Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 30, 2015 3:00am-5:01am EST

3:00 am
that national association of manufacturers is supporting this bill, the chamber of commerce supports this bill. i support this bill. i'm a co-sponsor now because i've looked at the alternatives and i think this is the best balance. shall it's in the legislation, a balanced approach. that's why so many manufacturers are supporting it. also, i would tell you, ohio does a lot of manufacturing for facilities, including lng export facilities. i noticed in your testimony this morning, you talked about chart industries, who testified in the ways and means committee, ohio based manufacturer involved in the lng supply chain. so it's going to help in the manufacturing as well. but i do think it's important that we have a balance in the legislation. i'm really interested in the legislation because of a broader interest that i have. i think this regulatory regime we have in this country is putting us behind in so many ways. back in the good old days, you
3:01 am
could get a green light to produce something make something, move forward with a project in the united states of america pretty quickly. now we're ranked 41st in the world in the dealing with construction permit category by the world bank. we're getting worse. other countries are getting better. germany, something like number eight. south korea is something like number 12. and capital is flowing to different places around the world and not coming here because of the time it takes to permit something. yesterday i introduced legislation with senator mccaskill that's bipartisan, that's a balanced approach to how do you get at some of this permitting. senator king is a co-sponsor of that legislation. he's got an incredible background in this, having been a governor, but also in the private sector dealing with permitting. what i like about this legislation is it doesn't take away d.o.e.'s approval authority, but it says you have to do it in 45 days. i appreciate what mr. smith said about the fact that this legislation can be implemented by d.o.e. that that's enough time, given the run-up to that, to be able to understand whether this is an
3:02 am
appropriate project or not. the legislation we introduced will be more broad. this is specifically with regard to lng exports. but i think it's part of a bigger effort we need to undertake in this congress. consistent with the 2006 and 2012 transportation bills, this mirrors that in terms of the permitting and how the litigation reforms work and so on. mr. eisenberg, let me ask you a question. can you speak some more on the importance of the requirement in the bill that d.o.e. does approve or deny these pending permits within the 45 days of a completed nepa review? mr. smith, do you think you could live with that? i assume you agree with a deadline like this gives the d.o.e. ample time to review the application. but also is giving investors some certainty that this project is actually going to be completed, is that correct? >> that's absolutely correct. thank you. we poll our members regularly. i want to be clear who we represent. we represent 14,000 members.
3:03 am
that is small manufacturers, medium sized manufacturers and large energy intensive manufacturers who are also represented by mr. cicio's group. we are for regulatory certainty for free trade. it's the number one priority of our membership right now, as we polled them quarterly. it came up the most. it was the most frequently cited answer. there are two types of regular regulatory certainty, making sure that the regulations put in place that are new are reasonable. there's also regulatory certainty on the back end. when you apply for a permit you can get it. the legislation you recently introduced, the legislation of rapid act in the house these mirror all sorts of other legislation and while they're in place at the federal level, that would impose a deadline. or shot clock, or something like this. that can say, please uphold the law. but do it in a quick expeditious fashion. that is the closest thing to what our policy wants on this, which is just a quick up or down
3:04 am
decision on an export license. >> mr. smith, i think there's some misunderstanding, and again, i really appreciate the leadership senator barrasso has brought to this. the export application is not the only federal permit. what other federal permits are you aware of and is that in addition to any local and state permits that might also be required? mr. eisenberg, or mr. durbin? >> sure. like i said, you have to run the gauntlet to get these things. it takes about two years before you even prefile to scope out the site and all of these kind of things. then you have to go through nepa. which on average i believe takes three and a half years by recent studies by the government. it can take longer, it can take less. but you have all of that time that you basically have every single agency check the box and make sure everything's compliant with the environmental laws, economic interests, part of the nepa process. you do examine the economic
3:05 am
impact. and then you get a final decision. >> by the way are there deadlines associated with those permits? >> on nepa, absolutely not. there actually is none. and you can actually -- it falls under the six-year statute of limitations. that's part of why we're -- why the senate is debating it right now. >> with regard to state and federal permits? mr. durbin or mr. smith? others want to chime in? >> absolutely. maryland dominion is a perfect example. in addition to everything they're doing at the federal level, many state permits they have to get as well. >> my time's expired. i appreciate your testimony today, gentlemen. >> thank you. and we turn to senator hurano. >> thank you, madam chair. senator heinrich had asked mr. smith a question regarding if we
3:06 am
create administrative or regulatory certainty in the time frame for approval, wouldn't we expect more applications. and mr. smith didn't want to opine. but i'd like to ask the other panelists whether you think -- very brief answers please -- whether you think there would be more applications if we create certainty? as it still does? >> i don't believe the number of applications is going to be affected by the timeline. it will be affected by companies who believe they're going to be able to get the financing be able to line up customers. again, these are very long-term very expensive propositions. i think those that are moving forward, knowing that there is some certainty at the end, after a very long extensive and but a predictable process -- during the ferc process d.o.e. is one of the cooperating agencies. so they're part of that effort as well. >> it sounds as if the ferc
3:07 am
process is a much longer process than what d.o.e. has to do once approved. >> it is a longer process. but d.o.e. is part of that process. and to d.o.e.'s credit during this entire time, not on a case by case basis, but they've been engaged in the studies that have been raised several times here when you look at the broader natural interests, the economic impact. and those are ongoing. that's why our feeling is, having gotten through the ferc process, they've got the foundational items they need at that point, in a timely and specific way, and can make a determination. >> okay. so i think the rest of you will -- you agree that it's a ferc process that's really sort of the big question mark. so you wouldn't expect additional -- or increased applications as a result of this bill. and yet i don't want to open a can of worms, but are you okay with the ferc process? >> again i'll speak for anga. we believe the end for the
3:08 am
companies that we've worked with, as i said, it is a long, it is an expensive, it is a comprehensive process. but it's a predictable process. it's one they're familiar with. so there have not been complaints about the ferc process. >> let's move on. i have a note of caution about exporting natural gas, because it has to do with our ability to predict what is going to happen. about ten years ago, we thought we would be importing natural gas. so it gives me pause. and also a state like hawaii, where we're looking to import liquid natural gas i would love for the industry to help us figure out how we can do that, and meet domestic needs in a cost reasonable way. but that's not for this hearing. i understand that the extraction of gas does create a by-product
3:09 am
of methane, and that there are methane leaks, and methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. i would like to ask this of mr. durbin durbin. assuming there will be more construction activity, are there efforts by gas producers to reduce methane gas emissions during the production process? >> thank you senator. i'm glad you asked the question. the answer is an emphatic yes. let me tell you what's already happened. if you look at epa's own data, nothing from the industry on methane emissions from natural gas producers, go from 2006 which was kind of a peak to the emissions we saw in 2012, the reduction of methane just from natural gas producers was 39.5%. now, the dates are important here. 2006 was before the shale gas revolution. so in those six years we've added thousands of wells.
