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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  August 6, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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those elections, whenever the results may be, that we will finally be able to break some of this log jam and make some progress on these issues and other ones. host: yuval rosenberg, senior editor of "the fiscal times." thank you so much for talking with us today. thank you so much for talking with us today. >> thanks for having me. >> and the moment we will go live to california for a briefing on the mars rover curiosity lending that settled on the plan that last night appeared the focus of the two- year mission. the focus is finding signs of life on mars. the briefing is set to start in a moment.
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again, waiting for the start of a briefing from pasadena, california. nasa engineers will talk about the mars rover curiosity landing on mars late last night. a quick look at reaction from nasa engineers at the news of the successful touchdown. [cheers and exclamations] >> wiki away to see where curiosity will take us -- we cannot wait to see where curiosity will take us.
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[cheers] >> we are continuing to receive from curiosity. we are waiting for images. heads up. >> reaction and nasa engineers on news of the curiosity landing on mars.
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live to pasadena. >> let me introduce the panelists. they will give us an update on the rover and an outlook. joining us right now we have a michael watkins, and the mission manager. miguel san martine, mission near of guidance control. sarah milkovich, hirisie investigation specialist. >> welcome back. the surface mission has dealt a gun. for those of us on the project knew we had to get through some big events. launch was a big one for us.
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we built this rover and not just to be launched or land on mars but to actually drive on mars and execute a very beautiful science mission. we have ended one phase of the mission much to our enjoyment. another part has just begun. it is the fundamental reason we built the rover. we are just starting that mission. about two hours after landing, just before 1:00 a.m. in the morning, a curiosity called us via mars odyssey. mars odyssey was overhead. it comes around two hours later. mars has rotated. it was still over the horizon. we were able to have a short talk with curiosity.
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she told us she is in service nominal mode. she quickly transitioned to surface and nominal mode. not in safe mode. she is otherwise very healthy. we have some images that we will show and they limilittle bit. we are a go for activities. those are dominated by boring activities, checking out the rover. making sure its is healthy. deploying the antenna. then we employed the mast. the rover looks like this right now. you are used to seeing in it with its eyes up and antenna deployed. we are stowed down here. we are about to deploy this little internet that allows us to talk directly to the earth that can actually send adapted
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to us and more easily talked to buy us. or so we will have these beautiful panoramas. as for now, at the first order is to make sure our communications are healthy. that is a prime activity. last night we got one other beautiful piece of of information. our hazcams are the still cameras that point mostly at our wheels. we are concerned that they will kick up some dirt. we have little clear covers on them. those are the images we got last night. they are the first things we were talking about. this is that picture. now that we are awake and three have digested it with less
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adrenaline, it is not such a great picture anymore. [laughter] it is beautiful because of what it means that that is dust kicked up by the landing in event. we want to get rid of those covers. you can see our beautiful shadow. we hope to get the rear and front and down. you can see our shadowed there. animation ande remind you where these hazcams are. they're looking for mobility hazards. there pointed at the ground. they have a wild field of view. vesco to the next image. last night after landing, we pyros.all of our cairo's
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there is our image. we're looking out the back. he can see the left rear wheel. you can see the hinge in the field of view. it looks like a spring on the lower right side. on the upper left as part of the rtg, the power source. several of the folks that worked on assembling those said they never got a picture this good. they could never get the lighting right on the earth. this is the definitive control image of how the rover is supposed to look. on the side you are going to see some hills on the far edge. we're going to show that later. i really love these images. later we're going to get
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magnificent color panorama's and 3d images, but the stores images are always the best ones to me. when you land on mars it is new every time. this is a new place on mars. we go on vacation to see a different part of the air it. we're seeing a part of ours we have never seen. this is real or rented -- this is real oriented to look like the landscape on earth. we will continue to get the french version of this. -- the front version of this. over the next couple of days we will be sending down the imager that is in color. after we get the rsm up, we'll get some nice black and white panorama's. this is our new home for a
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while. we need to explore it. then we will have for the hills. we hope we can actually sell the see the mountain of gale. we are at a very slight tilt. we are 3.6 degrees negative in pitch. these are pretty small numbers. we landed on this table. it is pretty flat. we are in a good spot. where exactly is this spot on our map of mars? >> thank you. good morning. i hope you have enjoyed the roller coaster ride last night. i want to get another round.
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maybe we have to wait a few more years. it looked beautiful from other monitors. we have not had the time to look at the data carefully. it'll be coming soon. right now the rover is full of edl data set that will help us understand and bring our knowledge to even higher levels. we are very excited waiting for that data. i am going to talk to you about our best knowledge of where we landed. might change once we get the data. next picture. we did land inside the crater. [laughter] we know that. you can say our landing is 7
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kilometers by 7 kilometers. if we could get the next picture please. this is where we think we landed. it is two collectors east of the center of the landing site -- kilometers east of the center of the landing site, a few hundred meters door. let me explain where we get that from. this is based on the ground navigation by the navigation team. as you saw yesterday, it gave us incredible precision. we see the software of curiosity with that very precise data. curiosity is using its own navigation instruments. it is a relative instruments.
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ofan take an initial seed what the velocity is and then it can apply to the atmosphere and its own rockets. it is that reckoning. it is kind of like the odometer. in essence, it is based on one of the last piece of telemetry when it touched down. i touched down and this is where we are. we need to analyze it. we send corrections that we did. we actually get other
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indications from the data we saw in the telemetry that gives an impression that we did very well. one check we do is that eventually after propagating the inertia measurement unit for several minutes, and eventually we removed the heat shield in the radar stars looking at the ground. we can see how well the inertia measurement did. to give this altitude related to the ground. it is so well that we have to look at the data again. it is hard to believe. we have not been able to get our simulations to work that well. it was a correction of few meters and how soon diin altitu. that is influenced by how well
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was our last attitude fix based on the stars. just like sailors did, we use the stars. i think that is great. we did the final look at the stars. curiosity did that, it took the navigation data from the ground and into get all the way down and guide it it. -- and guided it down. that is our estimate. we have to wait for precise localization by high-rise. that is all i had to say. thank you. >> speaking of high-rise, you heard a lot about how odyssey was listening to mlsl.
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the orbiter was also there. mro was watching. we normally take pictures of the surface. we can get pictures of two resolutions of 30 centimeters per pixel. what we did this time, if you can go to the graphic, if there is mro coming along the of the action it took a picture with hirise. this shows our image. [applause] if we zoom in, there we go. [applause]
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this is a testament to the hirise team and operations seem at the university arizona -- team at the university of arizona. we've been working on getting this together since march. we have been updating it as msl has been getting closer. the final commander sent out a couple of days ago. this was taken six months after it entered the atmosphere. mro was about 340 kilometers away from msl at the time the picture was taken. you can see the lines on the parachute. you can see the hole in the top. the inset image is stretch differently so that you can see
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the parachute clearly without saturation. and let's see. i think that is the last one. we can go to the last one. hirise has taken over 120 pictures of gale as part of the characterization process. i really think this is the coolest one. [laughter] now john will talk about what we see on the surface. >> let's just go to the first graphic right away. we would get you back into the hazcams. here is our standard color superimposed on top of the ctxdem showing the topography of the crater. you can see the well-defined crater rim toward the middle.
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to help you understand what we're going to be seeing in the hazcams, let's get oriented. no. is up toward the top of the image. if you go counterclockwise it takes you into the northwest quadrant. there you see the rim. the northern rim is considerably lower in elevation than the summit of mount sharp. you can see where the rim is breached a little bit there. remember the topography of the rim. you will have to keep that in mind. amount shark itself -- mount sharp itself will represent a topographical rise.
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if we go to the next image, this is really spectacular. what has happened here is they word to take the hazcam image. it is a fish islands. there's a lot of distortion -- fisheye lense. there's a lot of distortion. this is the view you will see if you are a hazcam. there retarding toward the rim of the gale crater. this cannot be a better position to live in. we get to see rearwords and forwards. you heard us speaking about the alluvial fan that we think we landed close to. this is bringing materials in from the ram which is not our destination. we're getting a free sample without having to drive over
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there. in the foreground you see a scene that is very familiar to you from other images of mars, what is undoubtedly a windswept plain with course grain size distribution. we do not yet know what that diameter is. you can get the sense that there is a bunch of particles there that are bought the same size. in the upcoming ones we will be discussing this, trying to figure out where to go and what to do. this will be part of the story. a target like this is interesting because one of the things we are going to want to do after the commissioning is
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analyze it. we would like something representatives of mars. this is a target for us to think about. by sampling its, we have a sample of what is the most global sample a mars that we can measure. in the next one, this is toug h. i think the edl guys were seen a vision like this a few hours ago. the curvature is taken out. we are looking toward the southeast. you have the shadow of the rover there. this was the first indication we are looking south peace because the sun was setting behind us -- southwest because the sun was setting behind us. i forgot something important. is it possible to go back two? >> stand by.
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>> one more. there we go. if the go to the southwest part, a notice the black line that goes from northeast to southwest. that is a dune fields that lies at the base of about sharp -- mount sharp. that black line will be our frame of reference. we have landed somewhere to the north of that black line. we are looking toward the bas e of mounth sharp. that black line we believe is the dune field. as you work upward in the image, we believe you see the outline of mount sharp itself in the setting sun. the upper part is the horizon. you should see a slope that goes
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from above that black line of sloping to the upper right. you have a little bit of adventure before you. i will be sleeping when the next downlink occurs. joey will be able to talk to you about the data we will get down without the dust cover entire resolution, possibly even full frame. we think we have landed and the hazcams are picking up to poverty on both sides. that is it for me. >> we will open it up. i will try to memorize the order icy hands coming up. we will work our way over. >> could you refine the landing time? what was the landing time?
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>> i will have to get that to you after this conference. we will get it for you. >> excuse me. could you explain what is just out of the landing site? it looks like it might be the areas. how far are you from what you consider to be the foothills of mount sharp. >> the dunes that you see is a rather narrow dip. qc is slicing through the area. -- you see the slicing through the area. we are a few kilometers away.
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the typography where it starts to steepen up, where we would like to ask cesspit -- access it is a few kilometers away. they are slicing through the landing. >> get him back the microphone. >> does that mean to get to the mountain you would go north around the dunes? is there any reason why you cannot go straight? >> wii whenever what to just drive across the dunes -- we would never want to just drive across the dunes. we have this beautiful topography. we steady dose to find in the past that would give us the least resistance. -- we steady those to find the past that would give us the least resistance.
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if the size justifies it we will happily take that route. -- science justifies it it will happily take that route. >> can you tell me what has happened to the lending? it pops off of flies in another direction. do you know how far away it is? >> it flies away. it has a close algorithm. it is very rudimentary. we want to crash as far away, 400 meters away. we told it to go essentially toward the north. we do not have telemetry on that part. the only way we will find out is through hirise taking an image.
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we think it will be hundreds of meters. it is designed to do that. >> you estimate that this is six minutes after an injury, one minute before landing. that is after the heat shield popped off. have you booked for that region have you looked for that in the image? >> we have not in this image. i do not know if we would be in this image.kesee it we will be taking images of the landing site in the days to come. we might be taking an image within the next day. that one would be a little hazy. we're taking a very good image
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six days from now and another 112 days from now. we will be able to look for with the other components landed. >> what is your best estimate for the resolution of what we're seeing here with the parachute? >> 33 centimeters. >> i think there were a couple of more. >> the image we're trying to help is to localize the landing with respect to topographic features we can see to aid the dynamic solution. we hope to have that in a couple of days. >> irish television. a blotched appeared in both of the images looking out across the plains which they were interpreting as possibly the landing stage impact.
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this picture came down much quicker than many of us expected. it seemed that it could be. did and did you think that you saw evidence of the landing stage impact? >> that artifacts has been talked about. it could be associated with the landing. we do not know. it is too early to tell what it is. we would like to take a look at it again. if it is a transient feature, we just have that one image. it might tell us where to look ourewhen we get all of cameras up. we are just starting to trickle down thumbnails of the next couple of days. it'll take a little while to get that. >> we are glad to take one more question from the road.
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>> the distance to the rim we're seeing, you have some distance. to give us some sense of how far we are away from the large topographic features you are talking about. >> let's pull up the image again of the first one. there we go. the ellipse there is 20 kilometers. if we land to the right of the x in the middle, 20 kilometers to the rim. something like that. >> we will take one year in the front row and then we will move back here. >> just curious on the residual
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fuel. what was the touchdown speed? anyway you can appreciate what speed you hit? >> i will ask my friend and colleague adam. >> 140 kilograms. that is my memory. >> that sounds about right. we ended up with a lot which is a good thing. >> as opposed to the opposite? >> yes. the touchdown speed as reported by the sensor is [inaudible] we were coming up.
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.75 meters per second. there is an error in the century itself. you could not tell that. it is going to require more analysis. it will be very useful to be able to really find what the true velocity is. we can only give you what the spacecraft think its velocity was. a. that is75 meters per second vertically. it is a very small number compared to previous attempts. we will see what it does. it will be nice for the control point of view.
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>> may be gauging the difficulty between phoenix and the imaging of curiosity coming in, was it tough bird? >> it was tougher because of the relative positions of the spacecraft. the team guesstimated that the have and80% probability of getting that image. this was a great shot. >> based on what you know right now, could you update us on when you expect the delivery of high- resolution black and white
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photos, color imagery, and the first panorama. you mentioned thumbnails coming down and maybe the first full video from the dissent camera. >> we are still in the nominal plan. in one of the earlier conferences, richard cook gave an approximate list of dates. we start to get the hazcams in a couple ofcams hours. in the next day air to we start getting better resolution -- or two we start getting better resolutions. we have a single frame caller instrument.olly
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in looks like a panoramic image you are used to seeing. it looks like a regular camera. that will be the first color image of the get. it is about two days from now. it >> we will come forward to you. it you cannot find where came down, how high a priority would it be to go check out those new impact craters as compared to all the other work you like to do? >> an inevitable question. in terms of where the sky crane came down with all the hydrazine, we would prefer to
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avoid that. i do not doubt that a p if takes as near it, we will study it. those blocks are rejected so far down track we do not have any hope. shucking the surface may he give might give us exposure without any contamination. >> on purpose we instructed it to fly away from where the science is. we gave a command to the spacecraft. if you drop a line east west, to go north of that line. the direction depends on the orientation at that time.
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we want to do a turn with the thrusters away from the spacecraft. we would make that more difficult. >> how many pictures has msl return so far that's what time is the high beam supposed to be deployed? >> it has returned four thumbnails, two images with the cover down, and one rear hazcam with cover off. high gain deploy is in the
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afternoon mars time today. about 12 hours from now or so.' >> you mentioned one of the first things he might like to do is do an analysis. what sort of variations in the soil is there one? what might you be looking for that is different? >> there are two separate objectives. the one we are also out after its composition of bedrock. we infer it is going to represent local prophesies that happened that form the bedrock. the soil in a place like mar will represent an average of
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dust that has blown around the planet and other materials that have worked their way over long distances. while we have no independent way to demonstrate that what we might demonstrate must be analogous to what was measured with viking, every time we sampled this has a very high sulphur content. we would like to know what minerals are in that soil. we can get aits w better understanding of what the composition of the soil is. certainly where we landed and also by inference globally. indeed one of the most global questions we could address. >> just a mechanical standpoint,
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were you surprised at the amount of dust on the cover given how high the engines were? does that tell you anything about the consistency? >> that is a good question. we were surprised. the images that have the dust covers off still shows some dust on them. a little bit got in there. the desk comes and goes. off.ll probably below its it will wax and wane. the other interesting observation is that if you look at the image, you will notice the wheel is on relatively firm ground.
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we did not get any sinkage. that is an inferential science observation that this has bearing strength. it is probably firm. we might use to draw it somewhere else to get our scoop out. we really do want to be soft material. >> you mentioned the health of the material. are there any anomalies at all? a lot of folks have a lot of trepidation going in. did you ever imagine you would be here this morning with the vehicle in the shape it is then telling us the story? >> there are no anomalies that are outside the expected range
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that we expect. some are reading higher than we expected. a reading is within the accepted sounds to move forward. there is no real anomaly that is causing us to slow down. engineers, at every little thing that is different folks want to take a look at. why is it different decks that will continue. we're still moving forward. in terms of success, each of us would answer that differently. we all believed it would land successfully. we would worried. we would not have designed a two-year service mission if we did not think it would land successfully. it is a very complex vehicle. we are a little bit concerned that we will land in a safe
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mode and it would take awhile to get out of it. healthydn't predict they did not get the communications past and you have to sit and -- you landed healthy but did not get the communications past and have to sit and wait. we have great telecom performance. this has all been fine. i think we're pleasantly surprised at how smooth it is going. do you want to comment? >> he explained it very well. if we felt there is no chance of success we would not be doing it. we have trained our sell for eight years to think the worst of the time. -- ourselves for eight years to think the worst all the time. that is what you do.
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you are constantly thinking ways that things can go wrong so you can do something about it and then you can never turn it off. especially the few days coming to the landing when you also know that you do not have time to recover. the pressure is even higher. a landing is like a rocket launch. it is that type of violence that is so unforgiving. even until this day, we were very nervous on this launch. those are things that we practiced much more. even after accounting numbers of mars landings with one hand. -- you can actually count the number a mars landing is with
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one hand. we want to be totally sure that these things will work. that is what we will continue. we will continue trying. we will be nervous the next time the matter how well this one worked. >> nbc news. just a couple of questions that i may have missed. is there any marty imagery? on the mro picture, what is the difference from when it was taken? >> there is no mardy data right now. in about two hours we would get another pass with the orbiters.
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we might get some thumbnails in that. as of today they are not down. >> mro was 340 kilometers from mso. >> we do a lot of help to hold another -- we do hope to hold another conference this afternoon. >> let me say something else about the deployment. it starts about 11:00 mars time. it ends in the afternoon. >> we will go back to john johnson. first, emily. >> do we have any information on the help of any of the science instrument? >> we have many of them. today are all fine. -- they are all fine.
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>> if you get 406 scientists there'll be 407 different opinions. it is very early. if you have any kind of different ideas that are floating around about things you're seeing in the foreground? >> i think it is still early. there's only a limited amount of information that we can draw from this. we had a great discussion this morning. i think most people feel we're on a gravel plane of mars with the uniform grain size distribution. is that the rim in the background? everybody agrees on that. we have a lot of discussion about the alluvial fan and how we may explore the ellipse.
