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tv   Pell Grants-- College  CSPAN  December 8, 2013 1:05pm-3:11pm EST

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>> secular is a word that is really associated very much with the political systems of the west. we are dealing with the middle east in which there is an intermission between religious traditions and political power. i think what has been distinctive about syria in recent years, and syria is not a democracy by any means, and i make no such mistake, is that within syria, there was more accommodation and toleration of religious diversity than in some of their joining arab states, which were claimed themselves to be engaged in a policy of liberation, but which in effect means a policy of one sectarian nation over another in rejecting this complex internal about this, and he put this question on time, including a
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recent talks to the pope in rome. i think it should be discussed. it should be considered, especially since we know what happened in iraq with the christian community. >> fiona? >> i would actually just want to say to fyodor that it actually is discussed here, but he gets back to what dr. brzezinski was a saying about a nonsectarian tone to the debate. the u.s. does not want to take sides in this conflict. as we look about in the balkans, if you think back to the 1990's, various european countries in particular of standing with historic co-religion, the idea that catholic portions of europe were standing with the co-ops and others, the serbs because of old religious orders. i think we have all learned from that, so that was not completely accurate depiction of the 1990's that we have to be extraordinarily careful. we are all skirting around the proper ways or the ways of describing a very complex situation. the u.s. does not want to be seen in the middle of a sectarian conflict. it gets to the whole issue of
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the sunni-shiite divide, the role of christians, the role of other religious groups in the area, because this is obviously something that is three much focus on in the context of the middle east peace process, and we have to be extraordinarily careful about how we deal with that. this is why we are not seeing the same kind of tone of the debate in the u.s. they do not want to have a particular constituency. there are other dimensions of the that we want to mention about the refugee process. we've seen a whole slew of her speeches. obviously turkey is right in the middle of this and addition -- in addition to turkey -- in addition to jordan. the armenians have taken in spite of the fact that the armenians of syria are indigenous to the region. so we have seen -- this will be a debate that i think we will see across the board of how do you deal with these massive refugee flows that people are seeking the rights to return or the right to be able to go to lands in which they have an old, historical, cultural, ethnic, or religious affinity? this will have an impact over every country. turkey is grappling with this at the moment.
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the jordanians are. we are singing spillover into lebanon. this is something that is transforming all of the populations of the joining countries, and something we will have to factor in in the next few years. >> just as was predicted. i want to thank our panelists for a fascinating conversation. fiona hill, zbigniew brzezinski, fyodor lukyanov. the conference is breaking now until 3:00. we will resume with a panel on syria. and thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> live coverage this week of the center for strategic and international studies. they will be looking at how the international community are dealing with iran and its nuclear program monday at 5:30 eastern time. iran and six world powers will be meeting in vienna to discuss the next steps. moderator on monday if the cbs news chief washington correspondent bob schieffer. israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, talked about iran today at the brookings institution as part of the three-day forum that is being held there. here is some of what the prime minister said. >> ladies and gentlemen, our best efforts to reach palestinian-israeli peace will come to nothing if iran succeeds
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in building atomic bombs. a nuclear armed iran would give even greater backing to the radical and terrorist elements in the region. it would undermine the chances of arriving at negotiated lease -- peace. it would undermine those peace agreements we have already reached with two of our nation spirit just a few days ago, i ran's representative to the u.n. remediated the refusal to even recognize. this came a fortnight after the ruler of iran referred to israel as a rabid dog and to us as not worthy as being called human. he said we were doomed to failure and annihilation. november, he called and basn illegitimate tard regime. these remarks are more than a
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simple matter of sticks and stones. able again to discount rhetoric from rogue regime, from radical regimes. they say well, it is just talk. but talk has consequences. we have learned that in history. especially when the regime that make these statements have the capability to carry it out. the regime carries -- supplies thousands of rockets, rocket that are precision guided munitions letter increasingly lethal and deadly. this is a regime committed to our destruction. must be ane there unequivocal demand alongside the negotiations in geneva for change in iranian policies. this must be part and parcel of the negotiation. in other words, i am saying that what is required is not merely a munition of iran's
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capability to produce nuclear weapons but also a demand to change its genocidal policy. that is the minimal thing that the international community must do when it is negotiating with iran. as you know, it is not just about israel. iran continues to trample the rights of its own people, to participate in the mass slaughter in syria, to engage in terrorism across five continents, and to disable eyes regimes throughout the middle east. establize. i do not think anybody can understate the iranian danger. for the peace of the world, iran must not be able to obtain the capability to produce nuclear weapons, not today and not tomorrow. the world must not allow iran to be a threshold for nuclear weapons with the option to caught -- cross that threshold at a time of its choosing.
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deal, the recent interim any final deal must bring about the termination of iran's military nuclear capabilities. i've expressed my concern since before geneva that the sanctions would begin to unravel. i heard today that i ran's economic said that the s are already markedly improved. they are not even in place. steps must be taken to prevent further erosion of the sanctions because ultimately the sanctions remain in the central elements of the international efforts to compel dispel his nuclear military structure, to take apart all the center for users -- all the centrifuges, to eliminate the current stockpiles of enriched uranium, to cease development of ballistic missile, which by the way the
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geneva agreement does not address. none of these things that i ran insists it must have is necessary for a peaceful nuclear program. while israel is prepared to do what is necessary to defend itself, we share press obama's preference to see the nuclear program for diplomacy. for the program to succeed, it must be coupled with powerful sanctions and a credible military threat. let me repeat that -- a diplomatic solution is better than aim military option, but a military option is necessary for , as arey to succeed powerful sanctions. we all agreed after a couple of years of tough sanctions, iran finally begin to negotiate seriously. because of the pressure, what seemed impossible to yesterday became possible today. we should not assume that more and tougher sanctions were not
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lead to a better deal. what seemed impossible, what seems impossible today could become possible tomorrow. >> president obama was also part of the saban forum yesterday. you can watch his conversation with the founder of the saban center later today. we will have that is 6:30 5 p.m. eastern time here on c-span. president obama and first lady michelle obama will be traveling to johannesburg on tuesday. it will be attending a memorial service for the late president nelson mandela and the service will be held at ace 80 mf holds about 94,000 people. held at a stadium that holds about 94,000 people. tens of thousands of local mourners in dozens of foreign leaders are expected. also expecting british prime cameron, french president francois hollande, and canadian prime minister stephen harper. the event tuesdays is one of two
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major events planned. his funeral is planned for next sunday in his hometown. but we're going to turn to long- term unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of the month unless congress extends them. the house democratic steering committee held a hearing to review the issue. witnesses included people receiving unemployment benefits. this is an hour and a half. >> good morning, everyone. thank you for joining us for this hearing. good morning everyone. thank you very much for joining us for this hearing of this most serious matter striking into the heart of the security of america's working families. in the interest of getting to
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our witnesses as soon as possible, i will save my for the -- further remarks until later. but yield to the distinguished member of the ways and means committee who has been a champion on the issue of fairness for america's workers. today, our focus on unemployment insurance, the very distinguished gentleman from michigan, representative sandy levin. >> thank you, leader, and thank you witnesses. this congress has a mandate to extend federal unemployment insurance hearing we will, in a -- insurance. we will, in a few minutes, see the human side from the three americans who are joining us
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today to tell their personal stories. i think they will be, in a sense, very personal. they represent more than one million other americans with similar stories who will lose every dime, every dime of this support instantly on december 28 if this congress fails to act. a further 3.6 million americans would lose access to federal unemployment insurance next year as they exhaust their state coverage. we strongly believe that if every member of congress would take even a few minutes to speak personally with unemployed workers, there would not be any question at all about the need to extend the federal ui program. more than anything else, they want a job. but finding work remains very difficult in an economy that still has 1.5 million fewer jobs than before the recession started six years ago. still ha
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million fewer jobs than before the recession started six years ago. we have never had anything close to such a sustained job deficit after any recent downturn. it has been said in opposition to an extension that the federal emergency unemployment compensation program was adopted, and i quote, for extraordinary circumstances that are disappearing. no, no. these extraordinary circumstances continue adds indicated in the report issued just this morning by president obama's council of economic advisors, that highlights that the current long-term unemployment rate is at least twice as high as it was at the
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expiration of every previous extended ui benefit program. the extraordinary circumstances in a few words continue. the report also sets out the economic impact of a failure to act. it occurs with cbo, wall street analysts and other economists, that allowing the federal ui program to expire who cost our economy at least 200,000 jobs next year because of reduced consumer demand. for this congress to ignore the national economic impact would be shortsighted. to ignore the human, the individual human impact would be cold hearted. that is not the better nation, the better nature of our nation.
