot more federal support to move forward with adult stem cells. this is an example -- oops, i'm sorry. this is an example of one of the patients -- it didn't go on. ok. i'm sorry. >> well, this would have been an example of one of the patients that was treated, a quadriplegic that was treated and -- treated using a procedure that was developed in
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portugal by dr. carlos lima and his team. and this is a picture -- i think we do have a poster of this gentleman that i met several years ago, and he was treated with his own adult stem cell two years after his injury. and two years after his injury, this gentleman is now shown standing up, without anyone supporting him. he's not waving, but he was in the video, and with only braces on his -- only braces on his -- on a foot-ankle brace. so he is standing up, maintaining balance. and he can now walk with a walker. amazing. a quadriplegic walking with a walker without assistance. and this is the progress. but this isn't an isolated incident. if you look at the two
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publications that have been published in peer review journals -- >> doctor, can i interrupt for a quick question? >> yes. >> is he what would be referred to as atologous stem cells? >> yes, he was. and these stem cells were obtained from in his nasal -- from inside of his nose and used to treat his spinal cord injury. but this, as i said, isn't an isolated incident. there are peer review publications in a larger number of patients, and i would love the opportunity to bring this forward in the united states after completing a safety study. so patients don't have to go to other countries to have this done. another example -- this is doug
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rice, and he had several heart attacks and had chronic heart failure. and he was told in 2002 that he had two years to live. and he went to another country and had a treatment done, and he's alive and doing well. at the time he had the procedure done he could barely walk. but this is also not an isolated example. this is a published peer-reviewed article of a study where they used 191 patients, had adult stem cells, and compared to 200 patients with similar heart conditions. and the treated patients lived longer and also could zice more. now i have -- exercise more. now i have to move to a somewhat gross and i apologize for that. this is corneal blindness.
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this is the second leading cause for blindness in the country. on the left side it shows eyes of several surgeries that were unsuccessful and blind in that eye. but using stem cells, adult stem cells from their other guy, this shows the result several years later. and this particular one was 112 patients, and more than 75% of the time it was successful, and many of these patients regained normal vision in their eye. and let me just go to another example. so this is the study -- the published study that was published of these 112 patients in the new england journal of medicine. i'll go to one more patient. i'm showing these sort of poster patients or poster examples. but now they're supported by results from clinical trials.
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in the middle is joe davis. he had very severe sickle cell anemia and his parents were told that joe might not live to his teens. so he had the procedure using his brother's umbilical cord blood cells, and joe is absolutely doing fine right now and has no sickle cell symptoms. and there's been two published studies for sickle cell, which is a very painful condition. this first study, six out of seven patients no longer have sickle cell symptoms. and another study at -- this particular study was by n.i.h. scientists and published in the "new england journal of medicine" in 10 adults with sickle cell anemia. and most of these patients -- nine out of 10 of these
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patients no longer had sickle cell symptoms. the last patient that i'd like to show is barry gowdy, and he had multiple sclerosis. and he went to northwestern memorial hospital and he had symptoms of m.s., and they have disappeared. he was part of a larger study that was published in a peer-review journal in lancet, and these patients showed significant functional improvement, and no one got worse in this degenerative disease. >> dr. nelson, i would like to ask you to wrap up. we have to get to the last speaker and we have some votes we have to get to. >> this is another study supporting that. i won't talk about the amazing results and newly diagnosed juvenile diabetes, but i'd just like to conclude that we need
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more federal funding. we need more n.i.h. funding so patients don't have to go to other countries and so these amazing results that i presented can go to clinical trials and become standard of care for u.s. patients that need their support. >> thank you very much, dr. pa doocy necessarily sofpblet and now, ms. unser, please proceed. >> thank you for allowing me to testify and use my voice on behalf of millions of americans living with debilitating diseases. i feel honored and frustrated as to why we are here today. 10 years ago my hero, my superman, christopher reeve, sat in his power wheelchair and using every breath he took chanks to a machine testified to congress with the hope that embryonic stem cell research would be federally funded. today, in 2010, we are still fighting for this promising and hopeful research to continue.
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embryonic stem cells are science based on hope, hope for improving the quality of life for millions of americans by providing better treatment and eventually cures. my journey began 11 years ago. i was a healthy 12-year-old kid who was active and had big dreams. everything changed on february 5, 999. i can't recall how it felt to put my feet on the floor, how i got dressed that morning or what i had for breakfast, but what i do remember is that in a matter of 20 minutes my body became paralyzed and my life drastically changed. i was playing basketball at school and suddenly couldn't catch my breath and my head started pounding with sharp pain. the school i was attending called the ambulance and while laying down in the locker room, my lg became numb and tingly. i picked it up, put it back down and couldn't feel the floor. i was scared out of my mind but i felt the doctors could fix it. it's an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the spinal cord, causing inflammation that damages the
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cells ta control sensory and movement of the body. after staying in the hospital for a couple of months, i went to rehabilitation where i learned how to do everything from a wheelchair. all the while having dreams of my feet imprinting in the sand. today i'm a 23-year-old woman who has learned to adapt to a life in a wheelchair and in a paralyzed body. even though i live life to the fullest and look as though i'm just sitting down in a wheelchair, i have to always worry about pressure sores from constant sitting. i worry about my osteoporosis advancing in my bones for not standing and bearing weight, which led to a fracture of my left femur. i worry about my scoliosis getting worse, curvature of the spine common with people with spinal cord injuries. i have advancing nerve pain and bladder complications. i am one of millions of americans living in various diseases and conditions that no matter how hard we try affects how we live our lives. the first time hope actually went something to me and became
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sort of my religion was when i saw what human embryonic stem cells can do. a year after i became paralyzed, my doctor and stem croyle scientist, doug kerr, who was at johns hopkins at the time, showed me a mouse that was once paralyzed and now can bear its weight and take steps. at that moment i realized that this is science i couldn't ignore and it gave me a feeling of hope i wanted to fight for. which brings me to another point. it's frustrating to hear critics of this research say this is a path we can't go down and adult stem cells hold just as much promise as embryonic stem cells do. science is the pursuit of discovery and possibility. we should explore every opportunity and not count anything out because i can't wait. and i know millions of americans now and in the future can't wait. in christopher reeve's testimony in 2000 he said "to obstacle should stand in the way of responsible investigation of their possibility." i'm here today to remove yet aer


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