3:10 am
we've increased production by over 25% during that time. yet, methane emissions from natural gas production have been reduced by 39.5%. and that's going to continue. because it is in our interest to capture the methane. methane is natural gas. that's what we're wanting to sell. it's also the continued improvement in efficiencies and technology in the industry that has us today as the most productive gas well in the country, in pennsylvania. ten years ago, the most productive well in the well produced only five. the numbers are just for relative scale. we are producing a heck of a lot more gas at the same time methane emissions are plummeting in our industry. >> i take it you would not be in favor of epa regulating methane emissions from this activity? >> it is regulated by epa through -- we say the current
3:11 am
regulations, you know, we're having all these productions under current regulations. i would argue epa does not need another new regulation. >> thank you. i think my time is up. >> thank you. and we are now going to turn to senator gardner. i will be excusing myself from the committee right now. we're going to start votes here very shortly. and senator cantwell will be here for a short period. we want to make sure we get through all members and have an opportunity before the panel. it's going to be a little bit choppy from here on out. i apologize that i won't be able to hear your further comments. but please know how much i appreciate what you have provided the committee today. this is a very important issue. i think we would recognize that. and again i appreciate the level of cooperation that we have had. and i think a place where we have a compromise bill that i think will be helpful to the country. with that, i will turn to
3:12 am
senator gardner. and he will be followed by senator franken. >> thank you madam chair. and thank you for the hearing today. i thank the witnesses for your time. when itches in the house of representatives, introduced hr-6, the domestic prosperity and global freedom act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. one thing that made that bill so successful was many of the statements made today by the witnesses, including conversations that we had with people like dr. orbon from hungary, and others who recognized the national security implications of a strong and vigorous opportunity for the united states to share in our energy security with our partners around the globe. and so today talking about senate bill 33 a straightforward piece of legislation granting approval for lng exports already languishing, depending how you look at the department of energy and it's not too often
3:13 am
we share in these kind of opportunities where you have a bipartisan bill that will create jobs create energy security, add to our national security all at the same time. something that i wish we could do more of. and i do believe this has the opportunity to create a number of american jobs across this country, including in colorado, my home state. one of the nation's leading producers of both oil and natural gas. and renewable energy as well. mr. smith a question for you to start with. dr. paula gant with the department of energy testified last congress 113th congress that the department of energy is keenly interested and invested in the energy security of our allies, and trading partners. do you think american lng exports add to the energy security of our allies? >> thanks for the question, senator. we look at a variety of factors, including international aspects. i wouldn't say currently that the fact that we are importing
3:14 am
less lng than we had expected is already impacting inging global markets. the fact that u.s. producers of potentially out negotiating contracts in advance of any terminal being built has an impact on global markets. we think all of those things are positive. those are things we explicitly care about, and note in our applications. >> so reading between the lines, it is clear that you believe the department of energy believes that exporting lng does increase the -- adds to the energy security of our allies? >> it has an impact, yes. >> mr. coriani, you believe in the same position, correct? >> absolutely. and that actually goes back also to senator barrasso's question as far as the future is concerned. we have this benefit of diverting energy supplies that were supposed to come to the united states. also looking into the future, because asian gas prices are
3:15 am
higher most of the supplies will go to asia. i'm not really sure about that. if you look at the contracts a bulk of those are with european natural gas suppliers. they will provide gas to spain, to the uk. asian gas prices since last february came down by 47%. so the gap between european and asian prices are not that big. and if there is another couple from russia, for ukraine that could briefly send up european natural gas prices. so to sum up, yes. >> mr. smith, again in response to a question to senator barrasso barrasso, maybe it was the chairman, you had said that the 45-day time frame and net 33 was workable is that correct? >> that's our view. we could comply with the law. >> do you have a same view about representative johnson's bill in the house that moved through the
3:16 am
house yesterday? i think it's a 30-day time frame. >> i haven't compared the details. but the 45-day limit in this bill is something that we could comply with. >> okay. mr. durbin, dr. daniel yergen testified when it comes to natural gas, in colorado, in the western slope, they're suffering due in part to the overabundance of natural gas supplies. would you agree that the u.s. is demand constrained and not supply constrained? >> absolutely. it's a part of infrastructure that we need to focus on. >> does that lend itself to having too much supply and drives down investment in new production? >> absolutely. >> is that something that s-33 could improve as well to give our investment opportunities to flourish and make new investment? >> by making clear that we have a new robust demand outlet here it will provide consistency, it will provide the incentive and
3:17 am
motivation for the interest in the production, not only for exports, but for the natural gas liquids. it will drive the manufacturing here in the united states. >> i do want to keep in line with the spirit of the house coming over here when the red light comes on. i want to express how important this legislation is when it comes to national security. i know last congress there was significant debate amongst people whose states have put moratoriums in place on practices like hydraulic fracturing who voted for the lng export bill, knowing full well that our potential to export lng is only available because of our opportunities. to utilize techniques like hydraulic fracturing. they recognize the importance of the abundant supply of energy that we can share with our allies and what it means for national security. i hope it continues to be a part of this important debate. >> senator franken? >> i'll pick up from senator gardner there.
3:18 am
we're able to do this because of hydraulic fracturing. and i want to -- i want everyone here to understand who developed that technology. and who's responsible for that. and it's the taxpayers of the united states. mr. durbin talked about how in 2009 projections of the supply of natural gas going out were so low, that the prices were going to be very, very high. and mentions that now they're much lower in the projections. and we're hearing senators talk about the discoveries of, you know, of reserves of natural gas in their state as if this is
3:19 am
just a discovery that happened out of nowhere. this is because of the taxpayers doing investments in research, into three-dimensional seismic imaging done in labs. please listen to this. because i say this over and over again. in this committee. this whole renaissance in natural gas is due to research done by the department of energy, paid for by the united states taxpayers. and projects done with the oil and gas industry. in horizontal drilling. but understand that this didn't come out of nowhere. and let's have some historical
3:20 am
context here. so who paid for this? who is responsible for this unbelievable renaissance? the american taxpayer. and that includes the minnesota taxpayer. now, do you know how much natural gas we produce in minnesota? just as an estimate? mr. durbin? >> i'm not aware of the natural gas production in minnesota, sir. >> zero. this does us no good whatsoever. it does minnesota no good whatsoever. the eia just says, this is going to increase the price of natural gas. this is going to increase the price of electricity. to every minnesotan.
3:21 am
of heat to every minnesotan. the costs of operations to every minnesota manufacturer. this does my state no good whatsoever. now, i would appreciate it if those from the other states who will benefit -- the benefits of this, the jobs, the gdp growth and the jobs will be very concentrated by sector and region. mr. durbin you represent the natural gas producers. >> mm-hmm. >> i would venture to say that your sector will benefit from it the most. don't you think? >> we certainly are benefiting it from, senator. but i would argue with your contention and say the entire nation has been benefiting from this. if we didn't have this natural gas revolution the production, the prices where they are, you wouldn't have manufacturers in minnesota that could take advantage of it. >> they should be thanking the
3:22 am
taxpayers of minnesota. >> i have a question with -- your contention about d.o.e.'s role in helping -- >> i only have a little bit of time, sir. the point is, is that there's no benefit at all for the people of minnesota in sending this abroad. this is what will happen, is that this will benefit -- the steel workers are against this, and mtac in minnesota, where they mine iron ore and make pellets, they heat those pellets up to 2,500 degrees fahrenheit with natural gas. it's going to drive up the cost of natural gas. this is going to hurt minnesota. this is why the steel workers are against it the united steel workers. manufacturing creates eight times as much jobs. yeah, if you export a natural resource the people who produce
3:23 am
that natural resource benefit, but it doesn't do anything like the kind of -- create the kind of jobs that we in minnesota have created because of this technology that we -- the taxpayers in minnesota helped to promote. so i just want this perspective. and going forward, and i know my time's up. but i've been here a little longer than senator kapito. i just want going forward for members when they talk about this natural gas renaissance, to understand where this came from. aside from this subject on natural gas, when we're talking about renewable energy when we're talking about all energy let's understand the role that research basic research, and applied research have played in
3:24 am
our nation in making sure that we are energy independent. thank you. >> thank you senator franken. turning to senator cassie. let me remind the committee, that the committee heard concerns about natural gas prices two years ago. prices have fallen since then. the obama administration has issued three separate studies showing that natural gas prices will remain low with lng exports. the administration's most recent study shows that prices will remain low even if the department of energy approves four times the amount of lng exports that's already approved. so at least four additional studies have confirmed the administration's findings. >> to speak of the pervasiveness of the fracking minnesota actually produces much of the frac sand. and so the price of fracking sand has increased much to the benefit of min soetans and wisconsinans. the benefit of this which george
3:25 am
mitchell taking the d.o.e. research but actually commercializing this, goes to minnesota. which is very good. i have a couple of questions, though. one related to that, and one to another. this is about jobs. i can tell you, there are families struggling because they don't have jobs. we know there's going to be a downturn in employment in the oil patch because of the falling oil prices. i'm interested if we can increase the jobs in natural gas production, because of an exportation. hazel shale is in north louisiana. and that play has decreased production because it's dry gas it's not what the people want to make petrochemical products. mr. durbin or mr. smith do you all have an idea of how many jobs would be created if we could unshutter those closed-down wells in places like the hainesville, and begin to ship that dry gas to markets that actually want dry gas?