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and i trust of this congress. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman for championing this issue. i wish this hearing were not necessary, that we were not faced with what representative levin presented to us, but i am grateful to the co-chairs of the steering and policy committee for bringing us together to hear from our very special guests. i will yield in a moment but first i want to acknowledge that we've been joined by congresswoman barbara lee of california, congressman david sis linney of rhode island, congressman hank jordan of georgia, our distinguished democratic whip of the house of maryland, steny hoyer, our
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ranking member on the small business committee, nydia velasquez. our co-chairs will more fully introduce our witnesses. i want to thank you all for honoring us with your presence. we look forward to hearing your testimony. with that, i yield. >> a member of the house republican leadership said this week, quote, there is no appetite for extending unemployment benefits in the republican conference. today we're here not to hear about appetite, but about hunger, about the hunger that people across this country, 1.3 million of them have for the dignity to work, the literal hunger that many of these families will suffer on the 28th of december if benefits are not extended and the hunger we should have as a country, as an economy for putting people back to work. the statements we hear this morning will be more than eloquent.
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i thank the witnesses for being here. we look forward to getting to work to extend unemployment benefits. >> thank you, madam leader, and i want to welcome our guests here as well. it's been five years since the financial crisis precipitated a great recession. it destroyed millions of american jobs and trillions in household wealth. we've got many families in this country who are struggling to get back on their feet. unemployment at 7.2%. one out of every six americans amongst us lives in poverty and one in six is battling hunger. in the face of the need, congress needs to be doing everything that we can to create jobs, grow the economy, help those that are struggling. it is a moral responsibility that we have. and over the past few years, we have seen a majority do nothing to address this issue. the fact of the matter is, if we do not extend ui before the end of the year, 1.3 million men and women will lose their benefits
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right away. another 1.9 will lose their benefits by july 1st, 2014. this is bad news for families who are already struggling. failing to extend the benefits ripples throughout the economy. it will cost us about 310,000 jobs next year. i just want to quote someone. the speaker held a hearing five years ago on the financial crisis, and it was about discussing how we stimulate the economy. one of the witnesses was mark zandy, the economist and adviser to the john mccain campaign. we asked what was the fastest way to increase the demand and employment and get our economy woving again. he talked three things, e panned access to food stamps, continue to provide refundable tax credits and extend unemployment benefits. today we hear from a panel who will explain exactly how unemployment insurance benefits families and the american
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economy and why it is imperative for this congress to move and act before the year ends. thank you, madam leader. >> we'll go to introduction of the witnesses. mr. laurel and i are going to share. i'll start with ms. owens who has been the executive director of the national employment law project since january of 2008, and she's seen the efforts that that institution oversee the effects of the great recession. she's worked at the afl-cio, focused on minimum wage, living wage hikes, pay equity for women, many issues we're pursuing around this country. ms. owens we welcome you. we want to introduce each witness first or have them testify one at a time? >> okay. we'd ask you to make your statement brief so we can get to all witnesses. >> thank you so much. we appreciate the committee holding this important hearing
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today on what is an urgent matter for millions of americans who will lose their unemployment benefits over the holidays, more than 3 million by the first of july if congress fails to act to renew the emergency unemployment program. a written statement is in the record. i will keep my remarks brief. i want to emphasize as congressman levin stressed, that although the economy has improved, it is far from a healthy economy that provides job opportunities for all who need and want to work, particularly the long-term unemployed. unemployment remains higher than it was before the recession. it has ticked down a little bit since the last time the program was renewed, but in reality that's because of labor force dropouts as opposed to a real decline in unemployment. if we included all the missing workers in our unemployment count, unemployment today would be 11%. this is not the kind of economy
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in which people struggling with long-term unemployment can find jobs. there are still officially three unemployed workers for every single job opening which means even month two out of three unemployed workers is completely out of luck when it comes to finding a job. secondly, i want to talk a little bit about the demographics of the long-term unemployed because i think this is really important. the demographics are partly a function of who lost jobs first and have suffered the most. while unemployment has cut across every demographic group in our economy, the workers most affected by long-term unemployment have been older workers, workers of color and workers with less education. and that's not particularly surprising because these are the workers who, even in a robust economy, experience the greatest difficult in getting jobs in the first place for a variety of reasons including
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discrimination. the very fact of long-term unemployment is affecting these workers' ability to get new jobs. i know many of you are co-sponsors on legislation that would prohibit discrimination against the long-term unemployed which is certainly a measure we would also encourage you to take up as soon as you can. but today's focus is obviously on extending the benefits. finally, i want to stress again the importance of renewing the program, not just because of the workers who will be affected, and you will hear from them, but for the economy overall, for the labor market overall and for our society overall. as congressman levin again pointed out this morning, we know that unemployment insurance is one of the most effective economic stimuli that we have. cbo said if the program is renewed, it could account for as much as .3% in gdp growth next
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year and an additional 300,000 jobs. obviously if it's not renewed, it will have the opposite effect. that's very damaging to our economy. estimates are that every dollar invested in unemployment insurance pays back 1.6 to $2 in added growth of gdp. secondly, we know that unemployment insurance is an effective anti-poverty tool and we care about that in this country. the census bureau reported that in 2012, unemployment insurance alone kept 1.7 million americans out of poverty including close to half a million children. as congresswoman del lore row said, it is scandalous that in the richest nation in the world that one in six americans is living in poverty. and the least that this congress can do is make sure that it doesn't exacerbate that problem by cutting off the vital income that millions of americans rely
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upon. finally, i want to just put to rest the kin nard that long-term unemployment insurance keeps people unemployed. number one, that reflects that people who say that don't understand how unemployment is officially counted. one is only counted as unemployed if one is looking for work. the long-term program requires people to look for work. so, in fact, it has the opposite effect. it keeps people in the labor market. it causes them to be more aggressive in their job search, and it gives them the resources they need to stay afloat while they are looking for jobs. if we want to reduce unemployment, sure, cut off this program, but we will reduce unemployment then by having more people completely drop out of the labor force, and ha is not the recipe for a prosperous economy that works for all oufs.
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thank you very much. >> thank you, ms. owens. one of our guiding principles and commitments in the democratic caucus is when women succeed, america succeeds. one of those success stories is lisa floyd. she's a sales and service professional from hunting ton, west virginia. she spent the last 14 years working as director of volunteer services as a hospice, very hard work indeed, making sure the sick and elderly were able to die at peace and with dignity. she's a success story. lisa exhausted her state benefits without finding a job, but the extended benefits that we support and believe should be supported again help her keep her head above water long enough to find a new job without losing her job or going des tut. lisa, you're not invisible. you're important. we're glad you're here. >> good morning representativs.s
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>> good morning. >> we're here. >> thank you. thank you for having me here to share my story. my name is lisa floyd, and for nearly 14 years i've worked as director of volunteer services for an area non-profit hospice which serves both west virginia and ohio. i have worked my entire adult life having had three jobs my whole career, and i had never been as i lost my job, i immediately began my furious search for employment and began navigating the world of online boards, job boards and diligently networking. my goal was to place my resume in the hands of everyone i knew. i have spent the majority of my
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waking hours looking for work. during this time, i was able to support myself because i received those vital unemployment insurance benefits. i not only was looking for jobs in my field or only for jobs at the same salary level. i'm smart enough to know that most likely i would be changing careers and taking a pay cut. i applied for everything and anything. eventually, i began applying for entry level call center jobs. jobs that would have resulted in a $30,000 a year pay cut or to put this another way, a 42% reduction in my pay. that was monday of this week.
