tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 11, 2016 3:56am-5:06am EST
we'll have more from the senate finance committee thursday when they question health and human services secretary sylvia burwell. watch it live here on c-span 3 at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. every weekend on american history tv on c-span 3, we feature programs that tell the american story. here are some of the highlights for this president's day weekend. saturday afternoon at 5:00 eastern, author margaret
oppenheimer talks about one of the richest women in the 19th century new york. her unusual life, including a second marriage to former vice president aaron burr. >> what brought these two celebrities together? on both side of the altar, the undoubted attraction was money. a marriage to eliza jumel will give him a big pot of money to spend. she had her own motivations for the marriage. on the one hand, she would soon have to begin settling her first husband's estate. burr, with his knowledge of the law could help her protect her assets. but the main attraction of the marriage for her was the opportunity to enter social circles that had been previously closed to her.
>> at 6:00, on the civil war, historian dennis fry on the reaction to both northerners and southerners on the raid at ha harper's ferry. the divided sentiments as americans headed for election. and historians explore the history of the death penalty in america, including the case that involved the capital punishment. and monday, author and historian james swanson compares the assassinations of abraham lincoln. their terms and differences in office, and the state of the country at the time. he also talks about the experience and reactions of the two widows, mary lincoln and jacqueline kennedy. >> mary was very conscious of history, jfk was knowledgeable
about lincoln, so jackie did have very much in mind the lincoln precedent for the funeral. >> go to c-span.org for the presentation. on tuesday, pennsylvania governor tom wolf delivered his annual address on the state budget, calling on the general assembly to move quickly to close pennsylvania's $2 billion budget deficit. this is a half hour. >> thank you so much. lieutenant governor -- thank you, thank you, please. thank you. lieutenant governor stack,
speaker terzai, president scarnati, leader reed, members of the general assembly, members of the judiciary. members of the cabinet, i would like to recognize the auditor general, and also, my wife, francis. most importantly, the people of pennsylvania. this will not be an ordinary governor's budget address. usually this speech is an opportunity to lay out an ambitious agenda for the year ahead. under ordinary circumstances i would outline my 2016/2017 budget proposal, a proposal full of ideas to move the commonwealth forward. i talk about new measures i'm proposing to ensure that every
child in pennsylvania has a world class education that starts before kindergarten and goes all the way through college. i talked about the new partnerships we can create between the public and private sectors to help create jobs and grow our economy. i would talk about the new innovations we can build on our progress to help state government so that it works better and costs less. and i would talk about long overdue steps that we can take to fulfill the promise of economic security and fulfillment for all, including the lgbt community, a raise in the minimum wage and criminal justice reform that will bring fairness back to our criminal justice system and save tax dollars. but i can't give that speech. not under these circumstances. my fellow pennsylvanians, our commonwealth is in crisis, a crisis that threatens our
future. and today i want to be clear with each member of the general assembly and with every pennsylvanian about the actions we must take to resolve this crisis. and the consequences that we'll face, all of us, if we don't. first, let me be very clear about the nature of the problem. the problem is not that republicans in the general assembly and i don't see eye to eye. after all, pennsylvanians are used to seeing political leaders disagree, and even strongly. and in 2014 in that election the people of pennsylvania chose divided government. the democratic governor, republican legislature. and i doubt anybody was surprised when it turned out that we have different priorities. no, this crisis is not about politics at all. this is about math. pennsylvania now faces a $2 billion budget deficit. that is not a democratic fact. and that is not a republican fact. it's just a fact. it's a fact supported by
standard & poors, an independent rating agency. they have done the math and they agree that pennsylvania faces a massive structural budget deficit that will only continue to grow if we fail to address it responsibly. this is not just a cloud hanging over pennsylvania's long-term future, it's a time bomb. and it's ticking away right now even as i speak. if it explodes, the people in this chamber, if you allow it to explode then pennsylvania will experience a fiscal catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen. please understand we're not talking about a long-term budget projection. we're talking about pennsylvania failing to meet its basic obligations this year. we're talking about pain that will be felt all across our commonwealth this year. if the general assembly doesn't approve a responsible plan to solve this crisis, every
pennsylvanian will suffer the consequences. and those consequences will be real. they will be immediate, and they will be severe. nearly three quarters of pennsylvania homeowners will see their already too high home run taxes skyrocket even further. if a member of this body were to stand up and propose a property tax increase he or she would be booed off the floor by both democrats and republicans. but in fact that is actually what will happen if we do not act. we have seen this play out over the last four years. since 2011, school districts have been forced to increase local property taxes by $1.2 billion, all because of our irresponsibility right here in harrisburg. in the last year alone, 83 school districts increased property taxes above the index because harrisburg did not
produce a responsible anton babchb budget, this tax shifting is not sustainable and it will only continue to squeeze families and seniors if we do not stop passing the buck onto local communities. meanwhile, even as pennsylvanians will pay more they will get less from their state government, far less. for example, our education system, already threadbare after funding from the state level, will take a hit. thousands will be laid off, guidance counselors and teachers will be handed pink slips, many professionals will be immediately taken out of pennsylvania schools. across pennsylvania, already crowded classes will become even more so. class sizes will balloon by 30% to account for all of those teacher layoffs. worse, the consequences will not be evenly distributed.