3:26 am
mr. durbin, do you have any idea how many jobs would be created by that? >> i don't have the specifics to that. but i know there have been several studies in fact one with price waterhouse cooper, expanding natural gas development. we could create 1 million jobs in the manufacturing sector across the country. so there's no question that by providing for the exports that you have now, you have a much more certain demand outlet for this product and we're fortunate here in the u.s. that natural gas prices and oil prices are largely decoupled. >> so if we increase that production, we'll be decreasing the demand for steel pipe which is produced in places like minnesota, ohio, et cetera? >> yes. >> absolutely. mr. smith, it seems -- this has been a great hearing but i have a perception that may be false that there's a certain kind of languidness about the approval of some of these permits. now, that may be a perception -- i'm happily married, so i speak
3:27 am
of my perceptions, not of what i know, okay? that said, when i look at the ferc and d.o.e. processes, ferc says i understand under d.o.e. there's a statement that they want to look at the life cycle -- the increase in life cycle methane emissions if exportation requires increase production of gas. ferc says they cannot ascertain that, therefore, they do not consider it. fact that d.o.e. would consider something which ferc says is improbable, makes me wonder if they're just -- sorry for all the bells -- that they're almost inviting litigation by those who wish to retard this process. so why would d.o.e. consider something which ferc considers improbable? >> thank you for the question, senator. first i'd certainly challenge the characterization as languid as a process. the most recent authorization we
3:28 am
issued, we literally issued one day after the ferc process was completed. >> as i would say to my wife, i apologize. >> dully noted. thank you, senator. in terms of the ferc process and d.o.e. process, i think it's important to consider the fact that we are looking at two very different considerations, two very different decisions. the job of ferc is to determine if the plant itself can be built safely and the footprint of that plant itself is consistent with the environmental sustainability sustainability. can the applicant build that terminal on that footprint. >> don't you also consider the life cycle if there will be an increase in life cycle release of methane -- >> that is what the department of energy looks at. so the department of energy is looking at giving the applicant the ability to actually export the molecule. so we have to look at all the things that would be impacted,
3:29 am
all the things that would be part of the public interest determination of giving the applicant that ability to export that molecule. and that includes a lot of the things that are surrounding -- >> but that particular consideration is going to be full of assumptions. for example, mr. durbin pointed out since 2006 there's been a dramatic decline in emissions. you have to predict in 2022 what is going to be the rate of emissions, and the market and the life cycle how much is through pipeline and how much is through whatever. but the fact that it has lots of variables makes me wonder why is it in there. >> you're very nicely framing the challenge of this incredibly important public determination. these are decadal investments. the decisions that companies make now in terms of spending billions of dollars to build plants, are going to have an impact on our economy, on our environment, on job creation on a lot of things we care about, for a very long period of time. and it's very flachnature, a lot of
3:30 am
that does involve diverse views. i hear from mr. cicio's numbers, i hear from mr. durbin's numbers, and they have different views. >> we don't know which of those is correct. so if we have a variable in which we cannot possibly know with any kind of r-squared statistical analysis of the correlation is going to be huge therefore, you're picking a number which is subject to political consideration. do we want to approve this or not. that would be the fear. and we can prove one which has a big number of methane release or one that says, no, this is the glide path, we think it will come down to a lower number. >> senator our job is to make good public determinations. one thing i would point everybody to is when we issue an order it's not a sticky we put up on the wall yes or no. we actually issue a very complex document that has to take into consideration all of the arguments that are made by all
3:31 am
of the different stakeholders that intervene in this process. they include mr. cicio's numbers, mr. durbin's numbers, all the diverse ideas that we've heard here in this very hearing. and our goal is to write an order that's clear, that's consistent with the spirit of the law, and that's going to withstand the scrutiny it's sure to receive. and our goal at the end of the day is that should we approve a particular applicant, that they can look at that order and that applicant has the confidence to go and spend the multiple billions of dollars that it takes to build that terminal because they can see that we've had a thorough process that's consistent with the letter and the spirit of the law. and it does require us to think about assumptions but make those assumptions clear and explicit that can withstand scrutiny. >> senator king? >> thank you, senator. first i want to say i'm good with regulatory reform. i like bills that generally lay
3:32 am
out regulatory clear guidelines and time. i'm also good with natural gas. so good with it, in fact, that i don't want to blow an advantage that this country has. i have been to factories, gentlemen, and looked in the eyes of people who have lost their jobs to asia to other parts of the world to mexico, and they looked at me and said how did you let them ship my jobs away? we have no advantage on wages. we have no advantage on labor protections. we have no advantage on environmental protection. we have today an advantage on energy costs. i cannot understand this discussion that will inevitably lead to higher energy costs. mr. eisenberg, i can't understand an organization called the national association of manufacturers supporting this program. this bill maybe. i understand.
3:33 am
because this is really a regulatory bill. but the larger issue is what really concerns me. right now, if you export -- if we export to china, add in the cost of transportation, the cost of liquification you're talking $10, china's paying $12 or $13 so we're giving them a 30% cut in their energy cuts. i just don't get it. now, mr. durbin, you testified that you thought and projected out ten years, 20 years 30 years, i think you said 2040, 9% is all we would be talking about. would you accept a friendly amendment to this bill that the limit -- that the presumption of the public interest would be reversed if the export was more than 9% of domestic production? i believe you when you say it, but i subscribed to president reagan's admonition, trust and verify.
3:34 am
i trust the industry when they say it's not really going to affect the price that much. there's endless supply. okay, fine, let's put it in writing. 10%. i'll go with. 9% is what you said. so maybe that's where we ought to start the negotiation. but i just think this would -- this moment will be looked back at, at a time when americans say, what were you thinking when we have what i call america's second chance at manufacturing. but we're going to give it away. mr. durbin? >> sure. >> the question is in there somewhere. >> i'm happy to answer it. i think the problem is, we're posing a question as an either/or, that we can only have this abundance of natural gas in manufacturing, or export it. we have both. we can do both. the issues that you know certainly manufacturers in new england need to be concerned about is pipeline con strastsstraintsconstraints.
3:35 am
>> our natural gas prices were the highest in the world last winter. the world. >> exactly. >> that's a pipeline problem. >> but if you look at the estimates, not the industry estimates, but the government estimates, what demand is going to -- how demand is going to increase, going out to 2040, we're going to be outstripping consumption and demand here all along. >> that's fib. all i'm saying is put it in writing. >> but the other aspect of -- >> put a cap on the export, so that we don't end up with australia -- we've now -- we're producing 25 bcf a day in the queue is 38 bcf a day, for export. that's more than half. that's what you said was the problem. you said, that will never happen. that's australia. but that's what worries me if there's no limit here, and there's no definition of the public interest in the statute that these guys are administering. i'm just saying, let's define
3:36 am
it. >> the limit is provided by the global markets. we're not going to be exporting 10 15, 20 -- or the -- >> why not? if they're going to pay 12 or 15 over there, why wouldn't we? >> if we're going to be exporting that much, it's going to be because the gas prices here are so low, and we have enough to provide it to those markets, that they're willing to pay. you can see the global market dynamics right now are going to influence the number of facilities that are going to be built. >> mr. cicio what do you think? >> look at australia. all right? the scale is different. i agree with what was said earlier. but the government did not provide the necessary safety nets. the resources that they had in australia were contracted out under long-term contracts to once you do that you're locked in.