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in a box on the floor by my desk i have a stack of job application receipts, job descriptions, research and various forms of my resume and cover letters. this stack is two feet tall. and i know because i measured it. in addition, my online network connections have literally gone viral. my regular state unemployment benefits ended in early november and i immediately began receiving federal emergency unemployment compensation. i wouldn't hey been able to pay my mortgage, and i would have been at risk of losing my beloved little house. i was raised by my mother, a
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single parent. we never owned a home, but we lived in apartments. so i'm especially proud of my home and i know that my deceased mother would have been proud to know she raised me right. i am somebody. i own a home. now in the eighth month of my job search, i'm happy to say that i have secured a job just three days ago. thank you. again, that was monday. although my new job pays much, much less than what i was making, it is a good job with a liveable wage, and for that i am very grateful.
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without unemployment insurance and the federal emergency benefits, i would have not been able to sustain myself in my job search. so for me, these programs have done what they are supposed to do. they kept me in my home. i could still buy groceries and pay my bills. my anxiety was kept to a manageable level and i was able to keep sending out applications and going on interviews. if it had not been fortunate in finding this job, i would have faced the year end cut off of federal emergency unemployment compensation benefits absent
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congressional action. for millions, that would be devastating. for me, it could have meant the loss of my beloved home. i am so relieved and grateful that i won't have to face that now, but i know millions of others are at the same risk that i was just two days ago. again, monday. i am here on their behalf pleading with congress to renew the federal emergency unemployment compensation program for 2014. and please give the other 1.3 million americans a fighting chance to become re-employed. i am an emergency unemployment compensation success story.
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won't you please allow this to be america's story? thank you. >> lisa, your mother is proud. and you are somebody. and you reverse that view that people who are unemployed want to stay unemployed. we are all defined by the jobs that we do. we take pride in what we do. and that's why we're with you today to tell you that we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that these benefits get extended. thank you for your courage. and vera, another story, thank you for your courage in being here.
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vera, a long-time biotech professional from lynn, massachusetts. she is going to talk about how failure to extend unemployment insurance benefits would impact her directly. she has been searching for work for the last seven months. thank you for being here and for sharing your story this morning, vera. >> thank you for inviting me here today. thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of millions of unemployed americans across this country who, like me, face the year end shutdown of the federal emergency unemployment compensation benefits if this congress fails to renew this act prior to 2014, my name is vera may volk. i live in lynn, massachusetts. i have earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology, a masters degree in immunology. i worked over 20 years in the biotech pharmaceutical industry
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in various positions and under various functions both in academia. i invested four years with a company developing a very vital diagnostic tool for cancer and test development. i was laid off in may 2013 due to lack of funding that was complicated by the sequester earlier in the year. i am deeply engaged in job searching, spending at least eight hours a day in front of my computer networking, searching job boards, being involved in professional groups. i have posted over 50 resumes on job searches and to companies. i am applying to jobs like lisa at all levels, even including entry level.
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i'm actively engaged in wind networking group which consists of professionals throughout the massachusetts area. i have attended job search workshops, pursued job postings. as the seventh month of my job search begins, i continue looking for employment within the biotech pharmaceutical industry. i have also applied for seasonal jobs and i applied for part-time jobs within service and retail industry. my husband is self-employed business consultant m.i.t. because his business is failing due to the economic sequester, we have very little appreciable income coming in. that is my state unemployment. that will end at the end of this week. i am going to be one of those 1.3 million americans on the euc
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in 2013. to face the fact those benefits end at the end of this year is truly creating distress in me. i have very sleepless nights. i wake up with fears and tears. i just don't know what i'm going to do. we also need health assistance, food assistance, heating assistance, home assistance, just like my friend lisa did. this fear is keeping me from moving forward and pursuing these activities and from pursuing my job search, but today i think i'm getting a new spark. this lack of funding coming up will exacerbate my crohn's condition because i'm making the choice of having to eat less quality foods that contain ingredients that i cannot eat. therefore, my health will suffer even more than what it does.
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i don't even know what i'm going to do for medications for both of us. i am asking congress to renew the euc benefits for 2014. it is the least this congress can do. it must do this for america. please invest in america. that's where you get, you'll get results for the economy to grow. thank you very much for your time. >> every member of congress should hear and head what lisa and vera have said. we are here to try to amplify your strong and wise voices. we thank you. stan is an electrician. he is a journeyman wireman. on july 3rd of this year, a project on which he had worked for an extended period of time finished. since then, he's been looking for work. stan gets up at 4:00 a.m. every
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day even though he's not working. what he spends most of his time doing is trying to find work, especially with construction season, cold weather coming up. his state benefits in maryland will expire, as i understand it in early january. when they expire, if we do not extend the federal benefits, he will be without an income when looking for his next job. stan, we hope the next time you get up at 4:00 a.m. is because you're working. in the meantime, we want to hear what you have to say today. >> thank you for letting me speak today. i'm from baltimore, maryland, journeyman, wireman electrician and have been one since 1975. i've done electrical work ever since i was a teenager. i'm 67 years young and i'm capable, fully able and eager to work. i need the work, i love the work. it's who i am.
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i tell you this, i hate being unemployed. it's a waste of my time, my abilities. during the recent recession and early part of recovery, i was fortunate to have continuous work for a three year period on a job. my industry can be sporadic. i put away money and i saved. a five-month job ended earlier this year on july 3rd. the unemployment insurance, which is my only income, and i used my savings that i put away. i'm in the 20th week of my regular state unemployment benefits and they'll end in january. unemployment benefits helped me scrape by week to week and even with them, i'm not able to pay my portion of expenses for the apartment i share. i'm trying to find a job is a very difficult thing. construction work is a hard find in the winter. outside of my industry, from
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what i've seen potential employers see my age and look right past me. i still get up 4:30 every morning, that's saturdays and sundays. i'm out pursuing work in my union and elsewhere things should pick up for me this spring. i'm looking every day for hopes to getting something sooner because i hate not working. so here i am facing the end of unemployment benefits in january. if this congress does not act to renew the federal emergency unemployment compensation program, there will be no federal benefits available for me and people like me. if that happens, i'm still unemployed. i won't be able to pay the basics. if congress lets the uec program shut down, i won't be able to put gas in my car to look for a job. tell me how that's going to help me and others like me get back to work. don't allow them to shut this
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down. thank you. >> the final witness, 1.3 million demonstrated by the three witnesses that have just spoken are not just a statistic. they live, they breathe, they have families. it is our obligation in the congress to make sure that they have the opportunities to live their lives. father schneider, it's wonderful to have you here with us today. since 2005, you've been president of catholic charities and you oversee local catholic charity agencies nationwide and help 10 million americans a year struggling in poverty, regardless of their religion, social or economic backgrounds. father schneider is the author much "think and act anew, how poverty in america affects us all and what we can do about it." father schneider, we are counting on you to make sure
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that we all keep our moral responsibility front and center in our policy discussions. you can help to make that case your voice, your perspective are critical and important for not just those of us here this morning, but for all members of congress to hear. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. madam leader pelosi, representative delaura and other members of the house here today, good morning and a real sincere thank you for holding this important hearing that will focus on the issue of extending the emergency unemployment compensation benefits. i'm grateful to have the opportunity to make a few remarks. also bringing the perspective of nonprofits to provide help to americans in need each and every day. catholic charities throughout this country serves about 10 million people every year.
