tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 22, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EDT
america now has more wealth and income inequality than any major country on earth. and it is worse today than at any time since 1928. the issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time. it is the great political issue of our time. it is the great economic issue of our time. and together, that is an issue that we will address. let me be as clear as i can be. there is something profoundly wrong when the top .1% own as much as the bottom 90%. there's something profoundly
wrong when one family, the owners of walmart own as much wealth as the bottom 40% of the american people. there is something profoundly wrong when millions of workers are working longer hours for lower wages when we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world and almost all new wealth and income goes into the hands of the few. enough is enough. that has got to end. and together, we will end it. this campaign is sending a profound message to the billionaire class. you can't have it all. you can't get huge tax breaks
when children in america go hungry. you cannot continue to send our jobs to china when millions of americans are looking for work. you cannot hide your profits in the cayman islands and in other tax havens. when there are massive, unmet needs in this country. the greed of the billionaire class has got to end, and we are going to end it for them. but it is not just income and wealth inequality. it is the fact that we have millions of people working longer hours for lower wages. and that is why we have got to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. nobody in america works 40 hours
a week should be living in poverty. and that is why i have led the effort in the united states senate, not only against nafta and permanent normal trade relations with china, but i'm leading it against this disastrous tpp trade agreement. when 33% of white kids between 17 and 20 who graduated high school are unemployed, when 36% of hispanic kids are unemployed who graduated high school, when 51% of african-american kids who graduated high school are unemployed, we need a massive jobs program to put our people back to work.
and when our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our water system, our rail system is crumbling, there is more than enough work to do. let's rebuild our infrastructure, create millions of decent paying jobs. today, the united states of america embarrassingly remains the only major nation on earth that does not guarantee health care as a right for all people. i voted for the affordable care act and it has done a lot of good. but there are still 35 million americans with no health insurance and many more who are underinsured.
now, is the time for us to say loudly and proudly, america will join the rest of the industrialized world with a medicare for all single payer program. and when my republican colleagues, as they have done for years tell us that we have got to cut social security despite the fact that millions of seniors are trying to survive on $12,000, $13,000 a year. what we say is, no, you're not going to cut social security, we're going to expand social security by lifting the cap on taxable income.
my republican colleagues in the senate talk about family values. y'all know what they're talking about. their family values say that a woman does not have the right to control her body. i disagree. they say a woman should not be able to get the contraceptives she needs. i disagree. they say, they say that our brothers and sisters who are gay should not be able to enjoy the same marriage rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. we disagree. but we also have family values, not based on hatred but based on love and compassion. our family values say that when a woman has a baby, she should
get 12 weeks of family and medical leave to stay home with the baby. now, there's another issue out there that must be addressed. because perhaps it is the most important issue of all. and that is to understand that the supreme court's decision on citizens united is moving this country toward an oligarchic form of society because it is allowing billionaires to buy elections with unlimited sums of money with super p.a.c.s. it should not be acceptable to any american, conservative, moderate, progressive that the
koch brothers alone, an extreme right wing family will spend more money in this campaign cycle than either the democratic or the republican party. when one family spends more than either of the two major political parties, brothers and sisters, that is not democracy, that is the path of oligarchy. that's why citizens united must be overturned. i have not made many promises in this presidential campaign. but here's one i have made. no nominee of mine to the supreme court will be made unless that man or woman is clear that he or she will vote to overturn citizens united.
and further more, we've got to go further. we have got to, in my view, move the public funding of elections. so that anybody can run for office without being dependent on the wealthy and the powerful. at my table here this evening, i have seven or eight wonderful young people. and the reason that i ask them to join me tonight is to highlight a tragedy in this country. these young people collectively owe more than $1 million in student debt. i have introduced legislation and will fight as president of the united states to make certain that every public,
college, and university in america is tuition-free. we must also significantly reduce student debt. it is insane that people in this room are paying 8%, 9%, 10% interest rates on student debt when you could refinance your home for 2% or 3%. and we're going to do that. and when we talk about our responsibility as adults, what that means is we have the moral obligation to make certain that we leave this planet for our kids and our grandchildren in a way that is habitable. it is an international embarrassment.
that my republican colleagues refuse by and large to even acknowledge the reality of climate change. let alone are prepared to do anything about it. in my view, this nation must and can lead the world. in transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energies like winds, solar and geothermal. and like everybody in this room, i want to see an america where when young, black men walk down the street, they will not be harassed by police officers. they will not be killed, they will not be shot.
to his credit -- to his credit -- to his credit president obama did something extraordinary the other day. he had the courage to go to a federal jail. and talk about the absurdity of a criminal system where one out of four male african-americans born today will end up behind bars. that is not the america we believe in. and that is why, that is why, we believe it makes more sense to invest in jobs and education not jails and incarceration.
and to our 11 million brothers and sisters -- and to our 11 million brothers and sisters who are living in the shadows today, we say loudly, and we say clearly, we are going to bring you out of the shadows and in a path toward citizenship. and we're not going to divide families up. brothers and sisters, we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. please don't think small. think big. think about a future where our kids get the best education in the world. where our young people have the jobs and education they need. where women's rights are protected. that is the america we can
jim webb's career is defined by a lifetime of public service. he started out serving his country as a marine in vietnam where he was awarded the navy cross, the silver star medal, two bronze star medals and two purple hearts. he then served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs before becoming secretary of the navy in 1987. in the process, webb became the first naval academy graduate to serve as the civilian head of the navy. in 2006, he was elected to the united states senate where he wrote, introduced and guided the passage of the post-9/11 g.i. bill.
jim has always stood up for those in need, and we are so honored to have his passion in the democratic party. please join me in welcoming jim webb. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. well, i have to say, i had the pleasure of serving with bernie. we were elected on the same, in the same campaign cycle and i've followed him many times on the senate floor. and bernie, you always fire me up. so i'm here to turn the lights out tonight, folks. and i appreciate the opportunity, invitation to be here. and this is the center of where we need to change america right here in the democratic party. it's been amazing to see the energy here tonight. and i -- i would after what was
just said, i would like to ask those who served our country to stand and be recognized, if we might. [ applause ] one of the -- one of the great moments in my life. in my professional life when we were able to pass the post-9/11 g.i. bill. i wrote it with legislative counsel before i was sworn in on the senate. i introduced it on the first day i was a senator. there were a lot of people who thought we would not be able to pass this, actually, like the most comprehensive veterans legislation since world war ii. but we built a prototype. and i would like people to consider this when we're talking about those of us who would like to be your president. we built a prototype, a leadership prototype in the senate on a bipartisan
commission within 16 months over the objection of the bush administration to the last day of our vote we passed this bill. and since that time, more than a million of our post-9/11 veterans have been able to have the kind of education that bernie sanders just talked about. get your tuition paid for, buy your books, pay your fees, give you a monthly stipend and give you a true, first class shot at the future. also was noticing when i was looking at the program tonight that on the supporters mentioned on the back page, i think about ten of them are from organized labor. and i know there are a lot of people here tonight from organized labor. i'd like to say i'm very proud of the fact, i believe i'm the only statewide candidate in the history of virginia who walked a union picket line during a campaign. those of you who know virginia know the risk that was involved in that.