3:37 am
>> not available for the australian consumer and that's why prices went up. >> so think long term. if there's lots of resources everybody should support putting the necessary full implementation. >> it seems a simple solution to cap the amount of exports as a percentage of domestic production and you can say there will be some affect on gas prices but it isn't going to be catastrophic like in australia. there's one law congress can't repeal, the law of supply and demand. if you increase demand you can acknowledge the price will go
3:38 am
up. you can't deny the price will go up. the question is how far will it go up. i don't know exactly where that number is. if we take an action here in this congress to just open the door and end up with an australia situation, shame on us. >> absolutely. i'm fully in agreement with that. >> thank you. >> thank you. i remember back in the 70s i was going to high school and hearing the concerns about the senators run out of the of oil and what
3:39 am
that might mean for the united states and for the world and here we sit today as we shifted from what used to be scarcity mentality on oil and natural gas now in abundance mentality. oil production with natural gas production, i can tell do you we would like to produce more natural gas in montana. our natural gas productions have declined for lack of demand. in this intersection of the demand and also the transmission issues, the pipeline issues the senator from maine was painfully aware of last winter, i believe as we move in abundance mentality as we gain more production, which increases the supply chain and pipelines ultimately the person who wins is the american consumer.
3:40 am
as a result of what's happened in america. i remember i was starting back in the house last term getting letters from leaders from the european nations who were looking to america nor energy leadership leadership how can we start supplying. this means low energy and low natural gas prices and export is
3:41 am
great for global competitiveness to bring the manufacturing jobs back to america. we can't underestimate the national security implement implementations. you made a comment, why are we in this hearing today? because we're looking at the permitting process. how do we create more certainty in this uncertain process. >> it's the most sited that they would like the see fixed now. >> what problem are we trying to solve here today? i know we have been circling the globe but we're looking at regulatory
3:42 am
regulatory uncertainty. the number one issue for jobs in the country. >> that's correct. we're talking about free trade also. this is the intersection of two sets of policies. this is energy policy and trade policy. we were founded 120 years ago. we believe you're either for free trade or you're not, and we are. that is why we have come out the way we have on this issue, which is is alt tend of the day unbalanced free trade wins.
3:43 am
>> can you expand perhaps on the resources that are spent on the exporting process. this is not an inexpensive process. without knowing it's going to cost you quite a bit in terms of the cost to get the environmental studies and the research and background and the cost of delay. >> i was taught you don't run red lights so i guess my time is
3:44 am
up. >> i appreciate that. in terms of certainty i'm certain the voting has started in the floor of the senate. i'm certain it was on the danes amendment that's being voted on right now. thank you very much. i appreciate all the witnesses for being here today. this hearing is adjourned. rob morrison executive director of the national association of state alcohol and drug abuse directors on heroin use in the united states. a look at the well being of young adults today compared to the 1980s with jonathan vesba.
3:45 am
you can join the conversation with your phone calls and your comments on facebook and twitter. friday the wilson center hosts a conversation on the current situation in yemen. scholars exam the historical and political context of the government's perspective. it's live at 12:15 p.m. eastern here on cspan 3. here is some of the featured programs on the c-span networks. white house correspondent for american urban radio april eye yan on her more than 25 years in journalism and her coverage of three presidential administrations. sunday at noon on in-depth our
3:46 am
three-hour conversation with walter isaacson. on american history tv on c-span three saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war, boston college history professor heather cox richardson. e-mail us at or send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook follow us on twitter. january marks national slavery and human trafficking
3:47 am
prevent month. thursday, attorney general eric holder and james comey spoke about how to combat the issue. this is 45 minutes. i'm the deputy director for the department of victims. i'm honored to serve as your emcee for this event today with attorney general sally yates, assistant attorney carol mason. i'd like to welcome the many special guests we have here from other federal agencies and outside the department.
3:48 am
we're fortunate to have two women who have lived through the horror of human trafficking. today you're going to hear about the many remarkable accomplishments of your doj colleagues and how their passion and commitment to justice has led to fantastic advances in our fight against human trafficking. from the prosecution an conviction of traffickers to the development of successful collaborative partnerships between law enforcement and victim services. doj's contributions span across multiple disciplines and are impacting lives all over this country and even the world. human trafficking is a complex, often misunderstood crime and it knows no boundaries. no boundaries in terms of age or
3:49 am
race or sex, religion or social status. traffickers use violence and drugs and sex. human trafficking whether sex trafficking or labor trafficking is pure and simple modern day slavery. i would now like to introduce a three-minute video that was specially edited for this event. it's from a new training series on human trafficking for the victims and crimes in april. this video is created by video action action, a dc based production company under the direction of robin smith. we call this segment faces of human trafficking. >> my trafficker was my husband.
3:50 am
there was no way i could reach out to anybody for help. >> we're scared. we're scared to run. we're scared to tell anybody what's going on. >> it was an incredibly violent situation. i felt like there was no way i could get out. >> human traffickers can be just about anyone from any walk of life. a lot of trafficking involves domestic servitude. >> i love you and if you love me you're going to go out and have sex for money.
3:51 am
it can be kind of psychological like that or more overt and physical. it can be hitting, abusing, keeping them away from any support systems. >> trafficking doesn't know any boundaries. the victim can be female transgendered, anyone. then it happens all over america. >> i still see this attitude of it's just immigrants or it's just people in other countries. it happens to u.s. citizens. >> the natural stakeholders in this issue are law enforcement advocates, social service providers. there's other players involved as well. >> it's important to engage the community because victims often
3:52 am
don't self-identify. they don't come forth to law enforcement. >> citizens in the community are the eyes and the ears. >> it's medical workers. it's educators. it's personnel in homeless shelters. >> we can't do this alone. no one has the capacity to provide every single thing that a victim or survivor of human trafficking needs. >> there has to be a support system within the community psychological counselling, shelter and vocational education so they can reintegrate and become a healthy individual. >> there's an intentional effort to get everyone together so we know how to share resources and work together and make sure at the end of the day a victim becomes a survivor. >> i'd like to thank video action as well as gene and
3:53 am
lindsay from ovc for their incredible work on this video. there's a lot more to come too. now i'd like to welcome to the podium the assistant attorney general for the office of justice programs carol mason. she's going to introduce our first speaker. care she's a try champion for the work that we do and we're so grateful for her leadership, for her unceasing une inging enthuseiasm and her strong support of the work we do. please welcome assistant attorney general carol mason. >> good afternoon. thank you, chris. i'm pleased to be here. i'd like to say thank you to chris and joy frost for their terrific leadership. i want to recognize them and their wonderful staff.
3:54 am
it is my pleasure to introduce first speaker. jim comey was sworn in as the 7th director of the fbi in 2014. that's not right. that's right. yeah. he has served as an assistant u.s. attorney and is deputy attorney general. in all those positions he worked for justice on behalf of victims. now as the head of the fbi he's helping to lead the fight against human trafficking operations. under his direction the fbi participates in state, local and other federal law enforcement agencies in human trafficking task forces and fbi victim specialist work closely with victims to provide services and to ensure rights are protected. he's been clear in his commitment to building on this critical work. every time i hear him speak i come away inspired. we're so lucky to have his lead
3:55 am
ir ership at the fbi. join me in welcoming director comey. >> thank you, carol and good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. it's a pleasure to be here with you today to mark the great work that's been done and the vital work that's been continued. benjamin franklin said justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. it is 2015 and people in this country and around the world are being sold as if they are things and not human beings. it is well, well past time for out rage. many of those victims are lured to this great country by promises false promises of employment or love of opportunities and better lives.