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that's about one in four persons living in poverty. that's why this is such an important issue for us because we don't want to see those numbers increase. in less than 20 days, millions across our country will gather with family to celebrate christmas and the holidays, yet only days after marking the holiday with family and loved ones, more than one million americans may lose that vital benefit if it is not renewed and their ability to provide for their families may be in jeopardy. unemployment insurance benefits are a vital life link for unemployed workers and their families. it can make the difference between continuing to have housing and also having enough to eat. this will affect especially children and some veterans. it serves as a bridge when a temporary job loss is experienced. without it, individuals can easily slip into poverty. extending this benefit is simply
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a wiser investment of dollars until our economy is robust enough to create sufficient employment opportunities for those who spend so much time looking for work. behind the statistic of millions of jobless workers are men and women, as we have heard this morning, who have worked their whole lives and who take pride in being a contributing member of their community. they are our neighbors. they are our extended family members. let there be no mistake that the people who receive this benefit are people who have worked every day and want to work. they want and need the dignity of work to allow them to provide for themselves and their families. unemployment is not the life these individuals seek, nor is it the one they want. they want to continue moving toward the american dream. it is uncouple bent upon all of us to do everything that we can to ensure a robust economy and
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good paying jobs are the long-term solutions. at catholic charities we see first hand what choices unemployed americans face as they look for work. leaving them and their families vulnerable as they continue their job search. the impact of unemployment extends beyond individuals and families to communities and neighborhoods as well. high unemployment and poverty go hand in hand. the characteristics of poor neighborhoods amplify the impact of unemployment. this benefit is an investment to keep our communities healthy. when the work force and economy take a hit as we have seen these last several years, social service agencies are often the first to feel the impact. for example, within days of this fall's government shutdown, catholic charities agencies were immediately reporting the increased need in their community as a result of the changed employment situation of
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federal workers. while catholic charities remain committed to helping families get back on their feet as they search for work, we can only be a part of the solution. it is understandable this benefit should not be extended permanently, but as a nation, we should not pull the rug out from under the americans who continue to look for work in this economy that is ever so slow to recover. we can understand having limits, but we have to take into account the reality of the depth of the current setback in the economy. our catholic tradition teaches us that society has a special obligation to consider first the needs of the poor. pope francis called on us numerous times to recognize the needs of our neighbors and make responding to those folks a priority. he said in his recent exertation
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thought is vital government leaders around financial leaders take head and broaden their horizons working to make sure all citizens have dignified, work, education and health care. i am firmly convinced that openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society. i urge congress to do the same. the challenge here today is for congress to work together and support a bipartisan effort that our neighbors do not go without by extending this benefit in this time of great need for so many. thank you. >> madam leader? >> i want to thank our witnesses
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again. as a tribute to all of you, i am so pleased many members have come. some have to go back to their committee work, but to pay respect to you. we've been joined by congressman of puerto rico, ohio, minnesota, new york, california, alabama, california, new york. chris val the list goes on and on. while we are talking about a major statistic, 1.3 million people by the end of the month, every single one of those stories, their million stories out there are important to us.
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you are the personification of that. you are the personification of the great work ethic of america, and that's what we want to see upheld with this. i'm pleased to yield to our distinguished witness for comments he might wish to make. >> thank you for being here. we talk in washington about big numbers, billions, millions of people. too infrequently we talk about individuals, the stans, the veras, the lisas of america that our actions affect immediately and directly on a daily basis. i thank you for being here. it takes courage to come here. to express a polite that i think was said when we see one another, first thing we say is what's your name? my name is lisa, my name is vera, my name is stan.
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what's the next question we ask? what do you do? what do you do in our society? what do you do to occupy your time from 4:00 a.m. on productively that makes you feel worthwhile? not only is this an extraordinary economic damage we are inflibt iing but also psychological. you talked about that, as well. stan, obviously evidenced that. we appreciate the fact that you're here to bring home the personal individual impact that our lack of action has. we are scheduled to leave here on the 13th of december, friday the 13th of december. i'm hopeful that we will not vote to adjourn the congress of the united states for the year
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2013 without taking care of this issue, to ensure that the lisas and veras and stans of our country, our neighbors, our friends, our daughters, our sons, our fathers and mothers know that we care and that there is that floor that help, that hand that reaches out. father, that's what jesus told us to do, of course, is to reach out and lift up. and help, and hopefully we'll do that. your testimony i think will make a difference in us doing that. thank you very much. >> thank mr. hoyer and our colleagues for being here. what we are going to do now is turn this to questions. in order to accommodate all the members here with their questions and answers, what we are going to do is try to take three questions at a time and members will be called on in order of appearance.
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i'm going to ask my colleagues to make the question very short and poignant, and we'll get the answers we want. we anticipate there will be votes. we want to get all the questions in. i will ask the questicongresswo lee -- did congresswoman lee leave? mr. hoyer left? >> good morning, everyone. i've been in congress almost 20 years and participated in many congressional hearings. this is the toughest one and i'm a tough lady. i just want to take this opportunity to thank every one
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of you, stan, vera, lisa, for your grace and your dignity. and i hope, father i pray, that those americans that are being ignored by the other side that are paying close attention to what is happening here in congress. vera, lisa, i would like to ask you a question. the last seven months have clearly been very tough on you. you persevere and now you are on a brighter path. where would you be today if it wasn't for the unemployment compensation emergency? >> if i had not had the extra
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time, because unless you have experienced how the job market is today and the incredible amount of research, and you may spend three hours preparing for an interview. you have no idea what it is like to go through the world of the internet job boards. i was facing a decision of taking, actually i enrolled. i have a bachelor's degree and i had enrolled in my local community college with all the young millenials to go back to school to get an associate's degree, to go to night school and work during the day on a minimum wage job or a little bit more and then i would, my plan was to have to dig into my retirement and have 30% of that
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taxed and then taxed again and just pray that my tenacity would get me there. the anxiety level, i can't even explain to you the insomnia, the tears, the mood swings, the ups, the downs. it ranks with me as one of the five most tragic things to have ever happened in my life. what it does to you emotionally and psychologically, you feel like hester prenn with the letter "a" when you're jobless very long. you soon become a member of the lost world. people look at you when you don't have a job yet like there's something wrong with you. that's where i would have been. >> thank you.
