Skip to main content

tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  August 1, 2014 3:00pm-5:01pm EDT

3:00 pm
highway. it's nearly a half a million people. a half a million people. think about that. and half of those people died. that's the -- nearly a quarter of a million with either alcohol or some substance in their system. i'll get the exact numbers and we'll put them in the record. but i didn't give the rest of the story as paul harvey would say. with that correction for the record, let me first welcome and recognize mr. hart. welcome and you're recognized, sir. >> good morning, chairman mica, ranking member connolley. thank you very much for inviting the ntsb to testify today. the subcommittee's focus an federal marijuana policies affecting transportation is very timely. we have been working extensively for many years to address alcohol use by drivers which you heard about in the opening
3:01 pm
statements but that still kills almost 10,000 people every year on our hoiighways. now we're becoming xhoee ining concerned it highlights the use of marijuana use. among the more egregious drug involved accidents are a recreational boating accident in florida that killed five. a day caravan driver in memphis, tennessee, who was high and crashed causing five deaths. and a railroad next chase, maryland, that killed 16 that's already been referred to. but why don't have a good idea of the number of drug related transportation fatalities. we're not surprised about the growing evidence of drug use by drivers, pilots and others, however, given that as we've heard, many states have authorized medical marijuana programs and two states have decriminalized recreational use of the drug. in addition, recent news reports noted pressure to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level as well. perhaps most disturbing as we've heard mentioned in the opening statements is evidence that marijuana use among teenage
3:02 pm
drivers is increasing and their perceived risk of marijuana use is decreasing. in 2013, we completed a year-long review of substance impaired driving which included drug use and we concluded there is not enough data on drunk driving. consequently we asked ntsa to establish guidelines for collecting this data to enable policymakers to make more informed decisions on how to address this important issue. we rnd ntsa is working an this poll la issue. in general aviation, our investigators sometimes see evidence of drug use by pilots who are involved in accidents. so we decided it was time to look at this issue in greater detail. in september we will meet to discuss drug use in general aviation by examing toxicology testing results conducted on fatally injured general aviation pilot. we'll look at over-the-counter prescription and illicit drugs in pilots. we're missing important data on
3:03 pm
the role of illegal drugs in not only that but the public is pretty much unaware of important information about how legal drugs may also affect their performance. we'll also examine drug use in general aviation pilots as compared to trends observed in the u.s. population in general. information that we obtained in this september meeting will help us evaluate whether there's a need for additional recommendations or other advocacy efforts on our part. fortunately, shifting state laws have not resulted in changes in illegal drug use policies for commercial operators. you'll hear on this panel today the department of transportation has stated it continues to have a zero tolerance policy for drug use, illegal drug use by commercial freigoperators. what is clear is that operator impairment places the public in jeopardy. impaired drivers share the roadways with other drivers. impaired pilots share the air space with other pilots. impaired mariners share the seas with other mariners. and across all modes, many operators have passengers that
3:04 pm
may be placed at risk. too many people died an our roadways from alcohol impaired driving before strong action was taken to combat it. that strong action reduced fatalities tremendously but there are still too many alcohol related deathed and every one of them is entirely preventable. hopefully we will not wait for morpeople to die from drug-induced transportation accidents before we take strong and decisive action. hearings like this one today will help inform policymakers an the issues so that effective laws can be crafted, strong enforcement can be implemented and robust education efforts can be implemented in all modes of transportation. we look forward to working with you to draw more attention to this issue. thank you for inviting me to testify. i look forward to responding to your questions. >> thank you. we will withhold questions until we've heard from everyone. let me recognize jeff michael who is with the national highway traffic safety administration. you're recognized. >> good morning, mr. chairman, ranking member connolley and
3:05 pm
members of the subcommittee. i appreciate this opportunity to testify before you today on the national highway traffic safety administration's research on drunk driving. ntsa takes tremendous pride in our 40-year record protecting americans by partnering with states to enforce strong highway safety laws and by working to make vehicles safer. since 1970, highway fatalities declined by 36%. traffic deaths have fallen by 22% just in the past decade. but with more than 30,000 fatalities an america's roadways each year we must continue looking at new and innovative ways to save lives. working with our state partners and other safety organizations we've made substantial progress with creditical safety behaviors including drunk driving, seat belt use and have applied the same successful approaches to emerging concerns such as distracted driving. the legalization of marijuana under state laws poses new concerns and we're working from our foundation of experience to understand these rink s risks d develop appropriate
3:06 pm
countermeasures. alcohol is the most common source of druiver impairment. in 2012, more than 30% of all driver deaths involved a driver with blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit. with more than 40 years of research, several decades of data collection and a well-established criminal justice process, traffic safety professionals have a good example of the scale and nature of the drunk driving problem. much more research is needed to gain a good understanding of the effects of drugs other than alcohol on safe driving. in 2007 we obtained the first nationally representative information on the prevalence of drug use by drivers by including drug testing in our national roadside survey. although this survey had been used to track driver alcohol us the first time information on drug use was collected. this survey based on information from voluntary and anonymous participants found about 12% of weekend drivers were alcohol positive and about 9% were marijuana positive.
3:07 pm
we repeated the national roadside survey in 2013 and we're in the process of analyzing those data. to understand how state level legalization might affect the prevalence of marijuana by drivers, we partnered with the state of washington at their invitation this spring to conduct a similar roadside survey. this is a two-phase study that will assess the change in marijuana use by drivers before and following the date at which the state allowed retail sale of the drug. in addition to prevalence research, we also need information on the degree of risk associated with drug use. we are in the process of completing a new study which compares the crash risk of drivers using drugs to those with no drugs in their system. this is a first such investigation of drug crash risk in the united states and more research of various types will be needed to get a full understanding of the role of drugs in crashes. as we prepare to release the results of this new study, we plan to reach out to stakeholders, including
3:08 pm
committee staff to inn form them of the foondings. strong laws and law enforcement are cornerstones of our efforts to address alcohol impaired driving. we're looking to the same solutions for drunk driving. we work closely with the law enforcement community to develop a network of more than 7,000 drug recognition experts across the nation. these trained officers can significantly accelerate the successful prosecution of drunk driving cases. we are also looking closely at procedural barriers to effective drunk driving law enforcement and recognize the challenges presented by drug testing methods. while the prosecution of impaired -- of alcohol impaired driving cases is complex, evidential testing for alcohol can typically be done at the jurisdiction by local officials with a moderate amount of training. testing for drug presence among suspected impaired drivers is often far less convenient requiring that a blood sample be drawn, sent to a remote lab for analysis by highly trained
3:09 pm
personnel. the cost and delay can be a disinnocent uf for criminal justice officials to pursigh a drunk driving charge. in conclusion, ntsa is committed to improving alcohol and drug impaired grichg we support the the enforcement programs with guidance for state officials based on sound research. much progress has been made, however, impaired driving still claims more than 10,000 lives a year. thank you again for inviting me to testify before your committee and i'm happy to take any questions you may have. >> we'll now hear from ms. patrice kelly. and she's acting director of the office of drug and alcohol policy at the department of compliance at the department of transportation. welcome. and you are recognized. >> thank you, chairman mica, ranking member conoly, members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the potential impacts on commercial transportation of recent state
3:10 pm
and local legislation that allow recreational and medicinal marijuana use. the transportation industry drug and alcohol testing program for commercial operations is a critical element of the department of transportation's safety mission. airline pilots, truck drivers, subway operators, mariners, pipeline operators, airline mechanics, locomotive engineers, motor coach drivers and school bus drivers, among others, have a tremendous responsibility to the public and we cannot let their performance be compromised by drugs or alcohol. today i will provide you with a brief history of our program. the scope of its application and finally explanation of our policy regarding the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes by individuals who work in federally regulated testing industry -- transportation industries. the dot drug and alcohol testing program was first established in
3:11 pm