classroom crowding will be even more severe in the schools that can least afford it. but all across our commonwealth are children, all children will receive less attention, less structural time, less opportunity to gain the skills we all need them to have for the 21st century. technical education, those programs will be cut. special education programs, they will be cut. head start programs, cut. and tens of thousands of pennsylvania children will lose access to pre-kindergarten, depriving them of the early childhood education that we all know is key to their future success. this is not a threat. this is not political posturing. this is simply what the math tells us will happen if this crisis is not re solve solved. this is the reality that teachers and parents and counselors will face if this is not addressed. and the damage will not be limited to our schools.
basic state services will also face devastating cuts. we will lose nearly $200 million to service in pennsylvania seniors including prescription drug assistance and home and community-based services. pennsylvania seniors who depend on that assistance will be forced to pay more out of pocket. some will have to choose between paying for groceries and the medicines that keep them alive. these are our parents and elderly neighbors who are counting on this funding to pay for these needs. but if we don't have a budget we can't help. we'll lose $180 million for people who need help with mental disabilities. these pennsylvanians are the most vulnerable among us and need this help to contribute to their lives and live fully. but if we don't have a budget they will be denied significant opportunities to improve their lives. we'll lose $48 million to fund
child care and that is a total cut of nearly $90 million. that is hundreds of thousands of working parents who are counting on our help to have some peace of mind and the ability to earn a living upon which they can raise their families. but if we don't have a budget 211,000 pennsylvanian children will have nowhere to go. we'll lose $11.5 million for rape crisis centers. survival of domestic violence and sexual assault relies on these safe havens to have somewhere to go in the middle of somewhere. but if we don't have these fundings, we'll have to shut the doors to people who need them. 3/4 of these make up the people who need these services. simply put, pennsylvania cannot meet the obligation to its citizens if the general assembly doesn't meet its obligation to
pass a budget. and while my administration will always tackle fraud in the government operations, even these new harsh cuts that we're talking about here, the cuts will harm single mothers and seniors on fixed incomes and those who are down on their luck. even those cuts will not solve our mathematical crisis. indeed, anyone in this chamber who thinks we can cut our way out of this mess without increasing revenue is just ignoring the math. they're also ignoring history. if we don't have sustainable revenue sources in our budget the result will be billions of dollars in new property tax hikes at the local level. pennsylvanians need to prepare for these consequences. and i don't say this with any joy whatsoever. but someone in harrisburg has to start telling the people of pennsylvania the truth about the mess we're in. you know, before i ran for governor i ran a business. and in challenging times, i know
that you can be physically responsible while still looking out for the people you serve. these valuing are not muly mutu exclusive. in fact, they're closely linked. and if you're in business and the numbers don't add up you can't ignore the problem or wish it away or spin it away. you have to take a close look at how the problem started and then you have to solve it and fast or you will not be in business for very long. pennsylvania businesses don't have the luxury of pretending their problems don't exist. neither do pennsylvania families sitting around the kitchen table trying to make ends meet. and the truth is, neither do we here in harrisburg. so let's be honest about where we are and how we got here. after all, this fiscal crisis did not appear from out of nowhere. this was no act of god. we are in a hole we dug ourselves right here in harrisburg. and if the consequences i'm describing sound familiar it's because pennsylvania has been
building up to this moment for years. for years, our leaders have tried to balance our state budget on the backs of our children and our schools. when i took office, pennsylvania ranked near the bottom of the country in the percentage of the state level k-12 investment. the burden of funding our schools, therefore, fell on our local communities. and that in turn meant huge spikes in property taxes for pennsylvania homeowners. that is a bad way to solve a budget rproblem. although it's a great way to create an education problem we were left with tens of thousands of teachers laid off. crowded classrooms across most of our school districts and that was just part of the problem. you see even these huge cuts to education were not really enough to balance the budget. but instead of finding a sustainable way to balance the harrisburg budget, they looked into gimmicks and quick fixes.
maybe you can get away with that for a little while but sooner or later the rent comes do. and folks here that thought that was the long-term solution to the budget problem and the only people they were fooling were themselves because nobody else thought it. the three major ratings agencies, they have each downgraded our credit a total of five times over the last five years. our credit has actually been downgraded three times in the last two years alone. and each time the rating agen agencies have explained that these downgrades are the little tricks they have employed. when harrisburg doesn't take our budget seriously, well, the folks who rate our debt, they don't take harrisburg seriously. the commonwealth of pennsylvania is considered to be among the least credit-worthy states in america. this is embarrassing.