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i am amazed we did a crowdsourcing exercise. a but to people got quads. we had a remarkable amount of agreement which is mostly a testimony to the relative simplicity of the geology. that is a good thing. we are a complex based kraft. -- craft. >> i am sorry. john johnson is next. then we will come back here. >> i just want to follow up on the last question about the health of the science instruments. you say the instruments have so far checked out. can you say anything specifically about what do you feel confidently everything is
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in shape? >> do you want to comment on that? >> there is a series of tests is that related to the performance. today it was electrical tests that worked well. >> of what happened to that dust storm that was talked about a couple of days ago? >> id dissipated. a beautiful, clear day. >> we have not completely checked out the instruments. lot of scientific calibration and complex modes that will take us a long time througto get through. we're not completely out of the water. we have weeks if not months before we are completely confident. >> one major observation that we
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planned today is an observation for five hours. there is plenty of time to do that. % data collection. >> will mro be able to pop of the rover? will the arbiter have any role in helping the rover navigate apart from relaying the data? >> yes. we will be able to see the rover. we already have images planned for later this week to look at the rover. they should look great. it will be more than just a single pixel. already done a lot of data collection for the rover. we have collected data across the entire creator and landing
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.... we have stereo data and color imagery that have already been used to start looking at potential traverses. as the mission goes on, we are expecting msl to come to us and say we need a new picture there to make sure there are no new dust hazards or maybe there is a spot where we want a slightly better resolution. in addition to releasing the data, the cameras are expecting to help out. >> the mro data has been critical to landing site selection. state spots with relatively few rocks. we come out of the landing sites with a 1 meter type coverage. our drivers have actually started to use bembthose to find
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traverses. they have out resumes. it is fast to go over. it prevents them optimal paths to the science team. they're working closely with the science team to come up with those drives. there are 100 cermet based on hirise imagery. >> now you have teed of the zero rovers on mars. one has a tremendous amount of data. are you going to be getting in situations where you're going to have a scheduling constraints? >> the orders are able to support both. there are two partitions that they can cover. little conflict
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there. >> there also of the two rovers in different places that the timing of doing one relay is not going to interfere with the other. >> leo is going to go next. go ahead. >> i am sorry if i have to ask mike watkins to clarify up bodyhga deploy. i cannot do it in my head. he said 9:00 local time. you're now saying something different. >> afternoon. it ends in the afternoon rather than starts. it stars around 11:00 mars time. right now it is about 12 hours after landing. it is about three caught in the morning on mars right now. >> a quick question for john.
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some light reading since we want to get to know this creature very well. can you recommend a paper that will be the definitive one to read? >> i am a little bleary cannot reside references right now. there are several review papers that have been written. if anybody send me an e-mail, i will send those along. >> you know the orientation of the rover in the camera. what is going to be in the first color image? >> i actually do not know that. that is a good question. i should know the answer to that. we can quickly tell you that. >> it will be looking out to the side. we had always a hope that it
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might land with an orientation where molly might capture mount sharp. >> i think it is going to be on the flanks of mount sharp. we had this plus or minus 5 degrees. in matters where the flanks are. i think we could probably get a better answer. let's say you landed 2 kilometers down from mount sharp. behind you have where you thought you were going to land.
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are you going to go reverse or head? >> it is diffuse. all fans taper out. we really want to be on the side of that if that is what is going on. the goal of the crowd sourcing exercise was to be able to compile a matt that made a crack abbott different types of units. maybe it is the height of the podium. these are things that constitute a part of the risk. that is what we are after. we would string together a pathway that would think as. if it takes just four words, and then we'll go that way, it too.
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most mapping exercises do not involve that in one direction. >> what are the signs of these boulders? >> each one of these angles is roughly about 1.5 kilometers on the site. within every one of them there is some type of this. we're trying to piece together a landing in lipellipse to check all of the points. >> sees it you're trying to string together certain objects? -- you said you are trying to string together certain objects? >> we do not know yet. stay tuned. >> i am not sure if you could help this best. this could help
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best. when the we expect the first motion? -- when could we expect the first motion taxed as income figure how the model is right now? >> it desisting flat right now. it is sitting quite flat. i cannot lift it up without it changing. i would say a couple of weeks for the first drive. it to be quite a short drive, a meter or two.
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>> willh >> i am not sure. we are going to be looking for the various hardware components and future images. i don't know what we're going to see. >> i heard you're going to be living on mars time? is that right? what happens after that? >> that is a good question. i was joking just before this that you can tell who was working on mars, not by who is still wearing the landing shirt. [laughter] john. the thing about these missions
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are twofold. one is, we have to learn how to use this very complicated machine that we have built. it is an environment and the heads directly than it did in the test here. -- and it behaves differently than it did in the test here. we tested a range of activities, but yet to find out how it will behave when you're at mars. we need to get comfortable with that and do so efficiently. we want to do so in an efficient way. by working mars time, it gives is basically 16 hours to plan an uplink while the rover is sleeping on mars. we can take a long time. if we do not rotate with bars day and night, then we start to lose that ability, we lose track of mars' night while we are working but that helps us to be efficient in checking out the vehicle. another complex than we have to learn, is how to operate within ourselves.
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we of 420 something people -- >> scientists. >> and another 300 engineers on the mission. we have something like 700 or 800 people learning to operate this vehicle. we have to know how to interact with ourselves. we have to know how each other operates, and each other's individual specialized skills so we can get more efficient. we get to know each other very well. we can send people back to france, spain, the back to places like that and work a more normal time. it operates by internet and telecom. we know those people and they know us. they know the rover in the software systems and we will be much more efficient. this will be an immersion training, like a foreign language, or we're learning how to operate the vehicle and interact with each other. >> if it was an challenging
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enough to work on mars time on mer at the end, with a link to send all the critical data back. that could be scheduled exactly upon -- on time. because of this larger data volume, we need to grab an mro or odyssey pass. mars time rotation of 39 minutes every day is the would think about it, but not at plus or minus an hour and a half. your relationship with anyone here on earth could get really screwed up. [laughter] >> people talk about it being like jet lag. it is in a certain sense. we're off by 12 hours now. >> except it is also daylight. at least when you fly to another country, it is night time when you try to sleep at night. we are exactly out of sync. we're starting off the worst time, but it should get easier
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over the next few weeks. >> go ahead, henry. >> a quick question about the martian calendar. this is start a touchdown or local midnight at the landing site? >> local midnight. >> someone else on this end? >> i might have missed this, but can you tell us what configuration the vehicle is in the picture behind to? is the heat shield still on there? is that what the white is? i was also wondering if you could address the historic nature of what went on last night and how you think this will be viewed 10 years from
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now, 20s from now, 50 years from now? >> i see my colleagues around. this is before the heat shield or after it deployed? >> [unintelligible] >> we don't know for sure yet. we need to do the reconstruction. >> you're looking at the top of the back. it is not easy to see if the he shall this off or not. we only know by timing, and we don't know that yet. >> from a philosophical point of view, the fact we see ourselves arriving to another planet, just like phoenix did first, it is mindboggling to me -- to all of us. it is just the coolest thing. >> ok, one more here.
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>> i apologize if this has been asked, 140 kilograms of hydrazine, is that they concerned? did you have the flyaway be in the down when prevailing wind direction? can you talk about that? >> i could not talk about the wind. it was a choice to fly it as far as possible. the direction -- we had limited control. you dropped east/west and fly north of that line, depending on what orientation is the stage it finds itself. the reason for that is we did a maneuver and the thrusters -- we do it at an access that would not ruin the growers. it of the thrusters are here, we
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do not to be turned maneuver this way, we do it this way. so that means we have only two choices either go that way or that way. we choose the one that goes north. so when we do our simulations, you will see a whole bunch of dots on the northern end of two north quadrants. that is what we do. that was picked out between the scientists and engineers looking for all the conditions, including wind. irene.let's go to i'm sorry, live a question back here first we will take. >> thank you. "times of london." i want to clarify first, when you say 340 kilometers away, that image was taken, is that
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direct vertical altitude? my second question, from mike watkins, to the untrained eye, these are pictures or black and white pictures of gravel. to the trained eye, can you sum up how sophisticated and exciting and momentous these pictures really are? [laughter] >> the 340 kilometers is line of sight. we were almost directly overhead. i think we had a very, very small angle. it was essentially over head. >> i will talk about the photos and let john take a better crack from a scientific perspective. to me, it is representative of a successful landing on mars. it is representative of a new home for the rover.
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it is representative of a new mars we have never seen before. every one of those pictures is the most beautiful picture i have ever seen. [laughter] i think john would say this better than i would, if those pieces of gravel are transported by water on mars, ancient mars, then they are much more than gravel. john, take it from there. >> a minute ago there was a question down here about what this mission means to you and for us, as scientists, we have not even scratched the surface. what is amazing about it is the miracle of this engineering. that is all you can do is sit there is a member of the science team. it is a miracle to us that we have chosen this place as a result of scientific deliberation. this edl system for the first
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time and landed missions, allowed the science commission -- committee to choose between four options. it was a debate between scientists. when it comes down to creating of images to downlink and you have your choice of the front and rear, the most amazing thing, it of a group of engineers and scientists and here is what happened. jennifer comes up to man says, "john, we really need to get the engineering data down." i said, "i agree." and we think we might some leak -- sneak in an image, would you choose front or back? all of the scientists wanted the rear hazcam and the engineers one of the front. they said there were no
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obstructions. was the most open view of the terrain. all the scientists said, we want to see the wheel on the ground because this is not a moment for science but for engineering. when you see that we'll on the ground, you know you have landed on mars. no people jumping up and down, you actually see a picture of the service of the planet with the spacecraft on it. that is the miracle of engineering. >> "reuters." i am not sure who to ask this to and do not laugh if it is silly, but the nuclear power source, could you explain a little bit about why daytime and nighttime and rover sleep is a factor? >> sure. it may not be quite as obvious, certainly not a silly question, it generates just a little bit of electricity. we think of it as a triple charger of our batteries. we're always operating on the
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batteries. during the day and night, we are trickle charging them back. the other big advantage is it generates a lot of heat, most of the rtg generates heat. we make a little electricity with that, 100 watts or so. but that he keeps us warm prevents us from having use a lot electrical heaters. recirculate fluid, a fluid leak like a free on loop and an air- conditioner, to take that heat and pumping around the rover body and keep the rover warm. we still need that. that is where most of the energy goes. the rest charges are batteries that we used during the day. it is not as big of a limitation as you think. we want to take pictures and see what we're doing, look at rocks and pick targets out and you want to do those things during the day and not at night. it really fits naturally the operations concept you would
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want to do. >> we will end the briefing for today. those of the and the room can come up and ask more questions afterwards. i already mentioned 4:00 today we hope to do the follow-up news conference with images. after today, we will do daily 10:00 and news conferences, so please join us for those. if you want to stay in your seats, we'll take another look at what it was like in mission control last night at 10:30. thank you for joining us. >> you can learn more about the mars rover curiosity flight by going to our website. you can see this briefing once again by going to c-span 2, passed luncheon speeches of the national press club. today, remarks from toby
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cosgrove. others include the irish commissioner, former congressman patrick kennedy. girl scout ceo and tennis champion billie jean king as well. also this week, encore to in a program. the washington post correspondent on how the newspaper business has transformed during his career. answers from purdue university students who visited washington. you can see that today at 7:00 p.m. eastern. in the weeks ahead, the political parties are holding their platform hearing in advance of the summer conventions. with democrats voting this week and on their final five from recommendations in detroit republicans are their platform process letter this month at the tampa convention site. c-span's coverage begins august 10 with a reform party in philadelphia followed by live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the republican national convention beginning monday august 27 from tampa.
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and the democratic national convention live from charlotte, north carolina starting monday september 3. the republican national committee has released a partial list of the speakers of their upcoming convention in tampa this month. it includes south carolina governor nikki haley and new mexico governor susanna martínez, former secretary of state condoleezza rice, arizona senator john mccain, as well as former arkansas governor mike huckabee, ohio governor john kasich and florida governor rick scott. by the way, we'll have live coverage of the republican national convention beginning august 27 on the c-span networks. last month, the democratic national committee announced this year's platform drafting include support for gay marriage. a decision was made after dnc drafting committee members heard from advocacy group leaders on that issue and various others facing the u.s. many plants -- the plan to meet again to discuss the draft.
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look at what happened during day one of that meeting. >> committee to order. i would ask everyone to please take their seats. before we begin, let us rise and say the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. thank you, please be seated. i want he -- thank each of you for joining us today. i know we are excited to be here and tackle this important task that we have before us. as you may know, every four years, the democratic party
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assembles a platform that outlines our party's battle positions on a host of different issues. this document also highlights the administration's accomplishments and the president's agenda to keep our country moving in a ford direction. today, we're having our formal meeting, but we will begin the process of drafting the initial draft of our 2012 platform. before we get started, i would like to ask all of the drafting committee members to just take a moment and introduce >> i am the plot from director. >> and the drafting committee member and assess it policy director on the obama campaign. in venturertner
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capital firm in washington, d.c. >> director of special projects. >> professor at stanford law school. >> the president pro choice america. >> and the director of education policy the national litigation association. >> and deputy chief of staff of the afl-cio. >> i represent the ninth congressional district of california and served on the house appropriations committee in the u.s. congress. >> mayor of philadelphia and president of the u.s. conference of mayors. >> and secretary the democratic national committee. >> i had the privilege of serving in congress from the state of florida and currently serves as president for middle east peace. >> senior fellow at the site center for transatlantic relations johns hopkins
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university. >> i am a senior attorney at the native american rights fund in anchorage, alaska. >> i am with the dnc. >> and helping to write a platform. >> and former governor of ohio and former member of u.s. house of representatives. is my pleasure to serve with such remarkable people, and i am certain your expertise will be invaluable as we proceed with this important task. there are some members that were not able to join us today. former congressman tony coelho who is a leading voice for americans living with disabilities. we look forward to his input as this process moves ahead. governor patrick the ball or i'm sorry, duval patrick, governor patrick was the chair of the 2008 platform committee.
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of course we know the governor is a leading voice in making the country a better place to live, work, and raise a family. and then there is congressman barney frank who was unable to join us at this time, but congressman frank will be able to join us later today. also see it with us are three individuals giving staff support throughout this weekend. you have heard from them, but andrew grossman, karen cornyn blue, and katrice taylor. andrew is the national flood from director and karen is the principal platform author who is also the principal platform author for the 2008 platform. katrice is the director of the tsa's office of party affairs and delegate selection. also joining us is a very important person that i'm going to depend upon, our
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parliamentarian. helen is the dnc's parliamentarian and has served in this role for many years, and will help us as we negotiate our way through this platform. so now it is time for us to get started. the purpose of this hearing is to solicit testimony from individuals and organizations regarding the content of the party's 2012 national platform. each speaker will be given five minutes -- and i will repeat that. each speaker will be given five minutes for a formal statement, and following those statements, the road be a period of questions that will come from the committee members themselves. we have a busy and compact hearing scheduled for the day. each presentation will be aimed or timed and the speakers should adjust the remarks, please, to
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fit that time schedule. we are ready to begin with our first presenter. it is my great pleasure to present as our first presenter, sister simone campbell sister campbell, would you please come forward? we're pleased to have sister simone spam all -- campbell. she is with us and networks thousands of members to represent in her testimony. and other activists, were to influence and inspire our elected officials. today, network is active in critical issues such as health care, comprehensive immigration reform, housing, poverty, and hung there. sister, we look forward to your testimony. >> it is an honor to be here.
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at this moment in our history, it seems to me we are engaged in a struggle that is much bigger than just the election cycle. i think that the platform is to reflect that. we are engaged in a struggle for the soul of our nation. the choice to me is clear. will we choose to continue the unpatriotic lie that we as a nation are based in extreme individualism where those who have can claim even more, and where those who don't have are blamed for being irresponsible? or will we choose to return to the spirit of our founders and embrace their concept delaware- week, the people. it is week the people that is our constitutional framework, promoted for more than 200 years, and his vision for our nation that i think must be made clear. it is a vision or each person exercises her and his responsibility to participate
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and, as president obama said in this year's state of the union address, we each agree to have each other's backs. this means we see the interconnections and our society. no one can get wealthy without the work of thousands of fellow citizens. and this is currently a hot political topic, but no one can get even -- and even get to work without the work of people who build roads or metros. the janitor and the ceo of the office helped that ceo in wealth and opportunity. the ceo's must do their part by paying janitors a living wage. we are interdependent. we are one nation in this together. at this moment in history, it is desperately important we realize this. so far in the first decade of the 21st century, we have been careless successfully ping/fear
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fear of violence, fear of the weak economy, fear of the future, fear of each other. fear drives us to isolation as we desperately try to control the uncontrollable. but i as a christian, i know that jesus often counseled, "fear not." these are the words we need to believe as a nation. you may recently have heard i led the nine-state bus tour to 31 communities to lift up the works of catholic sisters, speakout against the ryan house budget, and to demonstrate what a means to have each other's backs. in cities, towns, we met hundreds of people hungry, parched for a way out of fear to a communal and political authenticity -- not just words or games. was a wonderful partnerships were catholic sisters and collaborators used federal dollars as cornerstones for missing work and low-income communities. we saw a person after person, group after group, who have benefited from these amazing
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programs and are not contributors to our society. everywhere we saw evidence that these responsible programs use reasonable federal money to assert the need and creek relationships in the communities. these are the source of responsible partnerships we need to lift up. but more than that, a canada that a large percentage of folks who are served by these programs are working at least one job. they're not the unemployed or the lazy that many would want us to think they are. they are hardworking people trying to serve their families. many face the situation that billy in milwaukee faces. he has enough food in his downsized seller to either put food on the table or a roof over his head. his family said. he and his wife chose a route for the families of the kids could stay in the same school. every evening, they go to saint benedict's dining room for
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dinner or they get nutritious food. it made me realize what you may said the dining room was giving charity to billy and his family, they're also getting a subsidy to his employer. because of this dining room, billy can continue to work for an employer who had to cut his hours. this business subsidy is needed as much in order for the employer to have a productive worker as it is for billy to feed his family. we need to see the interconnections of all of these programs. the ryan house budget would deaths -- to estimate these programs, but we know our nation is better than that. additionally, billy's family qualified for the earned income tax credit, a top tax credit, which are effective programs that allow families to live and employers to pay low wages. i would prefer a living wage. but in the absence of a living wage, these tax rebates are what keep people out of poverty, and we must support them.
