tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 10, 2014 10:00am-2:31pm EDT
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the how rayburn office building. the plan had been to a show the u.s. house morning hour. but they are delaying that because of an apparent asbestos spill. the associated press reporting a response team at the capitol following the spill sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. the speaker said they do plan to gavel in for legislative work at noon. in the meantime we'll show you this oversight committee hearing looking at new embassy design and security. chairman darrell issa in the center there. just about to get under way, the ranking democrat on his right, your left, is elijah cummings of maryland. the senate is in. you can follow them on c-span2.
s. first -- principles. first, americans have the right to know that the money washington takes from them is well spent. americans deserve an efficient government that works for them. our duty on the oversight and government reform committee is to protect these rights. our responsibility is to hold government accountable for taxpayers because taxpayers have a right to know what they get from their government. it's our job that we are tirelessly in partnership with citizen watchdogs to protect these rights and deliver the facts to the american people and bring genuine reform to the federal bureaucracy. this is our mission statement. today we are examining the results of a department of state 2011 decision to transition from a successful program of standard embassy design, which stress security, functionality, to a new undefined loosely defined design excellence program which
has led to untimely delays in construction as well as increased cost. these delays put american diplomats and their staff in an unnecessary risk. keeping them safe should be our primary priority. in response to the 1998 east africa embassy bombings, the state department implemented sweeping reforms in the way it constructed new embassies and consulates overseas. among these reforms are, the development of a standard embassy design that could easily adapt for size and location. the use of design built contract delivery method. the implementation of performance management and strategic planning principles. these reforms produced an impressive record of successful overseas facilities, construction leading to embassies and consequence lats being well built, on time, and on budget. and offering superior security.
in 2001, the government was only building an average of one new embassy per year. one new embassy means 200 years to replace all our embassies and consequence lats. by compare -- consulates. by comparison, following the implementation of new reforms, the state department building of overseas operations known as obo, opened an unprecedented 14 new facilities. that same year, the independent government accountability office, known as g.a.o., found construction time for beemcy projects had been reduced from 69 months, basically six years, nearly, to 36 months, three years. in addition to reducing the amount of time required to build new embassies, g.a.o. also found that the majority of standard embassy design projects it reviewed ended up costing
significantly less than state department cost estimates. the embassy construction program will standard embassy design at its core went on to move a total of 32,000 overseas employees into secure facilities by 2013. starting in 2011, however, the state department decided that a working and efficient program wasn't good enough. and although they will report that they maintained these tools in their toolbox, they have gone to a program known internally as, design excellence. state maintains that the new initiative will incorporate a success -- the successes of standard embassy design, will also allowing for more flexibility to adapt its buildings to unique environments. in reality, however, the committee has learned that under the current management, o.b.o.
has decided to transition away from standard embassy design program in favor of a unique architecturally sophisticated and more expensive embassies. embassies look better and cost more. through this move, this may be visually attractive, the new design process does not prioritize security, it prioritizes appearance. the new standards use security and safety as something that must be designed around and disguised rather than the first priority. i'm now going to play a short video featuring architects that was produced by the state department about the design excellence program. please play the clip.