but embarrassment is not the only point you see because our credit has been downgraded so much we're actually paying a higher interest rate on that 17 billion of debt that we have. this is going to cost us an additional $139 million a year, that is if interest rates don't keep going up. that is $139 million that doesn't go to improving our schools or making our environment more competitive or reducing our taxes. it's a $139 million penalty that the people of pennsylvania pay for harrisburg's fiscal irresponsibility. that is how we got here. and it's why when i took office last year i proposed a different type of budget. instead of shortchanging our schools i proposed a historic commitment to education, beginning to restore the hundred billion dollars that had been cut from our schools previously. making new investments to child care and colleges and increasing
the shares for public schools and directing more of that funding to the districts that needed it most. and instead of using sleight of hand to reduce the deficit, i set us on a course of a more sustainable course. no more gimmicks, no more new quick fixes. a new approach in harrisburg, a fresh start for pennsylvania. i expected republicans would not agree with everything. what i expedid not expect was wi got. the budget that was not close to being balanced. the june 30th budget, $1.5 billion worth of optical illusions that would have made our budget problem even worse. if you were running a business and took a budget like that to your banker you would be laughed out of the room. but pennsylvania's creditors unfortunately don't have a sense
of humor about this sort of thing, actually, neither should we. while i was disappointed with republican's proposal i was not discouraged. so i came to the table ready to talk and negotiate. ready to compromise. it took months of bargaining and painful sacrifices from both sides. but in the end all that hard work paid off. we had a deal. the compromise budget i worked out with members of the legislature last year included some of the things i wanted but not everything. it did have an historic investment in our schools. it included some of the things that the republicans wanted but not everything. including changes to our pension and liquor systems. and i continue to believe we should solve these old problems, we need stability in the pension system and we need to bring our liquor system into the 21st century. okay, that is one person.
these improvements by themselves are not magic bullets. and changes in these two programs will not alone mitigate the consequences of a continued failure to acknowledge the basic math problem we face. again, the compromise budget included these republican priorities. but most important of all, most important of all the compromise budget balanced. it solved the financial problem. passing it into law would set us on a more sustainable course. it passed the senate with the majority of both democrats and republicans and had bipartisan support in the house. all that remained was a final vote before i could sign it into law and we could finally move forward. i was ready, pen in hand. and then the house republican leaders just walked away. they walked away from the table and went home for the holidays without holding that final vote. they still have not held that
final vote. listen, i understand -- i understand the frustration you all must feel looking at this huge mathematical problem. but yelling it, yelling will not make it go away. wishing it will not make it go aw away. we need to do what is right for the people of pennsylvania. we need -- we need a budget because we still have a budget crisis. that fiscal time bomb? it's still ticking. our teachers still hear it. our parents hear it. our seniors hear it. our creditors definitely hear it. you need to hear it. the time for games is over. and now it's time to finish the
job we should have finished last year. now, look, arguments over policy priorities again, i get it. they're healthy. democracy entails disagreement. compromise is hard. but we had those arguments. we worked out our disagreements. we reached a compromise. republicans and democrats sitting in this chamber right now sat at a table with me and did the hard work to find common ground. we had a deal. and then the house republican leaders walked away. only in harrisburg could that be seen as an acceptable way to do business. you know what? i'm not interested in the inner workings of the republican caucus. this is not about politics, this is about what is real. here is what is really, really frustrating. when some republican leaders bailed on our agreement i was handed another budget where the numbers did not add up. a budget to would cut another
$95 million from our schools. a budget that would zero out funding increases for the higher institutions and worst of all, a budget that still did not balance. we are sitting at the bottom, folks, of a $2 billion hole. it's simply unbelievable that some folks in this chamber want to address that problem by continuing to dig. i can agree that we have differences in points of education and i can accept that we can disagree about the proper role of government in the future of our commonwealth. i can accept that i can't get everything my way. but pennsylvania can't ignore the fact of this fiscal crisis and pretends that our problems simply don't exist.
i did not run for this office to be party to the corner-cutting gimmickry to got us into this mess. we can't afford to play political games while this crisis is casting such a dark shadow on our future. there is simply too much at stake. the train has been careening down the track for years and now the moment of impact has arrived. and whether or not we crash is up to the people in this chamber, and up to the people in this chamber to save our children, our seniors, our most vulnerable populations from bearing the brunt of devastating cuts. it's up to the people of this chamber to save the taxpayers from getting handed the bill because harrisburg was not responsible enough to pay right here. it's up to the people of the chamber to save pennsylvania's future. it's time for the people of this chamber to get back to work.
[ applause ] the good news is, i still have my pen. and we still have a budget that reflects months of hard work and honest negotiation. a budget that has been approved by bipartisan majorities in both chambers of our legislature. a budget that averts this fiscal catastrophe and gives us a chance at a fresh start. we can get it done. send that compromise budget to my desk and we can put our commonwealth on more secure footing than it's been for years. but let me be very, very clear with each of you. we are going to have to stop playing games with our fiscal future. we are going to have to stop closing our eyes and just hoping that you aour problems are goin go away. we're going to have to face hard facts. so don't send me another budget with gimmicks that are too cute
by half, or one that doesn't add up. i am not going to be convinced that dime-store magic trips are a substitute for a more fiscal budget. and more importantly -- and more importantly neither will our creditors, nor the people of pennsylvania. if you can't agree to the budget reforms i propose then help me find a sustainable alternative. but if you won't face up to the reality of the situation we're in, if you ignore that time bomb ticking. if you won't take seriously your responsibility to the people of pennsylvania then find another job. because the this is not the timr denial or obstruction.