i'm also the only statewide candidate ever elected to office with a union card, two purple hearts and three tattoos. and so, when we see so much demonizing of organized labor these days and when i look at what we will probably consider the most successful economic system today in the world, if you want to measure it by the balance of payment and the strength of the industry. germany. germany, actually, has a higher balance of trade on average than china does. and if you look at their corporate boards, they have for many, many years had organized labor as members of their corporate boards. we need to get the message out to america that organized labor is not the enemy. it is the friend of the working people. it is the voice, it is the way
to start turning these economic fairness issues around. we've got a lot of problems, a lot of problems in our country, we've heard eloquent remarks tonight about those problems. and i would like to ask you to consider here tonight what would you want in a president in order to start turning these issues around again? and i would suggest that, first of all, we should have a president who can articulate the values of the democratic party and work at the same time across party lines achieving bipartisan solutions and moving the country forward in a way that we can govern. we've had it in the past, we can have it again. i believe i can do that. bernie sanders just mentioned criminal justice. and the fact that the president this week visited a federal prison and actually had an
amnesty program for some people who had been convicted unfairly in terms of sentencing, long sentences. i would like to say, when i ran for the senate, i started talking about the need for this country to solve our broken criminal justice system. i had political advisers at that time were telling me, i was committing suicide, political suicide in virginia. we stuck on those issues, we held two years of hearings when i got to the senate on how to fix this system wholistically. we put a piece of legislation forward. we brought in terms of creating a commission that would examine all of the different intersecting, holistic issues that have affected our criminal justice system. we worked from our office. we got a buy-in from 100 different stakeholders across the country in supporting this. including also supreme court justice kennedy and the american
bar association and the organizations all the way from the national sheriff's association, the international association of chiefs of police to the aclu and the marijuana project, i think, probably only bill in the history of the senate where they were both on it. we lost on the senate floor. we got 57 votes, it was filibustered. but i also raised this issue with our president in 2011 after we lost on the senate floor. and i suggested that 18-month commission, for $14 million he could put that in an executive order, and we could truly bring the best minds of america together to put together the right kind of solutions that will affect these kinds of things that the president is talking about today. and bernie sanders was just talking about. and i would say tonight, it's now been nine years since we started working on this issue. and i would ask that the
president consider taking one day, writing this executive order, getting this commission together, and let's really move forward to fix the whole criminal justice system, not just one piece of it or another. i'd also say, and i hope you will consider this. that of all the responsibilities of the president, none is greater than that of being your commander in chief. i've spent my entire life in and around the united states military. i grew up in the military, i served in vietnam as the marine. i spent five years in the pentagon, four of them as an executive sitting on the defense resources board. i've served as a journalist around the world covering the united states military, including in beirut in 1983 when the marines were in beirut. some will remember the horrible explosion in the beirut airport
that killed more than 200 of our american military people in one day. i was in afghanistan. i understand how our american military works. i understand foreign policy issues. i will assure you if i'm your president, i would have never voted for an invasion of iraq. as a senator i would never have voted to authorize that proposal. five months before the invasion, i wrote a piece in the "washington post" warning that this would be a disastrous, strategic failure of historic proportions. that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world. that would empower iran in the long run also china, particularly economically, and it would unleash sectarian violence inside iraq and turn our soldiers into terrorist targets.
if i were your president, i would not have authorized the use of military force in libya during what was called the arab spring. i warned repeatedly that the use of military force in libya did not meet the test of a grave national security danger and that it would have negative impacts in the entire region. and i have to say, i am still looking with some concern, great concern about the agreement that was just signed with respect to iran. i would not as president sign any executive agreement establishing a long-term relationship with iran if in any way tips the balance of power in that vital region of our world.
and particularly, if it accepts iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons. i will say that again. i will never accept directly or indirectly iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons. at the same time, i'd make it clear we have strong national security interests and we need to address them. we've talked a lot about these other issues that everyone is in strong agreement with tonight. let me speak for a few minutes about my view of what the american dream. i call it the american trifecta. what i mean by that is, when our system works right, we have a safety net under people who need it, who have fallen into hard times, who have retired. or have fallen in hard times. we have absolute fairness in the middle. and then, if you can truly make
it, you can go all the way in this country. and that is the american dream. what does it look like? when it doesn't work? what does it look like when it does work. when i think about a time when it didn't work, i'll never forget experiences my mother had growing up in utter poverty in eastern arkansas. she was one of eight kids, three of whom died in childhood. not childbirth. childhood. her father died when she was 10. there was no educational opportunity. there was no medical. there wasn't social security at the time. she kopd cotton, picked strawberries. when my dad met her at the age of 17, he said her hands felt like the bark off of a tree from having worked so hard. she gave me the energy that i have today to be standing in front of you today. but it was frankly roosevelt's programs and the democratic party's programs that gave people in that part of america
the safety net under them and the chance for true fairness. and i also, when it works, when it works, i think of the journey of my wife. in 1975, when the communist took over south vietnam, her family, entire extended family got on a boat, went out on the south china sea, like hundreds of thousands of other vietnamese at that time. they did not know whether they were going to live or die. and if you think about our obligations as a country, we had no legal obligation to go out and save hundreds of thousands of vietnamese and take them to refugee camps and bring them into this country. but we had a moral obligation as the greatness of our country that we did that. they took her family off the ocean when they didn't know whether they were going to live or not. she went to two different refugee camps. grew up in new orleans, started working in a factory when she was 11 years old.
neither of her parents ever spoke fluent english. we could've said as we hear some people saying right now, well, wait a minute. we don't of any obligation to these vietnamese. they are not our kind or whatever language people use. we didn't do that. guess what? they make some of the greatest americans in this country today. she worked, she studied, she ended up at the university of michigan and cornell law school. she had the safety net under them, the fair shot and lived the american dream. that is what i'm hoping for when i tell you i would like to be your president. that is the vision that i have for this country. and i have done -- i have been able to put that vision into
specific actions in a way that i think i can guarantee you we will do. if you give us your support and help us in this journey. thank you very much. i am 1:20 under schedule for you. thank you for being here. all of you. [ applause ] >> let's give another round of applause for our fantastic presidential candidates. [ applause ] >> let's give another round of applause for our wonderful hall of fame inductees. [ applause ] i want to thank you for joining us on this special night. a truly incredible night for being an iowa democrat. i know it's the end of the evening and i'm going to keep it
short, but i want to see you and all of your neighbors, all out on caucus night. and i know i'm going to see all of you knocking doors, making phone calls, talking to your neighbors and friends and family about why it's so important to elect democrats who put iowa's families first. we're going to elect democrats up and down the ticket and turn iowa blue. and it's going to be because of people like you. so please have a good evening and be proud to be democrats!
>> no, i'll send them to you. i'll send them to you. >> it's good to have a democratic debate, huh? >> yeah. >> i met you for the polk county dinner debate. my name is marty. >> hi, marty. >> you said, marty, man, i liked it. thank you. thanks a lot. hope to see more of you. >> hey, thank you so much. thank you. >> what a pleasure. >> thank you, man. thanks for being with me. >> nice to see you again. >> where did we meet before? >> couple of places.
i was just talking to george that no labels wants to do a positive op-ed for you. >> that's cool. i accept. >> well, some of the great stuff you've said. >> thank you. >> we're working on that. i want you to know. >> thanks a lot. >> i hope you can come to our thing in new hampshire in october. that's the deal, yeah. >> all right. i'll do my best. >> thank you. >> two states. >> thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> good to see you. >> just met your son. >> there he is. the man, the legend, william o'malley. hey, thank you. i like your button. >> thank you. i had the union -- we talked to you about that. >> sciu. love it. >> yes. >> how are you doing? what's your name? >> andrew. >> hello, andrew. >> i was wondering if i could get a picture. >> sure. why not?
>> a lot of issues to be discussed. i wouldn't necessarily agree with all of the solutions. >> going forward what your looking to do in the next couple of weeks? >> basically what we've been doing. talking to people and discussing issues people care about. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i'm very proud of you. and thank you for bringing up about trade that other people are shying away from. >> thank you. and thank you for serving. >> thank you. >> sorry. >> 9-pounder. >> we'd like to get a picture. if i could get a picture. >> may i? >> are you ready? who were you with in the army? >> several units. two tours in germany. third armor division. that was the first time. second time was a signal unit. yes, sir? thanks.