>> within that we find different ways by which we can disguise the lines of security that are so crucial. >> i think the very first thing you have to do is make a building that actually doesn't feel hostile to its context. it has to really work with its context and welcome the population there. >> balancing the security and the openness, that's one of the most excitelinging challenges. i -- exciting challenges. those are the kinds of things good architects, great designers can do. they can do both things, security and openness. >> sorry to have to say this, but were our diplomats in
benghazi murdered because their building felt hostile in its context and didn't welcome the population there? they were vulnerable because they were in a nonstandard, nonsecure building. a building in which the refuge point was not designed safely, and chris stevens died likely of as fixation as a result of buying, renting, an off-the-shelf facility by exception to the requirements for a consulate safety facility. did americans die in the african embassy bombings because the buildings didn't do enough to have enough openness and balance of security? by disguising security measures a good strategy to deter terrorist attacks? in the post-seven 11 world, is -- in the postseptember 11 world, is it disconsequence serting to hear the state
department pushing these arguments? an internal state department panel on diplomatic security organization and management, which arose out of benghazi's accountability review board's recommendations issued a final report. in the report the panel, which was chaired by former undersecretary for management here today, grant green, raised concerns about design excellence program. the panel found no evidence for a business case or cost benefit analysis supporting design excellence program. the panel also expressed concern that under design excellence, fewer facilities can be built over the same time frame which could leave u.s. government personnel exposed to inadequate facilities for longer periods of time. losing momentum in construction of new and more secured facilities on time and at a reasonable cost would leave u.s. government employees in harm's way and expose taxpayers to
unnecessary fiscal risk. o.b.o. received $2.65 billion in fiscal year 2014 for embassy security and construction and maintenance. a significant increase over prior years. but how many embassies you build is how many large a figure you divide into that amount. when the department requested and congress grant add budget increase, it was based on stated need to construct new secure facilities, not to produce more architecturally pleasing ones. today we are conducting oversight of the state department's design excellence program. though we have made meaningful and very specific document requests to the state department, to date the department has delivered a -- has not delivered a single document. this is unprecedented. today we are -- we are today
here to examine whether o.b.o. has proper management and program in place to preserve the tremendous gains made under the standard embassy design program in securing u.s. diplomats and their families overseas at a reasonable cost. in closing you are not the people responsible, but people who are listening today and watching today at the state department understand they have stonewalled our request. they have even used mail to disguise -- ordinary mail to disguise and delay responses. and this is contemptible. this is serious oversight of the congress over the very lives and safety of state department employees. this committee is reaching the end of its rope with state department stalling. you stalled on benghazi. and two years after the tragic
death, we only learned that in fact state department was complicit with the white house in attempting to disguise a false narrative as to how and why the consulate was attacked. you were not the messages that will be shot, but understand you may very well be back again and again as the documents that were requested finally come in. for that i'm truly sorry you may come back here again and again, but if we do not receive documents that were requested in plenty of time, then much of your testimony today will be a first round and not in fact the definitive oversight that we expected to have. with that i recognize the ranking member for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this very important hearing and i thank you, all of our witnesses, for being with us today.
the horrific bombings of our embassies in kenya and tanzania in 1998 were a watershed moment for our nation. following those attacks the state department reported that 80% of its overseas facilities did not, i repeat, did not meet security standards. congress authorized billions of dollars to expedite embassy construction around the world. as part of this effort, the state department's bureau of overseas building operations launched the standard embassy design initiative to promote the use of standardized design for small, medium, and large embassies. this program has been very successful in achieving its goals. since the year 2000, the state department has constructed 111 new buildings and more than 30,000 u.s. personnel and moved
more than 30,000 u.s. personnel into safer facilities. the program also has its limitations. the program, for example, typically requires large parcels of land which sometimes result in buildings being constructed further from urban centers. critics contend that this impairs u.s. diplomatic efforts overseas and makes it harder for officials to conduct their work. as one commentator noted, the standard embassy design initiative was, quote, an expedient solution to an urgent problem, but one that narrowly defined an embassy as a protected workplace and overlooked the larger representational role. end of quote. we commend the tremendous progress made under the standard embassy design initiative, but we must always ask whether we
can do more. we must ask the question whether we can do better. on this committee in particular, we must ask how to make this program run even more efficiently and even more effectively. to me there are three basic factors we must consider. one, security. two, cost. and three, function. in 2011 the department launched a new embassy construction effort called design excellence. as i understand it, this effort aims to provide the same or better security at the same or lower cost. while improving the ability of american officials overseas to do their jobs. this new program seeks to achieve these goals by being more flexible than the current program. for example, by incorporating more customized designs rather
than standard designs, the department may be able to build on smaller or regular lines. this may allow more embassies to be located in urban centers to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our missions. these more flexible designs also may reduce cost, though lower initial construction cost, and lower long-term maintenance and operating costs. for example, the new u.s. embassy in london, although not constructed entirely under this new design concept, shares many of its principles. this new facility will be more secure than the existing embassy. it will be more functional and effective for our diplomatic missions. it will be completed on time. and it will be built at no cost to the united states taxpayer.