this is the time for leaders to come together and honestly and sincerely take on the problems we're facing. because if we don't solve this crisis whatever partisan game you think you will win, will cause this state to suffer. nobody in pennsylvania will care one iota about politics that cause the commonwealth to suffer so much. i cannot stop that from happening alone. the people of pennsylvania need you to do the right thing. i'm not asking people in this chamber to give up their political beliefs. i am asking that you join me in mustering the political courage to meet this head on, i'm asking that they do their job to uphold the constitution, the oath that we all took, the oath to defend the constitution. this doesn't require anyone to walk away from his or her principles. it merely requires that each of us declare that our highest
principal is the responsibility that each of us has to the people of pennsylvania. the people of pennsylvania deserve schools that teach. jobs that pay. and a government that works for them. they deserve leaders who are willing to work hard and sacrifice to build a better commonwealth. because that is what the people of pennsylvania do every day to build a better life for their families. their strength, their resiliency. their spirit, illuminates our path forward and gives me hope that when i stand in this chamber to give my budget address next year it will be under far happier circumstances. after all i ran for this office because i believe deeply in our commonwealth, in our spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. and the opportunity to seize the opportunities with boldness and courage and integrity and honesty. and our potential to build a future that is as bright as the
past. and i know that many of you came together to prove that there are leaders in this body who can put their differences aside and get things done. after a year as governor, despite the overwhelming challenge we now face, i still believe in pennsylvania. the possibilities before us, they're still limitless. a bright future is still within our grasp. i'm counting on everyone in the chamber to do the right thing so that we can fulfill that obligation. i am ready to build a brighter pennsylvania, i hope you're ready to join me. thank you, god bless the commonwealth of pennsylvania.
the long-range missile test from north korea. you can join the comments on facebook and twitter. >> the reality is, the best presidents, the greatest presidents have been willing to recognize they were not the smartest person in the room. and to surround themselves with people they thought were smarter than themselves. >> sunday night on question and answer, former secretary of defense and former director of the cia robert gates discusses his book, "a passion for leadership" and discusses his reform. most recently, presidents bush and barack obama. >> at the end of the cold war when i was director of intelligence i came to believe very strongly that the american people had given cia a pass on a lot of things because of this
existential conflict with the soviet union. and i believed that after the cold war we were going to have to be more open about what we did and why we did it and even to an extent how we did it to help the american people better understand why intelligence was important to the government and presidents. and why presidents valued it. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q & a. in this week's question time in the british house of commons, prime minister david cameron answered questions about public housing, youth unemployment and aid to syrian refugees. this is 40 minutes. >> questions to the prime ministe minister. >> number one, please. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i know the whole house has been deeply saddened by the death of
harry hoffman in his death from cancer. he has returned to this place last may, he quickly became a popular mp, recognized for his commitment for his constituents and his beliefs. it is a measure of the man that he continued to help during his treatment. we offer our condolences to his family and his wife. mr. minister, in addition to my duty in this house i will have such meetings later. >> he came to this house with an excellent record in local government and will be greatly missed. i'm sure the whole house sends our condolences to his family at this sad time.
>> housing is the number one issue in my constituentsy. questions about the pure conservative value of the right to buy. will the prime minister agree with me that our help to fight isis, one currently being taken out every 30 seconds are the right way to encourage home ownership. >> i actually agree with my honorable friend. one of the difficult things for young people is to get the money together to buy their first house or flight. that is why with this fight against isis, a quarter of a million first-time buyers, what we've seen under this government is 40,000 people exercise the right to buy their counsel house. now we're extending it to all housing tenants and we've seen
100,000 people to have their first house. it is absolutely vital for our country. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i join the prime minister and the member for eastley in paying tribute. the honorable member, a former minor who passed away last week. just a short time ago, harry used his last question here to ask the prime minister questions about the sheffield masters and steel industry. i hope the prime minister will reflect on his diligence in industry and his constituency. yesterday, mr. speaker, had a chance to have a very nice conversation with harry's widow jill and his family and i asked them to say, how would they like to remember harry. she gave me this message, which i'll read out. we've admired the bravery and
courage he showed in his life, which was formed during the miners strike and carried forward for the rest of his life. i'm sure the whole house and many in the much wider community will remember harry as a decent, honorable man, absolutely dedicated to his community and his constituents and we're very sad at his passing. mr. speaker, also following the member from eastlea, i have a question on housing. i got an e-mail from rosy. she's in her 20s. unfortunately, mr. speaker, the rosy who's written to me doesn't have the same good housing that the chief whip of our party
does. but aspiration springs eternal. the rosy who's written to me is in her 20s and she says, i work incredibly hard at my job, yet i'm still having to live at home with my parents. the lack of housing options, mr. speaker, are forcing her to consider moving, even leaving the country. she asked the prime minister what action he's going to take to help young people and families suffering from unrealistic house prices and uncapped rent, to get somewhere safe and secure to live. >> fofl, when you get a letter from the chief whip, that normally spells trouble. [ laughter ] but what i would say to rosy, the rosy who wrote to him, we want to do everything we can to help young people get on the housing ladder.