3:56 am
then they are beaten and starved. they are forced to work in the sex industry or factories or on slave farms. most people in this great country believe that kind of thing couldn't happen here. this is a america after all. these are our communities. we are here to tell you that it does. if that wasn't bad enough it's hard to imagine that isn't bad enough, but what's worse is this trading in human beings as if they were things filled the coffers of criminals and terrorism terrorists. our efforts fall into three areas. first, if our zifrl civil rights units we investigate adult servitude, child servitude and adult labor and international adult sex trafficking. in our violent crimes against children we focus on the
3:57 am
commercial sexual exemployeeation of children within the united states through sex trafficking. last and importantly we focus in our office for victim assistance through our herculian victim specialist on trying to offer a holistic approach to the people who are terrified victimized by this scourge. these are the folks who participate and help the victims get to safe places and move on with their lives. they are the people who not only offer the medical care health care, opportunity to house and to find shelter and food but also legal support and many many more long term needs. all of you know that many victims of human traffic are people with histories of poverty, abuse. they have been foster children, neglected. they have been subject to violence. they often are people who either
3:58 am
have or don't believe they have someone to turn to. excuse me, that doesn't have someone to turn to and doesn't believe they have someone to turn to. our victim specialists fill that void. they are more than just a source of information. i believe they are a source of hope. through the task forces that we participate in we work to find and stop traffickers and then to rescue their victims and help them start new lives and importantly we're trying to project that effort beyond our borders to work with our international partners to stop trafficking as it aims toward the united states. we do all of this with a victim centered approach. we believe the victims are be priceless article in this trade. i wish i could stand here and tell you that the number of our human trafficking investigations is going down or will go down, which it won't. working these cases alone also
3:59 am
makes no sense to us. we succeed only when we work together with our federal partners, state partners local partners and especially with our victim specialists and also outside the government with our private sector. i believe there is no more important work that the fbi does. provide hope and healing to those damaged. we can send a message this is criminal conduct with severe consequences. we will recognize that it's not our only our responsibility, it's our privilege. i would like to introduce someone who has been a pioneer and a leader in a whole lot of respects but with respect to human trafficking where as a
4:00 am
prosecutor and then as the u.s. attorney in the atlanta u.s. attorney's office she has created a culture and a record of responding both to the criminals behind this and the victims who need our help to not only locking people up and helping victims but providing training that makes all around that great u.s. attorney's office better. i hope very much she's swiftly confirmed because she will be a great leader of this department of justice. ladies and gentlemen, sally yates. [ applause ] >> thank you jim. so much of what we are talking about here today really couldn't be realized without the fbi's commitment to bringing to justice the perpetrators of the
4:01 am
horrific crimes that we're talking about here today. this is my first opportunity to speak here in the great hall of justice. it really couldn't be more meaningful to me that this opportunity comes as we are focused on the department's commitment to combat human trarveg trafficking. i've only been on the job a little over two weeks now. human trafficking has been in my focus for some time now. in atlanta where i served as u.s. attorney, fortunately atlanta has been an epicenter for human trafficking and for child sex trafficking. some have ranked atlanta as number one. some at number six or seven. i think it's hard to kwaunty fi the numbers and know contactexactly what they are. one thing we do no is it's way too much. in at than as is happening all over the country we built a
4:02 am
robust human trafficking program that included not only aggressive prosecution but importantly community engagement, law enforcement training and the work with victims of human trafficking. all of this requires really strong partnerships. partnerships with law enforcement, partners with the civil rights division. as well as partners with the communities whom we serve. atlanta was chosen as one of six act on team cities. to take advantage of the resources that are available and expertise across all of federal government and as a result of the discoordinated effort that was speared by our civil rights division, we have seen these efforts all over the country. in the first three years there was a dramatic increase of 114% in the number of defendants charged for human trafficking
4:03 am
offenses. we also know it's important as vigorous prosecution is it's not a complete solution. it's important that we train law enforcement to deal with some of the unique issues in human trafficking cases. in atlanta we found that often time street cop who is were the folks most likely to encounter human trarvegffic victims. they weren't trained to recognize the signs and they were willing to treat the victims. in georgia there was a concerted effort to train local officers and recognize the signs of trafficking. i believe it's paying dividends not just in georgia but all over the country.
4:04 am
he had recently been to one of these trainings. he recognized that this young girl seemed kind of frightened of the guy she was with. he learned she was supposed to separate the two of them and talk to them independently to find out what was going on. when he talked to this teenager by herself he learned she had been trafficked for three years since she was 14 years old and her pimp had been moving her around to different states for the last three years. she told the sheriff's deputy she had been praying to be rescued and she felt like that deputy was the answer to her prayers. the pimp in that case was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
4:05 am
i believe our communities can play really important role in this process. i believe there are many out there who are so troubled that they are hungry to be part of the solution and hungry to do something about it. these are things they were unlikely to have encountered. to say they were shocked by what they learned that day is an understatement. this group of citizens decided they wanted to do something about it. they asked how they could help. we told them one of problems we
4:06 am
have in atlanta is there are not enough facilities to be able to house the juvenile victims of human trafficking. they raised over $5 million in dlesz than two years. $5 million to expand a local facility for juveniles. they built a 65,000 square foot facility that houses over a hundred kids. many of whom are victims of human trafficking. they have special counselors and services for them. that's just one example of the kind of partnership that can literally change lives.
4:07 am
as important as the work is that work pales in comparison to the courage and tenacity of the women who have been subjected to these unspeakable crimes and who have come through to the other side. two of whom we will be honored to hear from today. now it's my honor to be able to introduce to you the attorney general. as you all know here in the department, attorney general holder set as one of department's key priorities the protection of vulnerable populations. i can't think of a more vulnerable population than those who were victims of human trafficking. those children and young women or workers who come to our country under false pretenses and find themselves in horrific forced labor conditions. the successes that are being recognized here today are a direct result of attorney general holder's leadership and
4:08 am
his unwaivering commitment and demand of all us to have one goal and that is to seek justice. without further ado i introduce the attorney general of the united states, eric holder. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you for that kind introduction and for your strong leadership of the department's anti-human trafficking efforts in atlanta and far beyond. it's a distinct pleasure to welcome you here to your first address in the great hall. i'm sure there will be many more good ones on behalf of our
4:09 am
colleagues. it's an honor to join so many outstanding leaders including mayor's reed bell and assistant attorney general mason. deputy director chris rose. i'd like to begin today by recognizing assistant attorneys general of the civil rights division. leez leslie caldwell of the criminal division. the divisions that they lead really stand on the front lines of this critical effort. the tireless work of all of these committed public servants here at main justice and offices around the country has been really vital in accomplishing the record of progress that we come to celebrate today. it's only with their continued
4:10 am
leadership that we'll be able to build on this progress as we look to the future. i also want to extend a special welcome to the survivors who have come to share their stories with us today. you honor us with your presence this afternoon. your strength is humbling. your courage is inspiring and you're resolved to transfer experience offense pain and horror into powerful forces for healing. really gives hope to countless survivors, advocates and law enforcement leaders, all whom are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you today and always. it's because of these remarkable individuals and so many others that we have come together to mark this year's national slavery and human trafficking prevention month. here in the heart of an constitution that's dedicated to the cause of justice. each year this solemn observance presents an important opportunity to shine a light on
4:11 am
the powerful and promising work that so many you have are leading. it offers a vital chance to rededicate ourselves to the challenges that remain before us. challenges of a scope and an astonishing global scale that are almost without rival. challenges that demand that we can you believe our efforts to reach more and more survivors, millions of whom are in desire need of our assistance right this very minute. it is almost inconkoncon receivable that today, 2015, a century after the emancipation
4:12 am
proclamation that these bondage endure. it's unacceptable that millions of people toil in the shadows even as we speak. who's separate plight is a stain on the soul of our civilization. let us declare today, here and now, that we are determined to stand in shame no longer. it's helping to lead the way.
4:13 am
the justice kept department's commitment to this work has never been stronger nor our strategy more effective. it's never been more robust. that's why with the continued leadership of everyone, everyone in this great hall and engagement of our allies around the world i've never been more confident that we can take this effort to a new level. in conjunction with our u.s. attorneys nationwide human trafficking prosecution unit, we prosecuted record numbers of labor trafficking, international sex trafficking and adult sex trafficking cases. 56 56% more than in the previous five years.