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even more heart wrenching for me was the meeting in cincinnati that i had with margaret's family. margaret died at the age of 56 because she lost her health care. she was laid off her job in the recession. she worked for her employer for 20 years and could not afford cobra. she would have been covered under the medicaid expansion on the affordable care act, and i celebrate that, as long as states except the expansion. but the expansion is a pro-light choice and caring for those for our economy leaves out. margaret did not have that option. she was without care. at 56, she died of colon cancer. her family came to our event direct from her memorial service. i carried her picture now and my bible because we cannot let more margarets die. we support life as a nation. and we need to learn that this
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sort of program is a mutual benefit for all levels of society. we all do better when margarets don't die. if you're going to be the nation are founders envisioned, we must see how all are affected by the decisions made and the programs pursued. this means we each have to have an obligation to contribute to building up our society, which we must have each other's backs to do this. this is what it means to form a more perfect union. we have taken steps toward this vision in the last four years, but we have much further to go. all of us must participate and contribute according to our abilities. with that trip, we will know the reality that we the people are alive and well, and then we will have reclaimed the soul of our nation. thank you. >> thank you, sister. at this time, if there are
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questions from committee members, we will be happy to entertain as questions. anyone? >> may i? >> yes. >> thank you. wonderful to see you. and the values that you it enunciated are the democratic party's values, so thank you so much for being here. one question i wanted to ask you in terms of our middle-class and those striving for the middle class -- in this day and time we see so many people falling into the ranks of poverty. when we talk about the middle class, how do you see us making sure that this big-tent party includes those who have not yet achieved middle-class status and still want to see the the american dream become real in their life?
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>> it is important to realize we are in this together and that the huge wealth disparities that exist are driving us further apart. i think it is shocking that ceo salaries have gone up dramatically while workers' wages have stayed flat. if we are going to be seriously concerned about making sure people are in the middle class, they need to have salary increases. there needs to be reasonable wages. we need to pay a living wage. everybody is working hard to contribute something to at least -- at least all the folks we met on our bus trip were working to contribute to our society. but there is not the valuing of that by employers or, under the guise of the fragile economy, we could not possibly raise wages. but i think to be effective in stimulating the economy, and some of the programs that have been proposed are all about lifting up increasing wages,
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getting money to where there is pence-up demand, and where there is pen-up demand, folks will spend the money. billy will spend money on his family. that is where we need to make sure that people can participate, and that very act, people will join the middle- class. >> thank you. >> thank you so much, sister, for your testimony. you mentioned the living wage a couple of times, and it is an important concept in terms of two different visions of the economy. can you talk about what you think might be the steps for the united states to move toward a decent living wage for working people? >> i think a crystal ball would be really helpful to try to discern the details of that. from our perspective at network, we think that work is undervalued. physical labor is undervalued pretty jennifer's work is undervalued. that understanding -- the
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janitor's work is undervalued. that understanding of what contributes to the success of a business and creating a proportional wage based on how much they are contributing might be helpful, or even examining how much it costs to live. one of the things that is driving me nuts is the current poverty level is still at three times the cost of food. that is how they define the poverty level. the administration has tried to do some alternative measures, and there are other experiments being done, but the one that keeps being used in congress is three times the cost of food, and there is no accounting for what has happened to the cost of housing. let's have wages reflect actual cost in an area. having a universal minimum wage for this country that is so diverse in cost-of-living, it may make for simplicity in congress or nice political fights, but it does not help
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people with the disparate costs that families face. valuing work, being realistic about costs of living in our country, and trying to do something to peg reasonable salaries to inflation or other escalators would make a lot of sense, or to profits that corporate -- that corporations make. maybe everybody ought to get a piece of the action, not just shareholders. that is kind of a radical idea. >> thank you, sister. i think i speak for all of us when we want to say thank you for your moral leadership and those of the other sisters who are working across our country to try to make this a better land in which all people can enjoy the american dream. thank you so late -- thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. >> our next presenter is mr.
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doug peterson, representing the national farmers union. doug peterson is the secretary of the national farmers union board, and he is the president of the minnesota farmers union. the national farmers union is the national federation of state farmers' unions, which protect and enhance is the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers, and their communities. by developing cooperative buying and selling among those businesses. we look forward to your testimony. >> i am honored, chairman, and also honored to be in front of a distinct community. i would say i really in tall corn right now, and i think you for your time. my name is doug peterson.
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i come from western minnesota, a third-generation farmer. i am president of the minnesota farmers union, 11,000 members. also secretary of the national farmers union. i served in minnesota's legislature for six terms, undefeated, was elected to the minnesota farmers union presidency, which i have done for 10 years. i'm a licensed and bonded parks near, so i will try to talk faster for you. -- and bonded auctioneer, so i will try to talk faster for you. we are made up of 2000 family farmers, and we have an active policy since 1902. our policy is written by farmers and ranchers, it comes from the grassroots level. we represent fishermen and rural residents when we do our national policy. our national and agricultural policy should enable farmers to increase significantly their
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income and improve the quality of life and increase the family farm numbers. production agriculture, farming, is a primary economic driver of america. when farmers do well, agriculture prospers, and also the nation prospers. foreign policy should offer -- more effective than physical response up -- and a fiscal responsible safety net, we are in the throes of a drought and 2/thirds of our country, and crop insurance does a good job of protecting farmers against poor yields and also system managing supply a stable commodities for subsidized prices. a grain reserve, ladies and gentlemen, would take the tops of the peaks of the price of land fill in the valleys, which would help farmers and livestock
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producers, biofuels industries and customers, and the hungry around the world. supply management would make sure farmers receive the bulk of the revenue, even in tough times, not from government payments. a voluntary farmer-owned reserve that operates under market forces but moderate prices at extreme conditions, would allow these to be obtained, and we are in extreme conditions, as you may know. the on the market and the weather anomalies, another threat faces rural america. the average age of the u.s. farmer is rapidly increasing, and the majority of farmland will change hands in the coming years, due to the aging farming population. critical to the economic health of our community spirit to address this concern, programs must be in place and funded to meet the unique needs, with
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special emphasis on returning military veterans, ensuring they can enter into a viable livelihood. one thing we are very much wanting to impress upon is that inadequate market competition -- and that does go with the word "concentration" -- that is one of the most pressing issues facing farmers across this country, as evidenced by the sharp decline of family farmers and the increasing trend toward more horizontal and lateral concentration of agricultural and food centers actually has pushed thousands of family farmers out of business in the last 30 years. as an auctioneer, i can tell you horror stories of what i have seen in the 1980's with the competition and concentration. we need fairness and transparency of protection for producers and farmers to restore and enhance the competition in agricultural markets. the administration has been
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proactively investigating antitrust violations and has held a series of workshops in 2010 that shed light on the issues. rules that would have better enforced the stockyard act would have been put forward but were largely pushed back by lobbyists in the meatpacking industry. much still needs to be done to establish a fair market place. the sustainability of our economy, both nationwide and in agriculture, depends upon a reliable system. despite the passage of don frank, -- of die-frank, the president's budget proposal has called for significantly funding increases for regulatory agencies to maintain fair and competitive markets,, the cftc , the administration has
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fought back to the rules of the game have been strengthened, but the referees need to make sure those rules are followed, and to make sure there is a fair -- i just want to say you have got to be able to play by the rules, and we are not doing that right now. the national farmers union continues to support strong actions to address the cause and consequences of climate change. we are the original stewards of land, farmers and ranchers understand that the climate system, which will negatively affect operations over the past several years we have experienced the increasing drought, wildfires, and other evidence of climate change. the national farmers union supports a mandatory carbon emissions cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. it holds tremendous promise for our country, economic incentives
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as well as carbon offsets which encourage farmers and ranchers to adopt resource-conserving production practices, thus engaging in future and protecting future generations. while it is necessary to address the causes of climate change, our nation must also begin to address and focus on adapting to the changing weather patterns. the national farmers union supports market-based solutions to adapt to climate strict -- to adapt to strategies to make sure that we will be valid partners in this juncture the vast agricultural lands produced renewable energies is tremendous, and there are economic benefits also to rural america. we need a balanced energy policy that seeks energy independence by 2025 and recognizes the special needs of american agriculture and its potential contribution. we at the national farmers union strongly support the rfs,
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renewable fuels standards, to continue the events of corn ethanol and biofuels. we are making progress but we must continue to explore the way to bring to the market more biofuels, particularly the advanced ones. in order to meet our goals by 2022, we must continue to move in this direction, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and give consumers the choice at the pump. family farmers and rural communities are the core of american life. sound policy and wise investments in the future of agriculture will set us and our country up for economic successes. ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity to address you, and i appreciate your attention. if you have any questions, i would be happy to answer them. >> we have a couple of minutes for questions.
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>> mr. peterson, thank you for your testimony. i grew up in a small town, and i know what a difference in makes to rural america as well what do you think the role of our schools can be in meeting some of the challenges you have raised? we have tremendous commitments to make sure that america has great education, no matter where, but rural schools also faced challenges. >> i have been in the classroom for 12 years. i see the diminished funding is probably one of the most credible and most dangerous things that you can do to american education. we do not provide adequate funding per pupil, and the means to learn, we will have a field society. we cannot dummy down on education. how do you get that done? make sure the economy can support the schools at the local level so that in rural america you need to have policy that will allow the taxes to be paid
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by those farmers making the money because the majority of the land is basically land-based taxes that support the schools. funding, whether from state or the feds or from the local property taxes, and then make sure that you do not skimp on this stuff. it has not changed anything. minnesota is woefully at. we are not supposed to dwell on dirty laundry, but we are -- we need to put more money into those things. we have experienced education cuts since i was in the legislature, and that was 12 years. you are asked to do funding shifts and all that, but the bottom line is it reduced education funding. you cannot reduce education funding and expect kids to learn. >> thank you, mr. peterson.
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we appreciate your testimony, and i personally love the farmers' union. we have a wonderful -- thank you for this testimony. >> thank you very much, and have a good day. >> we have one more question from the mayor over here. >> mr. peterson, as a part of your testimony, you made reference to feeding the hungry around the world. it is certainly more than appropriate for the united states of america to help in a variety of instances, whether a disaster or other aid that we provide. but i am also concerned that we continue to feed the hungry across our country, and i wanted to get your views on the issue of the delivery system that helps to get food where it is most needed. there are children and parents to go to sleep every night in america who are hungry. the second most food insecure
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district, congressional district, is in philadelphia. i want to make sure that we're focused on the issue of hunger in america, and seek to eliminate hunger in the united states as we continue to provide food and support around the world. >> first of all, the farm bill was about 72% nutrition, as you know. we need to make sure there is not cuts in nutrition. the delivery system is having the ability to make sure that children and seniors, that that nutrition program provides is adequately funded. there are going to be increases in your city for more food, more snap programs, and the delivery system. the food deserts', where you have the port city, the inability to have farm fresh food has to change. we have to change the mentality of how the infrastructure works
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of delivering it to the inner cities. and you must have incentives for farmers with local food. if not local, from the state. if not from the state, the united states. if you cannot get it from local to state to the united states, then maybe we can do importing. but just making sure that infrastructure is part and parcel to the nutrition peace. i do not know if you have thought about that or not, but getting that delivered to the food deserts, is no different than in minneapolis or st. paul. that is a big part of the national policy. >> thank you. >> we do not want to keep anyone from asking a question. does anyone have a question? we want to stay on track if we can. is there another question? if so, we will entertain it. if not, thank you, sir.
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>> thank you very much. have a good day, and go luck with all your deliberations. >> our next presenter is ethan rome, the executive director of the health care for american now. it is a national coalition of more than 1000 groups from 50 states representing some 30 million people. health care for american now works to promote, defend, implement, and improve the affordable care act at the state and federal levels. day work to protect medicare and medicaid. they work to increase corporate accountability and confront forces that seek to take away critical services. mr. rome, we're happy to have you and we look forward to your testimony in. >> thank you very much, governor strickland, and members of the committee, for giving me the opportunity to speak with you this afternoon.
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as you know, in 2008, president obama and the democrats pledged to fix our broken health care system, and that is exactly what they did, a remarkable thing in politics. on march 23, 2010, the president signed the affordable care act, an historic step in ending the insurance industry's stranglehold on health care and guaranteeing that all americans have access to the care they need. the aca, now officially called obamacare, is a monumental achievement that moves us closer to achieving the justice that is the promise of america. it expands coverage to 30 million people, brings peace of mind to middle-class families one injury or illness away from medical costs and financial catastrophe. it has put us on a path to
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controlling costs for the first time ever. the aca is improving medicare for seniors, saving hundreds of dollars per year in prescription drug costs. it allows young people to stay on their parents'' health plan. it gives small businesses tax cuts to better provide care for their employees. it helps all of us be more healthy, and significantly on august 1, this benefit expands to covering additional preventive services for women. bans the prohibition of coverage to people with asthma, and prevents abuses like dropping you when you are sick. it is the most heaping piece of social justice and economic legislation since medicare and medicaid, and these programs all fit together. along with the labor movement,
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medicare, medicaid, and social security helped create the american middle class. they are the foundation of economic security and equal opportunity for american families. the aca bridges the gap in the protections of these programs to make sure everyone gets the care they need without risking bankruptcy. it is these vital programs that are under attack by the republicans and their ryan-from the budget. republican plan would repeal the affordable care act, -- the ryan-romney budget. the republican plan would repeal the affordable care act. virtually every program would be flashed -- would be slashed. it says that we should be on our own and instead of bound together by common purpose. it makes a mockery of shared
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responsibility. the country faces real fiscal challenges, fueled by years of an affordable tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. but the ryan-romney budget represents the wrong priorities. it is a second-rate plan for a first-rate country. the democratic platform must explicitly reject the republican prescription for deficit reduction that puts medicare, medicaid, and the affordable care act on the chopping block, especially to pay for tax cuts for the rich. the republicans seek every deficit negotiation as an opportunity to chip away at these programs. the republicans want to turn medicaid into a block grant, replace medicare with vouchers, increase the medicare eligibility age. the democratic platform should say that we do not want to do any of these things, not as partners vis -- as part of the
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so-called grand bargain during the -- grant bargained. democrats believe that medicaid, medicare, and obamacare are the backbone of the american dream. as the president has said, we need to reduce the deficit in a fair and balanced way. we should begin by reforming our tax code so it raises adequate revenue and starts with asking wealthy americans to pay their fair share and closing corporate tax loopholes. that is what majority leader harry reid and senate democrats did this week when they voted to end bush tax cuts for the richest 2%. president obama has called on the house to do the same, and it would be on the way to his desk if it were speaker pelosi incidence speaker boehner who were in charge. this -- instead of speaker boehner who were in charge.
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the 2008 democratic platform outlined a bold vision for affordable quality health coverage for all americans, and it is remarkable to read this document and look at what has been accomplished since. in the battles ahead, democrats must protect the health care program and sustain the lives of american seniors and families. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. rome, for your testimony. are there questions? >> yes, thank you for coming. i will not touch it. could you talk a little bit more about how the aca and the safety net, for kids, and particularly as they prepare to go into school, how is that impacting them staying on their parents' health plan, and how will it affect them in the future? >> when we talk about adult
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children, the aca allows for adult children to stay on their parents' health plans from 19 to 26. in this economy, that is a critical protection, since it is harder for people to find jobs and especially harder for people to find jobs that provide health care. as for children, the most -- the two most important thing is you can do to improve a child's learning is to make sure they go to school, not hungry and not unhealthy. that is what medicaid is about. that is what is filling in the gaps, and that is what the aca does. >> thank you. >> yes. >> thank you for your testimony. you spoke briefly about the aca 's impact on the budget deficit. can you talk about the long-term impact in terms of cost? >> the significant thing -- i
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know it is shocking that the republicans periodically do not tell the truth about things, but one of the biggest places in the affordable care act, it reduces the deficit. most recently the cbo said by $83 billion over the next 10 years. it is a federal savings program in addition to a program that saves people's lives, and helps businesses stay open. so it is critically important, when republicans talk about repealing it, they do not talk about that that would increase, rather than reduce, the federal deficit. >> yes? >> thank you so much for being here and for all you have done over the last four years in the struggle to pass the affordable care at pre can you talk about what repeal would need to middle-class families across the country? >> for middle-class families, people really are one injury or
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illness away from bankruptcy. people learn, in the fine print of their policy, that their benefits are capped annually. they learn when their insurance does not cover what they caught, denial of care. this is about making sure that people are not locked into their jobs just because they want to keep their health care. it is about helping people decide to start a small business. the best thing that has been done for entrepreneurs in the last two years, one of the best thing, is the affordable care act. it makes it possible -- it makes it possible for people to take risks. this is a vital protection, the basis of economic security. >> yes? >> thank you very much for your testimony and your passion to ensure that every american has access to affordable and accessible health care.