that's why we've got these health to save isas and i hope she's looking at that. we're cutting rosy's taxes. so this year she'll earn 11,000 pounds before she starts paying taxes. if he's a t-- we're extending te right to buy and with health to buy, she'll have the opportunity to register for that and have a smaller deposit on her own home. shared ownership can make a real difference. some parts of the country, you only need a deposit of 1 or 2,000 pounds to begin the process of becoming a homeowner. but i recognize, in this parliament, building more houses, following those schemes, we've got to deliver for rosy. >> mr. speaker, i'm very pleased that the prime minister wants to help deliver decent housing for
rosy. she lives and works in london and as the prime minister knows, london is very, very expensive. he talks about people getting on the housing ladder, but the reality is that home ownership has fallen under his government by 200,000. it rose by a million under the last labor government. his record is one of actually some years of failure on housing. he said that council homes sold under right to buy would be replaced, like for like. can the prime minister tell us how that plolicy is panning out? >> let me start with what happened under labor with right to buy sales. because what happens was, one wounsil home was built for every 370 council homes they sold. that is the record. now, we have said that we will make sure that two homes are built for every council home in london that is sold. that is because my honorable
friend, the member for richmond park, insisted on that in an amendment to the housing bill. now, these take some years to build, but the money that they will be built, or the money comes back to the treasury. >> jeremy corbyn. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister ought to be aware that just one home has been built for every eight that have been sold under his government. people are increasingly finding it very difficult to find anywhere to live. the chancellor's crude cuts in housing benefits for those in supporting housing are putting at risk hundreds of thousands of elderly people, people with mental health conditions, war veterans and women fleeing domestic violence who need support. can the prime minister tell the house, one estimate housing provided has made in terms of the impact of this policy on supported housing? >> first of all, we're going to increase housing supply in the social sector by an 8 billion
pound housing budget during this parliament, going to build 400,000 affordable homes. yes, we have cut housing benefit, because it was completely out of control when we came to government. there were families in london who were getting 100,000 pounds of housing benefit per family. think how many people -- think how many rosies were going to work, working hard every day, just to provide that housing benefit for one family. now, we support supported housing schemes, and we'll look very carefully to make sure they can work well in the future, but i make no apology for the fact that in this parliament, we are cutting social rent. so the rosies who are living in social rent, going out to housing, will have lower rents under this government. >> mr. speaker, i'm please the the prime minister finally got on to the question of supported
housing. housing providers estimate that nearly half of all supported housing schemes were closed. 1 in 4 providers are set to close all of their provisions. this is a very serious crisis. i assume the prime minister is not content to see elderly people with mental health conditions and others with nowhere to live. so can he assure the house now that the warm words he's just given on supported housing will be matched by action and he will stop this cut which will destroy the supported housing sector? >> we will continue to support the supported housing sector, and the report that he quotes from was an opinion poll with an extremely leading question, if he actually looked at what it was he was looking at. but the changes that we're making, reducing social rents by 1% every year for four years, that is good news for people who go out to work and work hard, and would like to pay less rent. and that goes with the lower taxes they'll be paying and the
more childcare they'll be getting. the other change that we're making, which doesn't come into force until 2018, is to make sure that we're not paying housing benefit to social tenants way above what we would pay to private sector tentants. the simple point is this. every penny you spend on housing subsidy is money you can't spend on building houses. so let's take this right back to rosy. she wants a country where we build homes. she wants a country where you can buy a home. she wants a country with a strong economy so you can afford to buy a home. and you won't afford them if you go on spending money on housing benefit. one day labor's got to realize benefits have to be under
control. >> they'll lose 180,000 affordable homes over the next four years. the prime minister is actually overseeing a very damaging housing crisis. it's pricing out people from buying. it's not providing enough social housing. therefore, many people are forced to rely on the private rented sector. the benches behind him recently voted against an amendment put forward by my honorable friend for homes to be fit for human habitation. labor invested 22 billion pounds in government in bringing social homes up to decent home standard. there are now 11 million people in this country who are private renters. does the prime minister know how many of those homes don't meet the decent home standard? >> to listen to labor, when in the last five years, we built more council houses, than they
built in 30 years! where was he? where was he when that was going on? 13 years and an absolutely hopeless record on housing. what we're doing is an 8 billion pound housing budget that will provide 400,000 new affordable homes, a target to build a million homes during this parliament, getting housing benefit down so we can spend money on housing and having a strong economy that can support the housing we need. >> mr. speaker, i was asking, through you, the prime minister, how many of the 11 million renters are living in homes that are not -- that do not meet the decent home standard and therefore sub standard? i'll help him. one-third of those in the private rented sector don't meet decent standard. shelter found 6 out of 10 records have damp, mold, leaking
roofs, and windows. it's simply not good enough. millions are struggling to get the home they deserve. more families living in temporary accommodation, threatened with eviction, homelessness rising, social housing under pressure. families forced into low standard, overpriced private rented sector. young people unable to move out of the family home and start their own lives. when is the prime minister going to realize there is a housing crisis in britain. this government needs to address it now so that we do not continue with this dreadful situation in this country. >> well, let me just take one of the figures that he mentioned about homelessness. homelessness is less than half the peak today than it was under the last labor government. there's a simple point here. you can only invest in new houses. you can only restore existing houses. you can only built new houses. you can only support people into those houses if you've got a strong economy.
