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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 12, 2015 1:00am-3:01am EDT

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into the night. this rule has been very fair deliberative and interested parties have been given ample opportunity to weigh in on it and the underlying legislation. mr. speaker, as you just heard, i come from the state of washington, which is the most trade-benefited state in the country. if my colleagues want to see the jobs it creates look at my state. we export coffee aircraft footwear and soft wear. in washington we export apples. more than 85% of the wheat 75% of the hops. consumers around the world are enjoying a brand new crop of frerk washington state cherries. but the trade success story i want to share with you is about potatoes. prior to the u.s. free trade agreement that was signed in
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2011. we shipped $53 million of french fries to south korea. that rose to $ 3 million. 57% increase largely attributed to the trade barriers that were lowered. for the record that potato industry supports 24,000 jobs in my state. those are good paying jobs, which are all supported by trade. trade promotion authority is about creating a fair playing field for consumers so we can create more jobs here at home. most people may not know this but american wines face 50% tariffs in japan. our beef faces a 38% tariff. our oranges 16%. t.p.a. will instruct our negotiators will work on lowering these barriers to u.s.
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products. mr. speaker americans produce some of the finest products in the world and if given the chance to compete fairly i believe they can. i have no doubt we can outperform almost any competitor in the world but we can't continue other countries to stack the deck against us. by granting the president to l the power to negotiate a treaty and congress telling him what priorities must be negotiated, we can create a fair playing field and create the jobs we need here at home. i understand there are concerns about the privacy surrounding the t.p.p. deal. i share those concerns, which is why i have personally gone and reviewed the text of this deal three times now. but the reason this vote on t.p.a. is so important it will make the deal public and give the american people at least two months -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. sessions: i yield to the gentleman one additional minute. mr. newhouse: as much as five
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months to review any negotiated deal. that's months to tell the members of congress whether they should support the deal or not. the deal can stay a secret. this rule and the underlying bill are critical to our economy. without t.p.a. our country will be left disadvantaged and left to trade with one arm tied behind our back. with it we can open new opportunities for our business, and they can grow and create more jobs and ensure that the american economy remains the most competitive strongest economy in the world for decades to come back. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. tonko. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. tonko: the rule before us today is filled with procedural gimmicks but no opportunities to
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actually improve the underlying bills. these fails fail to have enforceable objectives and fail to address currency manipulation and fail to recognize climate change and its connection to trade. i had proposed amendments to address these issues, which were unfortunately not made in order. since nafta and other subsequent deals, millions of united states manufacturing jobs, one in four, in fact, have been lost. and when manufacturing workers lose their jobs due to trade, the story doesn't get much better. three in five of them take cuts if they find a new job. this is a bad deal for our workers. for those who lose their jobs due to trade, trade, of course, but it's bad for all americans and one reason why wages have stagnated for the last two decades. we cannot afford to fast track another nafta on steroids. on top of that, four t.p.p. negotiating partners are used
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forced labor or child labor in violation of international standards according to the department of labor. are these the type of countries we want to give fast track trade privileges? plenty of multinational corporations will benefit, from increased drug prices, to access to cheaper labor when american jobs are offshored. but it's not clear how the average american worker the people of new york's capital region that i represent and the people that send all of us to be their their voice in washington would benefit. let's take up bills that actually help our working families. bypassing a minimum wage and requiring paid family leave and reinvesting in stem, education and research. i urge my colleagues to defeat this rule and inadequate trade assistance and defeat fast track. my message, hands off the american work, hands off the
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american workers' children and hands off the american dream. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: i would like to yield two minutes to a very savvy member of our trade team from the ways and means committee, dr. boustany. mr. boustany: thank you, mr. chairman. there are hundreds of trade agreements being carried out all over the world today in the united states, our country is sitting on the sidelines. 95% of the market is closed off in many respects because we don't have trade agreements and don't have market openings. we are a market economy. but we don't have the opportunity to sell there. that's a problem. let's talk about what trade promotion authority really is. a very basic level it's the catalyst for american economic engagement around the world and catalyst for american leadership. i, for one, and i think most of
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my friends on this side of the aisle are not ready to just step back and relinquish american leadership to others. that's just unacceptable. trade promotion authority gets us started. we are on the verge of negotiating two very portrayed agreements with the growing areas around the world, in the asia-pacific region and european union. this represents the lion's share of gross domestic product growth around the world. why would we want to lock ourselves out of these markets? it's absurd. we want the american worker to have access to those markets. i want mothers around the world to buy goods off the shelf that say made in america. but those markets are closed. let's open them. let's get trade promotion authority in place. what is it? it's not the trade agreement itself, but the process in which we get the highest and strongest
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trade agreement for american workers that will be most beneficial to our country. it is the way we are going to achieve growth in this economy. we can't do it to the extent we need to without this. it puts congress in the driver's seat putting negotiating priorities that we set not the administration. we set these as we negotiate with foreign countries. if we fail to pass this, the president negotiates on his own priorities, not the priorities of the american people. could i have another minute? mr. sessions: one minute. mr. boustany: trade promotion authority gives more transparency to the whole process. right now. we don't have the kind of transparency that's necessary. t.p.a. trade promotion authority is public. that is public. that's the process. it's very public. go to and anybody can read the legislation. it's public. plus passing t.p.a. will require
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the final trade agreement, once they are concluded, the president has to make it public for 60 days for everybody and anybody to read it. that's transparency. if we fail to pass this, we're giving up american leadership. we are basically throwing the american worker under the bus. we need growth. we need american leadership and trade promotion authority is the catalyst for providing that leadership. trade promotion authority is necessary for congress to provide the proper checks and balances on the administration. i don't want the administration negotiating without us having a robust role in this. and that's what t.p.a. does. i urge my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. doggett. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. doggett: the only way to get better trade agreements is to reject this fast track bill and develop an alternative that reflects our values and realities of the 21st century. as one who has supported legislation for more trade with most of the countries that are t.p.p.-agreement countries i would like to support more trade today. but as in the ways and means committee this rule shuts out every single attempt of democrats to strengthen and improve this bill. these fast trackers, they say they want free trade. how about trade that is free of see creasey? how about trade that is free of deals that jeopardize the health and safety, the food that we eat as american families? how about trade that is free of corporate panels that will be able to award taxpayer dollars
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to foreign corporations with more rights than american businesses instead of relying on our system of justice? and i think we have to look at the trade agreements we have had in the past, the free trade agreements and realize that for too many american workers, they haven't been free. they have come at a tremendous cost. this trade agreement has been shrouded in see crease si. in order to ensure there is not a full and fair debate or a discussion of the failures of the you -- ustr. it has not shared with this congress a single document to show how vietnam instead of being the great human rights abuser it is today, to begin to show the decency to its workers. ustr has ignored the record of sex and human trafficking in
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malaysia. they are being rewarded. ustr simply does not believe in law enforcement. they didn't believe in law enforcement -- does the gentlelady have -- ms. slaughter: 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: additional 30 seconds. mr. doggett: ustr does not believe in law enforcement. it wouldn't enforce the law in guatemala in hondure asin prior labor agreements iner ue ignored the audit responsibility. we can do better than this and do better than a christmas wish list of multiple objectives that this president doesn't have to follow and this christmas wish list is being proposed to the next president who hasn't even been elected. open-ended ability to have more trade agreements that come at the cost of too many families. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
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chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. sessions: i love our friends who talk about jobs, yet it's this administration and the democrat policies that have taken american jobs and obamacare and climate change and the rules and regulations 175,000 pages of rules and regulations to inhibit growth and job development in the united states. i would like to yield four minutes the gentleman from pennsylvania mike kelley. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. kelly: i rise in strong support of this. we have a duty to legislate based on truth and not fiction. if you want strong trade agreements then you have to be in a position to negotiate those, because i tell you, my friends, if we're not at the table, we are on the menu. if we are talking about growing jobs and making sure america is secure and worried about having
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a agreement that doesn't meet the demands of the american people, trade promotion authority is the only thing that gives us the ability to drive strong trade agreements and make sure every single american is taken care of. this t.p.a. does not give president obama any new power, none whatsoever. for those of us who don't trust the president's judgment, then t.p.a. is absolutely necessary. it's not an option. . allows this congress this puts us in the driver's seat. this allows this congress to be in the driver's seat. if you're worried about a strong trade agreement then make sure we give ourselves the power to actually set the parameters of the way a trade agreement looks like. it's time to get rid of all these boogeyman talks about what's going on.