>> good seeing you. third armored was frankfort at the time. i don't know if they're there anymore. >> i spent a lot of time. >> sure. sure. frankfort, we had fifth corps there. colin powell went there. he was commander of 5th corps for a short time. he was on the political fast track. >> you know how it is. >> i got it.
>> i gave you a great compliment. >> little short, feisty lawyer type? it was a woman in ottumwa. >> anyway, i was going to say, you did great. >> thank you. thanks a lot. i need you guys. i love to have your support. thank you. >> i'm linda, i'm with "the gazette." good to see you again. last time i saw you was tipton. >> that was a good day. >> can i get an autograph?
>> c-span, they're right behind you. >> i know, there they are, c-span. >> can i get an autograph? i saw you at the vfw hall a month ago. >> cool. >> great seeing you again this evening. >> thanks a lot. i feel like i'm getting a lot closer to it. what is your name? >> randy. i like what you're saying about organized labor, too. >> hey, it's not coincidental that wages go down when they take the rug out from labor. randy, thank you. >> would you mind? >> not at all. thanks so much. >> thanks so much. >> sure. thank you. >> have a nice day. >> you're welcome. >> welcome back to iowa. >> good to be back. >> hi. >> welcome back to iowa. i asked him if bruce braley's fundraiser down by the river. >> yeah. >> if you were going to throw your hat in the ring. i told you yes, right? >> you said, we'll see. >> did i? >> yes.
>> here it is. >> i'm like, oh, my god, he did. >> that was a fun night. you were very discerning. >> oh, no, we loved your singing. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> what's your name? >> julian. >> hi, julian. thank you, julian. what's your name? >> jana, his mom. >> are you from des moines or cedar rapids? >> cedar rapids. >> great to have your support. it's a great historic state house. >> it is. >> if you go in the new senate chambers, i haven't been there yet, we recently renovated that. >> oh, really. >> yeah. >> appropriated the money, i haven't seen it completed yet. >> how you been, man? >> good, good.
>> how's life treating you? >> very, very good. it's summer and spent a few days at the pool. this is my nephew trevor. >> he low trevor. >> this is my mom diana. >> good to see you. >> and sister kathy. >> kathy kelly? >> well, it was. >> good to see you. >> you gave a great speech tonight. >> thank you, man. >> good crowd reaction, they were cheering right along with you. >> thanks a lot. >> and happy to let you know i'm on board. >> thank you, man, i heard. thank you very much. >> happy to be on board and in jasper county, we're going to win -- >> thanks to you. >> that's right. >> you raised a good son. >> yeah, i did. >> thank you. he has the golden touch in jasper. you need it. >> sure do, man. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> we're going to get it done. >> you're a discerning, self-selecting. you're part of a discerning self-selecting group.
>> i put time in to studying it, treated it like it was -- >> tax structure and energy. questions about pipelines, the rail lines are carrying that. >> last 15, 20 years. sustainable energy. or the way it's grown so much. >> yeah, i do. i do. >> i do. >> okay. >> good idea. >> and we're not affiliated with it. we're not -- >> true believer. >> well, thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> enjoy the weekend.
the first time in iowa. i didn't know if you might -- can i get a picture with you? can you text it to me? >> you say you're new here? >> washington, d.c. >> all right. i wish you the best. enjoy. thank you. have a good weekend. >> yep, you too. >> i worked for senator levin, great guy. >> great guy. >> one, two, three. thank you so much. >> thank you, i wish you the best of luck. >> well, i just left the white house and i'm working at d.o.e. >> okay. >> and they all said, got to get out there. >> yep. >> help candidates. and so -- >> get back in it. >> get back in it. >> did the senator retire? >> he did. he's opening a center, i believe
at wayne state. i think they're working on that. >> he left in '14? yeah. just finished. leaders. >> okay. that's right. that's right. >> and, well, you know, time when i was up there in europe there. >> he had the substitute. >> yeah. >> i think one vote difference. 76-24 and 77-23. >> yeah. >> and his was, slow it down. >> yeah. >> too bad. >> it's too bad. but you come from a really strong bipartisan, like, very good part of the country where it's pretty good. >> yep. >> yeah, exactly. >> have a good weekend. good luck with everything. >> wish you the best of luck. >> that helps.
>> good to see you. >> cedar falls. art teacher in cedar falls. >> good man. we need more art in this world. >> i completely agree with that. >> makes us safer and more secure. >> absolutely. >> what kind of art do you teach? >> k-5. >> uh-huh. >> in waterloo. >> what's your first name? >> will. >> will. good to meet you. love to have your support. do you know this guy? >> yes, i do. >> thank you. >> okay. >> how are you?
your speech -- should we see them as that? >> i don't think -- >> the nafta line, the action, not just talk line, are those directed at the secretary? >> no, they're directed at our country. they're about the ideas that we need to advance in order to move our country forward. stumbling into bad trade deals, offshoring american jobs when we haven't prepared workers for the displacement. we haven't made investments in our own country. it's short sighted public policy. i think a lot of us back in the '90s hope that nafta would've worked out better for us. but it didn't. and now to repeat that seems to be a repeat of the same mistake. what was the other one? wall street? >> action, you said that you were somebody who has not just talked but taken action. you said that before. and it seems with some of the things your staff is also saying it's a broadside against president clinton.
>> i'm offering my candidacy and highlighting the things i've done. and i hope each of the candidates will highlight the things they've done. one of the things i've done is accomplish the values that the to. and i don't doubt their sincerity in being committed to it. but after having experienced and having gotten it down. that's a distinguishing characteristic i offer. >> are you happy with the reception you got? >> it was a -- >> we're going to talk to more iowans. thanks, guys. >> thank you. >> we still consider -- you still consider senator sanders just a protest candidate? >> i'm glad he was honored to be on the stage with all of the candidates here today. >> over the fourth of july, you said he was protesting -- >> well, i'm not a pundit. >> i shouldn't have been quoted on that. i'm just a candidate. i make my decision and now the
people make theirs. i think senator sanders is a good person, and i think that anyone who has the courage to put themselves out there and offer themselves as a candidate for president of the united states serves our respect. >> yeah, absolutely. hi, i'm maci. and my husband matt is a huge fan. he couldn't be here tonight, he's convincing everyone to caucus for you. >> thank you. >> say hello to matt. >> hello, matt, thank you for convincing everyone to caucus for me. he's a good supporter of yours. >> thanks very much. >> yes. >> thank you. >> thank you. we're going to rock 'n' roll. >> we're going to take a picture. >> yeah. >> well, why don't we go. >> we'll go upstairs t. we're getting better lighting. >> thank you.