this entire project is being funded through the proceeds of sales from existing u.s. properties there. the challenge with this program, however, is the lack of data. no embassy's have been constructed to date based entirely on this new concept. the new embassy in mexico city will be the first facility constructed from start to finish under this initiative, but it will not be completed until 2019. and according to mr. green, who is testifying here today, the department has not put together a comprehensive business case to analyze the potential costs and benefits of this new program in detail. we all know that what can happen when the lack of adequate planning under the previous administration, the new embassy constructed in iraq went wildly over budget, came in well after the deadline, and was plagued
with corrupt contractors. it ended up costing the american taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than it should have. and that money could have been used to secure other u.s. facilities and american personnel throughout the world. so as we evaluate the merits and drawbacks of this new effort, we must keep one goal at the top of our list. to secure the security of our diplomatic officials serving overseas. mr. chesapeake bay fets, who , ves as the -- mr. chaffetz who serves on our subcommittee, asked whether this new effort to customize diplomatic facilities could delay their completion. in other words, if customizing is lower than using standard designs. does that keep our people in harm's way longer as they wait for new secure buildings? i believe that this is a legitimate question.
and a legitimate concern. i want to know from the department what their answer is. our diplomatic officials deserve the safest embassies in the world. and they also deserve facilities that help them conduct u.s. foreign policy in a most effective and efficient manner possible. i truly believe that every member of this panel feels the same way. with that, mr. chairman, i anxiously look forward to the testimony of our witnesses and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. cummings. i'm pleased to recognize the chair -- >> mr. chairman. prior to that, can i ask unanimous consent to introduce into the record a number of items? >> without objection. at this point you want to state your -- >> i would. i would like to introduce into the record the g.a.o. report on embassy construction dated january of 2001. another g.a.o. report from november, 2004 regarding embassy
construction. an additional g.a.o. report from june of 2006, about embassy construction. the july, 2010 g.a.o. report new embassy compounds. i'd also like to enter into the record a letter that chairman issa and myself sent on june 23, 2014, to secretary kerry, requesting a series of documents that we have not yet received. i'd also like to enter into the record the response from the state department dated july p, which -- dated july 3 which we received on july 8 this year. and the final document is the u.s. department of state bureau of overseas building operations fact sheet. cbs news, our modern u.s. embassies becoming too costly to build? they haddish shied a response to a couple news programs. i'd like to enter that fact sheet into the record as well. ask unanimous consent to do so.
>> without objection. the request is agreed to. and now i'd like to recognize the gentleman from utah for an opening statement. >> thank you. i want to be clear. this is beginning of a series of hearings that i think are essential to figure out and get to the bottom of the truth of its situation that is -- thousands of americans are facing with their mission and their service overseas. the bureau of overseas buildings operations core mission is to place american officials located in overseas into safe, secure facilities as fast as possible. i would note for the record that the state department budget overall state department budget since fiscal year 2008 has increased more than 58%, going om $17 billion to over $27 billion. and that security funding for fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2014 has increased more than
100%. prior to 2011 the bureau seemed to be fulfilling its core mission. constructing secure overseas facilities both quickly and effectively. not only that, they were doing it on time and on budget. yet in 2011 o.b.o. decided to take this rare government success story and replace it. the new program focuses instead on constructing fancy buildings to enhance the u.s. reputation around the world, all the while many americans are still waiting for think new secure facilities. hailed as a design excellence, the bureau has subscribed that fancy buildings equals successful diplomacy. officials serving overseas and those whom they serve care first and foremost about aesthetics and that can further u.s. diplomatic relations. since the major overhaul three years ago, emembassy construction has slowed significantly. while construction costs have skyrocketed to millions over initial price tags.