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i have to tell you, if you want us, if you want the united states of america, to dominate the global economy, and not just participate in the global economy then you have to have trade promotion authority. in my lifetime, it has been spent negotiating. when you sit down at the table to actually negotiate something, the question that always came up for me, was there anybody else other than yourself who would be responsible for making the decision? without that decision, without that clarity, we can't draw on strong trade agreements. t.p.a. is the only thing that gives us that. if you want to strengthen our country, if you want to grow our economy, if you want to create new jobs for america, then we need strong trade agreements. fast track, anything but fast track. smart track safe track, sure track. something that gets america's economy back on track absolutely. vote for t.p.a. vote for american jobs. vote for the united states of america to drive the global economy and continue to write
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the rules and not china. if you really are concerned about american jobs and if you're really concerned about america's role in the world, then don't put us behind, put us in front. let america, with the strongest economy, drive the trade agreements. t.p.a. gives us that, gives us the ability to grow the american economy grow american jobs and make america more safe and secure and it gives our partners around the world the certainty that america has not walked away from the table, america will continue to be your strongest partner and your strongest ally to build a stronger and more safe world. i thank the chairman and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back. the gentlelady from new york is recognized. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan, the distinguished ranking member of the committee on ways and means, mr. levin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for two minutes. without objection. mr. levin: thank you for yielding. this rule covers three bills. it covers t.a.a. and t.p.a.
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i asked rules to place in order a substitute bill on t.p.a. that would have helped a full discussion of this vital issue, affecting 40% of global g.d.p. under the rule before us, if a majority does not vote for t.a.a., there will not be a vote on t.p.a. tomorrow. this will give the house another opportunity to improve t.p.a. and t.a.a., of which i'm an author. t.a.a. should not be a bargaining chip for a flawed t.p.a. bill. the third bill customs weakens the t.p.a. bill on human trafficking, prohibits any provision in t.p.p. relating to climate. likewise to immigration. and strikes out the schumer provision on currency manipulation. the manager's amendment on
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currency is more rhetorical language without any teeth. i urge a no vote on the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, thank you very much. at this time i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman who's one of our three captains that has driven this entire thing, chairman paul ryan, myself and the gentleman from ohio the gentleman, pat tiberi, done an outstanding job. i'd like to give him two minutes at this time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from ohio is recognized for two minutes. mr. tiberi: thank you mr. speaker, thank you, mr. chairman, for your leadership. texas is lucky to have you. ladies and gentlemen, today and tomorrow we are not voting on a trade agreement. we are not voting on a trade agreement. in fact, we're voting on a bill called t.p.a. which is this. it's public. we can all read it. our constituents can read it. we're not voting on anything
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today or tomorrow that we can't read. that's secret. a lot of confusion out there. here's what t.p.a. is. you've heard it before. it's a process. it's a process where congress inserts itself to what the executive branch already can do. which is negotiate a trade agreement. but it's a process that, quite frankly empowers the congress. it tells the president, as the lead negotiator, this is what we'd like you to do. and we're going to hold, we're going to hold our authority and we're going to say whatever you negotiate, mr. president we're going to approve it or not. you know what? by passing t.p.a. we're going to require that whatever you negotiate, which you don't have to do unless t.p.a.'s passed, sit in public for 60 days. for the public to review. mr. chairman, i didn't have six
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hours to review obamacare. not six hours. my constituents will have 60 days before the president can sign any deal he negotiates. that's what t.p.a. does. it inserts congress, it inserts the american people into any trade agreement the president this one or the next, negotiates -- the president, this one or the next negotiates. and it empowers the people to review that process, to review that agreement. no secrecy. this is what we're voting on tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen. t.p.a. please go to to look at it. another day maybe tomorrow, we'll talk a little bit about what trade has done, not done, what it has done for american consumers and american employees and american businesses. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from new york is recognized. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, may i inquire how much time i have remaining? the speaker pro tempore: five minutes is how much time the gentlelady from new york has. ms. slaughter: let me take 30 seconds to say, that's really
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great, go ahead and read the t.p.a., but it's the bill we're worried about. the trade t.p.p. we have to have an armed guard look at that. now i'm pleased to yield two minutes or -- two ok, to mr. ellison from minnesota. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. ellison: i want to thank the gentlewoman for the time, you know mr. speaker, there really is quite a lot on the line here despite what some speakers would submit, which is oh, you know, this is just the t.p.a., it's not a big thing. no this is a huge thing. as a matter of fact, this particular rule we're voting on right now does three important things. one is that it has the pay-for for the trade adjustment assistance that includes cuts to medicare. no matter how you slice it, if you vote for this rule you are voting to cut medicare. then what it does, it sets up a vote for trade adjustment
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assistance and trade promotion authority. the fact is, if you go home and you try to explain to americans, oh i didn't cut -- vote to cut medicare, the fact is you will not be able to honestly say that. you might be able to say, well, i did but then they fixed it, you might be able to say well, yeah, i cut medicare but then later on we passed a thing and maybe mitch mcconnell will try to change it later you can say anything you want. but the maneuverings on this floor and in this body to get us to where we are have not changed one solid fact which is that we are voting to cut medicare. now, there are all kinds of cute procedural maneuverings and different kinds of rules we're invoking but you cannot escape the essential fact, the cut to medicare is not going to be cut out of this. if you vote for the rule, you voted to cut medicare. our seniors have taken enough on the chin. do not put their livelihood at risk. let me also say that this
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t.a.a. is not supported by the avel c.i.o. -- afl-cio. trade adjustment assistance is to help workers who are displaced by bad trade deals. wouldn't you think that the president of the afl-cio would say, yeah, well, we definitely would want t.a.a.? and he usually almost does. but not this time because he knows what all of us should know which is that this trade adjustment authority is cutting medicare, it's paid for by medicare. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. ms. slaughter: i yield another minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for an additional minute. mr. ellison: is paid for by medicare, it is -- continues to be underfunded. trade adjustment authority is underfunded. it's like, if you kick somebody off their job because of a bad trade deal, and then you tell them, we're going to help you adjust to it. well, at least we should fund it properly given the billions of dollars that will be made by this trade deal by multinational corporations, doesn't it make sense that we
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should at least try to fully fund trade adjustment authority? but we don't. trade adjustment assistance, but we don't. and then the fact is that it excludes public sector workers. public sector workers are negatively impacted by bad trade deals. just like all other workers. why wouldn't we include them in it? they're not included in it. so this t.a.a. this trade adjustment assistance package, is insufficient. we must vote it down. i urge a no vote and i just want to let members know, when you walk into that senior center and someone asks you, did you vote to cut medicare, i hope you can answer truthfully you did not vote to cut medicare. vote no on this rule. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, since i've got to talk to you, i'll tell that you i'm through with all the speakers that i might have and i'll reserve my time to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i'll talk through you as well. if my colleagues that no further requests for time i'm
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ready to close. mr. sessions: mr. speaker, as i said, i'm through with all my speakers and i'll reserve my time to close. ms. slaughter: you're through all right. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker the nation's bad trade bills have gutted our manufacturing economy, transformed our stature on the global stage and taken millions of jobs from american workers. let's not do it again. we need to demand a trade deal that will het us sell american-made goods to every customer in the world and we need a trade bill that is negotiated through a transparent and open process, that doesn't mortgage our patents, our innovation and our future. and let me echo what congressman ellison just said this rule this vote right now that we are about to take codifies, it ensures that this money for the trade adjustment assistance will come from
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medicare. that is what will go to the president. if you vote for this, you are voting for medicare to be used in that way. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the rule and on the underlying bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. without objection, the previous question is -- mr. sessions: mr. speaker, i'd like to go ahead and now use my time that i have remaining. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. sessions: thank you mr. speaker. you know mr. speaker, i support t.p.a. because it provides an unprecedented level of transparency. let me be clear. look, a vote for t.p.a. is a vote for jobs. it is a vote so that we can grow our economy. it's not a vote for a secret document. it's a vote to set up a process that ensures the american people understand exactly what a new trade deal is before congress votes on it. we have 60 days to do that. t.p.a. requires that the president make public the text of a complicated trade agreement at least 60 days.