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>> i have no questions, but i would like to let you all know that for a period of about three months, i was unemployed -- this was back many years ago. it was really during, between school -- it was summer break. i'm used to working and i could not find a job that summer, the whole summer. i can't tell you how -- i can tell you but i'm sure your feelings about being unemployed and searching for work and being unable to find anything, the effect that has on you mentally is just very -- you wouldn't know it unless you went through it. i think that's the problem with
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a lot of our colleagues here in congress is that, you know, many were born with a silver spoon. so they never had to encounter times where it was hard to make ends meet. but you have a lot of representatives here who feel your pain and we are going to do everything under the leadership of our caucus leaders to remedy this situation for you. last but not least, our dear pope, father, has brought it all home at such a wonderful time of the year where we are sharing, we are thankful for all that we have been given and we are trying to give back and share a little bit of that good tidings with our neighbors and our
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friends. that's the spirit that we should have. i just want to applaud the pope for taking that direction and thank you all for being brave enough to come here today. thank you. >> congressman? >> thank you all. i'm here because i represent puerto rico in congress. puerto rico is an american territory and its unemployment rate at present is 14.7%. it has the highest unemployment rate pretty much in america. at the same time 80,200 puerto ricans, american citizens, will not continue getting unemployment benefits if this legislation is not, and this program is not extended. your accounts have moved me quite a bit. i know anybody with any kind of
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sensitivity would be moved by your accounts. i am sure that most, if not all those 80,000 constituents i represent would have similar accounts. now, i'm going to address my question to father snyder. some colleagues of ours here in congress believe our government has no responsibility, the federal government has no responsibility, no business in dealing with poverty, hunger, homelessness and unemployment in america. they believe that just charities should take care of it all. what's your response to them? >> i think charity has a role to play, without a doubt. charity cannot do it alone. our tradition in this country has been that charity partners with the government and we work together. because we both have that as a
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common goal. especially the most vulnerable. as far as saying government has no role it in, i'm not sure what their faith tradition might be, but i think those of us who certainly are christian, are jewish, and even in the muslim tradition, there is that very clear responsibility to your neighbor, especially your neighbor in need. i would encourage them to go back and look at the roots of their faith tradition because i think the very things we are talking about here today you will find an answer there. >> thank you. >> thank you. we are going to hear first from congressman joyce beatty of ohiohi ohio. >> thank you so much. let me just join all my colleagues in thanking you for
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coming and giving your testimony. let me just say that that's courageous to me. this is very difficult as i sit here and i think of how you represent the many faces in my district of people who are writing me and people who are calling me with very similar stories. certainly, we are here because we are concerned. we are your advocates so i wanted to be able to personally say that. lisa, your story like the others was very compelling. you mentioned ohio and that touched me being in the heart in the capital city of ohio. i'll be brief. the question is almost a follow-up to my colleague's question, but not as it relates to the church or faith-based. so often people in my district will say go to the church and they'll take care of it and that
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doesn't happen. when you need a loan in my district, the churches can't sustain new a home or with medical or groceries. if there was one thing you could say to us, i'm a so-what person and a resolve person. we're here and we heard you. what's the one extra thing you would like me to do, whether it's in my district or legislatively or here in a committee, what's the one thing? >> for me, and i've been asking myself what congress is doing and what they are doing for me as an individual and a community. i know you're not my representative. you do represent me in other ways. i think it's to find a way to resolve these issues that are
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facing our nation. help the people that are under yo your -- my husband and i were talking on the way to the airport that this is the congress that has done the least amount for the american people as a nation of all of them that have been thus far. that's one of the reasons why i rarely listen to the news any more is because of how depressing it gets that there is just no talking with you. even i have to talk with my family or my friends to negotiate and with my husband to negotiate issues and negotiate what we are going to pay or what we are going to eat. sometimes we make concessions. sometimes one makes the concession, sometimes the other, but usually we both makes a concession on what we are going to do in this situation. to me, i don't understand why
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our congress is not -- we're all here to earn a living, to be responsible to our communities and to our nation. and how can -- i'm asking myself that as lisa and stan have what can i contribute back to my community as a stem professional, what can i do? as a home gardener, what can i do? as a daughter of a veteran, what can i do for the veterans of our community? and soon i may be homeless. every time i see a homeless person, i'm actually giving them whatever little change i have in my purse, in my hand or my pocket. i'm starting to make an effort to hold, keep coins in my pocket so that i can give something to someone. because whatever we can give to
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the least of us we do for ourselves. i don't know if that's really what you're asking. >> that is very helpful. thank you. >> if somehow this congress and future congress persons come together and work for us as people as a nation. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. first i want to thank you, mr. co-chair and co-chair delauro for holding this very important hearing. this is why i came to congress was to hear and listen and represent constituents and people in america like you who expect this congress to address the important issues of our time. nothing can be more important than employment and job creation and growing our economy. so you have put a perspective
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that i have been waiting to hear now for 11 months as a new member. you've provided me some hope that i came to congress to do the right thing and to fight for people who need us to be champions on your behalf. i'm from nevada. my state has the highest unemployment in the country at 9.3%. in a state with fewer than 3 million people, we have some 20,000 individuals who will lose their emergency unemployment benefits on december 28th if we don't do something about that. if the republican leadership continues to sit idly by, by next june that number will double to 40,000. so it is real. i want to thank each of you because as my colleagues have said already, we're listening and we hear you and we know that you represent so many other
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people. to lisa, vera, stan, the other witnesses, thank you. stan, i want to ask you a specific question because one sector that has been hardest hit in my state is the construction sector. i have building trade workers in unions and a lot of other trades who have been unemployed now for more than a year. there really are no jobs in that sector coming back any time soon in my community because of the sustained recession. the construction industry was our number two sector behind gaming so it's been hardest hit. it's good to hear a union perspective. i want to ask you as a building trades worker, what about the quality of the job that you're looking for? you come from a sector with good, livable wages with good
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benefits with pension and apprenticeship to come back and retrain. what happens to you if the jobs that they're trying to put you in don't really provide for family-sustaining wages for you and your family? >> as you sit down and work, you start questioning your ability to do a job. your worth drops, your self-confidence drops. it takes quite a bit to build it back up. it's hard to be unemployed. i am a craftsman. i build. i enjoy building. i like to look back on what i built and say, "i did that."
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that's my pride. when you don't have a job, you feel worthless. it's a feeling i don't like. i've been in the trade 43 years. i worked everything from bridges to steel mills, to car plants, and i've always give them the top notch job i could. the quality is what my pride is and that's what i'm trying to give. to do anything else is unfulfilling. it doesn't give you a feeling of worth. doesn't make you feel good. it's hard to do something else, not after all these yrs to achieve re-employment.
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so that's an area -- pardon me, i get excited. that we are not focusing on in congress either. the ability to understand the position it places you in as an additional side effect of not acting and extending unemployment benefits. it is something that just affects the family. you might lose your homes. now we have another home on the market. it might or might not move. it adds to the recession. so we must begin to also understand that we need to help you be able to sustain your mental capability to move forward and be successful, and being able to tell you you're worth it. every one of you. you've done your work, you created this economy in the united states, and we owe it to you. the other area is of course the unemployed vets. you know a lot of them coming home to nothing. the suicide rate is 22 which is
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unacceptable to our veterans. there are many things we need to work on. the problem has been the budget is not big enough. the economy is not growing fast enough. why are we not focusing on bringing the jobs back here to the u.s.? why are we not looking at being able to hold employers accountable for things -- they're making money. i can start off with a few i can think offhand. you understand. you feed to be aware and you need to tell other people to be aware of how this works here in congress. because if you don't support what we are trying to do and increase the budget, understand the benefits and bring companies back here to do the job creation and take care of you when you need it, to be able to help you back on your feet, then we are not doing your job. it's only half the job because we don't have the power to do it as it stands now. any comments? >> i just want to say one thing,
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representative. what i was feeling on monday morning was pure unadulterated fear. fear. i gave my christmas tree to a friend. wasn't going to put it up. no christmas. i had no idea what i was facing. your emotions go up and down, up and down because you go on a face-to-face interview. you think it went great. because the competition in our area is very high because of unemployment. people don't understand -- what i want you to understand is get rid of that wrong impression that people who are on long-term unemployment are coasting along, singing a song and they're all laying in front of the tv watching "jerry springer" and eating junk food. that is not what we're doing. we are out there every day.