>> thank you. my wife's name is katie. >> how does she spell it? k-a-t-i-e. but she's catherine with a c. >> mine's k-a-i-t-y. it's day lick. >> ever here the song doctor song. >> well, i'm katryn. >> thank you for being at my table. look forward to seeing you more. >> thank you, i'm steve. >> thank you for your speech. it was so inspiring. >> thank you, steve. >> it was. >> you guys are inspiring. what a tremendous crowd. where do you live? >> fairfield. >> i love fairfield. i was there last night. i had late night dinner at the steak and something or other. >> oh, really. >> i just come from the county fair and didn't want to get too close, i smell like animals. >> well --
>> thanks for being a big part of the team. >> it was fun to have a good debate. it was not a debate, but it was fun to have a conversation now on our side of the -- >> yes. and i'm glad you're visiting is some of the smaller places. >> yeah. >> thank you, thanks so much. >> how are you? >> what's your name? >> thanks a lot, charles. >> i'm brian. >> hey, brian. >> one, two, three. fantastic. >> thank you. >> thank you, all. >> thank you, fella. >> good to see you, guys. >> how are you? >> if i saw him first, i would have recognized him. well, we're doing well. you guys -- it's tremendous. yeah. me, too. it's nice to have a debate on our side.
senator? >> yes, it is. they're good. that's one piece of this i hadn't quite anticipated as much. when i was campaigning at home for governor, whatever the small enough state, you could be home every night in bed, see them in the morning, but this going for four, five, six days of the stretch. >> washington was good. i hadn't been there in 30 years. boy, the town looks great. and you know where we got together was your old headquarters. >> yeah? >> yeah, the art gallery. and lorain. is it lorain who has the restaurant? >> yeah. >> on the corner, very kindly set me up with a sandwich. i saw her place. it's a pretty little town. >> it is. nice town. >> they did a good job. well, great seeing you. i can do a to z on water. did you solve that cold case?
>> today. >> congratulations. i'd love to hear about that. >> yeah. >> see you, deb. >> good speech. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> good luck to you. >> what's your name? >> i'm lois. >> i love being with you guys. i have never seen a bigger crowd in iowa. >> oh, wow. >> thank you. i need your vote. i would love to have your support. >> okay. thank you so much. >> thank you for being here.
>> to be on the same platform as all of those fine individuals. we need to have a conversation about where we're going. >> i'm so excited to meet you. >> minnesota. >> yep. >> did you catch the talk? >> yep. we didn't miss it. saw you on rachel mad dough. you were amazing. loved all your talks about compassionate policies. >> what's your name? >> grace. >> my daughter's name is grace. >> oh, lovely. >> allie? >> yes. >> what are you doing in minnesota. >> students. >> what are you study something. >> i'm studying public health and sociology. >> political science. >> everybody here has two pages. >> mine is major and minor but i like to sound fancy. >> would you like a picture? >> yes.
>> thank you so much. >> one, two, three. perfect. >> it was great. >> awesome. well, we need you to coordinate the state of minnesota for us. >> got it. got it. spread by word of mouth. >> i think we're coming there. >> you are, you are. >> good, good, good. >> see you. bye, c-span. >> would you mind signing my book for me. >> what's your name. >> stacy. >> s-t-a -- >> c-y. >> c-y? >> yeah. >> thank you very few. >> have a good night.
>> you too, man. >> what's your name? >> gary. >> thank you, gary. have a good night. >> ready. one, two, three. >> lisa fontana. i wrote a book on voting. >> good. >> i got 1,000 people to vote in 2012. i'm going to get a million this time. >> i'm in favor of voting. . hi. what's your name? >> i'm john. >> what's your story? >> i'm a volunteer in sioux city. i'm working with claire maguire and i was doing a little work outside for you. >> cool. >> so yeah. amazing speech. >> thanks a lot. >> governor, good to see you. >> governor hatch. >> i was glad to do it.
we stopped all that bad stuff from happening. >> you did. >> all right. >> thanks. >> nice job tonight. >> thank you. >> yes, sir. >> a guy who does a little bruce springsteen in his speech. that was good. i work with jack. >> jack's a good guy. i saw him on my way in. good to work with you guys. thanks a lot man. >> considered under rated by many first lady historians, caroline was an accomplished artist who took up china painting and carried that interest to the white house, establishing its china collection. she was interested in women's issues and helped raise funds for johns hopkins universities on the condition that it knit women. and first general's daughter of the women of the revolution before she died from tuberculosis. this sunday night 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's original
series first ladies influence and imaging examining the public and private lives of the women who filled the position of first lady and their influence on the presidency from martha washington to michelle obama. sundays at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> here's what's happening tonight on c-span3. first, an update on the social security and medicare trust funds. then the bipartisan policy center makes recommendations for how to make congress work. later, a house hearing on the effect of the new epa clean water rule on the agriculture industry. with agriculture secretary tom vilsack. and the iran nuclear agreement ahead of secretary of state john kerry's capitol hill testimony about the deal tomorrow morning. >> when congress is in session c-span3 brings you more of the
best access to congress with live coverage of hearings, news conferences, and key public affairs events. and every weekend it's american history tv traveling to historic sites, discussions with authors and historians, and eyewitness accounts of events that define the nation. c-span3, coverage of congress, and american history tv. now, an update on the social security and medicare trust funds from treasury secretary jack lew health and human services secretary sill is villa burwell and thomas perez. this is about 40 minutes.
good afternoon. is the microphone on? good afternoon. hello, everyone. >> thanks for being here. earlier today the social security and medicare boards of trustees met to complete the annual financial review of the programs and to approve the trustee's final reports. i'd like to recognize and thank my fellow trustees for their productive work this past year and i know i speak for all the trustees when i say this year's review will not have gone as smoothly without the skill and determination of the chief actuaries and their staffs. thank you, everyone, for your hard work. social security and medicare are the most successful social insurance programs in the history of our nation.
every year they get millions out of poverty and give americans 65 and over access to affordable health care. they fulfill a solemn promise that's been made from one generation to the next. they embody fairness that has been fundamental to our nation's success. both social security and medicare are secure today and will remain secure in the years to come. consistent with previous years, today's reports also show that these programs are facing challenges and need to be addressed. the short-term projections in this year's report for social security and medicare are little change from last year while long term projections are significantly improved. when considered on a combined basis, social security's retirement and disability programs dedicated funds sufficient to cover benefits for nearly two decades, one year longer than projected last year. after that time, as was true last year, it's projected that tax income will be sufficient to finance about three-quarters
scheduled benefits. in addition, as we expected, beginning in late 2016, social security's disability program alone will have dedicated funds sufficient to cover about 80% of scheduled benefits. the president's proposed common sense solution to improve the sole conveniency in the short run to americans who rely on it will continue to receive the benefits they need. it's vital that congress move forward to maintain the integrity of this critical program sooner rather than later. once again, these reports demonstrate how the affordable care act has bolstered medicare and shored up finances. when the president signed health care form into law, the trustees projected it would extend the life of the trust fund by 12 years from 2017 to 2029. since then the affordable care act has helped reduce the rate of health care price increases to their lowest rate in 50 years. as a result the trustees have
over the past several years revised down their projections of medicare costs and the projected life now extends to 2030. even further than estimated when the affordable care act was signed. it put medicare on on more stable footing by eliminating waste, cutting patient costs. of course there's more work to do to fix the finances of social security and medicare. as the president pointed out in last week's conference on aging, they are facing challenges because of demographic trends rg including the fact that the largest generation in american history is now reaching retirement age. the president is determined to protect the future of solvensy on medicare and committed to keeping the programs strong. while the president will never support proposals that hurt current or future retirees he's ready to work with congress in a bipartisan basis to create serious solutions.
to those who say these challenges are in tractable, let me point out democrats, republicans, and the administration came together to pass a permanent doc fix, something that alluded washington for 13 years. this measure improved medicare a's long-term outlook. we must and we can achieve this kind of progress again. 50 years ago this month at the signing of the bill that created medicare, president johnson declared that the new historic law was a reminder of the call never to be indifferent towards despair. half a century later we honor that calling again. we honor it because as americans we believe hard work should be rewarded and the most vulnerable should be protected and every one of us no matter what we look
like should have a chance to live with dignity and security. we now will have others make statements. i'm going to have to slip out a little bit before the end of this session. all questions will be answered quite ably. thank you very much. >> thank you secretary lew. next week we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of medicare. we're going to celebrate that medicare has kept older americans healthy for half a century. and that it is constantly work to go improve it and it is helping us lead the way in building the health care system for tomorrow. and today with the 50th medicare trustee's report we reaffirm our commitment as responsible stewards of the program. and i would like to highlight a few items from the report. first, we project medicare trust fund will be funded through
2030. and this is the same timeline we projected last year and 13 years longer than we projected before the passage of the affordable care act. second we project that over the next 10 years medicare spending per enrollee will continue to grow slowly relative to historical rates, specifically at one-tenth of a percentage point higher than gdp. to build on this progress medicare is moving from paying for the quantity of services to the value of care. and efforts to reduce hospital readmissions and acquired conditions are saving lives, improving outcomes, and generating savings for the tax payer. finally, i want to address the report's projections for part b premiums. under the preliminary projections, 70% of enrollees in part b would see no change in their premiums for 2016.