4:14 am
having an impact on the lives of thousands of people on a regular basis. there remains far too many victims in urgent need of our help. that's why the justice department is taking action to support efforts to identify and stop trackers and help victims heal and rebuild their lives. it's why we're doing important work to bring new allies into this fight into improved coordination with agencies and every level of government. sally noted in 2011 htpu and the executive office for u.s. attorneys partnered with the fbi to launch the anti-trafficking team. this enabled us to streamline working relationships among federal prosecutors and federal agencies both on the front lines and the national level. since the inception our six
4:15 am
phase one pilot act teams have developed significant human trafficking cases. sally saw and as you heard first hand in atlanta phase one has proved highly effective. based on this demonstrated record of success i'm proud to announce that the justice department in our outstanding partners, the fbi and the departments of homeland security and labor are actively preparing to proceed to phase two. we are laying the ground work for launch which will begin with a competitive nation wide selection process to identify phase two at team sites. we're going to continue to reenforce key relationships within and beyond america's boarders. it's only by rallying a broad coalition of international partners that we can combat human trafficking in a truly global scale. this is the vision behind our collaboration with department of homeland security the fbi and our mexican law enforcement counter parts to ensure that human traffickers are brought to
4:16 am
justice. these ground breaking advances have had a really significant impact on efforts to dismantle trafficking networks on both sides of the border. in so many ways the results that we obtained are emblemmatic of what we can achieve through the collaboration that must drive our commitment moving forward. to support all who is lives have been touched under the leadership of a truly special person, a person who we all
4:17 am
appreciate and treasure director joy frost. offering services to survivors and engaging them. these brave people come from all backgrounds and walks of life. they are u.s. citizens and foreign nationals. they're men, women and children who are subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor. they're helping us to ensure that every survivor every survivor is stabilized and supported and empowered to participate fully in every step of every process because nothing is more important than making sure that their needs are met. their voices are heard and they're futures belong to them
4:18 am
once more. going forward we will continue to draw on the wisdom, strength and resilience of these survivor advocates to enrich our expertise and redouble or resolve. for instance in the lead up to this administration's launch of the strategic action plan for services for victims of human trafficking obc provided strong leadership on behalf of the justice department and work closely with the department of homeland security and health and human services to shape a five-year strategy for strengthening capacity and streamlining collaboration among federal agencies and key nongovernmental allies. i believe we can all be proud of everything this department is doing to raise awareness about and to directly combat the global crisis of human trafficking. as our nation's attorney general and as the father of three children, advancing these efforts has been both a personal and professional priority for me
4:19 am
for many years. from our office of juvenile justice and the national institute of justice i've been gratty fied to see every office take new ownership and display strong leadership in some aspect of this important work. together we're realizeing the commitment we have made. like all of you, i also recognize we will never be able to make the progress that we need on our own. we must striver to enlist the
4:20 am
people who are hiding in plain sight. by recommitting ourselves to the pursuit of a more perfect union. from this moment on let this be the creed that pushes us forward and let this be the call that we answer and the cause that we serve where ever our individual paths may take us in months and years to come. i want to thank you all once again for your leadership partnership and your determination to help make the difference that we seek. i'm always going to be honored and humbled as colleagues and partners where ever i am.
4:21 am
i look forward to everything this department and this great nation will achieve in the critical days ahead. thank you. >> thank you attorney general holder. especially on behalf of the career employees when i say that we're going to miss you. you've been a strong and steadfast leader who has been fiercely in your promotion of justice and fairness for all. thank you. we have learned that integrating survivors voices into our work is critical for achieving success.
4:22 am
survivors of human trafficking provide valuable and insightful contributions to our policy discussions, our program development and our response protocols. that's why we made survivor involvement a core value in federal strategic action plan and wove it through each and every goal. both of our next two speakers participated in the very first ovc survivor forum that we held last january here in d.c. i'm so happy to have them back here with us again today. it is my distinct privilege to introduce evelyn. she endured labor trafficking as a child. she's a passionate advocate and has testified before congress on the trafficking victims protection act and on the issue of child victims of labor trafficking. she has spoken before numerous groups. the d.c. stop modern slavery
4:23 am
walk and the national freedom network conference. from maryland university college where she is studying humanitarian work and homeland security. she is currently interning at the law firm baker and mckenzie. please welcome evelyn chumbeau. >> thank you. i am a survivor of child labor trafficking. i was trafficked from the age of 9 to 17. after i escaped i was put into foster care and i don't think i had all the services i really needed. i was taken from my family and
4:24 am
brought to the united states to be a child domestic worker. i was physically abused, beaten and i will go days without eating. i did not have a bed to sleep on. i took care of two kids. never went to school myself and no one noticed me. i finally escape and went to a local church. then i got placed into foster care in d.c. after i was identified as a trafficking victim i got help through a local organization. even with all that i am now a full-time student of university of maryland. i will be graduating this year finally. [ applause ] >> with a bachelor in homeland security. i had to work really hard in school to get there. i am now married and my husband
4:25 am
just joined the military and we have a beautiful 2-year-old son named malcolm. what was most helpful to me were the people that worked in the non-profit organization. that was very helpful to me. there was one person in particular that i wish was here which i was very grateful she was there. she was my lawyer. she understood me and understood my situation. she did her job and did it with passion. my strength comes from knowing i was sent to the u.s. for better education. that was the reason my mother decided to send me to my trafficker. now i'm getting the education i wanted and deserve. i would like to thank the department of justice for your continued effort.
4:26 am
as a survivor i know that you we have a large impact when you take your time to get to know the victim and remember he or she is precious for family that is missing them. when you take your time to get to know the victim to understand their fear, their culture, their consent their priorities they back part of team. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you, evelyn. our next speaker is elizabeth corey. she received her msw from
4:27 am
virginia commonwealth university after 20 years in information technology and project management. she is a survivor of family controlled child sex trafficking and sex abuse she advocated for sexual violence survivors through her blog and her virtual forum. she writes about the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of trauma recovery from complex post-traumatic stress disorder. she's worked in the family services division the virginia department of social services and the virginia office of the attorney general. her goals are to provide trauma recovery techniques to adult sexual violence survivors body education to children and sexual violence awareness to the general public. please welcome elizabeth corey.
4:28 am
[ applause ] >> when people here that i am a trafficking survivor they don't understand. i don't look like the stereotype of a trafficking victim. i was never transported across borders. i'm not an ethic minority in this country. my family was never poor. we lived only minutes from here in a beautiful northern virginia suburb. trafficking doesn't look like a stereotype. trafficking doesn't pick and choose victims like we think. my parents and grandparents were my traffickers. they sold me for sex when i was as young as eight years old. when i tried to ask for help they stole my voice with threats and brainwashing. my life was defined by my trauma. i was not able to escape until i left home at the age of 18.
4:29 am
i avoided recovery for most of my adult life. i tried to run from it but there was nothing i could do to stop the traumatic influences in my life. nothing other than facing it head on. there was only one motivator for that. the birth of my 8-year-old twins. i inherently knew there could be no safe childhood for my children without my own recovery. i started a painful path to work through my entrenched trauma. i found an amazing trauma therapist who has redefined my understanding of human relationship by establishing trust and boundaries with me. i found therapeutic groups. i researched trauma. i earned a masters degree in social work after being inspired by my own therapist and i learned that body work was also critical to moving past my
4:30 am
trauma. during the past eight years with the help of some amazingly patient people i have transformed myself, my life and my children's future. now i write and speak about trafficking. i breakthrough the stereotypes. i tell others about the connection between sex trafficking, child sex aboous and domestic violence. i build awareness in communities about how it height look inow it might look. i also help survivors of complex trauma the trauma that's inescapable and chronic. i write about hope. i write about mindfulness and i write about beating trauma through our awareness of our own inner world. i write about recovery because there is no six-week program that fixes a childhood of pain. the journey that helps us leave our past behind an nobody tels us that when we start and that's
4:31 am
probably good thing. survivors of trauma need know we're not alone. we have already been isolated for far too long. we can heal together and honestly it's the only way we will heal. as i work with survivors on my blog and forum i find there's another problem we face. how do we parent children when we never had a childhood. i am developing a workshop and i'm also writing a book to help survivors cope with parenting children after a lifetime of trauma. using mindfulness we can bring wareness to our triggers and develop sustainable parenting approaches leaving our traumatic world behind breaking the cycle of trauma for our future generations. as i continue to work i hope to also expand my education up for efforts to recovery partners by conveying trauma informed information about working with
4:32 am
clients. my perspective as a social worker and survivor can be invaluable to them as they work to heal others. i have a new life through the work that i have done. i see it as my responsibility to spread the word. the word that is hope for a better future and escape from the past that is more than just an exit from the horrible world and escape from what holds us down on the inside because everyone has a gift to bring to the world which is hidden underneath our pain and survivors are no different. thank you. [ applause ] on the next washington journal a discussion about the obama administration's call for
4:33 am
more authority over international trade agreements with linda dempsey and robert scott of the economic policy institute. rob morrison, executive director of the national association of state alcohol and drug abuse directors on heroin use in the united states. a look at the well being of young adults today compared to the 1980s with jonathan vesba. washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on cspan. we'll have his remarks at
4:34 am
10:30 a.m. eastern on c span. later we'll bring you the house democratic leaders news conference following the conclusion of the retreat. that's also on cspan. this sunday on q and a neuroscientist dr. francis jenson on the discovery of the teenage brain. >> they don't have their frontal lobes. the consequences of actions are not clear to them. the frontal lobes are not at the ready. they are not readily accessible. the connections can't be made as quickly for split second decision making. also, don't forget a lot of hormones are changing a lot in the body of both the men and women and the brain hasn't seen these yet in life until you hit teenage years. the brain is trying to learn how to respond to these new hormones rolling around and locking onto receptors of different types. they're trying to it's sort of
4:35 am
trial and error. this contributes to this roaster kind of experience that we watch as parents. transportation secretary anthony foxx testified about the upcoming highway trust fund expiration. he was joined by the governors of alabama and vermont at this senate environment and public hearing on transportation infrastructure funding. this is 2:15.