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i want to say something. you have to step aside for a moment every now and then because you're going to drive yourself insane, but pounding it hard. the majority of americans want to work. we are the exception. not we are the exception. we are the rule. we want to work. understand that. please. >> we get it. the problem is my colleagues on the other side don't get it because they may never have been unemployed. california has the highest -- well, we are over 35 million now. our affected unemployed will be close to a million in california if we don't extend this. you understand it is critical for all of us and we all support what you have told us we need to do. we all support that. one of the things -- and you're very right about the people who don't want to work. those make it hard for the rest,
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but we are not going after those who are fraudulently accessing the fund. that's something we also need to look at is get people off their duffs and not create a dynasty of people that are on unemployment forever or social service. god bless you, all of you. good luck in your future. thank you. >> thank you very much, congresswoman napolitano. i would like to ask for questions -- one point we should know that the work that the law center is doing, and i want to single out chris owens to say what melt has been doing to end that discrimination against people unemployed and unemployed for a long time. you don't have to add insult to injury for people. you don't have to tell them their's dogging it when they are trying to make their way. with that, i recognize congresswoman moore, congresswoman spear and we have
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congresswoman maloney. we've got to move fast. we don't know when votes are coming up. let's get all the questions in. >> thank you, madam co-chair. i know lisa and vera are frightened, but i find their testimonies very, very frightening and intimidating for the whole country. these people are master electricians, microbiologist, bachelor degree with a lot of executive experience and they are unemployed for a long time. what about those people who don't have their skillset? i'm sorry i missed so much of their testimony. i was perusing through their testimony. they say they've been looking
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for anything, part-time work, the extent to which they have been willing to accept jobs for half as much as they are worth begin their skill set. really looking at this in terms of any data that you have in terms of what we know has been a real intentionality on the part of some employers to force wages downward, and to force people like them to accept $8 an hour jobs so that the walmart, the care takers of the world, they can forget it about getting anything. i'm wondering the extent to which they have experienced age discrimination and the discrimination -- are employers bold enough to tell you that, hey, we're not going to hire you because we know that if you get this microbiologist job you're
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going to leave or your salary requirements really are $25 an hour, stan, and we aren't about to hire you? i'm interested to hearing from christine and them, as well. >> you will be pleased to know the city of madison just adopted an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against people simply because they are unemployed, joining a couple of other cities that have done so. congresswoman delauro is the author of that legislation in the house. it's interesting today is the day there will be strikes by fast food workers around the country. the reality is that wages have declined for workers in this country. note that a study we released earlier this year that looked at 700 some odd occupations and divided them into fifths. we found except for the highest-paid occupations there
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had been significant wage decline over the last three years. and the wage decline had been the greatest in the lowest-paid occupations. so there is no question, whatever the reason, whether it's intentional manipulation of wages, whether it's the law of supply and demand in a labor market in which there are way more job seekers than jobs, wages are going down for america's workers. that's why you see someone like lisa or vera or stan educated, experienced, long tenured workers who can only find jobs that pay far less than the jobs they have lost. i think that that is something we really need to think about in terms of the future consequences of this crisis. it will be a huge crisis if the program is not renewed. there is no question that will affect millions upon millions of people, but long-term unemployment has long-term
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consequen consequences and builds deficits into our future. we need to take those into account as you all craft policy, we as advocates promote policies. this is not just an immediate problem. it's a long-term crisis for our country. >> i would love to hear from you all. are people saying, hey, lisa, vera, we would hire you, but we know you wouldn't stay here for this $8 an hour, so therefore, we aren't going to hire you? >> representative moore, here is how i want to answer that. you can't prove age discrimination, but i lost my job of 14 years two weeks before i turned 50. two black happy birthday balloons were very appropriate this year. on the online job applications
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that you are forced to fill out, they make you put in the dates of your college degree or you can't go further. you have to put in a date. so yes, can you prove it? probably not. so here is what i was on the verge of doing. i have a friend in the billboard business. we were going to put a billboard, and i'm totally serious, and if you knew me, you know i'm serious. >> i think i know you. >> i was going to put a billboard in huntington, west virginia and ohio, with my big face on it that said, a lot of people know me, i've been in the advertising business and hospice and say, "hire me." reputable baby boomer, hard worker, shows up to work, professional, you won't regret it. i had a friend ready to reserve my billboard space.
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so yes, it absolutely does, but you'll never prove it. you can't say. that's my answer to that, but yes, i do believe it's out there. >> i think there is a lot of discrimination against us older employees because we don't have the same skill sets as those that are recently graduating from the universities. i come from a community that has very prestigious schools. i'm also feeling the fact even though my skills are not new, that i'm feeling wage discrimination because i haven't earned that, why haven't i moved up beyond supervisor, why haven't i gone into management or director? i realize that's not my role in the biotechnology community. i have taken on seasonal jobs with the u.s. postal service.
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i am on call with the ups. i am taking on a part-time job with renew by anderson windows because that will be the only salary that comes in if my state unemployment comes down. i had these benefits in the past and they have helped me. what i'm also experiencing -- my heart goes out to all these people who have minimum jobs, how are they making it? i read the stories and hear the stories that they're having to go to the churches and community houses for at least one supper a day. how are they doing it? my heart goes out to them all. i'm having to consider that possibility that i might be taking a minimum wage job. i considered doing house cleaning on weekends.
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we experience age discrimination, we experience educational discrimination, we experience skill discrimination, even though in every position i've had, i've done everything that a quality assurance person could do. they won't look at me because it has not been my title and it has not been five to ten years or more of that specific skill, but i can do it. they just won't look at me for it. >> they won't train you. >> they won't train me. >> i'm going to ask congresswoman spear, maloney to ask their questions quickly and get their answers so we get the questions on the table. >> thank you. in your quiet and pained voices, you have shamed this congress. we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being here. we owe you.
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this congos you. i hope what our majority rep said we will take to heart, that we will not leave here next friday without renewing unemployment benefits. i feel so strongly that you have been slapped in the face by your country. we have got to make sure your benefits continue. you have put faces on numbers. we talk in numbers too much around here. your faces tell the story of people who are hard working, who have been discriminated because of age. i've held ten job hunters boot camps in my district over the last four years. historically, the numbers are all over the age of 50 because it's easy to force terminations in that kind of setting and hire young people at lower salaries. one quick question, christine. we've got to do something legal here. to lisa's point about requiring that you establish what your
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dates of college degrees were acquire withed is the he ee eee easiest way to determine how old you are. what are ways to legally prevent the age discrimination that goes on in the work place today? >> certainly, it's against -- >> sorry. >> want to thank the leader and all my colleagues for calling this important hearing and all the need to extend unemployment benefits. i believe all of us are going to be fortified and fight even harder having heard your stories and having seen a real life experience of what it means. if we don't act, 1.3 million americans will lose their unemployment benefits in january and in my home state of new york, that includes over 127,000
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human faces and families that will lose it. what is very disturbing to me is not only the high rate of 7.3% unemployment, but the very high rate of long-term unemployment munemployment. and stan, you have talked about the challenges of long-term unemployment. i guess it's going to add more numbers to the long term, and that will have a ripple effect. not only for long-term unploit but all employed. what is the ripple effect u father snyder, on families, on communities, of these human numbers that are going to be losing their jobs, losing their participation? so again, i thank you. i join my colleagues in thanking you. >> congressman. >> thank you. i'll just -- just to add to that, i represent flint, michigan, a city that some 35 years ago had 79,000 people working in the auto industry.
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today that number is about 8,000. so there are a whole subset of american cities for which the transition from the old to the new economy, even in a period of economic growth, has not delivered the kind of employment that's necessary to sustain the economy. so i ask if any of you might comment on how the loss of direct support for 1.3 million americans in the wealthiest country ever imagined on the planet at a time of record profits by corporations can somehow be acceptable when you have cities like flint, michigan, or saginaw, michigan, that continue to struggle to try to connect their work force with the next economy. to me, this just seems like an affront to all that is good and right, and it's not something we ought to stand for. finally, i just want to say thank you for helping members of congress who ought to understand that this is just not economic data that we're looking at, but
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this is a decision that'll literally affect the lives, health, and well being of millions of americans and the fact you're willing to come help make that case is something we're grateful for. thank you. >> thank you, chris. why don't you begin and we'll get to the other direct questions. >> thank you so very quickly, congresswoman. there is legislation pending in congress protecting older workers against discrimination, which would reverse an outrageous supreme court decision. we would urge the members -- i'm sure you all support it. passing it would be incredibly important. strengthening enforcement resources for the age discrimination employment act. and just sort of public -- lending one's public voice to the fact that age discrimination is alive and well. as i noted earlier, among the groups that are disproportionately represented in the long-term unemployed, it
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is older workers who are really in quite a jam because they don't have a lot of years ahead of them, even if they could get jobs quickly to rebuild their pensions, replenish their savings, et cetera. so i think elevating the issue publicly and making the case -- i want to say that we actually hired a long-term unemployed worker a few years ago who is almost as old as i am. and he is a rock star. we could not be happier. if we had 15 positions, i'd hire 15. as lisa says, they're great. >> i think stan, congresswoman maloney, addressed a question to you. caroline? >> yes, my question was about the ripple effect of the unemployment on the community at large, particularly long-term unemployment, which you spoke so movingly about and with these
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high numbers, the degree of probability is there'll be more long-term unemployed. and you spoke very movingly on it. father snyder, the impact on the greater community, not just on the individuals but the greater community in which you serve with this lack of support for the families. >> the ripple effect you get, i don't know. personally, it takes away your self-worth. you lose it. in some cases, i've known people that have been through the long term, even longer than i have. unfortunately, they're no longer with us. they could not handle it. they lose the money, their family, they lose everything.