the final decision rg, including the impact will be made in the coming months. that will be based on our preliminary projections today, additional data, and the administration's consideration of policy options. for all medicare enrollees, we project per enrollee part b spend to go increase on average under 5% per year over the next 10 years. for 50 years, medicare has granted dignity and security to millions of older americans. we need to continue our efforts to make the program stronger and better for the next 50 years and beyond. thank you. and with that, i'll turn it over to secretary perez. >> thank you, secretary. and secretary lew, it's app honor to be here today with my fellow trustees to report on the foundation of these bedrock programs that have worked so well for millions for so many years. with 10000 people turning 65 every day for the foreseeable
future, there's no question that the issue of the long-term solvency of these trust funds are very important. i'm proud to report as secretary lew outlined earlier that they are in sound footing. but not without challenges. and one of the most important things that we can do to address the challenges is to continue to build an economy that works for everybody. an economy that generates good jobs that pay good wages. we're now in the middle of the longest streak on record. 12.8 million jocks over the past 64 months. unemployment is now 5.3% which is a seven-year low. and there are 1 million fewer long-term people than a year ago. more people working means more people contributing to the payroll tax pays and paying into social security and medicare. and so this is good news. but we have more work to do. that's why the president's middle class agenda of middleclass economics is designed to ensure that we
continue to grow this economy that we continue to ensure that everybody has an opportunity to punch their ticket to the middle class. and when we do that, we not only provide opportunity for everyone, but we also continue to shore up the social security and medicare trust funds. this week we talk about areas of anniversary. there's another anniversary that we celebrate this week and that is the 25th anniversary of the americans with disabilities act. seldom do i meet more people who tell me tom, i want to be a tax payer than when i meet people with disabilities. and what we need to do and what the promise of the a da has been is we will focus on the last seven letters instead of the first three letters. we made tremendous progress in that area. as we talk about the issue of the social security disability insurance trust fund we need to focus on the actions that secretary lew outlined to ensure
the solvency of that trust fund. at the same time we are working together with our colleagues in the social security administration and elsewhere to expand opportunities for people with disabilities to work so that they can indeed become the tax payers they want to become. we have 20%, 21% labor force participation rate of people with disabilities. we know we can do better. so our actions have started with our own hiring and human resources effort. thanks to a 2010 executive order, we have more in federal service than at any time in the last 33 years. we have completed some historic rule making at the department of labor in 2013 that created for federal contractors, new requirements about ensuring opportunity for people with disability toss gain employment. over the last five years, through a grant program called the disability employment
initiative, we are investing tens of millions of dollars to transform the system so it is more responsive to the needs of people with disabilities. we are helping states direct programs and funneleding towards integrated employment for people with disabilities. this is a bipartisan issue. in fact, today i sent a letter to governors signed by myself the governor of south dakota and the governor of delaware highlighting examples on of states that have passed legislation or adopted policies that make integrated employment of people with disabilities the rule rather than the exception. and the new workforce innovation and opportunity act gives us opportunities to partner with the social security administration, the center for medicare and medicaid and other stakeholders on a working committee to advance strategies for integrated employment. we're using every tool in our toolbox. because of that, we believe people with disabilities can untap the potential they have and lead the lives they had to lead. and so as we celebrate this 25th
anniversary of the americans with disabilities act and as we reflect on the challenges in the ssdi trust fund it is another reminder of the opportunities that present themselves to ensure that people with disabilities have those opportunities that they so crave so often. with that, let me turn to caroline. >> thank you, secretary perez. good afternoon. the social security and medicare programs are crucially important for the millions of americans who receive benefits. and for the roughly 95% of our population that is receiving or can expect to receive benefits from the program in the future. as trustees we are responsible for overseeing and annually reporting on the status of the two programs. the combined social security trust fund reserves are projected to become completed in 2034 if no legislative changes are made to improve the overall financial status between now and
then. at that time continuing income would be sufficient to support expenditures at 79% of program costs. the year of combined trust fund reserve depletion is one year later than in last year's report. lawmakers should act soon to address this imbalance in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and to give workers and beneficiaries time to a adjust to the changes. the long-range actuarial status as represented by the actuarial deficit is as shown in the 2014 report. based on the intermediate assumptions, the estimated long-term deficit for the combined social security trust funds the next 75 years decreased from 2.88% of payroll and last year's report to 2.68% of taxable payroll in this
year's report. this change in the long-range deficit can be attributed to a number of factors. one, the change in the starting year from 2014 to 2015, thus adding the new 75th projection year of 2089. two, the effects of the president's 2014 executive actions on immigration. and third, changes and methods assumptions as starting data values. considering the trust fund reference are projected to become depleted much sooner than the combined social security funds. this year's report again projects that di reserve depletion will occur in the fourth quarter of 2016 in the absence of legislative changes. at that point, continuing income to the di trust fund would be sufficient to support expenditures at a level of 81% of program cost. the di program is of immediate
importance for the 11 million americans currently receiving benefits. people who are not able to work depend on these benefits. in addition all working americans who are currently insured depend on this program to replace the income they will lose if they become disabled in the future. the president has proposed a small reallocation of the current payroll tax rate moving 0.9 percentage points of the oasi rate to di for just five years. this reallocation would extend the reserve depletion date of the di trust fund by nearly 20 years, roughly equalizing the financial status of the oasi and di trust finds. and this proposal will provide congress time to make careful adjustments in order to ensure financial soundness for this important program for the long-range future. thank you.