4:36 am
ncht meeting will come to order. i say to my friend the ranking member that the whole right side back there is oklahoma. i came in last night and they were having a dinner. i thought two or three people. i knew gary ridley. he's always there. all familiar faces there. we have this concern, there's a lot of things about what is government really supposed to be doing. the reason ago was because this is what we're supposed to be doing. defending america, building infrastructure. that is it. so we all understand that in
4:37 am
oklahoma. we know that we have gone through a process that most of us -- some of us remember. most of us have not been around that long. but i do recall when i was over in the house in the t&i committee over there. at that time do you know the biggest problem we had in the highway trust fund? too much surplus. that was the problem we had. and we all know since that time and we all know that ke can't continue to do as we have done in the past. i do have a opening statement which i'll submit as part of the record. and i think the significance of this meeting, i say to my friends on the left and right, is that we want to do it right this time. and we've done patch work and we've put together things that we think are a good idea. and we -- and i have to say this.
4:38 am
we've had successes. i didn't like the way things went back in the 27 month bill that we had. i didn't like the idea that a lot of republicans, my good friends, were demagoguing it and not realizing that what they were doing, well they were thinking they were doing the conservative thing because it was a big bill. but it's not. because the conservative thing is to pass a bill instead of having the extensions. and secretary foxx has been out in oklahoma and we've talked about this at length. the cost of extensions. we've never calculated it but i think it's somewhere around 30% off the top. well, the good news is that the house when we went over right after this bill and told them, talked to them about this thing. about our constitutional responsibilities, every one of the 33 republicans, and the democrat, on the house t&i committee voted for it. that's a major breakthrough at that time. and i see that happening again here. so we're going to be doing the right thing now and as we know
4:39 am
we decided to do. make one change in this committee. not have everyone make opening hearings because we have so many witnesses coming in and we spend all of our time listening to each other. so with that i'll just yield to senator boxer and then we'll start -- continue the hearing. >> mr. chairman, thank you so much for making this your first hearing. nothing could be -- please us more because we know this is an area where there is bipartisan support. and i think senator bitter and i it's no big secret but we were able to get a good bill done through this committee and i have to make a point, mr. chairman. we were the only committee to act last congress. no committee but this committee. and with your leadership we're going to be working together to get this done. i'm going to ask unanimous
4:40 am
consent to put my statement in the record and four brief points. first, we can do nothing more important for businesses and for jobs and this middle class than passing the a highway bill. that is the first thing. there is nothing better that we could do. secondly, we have a great record of bipartisanship on that issue so nothing should stop us. again i point to last year where we acted and no one else acted in the senate or the house. there was bipartisan participation in this committee. and we need to take the leadership. and hopefully this time it will be emulated. three, we have to have to courage in the senate and in the house to have a -- to fund a multiyear bill.
4:41 am
we cannot leap over that idea to an extension. and that leaves me to my next point. we are getting perilously close to the bankruptcy of the highway trust fund. may 31st. mr. chairman, i would ask rhetorically, if you go to the bank and you want to buy a house and the bank says oh great. we'll lend you the money but only for five months. you are going to walk away. you are not going to buy a house if all you know is you have credit -- that's what they have done here. when i say "they," the vast majority of our colleagues punted this. and this is awful. this is the greatest country in the world. we will not remain so if our bridges are falling down. if our highways are crumbling and so many other ramifications of not investing. so we need certainty. i do want to say today i learned from my staff. i don't know if your staff has informed you, that the deficit in the trust fund is less than we thought it would be. we are anticipating 18 billion a
4:42 am
year over six years. it was 13 billion a years over six years. >> -- 15 [inaudible]. >> well now it's a lot less than we thought it would be. it's 13 billion a year. now if we can't find that. i think it's a $1.2 trillion budget on discretionary spending. if we can't find to build the infrastructure we have failed as a congress. so with your leadership and with all your strong support from oklahoma i think we're going to get things done here. i look forward it. >> thank you, senator boxer. it's my honor to introduce and present secretary foxx. we've had a chance to break ground on a lot of good things out there in our state of
4:43 am
oklahoma. i'm thankful you are doing what you're doing and you are going to be in on the big kill and we're going to do it together. secretary foxx. >> thank you mr. chairman for your kind words and for your leadership as well as the leadership of ranking member senator barbara boxer. the work you have all done and will continue to do on this issue is vitally important. and i want to tell you that we appreciate your service. i also want to thank the entire committee here. we are in a new year. with a new congress. but i'm here to discuss an old issue, the need for a new transportation bill. as has been said, a multi-year transportation bill with funding growth and policy reforms focused on america's future. america is in a race not just against our global competitors but against the high standards of innovation and progress our
4:44 am
nation has shown for generations. we are behind in that race. and when you are behind you must run faster and do more than just keep pace. the transportation system itself does not care about the political challenges of addressing its needs. from its perspective and from mine we are either meeting those needs or we aren't. in the past year i've been to 41 states in over a hundred cities. mr. chairman, you were kind enough to invite me to oklahoma, where we saw a stretch of i-44 just south of tulsa that needs to be widened. but the funds just aren't there. there are thousands of miles of highway projects in oklahoma that the d.o.t. has said are critical. but they are either not being built or they are not being repaired. unfortunately oklahoma is not
4:45 am
alone. i've also visited the brent spence bridge that connects kentucky and ohio. it is well over 50 years old and is carrying more than twice the traffic it was designed for. chunks of concrete are now falling from the bridge's ramps on cars parked below. it must be replaced. but there is no real plan right now on how to pay for it. or you could look at tennessee. the state d.o.t. there has actually postponed $400 million in projects and the thousands of jobs that come with them because of quote/unquote funding uncertainty here in washington. tennessee is not the only state to slow or stop projects. but it may be the first state to tell the unvarnished truth about what's happening to our transportation system. about how gridlock in washington is now creating gridlock on main
4:46 am
street. last year we sent a comprehensive multiyear proposal, the grow america act which included 350 pages of the precise funding subscriptions and growth all focused on the future what. america received in response was a 10-month extension with flat funding, which while averting catastrophe, falls short of meeting the country's needs. it is not the first short-term measure or patch that has been passed. it was by my count the 32nd in the last six years. and as a former mayor, i can tell you that these short-term measures are doing to communities across america what the state says they are doing in tennessee, literally killing their will to build. at this point we must concern
4:47 am
ourselves not only with the immediate situation that confronts us in may but also with the cumulative effects of these short-term measures and the policy uncertainty. i urge you to make a hard pivot now. from the rear view mirror to the front windshield. look at our aging system. look at the opportunity we have to grow jobs in the economy. look at our own children and grandchildren. in order for the system to be as good as the american people, we must do something dramatic. to hell with the politics. that is why we sent you to grow america act last year and why we will send you a new and improved grow america act this year. we certainly know that the grow america act is not the only approach to solving the infrastructure and mobility challenges of the future. we look forward to fully engaging this committee and with others on both sides of the
4:48 am
aisle to chart this path together. but we believe there are some essential principles that any bill must have. first we're going to need a substantially greater investment. we're also going to need a greater level of investment over time. not just six months, or even two years. if we want communities to build big projects they can take in some cases five years or more. we need to ensure funding for roughly that same amount of time. i think senator boxer's analogy of trying to buy a house with a five-month loan is a great analogy. there are processes that neat to be dealt with. we believe we can do that while ensuring better outcome for the environment. we also believe in opening the door to more private investment and giving communities and mpos and freight operators a louder
4:49 am
voice in what gets built. we believe in strengthening you are buy america program to ensure american dollars are invested in american projects being built with american hands and we must do everything possibly to keep americans safe as they travel in 2015 and beyond and that includes obtaining the resources and authority that we need to combat. in the end we have great respect for what this committee has done and the challenge ahead of it. including as we look back getting map 21 passed.