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also, the aca provides for the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs. could you comment on the impact of the aca as it relates to the huge ethnic and racial disparities, even when you look at life expectancy rates and all of the health indices as it relates to it hiv and aids, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, there are huge disparities the need to be addressed in how the aca will address many of these issues, closing these gaps. >> everyday people -- every day people are learning new things about the affordable care act because it is so comprehensive. there are $12 billion in funding for community health centers, which people frequently only think exist in urban areas. but it is one of the central
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ways that folks in rural areas get the care they need. providing people insurance is not enough, as you know well. we need to make sure people have access to care. that means increasing access to care medically in underserved areas, $12 billion to expand and build new community health centers, it is a good example of what this law does. if that is if that was all that we did, we would be talking about it now. there are more things we can do to address racial and other disparities, especially in health outcomes. we are a long way from that. >> yes, robert? >> with respect to seniors, would you take a moment to point out -- oftentimes the people talk about the closing of the doughnut hole in the bill. could you share your experience in terms of what the benefit will be to seniors across the
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board by the closing of this and don't hold? closing -- of this doughnut hole? >> there are several million people who have safeguarded under the affordable care act. when we talk about how the affordable care act is changing people's lives, with seniors, we attacking my discounts and prescription drugs and the czech state bank received on the doughnut hole. health care is increasingly taking up a disproportionate amount of every senior's expenses and income. they have to make choices. seniors have to make choices. do they put food on the table, do they get care that they need? this is making a difference in people's lives in that respect. >> you acknowledge the 2008
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platform, which spoke so eloquently to health care. i have the 2004 and the 2000 platform, because i'm a hopeless nerd, i guess. what is so exciting about as a congressman is that for many, many cycles, some of us have participated in too many of them -- we talked about health care, but never accomplished this amazing dream. i wonder if you could expand a little bit on the preventive aspects and the possibility not only for citizens to be healthier, but also for the potential of money-saving for our entire economy, by having healthier citizenry and having longer lives and less pressure on some of our social safety net guest. one of the most significant
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things, and this goes back to the question of middle-class families -- there are 36 million of was in america who have benefited from low-cost preventive care. we are paying copays on our preventive care. -- are no longer paying a copays on a preventive care. it improves health outcomes. insuring thee uninsured is so important. it is about saving families and businesses and money. one of the most important in suite can do in the united states is improve our preventive care system so that we don't have among the worst outcomes of industrialized nations with the best medical care on the earth. >> are there other questions? well, ethan, your testimony has sparked a lot of interest.
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we thank you for it and we thank you for the good work you have been doing for the benefit of the nation. not only the democratic party, but the nation. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> our next presenter is mr. david harris, president and ceo of the national jewish democratic council. the national jewish democratic council focuses on education democratic officials and candidates to increase their support for jewish domestic and foreign policy priorities. david, we are happy to have you and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you so much, governor. my name is david harris. for 23 years, njdc's mission has been to maximize jewish support for democrats around the country. the united states and democratic party have long been advocates for and at supporters of a strongly beneficial u.s.-israel
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relationship. is based on shared values and shared interests. likewise, president obama has presided over a former policy based and in no small part on the special nature and importance of america apostatize with israel. as he has said, "ours is a unique relationship, and unbreakable commitment to israel's security, anchored by our common interests and deeply held values." as the president has steadfastly supported israel and israel's ability to defend itself, such as the democratic party's platform year after year, and this year should be no different. i believe that the mideast planks of the previous plan forms were carefully crafted and served as well as a party and country. we should be well served to stick closely to our previous platform language and principles, allowing, of course, for it to be updated and
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expanded as necessary. we should recognize the important role that israel place in a period of uncertainty and instability. as we seek to build new ties with governments in the arab world, we should strengthen and expand our relationship with israel and work towards its full integration into the middle east. it must be our expectation that new government should commit to non-belligerence the end of my previous agreements. you must ensure that is israel faces a huge challenges, it has the tools and american support to defend itself. the president has steadfastly supported israel with continued military assistance and additional support from cell phones. we need to ensure "that these are percent commitment we make to israel's security is not only a matter of providing military capabilities they need and the qualitative edge they meet in a tough and road, but that we are a partner with them to bring about peace in the region can be
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lasting." iran continues its program and continues to be a threat to the u.s., our interests, and our allies. it has refused international efforts to meaningfully engage, and it is closer to a nuclear weapon than ever before. we support actions by the president and congress to impose tougher sanctions. we must restate our policy, that we must do everything necessary to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and reinforce the reality that allows isolation as one of its own doing. as president said as recently as march, "i will take no option off the table. that includes all elements of american power -- a diplomatic effort, and yes, a military effort to prepare for any contingency." members of my community are often strongly supportive of the broader a ray of domestic issues
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that the democratic party and our platform stands for. it is for this reason that such a lopsided majority of american jews have voted with our party since the new deal. there is perhaps no demographic group that is more pro-choice than our community. 90% of our community supports a reproductive rights. the dozen 8 party platform is clear in its words when it said, but what the democratic party unequivocally supports roe v wade and a woman's right to choose safe and legal abortion." these words speak loudly and clearly to my community, i encourage you to read and write and even strengthen them, given the ongoing assaults -- i encourage you to reiterate and strengthen them given the ongoing assaults on women services. the jewish community has been fostered by the assault on real science, including among those who deny human contributions to global climate change. the words of our prior platform work well received by american jews when our party declared, "
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the poppel manmade threat, climate change." my community was tremendously proud of the fight just discussed that president obama which to pass historic health care reform in our country. work has yet to be done to ensure that tens of millions of americans receive the coverage they deserve. one other issue that president obama gave an eloquent voice to recently was marriage equality. this is an essential issue of liberty and i hope it will be addressed in the party platform. the american jewish community is more supportive of marriage equality than any other faith community. popularity should not be the
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threshold for awarding civil rights. i am hoping that in keeping with the president's powerful expression of support, our party will anchor the right to marriage equality in our platform. i am deeply honored by the opportunity to testify before you today and discuss these critical issues the my community cares so deeply about, both of the issues brought and the issues here at home. i'm glad to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you, david. are there any questions? >> david, thank you for your testimony. good to see you again. words are cheap, so it is good to know that this is a president that has followed through an unprecedented support for israel's security on a qualitative military edge in the region. he to support for missile defense - -- huge support for missile defense.
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standing up for israel at the un. this president's accomplishments, in terms of keeping his word to israel's security, is clear to folks. i wonder if you could flesh out one thing that was not touched upon as much in your testimony. events in the region are changing so quickly. could you speak a little bit about how you see the peace process with the palestinians a plane into israel's future security, as well as their identity as a jewish and democratic state? >> sure. this is something the president has spent a great deal of time working on directly. it is something that the president's advisers and emissaries have worked with the government of israel. it is something that we've heard prime minister netanyahu said that he wishes to do it, and that he is available and in time to meet with the palestinian counterparts to talk about. in my mind, and i think in the minds of many american jews, it
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is something that we hope happens, something the president has clearly expressed the hope happens, that he has said repeatedly that america believes is in israel's interest. israel and prime minister netanyahu believes it is in israel's interest, and he will go anytime, anyplace to discuss with president abbas to discuss. it appears that the onus is on president abbas. the president of the united states of america has invested tremendous political capital. it is not the best, most fantastic political winner for him, but he has put his money where his mouth is and has tried very hard to move this forward. this is something that is up to the parties themselves to negotiate. >>, sir. >> thank you so much for your
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testimony. no question that america's military and economic power are critical to protecting our allies, but other factors may be. for instance, america's standing in the world, our culture and values but could you talk about how those could affect foreign policy? >> can you flush out your question in the but more? -- flesh out your question a little bit more? >> sure. to the extent that the u.s. is able to project a culture and values to the rest of the world and has strong alliances, how does that affect our ability to carry out our goals in the middle east? >> sure. i would argue that the u.s.- israel alliance is part and parcel of our values. it in fact helps protect our values to the world, showing our closeness with a strong democratic ally in the middle east, following through on our word, and building our alliances with our other allies to sanction iran, part and parcel of our bond, our word, and our
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values. and it is itself an expression of our values. i just part and parcel of domestic values -- it is part and parcel of the missing values, followed through on marriage equality, health care. they are all common interests with israel. we estimate democrats see many of our domestic democratic priorities -- we as jewish democrats see many of our domestic democratic priorities as part and parcel with israel and shared values. we see a lot of this projected through the prism of our u.s.- israel alliance, if that makes sense. >> thank you very much. robert? >> david, i want to thank you for the extraordinary you and your group does. -- ordinary work you in your group and dies. it is knows he did. -- it is no secret that there is a particularly well funded effort to reduce the vote count on the democratic side, partly for present, and the jewish
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community. this couple months ago -- just a couple moments ago, gallup came out with its newest poll numbers in the jewish community, which has a is an obama gaining 60 -- has president obama gaining 60% to 25% for governor romney. i, for one, believe we have an extraordinary record to run on in this case. i say unapologetically that president obama is in fact the strongest president when it comes to america's relationship with israel since harry truman. i was wondering if you could just elaborate quickly on a few points. the fact that under the obama administration, israel has received bunker-busting bombs for the first time, the fact that we have engaged in the largest joint military exercises
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in the history of the state of israel, under the leadership of president obama, and maybe just talk about president obama's personal engagement, if you would, in terms of the calamity that was avoided in the israeli embassy in cairo not too long ago. >> sure. i think, congressman, in the energy that is called a softball. -- in the industry is called a softball. [laughter] the bunker busting bombs is something he did not brag about but it came out much later i investigative journalism, something that would have been a political winner for the president to talk about. he rightly realize that it was more important to do it and do it quietly taken out years later than when it would have been helpful for him to brag about it. the exercises speak for themselves. but just exercise ever --
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largest exercise ever after the largest exercise ever. the last thing you said is the most telling, what he does in the most private moments when it is and to our president, personally, himself, when he personally intervened to save the lives of israeli diplomats in israel's embassy in cairo, when they were besieged. when israel asked for help to fight forest fires, he put forward all the response that america could muster in the region. he got on a plea to afghanistan. it was reported that the first question he asked getting off on the cover of darkness in afghanistan was, "r they on the ground, to they have everything it they me?" you are right about the broader point. there is an incredible exercise underway, it is d.b. is an underhanded. -- devious and underhanded.
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this is an issue that should not be partisan. it should be bipartisan, if there was ever an issue. there is decades of history of support israel not being a partisan issue. what i am posing in my testimony, what i am asking to consider, in these pieces of the platform, not only are the right thing to do, i stand on the unprecedented, proud record of achievement that this president has amassed, but it also hopes to salvage the facts with the fact pattern to deprive the other side from engage in what is a deeply unfortunate, deeply disturbing, cynical effort to try to woo votes for purely political reasons, to turn the west is relationship is to -- u.s.-israel relationship into a partisan thing, which it should never be.
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>> david, your testimony is and will receive, and we thank you for it and we thank you for the death of the testimony. > -- breadth of the testimony. >> thank you so much. >> we look forward to hearing from you and your organization in the next few months. >> thank you for this opportunity. >> our next presenter is the chair of the board of directors of the national committee to preserve social security and medicare. this organization is one of the most effective and trustworthy sources for social security, medicare, and medicaid advocacy at our country. the committee works for older americans who want our nation's health and income security programs secured for the future. doctor, we're happy to have you and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you. on behalf of the millions of
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members and supporters of the national committee to preserve social security and medicare, i want to thank chairman strickling and all the members of the democratic platform committee for your invitation to testify today. i would also like to refer you to my written testimony in your development of your platform. i will just use a few moments to make a few key points. first, i hope that the platform of the democratic party not only defense critical social insurance programs, but considers language in support of modest improvements that will modify -- modernize the benefit structure for some groups. democrats can be proud of their history of helping seniors this in a pennant and dignified lives. democrats created social security, medicare, medicaid. democrats lifted millions of seniors out of poverty and retirement. it provided for workers survivors and the disabled. this is no time to back away from that proud heritage.
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frankly, the american people don't want you to. in our polling, we have found that across party lines, large majorities of voters, 77% overall, strongly reject it cutting social security and medicare benefits to reduce the deficit. they oppose all specific benefit cuts that are currently being talked about, and say that they would reward those who take a strong stand in favor of these programs at the polls. we all know that without social security, over half of older americans would fall into poverty. essential to so many, social security benefits are modest. the average monthly benefit is only $1,229. that is about $15,000 a year. beneficiaries cannot afford cuts, especially to preserve tax breaks for wealthy millionaires and billionaires. what is more, cuts to earn
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benefits would disproportionately hurt women and communities of color. both groups have endured a lifetime of income and wealth inequality in this country. the national committee police that social security's finances should be strengthened by ensuring that the wealthiest among us, those who have benefited so much from this nation, pay their fair share. in fact, if payroll taxes were applied more fairly to all workers, solvency could be a short period what's more, we could pay for needed improvements that would help the social security meet all the needs of all americans, but particularly for a vulnerable population. these improvements include providing social security credits for care givers, improving survivor benefits, enhancing the special minimum benefits, strengthening the cost-of-living adjustments by adopting the cpi for the elderly chained sepiolite,
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restoring student benefits for children and to the age of 22, at offering equal benefits for same-sex married couples and partners. at the same time, we urge you to reject the myth that there are only on popular action -- unpopular options for solvency. reducing the cost-of-living adjustment due to change cpi, cutting benefits by altering the benefit formula. we ask you to reject all of those. in terms of medicare, 47 years ago next week, president johnson built on fdr's the legacy by providing health security to older americans through the creation of medicare and medicaid. before medicare, only 50% of
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seniors at health insurance. 35% of seniors live in poverty. today, medicare continues to be essential for middle income seniors. over half of medicare beneficiaries had annual incomes of less than $22,500. sittings of less than $53,000. having guaranteed access to help the insurance coverage is also beneficial for communities of color. 2/3 of african-americans and latinos have incomes below 22,000, and they make up a large share of those with incomes below the poverty level. people from communities of color are at greater risk for certain chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. as a result, communities of color have a disproportionate stake in ensure and the future of medicare. the democratic party should build on provisions of the affordable care act that have already resulted in extending the solvency of medicare part a
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by an estimated eight years, lowering part be out of pocket costs for beneficiaries, offering free preventive services, and reducing the prescription drug costs. but it is not enough to protect medicare. that is why the democratic platform should support providing medicare coverage for a hearing aids, dental care, interest, routine vision and foot care, as well as establishing an annual catastrophic cap on beneficiaries out of pocket spending for medicare covered services. unfortunately, the house passed the gop ryan budget would take medicare in the wrong direction by ending medicare as we know it, privatizing it for the benefit of insurance companies, making it harder for seniors to choose their own doctors, cutting prescription coverage and for preventative services, and increasing the medicare eligibility age to 67. we reject all of these proposals.
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the national committee believes more over that the platform should insist that seniors and people with disabilities have access to high-quality and affordable long-term care services and support, available at home and in the community. funding for these services is prior did primarily for and paid for by medicaid. medicaid remains of final safety net, and it is especially important also to communities of color. sadly, millions of existing medicaid beneficiaries will likely for go needed medical assistance and becomes thicker if a proposal in the ryan budget to block grant medicaid became law. establishing a federal blended rate would reduce payments to states. instead, what is needed is the medicaid expansion, and that is in the affordable care act. to make this work, all states red and blue must cover all
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marble seniors, people with disabilities and children. finally, we are concerned that medicated-managed care may not be a proper for individuals newly eligible for medicare and medicaid benefits. we urge you to supports scaling back these demonstrations until they can be evaluated for their efficacy. in closing, democrats will win the confidence of american voters by being unapologetic defenders against the tax -- against attacks on america's social safety net. voters know that cutting benefits to those of when the recession is not shared sacrifice. instead, ordinary americans want to know that someone is fighting for them, someone is standing up for them, as other middle-class institutions like pensions, s, crumbled 3h plans these ar they walk to test and the last pillars still standing -- social security, medicare, medicaid.
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fight for them by drafting a platform that puts them first. thank you for this opportunity to testify. >> doctor, thank you for your testimony. we have some time for questions. are there questions? it appears that you -- oh, here we have some questions. go ahead. >> thank you for coming, and, actually, all of your work the past two years, particularly with the social safety net. as you mentioned, this is a critical factor, as critical set of factors for families, quite frankly, all families, across all generations, quite .rankly that ther but there is also a piece in the discussion right social service workers, in certain states where there is a penalty in the social security system. i wonder if you could touch on that a little bit.
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>> public service workers penalized by the social security system -- >> government pensions -- >> and elimination programs? so, there has been an ongoing conversation about public service workers, teachers and others, it might qualify for social security, who actually get a cut as a result of the benefit structure. that has been an ongoing debate in congress, certainly one that has been concern to the democratic party for a long time. it should be part of any package taken up with regard to how we modernize the social security program. we need to make sure that benefits are adequate for all americans, including public service workers who might be harmed by that provision. >> thank you. >> yes, congresswoman? >> thank you for that powerful testimony. oftentimes we forget that social
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security and medicare provide quite a bit of assistance for the disabled. could you elaborate a little bit about that in terms of the disabled and how important social security and medicare is for our disability community? >> absolutely. when people think about social security, they think of it as a retirement program. social security has three primary benefits. retirees, the disabled population, and survivors of workers who have died young. in the disability program, often social security is the only thing for workers who become disabled in the midst of their working career, that they can eat and access to to support them in their disability. it is very important for people of all ages who have become disabled, and social security steps in to provide not only that disabled worker with support, but also theifamily
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members di. >> are there any other questions? doctor, thank you for your testimony, and thank you for the wonderful work your organization does. >> thank you very much. >> we appreciate you being here. up next presenter -- the political director of the southwest region council of the international brotherhood of carpenters. 500,000 unionts a workers advocating for approved jobs and protection of their rights. we are very happy to have you, and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am honored to be here. i serve as the director of social projects for the international union. on behalf of the five order
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50,000 members of carpenters and shriners, i want to thank you for the opportunity to some of those comments. workers' compensation and payroll fraud are issues of vital concern to our members, contractors, and the country. payroll fraud comes in two forums. first is the intentional misclassification of employees as independent contractors. workers get irs 1099 forms at the end of the tax year instead of a w-2's. second, paying workers off the books with no reporting to state and federal authorities or workers' compensation carriers. violations not only encompass federal and state tax evasion, workers' compensation fraud, but it also includes racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud, criminal conspiracy. the victims include the employers who play by their rules, our health-care system, workers, state and federal and local revenues. payroll fraud is not limited to
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small construction projects. the fine violation on public and private jobs, residential, industrial, commercial construction, even military bases like fort knox. these violations are not caused by confusion over definitions of employment. these people now exactly what they are doing. construction is a fiercely competitive industry, and irresponsible contractors who do not pay taxes, workers compensation premiums, or over time gain a significant competitive edge over law- abiding employers. my payroll fraud becomes common, employers face the prospect of losing businesses if they don't join in. honest employers face a double and dignity. first, they continue to lose work and their employees go on a planet. -- on unemployment. then their workers' compensation premiums go up, leaving them even less competitive. a 1984 study by the irs found at employers ms. classified
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employees as independent contractors, and nearly 20% of construction employers did so. the gao put the irs in 1984 numbers into $2,006, and any federal tax loss of 2.7 $2 billion. more recent state study found that 14% to 24% of construction workers in massachusetts, is classified. 14% in maine, 14.9 in new york. the 2007 study of the new york city construction industry found that 25%, 50,000 construction employees, were missed classified or pay off the books, resulting in an estimated loss of 500 to $37 million and he doesn't federal, state, and local taxes work anders
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compensation, health care cost shifting. those numbers fail to reflect the true frequency and cost of payroll fraud. for instance, in florida, investigation of their workers' compensation premiums fraud discovered that a billion dollars was laundered through check cashing stores by two contractors in less than two years. all this work is compensation premiums. clearly, state, local, and federal government would benefit substantially if we recover those taxes that are owed on unpaid contractors who violate the law. the cost of medical treatment for work is indicated -- the employer is cheating on worker'' compensation, and is often shifted by health-care providers to those of us who do have insurance. a study in california found an astonishing $100 billion in
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unreported workers' compensation carriers, resulting in on his employers and dangerous occupations such as carpenters paying as much as eight times more for insurance. a majority of states have recognized the problems created by federal fraud. since 2003, 33 states have passed over 97 measures to improve law-enforcement trade states include california, colorado, new york, louisiana, oklahoma. these represent a broad political spectrum, reflecting the bipartisan cooperation and support from the business community as well as labor. following the lead of these states, the united states department of labor, and this administration has signed memorandums of understanding with the irs and 13 states to battle this problem. unfortunately, congress has lagged behind. numerous bills have been introduced against the tremendous business interests, who fail to understand the tremendous harm being done to employers.