now, we inherited mass unemployment, an employee that had completely collapsed, a banking crisis, and now we've got zero inflation, wages growing, unemployment at 5%, an economy growing and people able, for the first time, to look to their future and see they can buy and own a house in our country. >> robert jenrick. >> mr. speaker, nadia mirad was a 19-year-old yazidi woman when daesh came to her village. they killed most of her family. they tortured here. they raped her, and they made her their slave. mr. speaker, nadia's story is the same as thousands of yazidi women. except thousands of yazidi women are still held in captivity and nadia managed to escape. nadia is in the public gallery today. mr. speaker, will the prime minister join me in
acknowledging nadia's resilience, her bravery, the essential qualities that have allowed her to triumph over daesh? and will he do everything in his power to re-double his efforts to support yazidi women and to eradicate daesh? >> let me thank my honorable friend for raising this issue in the way he's done so. and let me welcome nadia mirad, who is here with us today. she and the yazidi community have suffered at the hands of this brutal, fascist organization in syria and iraq. and we must do everything we can to defeat daesh and its violent ideology. now, we're praying a leading role in this global coalition. in terms of iraq where so many yazidis suffered, daesh has 40% of the territory it once controlled. so we are making progress. but as i said at the time of the debate about syria, this is going to take a long time.
building up iraqi forces, working with syrian opposition forces, building the capacity of government in both countries to drive this evil organization out of the middle east. but however long it takes, we must stick at it. >> angus robertson. >> we join in the condolences of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in relation to harry hartman and pass on our best wishes to his family at a sad and difficult time. mr. prime minister, is his party in agreement that there will be no debt with no -- why is the uk treasury proposing plans that may be detrimental for scotland to the tune of 3 billion pounds. >> we accept the smith principles of no detriment. no detriment to scotland quite rightly at the time when this transfer is made, in terms of scotland having these new tax-raising powers and no
detriment to scottish taxpayers, but also to the rest of the united kingdom taxpayers who have to bear in mind, as we take into account this negotiation. i've had good conversations with the first minister. negotiations are under way, i want us to successfully complete this very important part of devolution and these negotiations should continue. but let me remind the right honorable gentleman, if we had full fiscal devolution, with oil revenues having collapsed by 94%, the right honorable gentleman and his party would be just weeks away from a financial calamity for scotland. >> thank you, mr. speaker. in the context of referendums, whether in scotland or across the uk on eu membership, don't we have a right to know that what is promised by the uk government can be trusted and will be delivered in full? so will the prime minister tell the treasury that time is
running out on delivery a fair framework under the deal for the people of scotland and fair to the rest of the united kingdom? >> i can tell you everything that has been committed to by this government will be delivered. we committed to this huge act of devolution for scotland. and we've delivered it. we committed to the scotland bill. we're well on the way to delivering it, all the things we said we would, including the vital smith principles. but there's an ongoing negotiation to reach a fair settlement, and i would say to the scottish first minister and the scottish finance minister, they have to recognize there must be fairness across the rest of the united kingdom too. but with goodwill, i can tell you, mr. speaker, no one is keener on agreement than me. i want the scottish national party here and in holly rude to have to start making decisions. which taxes are you going to raise? what are you going to do with benefits? i want to get rid of, frankly, this grievance agenda and let
you get on with a governing agenda, and then we can see what you're made of. >> thank you, mr. speaker. engineering in wiltshire is particularly a problem. it's threatening and undermining all the work that we've done in job creation and also supporting businesses. it is, quite simply, a ticking time bomb. what, mr. speaker, may i ask the prime minister, what more can he do to remove the stigma, misunderstanding, and all the problems associated around stem subjects and stem careers? >> i think my friend is absolutely right to raise this. there are special circumstances in wiltshire because you have the enormous success of dyson which is hurrying engineers and scientists from every university in the country and long may that continue. what we will do is help by training three million apprentices in this parliament. we're giving special help to teachers of stem subjects and
encouraging them into teaching. but i think there's a lot that business and industry can do to help us in this by going into schools and talking about what these modern engineering careers are all about. how much fulfillment people can get from these careers, to encourage people to change the culture when it comes to pursuing these careers. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the young people afraid of losing their homes, denied the pensions they were expecting, and increasingly the needy less exposed without the social care they need to live a decent life. when will the prime minister address these scandals? >> what we're doing for pensioners is putting in place the triple lock so that every pensioner knows there can never be another shameful 75 pence increase in pensions that we saw under labor. they know that every year, it will either be wages, prices, or 2.5%. that's why the pension is so much higher than when i became
prime minister. but of course we need to make sure there's a fair settlement for local government too and we'll be hearing more about that later today. but this ability of local council to raise special council tax for social care will help an area where there is great pressure. >> nigel adams. >> the spit fire was a crucial element in our winning the battle of britain 75 years ago. and keeping our country free from tyranny. however, there are some -- there are some who fear that our independence nuclear deternent could be as obsolete as a spit fire. can my right honorable friend, the prime minister, assure the house and the country that this is not the case? >> it takes a -- another week,