1988 following the department of health and human services development of drug testing and alcohol -- drug and alcohol testing for federal employees. the d.o.t. program was initiated in response to transportation industry fatal accidents that occurred due to illegal drug use. in 1991, congress enacted the omnibus employee testing act which required the d.o.t. to expand the application of its program to include mass transit and modified regulations to address the statutory requirements. the d.o.t. program always has required tran portation industry employers to have drug and alcohol testing programs that require their employees to be removed from performing safety sensitive duties immediately if they have drug or alcohol violations. throughout the history of our program and consistent with congress' direction in oteta, we have relied on hhs for its technical and scientific expertise for determining the types of drugs for which we
3:12 pm
test, the testing methodology we must use in our program and the integrity of the hhs certified laboratories in testing the specimens and reporting the results. we are limited to testing for the controlled substances included in the hhs mandatory guidelines. currently those substances include schedule one illegal drugs and alcohol 2 legally prescribed drugs. the drugs and classes of drugs for which we test are cocon, opiates, amphetamines and marijuana. if an employee tests positive for and of those substances, the employer must take immediate action to remove the employee from performing safety sensitive duties until that employee successfully completes treatment and additional testing. currently there are approximately 5 million d.o.t. regulated safety sensitive employees that are subject to our drug and alcohol testing program. the department's policy on the use of schedule one controlled
3:13 pm
substances has remained unchanged since our program began in 1988. there is no legitimate explanation, medical or otherwise, for the presence of a schedule 1 controlled substance, such as marijuana in an employee's system. in december 2009, following the department of justice's issuance of guidance for federal prosecutors and states that enacted laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana, we issued a reminder to our regulated entities that under the d.o.t. testing program, medical marijuana use authorized under state or local law is not a valid medical explanation for transportation employees positive drug test results. although there has been recent movement by some states to allow recreational use of marijuana by their citizens, the d.o.t. program does not and will not authorize the use of schedule one controlled substances, including marijuana, for any reason by any individual conducting safety sensitive
3:14 pm
duties in the transportation industry. in december of 2012 we issued a notice explaining that state and local government initiatives allowing the use of recreational marijuana will have no bearing on the department of transportation's drug testing program. nor any individual subject to testing. it remains unacceptable for any safety sense tough employee subject to the d.o.t.'s drug testing of regulations to use marijuana and continue to perform safety sensitive duties in the federal regulated transportation industries. chairman mica, this concludes my testimony. i'd be happy to answer any questions you or your colleagues have. >> thank you. we'll hold questions. ron flegel is the director for the division of workplace programs at the center for substance abuse prevention, substance and abuse mental health and you're recognized. >> good morning chairman mica, ranking member connolly. my name is ron flegel.
3:15 pm
it's an agency of the department of health and human services. i am pleased to speak with you this morning about samsa's role as it pertains to drug testing for marijuana. particularly as it relates to drunk driving. the mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on america's communities. samsa strives to create awareness that behavioral health is essential for health. prevention works, treatment is effective and people recover from mental and substance abuse disorders. driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol continues to pose a significant threat to public safety. the administration has focused on four key areas to reduce drunk driving. increased public awareness, enhancing legal reforms to get drunk drivers off the road, advancing technology for drug test and data collection and increasing law enforcement's ability to identify drunk drivers. these efforts remain the
3:16 pm
administration's focus for the upcoming year. samsa has several roles as it pertains to drunk driving. we conduct surveillance through the national survey on drug use and health as i said today. we provide funding for drunk driving prevention efforts, offer technical assistance about prevebtsion of drunk driving to grantees and the general public and evaluate grantees that are focused efforts an the problem. samsa's administers the drug-free workplace program which includes the random testing of national security, public health and public safety positions within the executive branch agencies. currently nine states are focused on drunk driving prevention efforts using samsa's grant funds. they also provide technical assistance to states and communities and thus addresses drunk driving if states and communities choose to make this a focus of their efforts or if the data suggest that drunk driving is an issue in their
3:17 pm
state or community. samsa's division of workplace program has a unique and nationally important regulatory role and technical assistant role in federal and nonfederal workplaces with respect to their drug-free workplace policies and programs. dwp has oversight responsibility of the hhs certified laboratories, operating under the mandatory guidelines for federal workplace testing program requirements. the hhs certified laboratories conduct forensic drug testing for federal agencies under executive order 12564 and federal drug-free workplace program issued by president reagan in 1986. and the supplemental appropriations act of 1987 public law 100-71, as well as specific federally regulated industries. the federal drug-free workplace program was established as a deterrent program incorporating detection as well as referrals
3:18 pm
for treatment as needed for federal employees in safety sensitive positions while protecting national security and public safety. public law 100-71 directs hhs to publish mandatory guidelines using the best available technology to ensure the reliability and accuracy of drug tests and to specify the drugs for which federal employees may be tested. hence the mandatory guidelines established the scientific and technical guidelines for federal drug testing programs and establish standards for certification of laboratories engaged in drug testing for federal agencies and the regulations industries. currently 157 federal agencies are affected by the guidelines based on public law and executive order. the executive order covers approximately 2.2 million executive branch employees and job applicants. they utilize the samsa guidelines in their regulatory testing programs requiring testing of over 5 million safety
3:19 pm
sensitive employees and applicants in d.o.t. regulated transportation related industries nationally and an additional 2 million employees and applicants in the nuclear industry. in the private nonregulated sectors, it is -- we have approximately 20 to 50 million americans that are tested as applicants or employees using some aspect of samsa's guidelines. currently ursin the only specimen a federal agency may collect under the guidelines for its workplace drug testing program. a federal agency must ensure that each specimen is test forward marijuana, cocaine, and is authorized to test each specimen for opiates and amphetamine. they do not directly govern issues related to drunk driving. however, the revised guidelines may impact testing for drunk driving through the provisions of scientific standards for oral fluid testing. the proposed revisions, the mandatory guidelines are still
3:20 pm
being finalized and will be posted in the federal register for public comment once completed. as i stated at the opening of my testimony, the issue of drunk driving continues to be a priority for samsa and the administration. samsa along with other federal agencies continue to collaborate with state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations and federal partners to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and meet the president's goal of reducing drunk driving in america. the administration continues to advance the work an this important issue and we look forward to continuing work with congress on these efforts. chairman mica, thank you for this opportunity. i welcome any questions from you or your colleagues. >> thank you. thank each of our witnesses. and we'll start a little round of questions. just again to give folks the most accurate information on the number of highway fatalities from 2001 to 2012, and this
3:21 pm
doesn't include 2013 but during those dozen years that i spoke of, 468,743 highway fatalities. that's nearly 500,000 people and i'm sure if we include 2013, we would top that. that's just a phenomenal devastation. and that's fatalities. that's not injuries, property damage and everything that -- everyone in this room can probably name someone who has died or a family member in an automobile fatality. and again, with the changing laws, there are significant consequences. so mr. hart, again, where do you see us going as far as reaching
3:22 pm
some positive steps and one containing the issue and also adjusting our federal laws, our regulations, adopting standards for tests. the whole spectrum of addressing these changing laws. maybe you can comment generally. >> thank you for the question. at the accident investigators when we investigate accidents and see indication of impairment, and as we have in every mode, then we are very concerned about the need for strong and sdis uf action. typically that will mean as you've heard from the other panelists, strong legislation, strong enforcement and good education and in addition, technology to help us with the detection. so we see that -- >> some of that has to be based on data. some of what we have is really not that up to date. and i think mr. michael
3:23 pm
testified, they started collecting some data as recently as 2007. and thn you said 2013 data we had collected which we're going to do a comparison of. but that has not been calculated. and when do you expect us to have that data? >> that is correct, mr. chairman. we have collected information in 2007 about the presence of drugs and specifically marijuana among drivers an the roadway. and we repeated that same data collection during 2013. we are now analyzing that, and it will be compared. >> my question was, when will we see that completed? >> we expect to have that information by the end of the year. >> well, if you could check even closer and advise the committee and maybe we could ask that question. i'd like to find out when we'll have that data. the next thing that comes to mind, most of the 23 states, my