at this time i want to bring mr. bellhouse up, one of our public trustees. >> i would like to begin, first of all by thanking secretary lew, secretary burwell secretary perez acting commissioner colvin. most of all, i want to thank my colleague for whom i have learned and continue to learn a great amount. i also want to thank the many expert and hard-working staff many of whom are present in this room right now. my conondrum as much as i want to single people out, my fear is if i try to name individuals, i will leave occupant someone who is very very deserving. clearly special thanks are due to paul stammic, steve goss, mike linicio at ssa. i would also single out the
treasury department staff who have done such an exemplary job leading this. they have made this process as good as it can be. and i would like say a few more words about that process before turning to the substance. as we all know, there's no shortage of criticism of government processes. certainly a healthy skepticism of government, as with any authority, is a good thing. but too often it does attend to evolve into cynicism. and participation in the trustee's process these last few years certainly have given us an opportunity, and i believe the obligation, to vouch for the integrity and the quality of the work product that is being released today. each of the many staff, many of whom you see around you, some of who you don't see work incredibly hard to put thoeg these annual reports. our projections of course are not going to be perfect. but i believe the attitude these
professionals bring to their work is very close to it. it has been very humbling to witness the dedication of so many to the vital social security and medicare programs, their dedication to the people who depend on these programs, and to the public in general. now, as has become our custom i'm going to handle the social security side of things. i'm going to live it to my fellow colleague bob to handle the medicare side. as has been mentioned, probably the biggest and most news worthy story on the social security side remains the impending depletion of the disability insurance trust fund which we project will occur in the fourth quarter of 2016. that's just a little over a year away. for many years, these reports have warned of fundamental systemic imbalances in medicare finances. now one of those shortfalls has become urgent concern. certainly it is an urgent concern to the roughly 11 million as the commissioner
noted, 11 million disabled beneficiaries who face the threat of sudden benefit reductions of 19% unless there is prompt legislative action. action to correct the systemic shortfall has been delayed to the point where we don't have a whole lot of options dealing with disability. there is no realistic reform of the disability program no matter how well constructed. that is going to reduce costs by 19% in a year without having an adverse effect on beneficiaries. similarly, it does not appear to be an appetite to raise taxes to close the shortfall. this means no matter what else is done, almost certain to be needed a temporary infusion into the disability insurance trust fund from some other source. each carries a different set of implications. some of them problematic. it is clear some type of infusion listen needed no matter what else is done. one of the communication challenges we face each year is
to try to explain and off to many of you in the press, why will summaries of the annual reports need to be more sophisticated than citing the date of dephregz as proxy of the overall health of the programs. in practical reality, the depletion date is not an adequate proxy at all for financial health. it contains almost no useful information about what specifically has to be done to sustain these vital programs. my plea is don't do that. don't rely solely on the date of projected depletion as being a more significant piece of data than it actually is. the current situation facing disability is an object lesson. it shows how in various important senses by the time the depletion date arrives in some sense it is too late. spending lines and revenue are so far apart we are not raising taxes quickly enough to we wind up looking to another source to
bail out the fund with additional revenues. so this is a teachable moment for us. at least it should be. we cannot afford to delay meaningful action where social security retirement fund is also nearing trust fund depletion. some numbers this this year's report dramatize this important point. purely for the sake of administration. let's assume we wanted to hold beneficiaries harmless. if you employed that strategy you would have to reduce benefits by roughly 19.6% for every newly becoming eligible for benefits. if instead we delayed action and tried the same strategy when the combined trust funds were nearly depleted in 2034, a complete cutoff of benefits 100%. so those newly eligible will not be enough to deploy depletion.
we need prompt enactment to address social security's financial imbalances before they grow too large to fix. accordingly they would do well if in context shoring up the trust fund they could take some action to reduce the long-term financing shortfall to whatever can be agreed to on a bipartisan basis. there are no real big surprise. the principle difference between this year's and last year is we lost another year or two in action. as noted before we are a critical year closer to the depletion of the trust fund while a year without legislative action has also avoided the benefit of pushing out depletion dates for survivors trust fund by one year respectively to 2034 and 2035. so the sum is that we remain still closer to trust fund depletion now whether on an individual or combined trust
fund paves than at any point since the 1983 financing, social security financing crisis. today's projected long-range deficit of taxable payroll is also significantly larger than the one solved with so much difficulty in 1983. another important measure that speaks to the financial health is so-called trust fund ratio. this measure is the fraction of a year's worth of benefits that the current balance can finance. both of social security's trust funds have been experiencing declining trust fund ratios the last several years. the ratio stood at 362 at the start of this year. that was down from 402 at 2011. that means there are enough reserves that could if called upon could finance three and a half years of benefits. disability insurance trust fund was down to 40. and that means that the trust fund reserves on the disability insurance side at the start of
this year were less than would be necessary to finance even five months worth of benefit payments. this year is 1.31% of the tax base. it may sound like a very small number but that's the largest such deficit social security has ever faced. social security's other sources of income such as interest payments and any redemptions of assets are not only paid from the general fund but they only last as long as there's a positive trust fund balance. after they are depleted the tax income represents its only ongoing revenue source. we need to act to align this important income stream with annual obligations. for those and other reasons it is imperative lawmakers work to shore up finances at the earlier possible time. with that i call on my fellow
public trustee bob roushauer. >> good afternoon. being the last trustee to speak, i will try to be pref. the primary responsibility of the public trustees is to ensure the estimates in the trustees reports are objective, that they use the best data and information available and employ the most appropriate assumptions and methodologies as the doctor mentioned, he and i agreed without hesitation or caveat that we can provide the public with such assurance. once again we feel we participated in an open, a robust, and vibrant discussion of the numerous issues that have to be dealt with each year when these reports are put together. again, we have been impressed by the expertise and commitment to
objectivity displayed by the actuaries and their staffs, by the staffs of the ex officio trustees, and the staff at ssa. i'd like to add my appreciation to all of them without trying to name anyone to the help that they provided chuck and myself over the last five years. now we provide a couple observations that relate to the content of the report whose bottom line as a number of the speakers has suggested, differed little from the recent reports. chuck had an add mow admission that don't focus on the date of trust fund depletion. and we have done our best to help you adhere to that by not changing them. and so you can focus on more knew answered analysis of these reports. first, let me add my voice to the chorus emphasized under
current law these vitally important programs are fiscally unsustainable paths if one looks out several decades. and that correction will require legislative action. and the sooner policymakers address these challenges the less disruptive the unavoidable changes will be. and affected individuals, businesses, health care providers and the economy as a whole will have an easier time of adjustment. similarly, the sooner lawmakers act the broader will be the array of policy options to be considered. chuck indicated we're at a point now with respect to disability insurance program where we don't have very many options. in fact, we have almost none. and that hopefully won't occur when we consider the long-run situation for oasi and medicare.
the situation facing disability insurance could offer case study and potential consequence of not following the advice of acting sooner rather a than later. while everybody in this room might be certain that lawmakers will not allow an interruption in or significant decrease when the trust fund approaches insolvency and reserves are depleted. anxiety may begin to rise if a solution is not found and agreed to within the next few months. many beneficiaries are less sophisticated in the ways of washington than those of us in this room. and some may fear with an election approaching, legislative grid lock, government shutdown across the board cut of some kind of which they are familiar with may in some way impact the timely payment of their benefits. our di beneficiaries deserve better than this.
as chuck indicated, he tpoubgfocused on social security. by some measures, as others have noted, the long term outlook appears to have improved from last year. 75 actuarial imbalance has improved from .87 to .68 of taxable income in this year's report. at the end of the 75-year projection period, total medicare expenditures are expected to amount to 6.0% of gdp. last year's report equivalent number was 6.84. and these are significant improvements. but notwithstanding this good news we should treat it with caution. as has been reported by several of the speakers and in the all trustees message almost all the
improvement is projected to occur in the more distant future, 20, 30, 40 years out. the next two decades, total medicare are not projected to be different than that which was projected in last year's report. an indication is the simple fact that the date of hi trust fund depletion has remain unchanged in 2030 from where it was last year. of course the further out one projects the more uncertain estimates become. this is especially true with respect to health care where technologies and interventions and delivery systems that we can't even imagine today will be the norm 30 or 40 years from now. most of the improvements shown in the 2015 report for the longer run is a contributoriable to changes i might add that
suggest growth in the long run will be slower than we assumed in previous reports. with respect to the projections of medicare costs over the shorter term, meaning the next 20 years or so there's a bit more certainty this year in the report than there was in last year's report or in the reports over the last decade or so. and the reason for this is because of the medicare reauthorization act of 2015 which replaced the unrealistic fee schedule updates that were mandated under the ser growth mechanism. this new legislation and the cost-saving measures that secretary burwell and secretary lew mentioned in the affordable care act don't mean that we're
necessarily home free. there were major steps in the right direction. but it will be a daunting challenge for cms, hhs providers, plans, and others to implement these policies in an effective way. to realize the projected savings, there will have to be fundamental changes the way care is organized and delivered, but also for those with employer and union sponsored health plans and those obtaining coverage through the affordable care act exchanges. as the report and the all trustees message emphasized everyone if the policies that will be an act proved successful tpurbgts legislation will be required to address substantial long-run shortfall facing the hi trust fund and growing burden in part b costs will impose on tax payers and beneficiaries. the sooner we begin doing this
the better and less disruptive it will be. thank you. >> we'll take some questions. >> yeah, we'll take a few questions. if you had please wait until the microphone comes to you. speak your name and outlet. >> ricardo alonso saldivar with ap. you mentioned that di rescue package should include broader changes to the larger social security problem. what would some of those look like and commissioner colvin, secretary perez how would the administration feel about a broader approach? >> i want to be careful to make my comment as precise as possible.