another completely ludicrous labor position on defense. i think the last word should go to -- and thank you, twitter for this one, who as she came out, tweeted this, oh dear, oh dear, oh my god. oh dear, oh dear, need to go and rest in a darkened room. i suspect you'll find the rest of her party will be there with her. [ laughter ] >> thank you, mr. speaker. at today's select committee the business secretary confirmed that the government won't support the eu commission in raising tariffs on dumped steel from countries like china. why won't the uk government stand up for uk steel? >> we have repeatedly stood up for uk steel, including
supporting taking anti-dumping measures in the eu, but that's not enough. we also need to get behind public procurement for steel and that's what we're doing. we need to get behind reducing energy bills for steel and that's what we're doing. we need to support communities like we're doing that have seen job losses and that's exactly what we're doing. we recognize what a vital base of britain industrial industry is the steel industry is and that's why we're back here. >> gloria atkins. >> thank you, mr. speaker. julian assange is a accused of rape and is on the run. despite this, a united nations panel nobody's ever heard of declared last week that he has been arbitrarily detained, and somehow deserving of compensation. does my right honorable friend agree with me that this was a nonsense cal decision? that mr. assange should hand
himself over to the prosecutors and if anyone is deserving of compensation, it's the british taxpayer who has had to pay 12 million pounds to police his ecuadorian hide-out? >> my honorable friend is absolutely right. i think this was a ridiculous decision. you've got a man here with an outstanding allegation of rape against him. he barricaded himself into the ecuadorian embassy and yet claims he was arbitrarily detained. the only person who detained himself was himself. so what he should do is come out of that tembassy and face the arrest warrant against him. he's beat it in sweden, a country with a fair reputation for justice and he should bring to an end this whole sorry saga. >> mike weir. >> -- have raised serious concerns that change in housing benefits may force the closure
of many -- protect this vital service for vulnerable women and children. >> we want to support supported housing projects that work in many of our constituencies and we've all seen how important they are. these changes we're talking about, about housing benefit don't come into place until 2018, so there's plenty of time to make sure that we support supported housing projects. >> thank you, mr. speaker. hosts the first ever national apprenticeship fair. we have a strong record in expanding apprenticeship but is there not still a need for a cultural shift in careers advice to show that high level apprenticeship are equally valid to university placement? >> i think my honorable friend is absolutely right. the careers advice we need to give young people is that there's a school for every
school leaver of, we hope, either a university place, or an apprenticeship because we're funding three million of them in this parliament. and we need to go on to explain that if you become an apprentice, that doesn't rule out doing a degree-level qualification later on during your apprenticeship. the option of earning and learning is stronger in britain today than it's ever been before. >> thank you, mr. speaker. does the prime minister agree that how we protect human rights in the legal system of the united kingdom deserves full and careful consideration and will he give an assurance that his consultation on the repeal of the human rights act will not conflict with the pre-election period in scotland and the other devolved administration? >> well, we will look very carefully at all of these issues, but i would say to the honorable lady and to honorable members opposite, the idea that there were no human rights in
britain before the human rights act is an absolutely ludicrous notion. this has been a great fashion and defender of human rights, but we'll look very carefully at the timing of any announcements that we make. >> andrew. >> mr. speaker, i spent most of my working life in children's hospitals who rely heavily on donations from organizations like children in need, who have a long and proud association with the town of puddly. last week, children's most famous celebrity passed away. would my right honorable friend join me in paying tribute to terry wogan who did so much to inspire -- >> i'm certainly very happy to do that, and the honorable member, representing his constituency where pudsy had such a connection with children in need is absolutely right to raise this. i think terry wogan, was, like
many people in the house, you grew up listening to him. perhaps many people's favorite was the euro vision song contest which every year he brought such great humor to. you didn't have to be an enormous fan. we're all enormous fans and his work with children in need was particularly special. >> mr. speaker, on monday i attended the work and pensions tribunal for my constituent miss jackie millen. a brave inspiring woman who has worked with them. despite being able to find staircases except in all four, she was awarded zero disability points by her assessor. can i ask the prime minister whether he has a constituency mp, attended any tribunal hearings and if so, whether he found the process, fair, dignified, and compassionate? >> i'm very happy to look into the specific case that he
raises. as a constituency, of course i have people coming to my surgery with inquiries either about employment and support allowance or indeed about disability and living allowance. also i've got the experience, having had a disabled son, having filled out all the forms myself. but looking forward to the new system, which i think with a proper medical check will work out better. so i have listened to these arguments, but we have to have a system of adjudication that is independent of politicians. >> amanda milling. >> thank you, mr. speaker. growing up nearby, i always knew that i was nearly home when i saw the iconic cooling towers at the paris station on the horizon. on monday, the owner of the remaining power station announced his closure this tomorrow. will my right honorable friend meet with me and discuss further the government support that can be provided to the 150 workers and the provisions that can be