long awaited facilities in less than secure cities have been delayed for years. while american officials overseas who develop their lives who furthering u.s. interests abroad must remain an unsecured dated structures awaiting states to construction safer facilities. i traveled to papua new guinea where i saw firsthand the you effects of the design nishtifment i saw an embassy construction project originally slated to cost $50 million. yet this has ballooned to a price tag of more than $200 million. all in the name of as thetics. during my short visit, there was an attempted carjacking of an embassy staffer. this event along with my conversations with foreign service officials stationed there allowed me to see fairs hand having a fancy building is not high on the list of kenches. no one told me, quote, what we really need is a building that represents innovation, humanity, and openness, end quote, as design excellence reports. they wanted a facility that offered safety and security for
themselves, their families and visitors. why is the department allowing foreign service officials remain in unsecured facilities is the price of as thetics is beyond me. we had a chief of mission there. in an old bank building. it is not secure. those poor people. they work in an office. they have to have an armed guard take them from their living facilities to the embassy itself. the facility that by any standard is not properly secure. in a may, 2013 internal state department panel on diplomatic security organization and management, which was chaired by former undersecretary for management grant green, issued its final report. the panel found no evidence of a business case or cost benefit analysis supporting design excellence. in short, the program has yet to produce results but introduced significant risk to constructing facilities on time, on budget, while moving officials overseas into secure facilities de--
facilities. despite requesting -- to my ranking member and colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we cannot do the work on either side of this aisle unless we get the documents and operate from the same set of facts. we issued a letter the third week of july -- sorry, third week of june. asking for a series of things. in preparation for this meeting. i have been working with the state department for months. they have known i have curious about this. i have traveled overseas. i visited a number of facilities. yet despite that we have not received a single document. i got one page that said, we will get this to you as soon as possible. if you look at the document request to have nothing coming into this hearing is inexcusable. how can you provide us nothing? we don't have documents that mr. lynch or mr. welch or myself or
mr. walberg can look at. how can you do that to the congress? it's a waste of time and money and effort. and we'll bring you back. we'll do it again. you cannot come to the united states congress when we ask you for these basic documents and provide us nothing. our staff worked with you and said, if you have problems with one or two or three of the documents, whatever, just give us on a rolling basis what you have. we got nothing. and i think -- both sides of the aisle this is a fair criticism. i hope my colleagues will on the other side of the aisle also plead to help us with that. >> would the gentleman yield for one second? >> sure. , i agree that -- i'm hoping mr. chaffetz, that the witnesses will provide us with reasons as to why we have not gotten what we need. you're right, in order to do oversight we have to have documents. i yield back.
>> i thank the gentleman. let me give you an example. one of the documents we asked is this report on diplomatic security organization and management. it's on the al jazeera website. and yet our own state department won't give it to us. so i printed it out on the al jazeera website. why do i have to go to al jazeera to get the information that you have and that you're withholding from congress? i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. tierney. i'm sorry, -- mr. tierney is the ranking member. he's not here of the subcommittee. but mr. lynch is here. and you're given five minutes. >> i'm sure mr. tierney would take offense. >> i'm sure he would, too. you're much better looking. >> thank you, sir. i appreciate the gentleman's courtesy. let me just say to begin with, e really do need to have
prompt, accurate response as an oversight committee regarding these matters. it helps no one to have the allegation of obstructionism cast back and forth here. i think that some of the gentleman from utah's complaints are well-founded about the responsiveness of the state department to our request. we need to do better. that's from everybody up here. this committee is coming up on too many instances where there's been a long delay in providing information. things blow up and then it looks like you're being less than honest and less than forthcoming. at least with respect to the context of this committee. i will say that like the
gentleman from utah and many members on this committee, i spent a lot of time at embassies in some of the tougher spots around the world. we have had an ongoing debate about how to secure the personnel at our embassies. it's a difficult problem. i don't think there's any cookie cutter approach to this. and i know that there was an earlier -- before the more creative design initiative was adopted, we also had during the 110th congress, this was during the bush administration, we conducted an investigation into reports of the rampant waste, fraud, and abuse around the construction of the new embassy compound in baghdad, iraq. i have spent many nights there. the old embassy, the new embassy, that was a huge expense . going to be very difficult to staff. it's got more staffing requirements than the white house.