4:50 am
a huge achievement. and now it is time to build on that work. when i was sworn in i took the same oath that you did, to protect and defend. and for me that means protecting and defending american's fundamental ability to move, to get to work, to get to school, to get goods from the factory to the shelf. but i can't do that. they can't do that. and we can't do that unless we take bold action now. so i'm here to work with you. and i'm also looking forward to your questions. thank you very much. >> thank you mr. secretary. >> i've often thought in that particular job, in your job there's no better background to have been a mayor of a large city. you and i have talked about that in the past. you see the things that you know are -- you know that work. you wonder sometimes, you know, how can we build on these? and do even a better job. because people -- i know the press when we walk out of here the only thing they're going to want to talk about is how do you pay for it and we don't know yet. we are going to have all of the above and work on it. but there are areas that are sometimes controversial. and i have to appreciate both
4:51 am
sides working together on some of these enhancements. you mentioned enhancements in some of the streamlining. we've done a lot of good things already. what more is out there that is obvious to you that would make it go faster, get more done for less money and get off the ground quicker? >> thank you, mr. chairman. that is a very important question. and we do have experience in the recent past building on some of the work of map 21. of doing concurrent reviews in our permitting process. which effectively allows all of the federal agencies to sit at the table at the same time at an earlier point in the design and construction of a project to comment on that project at a point at which the project can still be changed to respond to the permitting. and i'll give you an example. there is a project in new york called the tap zi bridge. we applied concurrent r rerues
4:52 am
reviews and changed the permitting time from 3 to 5 years to 18 months. >> that was really a direct result in changes that we made in coming to this point. >> it was building on a lot of the work that map 21 contained. and there was also some administrative work that went into putting that out on dash board and assuring the agencies work together. but we think there are additional tools that can enable that to happen more. and the good news when row do concurrent reviews you are not sacrificing the environment. you are putting the environment at an earlier stage and getting better results there too. >> senator boxer. >> thanks, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, i'm going to just
4:53 am
press you on what's actually happening on the ground right now because we have failed as a government to give any certainty to this process. so we know that tennessee and arkansas have already delayed hundreds of millions of dollars in highway projects for this year. and last summer over two dozen states have taken similar preemptive action as the highway trust fund neared insolvency. this whole game of waiting and then somebody steps up in the house or senate and says oh i'm going to save this for five months. this is a disaster. can you discuss the likelihood that we're going to see these cutbacks continue if we don't take action soon to shore up the trust fund? >> thank you for the question. this is a crisis that is actually worse than i think most people realize. and your point is very well-taken. we have a may 31, 2015 point at which the funding of the 10-month extension runs out.
4:54 am
but the state departments of transportation are having to figure out what their plan of work is going to be during the height of construction season, which starts right about the same time that the extension runs out. so i predict that over the course of the next few months you are going to see more state departments of transportation start to slow or stop projects because they don't know what's on the other side of may 31st. so from a timing perspective, i think we have a problem sooner than may 31st in terms of the situation on the ground. i think what you are going to see are states pulling back even before may. >> well, that is basically my question. i'm not going to take anymore time. the one point i'm going to make over and over again to anyone who will listen -- and some will and some won't -- is this is our duty. this is our job. this is the best thing we can do for the country. this is the most bipartisan thing we can do.
4:55 am
and this committee i'm urging -- and i know the chairman feels as i do -- that we need to step out here. and i would say to colleagues here, we have a really great role to play by stepping out again and doing the right thing. we have the blueprint. we put it together with all your help. that may not be the exact blueprint we go with but it is a definite start. thank you in your very calm and collected manner for letting us know that lack of action is already having result and impact on the ground and the impact is bad. it is bad for businesses. it is bad for jobs. it is bad for communities, for our local people. and that is the point i think i wanted to make and you made it very eloquently. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator boxer. senator vitter.
4:56 am
>> thank you mr. chairman. i want to echo the comments on the infrastructure. water resources bill, water infrastructure bill that was very important for ports and waterways and that infrastructure, maritime commerce and as senator boxer mentioned we put together a very good highway bill in this committee. now, we have the easy part, quite frankly. so i don't want to overstate. we put together the transportation part of the highway bill. good bill. very bipartisan basis. but the finance committee has the hard part which is the financing part. and i want to cut right to that. so let's cut to the chase. i agree with you. we need to get this done. we need toe get it done on a medium to long-term basis. not another band-aid approach. my suggestion for all of us who
4:57 am
truly want to do that is to cut right to the chase and to really dive into those discussions about how we finance it in a realistic way. folks on the left, including the administration, may have ideas that are perfectly valid ideas that just objectively are going nowhere in this congress. folks on the right in this congress may have ideas that are perfectly valid ideas that are going nowhere with this administration. my suggestion is we blow past that. don't waste time. and cut to the chase of where we may find a common solution. i believe realistically there are three realistic categories to focus on. one is the traditional gas tax. the traditional means of financing the highway trust fund. i believe that is only realistic, only a possibility -- in my opinion. this is just my political judgment. i can't prove this.
4:58 am
but i think it is only a possibility if we give all middle class and lower middle class taxpayers a tax off set something off their income tax a withholding or something. so they are held harmless, so they do not may pay a higher overall federal tax bill. second is i believe tax reform. maybe focussing on business tax reform and using elements of that, namely repatriation to have a significant amount of money for the federal highway program. that is not a truly permanent solution. but those are big dollars that could fund a significant bill of a significant duration. and then the third big category is some domestic energy production with the additional royalty and revenue dedicated to
4:59 am
the highway trust fund. now, i would like to see that to a much greater extent than i'm sure is realistic given the sensibilities of folks on the other side of the aisle and the administration. and so in the spirit that i began with i'm not suggesting, you know, david vitter's lease plan for the ocs -- which is a great one by the way. but i'm suggesting some expanded production that good for the economy and would produce revenue at least until the price of the oil gets to better place, more stable place that could be dedicated to the highway trust fund. so what is the administration doing to cut to the chase and explore those three categories? >> thank you for the question. and let me answer your question directly. and also make a point.
5:00 am
the administration has put forward a proposal to use pro growth business tax reform to pay for our infrastructure. and what we would basically do is put, in addition to what the gas tax is currently spinning off, of course it is less than what the highway trust fund needs to be level. but we put another amount of a like amount into our infrastructure to not only replenish the highway trust fund but to do more than that. which leads me to the point that i want to make, which is that i think there needs to be a conversation about what this is. what number are we trying to get to? and what is it going to get us? think about me and our department as contractors. we can try to go out and build what congress urges us to do. but i want to make it very clear that we can't go out and build a


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on