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and we're going to do just that. so over the last few months i've worked with chairman paul ryan and chairman pat tiberi and other members of congress to strengthen t.p.a. so that the president cannot hijack free trade agreements. i think it's obvious here, no one in this body really trusts the president of the united states to go and negotiate something that we would be in favor of. and so that is why we are making this trade, t.p.a., so that we are following our agenda, one that we know that we've heard of. because we have heard the concerns of the american people regarding immigration, climate change, currency, american sovereignty. and i think we've addressed all of these. look, my constituents are just like me. they want to know that we're going to support jobs, but we do not trust the president. and that is why we're doing this deal today. this president grants no new authority to the president of the united states. just the other day i began working further after the senate passed their t.p.a.
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bill, and i worked with congressman steve king of iowa to ensure that the trade agreements do not require changes to u.s. immigration laws or to obligate the united states to gain access or to expend -- extend access to visas. we had an excellent idea also that we took from senator ted cruz from texas. we just strengthened it and made it more straightforward and it is in this deal that we do. this trade package also includes language that would prohibit the administration from attaching any climate change commitments to a trading agreement. we've also worked to guarantee that americans' sovereignty is upheld. t.p.a. reflects what the constitution requires and that is that congress maintain authority over any changes to u.s. law and our constitutional rights to approve any trade agreement. mr. speaker, i urge the adoption of this rule, i look forward to the debate tha
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both are expected when the house returns and 9:00 a.m. eastern. scott wong is a senior staff writer for "the help yourill"
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obama on the cusp of a fast-track trade victory. tell us where we are in the victory, this first vote today -- what is all about? scott: the first vote is the first of four that kicks off the process. as one deals with trade preferences, it would allow african nations to be able to export their goods to the united states duty-free. it would provide trade preferences for other developing nations. it is not a very controversy own bill. the more controversial bills will be taken up tomorrow and friday. it is the first of four and he gets the ball rolling for completion on this major trade package. >> what is it about the trade issues coming up friday that make them controversy over? they mean different things to
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different parties in the house. scott: the vote are taaa, which has to do with providing benefits to workers who have been negatively impacted by trade. that is seen as a critical vote ahead of the second trade vote tpa. the so-called fast-track bill that would give president obama greater trade authority to get some of these big deals done, and particular, one with 11 pacific rim nations. taa will be a critical component of getting the fast-track deal done. and basically, you know, right now the big question is whether some of these last remaining pickhiccups that nancy pelosi
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and john boehner have been debating -- will they get anything done? >> assuming all of the voting in a house, the number they need is 218 as the measure. as we speak midday thursday, the president's labor secretary and chief of staff lobbying democrats to pass his measures. what is the message from the administration? scott: the message from the administration is that these bills are critical for president obama's economic agenda. then they will help create jobs, help with exports and imports. and of course, you know, we are seeing equal effort on the opposing side. we are seeing richard trumka,
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who has been huddling with house democrats in the past hours trying to rally the opposition. to the trade package. you are seeing outside groups spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements trying to force democrats to back away from any sort of support for this trade measure. we are really seeing a flurry of activity getting into the final hours before these big vote. >> part of the coverage at, 10 undecided members to watch on trade. we are talking here in the middle of the day on thursday how many democrats will support his measures? how many republicans will oppose? scott: they have been all over the map in recent weeks. there is some certainty, we know
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that 20 democrats have pledged their support to supporting the straitjacket. that will be critical, because republicans do not believe they have enough support within their own conference to pass this on their own. what we are hearing roughly from gop leadership and other whip sources, public and need between 190-200 votes, they will be roughly aided by 20-30 both on the democrats on the fast-track package. the taa dealing with workers' aid, that is a priority of democrats. who have insisted that workers
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be part of this package in order to support the fast-track bill. so democrats will be -- we haven't seen yet. but democrats -- more democrats should be supporting the taa. we will republicans supporting tpaa. >> those was coming up tomorrow? scott: today is a trade preferences bill. which gets the process going. and speaker boehner is kind of rolling the dice, gambling that his side has the momentum right now. i think there is a concern among leadership, among even the white house that the longer you postpone these votes, if you push it into next week, there is a risk of starting to lose that momentum. you give opponents a greater
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opportunity to rally against these measures, to spend money in congressional districts -- in terms of television ads. i think speaker boehner is making a calculation. and the white house is making a calculation that they need to strike now, while they field the momentum is on the side there. most of this package has already passed the senate. they are taking what is essentially a passed bill. there is a concern that if you tweak some of those bills with amendments, the democrats have amended, you have part of the package back to the senate. that raises more uncertainty, if further delays the process. if the house can keep intact the senate bill, and pass it this
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week a gets forwarded to the president for his signature. which is a much easier process than sending it back to the set. >> scott wong, senior staffer at the hill. you can read more. thanks for joining us. >> on the next washington journal, kevin yoder of kansas discusses the trade bill. and barbara lee on the tray debate. and the president's request to use military force against isis. washington journal is live every morning at 7 a.m. eastern. you can join the conversation with phone calls, facebook, and twitter. >> next, a discussion about the two trade bills being voted on friday in the house. cotman luke messer was our guest
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on washington journal. this is 35 minutes. greta: he chairs the republican committee, let us talk about trade. that seems to be a looming debate and vote here in the house this week. where did of of stand? luke messer: it has been close. it is going to require bipartisan vote. i think you will see the bill on the floor this week. you will see it on the floor friday. right now, we are very optimistic. we have the votes to get it done. we need the votes to get it done because it is important for the future of america. greta: why? lou: trade makes friends.
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i represent a rural area of east, central and southeastern indiana that's manufacturing and agriculture-based economy and the folks in the cornfields and soybean fields of indiana are selling their product all over the world. in the factories of indiana from honda, cars, to toyota forklifts, to cummins engines, to delta faucets. my mom just retired from the delta faucet factory. she was a single parent mom that raised my brother and myself. the reality is 70% of the world's purchasing power lives outside of america. obviously 95%-plus of the world lives outside of america. and trade-based jobs just pay more. for all those reasons we need to make sure that we're able to trade with the rest of the world.
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greta: how are trade workers going to compete with those like your mom who makes 55 cents an hour? luke messer: the reality is this, the countries where we have trade agreements we have a small trade surplus. the real problem is the countries where we don't have trade agreements, where we're not able to enforce our standards, our trade rules against them. and so we have about a $500 million deficit with those countries. many of the countries that have the 55 cent jobs that you're talking about. and so our best opportunity to create wealth, to create jobs, to increase wages -- again these trade-based jobs are jobs that pay better -- is to have agreements that then are enforced. i do think it's fair to criticize our -- really, leadership of both parties over the last several decades that often even when we had trade agreements we didn't do a good job enforcing them. and so what we need to do is to , raise standards around the globe. the way to do that is to have trade agreements.
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greta: is it appropriate for the republican leadership to try to sweeten the pot or votes from republicans in order to secure some more yes votes? here's business section of "the new york time.” republicans tie their favorite clauses to the agreement. with a final showdown coming on friday, president obama's push for accelerated power for a sweeping agreement. the brokering has begun and it is all tilting to the right. representative james sensenbrenner, there is language promising that no trade deals that can compel the united states to address climate change. for anti-immigrant firebrand steve king, it would prohibit expanding these axisccess. luke messer: guest: i would
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agree with all those provisions. the legislative process has been that individuals of -- individual members of congress had input. there used to be a time in this city where earmarks and the like where someone might get a road built in their district or some kind of new museum in their district to support all different kinds of bills. obviously republicans reformed that and we don't have that process now. so the legislative process is always one of a complicated set of issues. this is really important legislation to get passed. i encourage -- i'm encouraged by our leadership's efforts to get that done. greta it's ok but to have these : unrelated provisions, if you will? luke messer i wouldn't say : they're unrelated. for example, i would want to have trade agreements that we make sure doesn't bring kyoto-like standards on climate change. i want to make sure that trade agreement isn't used in a way that violates our existing immigration laws. to me those are provisiones that
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would make sense. of course they could add things that might change my vote. so i think that's the challenge and really the regulator -- what our leadership will do, if they add provisions that a majority of members of congress don't support, then it won't be in the bill. greta let's talk about iraq as : well and policy on that because the president says he's now going to send 450, 500 more advisors to iraq to help win back ramadi from isis. why hasn't the speaker of the house and the republican leadership brought up a new authorization of military force for lawmakers to debate and authorize this war, if you will, against isis? luke messer: yeah. i'd like to see us bring a up a new authorization of military force. the existing one we're operating off of is essentially a 9/11-era provision. i think it's time to re-examine as a nation what our commitments are, what our mission is in that region of the world. from my perspective, we have to defeat isis. they are a declared enemy of america, a declared enemy of
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israel and allies in the region. there has been a tremendous sacrifice of blood and treasure in iraq over the last decade. i think it's important that we prevail there. frankly, the president needs to lead here. i mean, i don't believe the president has fully explained our nation, the breath and depth of our challenge with isis and the importance of our continued success in iraq and afghanistan. obviously isis has gained major , ground in that region of the world. i'll leave it to the military experts about the specifics of the president bringing these troops, the additional 450 troops to the region. i believe we need a much stronger commitment for success there. greta the president did send to : congress language for a new aumf, authorization for military force.