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similar measures should be passed by congress and included in support of this platform. measures to make failure to properly close by an individual as an employee a violation of the fair labor standards act. continuing to fund at the u.s. department of labor initiatives to increase the number of investigators to improve the sharing of information and cooperative enforcement actions with the irs and states and provide grants to states for information technology and other state initiatives to improve enforcement. support for amending the internal revenue code, allowing the irs to declare an issue by a fine regulations, eliminating the role that allows teachers to qualify for a safe harbor to continue violating the law perpetrated by not paying employment taxes, and eliminating the industry practice of the safe harbor that allows illegal behavior. it is time to level the playing field for law-abiding taxpayers for the benefit of everyone. my comments have address illegal
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practices in the construction industry. the payroll fraud is all too common, and trucking, restaurants, landscaping, hotels, and elsewhere -- on its businesses and taxpayers deserve better protection from those who violate the law. revenue will be recaptured from those who wrote it and fewer burdens will be based on law- abiding businesses are working families will have more likely to realize the american dream. thank you. >> thank you, bill, and the problem you have highlighted is pervasive. i know it exists in ohio and probably every other state in this nation. are there questions of bill before he steps aside? anyone? well, thank you so much, sir. >> thank you. >> well, the mayor is here, and
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so it is my privilege to introduce our next presenter, mayor kevin johnson. he is serving his second term as the mayor of sacramento, california. he is also the second vice president of the united states conference of mayors, and the first vice president of the national conference of black mayors. as mayor of sacramento he has worked to improve public safety and increase economic development, a champion excellence in education, and he tackles the issues affecting urban communities. mayor, we look forward with great enthusiasm to testimony. >> awesome, i want to thank everyone for giving me your important time for this issue did have 101 things you could be doing for your communities, so thank you. i would like to thank chairman strickland and members of the community for the opportunity. as the chairman engine, i am the
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mayor of sacramento and the second vice president of the caucus of mayors. let me recognize the conference of mayors. president, michael nutter. i guess you are wearing two hats today. phillies are on the role, too, by the way. >> we like that. >> executive director of the u.s. conference of mayors, tom coughlin, and past president and tone of your voice up. i want to acknowledge all the mayors who participated for the and valuable input. we represent 1300 cities, and each of the cities are over 30,000, and we are not partisan by -- that speaks volumes to what we are trying to do in this country. i would also like to thank president obama for his leadership. yes to that asked unprecedented access to the white house -- he has given us unprecedented access to the white house, he
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has allowed us to sit down with cabinet secretaries on a regular basis and senior officials in ways that have not previously happen. the first lady came and addressed our body on a number of occasions. we as mayors are extremely thankful. we also want to thank the administration for their bold action in terms of passing health care, high-speed rail, -- raced to the top, energy efficiency, and the conservation block grant. many successes in the first four years. we still have a long ways to go. one of the things that we did through the u.s. conference of mayors week ago, we met in philadelphia and got together collectively about 100 mayors from around the country and talked about what our collective responsibilities are, what can we do to really make sure that we are front and center when it comes to major topics that are facing this country. we released something called "the u.s. metro economies."
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i want to applaud a couple of key findings that set the context for my remarks. it is very clear that american cities are the lifeblood of this country. here are the key findings trade 84% at the u.s. population is in metro economies. 84%. secondly, 86% of the nation's jobs, in metro economies. thirdly, 90% of the nation's gdp is in metro economies. u.s. cities are global powerhouses. in fact, some of our cities have greater economies and countries. for instance, at new york is larger than mexico and south korea. los angeles outpaces switzerland. chicago outpaces sweden. then there is a number of metro economies that are larger than states. miami has a larger economy and arizona, and houston's gdp is higher than georgia.
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these numbers will continue to grow as time goes on. over the next 30 years, you'll see a 32% increase in them at the population wrapping this country. we believe that city's are aware business occurs and innovation is born. that is why we are thankful to have an opportunity to share with this committee today. we as mayor's stand ready to be part of the solution. we want to put our country back on track. as i indicated earlier, mayor natter hostess for a 2.5-day seminar, and we got a chance as it nears to prepare a document, or at least begin the workings of a document called "building a better america." we focus on 10 major issues that we thought were important in cities around the country. at mayor nutter's urging, he said it to narrow the focus a bit, so i will focus on three that are the big priorities.
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it is about creating an urban agenda. today this is out, the city's, it will be such an integral part of how we put the countries back on track. we believe in mayor nutter's leadership and with to build an urban agenda. invest in infrastructure. secondly, keeping people in our cities safe and secure through public safety is a top priority. primary role of government. and thirdly, ensuring that all of our children have access to high-quality public education. we believe those are the three most important things for us as mares around the country. these priorities, we believe, are transformative and attainable. they unify our interests and transcend political party and geography. they are about improving the lives of allowed citizens and sustaining the promise of the american dream. first, let me die a little bit about infrastructure. what is infrastructure?
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infrastructure are our roads, waterways, bridges, railways, energy grids. things that bring us together, things that connect us with our cities. by investing in infrastructure, we provide short-term and long- term jobs. it helps our ports and our exports, and it reduces ingestion. furthermore, think about infrastructure. the u.s. spends only 2.4% of its gdp in infrastructure. meanwhile, europe spends 5% and china and its 9%. as -- i.t. is clear we are moving in the wrong direction. now we're down to 2.4. if we fail that, our cities are going to increasingly suffer congestion and unemployment and a long-term cost that will impact us in a very negative way. what we've mayor's what is a very loud and clear is that we have cities wannabees slipped -- to be part of the solution.
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when you think about how to get our country back on track, states play a critical role, but cities are where the rubber meets the road and where we can implement things out of washington in real time. our aim, in addition to infrastructure, is also public safety. we know that we need to keep our city secure and safe. the u.s. mayors knows that crime affects our streets and people. unfortunately, with budget cuts already stressed in, cities are having to cut final services for citizens. we have much work to do to promote safety in our communities. we have identified a few things in which our party, the democratic party, and president obama can ensure the aid goes to public safety. first, we must support local law enforcement by supporting key programs -- cops hiring a check, second chance. secondly, we must have a paradigm shift in focus a lot of our energy on prevention.
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we want to be very proactive when it comes to prevention. thirdly, and this is something that is near and dear to president -- i guess in this our president but mayor nutter, is gangs and gang violence. we have to mention that we come up with solutions, and part of that is an intergovernmental partnership and combination of tough enforcement and prevention measures. we cannot avoid the composition of gun safety. it does not matter which side of the aisle you are on. we've got to make sure -- about what we can do to make sure our children are safer in the community. the last thing i will talk about in terms of public safety, and i believe i.t. is not traditional, but i believe i.t. is important. it is our floods and levees. when we think about public
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safety, we cannot forget that there are places around the country is similar to what happened in new orleans and katrina that would be impacted if we strengthen our levees. that is one thing that the u.s. conference of mayors said we would make a priority as well. lastly is education. this is the one that is probably near and dear to my heart in particular, because we as mayors cannot have a great city without its schools. unfortunately, many of our schools and sindhis around the country are not meeting the bar. it is eight more lead additive -- it is a moral imperative 20 think about the achievement gap. we have got to get our schools back on track. we believe that you have to have a well-educated and highly skilled workforce. we are in the midst of an education crisis. only a 32% of fourth graders are reading at grade level. we rank 14th in reading, 17th in science, 25 in math , among the
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34 developed countries. what makes matters worse is that in the next 20 years, we will have 120 million jobs. unfortunately, we will only be able to fill 50 million of those by our children. 7 million jobs are going to be outsourced to children in other countries. that is not the america we believe in. just as under-investing or lack of prioritizing and infrastructure cripples our roads and bridges, under- investing and lack of priority will triple our education system. that is why we izmir's want to be part of the solution and part of restoring our country and competitive advantage. he highlighted a few things and education that might be important. the president has been far and above one of the key leaders in quite some time on these issues. we want to prioritize early education, which we on the other is important for our students. we want to reform k-12. we have done to increase graduation rates to make sure
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our kids are prepared for college and the work force. we want to approve access to higher education by ensuring college of portability and completion, pell grant quality. we want to expand and improve on our community college system take our community college systems are so important when it comes to training and career paths for our young people. we want to create skilled workforce. stem, technology, all of those are things we need to do to make sure our young people have the opportunity to compete. our policies that are also very important, and we are in lockstep with the president from bipartisan support and secretary duncan. we believe that we need to reauthorize eta. the u.s. conference of mayors unanimously supported this resolution under mayor n utter's relationship.
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we've got to get this reauthorization past. if it fails, our nations and cities and students will be impacted in and negative away. mayor's stand ready, and we urge our party to hold us accountable. mayors want to be a part of the solution. we don't want to wrap the blame game, pointing anybody else out. we want to be part of the solution, and that is part of mere matter's leadership as well. the urban agenda is critical for moving this country forward. we believe strongly that by focusing on infrastructure and job creation, public safety and education, we will get our communities back on track. we also think that the u.s. conference of mayors -- are other things that we know are very important. energy independence and jobs. housing and community development. tax reform, balancing our budget. and certainly, reducing our deficit. we as mayor's stand with this
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administration and this country and look forward to the months ahead, and we want you to call us and be willing partners, and we believe in the values of the democratic party, we believe in everything we stand for, and we believe there is a lot of work to be done. signed as up. thank you. >> thank you for your testimony, and thank you for your leadership, our nation's mares. are there questions for the good here? r nutter. >> not so much a question, but i want to thank mayor johnson for coming in and laying out clearly the case for our partnership for the role of cities, in a new city-federal partnerships. in particular, thank you for your comments with regard to public safety and the issue of violence all across the united states of america. for some of us who believe that
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of response we have had to international terrorism has been very important to this country, but many of us experienced domestic terrorism in our cities, and we need a much larger and more comprehensive response to those issues so that people can be safe, not only as they fly, but as they walk around their communities. thank you. >> thank you. yes, congresswoman? >> good to see you, and thank you for that clear, assistant testimony, as well as the specifics, what i think are very important for us to hear and include in this platform. coming from oakland, california, many of the issues you have raised are very similar to all the urban areas. i want to thank you both for your tremendous leadership. public sector job cuts primarily are firefighters, police officers, teachers, a next-door neighbors. they experienced the brunt of
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public sector job cuts, and that, of course, is part of the republican strategy in terms of deficit reduction. and public sector jobs have been the primary pathway to the middle-class for people of color -- african-americans, latinos, asia pacific americans. in terms of your city and the urban agenda, is the impact of the public-sector budget cuts as it relates to services and as it relates to jobs and as it relates to keeping the community safe? >> first of all, i am a big fan of yours, so thank you. i appreciate the question, and thank you for the work that you do in the bay area. i am the mayor of sacramento, and we are the capital of california, the eighth largest economy in the world. as the capital city, in sacramento, the majority of our jobs are public-sector jobs.
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when the economy is hit hard, our community is a lot harder than most cities that have a diverse workforce. we don't have a divorce work force. i think there are two things i would say. number one, the lifeblood of our communities -- these officers, firemen, teachers -- we have to make sure we do everything they can said that they are not making choices between paying the market and buying groceries. we have got to me that a priority, and i think we have done that. secondly, we've got the fifth round a way to grow the pie and diversify the work force. the private sector can play a critical role in growing that high. that is what we are trying to do in sacramento. we have to diversify the economy of sacramento and the jobs we want to keep. we also rely heavily on the real-estate industry in sacramento. we were hit very hard by the foreclosure crisis, like many communities around the country. we think of the grain sector and
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investments in renewable energy -- that is an opportunity to free public-private partnerships. that is an answer going forward. date and are not mutually exclusive. thank you. >> yes. >> yes, mayor, thank you for that amazing and routing series of a very thoughtful concept that we needed think about. i know that in the brief amount of time we have allowed you, you could not speak to everything, but i am curious, because you mentioned responsibility, whether you as an elected official or the u.s. conference of mayors have any comments you like to make on the, to me, rather unprecedented attacks on our voting rights. as an elected official, i think
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it is and almost terrifying attack on our basic democracy. in the cities where, as you point out, so many of our citizens lived, who may be taken off for the voter rolls. >> certain things are non- negotiable. for us, especially the african- americans, in 1964, 1965, we think about the voting rights act, and how long and far we fought to get that privilege. now people are talking about disenfranchising folks again. that is not something that we as americans should allow to happen. i want to speak on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors. -- i don't want to speak on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors. we feel very strongly about, by any means necessarydoing what
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we can to make sure that no one is disenfranchised with all the schemes and manipulations that are out there. >> i just wanted to thank you, and also, comment on the fact that the priorities for us are equally as important to rural communities. i come from a large state, where half of our population lives in a very small communities. the issues of most importance to those communities are things like public safety, infrastructure, an education. appreciate that the work -- i appreciate the work you are doing on these issues and i appreciate the fact that the conference of mayors are pushing that agenda, because it benefits us all equally. >> i would like to say one thing on that. doug peterson spoke earlier representing the farmers' union. i thought his points were very appropriate from erroll standpoint.
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in this metro economies report. -- in this metro economies report, i did not realize what the percentage and numbers were that metro economies were in this country. on the flip side, we as the u.s. conference of mayors have many that are part of the work we are doing. we look at them as a stream partners. but look at this as some hint that we're turning a deaf eye on -- and to look at this is somehow we are turning a deaf i on one part of our committee, because we need them all. i can tell you that i.t. is very consistent with the u.s. conference of mayors and what you want to do as well. >> mayor, thank you so much. once again, thank you for your leadership. we appreciate your testimony, and we appreciate you coming. thank you very, very much. >> i noted that all the
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questions were from the left side of the room. [laughter] >> our party is on track. >> if you will come forward, i will tell folks a little bit about you. the vice president of the democratic business council of northern virginia. it provides an opportunity to meet and network with local officials, as well as candidates. also knownthe democratic businel of northern virginia provides programs to northern virginia. we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you for having me attend this meeting. as you indicate, i am here in my capacity as the vice president of the democratic business
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council. he referred to as dembiz. i would like to thank yothe head of the business council for making his presentation today. ron was able to attend our monthly meeting last month, and there he said in a presentation we had about the history, the model, and the goals of our organization, we feel that dembiz has added value to our party in northern virginia. we feel that dembiz cancer as a model for other communities throughout the country, and we hope you will agree. pro-business -- this is a term that has become a weapon and seeks to separate out those who
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place the economy at the center of our country's corporation dahlias, and those who argue do not, pro-business implies there's only one other camp you could be in, and that is anti- business. this has been claimed as the exclusive commerce -- province of the chamber of commerce and by extension the republican party. democrats have been left in a category that implies we are anti-business, and anti- american, as conservatives rap the economy in a flag. democrats have championed the core values of social justice and social programs. in the last election we saw a message that the gop designed to convince americans that those core values make us and our president socialists. words matter. in a culture that is
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increasingly driven by sound bites, the best slogan went straight into thousand out -- the best slogan wins. all people who had never bothered to vote before into designate, supported our president. the economy was in free fall. the party holding the flag when the economy collapsed was the gop. that brings us to today. jobs. in the last four years, it has come down to jobs. this is an endless debate about what and who create those jobs. words matter when the polarization around these debates over the economy puts the republicans in one camp, pro-business and pro jobs, and leaves democrats woefully perceived only as champions of entitlement programs and a party
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comprised of the teachers and labor unions. democrats cannot win local, state, and national elections without rebuilding our credibility as business- centered pro-economy advocates. treating the democratic business council a decade ago, we began in our area to change the conversation among democrats who were business and professional people in northern virginia. one of the strongest economies in the country. at dembiz we talk about message the apperception and how we can change viewpoints and misguided notions about what we have to cut to strengthen our american economy. to paraphrase tip o'neill, all businesses are local. every single town is a chamber of commerce. these organizations are the champions of local businesses
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and have embraced the pro- business mantra of the republican party. the increasingly political message of the u.s. chamber of commerce reflects settlements in other chambers run the country. it is increasingly an extension of the gop. the creation of the democratic council is not the sole answer to a chamber of commerce. this is not that matter of feeding an either-or mortality -- mentality. in finding business people who understand and thou ehud the importance of social issues, we create a different discussion and a new forum around how we can meet basic needs of the many, while supporting people, companies, and organizations that comprised our local economies. members. dembiz understand the political process drives change. we support democratic candidates
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to ensure their election. in turn we get information and insight from those officials on the front lines about what happens in town council meetings, in our state general assembly's, and in the houses of congress. this is about creating a partnership between the business community and those who are in the business of government. democrats must craft a convincing message about how we value business, and its relationship to government. democrats are not a party of smaller government. we are a smaller and better government. we must carry that message to the business community to a cadre of incredible people who truly believe that message. in creating the democratic business council, we invite people in one person at a time to understand our philosophy on business and politics. our continued sustainability is
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based on word of mouth. we want committed people help advance our goals. our democratic business council is based on membership model that not every organization that is in this sector needs to be modeled in that way to be successful. we have a pack which allows us to support democratic candidates, but our hist chief goal is education. we focus on getting great speakers to monthly breakfasts, people who have a white appeal, and who's served to draw our members and people who are invested in. our speakers and the topics we discussed. our format encourages open discussion. we create stakeholders in the initiatives and agenda of the than a credit party but to the people in the business and professional community a chance to really talk with elected officials and the debts and with public administrators.