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and they just end up losing themselv themselves. like i said, that's the ripple effect. i don't know what else to say. >> thanks, dan. father snoyder? >> i think there's definitely a ripple effect. when you look at our communities, american people are very generous people. there are a lot of different ways that they really try to reach out, but i think the scale of what we're seeing here is not something that private charity can ever make up. we see that because of that, people in this situation are forced to make very difficult decisions, choices about am i going to pay the mortgage, am i going to pay for my medicine, or am i going to not buy food. so i think most nonprofits have seen our greatest increase in demand for need is food because
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people give up food because they can't give up housing, they can't give up medicine or shouldn't, but they know they can get help with food somewhere else. it still isn't enough. i would just bring up one of the things that really worries me, of course, is what's going to happen with s.n.a.p. benefits, which is going to compound all of this. >> i believe your question, in fact, has been answered. we do have to give up this room at noon. i want to -- so you'll survive. and i want to turn this over to our leader nancy pelosi. >> thank you very much for hosting this as part of the steering and policy committee. thank you, chairman levin, for your ongoing, day-to-day, extraordinary, deep commitment to all of this. we're very proud of so many members who came. we've been joined by congresswoman sheila jackson
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lee. thank you for your work on unemployment insurance as well. so many members came and went, time did not allow all of them to ask questions, but they wanted to pay their respects to you. i know many more, because i joined them, we had to be physically present in another room, but we were watching you on tv. thank you for the generosity of spirit you have to share your stories in such a personal way. such strength. hopefully you certainly challenged the conscience of the congress, hopefully the nation as well, as people saw your presentations. so important. father snyder, you quoted pope francis earlier in the challenge he gave to elected officials and business leaders. it was reminding me of leo xiii. that was over 100 years ago. it was an encyclical that recognized the value of work and respect for workers. it seems to me we should reread
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that as well as we rejoice in pope francis' very valuable statements. thank you for catholic charity's work. this is, as you said at the end, this is on top of everything else. this is on top of the resistance to raising the minimum wage, for cutting $40 billion out of food stamps. i mean, how unconscionable can that be? pell grants, now wanting to cut pell grants which are providing education for low-income families. title i for economically advantaged areas to have the education. the list goes on and on of the compounding of all of these things that are not really a budget that is a statement of our values. but really just -- perhaps they don't know. they either don't know or they don't care. so let's hope that now knowing
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they will care. thank you for improving the knowledge base that people have on this. yes indeed we are making a very clear statement that we cannot, cannot support a budget agreement that does not include unemployment insurance, in the budget or as a side bar in order to move it all along. it would be -- it would undermine who we are as a country. most important lyimportantly, i strike at the heart of what you bring to america. everything that you have said is about the middle class, the backbone of our democracy. so thank you for your strength, because you strengthen our country, and we have to just be as bold as we need to be to make sure people all know what is at risk here when they casually toss off a policy. i don't like unemployment
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insurance, when it is a very personal matter. again, a manifestation you are of the work ethic of the american people, something we should value, something we should respect. and when people lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are looking for work and we say, too bad, that is very bad for our country. stan, thank you. thank you for just being so generous with your story. as they say on tv, right up close there and personal for the american people, it was beautiful. vera, i don't even know what to say to you for all the challenges that you are facing. thank you for your courage. lisa, keep up that fight. and congratulations on your new job. christine, really, thank you for being such a strong, intellectual resource on all of these issues, to help improve public policy. father snyder, thank you to catholic charities for all that you do and for coming to this table to associate yourself with the concerns of america's working families.
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again, i thank my colleagues for their leadership, and again, mr. levin, thank you. he's just totally relentless. totally. [ applause ] thank you, all, to our witnesses. [ applause ] foxarlier this morning on news sunday, kentucky senator rand paul was asked about unemployment benefits. here is his response. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks they are paid for. if extended beyond that you do a
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disservice to these workers. a study came out a few months ago that said if you had a worker who is unemployed for four weeks and went to 99 weeks, who would you hire? nearly 100% said that they would always hire the person who had been out of work for only four weeks. when you allow a person to become unemployed for 99 weeks, you allow them to become part of the perpetually unemployed in our economy and pilot seemed good, it does a disservice to the people you are trying to help. black unemployment in america has doubled white unemployment and has not budgeted under this president. a lot of african-americans voted for them, but i do not think it is working. >> how do you persuade the african-american voter that in the inner-city you will not spend more government money, you are going to vote to let the unemployment benefits lapse? how do you persuade the black voter that this is good for them, that this is the right
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policy? >> my economic stimulus plan for detroit would leave over $1 billion in their economy. there is no other plan on the table and there is not going to be some grand bailout through congress other than my plan, if it passes. politically it is the only one that could pass. talking about restoring voting rights, talking about school choice. i think there is a lot to offer in the republican message that has not been offered in the past and i think there is only upside potential. >> we will have more from kentucky senator rand paul. he was at the detroit economic fund where he talked about jobs and the economy. on capitol hill, both the house and senate return tomorrow for legislative business, extending unemployment is not on their agenda. the house will gaveling at noon eastern before considering one
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suspension bill at 2:00 eastern. no votes are expected in the house. later in the week it is possible that members might consider a budget for the next fiscal year. the house and senate budget conference is still negotiating on that, the last week house will be in session for the rest of the year. the senate is back in tomorrow with general speeches until 4:00, at which point they will resume consideration of the defense authorization bill. of course, you can watch the house, live here on c-span, and the senate live on our companion network, c-span2. >> c-span, we bring public affairs of events for washington directly to you, putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings, conferences, offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house, a public service of private industry.
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we are created by the tv -- we were created and funded by her local cable satellite provider, and you can watch us in hd. at pell grants and college affordability during with subcommittee hearing student financial aid officers and experts on financial aid policy. this is two hours. the subcommittee will come to order. good morning. thank you for joining us for this hearing on the pell grant program. 11th in the series designed to gain a more complete the challengesf facing post secondary students and institutions. the committee of policy changes that should be considered as
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part of the upcoming reauthorization of the higher education act. we have abbreviated. over the last year the hearings provided a forum to discuss opportunities to encourage innovation, increase transparency, enhance data collection, and improve college access and affordability. we have been fortunate to hear from a number of expert witnesses whose testimony and insight will provide invaluable as we begin crafting legislation next year. with roughly 71% of undergraduates receiving some ,orm of federal financial aid simplifying the complex system of grants, loans, and institutional support programs remains a central goal in our reauthorization efforts. just last month the committee discussed the postals to help streamline student aid programs.
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today we will build on that conversation by examining the pell grant program that many consider to be the cornerstone of federal student aid. when the pell grant program began in the early 1970s, the central focus was providing financial assistance, to help low income students access higher education. in the first year the program provided aid to 176,000 students . since then it has grown dramatically and today more than 9 million students are pell grant recipients. the sharp rise in participation in recent years has been attributed to several factors. one is the economic recession that spurred many individuals to go back to school to learn skills needed to compete for today's jobs. also, washington policymakers past legislative changes to pell to increase the maximum grant for student eligibility
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requirements, allowing more students to receive larger awards. since the program guarantees aid to any student who meets the eligibility criteria, enrollment spikes threatened the program's long-term fiscal viability. federalone of the government's largest education expenditures, costing taxpayers each year.illion as with every federal program, especially son with -- especially one with a heavy price tag, washington has a responsibility to ensure that the program is effective. there is concern among the members of higher education and many of my colleagues that it has strayed too far from its original intent. with such a large recipient pool, some worry the program could eventually become insoluble, leading to a lack of funds for our neediest students.