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the speaker of the house could bring that to the floor or bring a revised one. luke messer: if he brought it to the floor now it wouldn't pass and succeed. i mean, the challenges, many of the members of the democratic caucus would like to see no authorization of military force in that region at all. frankly, i thought the president's language weakened the president's ability to be successful in that region. rather than strengthen his ability. so republicans could and would i think if we brought forward our own version of an aumf, it was one that would give the president broader latitude to be successful in that region of the world. the president has said he doesn't want broader latitude. we are at an impasse. we are operating under existing aumf. i'd like to see us have one that better reflects america's current challenges. excuse me.
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but to do that, we're going to have to have a commander-in-chief that leaves. greta: with those two on the table, let's get the calls. beverly in columbia, missouri. hi, there. caller: i have one question. you said on the t.p.p. that it would bring good-paying jobs to the united states. the second question is, if that's true, why is all these states putting in right-to-work? we know that lowers wages. the american people aren't stupid, sir. that's all i got to say. greta all right, beverly. :luke messer let me tell you : first. we agree on the last thing you said. i'm certain that american people are smart. and we got to first distinguish here on the difference between the t.p.p. and the t.p.a. so the t.p.p. is the legislation that would be the trade agreement for the asia pacific region.
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the t.p.a. is the agreement we're now debating this week that would give the president the authority to negotiate such agreements over a period of time. frankly it would apply past president obama's presidency. every american president since franklin roosevelt has had that authority, and i believe it's appropriate for the president to go to negotiate under instructions of congress. it's important to understand that actually the t.p.a. actually strengthens congress' hand in these negotiations because it requires any agreement that is passed, sit publicly for 60 days before the president can sign that before congress is forced to vote upon it. if congress does not approve of the trade agreement it will not take effect. it will not become law. now, as to your questions about right-to-work, frankly, i believe everybody in america ought to have an opportunity to work in a place that they believe works best for them. i believe that union workers ought to have the opportunity to unionize if they decide to do
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so, and i also believe that somebody ought not be required to not work in a facility if they choose to not want to join that union. there are all kinds of economic statistics that show that more jobs and opportunity come when you have right-to-work. it's why all across the country states are passing those provisions. indiana passed a right-to-work law recently. it has helped bring jobs and opportunity to our state. greta: jack in new jersey, a republican. good morning to you. jack: good morning. so mr. messer, i am a registered republican. still a registered republican but i haven't even voted last several elections. i'm almost given up hope. the republicans time and again put the interests of their unethical contributors ahead of the citizens. if you'd like an education, read a book called "factory man.”
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beth mazie. excellent. my son moved to that area of virginia some years ago. it is one of the depressed areas i've ever seen. it used to be thriving. manufacturers, making carpetting, linens, clothing. they're all closed, they're all gone. it's un-- greta sorry, jack. : i thought you were finished there. luke messer so i can respond. : first, let me tell you i know firsthand in my region when the area i represent in in both the agricultural sector where folks are growing corn, soybeans and agricultural products that are exported all over the world and the manufacturing sector where from automobiles to engines to faucets folks are building making things that are sold all over the world. now you make an important point which is to say, as much as i'm a free trader and believe that
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trade creates wealth and jobs and opportunity and the facts are the facts. the facts are one in five american jobs are in exports and those jobs pay better than those jobs that are -- that aren't in the export sectors. the benefits of trade don't fall uniformerly. there are winners and losers. those trade agreements, that's why we're debating today trade assistance that would allow and help those workers who are impacted in a negative way through trade agreements. greta and we'll go to michigan : next. brian, democratic caller. hi there, brian. brian: hi, greta. good morning. mr. messer, representative messer, i'd just like to say that all of the trade agreements, cafta, nafta, the one we have in colombia and most recently the one we had with -- we have with south korea supposed to be fair. we got -- i think we -- export
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25,000 cars roughly to korea last year. while at the same time they exported about 240,000-some to the united states. if that's fair i would like to know what's crooked. the trade agreements are not being followed through on. they're not being enforced. if you're not going to enforce them, i don't care. i voted for barack obama twice and i'd vote for him again. but i don't think that that trade agreement's right. luke messer yeah. : again, i think it's important that we have trade agreements. our trade deficit $500 billion is with the countries where we don't have agreements. i think it's fair enough to say that those agreements have not been adequately enforced, and i do believe, leaders of both parties over a period of decades have taken an approach if we can open up a market even in small ways, we won't require those countries to open up to all of our products. i believe those days have changed. leaders in both parties now understand that we need to require our trading partners to
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trade freely and fairly with us, but our best opportunity to come to do that is through trade agreements. the challenge is this. i understand the temptation to want to draw up the draw bridges, lock in america and you know, prohibit other products from coming to our country. it just won't work. i mean, there are hundreds of millions of people all over the globe who are ready to compete in the modern economy. 70% of the world's purchasing power is outside of our country. if we want to continue to grow and prosper, if we want a manufacturing sector to continue in our country where america stays a country that makes things, and for america to stay great we have to stay a country that makes things. we're going to have to continue to trade. and so that's why i support trade. greta: david is an independent in sanford, maine. you're on the air, david. caller: yes, good morning.
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i would like to make a couple of comments. democratic party and this caller president is what is wrong with this country. as far as trade goes, the republican party has a chance to stand with the working man. if they vote for this trade agreement, the chamber of commerce and the republican party are selling out the american people and working men. my other comment is i believe firmly that barack obama is a muslim or muslim sympathizer. greta: he has said he is a christian. let's move on from that. luke messer the best way for us : to enforce trade standards on other countries around the world is through trade agreements. we have a trade surplus with those countries.
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jobs we have through trade are certainly some of the best in the economy. we certainly understand the challenges that are there for folks that have seen jobs lost in their area. there is the old line by harry truman that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, and depression is when you lose yours. i think it is important we look at trade assistance as part of the package. but if we want to have america continue to grow and prosper they have to -- we will have to trade with the rest of the world. greta the labor department : poised to make changes to overtime rules. take a look at the current federal overtime rules and employers required to pay time and a half for each hour of work above 40 hours per week to workers making less than $23,660 per year. the federal threshold has not been adjusted to keep pace with inflation since 1970.
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the labor department said to raise the threshold to around $51,000. what do you make of this? it doesn't require congressional approval. luke messer congress would have : to pass legislation to stop it, greta. it is not something that requires congressional approval. to me, it looks like one more incentive that this president is together to create full-time jobs and our economy. the real challenges we don't have enough people with full-time jobs, not a question of whether people are working at $50,000 jobs are willing to work more than 40 hours to do that. one of my problems with this administration is it often seems to sort of ignore basic rules of economics. the idea that you get less of what you penalize and more of what you consent. if we create a standard like this we get incentive to raise , that to $50,000, you will give the incentive for employers to lower jobs.
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when i worry about what we have , seen in the president's 40 -hour requirement in the health care law. what you have seen is employers that are pushing employee is to 35 hours or 32 hours and have programs in place. i have heard mcdonald's has a program in place where their managers -- an alarm comes up on the computer and says you are closing in on 40 hours so don't work them anymore this week. that is not the intent of the law, but that is the impact. in the end, if the president pushes this bill forward, it will essentially hurt the very people he is try to help. greta you think congress will : pass a law to stop this? is there a compromise there? as we showed our viewers, it has not been adjusted since a 1970's. luke messer: i think it is
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important to recognize moses didn't come down with the tablets and create the current lay of the land of the law. in question is are you going to hurt or help working americans with these provisions? the house is looking at hearings. very soon, the education committee will be holding hearings. i believe you will see legislation come out of that. clearly, the president has a veto power over any legislation weekend pass. we have the filibuster questions. frankly it would be difficult to , pass a law to stop this. the question is is this a good , policy? i want to put forward policies that create more jobs and more opportunities and better wages for our workers. i worry if we are not careful here, we could create a disincentive for people. greta: our guest is luke messer. he served on that committee, the education and workforce committee. stephen, pennsylvania, an independent.