3:24 pm
state may follow. florida has an initiative coming in. and other entities, state entities that may change their laws. do you plan or will there be a plan to check some of these states? now florida will change the law possibly and others have already changed the law. some have changed the law for some time. i am getting back reports on california that are -- a news reporter told me he went out and he said, it's a whole different wor world. again, much more dramatic than you would expect. it's not just medical marijuana use but it's spread. and he was telling me just the societal change in behavior change. so it's having impact. but i think we need to look at
3:25 pm
doing testing. those are the medical marijuana states. and each one of the languages may be a little bit different allowing more latitude. but then you have colorado, which we have had some experience to date. but i think we ought to go in and look at colorado. washington is more recent. but where you have a change in law, if it's medical marijuana and again, change is brought about by that law. and then you have a much more lax use or legalization, as you have in colorado. do you have plans to go in and do some testing there? >> yes, sir. we are working with the state of washington currently. and using the same roadside data collection process that we've
3:26 pm
used across the country. looking specifically at washington before and after their legalizing the sale of marijuana to assess what affect that may have with the levels of use on the roadway. >> again, i think we need accurate data. and thn we need to adopt our federal regs and again to ms. kelly now. you have a whole host of areas in which we do some testing, but most of the testing is periodic, is it not, for marijuana use? >> our program covers pre-employment testing to start with. before someone enters the -- >> right, but then -- >> and then random. and then there is reasonable cause testing. is their is post-accident testing. and then if someone is being positive -- >> the other thing again, too, in some of these states. and the marijuana medical use, there's again different language. and it's allowed more latitude
3:27 pm
than some states. people have taken advantage of that. are you going in and doing more testing, say in colorado or washington? for example, pilots would be more exposed. commercial drivers would be more exposed. it's states where you have, again, the possibility of -- with liberalization of the law, are we taking some steps to try to ensure the safety of the public? and again, the transportation -- an airline pilot, a commercial one can be taking a couple hundred people in the air. a passenger rail. we didn't get into, in our headline here, pipeline safety or maritime or others, but they all pose different risk. tell us where you are going with these modes that put public
3:28 pm
safety at risk. >> we feel our program is effective. and the way our program is structured through the -- >> could i ask you to put that microphone closer to you? >> yes, sir. r under the regulations, our program is administered through the individual employers. >> it's historic. it's been developed, but it was -- but it is -- you are mostly talking in terms of how things have been in the past or -- but not how things are most recently and where we're going with this. >> we don't conduct the testing ourselves. we require the employers to conduct it. >> right. >> so many of our -- >> have you changed any of those requirements? >> no, sir, we have not. we've maintained rnd the regulations the -- >> the same old, same old. but see, that's my point. i think we're -- you have to go to risk base when you are doing most of these approaches to try
3:29 pm
to ensure safety. and pre-employment is one. we've done that in the past. we're doing that. now we have a new situation with much more of this available narcotic on the market. and we've seen an increase in use just by the statistics that we're presented by some of the panelists today. but are you adapting the department of transportation regulations or advisories to where we see the most risk? we've got faa, federal railroad administration. national highway safety. tell me if there have been any changes in directives in the last 24 months. >> there have not been any changes to our random testing rates but many of our employees are interstate. so if a pilot flies in and out
3:30 pm
of denver doesn't mean he or she lives anywhere near denver. many of our employees are not purely in one state. they operate across states. >> again, i think we need to be preemptive in d.o.t. in protecting people. i had dinner the other night with a friend from florida. and asked him what he was going to do for a vacation. he says we're putting it off a little and we're going to go skiing. he said -- this is just in conversation. he said we had planned to go to colorado. he said but the last thing i want to do is take my three kids out there and have somebody stoned, you know, posing a risk to him. he's going to utah. i mean, just -- >> no risk there. >> family friendly utah. >> but that's one change, a
3:31 pm
father in behavior. we are responsible for the safety of the public. you are responsible for administering rules, regulation that impact pilots who carry passengers, train -- i showed that one crash 25 people killed. and that's before some of these changes in law, granted. and we've seen that again, incidents of use, whether it's young people or older is more. so you've told me there aren't any changes. i want to get a message to mr. fox and others that we do need to look at adapting this. we also need to get the data. maybe there isn't the problem that is perceived and the data would support that. maybe it's worse than what we imagined. but we need to know. we need to act based on facts and act based on risk and preempt, as much as you can, bad
3:32 pm
effects an the general public and their safety. >> and the data is a good ponin. we collect data from the laboratories. we've been doing that every six months. it's aggregate national data. but what we've seen so far since 2008 is a steady rate of marijuana positives ranging between 21,000 to 22,000 out of roughly 2.5 to 3 million employees tested each six-month period. so we have seen those numbers remain the same across the nation again as it comes in as aggregate. >> again, i think it's important, too, that we look from a safety standpoint. i'm not selling any products, but this is the only one i fond available, this particular european model for testing. and this swabs can be used an site. we're looking at these, using
3:33 pm
this kind of a test for truck drivers, train drivers, where we're doing spot checking. we're not doing it using anything like this now, are we? >> we're required by the statute, the omnibus testing act to follow the science as it's developed by the department of health and human services and implemented through the mandatory guidelines. so we look to -- >> so we have none of -- this is not accepted yet, mr. flegel, is it? >> currently we're looking at having the oral fluid standards come out and then -- >> and is that nitsa or whatever it is? >> this would be through the mandatory guidelines. >> but they are involved in setting standards is that correct? >> we set the mandatory guideline testing cut-offs and standards. so once those standards are o out -- >> can you give us the committee chronological estimate as to
3:34 pm
when you're going to complete, again, what you are saying here before the committee? because dealing with some of the standards, i just pulled down the national standards and testing bill a couple of weeksing -- or within the last two weeks. just because they had jerked us around for ten years on a biometric standard for an iris i.d. and they promised and promised and not per foformed. i don't want to be coming back to a hearing saying, where are they developing this? we need some federal standards and we need also new tests that have acceptable standards to evaluate people who are on the job in transportation and make certain the public is safe.
3:35 pm
do you see my point? >> thank you, mr. chairman. by the way, i know the chairman did not mean to suggest in any way that colorado is not a safe place to go skiing. his friend at dinner may have a private view. i'm sure there are wonderful reasons to go to colorado and utah and anywhere else one wishes to ski. and i know my colorado colleagues who are not here would want me to say that. >> maybe you can stay home in florida or go home to virginia. >> florida and virginia, obviously, are better. mr. hart, there's legislation with respect to pilot license medical certification here in the congress that would actually
3:36 pm
no longer require medical certificates for pilots whose craft carries up to five passengers. are you aware of that legislation? >> yes, i am aware of that legislation. >> and what do you think about it? >> we're very concerned about pilots flying without adequate medical standards. but we base our -- what we -- our policy based an what we soo in accidents. so far we haven't seen enough accidents to warrant an agency position on it but we are very concerned not only about not having to have a medical but then notion that if you don't have a medical you are less likely to pay attention to the faa's list of prohibited legal drugs as well as, obviously, the illegal drugs. but obviously the legal drugs. we're concerned that list will not be paid attention to by people who don't have a medical certificate. >> it just strikes me as very odd. here we're having a hearing on, you know, the utilization and potential harmful effects of any kind of drug or controlled
3:37 pm
substance in the operation of any kind of vehicle, and, meanwhile, there's apparently legislation that would exempt a class, a subclass of people who fly airplanes. and i can't believe for a minute that if we really are concerned about the use of marijuana or any other drug, that we would ever count on legislation like this. i cannot believe that that could come to any good. so i encourage you, mr. hart and your colleagues, to re-examine that legislation and hopefully take a position on it because it seems to contradict everything we're talking about this morning at this hearing. >> we wul certainly pay close attention to that in our future accident investigations. >> thank you. dr. michael, just thinking about driving while impaired and things that we discourage.