made to ensure the site is redeveloped as quickly as possible? >> i will certainly arrange for that meeting to take place and we should thank everyone who's worked at power stations that then come to the end of their lives for the work that they've done to give us electricity to keep your economy moving. but i think she's absolutely right. as coal-fired power stations come to the end of their lives, we must make sure that proper redevelopment takes place, so we provide jobs for constituents like hers. >> clive efford. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the football supporters federation is considering calling on fans to hold walkouts to get their issuing heard about the issue of ticket prices. will the prime minister act to give fans a place at the table in club boardroom, in order that their voices can be heard when issues such as ticket prices are being discussed? >> i will look very carefully at the suggestion the honorable gentleman makes. because i think there is a problem here where some teams,
some clubs put up prices very rapidly every year, even though so much of the money for football comes through the sponsorship and the equipment and other sources. so i'll look very carefully at what he says. >> julian lewis. >> the vote on the trident success submarine should have been held in the last parliament, but was blocked. given the fun that the prime minister had a few moments ago at the labour party's expense, over the trident successor, it must be tempting for him to put off the vote until labor's conference in october. may i urge him to do the statesman like thing and hold that vote as soon as possible, because everyone is ready for it, and everyone is expecting it? >> what we should do is have the vote when we need to have the vote, and that's exactly what we will do. but no one should be in any doubt that this government is going to press ahead with all the decisions that are necessary
to replace in full our trident submarin submarines. and i think the labour party should listen to lord hutton who was their defense secretary for many years. he says this. if labor wants to retain any credibility on defense whatsoever, it better recognize the abject futility of what its leadership is proposing. so i hope when that vote comes, we'll have support from right across this house of commons. >> in light of today's report on teacher shortages will the prime minister now take urgent steps to help excellent schools such as those in my constituency, recruit and crucially retain the best teachers, including by extending the so-called inner london waiting to all harris schools and other suburban schools in london too? >> well, obviously we'll look carefully at this report. there are 13,100 more teachers in our schools than when i became prime minister. our teachers are better qualified than ever before. and actually we've got -- what people are shouting out about increased pupil numbers, but
they might be interested to know we have 47,500 fewer pupils in overcrowded schools than in twent 10, because we put the investment in where it's needed. where i agree with the honorable gentleman, we need schemes like teach first, like our national leadership program that are getting some of the best teachers into the schools where they're needed. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my right honorable friend, the prime minister, deserves great credit for the results of the syria replenishment conference, which was held under his co-authorship in london. but he will be aware this can only address the symptoms of a catastrophe that is syria today and not the causes. can he tell the house what more he thinks the british government can do to try and promote the political track and ensure that it reaches the most speedy possible success? >> well, first of all can i thank my friend for what he said about the syria conference.
gives me an opportunity to thank my co-hosts, the norwegians, the germans, the kuwaitis and the secretary-general of the united nations. we raised more money in one day than has ever been raised, over $10 billion. and and i want to think my friend who did a lot of the work. this will keep people in the region, feed people, clothe people, make sure they get the medicine they need. but we do need this political solution. we go on working with all of our partners to deliver this, but it does require all countries, including russia, to recognize the need for a moderate, sunni opposition to be at the table to create a transitional authority in syria. without that, i feel we'll end up with a situation where you have assad in one corner and daesh in the other corner. the worst possible outcome in terms of terrorism, the worst possible outcome in terms of refugees, and the worst possible outcome for the future of syria.
>> diana johnson. >> thank you. i'm sure the prime minister is looking forward to visiting home next year. as for the uk city of culture, we're already backed by many prestigious organizations like the bbc and the rnc, but we can do much better to make this a real national celebration of culture. will the prime minister join with me in urging the many london-based national arts organizations to actually do their bit -- [ crowd noise/inaudible ] >> i think the honorable lady makes a very important point, which is our national cultural institutions have immense amount of works and prestige that they can bring out to regional centers when there's a city of culture event, or frankly more broadly and i do talk to them about that. i will be looking forward to visiting hull. my friend will wanting to join me in the city of hull.
it's the city of poets, home to larkin for many years. and sometimes i might want to contemplate what it looks like waving, not drowning. >> i remind them that the election for the chair of the environmental audit committee is now taking place in committee room 16. voting will continue until 1:30 p.m. also, voting a deferred decision in the no-lobby. this will continue until 2:00 p.m. >> road to the white house began in iowa. the caucuses which date back to 1972 and then we moved to new hampshire. the quintessential first in the nation primary which has a long and rich history. and now we really begin to test the candidates and their message. we move south to south carolina, the first southern primary and then to the party caucuses in nevada for the