i'm not saying to congress they need to do complete comprehensive social security financing overhaul at this time. what i am saying is that some is better than none, right? i think there has to be legislation to deal with the pressing financing challenges facing the disability insurance system. we also know that the longer we delay more substantial financing reforms for social security as a whole the more difficult and less desirable the solution becomes. not just at the present moment but any moment. so if it's possible to be done, it should be done.
regardless of whether the long term financing outlet is improved in any way we clearly have an impending disability trust fund depletion that has to be dealt with. that has to be addressed one way or the other. does that answer your question? >> let me reiterate that the immediate insolvency issue we're facing can only be solved by the reallocation proposal that the president has put forth. he clearly indicated his willingness working with congress on long-term solutions. it's a matter of what can be brought together in a by patterson way. >> questions? >> danny galina, market news.
last year you said that the longer that the fix for social security is is delayed the less likely it is to occur. now, that's a little bleak. what do you think about that this year? >> sit bleak but it remains a concern of mine. and i think that the current disability insurance trust fund issue is a case study and why. i think there are many opinions about what should be done about the disability insurance system. but i think any realistic approval of the situation finds that there isn't enough time now to reform disability insurance on its own terms to prevent the depletion date without having to come up with revenues from somewhere else. we don't want to get into that same situation with social security as a whole.
if you get to the point where it's 2032, 2033 and lawmakers are unwilling to take action to either constrain the growth of benefits or raise taxes enough for the shortfall the only way it can be dealt with is by basically departing from social security's historical financing structure. so if we believe the social security historical structure is important and should be continued, we need to act much more promptly than that. sit a bleak assessment. it's a concern i have. i think probably relative to most social security experts i hold that concern a little bit more strongly. but i think it's a valid concern. if you look at where we are now and the size of the shortfall that has to be corrected now how difficult it was to correct a smaller shortfall in 1983 we're playing with fire if we wait much longer.
>> we will have to cut you off. we have very limited time. we will have to give someone else a chance. >> would you like to take it? >> -- news. hi. phil with kaiser health news. in the report it specifically says looking at the solvency it doesn't take into account someone's payment in the affordable care act. some of these have gotten started. a couple reports on a few so far. why not? why can't you look at these and decide whether or not these are helping or not at this point? >> i think you know that several of them, whether acos and most recently we just met the statutory standard with a couple of our accountable care organizations both in terms of quality, maintain or improve, and savings requirements. we have met that. you are right to reflect.
we're starting to get the evidence and the results in. at this point in time i don't think we think it is far enough long. we do that on statutory basis when we made a that declaration and the actuaries declined and said we met that standard and we can accelerate and replicate the models we put in place. we are taking those steps. what we will see, whether it's that issue or the issue of how we have seen a reaction in readmissions or when we look at safety numbers. that 17% over a three-year period reduction in safety harms falls, other things people get in hospitals. the estimated savings is about $12 billion over that period. so you are right. we're gathering that evident. i think at this point we don't feel we're far enough long to include it as our colleagues have said, you know it is very important that we make sure the health of the trust funds. we take these responsibilities very seriously. i'm hopeful and optimistic that over time we will see results
that are evidence based and at a place where we can do that. we think we're not there yet. thank you. >> it's almost as if they were matter and anti-matter. >> freedom breeds in equality. i'll say it a third time. >> no. twice is enough. >> anything complicated confuses him. >> filmmakers robert gordon and morgan neville talk about their documentary "best of enemies" william f. buckley over war, politics, god, and sex. >> there's not someone in their ear very unlike today. today i believe there's someone say the numbers are -- dwindling. talk about, you know, hot topic. hot, salacious topic number two. whereas, then i don't think that
was the norm in tv at the time. and i don't think these guys needed it. as morgan said, these guys didn't need that. >> and the howard case was the moderator, who was a distinguished newsman who i think was really kind of embarrassed by this. he was moderating, but he disappears for sometimes five or more minutes at a time. today you wouldn't have a moderator not jumping in every 30 seconds. so i think really everybody at abc just stood back and let the fire burn. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span q and a. >> our topic here how would you improve congress, asking all of you to weigh in on that. john fort yea is here director of the democracy project for the bipartisan policy center out with the latest healthy congress index. you took a look at the first six months of the 114th congress. what did you find? how is congress doing? >> well, back up a little bit.
we had a commission at the bipartisan policy center of democrats and republicans. the senate and the house and other walks of life. how can we improve congress? some of the recommendations congress should be here more. congress works a lot. they are not working is very unfair. but they should be here for concentrated periods of time. we really recommend they be here three weeks on five days a week. take a day at home. but whatever the number, more time here in washington. we think also that the debate had suffered in congress in a number of ways. in the house but especially in the senate where in the last couple congresses the amendment process was shut down. members of both parties worried they really couldn't put up their proposals as amendments to bills. and a lot of debate was being shut down by filibusters or the majority/minority of debate. when you think about school
house rock many of you watched that show when you were younger that was a simple way of telling a good legislative process. you work on committees. you take the time. both sides have input. you get expert opinion. you have an open floor debate. put in two cents and be heard. and then go to conference committee and resolve the differences before sending it to the president. we try to measure all of those things. the day's working, how the committees debate are doing. and i think generally there's some good signs in this six months compared to the last couple. >> let's break it down a little bit. when you first did this report last year, you found that over the course of three months in 2014 congress only spent 53% of business days in session.
we are close to that. the senate has done pretty well. the senatest up significantly. it was 73 days 71 days. they have been in 86 days. that's really working days. we don't count the days where they are just here and you see nobody on the floor. pro for ma day. they are really here working 86 days out of the first half of the year. that's a pretty good number. and as i mentioned, they also are working at home in the district. we know that. we know they're working hard. but we believe that concentrated period of time here in washington is helpful. there are results coming from the fruit of being here more, seeing each other having time to really work through the legislative process. >> what about the house? >> the house is up a tiny bit. i think the house could do
better. the senate has been in more significantly. house is up to 70 days this congress. up from 68 and 69 the last couple congresses. >> what about regular order? why is it important? >> a lot of people like the term regular order. i would hike to say it this way. we have moved the last 20 or 30 years to much more centralized leadership in congress. the worst-case scenario is if you have at the end of the day there's no deal on something and the president and the speaker of the house the majority leader huddled in a room and they cut a deal. then they say back to all members, now you pass this, that doesn't really allow a lot of input we should have. again, if you go back to very simple three parts, the committees is where things again. and having strong committee work lots of bills going through committee, the time to
hear from experts get the members who know the subjects well, and demand at a 245 level. number two, you go to the floor. you have some openness to the debate. here the senate has been moved in a way to have more amendments this congress than the last couple. that's a good story. there's more activity. maybe some more closed rules or some limiting of debate in a way we would like to see a little bit more of. and then finally, we haven't had a lot of this yet. it's early in the congress. when you get through that part of the process, the house has one version and the senate has their version go. it's a messy process. but it is not in the interest of either party. >> that's what congress face this is week. the senate has a six-year funding stream for the highway trust fund that they want to get through bipartisan bill that the leader of the republican party mitch mcconnell worked on with barbara boxer from
california. the house passes a five-month extension. >> ultimately you have to resolve that one way or the other. sometimes one body gives in and says, okay we'll take your version. we don't think that should never happen. but on many major issues the bodies have worked hard on these compromises with their own members. but there is still another step to get to the president. a conference committee where appropriate is an important step. that's where the house brings its leaders on both sides who have been involved with passing the bill. the senate brings its leaders and they try to reach a common agreement that both houses can pass. it's the last place of compromise before you get to the president's signature. >> how is this 114th congress doing then on regular order? >> well, i think the committees are very active. i think that's something we've seen that the committee work, the number of bills that have made it through committee, is up. and that's up in both house and senate. if you look at the last couple
congresses, we had low numbers. the house was only 66 bills at the present time six months in. and 112, 98 and is up from down a low of 42 to 102. and i think part of that has to do with the republicans having control of both chambers and wanting to get bill that is they found being stopped before back on to the floor. but i think you know we applaud that, that the committees are being active. they're putting things out there, they're working through the process they should rather than again waiting for a last-minute negotiation between the leader that is nobody really has major input into committees are active. >> we're talking about ways to improve congress. bipartisan policy center with recommendations that they've made. they're out with an update on the healthy congress index. we want to get your take on this. democrats 202-748-8000. republicans 202-488-8801.