3:38 pm
for example, we're worried about thc, but, i mean, texting while driving. bad idea? >> of course, sir. very bad idea. >> kills people. >> of course. >> do we have data on it? >> yes, we do. >> how many people were killed on the roads last year texting while driving? >> distraction in general is about 3,000 people. texting alone is several hundred. >> right. >> alcohol and driving? >> in 2012, 10,322 people died in crashes in which a driver had a blood alcohol limit above the legal limit. >> sleep deprivation? >> sleep is harder to measure, of course. but we believe it is a significant problem. >> would it be fair to say that studies on sleep deprivation and driving suggest that sleep deprivation mimics in almost
3:39 pm
exact detail drunking and driving in terms of impairment? >> at least in some details. >> aggressive driving, driving at unsafe speeds. >> as many as one-third of crashes are attributed at least in part to excessive speed. >> and how many deaths can we attribute to thc in the blood stream? >> currently that's difficult to say, sir. >> i just -- fair enough. probably not zero, but we don't know. >> we don't have a precise estimate. >> we have precise estimates on distracted driving. 3,331. we have precise estimates of drinking and driving. so i just want to put it in context. no one is arguing it's a good idea. but the fact of the matter is we don't have a lot of data.
3:40 pm
now let me ask, do we have a standard? if i could borrow your gizmo here for a moment. >> you want a swab? >> the chairman points out that parts of europe they talk a swab sample, put it in here and measure thc. do we have any such device that we use in our law enforcement in the united states? >> yes. there is some use of devices very similar to that by law enforcement. in fact, we are currently doing a pilot test in california to test the feasibility of more widespread use of devices very similar to that. >> we have an alcohol standard that blood alcohol above a certain standard, you are in legal jeopardy. would you remind us what that standard is? >> 0.08. >> and that's a national standard? >> yes, it is. >> and accepted by virtually all states? >> that's right.
3:41 pm
>> do we have a comparable standard for thc? >> no, we don't, sir. the available evidence does not support the development of an impairment threshold for thc which would be analogous to that for alcohol. >> why is that? >> the available evidence indicates that the response of individuals to increasing amounts of thc is much more variable than it is for alcohol. so with alcohol, we have a considerable body of evidence that can place risk odds at increasing levels of blood alcohol content. for example, 0.08 blood alcohol content is associated with about four times the crash risk of a sober person. the average arrest is 0.15. that's associated with about 15 times the crash risk.
3:42 pm
beyond some broad confirmation that higher levels of th sc are jrnlly limited with higher levels of impairment, a more precise association of various thc levels and degrees of impairment are not yet available. >> that's really interesting. so we don't have a uniform standard. the variablity is much greater than that with other controlled substances such as alcohol. we actually can't scientifically pinpount levels of impairment with any accuracy? we would all concede there's some impairment for some period of time but it's very variable and we're not quite sure yet, certainly not sure enough to adopt a uniform standard as to here's the maximum level beyond which we know there's serious impairment? >> that's fair to say, sir.
3:43 pm
>> wow. and that's a substance one controlled substance. well, i think it underscores your testimony underscores, dr. michael, why we need a lot more science here. and i guess what really strikes me is that, meanwhile, as i said in my opening statement, the laboratories of democracy, 22 states plus the district of columbia, have decided to legalize marijuana in some fashion. most of them for medical purposes but some of them even for recreational purposes and, meanwhile, at least at a national level, we're not comfortable with the science in terms of the impact of thc on operating a vehicle of any kind. fair statement? >> yes. and, of course, we're pursuing that science. >> i understand.
3:44 pm
so we're pursuing it. is there a goal or an end date where we want to achieve so by a certain date we hope to have some preliminary -- we hope to have the basis upon which to examine or adopt some preliminary standards comparable to other substances? >> we have sponsored some work with standards development with regard to measurement techniques and specific drugs to be measured in -- among traffic crashes and drivers involved in traffic crashes and also minimum cut-off levels that represent the analytical capabilities of existing technology. those recommendations have been established. what we lack are a thresholds of impairment that are analogous to
3:45 pm
0.08 bac. one step that's currently ongoing that will take us well in that direction is the crash risk study that i mentioned in my opening statement. this is the same sort of study that was done for alcohol a number of years ago which established those risk levels that i told you about. so this involves a very careful look at two groups of subjects. one group who has been involved in a crash. another group who has not. and looking for relative concentration levels of factors that might have caused the crash. factors such as thc use. with those kinds of studies can develop the risk odds that could potentially be used to develop a threshold in the future. >> thank you. i wish you luck in your research. i just think it is amazing with
3:46 pm
some of the rhetoric about thc and marijuana use. with 50 years -- i guess it's 50 years we've declared it a class one substance. we still don't have enough data to know just how dargngerous its in operating a vehicle. and that really raises questions about either, you know, the classification itself and whether that makes any sense, or raises serious questions about how our government is operating in terms of the data it does not have and the science it does not know and yet the assertions that we make. and that is not a good recipe for -- rational public policy. and it's rone of the reasons i suggest that 22 states have just headed in a different direction. but there's danger in that, too. they are going in a direction also without the science.