to be honest with you. 3,400 people as opposed to 1,700 at the white house. it's just unreasonable to expect that that is suitable to our requirements in baghdad. we have had situations in yemen. i'm happy to hear that -- when i was there we had reconstruction efforts and strengthening efforts there in yemen with good cause. we had fruitful discussions up assadoint with the syrian about relocating our embassy there in damascus. we don't have it there anymore. we have to get around to relocating that. it's far too vulnerable to car bombs. we are right on the main street. we have to look at that again. and i do support having a more emote not -- not necessarily
remote, but little bit of a setback for our embassies in and around the world. that goes for not only damascus when we eventually get back in there, but also beirut. but there's been a profound lack of oversight in the construction process. one of the things i used to do, i was a construction manager and that's what my undergraduate degree is in, so i have had an opportunity to see how we are going about this. and there is -- to put it bluntly, there is great room for improvement here in terms of how we are going about spending this money and -- as i said before, the sort of cookie cutter way that we have tried to approach this in the past. i'll be very interested in your answers to a number of questions regarding some of these
arrangements. i know that in the case of the $130 embassy, we had million-plus in charges by the kuwaiti organization that was allegedly engaged in a $200,000 bribery and kickback scheme in der to obtain scrts -- subcontracts. we have had flagrant oversight lapses on the part of the state department that had been previously warned by the defense department audit agency. there's just been a series of missteps on our part. underlying all of this is just a new world out there in terms of the risk to our people in these embassies. benghazi's one example. although that was not an embassy. still shows us what can go wrong. and we have a real obligation the defense sess
protocols we have at our embassies and that obviously includes how we are building them and what kind of apron of security that we provide for these facilities. we've quoto -- got to get smart about this in a big hurry. be more effective with our architectural design. we have to be much more wise with the expenditure of taxpayer money in support of these efforts. we can't afford to fail. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. i thank him for his important comments. mr. lynch, i thank you for your being a willing traveler to tough places over the years. you and i have had the privilege of going to shom of those -- some of those places. we welcome our witnesses. mission lydia bonize is the director of bureau of overseas building operations at the united states department of state. again o.b.o. as it's known.
mr. casey jones is the pep duty director of bureau of overseas buildings and operations at the united states state department. and the honorable grant s. green jr. is the former undersecretary for management at the department of state. lady and gentlemen, pursuant to the committee rules, would you please rise to take a sworn ath. raise you are right hands, please. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. please be seated. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow sufficient time for questioningings and -- questionings and answers on both sides, i let you know your written statements are already part of the record. please use your five minutes either to read a portion of that or to other comments as you please. ms. muniz.
>> thank you. chairman issa -- >> i must tell you, these mikes want them closer to you not further away. if you pull it significantly closer it will be easier. thank you. >> chairman issa, ranking member cummings, and committee members, i appreciate the opportunity today to discuss the state department's program to build safe and secure facilities for u.s. government staff serving abroad. i'm the director of building operations, i have been with them since 2009 and came to the department with nearly 20 years of government and real estate development experience. the state department is deeply committed to the safety and security of our personnel overseas. every new construction project that o.b.o. undertakes must and will meet the security and life safety standards required by law bly our colleagues in the
diplomatic secure and o.b.o. because we have an obligation to the american taxpayer to be efficient in constructions our facilities, we are committed to ensuring we neither compromise the speed which we can deliver safe facilities, nor incur unjustified and unnecessary costs. o.b.o. facilities serve as the overseas platform for u.s. diplomacy. they provide access to down sulllar service, ensure food and product safety with trading partners, and implefment programs critical to our national security interests. since congress enacted the secure embassy construction and counterterrorism act in 1999, o.b.o. has with the continued support of congress, completed 76 new embassies and consequence lats, with 16 more under design and in construction. we have moved over 31,000 employees to more secure facilities with plans to move another 14,000 within the next five years. after 10 years of successful building program, we examined
our work and instituted an initiative that deployed the lessons learned over the years. this includes how best to construct facilities that meet the requirements of our mission abroad, most critically safety and security, but also durability, efficiency, flexibility, proximity for personnel and visitors, and a platform that serves the need and mission of america abroad. we know that security, safety, and excellence are mutually reinforcing not exclusive. the standard embassy design, standardized facility requirements and wait they were met and created a discipline within o.b.o. to deliver those facilities. using the standard embassy design, o.b.o. came to bert understand the common requirements of missions like consular sections and specialized office space. we also learned that while embassies and consequence lats have a number of things in common, they also very widely. their missions in dense urban environments and rural areas,