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steve: good morning. my name is steve. this whole tpp thing has to do with immigration. you talk about comparing jobs overseas and jobs over here. well the regulations here are , costing jobs. and now, jobs overseas made less. what you want to do is bring the scale down for the american people to compete. it can't be done. health care is another big deal. i can't afford it. i grew up in the 1970's when i saw jobs start to go south. and this whole thing is about taxes. you, every -- this government wants to feed the machine.
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i can't afford to feed this machine no more. it is out of hand. taxes are out of sight. companies cannot afford to build anything in this country. regulations are killing this country. and you people on the republican side are doing giving obama all the power to do whatever. my thought is obama has dirt on everybody in congress, and that is why he is getting his way on everything. greta: all right, cumbersome and? luke messer: i understand the angst you are talking about. i represent a district in eastern indian aware folks feel like their opportunity for the american dreams have been yanked out from underneath them. the answer to that is good paying jobs, growing economy better opportunities for working americans. and again, i recognize the
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temptations to draw up the drawbridges and block off america, but the reality is we will not be able to stop globalization. we need to be able to compete fairly around the globe. are not in the middle of a fair fight now. the best way to make it a fair fight, and i believe the american worker can win when given a fair opportunity and chance is to have trade agreements and standards with those agreements, and a buckle up our bootstraps and go to compete. host: james, a republican in georgia. you are on the air. caller: the part i don't understand about this, obamacare comes up and i'll drop the last 2-4 years about him on transparency. you are doing the same thing lining up with him to do the same thing. all you are doing is knocking
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the working man down in america. y'all better get it together up there because you are doing harm to the united states and the people. if it is good for american people, tell us what is in it before you vote for it. guest: the caller makes an important point in that i do believe we need transparency. the president and i disagree on most things. i don't trust the president to go out and negotiate an agreement on behalf of the american people without us getting the opportunity to see what is in the bill. if we don't pass to be a, the president can go and negotiate trade agreements. paul ryan has talked about the broad debate of a nuclear agreement with iran. if you have tpa-like provisions, whatever agreement is determined will have to sit publicly for 60 days.
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the american people will have 60 days to examine the agreement. congress would have the ability to veto the agreement. we don't have those provisions. the president can then go negotiate the agreement and force it to congress. if we can hold the president accountable in these kind of agreements, we have to pass tpa, what which will make the agreements sit in the public for 60 days and then require congress to give approval. if not, we will have the ability to. host: if the president were to negotiate a trade deal and put on the house and senate floor, the amendment process would be allowed. your own colleagues in the republican party are saying why
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would we argue our constitutional responsibility to have a say? guest: the challenge their is as we talked about earlier on the $50,000 threshold, the entire world cannot negotiate on the floor of congress. the practical effect of not having a tpa and leaving it to a congressionally amended process to pass a bill would have no trade agreements at all ever. if that is your strategy and what you believe is the right position for the future of america, i understand why you might oppose tpa. if you do believe in free trade and you believe we have to have these trade agreements, there has to be some practical way to negotiate. that is why every president since franklin roosevelt has had this authority. if i were to criticize this
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president on this process, and i appreciate his courage and conviction in trying to get this one bill passed, it would have been better had this effort been put forward in a time span that was not so close to an existing trade agreement. it is difficult to separate the two provisions now because this is being passed so the tpp can potentially come to the floor relatively quickly. this is a debate that could have been had over multiple years ago. we are where we are. host: the transpacific partnership is the deal the congressman is referring to. that as with 12 nations. kathleen in dayton, ohio. a democrat. hi, kathleen. caller: i have been listening very closely, and i will say i'm not totally up to speed with
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this trade agreement, but like you said there have been winners and losers in past trade agreements. clearly, the losers have been the american worker. i spent the last seven years with my aging parents taking care of them, and he was a teamster. i went in a nursing home with all of these ex-g.m. workers and postal workers and teamsters. as i go out to the v.a. with my dad, i talked to worker after worker who had formerly worked at gm and other plants who are now making $10 an hour driving vehicles out to the v.a. the dayton region is filled with people like that. there was a plant level about five years ago, and now it is a hollywood casino, where people are working at $10 an hour. have you read the agreement?
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who can read it? chris matthews recently had obama on a couple of weeks ago or a month ago and president obama said he would debate those opposing the trade agreement like senator terry brown and elizabeth warren and now senator schumer. the american public needs to know what is in it, and our representatives need to know what is in it. guest: absolutely. this week, we are voting on tpa. frankly, it gives congress the ability to get into the middle of these negotiations and be part of the process. i have read the tpa. the tpp which is not fully negotiated yet a something members of congress do have the ability to read. it is kept in a classified setting because it is a private
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negotiation until it becomes public. the reason for that is nothing the various. -- nefarious. people all around the world can get the specifics. they want to understand the entire package you i will certainly read it before there is any vote on the tpp. because of the way it is kept in secret, i was scheduled to read it two different times this week and neither time because of schedule reasons was able to get in there and do it. i will get back in there and do it when i can. when you look at how the benefits of trade don't follow uniformly, there are certainly american workers who have not benefited from trade. there are all kinds of american workers who have benefited from trade. whether you are selling honda cars or toyota forklifts or
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engines or caskets, would have workers in america who have jobs because of trade. those jobs are higher-paying jobs. as much as folks would like to harken back to a world where we can draw up drawbridges and exclude america from competing with the rest of the world, we cannot do that. if we do that, our economy will wither. will we need to do is make the rest of the world play by fair rules. i believe in the american worker. when the american worker has an opportunity to compete fairly based on standards that a uniform -- that are uniform, we can and will win. to do that, we have to have trade agreements. the facts show that the countries we have trade agreements, we have a trade surplus with them. it is the countries were we do not have trade agreements with that they are doing a lot of things that americans are
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frustrated with. host: johnson washington, an independent. caller: i am assuming you are an attorney. i assume what an affidavit under oath is. i would like you to sign one saying you have read the bill and that you can pass a test mine independent person in your district on what is in that bill so you would be incarcerated if you lie to the people of your distribute. let me go on a little further. the problem is trust. someone like you can come on with platitude and pumped her fist into the air, but there is a long-term that means the thing speaks for itself. the last thing i have to say. daddy bush made the most prophetic statement in the early 1990's. he said the american people find
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out what we have done while they have the ability, blood will run in the streets. have a good day. guest: i don't know about your last quote there. if you heard my comment just a minute ago, i will promise you today that i will have read the tpp before the tpp is on the house floor. that is not the legislation we are talking about this week. i have read the one we're talking about this week. i recognize the frustration and appreciate the frustration of those who have lost jobs under trade agreements in the past but you cannot ignore the millions of american workers were benefiting from trade today. those are better paying jobs in our economy. i want to keep them in our economy. the best way to grow and expand them is to grow trade. host: health care ahead of the supreme court ruling on subsidies. what is the plan for republicans if the court strikes down the subsidies on federal exchanges?