3:47 pm
and there are lots of complications. previous hearing we had, and dr. fleming and i talked about this along with the chairman. you know, you've got doctors in states where legalization for medicinal purposes has been granted who, nonetheless, really don't have protocols. really dont have the science to decide on levels of efficacy, mixing it with other drugs for enhanced efficacy. potential dangers. overdose, whatever. and i just think we're at a point where we've got to get a lot more serious about the science in order to have, to fashion rational public policies, including with respect to transportation safety. i thank you all for your testimony. mr. chairman, again, a thoughtful hearing. i thank you. dr. fleming? >> thank you. dr. fleming? >> mr. michael, to kind of
3:48 pm
follow up on some of the question from my good friend from virginia, we don't have adequate science on the effects of marijuana, thc specifically on the body. and speaking as a physician and someone who has worked in the area of addiction, my understanding of this is that it's a much more complex interaction and physiology between the drug, the body. for instance, we know metabolites remain in the body for up to 30 days after use. much of it is stored in the fat so fat body content can affect. would that be a correct assumption that that's really what makes this a more difficult issue in terms of measurement than alcohol. >> yes, sir, of course. you are completely right on that. the study of the effect of thc on driving is much more
3:49 pm
challenging in just about every aspect than that for alcohol. >> right. so, really, it's multidimensional as opposed to alcohol which you can draw a straight line on the graph. again, plus or minus, a small tolerance level. 0.08 is when people become far more impaired, hitting a critical threshhoithreshold. we just dont know that. even if it exists in thc. it may be a much smoother graph. well, given the fact that we have certainly a lack of knowledge of the effects of thc on the body and on the brain and behavior, although we know we have a lot of examples of problems from it, would it lead you to be more restrictive until we get that information or less restrictive in the application and allowance of that use of that drug going forward? >> with regard to use on the
3:50 pm
roadway, which, of course, is my major concern, it's the decision of the states how they of the states how they said to deal with these impairment issues. we tried to provide them with guidance, scientific ebbet they can use to -- we've been able to do that with alcohol. states have been responded very positively to alcohol impairment and drive those numbers down. in 2012 there were just over 10,000 killed in such crashes. 20 years previously that number was well over 20,000. >> i mean, going beyond whether we're comparing thc with alcohol or any other drug -- and i'm asking your personal opinion. i will ask the pin opinion of the rest of the panel members here as well. if you have a drug we could define the effects adequately,
3:51 pm
but we know it can have serious -- in fact proof it can actually kill people, does it make sense to be more aggressive in terms of relaxing the standards? or does it make sense to be more conservative and wait for that science to develop? >> well, i think that it makes sense to be very cautious with policy when -- when the complete evidence is not yet available. >> okay, mr. hart, what is your opinion, sir? >> as accident investigators, we follow where the accidents take us. that's the reason, for example, we did something very controversial, which was to recommend the blood alcohol number be reduced from 0.08 to 0.05, as we know any alcohol is impairing and there is no bright line this is too much, and it's a policy question of where should it be for legal
3:52 pm
enforcement? we would have that same approach as any other substance. >> so certainly buzzed driving is the same thing as impaired driving? >> that's the slang for it, yes, that's correct. >> so whenever there's a question as to the more conservative and more protective and more restrictive, when it doubt always be a little safer and a little more restrictive. would that be a safe estimate from your opinion? >> well, we are the safety people. we would always go in the direct of -- >> very good. i'm 2 for 2 here. how about you, ms. kelly? >> well, we rely on the science and we make the policy based on the science. >> but when there's a lack of science, you lean towards being more conservative until that science develops? or just full steam ahead, let's go ahead and give it a chance? >> we remain with the science on it. when our scientists at the department of health and human
3:53 pm
services tell us that things have changed, then we follow under the omnibus testing act, we follow what they say. until then it remaids a schedule i, we treat it as a schedule i, no excuses. >> so you would agree without changing to -- without backing the safety up, you're reluctant -- >> we cannot make the changes without the science, yes, sir. >> as with mea colleague from d.o.t., under executive order, thc is mentioned directly. we will continue to test for schedule i and schedule ii drugs. >> so i think certainly we have somewhat of an agreement here. i think we can all agree to the fact that until we have the skrujsz we should be careful and cautious.
3:54 pm
certainly one of the things about thc is, because it has been illegal, we haven't been doing the studies, and only now, even some of the important data that's come out has only come out very recently as it's become legalized. for instance, we know even in casual users there's profound changes in the brain, we see that on mri scans and we've done a number to see that. we also know a longitudinal stud,shows a progressive decline in i.q. even with early studies we're seeing problems, that's notwithstanding up to the 14% of fatal accidents involving thc. now we hear about medicinal marijuana. it's interesting that in the state of california, and in the city of denver we have more pot dispensaries than we do
3:55 pm
starbucks i don't know what your opinion is, but i don't think people are that unhealthy in denver and in california. is there anyone on the panel that would disagree with that? so, again, i question -- here's my question, as it interacts with what you do. do you treat someone who is on medicinal marijuana, versus recrassal marijuana, any differently when it comes to traffic accidents, when it comes to being able to, say, fly an airplane? or to engineer a train. do you treat those people any differently if anyone like to comment on that? yes, go ahead. >> no, sir, we do not. the department of transportation, all the transportation safety-sensitive employees are subject to the same testing. we did issue the two statements. one in 2009, in response to the
3:56 pm
medicinal marijuana laws and states, and 2012 on recreational, everyone is to be treated the same, there's no legitimate explanation for the schedule i drug marijuana. >> so for all intents and purposes, if someone is sick and needs marijuana that person is disabled for the purpose of having a job in transportation from. >> if that person tests positive, they will be required to be removed from safety-sensitive positions. >> there was a mention here about -- i think -- i didn't catch all of the exchange there, but i believe there was -- mr. connelly brought up mr. okita's bill that would reduce the standards for private pilots such that all you would require is just a regular driver's license to be able to qualify in terms of safety standards to fly
3:57 pm
an airport. mr. hart, did i catch that right? or were you talking about a different subject? >> you are correct. it's legislation to allow private pilots to not have to have the medical examination that they are not required to have. >> right. so in theory someone could be with that standard, a prist pilot could be flying an airport under the influence of marijuana, thc. >> that is possible, and we've investigated accidents. that's why we're having this forum and having a meet in september to get more specific about it. >> i love to watch documentaries on tv. i was watching one the other night that discussed airplanes and midair collisions. what they focused on was private aircraft that had drifted in the wrong air lane and interacted with a commercial aircraft.
3:58 pm
one that comes to mind, i was living in the area at the time, it was san diego, i believe it was 1978, where you had a private airplane that drifted -- they were actually in the wrong airspace. they collided with a commercial aircraft. hundreds of people died as a result of that. so what that would suggest to me is that no matter what the highest standard you could ever come up with for a commercial pilot, when you have private pilots out there who could be impaired and not receive the same high standard, then they are in effect just as dangerous to the commercial passengers as the commercial pilot himself if his standards were lowered as well. would you agree or disagree with that? a priority pilot flying wi inii private pilot flying, as if the commercial -- >> when we do our accident
3:59 pm
investigation, the issue of impairment may be independent of the issue of what their medical standard was. if they're impaired, whether they had a medical certificate or not, we're going to put that in the probable cause if that was a cause of the accident. >> right. so certainly a private -- the safety the aviation in general is no better than what the low zest standard for any pilot who is in the air. so as we have pilots who in this case hopefully it will never is into the law, but we have pilots flying with no more standard than who have a pilot's license and hopefully certified to fly, of course, but no medical standard beyond that, and then we have the legalization and the increase in medicinalization and decriminalization of marijuana, i see the risk to air travel to be growing in the future as we go forward with that. so certainly i would suggest, mr. chairman, that we look at this both sides.
4:00 pm
one is the fact there's many reasons in my view why we should not go forward with legalization, medicinalization, or decriminalization, but having higher standards for those in the air, realizes there's new threats with regard to thc. what sort of guidance are you getting from the white house? the president has been given some ambiguous cues on this. in 2011, he made very clear statements that marijuana should not be legalized, that it's a potential danger, and certainly young people should stay away from it. but in 2014, he made other statements that suggested it's maybe no worse than tobacco or alcohol. i would love to hear from you as government agencies, what sore of guidance, if any, are you getting from the white house? mr. michael?