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we give our members and guests access to people they might not otherwise be able to connect with. we give decision makers an audience of people who are influencers their own networks. it is my hope that the democratic party at the national level will encourage the formation of local democratic business council's. this would be a boots of the grant approach to reshaping the public perception of democrats. we do not have to compromise our core values to be seen as a protest business party. we have to help others see how business serves the greater goals and our society than simply jobs and profit. it is upon us as a party to provide democrats with the language and the message to take these ideas out to the community, convincing voters one person at a time that democrats are also pro-business.
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thank you very much. >> thank you, sir, and i think the record shows that across the years, the decades, that the business community does better under democratic administrations than it does under republicans. thank you very much for your testimony. are there questions? >> thank you. i very much appreciate your point about the partnership that is possible between government and business, and i would point to food safety as an example where there have been improvements. i want to ask you about universities, because universities are not only a way for individuals to get a leg up, but also a source of economic growth. i wanted to see if you have thoughts about the ways universities can permit -- can promote job growth? >> one of the biggest universities in northern
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virginia is george mason, and we work with the faculty and students to try to reach out to business communities and have the individuals who are part of the faculty and who can bring value to our discussion about policy issues and be part of that discussion. i would very much agree that out to reach by democratic organizations to universities can be extremely helpful. >> thank you very much for your reference and for your input. you talk about how dembiz is engaged in messaging and perception. can you help us with messaging and perception? what of the things republicans have been very good at is wrapping themselves in small business and using small business something to hide behind in support of policies
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that are either supportive of small business people or of small businesses themselves. would you care to comment? >> i have to agree with you completely. our membership is comprised of individuals who are owners of small businesses and see the value that when democrats are in office, when democrats adopt policies, those small businesses thrive, and we see a lot of value in having democrats promote policies that help our economy grow and are good for our local businesses, good for the economy, good for the citizens of our region. i want to thank you for the opportunity to be here. being here. you for our next presenter is allison herbert.
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she is the legislative director of the human rights campaign. during her work there is, she has spearheaded the organization's efforts on capitol hill. hrc is the largest civil rights or organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans- gendered americans, and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, and i want to say what an honor it is to be here in front of two of my former bosses. thank you. i and the legislative director of hrc, we are the largest lbgt, civilgay, rights organization. i would like to begin by
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thanking the democratic party for its longstanding commitment to the lbgt committee. thanks in those smart to the opitol hill, we have this seen tremendous progress in addressing the widespread discrimination and in the past inequities that still impact everyday lives of these americans. since i have the honor of testifying before the committee in 2008, president obama has signed into law the first federal civil rights measure to include lbgt people, that the shepherd hate crimes prevention act, and has overseen the dismantling of the discriminatory don't ask don't tell law allowing bisexual and gay americans to serve their country openly and honestly. despite these historic advances, and others achieved at the local, state, and federal
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level, there is still a great deal more that needs to be done. i come before you today to ask that the democratic platform once again reflect strong support of the rights of lbgt people, in particular, as more states and a growing majority of the american people support marriage equality. i urge you to expend the party's commitment to quality but unequivocally supporting the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. the 2008 platform contained language strongly supporting the rights of same-sex couples, calling for an equal rights, benefits, and responsibilities for their relationships. it also called for repeal of the the cemetery defense of marriage act -- repeal of the discriminatory defense of marriage act.
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in addition, because of doma, the gay and lesbian service members now able to serve our nation openly are still not treated equally. their partners as bassett -- spouses black access health care, and other benefits afforded to other military families. i thank the party for taking this important stand in the 2008 platform and urge you to reiterate their support for the repeal thedoma, slow as in the effort to amend the constitution to define marriage. i implore you to go further. forcing-6 couples to to be treated equally under our laws, they must have access to the institution of marriage. gay and lesbian couples deserve the same opportunity to pledged
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their commitment to one another, the four families, to be secure in those family relationships through good times and bad. earlier this year the president made his start statements in support of marriage and quality. his words have been fundamentally changed the national conversation on this issue. this has inspired more and more americans to move forward on their personal journeys toward supporting equality. it would be yet another historic step along that path for the democratic party to include support for marriage equality in its 2012 platform, and i urge you to take it. marriage, while at of critical importance, is far from the only issues facing these people in this country. for many, simply finding and keeping a job is made difficult or impossible by discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. despite overwhelming support for workplace equality, it remains
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legal to fire someone based solely on their sexual orientation 29 states. in 34 states, based on their gender identity. i ask the platform once again include support for lbgt- inclusive measures. however, discrimination and harassment of these people can begin much earlier and impact their ability to obtain the skills and education they need to succeed. in recent years, high-profile stories have put a spotlight on the issue of bullying and harassment in our nation's schools. this is not a new problem and not one that only affects lbgt youth. it has contributed to entirely too many tragedies, and we as a nation must do more to ensure that all youth had the opportunity to learn and flourish in safe and respectful environments.
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i urge you to include in the platform a call for strong measures to combat bullying, discrimination, and harassment that are explicitly exclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. as the nation just posted the first international aids conference since 1990, here in the united states, thanks to the listing of the hiv travel and immigration ban and the leadership by congresswoman barbara lee, we are reminded of the importance of our continued fight against this epidemic. hiv and aids remains a critical issue for lbgt people as it continues to affect our communities disproportionately, particularly young people and gay and bisexual men of color. i ask the platform continue to call for a robust funding and prevention, care, and research. prevention programs must be comprehensive, science based,
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and focused on communities that they are intended to serve. hrc recognize is the important role faith-based organizations play in tackling problems, but we are also aware that religion is too often used as a proxy to discriminate against lbgt people. i urge you to continue to insist that these organizations not be permitted to use federal funds to discriminate. with the federal courts continuing to grapple with questions l lbgt quality, many of which may be before the supreme court in the near term, the federal judiciary remains important to our committee boss will be. i ask the platform continue to support the nomination of fair and impartial judges who recognize that the constitution austerity -- constitution's guarantee apply to all people. i thank you for the opportunity to testify today. we are enormously grateful for
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the democratic party's support of the community and the courage shown by many leaders in championing our quality. >> take you so much for being here. are there questions for allison? or comments? >> a common, because it is so wonderful to see you, allison, and it has always been a pleasure working with you. the good work that the hrc has done, along with its allies in the lbgt community at agitated -- educated all of us and are an important statement as we move forward, so i wanted on behalf of myself and i assumed the commit date to thank you for your work in your testimony as well. >> thank you. >> are there others? alison, i think this platform could be an historic platform,
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based in part on some of the things that you have discussed in your testimony. thank you so very much for being here. thank you. >> thank you. >> because of travel constraints, we will deviate slightly from the list of presenters, and we are born to go next to raphael golzo, the campaign committee director for the national council of -- the organization concentrates on the advocacy tivoli's at the state and local levels through its local advocacy initiatives. raphael, we are glad you are here and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, a good afternoon. i would like to thank the drafting committee for the opportunity this testify today.
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i would like to get a special hello to mayor michael nutter, and it is a pleasure to see you here today. i am the director of the political campaign for the national council of la raza. i know firsthand the impact that policy has on hispanic communities. everyone here is familiar isnclr. we get engaged in research and policy analysis, around critical issues impacting our community. we also have a network of 300 social service providing organizations that we work with to provide a community service, many of which are involved and our mobilize the vote campaign, which this year will register hundreds of thousands of new voters in the fall, and we
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expect a record of 12 million latino voters. those voters are looking for leadership and answers to resolve our nation's major issues. we provide -- we can provide you information on any of our programs. i will give you a few notes on the economy, homeowners, and health care. latinos are looking forobs today and security tomorrow. we are being impacted by high employment. the latest rate is at 11%, the highest it has been this year. because of our concern, we're working with other organizations on our economic blueprint for the future, a comprehensive plan. we would like to see in the economic platform of the dnc latinos having a place at the
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table. we would like the committee did prioritize the following -- a tax system that does not place an unfair burden on latino families. many members of congress have attacked a provision this year. an economic plan that spurs job growth, especially in sectors that have high latino labour participation, and the protection with government programs like social security. the only solution to getting the economy back on track is to create a shared prosperity. besides the jobs come to everyone deserves a home for good. for too many families the foreclosure crisis is far from over. we are part of a larger campaign an alliance of organizations which is to advocate for fair housing practices, and specific items we would like the committee to
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consider as part as your final platform include stop unnecessary foreclosures, and revive a sustainable path to home ownership. in the areas of health care, be on the policy goal, it is a moral imperative. latinos are still at it with a skirt of high insurance rates. this became personal to me. my mother, a city worker, spent the last few months without health insurance, and what -- and that is incredibly unfair. this is something that is important and personal to us. we would strongly urge you to consider strong roles on nondiscrimination and help settings, health equity
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initiatives, health education, and promotion programs. restoring access to medicaid for legal immigrates and allowing undocumented immigrants who are willing to pay for their insurance to pay into health insurance exchanges. if latinas our part to have equal access to health care -- i did not have to share with this group between on just immigration policies, the attack on our voting rights, voter suppression and other issues, this is something that is of concern to our community. your platform can champion latino rights by emphasizing, ending racial pride filing that is creating fear, and cree intolerance. the federal government can hold banks and other institutions more accountable for discriminatory lending practices.
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finally, increased scrutiny of voting laws that is in french as latino voters. -- that disenfranchise latino voters. on immigration, for your platform to show the level of commitment necessary to latino civil rights, it must include a call for the government to finally pass immigration reform that needs to include these principles -- first, restore order among the 12 million undocumented aliens, while creating support enforcement policies, and also cracking down on employers, unclogging legal channels to reunite families. this has been a great burden to our community. allow future workers have protections to safeguard our
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work force. enacting measures to encourage the assimilation of immigrants. we would urge you to focus on those areas around the economy, health care, and civil rights as you consider your platform. the dnc platform, we urge you to underline fairness and opportunities. i thank you for your time. >> we are happy to have you here. are other questions? yes, sir. >> i know you personally have been involved in registering latinos. you have done some massive efforts. i am curious, what else can we be doing to increase -- to have broad participation in our democracy from those the latino
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community, and how are those projections on voting affecting those efforts caug? >> in terms of voter registration, because it is a state dynamic to the extent the party can provide latinos proper information in our language in the way we understand. affirmation about the process, state-by-state, we can still register people to vote in florida, but it is difficult. in terms of how we can engage your platform and your party can engage more latinos, discussing the spot for points, at the end of the day is about courage, and we are looking for communities that can stand by their convictions. that is a big part of this process, so you have an
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opportunity to excite latinos brenda policy positions. >> are there other questions or comments? yes. >> i have a question. you mentioned i think correctly, and happily, the president using his own authority to list some of the deportation rules so that folks who are serving in our military who are not citizens have a path to remaining in this country. i was curious if you have any idea about how many men and women who are serving in our military or who have served in our military are non citizens, because their service has been remarkable and heroic, and i think it might be helpful for me to have some sense of the numbers. >> yes, i can -- i do not have
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those numbers handy, and i do not know. i will have to check with our team to make sure the military and the federal government ultimately share that sort of information. it is clear the dynamic that exists, we have seen many times -- american service men and women are naturalized posthumously. it goes to the right reality of how immigrants got here in their particular circumstances and want to contribute to their country. i appreciate you bringing that point up. we can work with you to see if we can develop more definite statistics with you on that. >> i would be interested in all immigrants, regardless which shores they have come from. >> absolutely. >> thank you.
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>> yes, a very brief comment. think of what you do. the story of latinos and education is a challenging one, but one that is a hopeful one, and in particular i want to highlight the extraordinary efforts immigrants make to learn english and that the importance of figuring out ways to meet that demand, because that have a big economic impact on people possibility to serve the economy. >> the next presenter is a former colleague of mine, who represents the fourth district of minnesota in the u.s. house of representatives. she is here today with some friends to talk with us about one, a grass-roots advocacy and can any organization that fights
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extreme part of it -- poverty, and preventable disease, particularly in africa, and they raise public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and the effective policies and programs that are saving lives that are helping put and keep kids in school and improving futures. congresswoman, we're so happy to have you and to have so many of these young people accompany you today, and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, and is great to see you here again, mr. strickland. good to see. welcome, all of you. we're so glad you're here shaping our party's platform. you are in minnesota now. my goodness, another two colleagues who served with properly, but it is good to see the gentleman from florida as
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well. welcome to the minnesota democratic our labour party, and as you know, this is a land of hubert humphrey, walter mondale, paul wellstone, three great americans who worked hard in their role of providing moral clarity, and they also provided creative leadership on so many areas. their legacies have left behind a lasting mark on civil rights and human rights, social justice, not only at home, but around the world. today is my honor to be here representing one campaign, and it is 1.7 million members in the united states. the campaign is a global advocacy movement dedicated to fighting the extreme poverty and promoting development, particularly in africa. a o with me today is person from liverpool, uk, and
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she was out in the hall thinking the one campaign for the work they do. role as a force for gnity.ady human dick have the support of many people to fight and work on these issues, because of doppler one campaign. it is an organization that has succeeded in innovative policy makers to work on transforming people in poverty, to people with opportunity, to make people have hope and everlasting change for the poor. our state has a strong connection with thae one campaign. in 2008 minneapolis was declared a one city. i represent nearly 4501 members
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in my congressional district alone. think about this -- for less than 1% of the federal budget, the american people support life-changing work around the world in global health, and education, debt relief, and other areas. it for less than 1% of the federal budget, millions of lives are improving every year. disinvestments -- this investment house grow our economy. in difficult economic times we must continue supporting global investments that are smart and effected. america lost national security rests on defense, diplomacy, and development. without development, it collapses. our investments in development are making the world safer by stabilizing continents and transforming entire societies.
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the american people have prevented 5.5 million child deaths and have saved or from blindness and other discipline -- a debilitating conditions. the american people help provide 209 million mosquito nets to malaria-stricken countries, and we helped to work educate 46 million children. in the last decade, and i say we, but it goes to barbara lee's leadership, when i was on the foreign service committee with her, which her mentor should, working with others, we helped change the course of diseases that threaten global stability. in 2002, 300,000 people in developing countries where receiving aids treatment. the u.s. responded with an unprecedented need a commitment to confront hiv aids. and as a result of the actions taken by the american people, 8 million people in the developing
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world now have access to aids treatment. looking ahead, the goal of the -- we now have a goal of an aids-free generation, and it is possible. a world without aids is within our grasp. success is the best answer to anyone who doubts that value of effected foreign assistance. another area of global leadership the u.s. is taking the lead on is the transparency the global extract this industry. that thought-franc act requires companies listed on the stock exchange -- to the securities and exchange commission. this law will allow us to fight corruption, to remote good governance in other countries.
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torture mitch -- more transparency means lower income countries will see more of their dollars to fund their own development priorities. in other words, to build toward sustainability. the security is another area that the man's a focus. united nations estimates the world's population will reach 9 billion by 2015. more than one. people are surviving on $1.25 a day. that is painful poverty. rising food prices have a billion people living in desperation, right on the edge of survival. just this year in yemen, 13 million people or in need of food assistance and famine killed 30,000 children. in that crisis and others, the u.s. responded with the emergency assistance. crisis response is not enough.