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guest: the reality is if the court strikes down the federal subsidies, there will be millions of americans who are no longer able to afford their insurance. the most important thing that we can all say together is no americans will lose their treatment, not have their dialysis or cancer treatment because of the supreme court ruling. republicans are committed to working through a transition period if the court does strike down the law. it is likely although the supreme court doesn't consult with me that if they do pass an agreement, they will have some ramp off per of monthsiod -- ramp off periods of months so it doesn't end abruptly. we have a task force working on
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a plan in the house. there are senate plans as well. i believe a likely plan would include some sort of ramp off period where i hope we have expanded use of whatever subsidy dollars and their so individual consumers can see the market in place. a mandate requires individuals to have -- as one of our earlier callers talked about, the spiking cost of health care is a reality in our economy. one of the things republicans have to knowledge is it is not like it was the land of milk and honey and utopia before the president past this law. i would like to see us look at a
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malpractice reform and brought in competition along state party lines so we can get rid of the mandates that drive up the cost of insurance. my guess is that what you will see is a republican approach that looks at trying to deal with a near-term challenge that comes with the shakeup of the marketplace and then a longer term plan the start to look at what kind of transformation we can bring to the health care industry. republicans did not create this problem. this crisis will be one that arose because of the way to democrats jammed their bill through. we are all going to have a responsibility to work together to find a solution for the millions of americans impacted by the ruling. host: paul in madison, indiana -- indiana, a republican. caller: one of the problems i saw firsthand when i was in okinawa's we were taking
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american cars and bringing them there under japanese authority. they have rulebooks out and they came out to each vehicle a minute each car had to be inspected a certain way. i believe in fair trade. i believe any country we do business with, we ought to open their books on importing american goods and apply the same policies they have. one of the problems i have had with the establishment ruling class, and democrats have been running this country since fdr's time, so don't blame it on republicans. these policies have hurt
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american businesses. the democrats load up a lot of rules and regulations that strangle us. host: i have to leave it there because we are running out of time. guest: sounds like paul and i agree on a lot of topics. the reality is many of our trade partners including japan have not been fair and their dealings with american products. the best way to make sure they have to be pairs to have a trade agreement. host: i will hear from bob from duluth, minnesota. real quick if you can ask a question. caller: my first comment would be to understand the dynamic of trade, you need to simple five the concept -- to simplify the concept. if you have two contractors bidding on a job, one working for $.50 an hour and the other $120 an hour, most people can figure out who will get the contract. the only way you will change the
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dynamic of that is to lower the american wages down to $.50 an hour. that is my comment. guest: again, i understand the desire to draw up the drawbridges and harken back but i will say we have the best education and training in the world. we have the american worker better for high-paying wages than other countries do. the facts are the highest paying manufacturing jobs are once related to trade. we have a trade surplus with those countries where we have agreements. we have a huge trade deficit with countries where we don't. if we want to change that, we have to have trade agreements. host: more debate to come on this. the house will start this debate today with the job assistance for those who lose their jobs to trade. congressman, thank you for
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previewing the debate. appreciate it. >> scott wong sa senior reporter, a senior staff writer for the hill, covering this shut up on capitol hill. your headline today says g.o.p obama on a cusp of a fast track trade victory. tell us where we are in this process, the first vote today, what is it all about? >> the first vote is the first of four trade votes. it kicks off the process. this one has to do with trade preferences. it would allow africa, african nations to be able to export their good to the united states duty-free. it would provide trade preferences for other developing nations. it is not a very controversial bill. the more controversial bills will be taking up tomorrow, friday, but it is the first of
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four and it kind of gets the ball rolling for completion of this major trade package. >> what is it about the trade issues coming on friday that make them controversial? are they different things to democrats and republicans in the house? >> well, the two major bills coming up tomorrow are of course t.a.a. which has to do with providing benefits to workers who have been negatively impacted by trade. that is seen as a critical vote ahead of a second trade vote, t.p.a. which is the so-called fast track bill that would give president obama greater trade authority to get some of these big deals -- trade deals done. in particular, one with 11 pacific rim nations. t.a.a. will be a critical component of getting the fast
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track bill done and basically, you know, right now, the big question is whether some of these last remaining hiccups that nancy pelosi and john boehner have been negotiating these past few days, will any of these derail t.a.a., which is critical to getting t.p.a. done. >> well, let's talk about the politics, assuming all of the members are present and voting in the house, the number they would need is 218 to pass the measure. as we speak midday here thursday the president's labor secretary, his chief of staff up on capitol hill lobbying democrats at least to pass these measures. what is the message from the administration? >> the message from the administration is that these bills are critical for president obama's economic agenda. that they will help create jobs. help you know, help with
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exports and imports and of course you know, we are seeing equal -- equal effort on the opposing side. we're seeing richard trump ca, the head of the aflcio, who has been huddling with house democrats in the past hour trying to rally opposition to the trade package. you're seeing, you know, outside groups spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements, you know trying to force democrats to back away from any sort of support for this trade measure. so we're really seeing a flurry of activity and it is getting into you know, the final hours you know before these big votes. >> part of the hill coverage at, one of the headlines is 10 undecided house members to watch on trade. tell us about numbers.
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i understand we're watching in the middle of the day on thursday. what is your sense of how many democrats are going to support this measure and how many republicans will oppose? >> well, the numbers have been all over the map in recent weeks. we did have -- you know, there is some certainty. we know that roughly 20 democrats have pledged their support to supporting this trade package. that will be critical because republicans don't believe that they have enough support within their own conference to pass this on their own. what we're hearing roughly from g.o.p leadership and other whip sources is republicans will need anywhere from 190 and 200 votes and then they will be aided by roughly 20-30 democrat votes and that would be on the g.p.a. package, the fast track package.
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t.a.a. dealing with the workers works assistance workers aid that would be carried mostly by democrats. that is a priority of democrats who have insisted that workers aid be part of this package in order for them to support the fast track bill. democrats will be -- we haven't seen it yet but democrats should be supporting -- more democrats should be supporting the t.a.a. bill. we'll see more republicans supporting the t.a.a. bill. >> those votes coming up tomorrow correct? >> right. those votes will come up tomorrow. today is a trade preferences bill which kind of gets the process going. speaker boehner is kind of rolling the dice. he is gambling that his side has the momentum right now. i think there is also a concern
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among leadership, among even the white house, that the longer you postpone these votes, if you push it into next week there is a risk of starting to lose that momentum. you give opponents a greater opportunity to rally against these measures, to spend money in congressional districts, you know, in terms of television ads and so i think you know, speaker boehner is making a calculation and the white house is making a calculation that they need to strike now while they feel the momentum is on their side. >> where is the senate in the trade process? >> well, this -- most of this package already has passed the senate. so you know, they are taking up what essentially are senate-passed bills. there is a concern -- there has been a concern this week that if you tweak some of those senate-passed bills with amendments that democrats have demanded, then you'd have to
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send, you know part of this package back to the senate and that raises more uncertainty that, you know, further delays the process if the house can keep intact the senate bill and pass it this week then it gets forwarded on the president's desk for his signature which is a much easier process than trying to send it back to the senate. >> scott wong, senior staff writer for the hill. you can read more on and more at scott wong d.c. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> on thursday the house debate. eight democrats voted yes and 34 republicans voted no. on friday votes on those two trade authority bills. the trade promotion authority or fast track would grant president obama authority to submit unamendable trade agreements to
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congress for up or down votes. trade adjustment assistance, t.a. sambings a federal program to help workers who lose their job because of free trade. votes are expected when the house returns at 9:00 a.m. eastern. >> on the next "washington journal" congressman kevin yoder discusses the trade promotion authority bill. and then barbara lee on the trade authority and iraq. "washington journal" is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. you can join the kgs conversation with comments and phone calls on facebook and twit per. -- twitter. coming up on c-span, a hearing on whistleblowers. the new york city police testifying on the 911 victim's
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fund. director of clinical cardiology at women's hospital in boston, dr. patrick ogara on heart surgery and understanding of heart health. >> this actually is a valve that has been crimped on to this catheter that is being now positioned into the diseased valve and it will be deployed here in just a second with the balloon being inflated and a new valve will be inserted inside the old calcified stenotic valve. and as you can see here, the delivery system is being withdrawn and then the wire will be withdrawn and what we have seen in this little pictorial display is replacement of a diseased aortic valve in a manner that does not require open heart surgery. so we're trying to become smarter about predicting who'll get disease.
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we're trying to become smarter as to identifying the most effective means to prevent or attenuate the disease and smarter about following up over a longer period of time. so we're currently in an era where we're trying to harn tess promise to have hemagenome -- harness the promise of the human genome. information about sociology geography, demographics, where you live where the railroad tracks are in your city, what is your likelihood to get diabetes on the basis of your educational background and what is your likelihood of developing something like diabetes or hypertension if you live in a certain part of the city where you have less access to the right kind of food or instructions about sodium consumption, little things like
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that that could have enormous impacts on population health. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q & a. >> federal agencies testified on retaliation. whistle blowers from federal agency who is said they faced and continue to face retaliation from government wrongdoing. this is from the senate homeland security. the hearing is just under two hours.
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>> this hearing will come to order. good morning, everybody. i want to welcome our witnesses, say how much i appreciate your thoughtful testimony.
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i've read it all. there's so much pretty compelling stories. this is, from my standpoint, a very important hearing. as i've looked back at the laws written designed to protect people have that the courage to come forward within government to blow the whistle, to tell the truth, to highlight problems of waste and abuse and corruption and potential criminal activity within departments and agencies, we have a number of laws. they date back quite a few years. i added a new one. i didn't realize it wept back as far as 1912 the whistle-blower protection act of 1989. then the whistle-blower protection enhancement act of 2012. yet, we still have problems. my own experience with this, having come to government pretty late in life, started really with the events with secret service in cartagena.