4:01 pm
>> we work closely with the white house office of national drug control policy, and we are a part of the national drug strategy. we -- the office has provided us support for our roadside survey, and for other research that we have done, so i would say that we are getting very good input and very good support. >> okay. anyone else? >> i would say also the same. we work closely with the national drug control policy in setting standards. they set policy, we set the regulatory sites. so we've worked well with them over the last year. >> have you been moved in any direction towards relaxed standards or legalization of marijuana from the white house? any guidance in that direction? >> we're currently, as i stated under executive order, so we are under executive order to test
4:02 pm
for schedule i, schedule ii drugs, and that will remain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. very interesting discussion, and panel, thank you so much. >> thank you, dr. fleming. didn't the president, after he made a statement, it was no worse than alcohol or drugs? or tobacco, we did have tome at the ondc, i think it was the deputy, and he said he disagreed with the white house. you all have said you've been working with ondcp. you would agree with them more than the president, mr. hart? i'm going to put you on the spot. >> our guidance is to investigate, provide guidance -- >> you didn't commit yourself on that, but dr. michael did. dr. michael, you said you were working with ondcp and you concurred with them. so which -- you agree with what they said? >> we are in agreement with
4:03 pm
ondcp. i'd like to say we are in agreement with the president as well. >> oh, no, no, that -- i could make a funny comment now, but i won't. we may have to get the testing equipment out here. mr. -- >> and again we work closely with ondcp on everything as far as both -- >> but again the president said one thing, we hauled in the deputy director, he disagreed with the president. we had a whole host of people, d.e.a., other agencies, who also disagreed with the president. that was my point. i tried to embarrass you, but it didn't work, so -- dr. michael, you said it's the decision of the states, really, but the federal government does set some standards. we have a 0.08 standard now, if you don't comply with that, we can penalize you, and that's an
4:04 pm
incentive, is it not? >> yes, the congress established a statute. >> that's come down -- in fact, i just read one of the offices --acy your office recommended going to 0.05. is that correct? >> i believe that was a -- >> i knew one of you did, but there's a recommendation, and then we do assess penalties to states that don't comply, where we -- there's some -- some reduction in their eligibility for programs or funds, but that was your recommendation, mr. hart? >> twharks, mr. chairman. >> one of the problems we have here is we don't have federal standards. we do have states adopting standards s colorado it's nanograms per milliliter, i guess. is there any condition of any standard under way, other than
4:05 pm
what the national standards board is considering? are you guys looking at anything? >> yes, we are. we recognize that we need more testing of drivers at the state level. >> and then you need some means of testing. i want you also to comment. you said you're using some similar devices in testing. there's nothing with a standard, there's nothing that has been accepted as a -- as a -- an acceptable or certified -- i'm sure you haven't certified anything yet, piece of equipment that can test, correct? >> that's right. the technology which you have in your hand is developing rapidly. we think this will improve testing. >> you said california you're
4:06 pm
doing some testing? >> yes, we are doing some pilot tests in four locations in california as well speak at the test the feasible, with the idea if they are is working well or encouraging using -- more testing we believe would also. >> is this just internal or are you working with a -- >> this test we're working with state officials. >> but not with the ones setting the standard, or at least looking at setting some standards, which would be our national standards testing, whatever the initials are. >> no, we are not working with -- >> i think it would behoof yve
4:07 pm
to contact them. it's an important responsibility and you have to be accurate and whatever you adopt does become a standard. so i would suggest that -- you know -- i don't do these hearings just to hear ourselves talk. we're trying to also stay ahead of the curve. we have dramatically change figure l figureing laws, and we don't have the same -- mr. connelly was talking about the marijuana when he went to college or something, and this is a much more powerful. we've had testimony that confirms this, that we've got people more at risk. we have laws rapidly changing. societal view of the risk, and then talked about teens are most susceptible and also the most vulnerable, the most slaughtered by transportation -- by a
4:08 pm
vehicle, many of them by alcohol, some by substance abuse, and we see increasing use of that particular among the most vulnerable who are now viewing this as less of a risk. so we do have some serious issues here. no standards, no testing capability, and then we haven't done -- we've done some testing in the past 2007, 2013, we don't have that data back. i want to see some data and i want to see fox and others looking at beefing up the testing and the regulations where we have now more exposure to a schedule i narcotic being more available to the public, and the implications on public safety and transportation. so that's something hopefully positive that can come from
4:09 pm
this. also, it's my understanding marijuana stays in the system longer than alcohol. we've got a whole host of things that need to be looked at, and again implications from a different type of substance that is posing risk. when you see people getting slaughtered by the tens of thousands by year, we put in guard-day-old rails in the medians. we put in simple -- what do you call it, the rumble slips, so people who fall asleep are alerted. we encouraged the safety air bags and the side, and whole
4:10 pm
structural changes. now, if we don't do something when we see a danger of a new narcot narcotic, again the potential of more people impaired, driving while impaired, whether, again a vehic vehicle, mans a train and i showed just a feel of the planes -- we have pages and pages. i showed four. i showed one picture of a teenage fatality, and we know from the blood test, we say no one gets killed from smoking marijuana. well, i differ with that. so it's a serious issue. we have serious responsibility, and i intend to pursue the matter so i thank each of you
4:11 pm
for coming out we can all do a better job, and there being no further business -- well, let me see, with the concurrence of the minority, we'll leave the record open for ten additional days. we may have additional questions, and i've asked for additional information to be submitted for the record. white house objection, so ordered. no further business before the government operations subcommittee, this hearing is adjourned. thank you. tomorrow on "washington journal, a review of the past week in congress as men depart for the five-week summer recess. also todd akin on his new book "firing back" taking on the party bosses and immediate use elite. and the executive director of the american immigration
4:12 pm
lawyers association with the latest in the debate over immigration reform. also news week writer kirk icon wad will talk about the super theories and the threat they pose to u.s. national security. and your phone calls, facebook posts and tweets. this weekend to our national archives on george washington university reveals declassified documents. 50 years ago this week, congress passed the gulf of tongan
4:13 pm
resolution giving president johnson broad powers to wage war in southeast asia. american artifacts sunday at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern. more american history next week. while congress is in recess, american history will be in primetime, featuring events from watergate on the 40th anniversary. on c-span3. sunday on book tv's in depth and presidential candidate ron paul, he's written more than a dozens books with his late ers he takes your calls el e-mails and tweets. features a wide range of topics
4:14 pm
including the middle east, immigration, marijuana book tv, tel tells. recently at the white house, president obama and first lady michelle obama awarded the national arts and humanities medal. among the recipient were catsen berg, singer linda ronstadt, diam ream, the brook ling academy of music and the ant conveyorian associate. ♪
4:15 pm
[ applause ] >> hello, everybody. thank you, everybody. please have a seat. well, welcome to the white house. it has been 200 years since dolly madison saved the portrait of george washington that hangs in this room from an advancing british army. so i guess you can say the white house has always supported the arts. i'm glad to say michelle has never had to save any paintings,
4:16 pm
that i know of, from bo or otherwise and in the humanities. and i want to thank members of congress, including a great champion of the arts, nancy pelosi, for joining us this afternoon. the late grate maya ainge lieu said a birr doesn't sing because it has an answer. it sings because it has a song. each of the men and women we honor today has a song,
4:17 pm
literally in some cases. for others it's a talent or a drive or a passion that they just had to share with the world. to or honoreeing, like most creative and brainy people, you did not cultivate your song for accolades or applause. if there were no medal for your work, i expect you would still be out there designing buildings, making movies and digging through archives and asking tough questions and interviews. but we do honor you today, because your accomplishments have enriched or lives and revealed something about ourselves and about our country. we can never take from granted the flash of inspiration from reading a great memoir or watching a documentary, or seeing an extraordinary piece of architecture.
4:18 pm
or the world of memories we find unlocked with a simple movement, or a single note. it's the moments you help create, moments of understanding or all or joy or sorrow. his central and essential to the experience. we not only congratulate you this afternoon, we thank you for an extraordinary lifetime of achievement. i'll close by telling about something that took place here in 1862. president lincoln called together a meeting of the cabinet to present them with the emancipation proclamation, but that was no the the first item on the agenda. instead he began reading outloud from a story from the humorous art i miss ward. after he finished a chapter
4:19 pm
according to one account, lincoln laughed and laughed. his cabinet did not. so lincoln read them another chapter. they still sat there in stony sigh position. finally he put the book down and said, gentlemen, why don't you laugh? you need this medicine as much as i do. to be clear, i probably will not be trying this in my cabinet meetings, certainly not if i'm sprinting somebody like the emancipation proclamation, but what lincoln understood is that the arts and the humanities aren't just there to be consumed and enjoyed whenever we have a free moment in our lives. we rely on them constantly. we need them.