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budget experts have projected multimillion dollar funding gaps, raising additional questions about whether the program's current structure is fiscally responsible. recognizing the pell grant an unsustainable path, leaders in higher education, business, and public policy have begun circulating proposals for reform. forproposed first step strengthening the program is to simplify the grant application process. it has been suggested that instead of forcing families to complete overwhelming amounts of paperwork, a more streamlined process would better inform students of their options and generate a more accurate reflection of their financial needs. --ther proposal suggests additional proposal suggests tightening eligibility requirements, increasing grant flexibility, and implementing accountability measures to make sure the program is not only helping the neediest students enroll in college, but is also a
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-- also rewarding and encouraging those who make progress towards completion. from hard-working taxpayer money is being spent, taxpayers deserve accountability, meaning a discredit goal that we have the information necessary to know what is and is not working in the program. the grant program has become the epicenter of our nations financial aid system. we all want to make sure that it meets its targets of supporting low income students who wish to earn a college degree, however we must also be honest about the challenges facing the program and work together in good faith to enact smart policy changes that will help to get the program back on stable ground. we have a great panel of witnesses with us today and i look forward to hearing their thoughts on ways that we can strengthen the program through our upcoming reauthorization of the higher education act.
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i am now pleased to recognize my and senior democratic member of the subcommittee for his opening remarks. >> thank you, chairwoman. anay's hearing is opportunity to discuss ways in which congress could strengthen the federal pell grant program, not to weaken it. i remember the eight years during the george w. bush administration, the pell grant hovered at about 3000 to $3400 or year. per year, oftentimes cutting its 50% to get more money to go to the war in iraq. was not happy with that. we fought and got it back up to 3000. in the past several years, democrats have fought to make college more affordable by by atsing grant awards
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2006 to600 room 4050 in 5006 hundred $45 in 2014, allowing it to increase yearly with inflation. ourre we hear from distinguished panel of witnesses i want to underscore the importance of the federal grant program in advancing college access and affordability. approximately 9 million hard- working students, it is the single largest source of grant aid that supports college students. according to the presidents and chancellors who came to visit during the time i was chairman of this committee, they said that those were the highest fire prioritieshighest that they had, to make higher education affordable, accessible, and that we should look very carefully at
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increasing the pell grant. without a doubt, they are expanding access or low income students and students of color. of students who receive it have family incomes ofow the national median $51,800. more than 60% of african- american undergraduates, half of the latino undergraduates, rely on pell grants to afford the cost of a college degree. grants strengthen the economy and boost workforce productivity. we know that a promised degree can to radically increase and movet and wages low income students into the middle class. while i am proud of the federal investments that congress has made in the recent years through the passage of student aid and fiscal responsibility act of 2010, and the college cost reduction with excess costs of
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2007 -- i know that congress didn't -- congress can do much more to access success. unfortunately, recent budget agreement severed used grant funding by more than $50 billion, by cutting hundreds of thousands of students from the program. have slashedanges other federal student aid programs. we can do better than that at -- better than robbing peter to pay paul. forward the republican majority wants to eliminate hundreds of thousands, if not from the of students pell grant program. the republican passed a budget would do exactly that, cutting $98 billion from that program alone. to be sure, students and families continue to struggle to afford the cost of a college degree.
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skyrocketing college costs in recent years have you wrote it the purchasing power of the pell grant, forcing recipients to increase. they have increased reliance on student loans. next year's maximum pell grant award will cover the smallest share of college costs since the start of the program. it is troubling to me to know are held grant recipients already more than twice as likely as other students to have student loans. in closing, i wanted to say that as congress has worked to reauthorize the higher education act, i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to back the program as a piece of the larger public discussions and not limit themselves to solving short-term funding problems with long-lasting cuts to student aid. with that, madam chair, i yield
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back. >> thank you. pursuant to committee rules seven see, all subcommittee members will be permitted to submit written statements to be included in the permanent hearing record. without objection and will remain open for 14 days to allow questions and statements for the records along with other extraneous materials during the hearing will be submitted during the official record. it is now my pleasure to introduce our distinguished panel of witnesses. the president and chief executive officer of the national association for the feet -- for the a nonprofit institute dedicated to improving higher education in north carolina and in the nation. michael serves as the director of higher education and finance policy at the education trust.
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is the director at anne arundel community college college in maryland. let me briefly explain our lighting system. if you will have five minutes to present your testimony. when you begin, the light in front of you will turn green. when one minute is left, the light will turn yellow. when you're time is expired, the light will turn red. i asked that you wrap up your remarks as best as you are able after you have testified each will have five minutes to ask questions of the panel. i now recognize mr. justice and
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draeger. acrossepresent colleges the country. i'm grateful to be able to talk to you about the pell grant program which serves 9 million students annually. it has benefited over 60 million students. of recipients have family incomes of less than $40,000. incomes of less than $20,000. 70% of recipients are exceeding the maximum award for their enrollment status. evolved out of the basic opportunity grant in 1970. the goal is simple. it was to provide every qualified student with access to a post secondary degree. pell80 it was renamed
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after a longtime champion of education access. provided access to post secondy education. has gone from $1400 to over $5,600, it only covers about 35% of the cost of attendance at a four-year public school. numbers of students in amount spent have increased romantically. i have included dollar amount lists of eligibility requirements. it is different from when it was first created. including the long scale growth student.pular
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men need an amount of education that is being required in higher education, the learning models and the need of enrollment education. that changing landscape in mind i would like to offer the committee three suggestions for pell grant reform. the first is to provide a promise as an early commitment program. .t helps them a this increase by nearly 90% over
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one generation over 18 years due to an early commitment. is quiterity staggering. when research, most do not prepare or attend college because they did not believe student aid would be available to them. this leads them to inadvertently choose goals that may be an or does not best much their academic preparedness. second would be to provide them funds they could draw from it so they ran out of eligibility or completed the program. in thed face the gap face when they run out of pell eligibility. it would match up nicely with
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some of the innovative learning models that are being introduced. in the best use in the prior eligibility. finally, to provide a super pell . -- enrollsariables in enough to graduate in four years. doing so would eliminate the fromof many students working, borrowing, or stopping out. stopping out can run as high as 95% at some community colleges. i thank you for the opportunity .o talk about pell grants >> thank you. dr. robinson your recognize for five minutes. for- you are recognized
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five minutes. >> thank you for this opportunity. the pell grant's face to serious problems. first, the increasing cost of the taxpayer and the failure to serve students well. the program is too expensive and too few students graduate. possible to trim costs while improving student access and success. over 9 million students received pell grants. awards totaled more than 33 billion dollars. 35% of all u.s. students received some form of pell grant. participation has grown more than 4500%. growth consists the middle income students. numeral a person come from
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families whose income is higher than the national median. a 60% of from families above the federal poverty threshold. that these ironic middle income students do not benefit from pell grants. earning from families $25,000 to $50,000 are less likely to graduate the non- recipients with the same income. income students are less true. in short, pell grants help our graduation bute do not or for middle income students. the college retention rate of pell recipients who took a rigorous curriculum in high school was 87% compared to just 57.6% for grantees without a rigorous curriculum.
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a hundred graduated at a rate of only 34.2%. of those with scores between 11 and 40 graduated at a rate of 73.7%. similar differences are seen when high school gpas are compared. we have several recommendations. we need better data said the department of education can evaluate the effectiveness of pell grants. we need to make sure republican access to that data. the better data are just a start. financial eligibility should be limited to students whose income falls below 133% of the federal poverty level, commonly used for programs as medicaid. with a simple cut off fast the-- fasfa could be simplified. it should be determined in five or six question.
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for students who are not very be income, the form could simplified but not quite to that extent. universities should place limits on pell grant money to stop students from receiving grants and then dropping out of their courses. one positive example custom north carolina. they have implemented several policies to do just that. they do not disperse grants until after 10% of the semester has been completed. they disburse money in two parts to make sure that students stay around. -- what can be purchased. next, they should be prepared for the challenge of college work. this should be heightened. one option to do so would be to match academic standards that the athletic


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