independents 202-788-8002. how would you improve congress? more working days more bipartisan meetings? john fortier what else is that you think this 114th congress is not doing that they should be doing that you have recommended in the past? >> well, in our big measures there are a couple things that could be better. the house could be in session more. senate's doing pretty well. when we get to the debate on the floor, there's good things. senate's allowing amendments. activity. bills are there. but the house of representatives has had more what we call structured or closed rules. to explain that in a simple way. you can have a debate over a bill where there's a completely amendment process where anybody can add any amendment they like and vote on whether they get into the bill or not. you can say there's five for each other side or really say almost no debate. here take it or leave it the
bill, as it is. while we have seen more activity on the house floor, a lot more bills there, more debate, we have also more closed rules, more structured rules than we'd like. we would like more chances for members of both sides to amend the bills. i think on the senate it's complicated trying to talk about the filibuster and the details of that. we try to measure what they call cloture votes and cut off debate to vote to break a filibuster but it's -- you know, those numbers are up a little bit. we have a lot of bills being considered. it's a little hard to blame that on majority or minority. it depends on the case. you have to look at. i think still we are not getting to as many bills as we might. the parties disagree. we'd like to see more of this. >> what about bipartisanship and meeting, having lawmakers meet
and president up to capitol hill and lawmakers to the white house? >> we had other recommendations and not measuring in this index. i think some of those are very important. two of our members of our commission were senate majority leaders, senator lott and senator daschle. they made a point of the need for many more bipartisan meetings or caucuses. a simple point is that the parties, of course, the members of the parties, the caucus, they meet together. and sometimes too much of that meeting really stirs up partisan tension. so if to wrote senator lott when the members or senators come in on tuesday and one of the first things they do is get together as republicans and then democrats, they often come out of the meetings ready to go and sort of partisan way. senators daschle and lott found in the early 2000s leaders, that it was useful to have a cooling down period after those caucuses.
why not have a caucus of both parties? why not have the president come to address the caucus and both sides there house and senate or in the senate republicans and democrats and also do it in the house with republicans and the democrats to hear from the whole body sometimes rather than just one party. >> let's get to the viewers' ideas on this as well. tim in virginia, democrat, how would you improve congress? >> caller: yes. i think a good thing would be if we want to keep using our military do go into the other countries, take a bill with us figure out what it's going to cost and tell them that you pay half when we get there and half when the job's done. we can't keep affording to go and police the world and some of the social programs like social security so easy to fix. when the kid comes out of the social security on year one, start taking taxes out. don't wait 18 or 20 years. take a little bit out of earned income credit and not miss it. it would fix social security and
probably give a little bit of money there for health care that the whole country needs. >> okay. >> caller: i think those are a couple of good things to start with. >> all right. john fortier the budget. >> we with respect taking positions like wars and entitlement. those are functions for congress to address. i think if you're getting at the budget process, that's something we made recommendations about and the bipartisan policy center has additional recommendations out of an economic commission. it really is not what it should be. one thing we recommend is really to move to a two-year budget cycle and may seem like inside baseball and we spend a lot of time each year arguing trying to get through many appropriations bills, trying to get a budget passed and then start all over again next year and contentious and the deadlines are and with a two-year cycle, more long-term planning and the ability to have oversight, more in the middle of
this time so you weren't always thinking about a one-year plan. you could have two years and watch where the money was going over the two years. not measured by the index and something we hope to see. >> john is next in pennsylvania, republican. good morning. >> caller: yes. good morning. i'd like to just make a comment on my observation. i pay pretty close attention to what goes on in congress. and a couple years ago the postmaster general came there. the postoffice was losing a lot of money and congress regulates the post office but they don't fund it. so they called the postmaster general in and he suggests -- made some recommendations so the senate almost immediately got on this. the committee was -- susan collins, a republican and joe lieberman an independent. and they -- i watched that whole process through the committee
and i thought, boy, this is just how my government is supposed to work. it seemed perfect. they had all kinds of amendments in the committees. then it went to the house or to the full floor and they voted on it on all these amendments. i think close to a hundred. they passed it by i believe it was over 80% of the senate voted for this. and i thought, this is -- just working perfect. and it went to the house and that was the last you heard of it. >> okay. okay, john? >> well, i think you point out a couple of things. one, there can be important relationships 0 of a committee chairman or chairwoman and the ranking member. those are really essential members of committees that work very well. have the good relationships and much of what a committee's jurisdiction is is to oversee an area of government, to watch what the federal executive branch is doing or even outside
agencies like the post office. so if you see a committee working well with both sides, leaders of both sides of the committee willing to do oversight, sure disagree on certain parts of legislation and what they want to do about it, but to spend the serious time overseeing you see a good result. whether that always works in both houses you know again we believe that at the end of the day both houses have to take these things serely and that those differences are real and sometimes we might go to conference committee to resolve them. those are -- that's part of the process and i do think you do see many me believes joe lieberman is not with us in congress anymore but good relationships between chairman and ranking members are extremely important for the functioning of -- >> this viewer on twitter said representatives and senators should have some qualification for the committee on which they serve. too many ignorant of subjects they address. don in pennsylvania, independent, what do you think?
>> caller: good morning. i think what we need to do is look at the whole situation of gerrymandering in the country. the house has gerrymandered their seats. here in erie they split a competitive district in half. they gave mike kelly the rep of western pennsylvania the whole western part of erie. they snaked it down towards pittsburgh and eastern half of the state to republican rep of state college, snakes way over the mountains to state college. and these districts have now become -- same thing in ohio. no republican has to worry about their district. or democrat has to worry about their district. so there's no cooperation between the two. so how are you going to get things done? we have to eliminate the gerrymandering. that's how i would do it to try to get competitive districts back so our government can work. >> got it. >> well, we're here talking a
little bit about congress but if you look back to the entire report of our commission on political reform we did take on several issues. one was congress electoral system and services and in our section on the electoral system, we did talk about redistricting and we had to get agreement of republicans and democrats on the commission and did feel some things to be done better in that regard. first, let me tell you, as a political scientists, i think these are important questions but political science tells you you're still not going to have districts competitive or everyone in the middle. part of what's gone on in america is congress is left and right and people live together and concentrated, democrats live in democratic neighborhoods. republicans live so the drawing of the lines won't fix all of that. we came up with a process that we thought was fair and several recommendations. one is that both party vs an investment in redistricting