4:20 pm
they help us live. once again tonight i want to honor the honorees for creating work that i think would have met president lincoln's high standards. you have enhanced the character of our country and for that we are extraordinarily grateful. it is now my privilege to present these medals to each of the recipients after their citation is read. >> the national medal of arts recipients. julia alvarez, the 2013 national medal of arts to julia alvarez. for extraordinary storytelling in poetry and proceeds, she has themes of family, and cultural
4:21 pm
divides, the navigate of the two worlds and human capacity for strength in the face of oppression. [ applause ] accepting on behalf the brooklyn academy of music, karen brooks hopkins. the 2013 national medal of arts to brooklyn academy of music for innovative contributions to the performing and visual arts for over 150 yards b.a.m. has showcased the works of established visionaries and emerging artists who take risks and push boundaries.
4:22 pm
joan harris. the 2013 national medal of arts to joan harris, for supporting creative expression in chicago and across our country. her decades of leadership and generosity have enriched or cultural life and helped countless artists, dancers, singers and musicians bring their talent to center stage.
4:23 pm
bill t. jones. the 2013 national medal of arts to bill t. jones for his contributions as a dancer and choreographer, renowned for provocative performances that blend electic mix of modern and traditional dance, mr. jones creates works that challenge us to confront tough subjects and inspire us to greater heights. john candor.
4:24 pm
the 2013 national medal of arts to john candor for his contributions as a composer. for more than half a century mr. candor has enlivened broadway, television and film through songs that evoke romanticism and wonder, and capture moral dilemmas that persist across generations. jeffrey katzenberg. the 2013 national medal of arts to jeffrey cannesenberg for lighting up our screens and opening our hearts. he has embraced new technology to develop the art of
4:25 pm
storytelling and transformed the way we experience film. maxine hong kingston. the 2013 national medal of arts to maxine hong kingston for contributions as a writer. how the past influences are present and her voice has strengthened, helping shape our national conversation about culture, gender and race.
4:26 pm
albert mesos. the 2013 national medal of arts to albert mezos for rethinking and remaking documentary film in america. one of the pioneers of direct cinema, he has offered authentic depiction shuns of people and communities across the globe by capture raw emotions and representations, his work reflects the unfiltered truths of our shared humanity.
4:27 pm
linda ronstadt. the 2013 national medal of arts to linda ronstadt for her one of a kind voice and her decades of remarkable music, drawings from a broad ranges of influences, ms. ronstadt defied expectations to conquer american radio waves and helped pave the way for generation of women artists.
4:28 pm
billy sinh and todd williams. the 2013 national medal of arts for their contributions to architecture and arts education, whether public or private, their deliberate and inspired designs have a profound effect on the lives of those who interact with them. in their teaching and spirit of service have inspired young people to pursue their passions.
4:29 pm
james terrell. the 2013 national medal of arts to james terrell for his groundbreaking visual art, captures the powers of light and space. mr. terrell builds experiences that force us to question reality. challenging our perceptions not only of art, but also of the world around us. national humanities medal recipien recipients, m.h. abrams.
4:30 pm
the 2013 nationality humanities medal for broadening the study of literature as a scholar, writer and critic, dr. abrams has expanded or perception of the romantic tradition and explored the modern concept of artistic self-expression in western culture, influencing and inspiring generations of students. accepting on behave of american
4:31 pm
antique yaern society, ellen dunlap. the 2013 national humanities medal to american antiquarian society for safeguarding the american society. for more than two centuries, the society has amazed an unparallel collection of documents, serving as a research centering, and collected generations of american toss their cultural heritage. david brian davis.
4:32 pm
the 2013 national humanities medal to david brian davis. for reshaping our understanding of history. dr. davis has shed light on the contradiction of a union founded on liberty, yet existing half slave and half free, and his examinations of slavery and abolitionism drive us to keep making moral progress in our time. william theodore devary.
4:33 pm
the 2013 national humanities medal to william theodore debarry for enlightning our view of the world as a scholar of eastation studies, dr. debarry has fostered a global conversation based on the common values and experiences shared by all culture, helping to bridge differences and build trust. darlene clark hine.
4:34 pm
the 2013 national humanities medal to darlene clark hine for enriching our understanding of the african-american experience, through prolific scholarship and leadership, dr. hine has examined race, class and jepder, and has shown how the struggles and successes of african-american women have shaped the nation we are today. john paul jones.
4:35 pm
the 2013 national humanities medal to john paul jones for honor i honoring -- as the creative mind behind diverse and cherished institutions around the world, mr. jones has designed spaces worthy of the cultures they reflect, the communities they serve, and the environments they inhabit. stanley nelson.
4:36 pm
the 2013 medal to stanley nelson for documenting the stories of african-americans through film by using his camera to tell both well-known and lesser-known narratives, mr. nelson has exposed injustices and highlighted triumpgs revealing new depths of our nation's history. diane ream. the 2013 national humanities medal to diane ream, for illuminating people and stories behind the headlines. in probing interviewing with everyone from pundits to poets to presidents, ms. ream's keen
4:37 pm
insights and boundless curiosity have deepened our understanding of our culture and ourselves. ann firer scott. the 2013 national humanities medal to ann firer scott for pioneering the study of women in the american south. dr. scott's exploration of the previously unexamined lives of southern women, of different races, classes and political ideologies has established
4:38 pm
women's history as vital to our conception of southern history. christa tippet. the 2013 national humanities medal to christa tippet for thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence on the air and in print ms. tippet avoids easy answer embracing complexity and inviting people
4:39 pm
of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics and moral wisdom. i think now is a good time for everybody to stand up and give these outstanding winners -- or recipients a big round of applau applause. so congratulations to all of you. we could not be more appreciative of everything you
4:40 pm
have done. i was mentioning as people were coming up, you've been personally touched by all sorts of these folks. i was mentioning to maxine that when i was first writing my first book and trying to teach myself how to write, the women warriors was one of the books i read. after the book was done, diane was one of the few interviews that was granted. i told linda ronstadt i had a little crush on her back in the day. and i know all of you have been touch similarly by these amazing people we are greatively on behalf of michelle and myself, as we are taking pictures, their families police continue to enjoy the reception here. thank you very much, everybody.
4:41 pm
tomorrow on washington german, as -- also former congressman on fire back to protect our faith and freedom, and the executive director of the american immigration lawyers, also news weep will talk about the plots to destroy america that examines conspiracy
4:42 pm
theories and the threat they pose. we'll also take your phone calls, facebook posts and tweets. on -- and? a live simulcast, senate mine nor leader mitch mcconnell and kentucky's secretary of state will deliver remarks in graves county at the fancy farm picnic. that will also be on c-span. s with live coverage of the u.s. house a, here on c-span3, we complement that coverage be showing you the most relevant congressional hearings and public air fares events. on weekends c-span3 is the home to american history tv with programs that tell our nation's stories. visiting battlefields and key events.
4:43 pm
touring museumses and historic sites. his toy bookshelf. and our new series. c spans 3, created by the capable tv industry and funded, watch us in hd, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. a house oversight and government reform subcommittee recently got an update from the irs commissioner about the response to i don't think going congressional oversight.
4:44 pm
many will come to order. i want to thank our witnesses for being here again. we'll start with some opening statements. first by recognizing chairman of the full committee, gentleman from california, darrell issa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. that's very kind. i know it's unprecedented to which the commissioner in front of this committee so often. as we continue to explore a
4:45 pm
number of question, the timelines of crash, and inconsistency of the probable of lost e-mails, we appreciate that you were not in gong. as you can imagine, not just the internet, not just fox, but america is beginning to question how convenient so many e-mails of so many people at the hard of targeting conservative groups for their viewing, for their politics and for the facts that citizens united was objected to by the president, how many of them had loss of data and how much is not available for american people. a cover-up is -- in other words how thing -- when it comes to the loss of data, it's clear
4:46 pm
that data began disappears and not being able to yet be found at a time when congress was just beginning to look at wrongdoing that is not confirmed that began with the president objecting to citizens united writing letters asking for investigation of people that were politically the op sid of their part. in addition to their nonprofit work, it is clear they were driven within the irs and perhaps other areas by political bias and a believe the president wanted a fix and that the fix had to occur. again, commissioner, you weren't in government at that time, but
4:47 pm
government is today, it is their time, their watch, their responsibility. whether it's the department of justice or any and all government at this time that led to the unfair treatment on the eve of campaign it is clear that there was a convenient loss of far more data by far more feel than explained bied normal a arithmetic -- today we'll -- it was your watch to give us accurately and keep us up to day on developments related to lois lerner and other parts of our investigation. it is my view that you could have done better.