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then we looked at the reports being written by the office of inspector general, the fact there was retaliation or certainly evidence of retaliation against members of that inspection team for being forthright. then followed up just recently with our board of security hearings. we had a customs and border protect agent, chris cabrera, testify before this committee, contradicting some of the information from department of homeland security, but also testifying under oath as all of you will be doing here today. a few weeks later, a couple months later, he testified on march 17, 2015. a few months later, right before another hearing on may 13, 2015, this committee was made aware that agent cabrera was being scheduled for a hearing in front of the internal affairs. now, i raised the issue with then-deputy -- still deputy chief of u.s. border patrol ron batello.
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i stated because of my lutheran background, i'll put the best construction on things. i was assuming that hearing with internal affairs was all about being concerned about what he was bringing to the table and wanting to correct any errors within the customs and border protection agency. i'm not so sure that was the case. fortunately, because we highlighted in our hearing that that internal affairs hearing with mr. cabrera was canceled that same day, rather abruptly. i have a certain sense that maybe that wasn't so innocent, they really had something else in mind with that hearing. so these issues are very serious. as a result, my office has set up a website. we've already had over 130 whistle-blowers throughout the government contact our office. what we have here today are four of the individuals that did contact our office. i'm also mindful through mr. devine's testimony that probably the greatest risk any
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whistle-blower incurs is when they contact congress. it sounds like that is where the greatest retaliation can occur. so again, i want to thank all the witnesses for coming here. the purpose of this hearing is not to adjudicate the issues you have raised. that will occur through a process, a procedure. the purpose of this hearing is to highlight so the american people understand, so this committee understands that once an individual steps forward and puts their career at risk, exposes themselves to the type of retaliation that is unfortunately all too common, we want to hear what type of retaliation is inflicted on individuals and what forms retaliation takes. so that's really the purpose of this hearing. i want to caution people, there may be some areas where some testimony might come close to revealing classified information
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or law enforcement sensitive. i want to make sure we don't breach those restrictions. but with that, i want to welcome all of our witnesses. appreciate your courage. appreciate the courage of anybody willing to step forward and risk that kind of retaliation. and i'm looking forward to hearing your testimony and your answers to our questions. retaliation. and i'm looking forward to hearing your testimony and your answers to our questions. >> thanks, mr. chairman. pleasure to meet all of you and welcome you here today. thank you for your service in different arenas, particularly those of you who serve in uniform and who have served in uniform for our country in the past. mr. chairman, i appreciate your efforts to highlight the retaliation that too many of our federal employees have faced over the years, even today. when they've blown the whistle on waste, blown the whistle on
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fraud, abuse, and misbehavior within their agencies, you've heard me often talk about how invaluable the work is of the inspector generals. the general accountability office and others are to this agency and this committee as we work together to get better results for less money and continue to reduce our federal debt. i'm reminded today that many times it's actually federal employees and contractors within the government that first draw attention to issues or wrongdoings in their agencyies. they're just as vital a part of our team as we work together to make this government of ours even better. without people who are willing to stand up and say something is wrong when they see it's wrong, it would be much harder to root out waste, root out fraud and abuse. in order to encourage people to stand up, we need to ensure when they do, they'll not be pun -- punished for doing so. a few years ago a whistle-blower from the dover air force base within my state contacted my dover office with information
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about mismanagement base mortuary, the air force mortuary. actually, the mortuary for our country where we bring home the remains of our fallen heroes. my office was able to draw attention to both of these issues. the retaliation that the whistle-blowers were facing. at the end of the day, the office of special council and their investigation led to disciplinary action not against the whistle-blowers but against several people in leadership positions at the base within the mortuary itself, their top officer at the mortuary, to the reinstatement of whistle-blowers others there. i was struck by the courage of these brave whistle-blowers. i was also struck by the good work done by the office of special council, whose responsibilityings include looking out for the whistle-blowers, making sure they get a fair shake as well as the taxpayers.
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this committee as a whole also has a strong history of working with individual whistle-blowers to root out waste, fraud, and abuse. for example, in our last congress, testimony from whistle-blowers was critical to a hearing and investigation led by former senator tom coburn former senator carl levin, into an administrative office in west virginia which is responsible for reviewing thousands of applications for social security programs. that hearing was powerful and proved critical to improving accountability and oversight into the disability program. these whistle-blowers performed an important role in both the investigation and in the hearing. very brave, courageous women really to put everything on the line, their jobs, livelihood their lives, in order to be able to tell us the truth. and without them, there would have been no investigation there would have been no hearing, and the fraud the committee shined a light on may have never been uncovered. so i believe in whistle-blowers. i'm grateful for whistle-blowers and make sure they're treated like we would want to be treat. those are just two recent examples of the critical role whistle-blowers can play.
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i was pleased to learn that the office of special council has made significant progress in the last couple of years under the leadership of special counsel carolyn learner. in fact, i was told it's increased not by 100%, not by 200%, not by 300%, but by 600%. it's a huge turnaround. a great improvement. that's an impressive statistic. congress and the administration have additional work to do to ensure that individuals feel free to speak out without fear of retaliation. in fact, we've passed the most recent law i think three years ago in 2012. i was happy to support that legislation to further strengthen the role of this special council to enable them to encourage whistle-blowers to muster the courage and make sure when they do that they're not retaliated against. before we go any further though, i would be remiss if i didn't also note as the chairman
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already has that the whistle-blowers here today have re retaliation claims have not yet been fully substantiated. having said that on the one hand, i'm glad we have the opportunity to hear from all of you. we welcome you today. to be honest, i have some concerns about publicly discussing cases that involve ongoing investigations and litigation. congress has established, as you know, a pass for whistle-blowers to obtain independent, objective review of their complaints. i hope today's hearing is not seen as interfering with or somehow prejudging the reviews related to our witnesses' claims under way today. there are some prospectives on the issues today that we will not hear today, that would better help us understand these issues. as we continue our oversight on this subject, i hope we'll have the opportunity to hear from the agencies involved, especially from the office of special council. that said, i nonetheless hope that we can learn some valuable
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lessons here today about the experiences that our whistle-blowers face, what we can do to better support them, and how we can improve the climate and process for which whistle-blowers in the future. again, i appreciate the hearing, mr. chairman. especially pleased to join you as a member of the newly created senate whistle-blower caucus. we look forward to working on these and other important issues. thank you. >> thank you, senator carper. i can assure you this is just the first step. this is the first hearing. again, the purpose is to highlight the form of retaliation and what happens. we will continue to dealtlve into the subject with multiple hearings. with that, it is the tradition of this committee to swear in witnesses. if you could all rise and raise your right hand. do you swear the testimony you will give before this committee
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will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you. please be seated. our first witness is lieutenant colonel jason amarine. he serves in the united states army and led a special forces team in afghanistan in 2001 for which he received a purple heart and bronze star which denoted participation in acts of heroism involving an armed enemy. he's raised concerns about hostage recovery efforts to congress. lieutenant colonel. >> thank you, sir. warren weinstein is dead. colin rutherford, josh boyle katelyn coleman, and the child she bore in captivity remain in pakistan. one of my constitutional rights
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was to speak to members of congress. after i made protected disclosures to congress, the army suspended my clearance, removed me from my job, and sought to court-martial me. as a soldier, i support and defend the constitution of the united states in order to have a government in which the voices of the people are heard. my team had a difficult mission, and i used all legal means available to recover the hostages. you, the congress, were my last resort. but now i'm labeled a whistle-blower, a term that's both radioactive and derogatory. i'm before you because i did my duty, and you need to ensure all in uniform can go on doing their duty without fear of reprisal. let me be clear, i never blamed my situation on the white house. my loyalty is to my commander in chief, as i support and defend the constitution. whatever i say today is not as a
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republican or a democrat, but as a soldier without allegiance to any political parties. in early 2013, my office was asked to help get sergeant bergdahl home. we audited when we were asked to get sergeant bergdahl home and we determined the reason the effort failed for four years is because our nation lacked in organization that can synchronize our efforts of all the government agencies to get the hostages home, and there was hostages in pakistan so we added them to our mission. the department of defense faces problems in the '80s as they operated independently of one another, leading to the goldwater-nichols act, and transformation on that scale literally takes an act of congress.