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president obama's pioneering the the future initiative is a comprehensive response to the global food crisis. the multi agency effort is working with developing countries to build an agricultural system that will grow more food, grow more local economies, and feed more hungry people. this effort must be sustained because food security is national security. in countries where food is scarce or food prices rise rapidly, political instability threatens the u.s., and that will soon follow. it will threaten the u.s. feed the future deserves our support. for over the long term, agricultural systems me know are not built on fiscal cycles. we need land for countries to be able to feed the future. these are victories that i have stated, in hiv, malaria, and
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what we are going to do in attracting more transparency in third-world countries. feed the future -- these are victories, and they are fights that are worth fighting for, their commitment to be long and hard before we see the full fruits of our success. that is why milestones are poor. the president has established a series of goals for 2015, and we should allow those to keep the focus and they will allow us to be held accountable. he has committed to insuring that the child is born with hiv. saving 4 million children's lives to vaccines, lifting 50 million people out of extreme poverty and into food security. the one campaign and its members applaud the president for having the courage to make these life testing commitments, and i stand with my president and stand proudly with my party to achieve these ambitious and achievable
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goals. in addition to fighting poverty and representing -- and preventing the real threats, global development is also about realize the opportunity. six out of every 10 of the fastest-growing economies in the world are in africa. the continent is emerging as a player in the global economy. america must relationships with africa the to grow. -- need to grow. this can provide more trade, better investments between our nations. for all these reasons, the democratic party should stand with the president obama to ensure that america of holds the legacy of global leadership to create healthier, more prosperous and a safer world. to that end, i am pleased to recommend the following paragraph for inclusion in the democratic party boss 2012 convention program, and it reads -- "as democrats, we recognize
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the moral, economic, and she jiji imperative to fighting ableeme party, and prevent diseases and around the world. too smart effective programs, focus on agriculture, education, government transparency, accountability, chocolate vaccines, and treatment and prevention of hiv aids, tuberculosis, and malaria. the american foreign assistance is vital to u.s. foreign policy. this great stable, prosperous, and democratic allies. i want to thank you for your commitment to working on a party's platform. i want to thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the one campaign, and we encourage you to make president obama's reality for a safer, more prosperous world a reality, and you can help us do it by
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including this language. thank you. >> thank you, congresswoman. are there questions? yes. bella that we think the gentle lady from minnesota for that really wonderful and passionate testimony, and i have to say we served on the committee together, and she fights each and every day for hurt district, for minnesota, but also for all the people of the world, as you just heard. >> we do it together. >> that is what this party is really about in terms of unity, and the one campaign, i have to thank them for saving millions and millions of lives throughout the world. you mentioned in this paragraph, and i hope we take a hard look at it in terms of our foreign aid budgets, i believe the public believes that u.s. taxpayers contribute maybe 25% of our budget to foreign aid,
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when actually is less than 1%. i would like for you to just briefly talk about how our development assistance really is and should be part of a national security strategy and how that enhances our own national security by providing to vomit assistance. >> when it comes to develop a system since august when it comes to developed assistance, when countries can work toward producing their own food, good stability, they can focus on education, young girls, we can prevent child marriage of young girls, we can prevent conflict from happening over a resource that all this need in order to survive -- food. that 1% that we put in toward development assistance, for education, clean water, food, vaccines, hiv treatment, when
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countries are focused on the needs of their people and not on day-to-day survival, even our pentagon will tell you it makes for a safer, call more world, less likely for conflict, and conflict is so much more expensive that the element. not just in dollars, and our treasurer, but in the treasure of human life, and the fact that children can grow up to live past their fifth birthday. it is a wise investment, and the president in all his ford aid proposals he has put in transparency, goals that are achievable, and holds u.s. aid accountable for delivering on those goals. it is a wise investment. >> thank you for your service to the district and to the great nation we all love. thank you for your her humanitarian concern for the world. we appreciate your testimony. that you for being here. >> thank you, and welcome to the
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twin cities. >> the next presenter is a person who works with clergy to encourage them to work with justice campaigns and other issues of importance of the faith community. >> thank you. it is an honor to be here. i come to speak on our behalf to help you see clearly who we are becoming, but also a generation of -- the largest voting bloc will be focused on issues i believe i am about to share. i've worked with these young people in all sorts of different ways. some in the faith-based community, but others concerned about these social issues. thank you for having me. i spend my time with these people in a number of different
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roles, sometimes as a pastor for 15 years. i have mobilized young people and conservations toward specific ends. also as a small business owner and it has become clear to me in my 15 years of working with these young people that there is one basic desire that i think they all have, and that is this -- to understand truly means to be human. in 2008 our party offered a platform entitled renewing america's promise, and for the past four years, i believe we have done just that. we have renewed, where did the fate of people in our country that will provide health care for those who have not come out the fate in people that there is marriage for everybody that lives in our country, for jobs that those who have lost them, for education for those who have no access come for innovation in industry that have the deep need, and for hope in our
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society. i suggest in the next four years that we talk about more about securing the future of this generation and the hope that comes for this feature, and not just renewing what has been. the future is on the minds of the millennial generation and they are coming back to the voting block for the first time as a generation. that is an important point. this is the first time that this generation to consider that a politician told and this. i spoke in grant park with hope and belief and it did not play out the way i thought it would creek we have a duty to think about how do we position our platform to explain to this generation what exactly does it mean to be human in society today. we have some indicators in our history. the founders and their belief this way when it began its great
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country, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with rights. at the core of our history of our country, regardless of party, religious strife, stance this fundamental belief that to be schuman is to be rare, that each and every single human being born into society as significant in 10th and we should consider again that over 90% of people and our country have some kind of faith regardless of what might name for god is or your name for god is. this is an important thing. at times we have given up this claim that we as a party at just as much a right to speak into how god views these issues as does the other party. while there are a number of
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policies that could be considered as part of this human platform, there is a few i would focus on today that could capture the attention of those that are looking to our party to give meaning and language to what will the future of my country look like? the first is that of human trafficking. in january of this year the president set this issue front and center, a confederate one national freedom day as a commemoration of our commitment to the freedom and dignity of every human being. today there are over 27 million slaves in the world, many of which actually find their home here in the states. some of you may notice, but the president has chosen to put a framed picture of the original a emancipation proclamation above a bust of martin luther king jr. in his office. every president gets to decorate his office. this emancipation proclamation
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reads this way -- i do order and declared that all persons held as slaves within said and designated states shall be free. i suggest that as a party which put the issue of slavery front and center and suggest that we will not be standing quietly while there are slaves in this world. another idea that i believe stands at the center of this platform for us the issue of fatherhood. this has been at the center of the president's administration and his personal life. this has been an issue he has stood up for and done great work on behalf of. it presents great difficulty to understand what in means to be human apart from their father. my own father was a blue-collar on japan nor perry he would take me to work in his lawn maintenance business, and i
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would sit with other workers, realizing based on that theme how hot it would be that day in the middle of the summer in florida. i thought my dad's truck was the most expensive and model truck in the world because it had air- conditioning. i was proud of my father, who struggle to graduate from high school with dyslexia, who did not have a that himself, who was teaching me this great ideal of our country, that when you work hard and put your mind toward something the great things can happen. not to downplay what mothers do, because they are important, dads have the ability to teach kids vision and values. they had this ability to give kids the ability to dream and then to guide them how to chase those dreams trade father could
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is at the center of this next generation's idea of what this country is becoming. there are too many people growing up today without a dad, many of them coming from the hardest part of our city where education is the worst. this should be the central issue as to consider the platform. the last issue is simply the issue of partnership. the white house has been busy working on this issue of partnership. these partnerships for the common good stead as a hallmark of this administration and this president. he has put these at the center of how he is creating good for our society. this past week we can beat at the white house with a social enterprise called project 7, major corporations, fake-based organizations, storytellers, all endeavoring to get to the simple question -- how do we get people more food?
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i suggest these partnerships should stand at the center of this platform as we move forward. the president has made this a hallmark, and has done this by instituting two pieces of organizations that never existed before, the office of social organization, that does great were to encourage social enterprise, and the office of the white house business council, does this terribly important thing of restoring the corporation to the place of serving society instead of society serving the corporation. president obama said this in 2004 -- in the end, that is got's greatest gift to us, believe in things not seen to the belief that there are better days ahead. i believe we can get our middle class relief and provide working families with the right opportunity. i believe we can provide jobs to
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the jobless come close to the homeless, and reclaim the people in cities across america. i encourage you all that our party has many great days ahead, especially if we take seriously a generation that at the center of their view of the world says it is important to be human. every human should be tallied, and we, like benjamin franklin once said, where there is liberty, there is my country. this is a generation that police every single person, regardless of sets -- sexual orientation, faked persuasion, regardless of economic status, regardless of origin nation of citizenry, deserves a chance at that kind of a life. you have a generation, i believe, my fellow democrats, that wants to be activated, and i would encourage you to do so around issues like these. thank you very much. it has been an honor to be in front of you. >> thank you. are there questions for the good reverend?
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we're doing a good job staying on time, so i thank you for your presentations and for your parsimonious questions. we have a question. >> i want to thank you very much. use be quite eloquently. it is inspiring to hear it. i appreciate you raising the issue of human trafficking, an important issue, and unfortunately, i come from the state of alaska, and it has become a problem there as well. in fact, sex trafficking been has hit our native population very heart where the average age is 14 years old. i appreciate your raising that issue for one, as one we should consider in the platform. thank you.
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>> their questions? thank you, reverend , for your good work, and for your continuing work. thank you so much. >> thank you. is marknext presenter kippu solomon, the national campaign director of freedom to marry, a correlation devoted to keeping the freedom to marry for same- gender couples, working to grow for the national majority for marriage and end federal marriage discrimination. to end the exclusion of same-six couples from marriage and protections, responsibilities, and commends marriage brings. we're happy you are here and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you very much, and my name is mark solomon, and i am the director for freedom to
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marry, the campaign to win marriage for st. essex couples nationwide. i want to thank you for giving me the ability to testify today, including a freedom to mary plank in the democratic party platform. we are to secure a marriage plank in the parma form. the unlisted dozens of members of congress, and more than 40,000 americans who have asked the democratic party to say i do to the freedom to marry. several years ago when i was heading up the fight to protect the freedom to marry in massachusetts, the nation's first marriage state for gay and lesbian couples polls, i worked with two members of this committee, but barney frank was a tireless advocate, making the case to many legislators. i remember him telling one conservative representative a bit tongue in cheek, what if i want to get married someday?
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this year in fact barney did marry the lavas his life, and they are now, same sex couples in massachusetts have celebrated eight of marriage to their great joy and the great joy of their loved ones. another one of the committee members, excess ichiro governor patrick -- ex-officio governor patrick, that he could someday have the supply to his wonderful daughter kathryn. and a massachusetts hero who is no longer here with us hassids of limited -- here with us also devoted himself to this. for all my years in public life, i have believed that america must soared to the life of liberty and justice for all. there is only the next great
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voyage. president barack obama supported this. he came to support this the way so many americans have, by getting to know committed gay and lesbian couples and learning more about their challenges, their loves, and their dreams, realizing how similar they are to the families and dreams of other americans. democratic lawmakers have provided the vast majority of support even as this becomes more of a bipartisan cause. the understand they are leading the way to the freedom to marry in their states. governor mario cuomo led the
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effort to pass the marriage equality lot in new york. deval patrick did this, and in maryland and other locations, democratic governors spoke up to protect the freedom to marry loss in their states. they recognize the right thing to do for all of the citizens they represent. it is not just government. more than 200 mayors from juneau to denver, cincinnati to tallahassee, they have joined. in addition, 170 democratic members of congress, they are co-sponsors of the marriage act, a repeal of the so-called defense of marriage act. these leaders reflect how far voters of come in supporting the right to marry. just recently, at a may 2010 cnn
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poll show a full 50% of americans, including 7% of democrats, 60% and dependents -- 60% independents. it is becoming increasingly difficult both morally and politically to justify not supporting marriage for gay couples. political professionals agree. according to one poll one year ago, 84% of democratic operative said their party should embrace marriage, compared to last just two years ago, and i would imagine it is close to 100% today. as someone said, "it is going to happen. we might as well start to lead." i woke with senator frank and others to get a marriage plan.
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there are states with the freedom to marry, like iowa, new hampshire, and new york, and others like texas and wyoming, have followed suit. five additional states and the district of columbia have also passed freedom to marry laws, and we hope that three more states will follow along this november. -- mayorsthe mayor's with the freedom to marry, and we look forward to work together. it is now time for the national democratic party to not only come forward but to leap forward. the many loving same-sex couples and love once both married and not marry, living throughout america, a super majority of democratic voters and a majority
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of all americans. i asked you to say i do to the freedom to marry and to lead on this journey of freedom and justice for all, about which senator kennedy spoke so eloquently of. again, i thank you for your time. >> thank you. are there questions for mr. solomon? apparently, you have convinced us all. thank you. thank you for your testimony. our next presenter is leticia. she is the presence of the national partnership for women and families, and it is an organization dedicated to creating a society where no one has to experience discrimination, where all workplaces are family friendly, no family is without quality, affordable health care and economic security. those are magnificent goals, and
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we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you for inviting me to be here. i am proud to be here. i am the vice president, as you said. the national partnership has been at work for four decades promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality and affordable health care, reproductive rights, and policies that help women and men meet the dual responsibilities of family. as women struggled to have affordable health care, secure access to birth control, reproductive health, and finding jobs with good benefits. we applaud the democratic party and the obama administration on their leadership on these issues that matter deeply to the women's -- the nation's women and families. i want to focus on three key areas, including promoting
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family economic security, policies such as paid sick days, paid medical leave, and fair pay. second, the urgent need to protect and move forward with the health-care reform in the affordable care act, and finally, the need to ensure women's access to preventive care, including a full range of reproductive health care services. onrica's women are counting you to fight for these policies. close to 42% of the private sector cannot earn a single sick day that they can use when they have a sore throat, need a mammogram, or have a sick child. that is truly appalling. no worker should risk losing a job because of illness. americans understand this, and 86% support a minimum standard that would allow workers to earn up to 7 paid six days per year.
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connecticut became the first state and seattle before it city to adopt paid sick day policy. since adopting the paid sick a lot, san francisco has had higher job growth than the surrounding areas. regardless, we know that paid 60 policies are good for businesses and good for the economy. i would strongly urge you to support the healthy family act, which allows people to have up to at 7 job protected sick days a year for illness or to provide for a family member. caring for a new child, workers can take time off if they have a heart attack, need chemotherapy, or their child, parent, or spouse needs care. only on 7% of workers in the united states have access to
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paid family leave through their employers. beyond that, we face a caregiving tsunami as our population ages, and we are not prepared to deal with it. paid sick days and paid leave reduces reliance on public assistance and saves taxpayer dollars. we have done research, and paid leave, when parents and families access it, they need to rely less on the public assistance system. it is also popular. many need a family and medical leave as a critical standard. we urge you to have a family medical leave, similar to programs in california and new jersey. this is the first step. 75 million workers are denied access to it. we are also grateful to the president's leadership on fair
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pay and for the first bill that he signed for the fair pay act. as you know, women working full time in this country are still only paid an average 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, much less for women of color. this means suffering and poverty for families. i am proud to have worked for the congresswoman when we passed this bill and the house of representatives twice on a bipartisan business, and w urged the democratic party to clearly give it support. the time has come to pass this legislation and update the equal pay act of 1963. but wage discrimination is not the only form of discrimination women are facing in the workplace. discrimination claims have risen by 24% over the last decade, and pregnant discrimination alone has risen 35% over the same period. we want to bring your attention
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to to the legislative efforts. we encourage you to support the equal employment opportunity act which responds to the 2011 supreme court decision denying workers the ability to band together to fight systemic discrimination. the supreme court did not decide on the merits of the case of the women of walmart. they decided whether they can band together as a class, and the ruling was no. also, support the pregnant workers fairness act, which assures that pregnant workers are not forced out of their jobs unnecessarily. both bills promote the health and economic security of workers, especially women and their families. on health care, we believe the affordable care at is the greatest advance in a generation. we are moving closer to the day when it's essential women's health services are covered, prevention is a priority, and
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care is coordinated set of family caregivers do not have to shoulder unmanageable burdens. for the first time, gender discrimination of all federally funded health care is against the law. and this has been extended to the health care system, including insurance plans. the democratic party should support a robust implementation and effective enforcement of this historic nondiscrimination protection and oppose any attempts to derail it while also prioritizing the resources for its implementation. regarding improving quality and lowering costs, the payment and delivery forms such as patience centered medicine, accountable care organizations, and the primary care payment initiative create real opportunities to improve care while beginning to lower health-care spending. we urge the democratic party to
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support payment and making things more patient centers, providing payment incentives for ordination and improved quality. just two quick notes. we will have to mention medicare and medicaid. we urge you to oppose raising the age and instead support changes to medicare, including greater investment and payment and reforms. medicaid is equally important. we urge you to oppose policies that diminishment kit, including block grants, measures that would reduce federal obligations or arbitrarily ship costs to states or foreign raleighs. half of the beneficiaries of medicare are women, and we cannot lose sight of that fact. beyond the critical health care issues, we need to protect health and rights. when women make their own health care choices, women and babies are healthier, and women can
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have children if and when they want. we urge you to keep abortion a safe and legal procedure if and when she needs it, and to make sure that they have access to contraception. eliminating title 10. this has been continuously happening, as we know, through appropriations. finally, we would like to raise an issue to you on health disparity. black college educated women are three times more likely than white college and a kid women to die of pregnancy-related causes me white college educated women to die of pregnancy-related causes. we believe this is unacceptable, and we urge you to make access to quality medical care a core part of the party platform. let me just close by saying too many women in our country and their families are seeing their
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dream of economic security slip through their fingers, and there is much more we can do. we trust you will prioritize their plight in the platform, and we ask you to redouble efforts to create a society that is free, fair, and just, where nobody has to experience discrimination, workplaces are family friendly, and everyone has access to health care that translates into real economic security. thank you so much. >> thank you for your testimony. are there questions? >> thank you for your testimony. that was absolutely great. quite did have one question about an area that i am not sure you mentioned. as a former working mom and now as a working grandmother, i am constantly alarmed at watching and seeing in my un family the struggle around child care and
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for school care, quality places that are safe for our children, and i am wondering if you might have some comments about that. >> absolutely. absolutely. it's essential to what you're talking about when meeting the dual demands of work and family, we saw b. slaughter article about what viral in terms of having options to take care of the family. for low income, job care, and for middle income families, a child in, -- child care is it. nancy pelosi was talking about this being the number one issue for women. we have not have authorization of the block grant in more than one decade. that needs to happen. the funding was increased in the recovery act, but that has now faced a cliff, and in appropriations, there have been efforts to try to make that better, but it is still not enough.
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child care, and i would also say after school. after school needs to be a part of a whole picture, and i hope you include that in the platform. thank you. >> thank you so much for your testimony. >> thank you. >> let me just say that we are slightly over half way through the folks that are testifying, and we have been going for about three hours. we do not want to cut any one short. we want to make sure that each of you who have come to testify have sufficient time, but i would encourage you to be as parsimonious as possible as you give your testimony. the next speaker is the vice president and general counsel of the foundation, and the foundation is dedicated to women's equality, reproductive health, and nonviolence.
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this foundation utilizes research and action to empower women economically, socially, and politically. thank you for coming, and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, governor, and the drafting committee and staff. we are delighted to have you here, and i cannot let this pass without noting who we count on. some of you may have are 10 pages of proposals, or maybe you have not gotten it yet. i promise you i am not going to do them all, but i just wanted to tell you that if there is not something i mentioned, it is in there, a prime -- promise. president obama and vice- president biden joined with nancy pelosi and so many strong women in the cabinet, and together, they have made this the most women friendly four years in the nation's history,
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to be affordable care act and the focus on teachers and education, and at every turn, in ways large and small, this the administration and our democratic allies have made sure that women are included with jobs, teachers, nurses, and recovery act, to be affordable care act, preventive care package that has prenatal care and mammograms and contraception and so much more, but women would have made many more strides but for the fact that the republicans have been absolutely determined to block advances like the paycheck fairness act, be fair pay act, and even to politicize longstanding protections for women, like the violence against women act, and the republican nominee has even pledged to undo many of our games, especially the affordable care at, that
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will dramatically improve the health of women and their families. the platform should reflect all of these accomplishments, as well as the aspiration to maintain momentum towards equality for women in full, starting with constitutional equality, and, yes, the equal rights amendment, which has been and must remain part of the democratic platform until it is ratified. women have given their lives to win the e.r.a., starting in 1923 and extending the ratification battles in all 50 states. we must not let another generation of women live without equality in the constitution. some decisions have said that the 14th amendment protects women, but we know that that protection could be fleeting. the most senior u.s. supreme court judge antonin scalia has said as it is written in the 14th amendment does not provide equal protection to the law for
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women in the united states. there is the current head of the judicial selection advisory committee for republican nominee mitt romney. in fact, mitt romney said he was sorry. this is an ominous foreshadowing. we need the equal rights amendment, and as well, we are just needing to commit to the united nations convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. it was signed by jimmy carter and supported by barack obama. then senator joe biden held the only hearing on ratification. secretary of state hillary clinton strongly supports it, and yet, because of republican opposition, it has languished in
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the senate without the 67 votes needed. this leaves the united states as one of only six countries in the world that has not ratified it, and lest you think we would be in good company, the six are the united states, iran, sudan, somalia, and two small island nations. those are the six countries that have not ratified it. in education, president obama has made a strong commitment to the educational opportunities, including, especially relevant to women, retention and an increase in jobs and making student loans more affordable. we also urge that the platform reflects the presence strong commitment to education and protect italy the increase in funding he proposed for early childhood development. very, very critical.