4:48 pm
but that was yesterday. today what we are asking you to do is to continue working with the ig and if we're fortunate enough to get a special prosecutor, work with him or her, and of course work with the groups that now have federal judges ordering the irs to show particular information and bringing it all together back to this committee. to bring back the confidence in the irs. i appreciate your willingness to be here. these are not easy hearings. each time you come you leave with more questions with us than you come with answers to us. that is the nature of an investigation that continues to evolve. i want to thank you for recognizing me early, mr.
4:49 pm
chairman. commissioner, i believe to have to a certainly extent been part of the solution and for that i thank you and i yield back. thank you, i want to thank you for testifying before this committee yet again. before the ways and means on the same topic. now becoming class real damage in the fight this is unseenly,
4:50 pm
embarrassing and not a proper way to run an investigation or spend millions in taxpayer funds. as in taxpayer funds. as the commissioner knows very well, when the chairman was informed about the crash of the line drive, he said that he would be pulling the first public hearing before the ways and means committee. ten minutes later, chairman isa issued a unilateral subpoena compelling them to testify. he did not contact the commissioner before issuing the subpoena and did not hold a debate or vote. in response, chairman camp moved the hearing up several days so he was the first one in front of the cameras. it did not seem to matter to either chairmen that the irs provided numerous
4:51 pm
contemporaneous documents showing that it was a technological problem, the crash, she and multiple i.t. officials attempted to remedy. those facts were apparently irrelevant. still, the first to do so publicly. chairman camp has asked the inspector general to conduct an investigation into ms. learner's hard drive crash which he's agreed to do. commissioner testified last time that he was here that the inspector general asked him to make his investigation the top priority. which meant not subjecting the irs employees to any other interviews while the inspector general's interviews were going on. that was the ig request. rather than waiting a few weeks they disregarded the ig's request and demanded the irs make the employees available to him now. the commissioner explained that
4:52 pm
that the inspector general did not want the irs employees subjected to multiple interviews and just began issuing more itunes lateral subpoenas. he forced the irs employees to appear before the oversight committee and he excluded chairman camps staff from participating when the commissioner testified here before. the republicans accused him of obstruction claiming he was hiding witnesses from the committee. when he, again, explained that the inspector
4:53 pm
not be subjected to multiple interviews in order to avoid tainting their testimony, end of quote. without directly criticizing the chairman's actions, he said as investigators, working for the inspector general, they want everyone to allow them to complete their interviews first, quote, without distraction, end quote. as he stated then, there's no confusion of witness testimony and integrity of the investigation is not impaired. contrary, the chairman has forced the irs employees to come to our committee and transcribe the interviews and since he's excluded the camp staff they are being forced to appear before the ways and means.
4:54 pm
invariably, after each of these interviews, chairman, i think chairman camp issued duelling press releases with bits of information of excerpts in an effort to compete for more headlinetion no matter how unsubstantiated claims they have. over the past year and a half they obtained no new evidence to change the conclusions from the audit of 2013. as i close, there's simply no evidence whatsoever of any white house involvement in the applications. the irs has already spent $18 million responding to the duplicative investigations and the commissioner is testifying before congress for the fourth time in just over a month. yet, chairman isa informed the committee members yesterday he'll be holding yet another hearing on the topic next wednesday. we have the knows the here.
4:55 pm
and with that, i yield back. >> mr. chairman, point of privilege. there are a number of word's in the gentleman's statements that disparage me and i object to his words and debate and ask that he withdraw or modify them and ask unanimous consent that among the terms that be withdrawn would be not only the unseemly statement, but, in fact, when the chairman or the rinking member disparaged me for a number of areas including my intent and essentially said that the items i said were not true. additionally, the ranking member while objecting to multiple -- objecting to multiple claims of cherry picking releases or interfering with the ig, fails to mention that in june of 2013,
4:56 pm
he released the entire is john shea fer transcript which compromised this investigation saying they reviewed these in preparation for those. so i certainly would say that, while questioning the intent in some argument about republicans not getting along, the ranking member managed to go beyond the ordinary opening statement and claiming that the intent. in fact, the ranking member in june of 2013, went on national television claiming the investigation was over. this investigation is not over. i would ask that such items including "unseemly" be taken down. >> i object. >> the gentleman objects. i understand but i would reiterate that the decorum of this committee should not lead to personal attacks as to the
4:57 pm
intent of individuals on either side. the fact is, this committee is conducting vigorous oversight. we do so as a matter of our obligation as a committee and i would make one last request. i ask unanimous consent that the staff be able to place the timeline into the record so the ranking members clearlier erroneous claim that our request for this hearing, the first hearing, came after the events when, in fact, the timeline will show that the subpoena had been served prior to the announcement from ways and means and as the ranking member would know if he ever chaired this committee, the fact is, it takes a long period of time to prepare a subpoena, to write a subpoena, to go to the clerk and get it approved and then to it. so i would hope that the ranking member once he cease that in the
4:58 pm
record, would recognize that, in fact, he's been clearlier erroneous in his claims and i yield back. >> i thank if gentleman for yielding. if we can, without objections, let's allow the timeline in and let's move to the next opening statement. would that be satisfactory? >> mr. chairman? >> would that be satisfactory. >> certainly, it's satisfactory. >> but i just wonder, though, would just a brief response to the distinguished chairman -- >> do you really have to? >> no. i on the really have to, other than to say to you, mr. chairman, i certainly associate myself and i know my colleagues on this side of the aisle do as well, with the sentiments expressed by the distinguished chairman that we should always speak with respect about each other. we should never question each other's intentions. that's not been the practice as often as i would like on this committee. so i certainly hope that this would reflect a new day dawning here on the committee and we can
4:59 pm
proceed civilly. >> our subcommittee meets today to continue its oversight of the irs and targeting of conservative tax exempt applicants. we welcome back our witness. the irs commissioner and all kinds of questions need to be answered and that's why for the time in a month we're -- we have mr. koskin in here to answer and address of what many of those unanswered questions. we were promised the irs would produce all of louis learner's e-mails. and then we learned her e-mails had been destroyed and there was absolutely no way he could produce all of her e-mails to congress. second, we were told the irs confirmed that all backup tapes with louis learner's e-mails had been destroyed. then we learned last week from irs attorney, thomas cain, that a backup tape may, in fact, exist. third, we were told there was one hard drive crash. louis learner's and then the
5:00 pm
ways and means committee disclosed there were accept or eight total crashes and now we learn from mr. cain, that there may be as many as 20. think about this. the irs has identified 83 custodians of documents and information. they identified these people associated with this targeting of conservative groups and now almost a fourth of them may have had hard drive crashes. unbelievable. fourth, we were told the irs found out in april of 2014, that miss learner's e-mails were lost. but then we learned from mr. cain the irs knew on february 4th, 2014, about miss learner's hard drive crash and that it found out just days later that the hard droouf had been recycled and its confents were unrecoverable. that's why we continue to have hearings. that's why we have mr. koskin back for the third time in a month. we want straight answers. we convened this hearing because today, over a month after the ris told congress

78 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on