with as few as three staff to as many as 2,500. consular section was one window. others have more than 100. o we learned that a standard design did not always permit o.b.o. to meet the very needs of the mission or deploy taxpayer dollars in a most cost-effective manner. we learned that we should take into contract local conditions and materials in order to have buildings perform better in the long term and to consider not only first costs but long term operating costs. we recognized that our facilities not only meet the functional requirements of our missions, they represent the united states to the rest of the world. you are embassies are the most america that many who live around the globe will ever see. at a time when it is increasingly important we provide for the security of our citizens at home through i am dacy and engagement with people around the road, embassies that convey u.s. values, strength, and know how can be instrumental in that effort. all of this can and must be done
in meeting all of the defendant's security standards nd without compromise -- compromising schedule or costs. using the lessons learned over the decades we can design and build embassies and consulates that serve our mission and colleagues, a better value to the u.s. taxpayer, and better use of the scarce resources in the short and long term. i would like to thank congress for their consistent support of o.b.o.'s building program, including in f.y. to 13 providing increased funding to help our program keep pace with inflation. in these uncertain times, we know that our facilities must keep our staff safe and secure. the excellence initiative will ensure that. will meet the needs of our missions and provide the best value to the american taxpayer. >> tharning you. mr. joins. -- thank you, mr. jones. >> good morning. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i am a deputy director in the
bureau of overseas building operations at the u.s. department of state and has served in this position since october of 2013. the safety and security of the individuals who work for the u.s. government agencies overseas in creating and maintaining safe and secure facilities in all parts of the world is critical to the department. i know first hand the reality of living in a high threat environment as part of a foreign mission. as a child i lived in pakistan through periods of martial law and civil unrest. in islamabad, we lived on the grounds of the embassy, returning to the united states just months before it was stormed in november, 1979. this experience had a profound impact on me. security has been o.b.o.'s top priority since the 1998 bombings at the american beemcies in dar es salaam and nairobi. for 10 years o.b.o. execute add successful building program utilizing a standard design. this work is now being enhanced
by our diplomatics facilities initiative which will build the next generation of safe and security facilities. i want to assure you that the excellence initiative does not definish the safety and security of new embassies. every office within o.b.o., real estate, design, engineering, construction, facilities cost, and security was involved in developing the initiative. as well as collaboration with other bureaus including diplomatic security. briefings on the proposed improvements were provided to the department, congress, and the industry at large. the excellence initiative is about constructing cost-effective buildings. buildings that meet all of the requirements for our missions, safe and security chief among them, including function, durability, flexibility, and efishency. d.s. and o.b.o. work together throughout planning, design, construction, and day-to-day operations of diplomatic facilities. i also want to assure you that the excellence initiative does
not lent yen the delivery time of new embassies and consequence lats. o.b.o. uses two common methods for his project. -- for its project. that must be evaluated. the choice of which to use depends on the unique conditions of the building project. under excellence o.b.o. will utilize which ever method is most cost-effective, expedient, and reduces risk. i want to assure you that excellence does not increase project budgets of new embassies and consulates. o.b. oshes establishes project budget whether for an excellence project or standard embassy design based on scope, local conditions, and prior year cost information. o.b.o. has a depth and breadth of data that will allow us to be very accurate in setting project budgets for new, safe, and secure buildings. the o.b.o. cannot anticipate every potential impact. real world events, unforeseen cost increases and materials, civil unrest, currency fluctuations, and national
disasters can affect our projects. we are also not immune to policy changes. if the u.s. government decides it's in the nation's best interest to significantly increase or decrease the size of a mission or change the functions located at a post, the cost of our projects are impacted. sometimes significantly. an example of this is the new embassy compound, in 2011 o.b.o. award add contract to build a standard block beemcy. in spring, 2013, with construction well underway, the u.s. government may two policy decision that is significantly changed the project. first a mane guard detachment was added. second, staff population was increased by almost 75%. the cost benefit analysis constucted -- conducted by o.b.o. concluded the additional requirements could not be accommodated in the existing contract without incuring an additional $24 million over the scenario. as a result, o.b.o. stopped the
remaining work and will recompete a modified project with the additional requirements. this option utilizes what has already been built on scythe, provides the best value and yields the best end product. continuing with the contract as is would not have provided safer, more secure facilities any faster. as deputy director the at o.b.o., i want to emphasize i take the responsibility to provide safe and secure facilities very seriously. and that there has not been nor will there be a move away from that critical mission. diplomatic facilities are an essential function of our national interest. the individuals who represent the u.s. deserve safe and secure workplaces and as good stewards of taxpayer dollars, it is our goal to see those resources are invested wisely. thank you. >> thank you. mr. green. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee.