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get the hostages home, my team worked three lines of effort to develop the viable trade and get the taliban back to the negotiating table. my team was equipped to do the two first tasks, and recovering sergeant bergdahl was a critical step to carrying out our commander in chief's objective to ending the longest war in history. i went to congress to repair a dysfunctional bureaucracy to support our president. it caused the army to place me under criminal investigation. i spoke to representative duncan hunter because he is a member of the house armed services committee, and i needed him to buttress our efforts with two simple messages, the hostage recovery was broken and because of that five hostages had little hope to escaping pakistan. it started to work.
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his dialogue with the department of defense like quickly to the appointment of deputy lumpkin as a hostage cornet for the pentagon. this step help the department of defense when the taliban sought a deal. the fbi formerly complained to the army information i was sharing with them was classified, and it was not. the department of defense inspector general since reviewed the information through my dod complaint and confirmed it was not classified under joint staff review, and still i am under investigation. a terrible irony is that my security clearance was suspended on january 15, the day after warren weinstein was killed. we were the only effort trying
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to free the civilian hostages in announcer: pakistan and the fbi succeeded in ending our efforts the day after a u.s. drone strike killed warren weinstein. am i right, is the system broken? layers upon layers of bureaucracy kid the extent of our failures from our leaders. i believe we failed the commander in chief by not getting critical information to him. now i am considered a whistle-blower for raising these issues. there has been no transparency to the army's investigation in my protected communications with representative hunter and the army would not confirm why i was being investigated for the last five months until this week and they only did that because of today's hearing. daniel brian and smithburger has been a god send and
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representatives hunter and jacky spear stood up for me. i am truly grateful for the opportunity to testify before you. the outpouring of support from fellow service members has been humbling. worst for me is that the cadets i taught at west point now officers in the ranks are reaching out to me to see if i am ok. i fear for their safety when they go the war and now they fear for my safety in washington. is that the enduring message we want to send? we must not forget, warren weinstein is dead while there are remaining hostages. who is fighting for them? thank you. >> thank you lieutenant colonel.
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thank you for your service to our nation. i will point out representative hunter is in the audience here so welcome, sir. our next witness is mrs. taylor johnson. she is a senior special agent with homeland investigations, a component for customs enforcement and she raised concerns about national security and criminal risks in the eb5 program to her management and the dhs office of the inspector general. thank you, mrs. johnson. >> chairman johnson, ranking member carpenter, i appreciate the opportunity to talk to you. i am a special agent. i have been responsible for investigating large transnational organized crime groups involved in narcotics and
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smuggling. i have received some of the highest honors of our department and my opm file reflects yearly promotions. after disclosing gross mismanagement, waste and fraud that threatened the eb5 project, announcer: i was subjected to a significant amount of harassment and retaliation. i began investigating the eb5 regional center, and some of the violations investigated surrounding the project included bank and wire fraud and i discovered ties to organized crime and high-ranking officials and politicians who had received contributions and promotions that appeared to facilitate the program. i disclosed this to my management and then specific examples of national security
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risks, and some of the security risks coincided with what the fbi and cia already discovered as well. during the course of the investigation, i discovered eb five applicants from china, russia, pakistan, malaysia had been approved in as little as 16 days and the files lacked the basic and necessary law enforcement enquiries. i found over 800 operational eb5 regional centers throughout the u.s., and this was a disturbing number for me since the u.s. only allows 10,000 applications per year. i could not identify how they were holding each regional center accountable or how they were tracked once they were inside the united states. in addition the complete detail of the funds that went into the project was never completed or produced after several requests related to that investigation.
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it became evident that there was serious and significant national security risks to that program. from the onset of the investigation, there were complaints and as a result i was removed from the investigation and it was ultimately shut down and closed. shortly after i was escorted by three supervisors from my desk and i was not permitted to access my case files or personal files, and i was moved initially over 50 miles in direct violation of title 5. my weapon and credentials were taken against the firearms policy and my government vehicle was confiscated, and access to the building and all government data bases was revoked, and i was told i could not carry my announcer: own weapon, which was a constitutional violation. when an adoption social worker tried to contact and verify
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employment she was told i had been terminated for a federal -- criminal offense and i almost lost my when your own child. i am continuously placed in dangerous situations with no way to protect myself or others. management has willfully obstructed me from promotions and injured my prospects to promote. lastly, after being contacted by the office of inspector general on the case and designated as a witness the agency falsely accuse me of misconduct in 2011. it resulted in termination recommendation. the allegations surrounding the
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termination have since been proven unfounded by osc and the agency has recognized that. opr produced a report to terminate by employment. this is a direct conflict of interest. the 2011 complaint was used after the agency was unable to substantiate any allegations against me and as a tool to insure that i could not testify for an oig or continue the investigation for the eb5 program. there are no policies in place which limit the disciplinary actions against agents. agents are placed on restrictive positions for years at a time. i was slandered to the point where i could not perform my job because of the malicious and false gossip, and took away the time and happiness from my family.
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it's demoralizing to myself and agents to have directors and senior leaderships to ignore the reports of undue influence, and the agents wanting to do their jobs and being unable to because of leadership. it condones and encourages bad behavior within the department of homeland security. agents and officers need to be valued by management and not punished when they disclose factual and important information to our leadership. in closing, it's important to have agents at your front line coming forward on issues that affect the safety of our nation, and to this committee i look forward to listening to your insight and answering any questions you may have. thank you, sir. >> thank you, mrs. johnson. our next witness is mr. michael
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keegan. he works at the social security administration. he raised concerns about waist -- waste within the administration. >> distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to discuss my demotion reassignment and retaliation during my tenure at the social security administration. in july 2011, i was recruited by a former deputy, michael gallagher, specifically to assume management and announcer: responsibility for the facilities and supply management, an organization of 500 employees and contractors operating and administering management and real estate actions for hundreds of facilities across our country. in january of 2012, i was assigned as the project executive for the construction of a replacement computer datacenter. this project was funded via a
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$500 million appropriation. congress had been briefed by ssa officials that the appropriation was needed to replace the existing ncc located on the ssa headquarters in maryland. most notably a replacement datacenter occupied only one floor of the entire national computing center with 75 employees, and an additional 925 employees work in the buildings other three floors. the center these of -- the centerpiece of the justification presented to congress was the ncc was beyond economic repair and had to be replaced in totality. my duties further required attendance at quarterly meetings. the ssa was to brief the congress and i was an important member of the delegation. in the course of performing these duties i discovered a
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number of serious problems and i brought the problems to the attention of mrs. tina waddell, who did not act on my recommendation and instructed me to brief the new incoming commissioner of budget finance management. in february of 2013, mr. peter spencer was brought out of retirement by acting commissioner to assume the duties of deputy commissioner. soon after his arrival i gave him a detailed briefing on serious issues that i believe included misleading congress waste and abuse, and further raised employee over time and travel abuse issues, however the most significant issues i raised involved ssa's representations to congress when only part of the ncc that held the datacenter needed replacement. as an example of the lack of candor, testimony on the record
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from patrick o'carol, page three of that testimony notes that ssa representative was monitoring announcer: and improving ncc plumbing conditions, foundations and monitoring ductwork as examples. this was no mistake or misunderstanding. ssa was specifically advised by an independent assessor to resize a jacobs engineering report to directly address the enquiries on the cost. ssa refused to follow the recommendation and chose not to be forthright with congress. further there was no mistake, at depositions it was said they never had any plans to replace all four floors on the center, and attached for review are the deposition transcripts that show
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the lack of candor. i asked the committee to pay special attention to ms. coleman's deposition transcript. she testified she never saw the reassignment letter that ruined my career, a letter in which she signed, and notably her testimony that her chief of staff made the critical decisions against me, which was squarely contradicted that stated that she made those decisions. i asked the committee to read pages 41 to 46 of mr. spencer's testimony as in the exhibit which he dances around questions about misleading congress. he could not asay purposely misleading congress is something necessary.
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i was cleared from the hostile work environment allegations, i was removed from my position and left to lang wish in an empty office. -- to languish in an empty office. to this day after 22,000 pages have been turned over by ssa and discovery and ten depositions by my attorneys, nothing has been shown by as as a that i deserve the retaliation. in after blowing the whistle july 2014, again on ms.: for misrepresenting to congress, i finally made the difficult decision to retire from government service five years earlier than planned which caused significant hardship. i would be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have for me. thank you. >> thank you, mr. keegan.