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this has been endangered by the ronny and republican budget that would cut $5 billion from early childhood development. we also urge the platform committee to stand for title 9, the equity law, particularly in regard to increasing movement towards sex segregation of girls and boys in public schools, which we know increases sexual stereotyping without improving academic outcomes. and speaking of title 9, the affordable care act for women's health care. because the affordable care act bans the kind of egregious discrimination we have seen for so many years in which women are charged more money for less coverage and fewer benefits, and you will hear a lot today about the various affordable care act provisions regarding birth control, access to various preventive care, but i hope this
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platform will reflect the party commitment to preserving every single element of the affordable care at, from prenatal care to childhood vaccinations to the critical screenings and checkups for screenings on medicare, a majority of whom are women, which are now available without a copay or deductible. another area of the federal care added that gets too little extension -- too little is the expansion of medicaid. about half of the expansion is going to affect people in nursing homes. women are over 70% of nursing home residents, and medicaid is a major public funder of long- term care in the united states, another critical change. another area so important to women, vice president joe biden is the author of the violence against women act that became law. he championed it in 2000.
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both times with an unprecedented level of funding. since it was passed, the rate of partner violence has declined by 67%. and yet, house republicans have made it into a political football again, refusing to pass the bipartisan senate authorization and instead passing something that removes the protections for students on campuses and cut protection for immigrant women, native americans, and lgbt survivors of violence. it was estimated that the house bill excludes 30 million women, including 11 million college women, and finally, i want to say a word about women around the world who are counting on the u.s. to lead the way. we have many recommendations, as you might imagine, but high among them is family planting,
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and the integration of family planning into the programs and the women of afghanistan, particularly with the need to fund the women-led ngo's and to fund the independent human rights commission. the women of the united states and the women of the world are looking to us for leadership, and we must continue to hold high the best ideals of a nation that is committed to both the quality and democracy. thank you very much for hearing my testimony. >> thank you. are there any other questions for kim? yes? >> thank you for excellent testimony. mr. chairman, all of the testimony this afternoon really has been very informative. i want to go back to your support. most people have no idea that this has been languishing for about 35 years, but those who
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work to help provide human rights or to encourage human rights around the world find oftentimes it is thrown up in our faces when we tried to protect women abroad that the u.s. has not ratified that. >> we hear that. we hear that from women around the world as we work with women around the countries that it is odd to them that the u.s. has not done it. "why should we follow it if the u.s. has not done it?" and we know that it is used against women around the world, the fact that we have not ratified this convention. >> and at the same time coming it is helping them to obtain rights. it is an extremely important document. >> very, very important. thank you. >> yes? congresswoman? >> let me thinking forced for that very excellent testimony and thank you for the work your
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foundation is doing each and every day to protect women's rights. and to further them. can you explain to this committee very briefly how the republicans are attacking the women of the district of columbia where primarily low- income and women of color need to be able to go to reproductive health clinics? the republicans will not allow the district of columbia to use their local funds, mind you, still in place, banning all local funds to provide reproductive health care for the women of the district of columbia, as a precursor to what i believe and what many of us believe will be a national effort to erode and eliminate roe vs. wade? >> yes. i thought for sure you ask about that part. it really is an outrage as
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someone who lived in the district of columbia for many years and have one of those no taxation without representation license plates on my wall, it is an outrage. it is just like the congress going to the mayor of minneapolis or philadelphia or the city council and saying, "yes, we know you voted for this, and we know it is your locally raised revenue, but you cannot spend this money on what you want to spend it on. you cannot build this road or bridge. you cannot find science programming in your schools because we in congress have decided we know what is better for you? " it is an outrage. this has become an exploration ground for members of congress who would not dare suggest to their home cities or city councils that the congress could tell them what to do but do not hesitate for instant to do it in
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the district of columbia. it really is an outrage and is something that people outside the district do not understand as much as they should. i think making that a really important and well known part of important. i think that a lot of people, school kids, need to learn in school that there are people in this country without representation in the u.s. senate and only limited representation in the house. the role has been repeatedly decreased when republicans are in office. it has a dramatic impact on women in particular. >> thank you so much for your testimony. and for your good work as well. >> i appreciate you taking it out of order.
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u.s. air matched me up and i have been traveling all day. thank you very much for accommodating that. >> please, travel safely. >> thank you. >> our next presenter is connie lewis. she is the vice president of the planned parenthood and action fund of minnesota, north dakota, and south dakota. planned parenthood has worked for 90 years to prevent unwanted pregnancies and advance the rights and individuals of families to be informed and make responsible choices. thank you for coming. we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, governor. welcome to minnesota. i am very honored to speak to you about addressing women's health in the democratic
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platform. it is imperative that the platform includes clear and unequivocal statements regarding access to health care in this country. in particular, i will be focusing on a few critical women's health care issues that we believe should be highlighted as part of the platform. health care, coverage for birth control, and access to safe and legal abortions. planned parenthood is a central part of the nation's health care system, serving 3 million patients per year in 800 health centers and around the country. every day, planned parenthood sees women who struggle with the high cost of health care and to count on receiving affordable women's primary care. the vast majority of services provided are preventative,
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including a life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, testing for sexually transmitted infection, hiv screening, and health education. the largest sex education provider in the country, planned parenthood, provides reliable information to 1 million young people and parents each year. member by information and education through 30 million online visits annually. we are backed by millions of supporters around the country, helping to fight every day to defend access to healthcare rights. we are proud of the trust that women place in planned parenthood every year. often we are the only affordable source of health care for many of our patients. i am here to testify on behalf of the women and families were served every day by planned
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parenthood. women like nancy, who graduated college and was desperately looking for work. she found a job with minimal health insurance. she and her husband were newly married. given that they were both working in low-wage jobs, they were not ready to have children. nancy says that planned parenthood did what their name suggested, help them planned parenthood. as it turned out, the doctors found a lump in her breast and refer her to a specialist. the lung was removed. had it not been for the option of going to a planned parenthood clinic, it would have gone undetected. planned parenthood, for women like nancy, was flat -- proud to stand with president obama and
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congress to work to pass the affordable care act and it was the greatest advance for women's health care in this generation. and there was no question that millions of families would be able to afford health care. these women will have more options to take care of their health. there is a lot of work to do to afford the promise of the act. recognizing the role of the affordable care act in transforming our nation's health-care system, putting the country on a path towards quality, affordable health care for all communities. the republican nominee would never have signed the affordable care an act and, if elected, says he would repeal it on the first day of his presidency. that he would leave millions of
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americans without basic health care. particularly it is critical that for the first time women in this country will have guaranteed coverage with no kit -- no copiague or deductible, including well women exams for cancer screenings, mammograms, and birth control. the reality is that today's basic preventive health care, currently, half of all pregnancies in the u.s. are unplanned. the health of mothers and their children can be affected. next month it requires insurers to cover birth control, with no packet costs. this is a key benefit. we know that birth control and
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family planning are economic issues that impact women and their families. the centers for disease control and prevention named contraception one of the top public health achievements of the last century. there is overwhelming public support for the coverage of birth control. access to birth control is an economic issue. birth control and be expensive. for many women and their families, insurance coverage for contraception is a basic issue. 34% of women reported having struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point. the results are inconsistent use and higher risk for unintended pregnancies. there are efforts to take this away from women as part of a larger movement to undermine women's access to birth control. at every turn, planned
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parenthood will work with allies to stop the ongoing attempts to restrict women's ability to access affordable birth control. we know that the american public is with us and that there is widespread public support for women to have birth control access, regardless of where they work. the majority of patients at planned parenthood health centers are low income women. there are many programs designed to make sure that their income does not inhibit their ability to take care of their health. programs like title 10 and medicaid. these are cornerstones of improving the health of millions of women and families in the country. by ensuring the access of cost- effective reproductive health services, it is more important than ever that we support title 10, medicaid, and other
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essential safety net programs. again, republican presidential nominee, mitt romney, would put an end to the program, which provides care to 10 million people, cutting off access to health care for women who are most in need. women also come to planned parenthood for safe and controversial -- for safe and complex abortion decisions. most americans would agree that politicians should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decision about pregnancy. it is an essential that the dnc platform incorporate policies that protect access to legal abortion. the republican presidential nominee seeks to ban abortion entirely. said he once the decision of roe v wade to be overturned -- he
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said he wants the decision of roe v wade to be overturned. we are seeing an unprecedented effort to roll back women's rights at the federal and state level. for some in congress, this has been priority number one. since the 112th congress began, there has been an incredible number of dead -- devastating platforms with relentless attacks at the state level. since 2010, 2000 health provisions have been introduced in legislatures across the country, restricting access to safe and legal abortions. that said, we have had wonderful success as well. like in north dakota, where voters overwhelmingly rejected
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these efforts to undermine access to birth control. these successes _ that americans are rejecting these efforts even in very conservative states. more than ever, when access to contraception and abortion is under attack from all sides, it is imperative that the democratic party create a platform that strongly and clearly supports women's health and writing. it is fundamental to putting forth a platform for a strong and positive vision for the future of america. i appreciate the opportunity to visit with you. thank you. >> we all realize that in the war on women, transparency has been a major target. so, thank you for standing strong with planned parenthood efforts across the nation. are there questions?
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>> thank you. in north dakota we stood with planned parenthood and fought. i believe that today in colorado and there was a court case to challenge contraceptive coverage, a battle it goes to the court. again, i just want to thank you for your testimony about the work that planned parenthood does and for being a partner in that work. >> thank you. >> thank you so much, connie. he hopped the good work. our next presenter is dr. williams. dr. williams, would you come forward? the doctor is chair of the national conference for the progress of black women, dedicated to the educational and
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cultural development of african- american families. they also serve as the voice for issues pertaining to the appointment of african-american women at all levels of government. thank you for being with us. we're looking forward to your testimony. >> thank you. you are in luck with me, those of you who are listening have more light than those of you who were to read notes. i rarely prepare notes. but i was told that i had to. i do not even know what they say any more. let me just say that i am delighted that we could come before you to make a presentation of our concerns. i want to to know that african- american women are the most loyal, reliable voters for the
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democratic party. we are very proud of our party and we will continue to be. i know that my good friend has told you all about women. what she did not tell you, terra is going to tell you. we, as women, do not have the luxury of speaking just for women. i wanted to speak to you of the concerns that we have. mr. chairman, i represent the national congress of black women and am the board chair of the black leadership forum. we have about 50 organizations in our coalition. we work for the party of our choice. it just happens to be the democratic party. even though most of us are non- profit organizations, we are not nonsensical. let me see if i can skip through. i believe the you have a copy of
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my remarks, something that you would want to read thoroughly tonight. first of all, i wanted to complement the democratic party for their many accomplishments. i wanted to say that this party is the most diverse, with room for african-americans, women, and immigrants. people that might be called the least of them. that makes me very proud of my party. i wanted to congratulate the party for many things, like being steadfast before the president on the affordable care act. i wanted to complement the party on lilly ledbetter, which you have heard before. lgbt rights and the appointment of two pro-choice women to the united states supreme court. black women hope to have the
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next one in the second term. of course, we appreciate the work of party continues to do for the middle class, the violence against women act, there are so many things. i could go on and on. we want the list to continue, but we know the president needs four more years to get it done. we hope the party will stand fully behind him. there are suggestions that have been made. one has to do with wall street regulation. some of the things we want to do, i will highlight those. the glass-stiegel legislation, put forth by president roosevelt asked to do with the separation for the commercial banks. it did not have to do with restricting trade derivatives.
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that was the mortgage crisis to begin with. and of course, we wanted to look at the justification of year-end financial bonuses. the next area has to do with employment. sometimes the other party wants to overlook the fact that we have 28 months of job growth, but even so we are still hovering around 8% and in the community that i represent, it is sometimes from 10 to 50. we know that there is much more to be done in that area. it is obvious that the republican party has no interest in helping us with employment. we hope that you will have serious consideration for supporting the 24th century full employment act legislation, h.r. 4277.
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but we want you to take a serious look at supporting that. it would put a small tax on those that can afford it, raising $1.5 billion to put people back to work. we have been talking about this since gusts was congressman. that was a long time ago. we are still talking about it. we need to move on it this year. we think that democrats have a responsibility to lead on this, not to worry about how we are going to get the jobs. this would be one way of doing it. voting rights, we have all been very concerned about that over the last year. we had shocking information given to us about our federal
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right to vote. now we know that there is something like 51 states with different systems of voting. we are finding that out and many of them are not very pleasant. there are 3000 county systems, some 13,000 municipal types. we have nothing that we can say about it. that is how we are getting all of these voters suppression malls. we want support for a state amendment, the right to vote for all citizens, requiring -- you know what it would require, we need to get away from state control over the election of president, vice president, and members of congress. people are concerned about voter suppression. no more. in the african-american community, and i am sure it is just as much of a concern in
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the hispanic for latin american community. we want to make sure that there is something in the platform that helps us deal with that. the most vulnerable of our voters, because of the trouble they have to go through, may not go out. you know that my ancestors, and some of yours, have given their blood, sweat, and tears for the right to vote. we will not just allow it to be taken away. you know that this suppression is going to impact women greatly, senior citizens, people with disabilities, impact people who are poor, it is going to impact all the people in our nation who do not now have a level playing field. i wanted to tell you a little
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bit about the fact that i have three nephews who for serving in iraq and afghanistan. they were there, they went to afghanistan. some of these young people are coming home with all sorts of problems. i know that one of my nephews has challenges that he did not go to afghanistan with. i read an article in time magazine not long ago, the we have 30 veterans made per month, per day, think about the people we are leaving -- losing. this is not a black or white issue or a male or female issue. even a republican or democrat issue. this is an american tragedy and our party needs to lead to do something about it. young people when they come back, they are so disturbed. finally, i want to say that we
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need to support our president. there are days when i look at the television and i cannot even look at any more. somehow, mr. chairman, we have got to make our party, our members understand the connection between the executive and legislative branch. we cannot make these policies and expect them to mean anything if we are not there supporting the president. that is just me skipping about in the report, but thank you for holding the discussion. we women, we african americans are ready to go back and fight fiercely for four more years. we have not stopped fighting since we have been democrats. that is a long time. i hope that you respect the fact that we are the most loyal and
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reliable people in the democratic party and let us know that from time to time. if you have any questions, i would be happy to respond, but i cannot read my notes. >> i do not know how you could have improved other than reading your notes. you are not only loyal, you are an inspiration. >> just that i supported all of you in your races. [laughter] >> it was a very eloquent testimony. african-american women are, in fact, the most loyal democrats. thank you for raising voter suppression. this is a major issue that our party platform has to address. i want to give an example. my aunt was 100 years old and she recently passed.
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she lived in arizona. for the life of me, i was trying to figure out how she would get an id. how she would get a birth certificate to get a government id. can you talk about how senior citizens could be affected? in terms of suppressing their ability to vote? we're talking about the right to vote around the world. >> my mother is fighting and has the same challenge. she never had a birth certificate. she has voted in every election. then she says that this is the equivalent of a poll tax. many of the elderly do not have the money and cannot even get a birth certificate.
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maybe they are too ill. they can barely make it to the polls in the neighborhood. this would be terrible in our community and we hope that something will be done to keep this from happening. what our organization is doing, we are going door-to-door, talking to seniors that we know who are vulnerable, especially in florida, where things are off the charts. we have been working there for months and months, doing everything we can. we know that there are some who will not be easy to help, but we are not taking it for granted that the people who think they are eligible will actually be eligible. >> thank you so much. once again, your testimony was inspirational. thank you for it. our next presenter, terry, the
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president of the national organization for women, the largest organization of feminist activists in the united states. founded in 1966, it has worked tirelessly to bring about equality for all women. we are glad you're here and we look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, members of the committee. like my dear friend, i have given you my statement. i have submitted it, but it is long. i do not propose to read it word for word, but i would like to pull up the highlights. governor, you mentioned a war against women. that is exactly right. the war on women is a war against their ability to maintain economic security for
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ourselves and family. now counts more on the ability to maintain physical safety. the democratic party has led the way i and authorizing the violence against women act. i am surprised and disgusted to see the shenanigans on capitol hill and in the house of representatives, led by john boehner. providing services to providers, turning it on it head, putting women facing violence in greater danger. certainly, it contains provisions that would frankly cobbled perpetrators and shame
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survivors. the senate passed a bipartisan version. there are incidents of domestic violence that are through the roof. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered victims report 80% of the time that they cannot access services. the senate bill deals with that. immigrant women need to have more visas allow them to stay temporarily and legally. holding their attackers accountable. i want to express my deep appreciation to the leaders in
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the senate who have done so much to try to keep women safe and i am hoping that we can get the bill passed in this congress. a very important aspect of the violence against women act is the attack and economic security. governor romney has embraced this so wholeheartedly. this is one of the most dramatic transfers of wealth from vulnerable families to the wealthiest that this country has seen in its history. the transfer of wealth has a disproportionate impact on women. when you look at every single aspect of the budget from mitt romney and paul ryan, you see harm being done in order to win. the budget does not take


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