i'm pleased to be here this morning. to respond to your questions related to embassy security. my background which has been mentioned, i served as undersecretary of state for management for four years. under colin powell. i subsequently served as a commissioner on the wartime contract in iraq and afghanistan. and most recently chaired the panel that's been talked about here which looked at the management and the organization of diplomatic security. this panel grew out of the accountability review board following benghazi that was .haired by admiral mullin as we on the panel progressed with our deliberations, we looked at one thing and we
looked at many things. but one thing we looked at was the relationship of diplomatic security to other bureaus and organizations both within the state department and across the government where appropriate. obviously o.b.o., a close partner of diplomatic security, was included in that. as we talk to many d.s. ployees and others who are familiar and certainly concerned with security issues, it became evident that they had security concerns with certain aspects of design excellence. we can talk about the importance security, the president includes it in his letter to all chiefs submission, secretary kerry has stated publicly that
is his most important mission is to protect the people working for this country overseas, but when we hear from people who are o.b.o. operations and they have voiced concern, then we were concerned. as a result, we came up with a number of observations and a recommendation. it wasn't to throw the baby out with the bath water, it wasn't to say do away with this crazy scheme and go back to standard embassy design. all we said was state department, you need to take an in-depth look at the security implications of this program. with that, mr. chairman, i conclude my opening remarks and be happy to answer any questions. >> thank you.
mr. muniz, i just want to go through briefly one embassy, not including the ones primarily here. on a bipartisan basis, staff from both sides, i went to london and looked at the facility there. we understand that's an identify connick -- that's an iconic facility. justification for a glass curtain wall building and stunning appearance and even a moat has a great deal to do with our relationship with our most close -- one of our most and perhaps most close ally is that correct? >> yes, i think that's accurate. >> it's not part of either standard design or design excellence. it has its own purpose. >> that's right. >> let me ask -- would you turn your mike on when you answer. but i have one question, which is do you believe it's a good policy for congress to ever say,
you can spend all that you get from the sale of other buildings, not a penny more, and no encouragement to spend a penny less, that's a yes or no. do you believe that's a good policy? that's what they are doing there. as you noted london is unique. >> i really want the yes or no because i want to get on with the rest of the time. the congress made a decision and state department is spending every penny, adjusting up or down, based on how much money they have, they are spending every penny that they got from all the revenues that they had on there. they are not spending any more because they are prohibited by congress, but not spending any less. we watched as they are adding and subtracting to reach that. do you believe that's an appropriate way to design any building? yes or no, please. >> i can't answer yes or no.
these are unique circumstances. no. my time is limited. >> do you believe that is appropriate doing it that way? first of all do you disagree that's what they are doing? they are he spending exactly what they got from the sale, yes or no? >> they are spending marginally yes. the budget has been fixed and there should be additional income coming from the sale of the proceeds to the government. >> i wish that was so. that's not the report we got on a bipartisan basis less than two weeks ago. i'll consider that you're not going to answer the other question yes or no. i'll answer it for you. no, it is not appropriate to say spend all the money you can get. they could have spent $200 million less and we could have built two other embassies. if they needed more to do it light, we should have considered that. that is not how the private sector builds corporate headquarters or anything else. i don't want to get into the details of the building bhause that's not part of it here. mr. green, basic question that
you found in your study. standard embassy designs have a certain look which would be modified quite a bit. is it fair to say what they look like through a great extent is like industrial, commercial, osts buildings all over -- office buildings all over america? what's commonly called concrete hill top buildings made to look nice but they are fairly industrial? >> i don't think so. i think when we adapt a facade of a building, the goal there was to fit it in with the culture, the conindustry, to make it as -- the country, to make it as unattractive as we possibly could. in my time at the department, i visited more than 100 of our posts overseas.
it -- about >> about which? >> percino. can we put one of those up? i think it's important because, quite frankly, design excellence seems to be about pretty look. you see those two buildings. the state department has not given us any of the information for us to evaluate the cost per desk or anything else, but -- which makes it very hard to do some of the assessment. but your study shows us that they are not cost justifying. the building on the top is made with nonlocal materials that are only made in three places in the world. this concrete facade. it clearly is -- an architectural design rendering to a great extent. not necessarily all functional. it's not a standard built. it cost a lot of money. it's an area in which there are more security guards than
embassy personnel at desk. it's a high-risk area. is that justified versus a standard built in your opinion? if i need 550 people to provide security for 400 embassy personnel, do i, in fact, have a place in which the priority should be on looking pretty for the population so they can be happy with us? >> not in my opinion. >> security f. it takes 550 people to protect 400 people, is that a place in which there's any question about what the priority should be? >> priority is -- has got to be security. in the department there's always this argument whether it be with embassy construction or anything else, we used to -- or housing, for example, we used to have those who would say, we need to be out in the community. we need to live out in the community. there were others that say, i don't want to live out there
because of the hazard. i want to be on a compound. if you pin people down, security is the most important to them. >> let me ask one closing question because i have picture after picture, cost after cost, and we are going to have some of these folks back here once the state department delivers the actual arithmetic so we can evaluate it. mr. green, i know you were above the folks here so you oversaw people doing the jobs. from a construction standpoint, from what you were trying to achieve, during your tenure, weren't we essentially making a decision to cut out architectural fees and changes that made embassies dissimilar versus similar? >> i don't know we were trying to make embassies similar, but we were trying to stay within a fixed amount of money so we could build as many embassies as
we could to get as many people out of harm's way as we could. if they weren't as beautiful as somebody might like, that wasn't the main factor. the main factor was get embassies built. as you mentioned, there were -- after the beirut bombing, we had 120-some-odd embassies that were rated unsatisfactory. what we want to do is -- was get as many of those fixed as we could. as i said, i have been to 100 of our posts. are all beautiful? no. they are not beautiful. i opened dar es salaam and nairobi after the bombing when we opened new embassies there. they are fine. >> i want to give you a chance to answer, but i want two things in the record. first of all, the pretty
building on the top is in the 19th most dangerous highest priority area. so this is an embassy that needs to be built sooner rather than later. where security is clearly one of our greatest concerns. secondly, i want to mention that my trip to britain was interesting in that as the ambassador and key staff went through and explained to me how awful the embassy was and desperately we need to replace it, he also reminded me that this rather ugly dysfunctional building was designed by the man that designed dulles airport. that it was built during a time in which design excellence, gorgeous buildings, were in the modernist eye of the beholder and we were building them all over the world. design excellence is in fact, inherently, like a designer suit. it ages more quickly than if you will, the industrial look. if you had any other answers i want to make sure i gave you that opportunity. >> thank you, mr. chairman. what i'd like to add -- go back
to, really, when talking about this project is that as my colleague, casey noted, we base our budgets on standard embassy design budgets on the number of desks, local context which has us taking into account distance to get materials. we fix that budget and we work within that budget. so the building that you see that might be more attractive, might be more tailored to the missions in question -- >> when we have the numbers. when we have the numbers we can have that discussion. i would love to hear your answers today. but since the state department has refused to comply with a lawful request for any data, even one shred of it, we only have, if you will, sort of the whistleblower's side of t we don't have your side. i will say that to fly in concrete from europe for the top building to me is a questionable item that i'm going to want to see why those materials were
chosen over materials that could be provided more locally. mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i'm sitting here i want us to on a deep breath and focus what you said, mr. green, security. when all is said and done, a lot of these buildings will be in existence when we are dead and gone. and this is our watch. we have a moment in time right now to get this right. not just for our present diplomatic corps, but for generations yet unborn. i want us to stay focused because i think we can drift off and not zero in. that's why i think when mr.
chaffetz's comments about the data that we have asked for is so important, so that we can try and figure this thing out using the best information that we have in the time that we have. . with that backdrop, i want to go with you, mr. green. congressman chaffetz serves as hairman of our security. the diplomatic facilities could delay their completion. mr. green, you raised a similar concern in your report which said this and i quote, despite schedule, cost from o.b.o., there is concern that fewer facilities -- you said this ago -- embassies, consulates, can be built over the same time frame leaving more personnel
exposed for longer period of times, end of quote. mr. green -- longer periods of time, end of quote. mr. green, can you elaborate? what are some of the challenges of customizing? you didn't say the baby out with the bath water. you said certain recommendations, and i assume that you were saying, look, we just want to be practical to get back to that security thing, cost and function so that we can be effective and efficient in what we're doing. so could you comment, please, sir? >> yes, sir. the observations that we made -- and this is in the report. certainly not all inclusive. we didn't -- this wasn't six guys in the mess hall that dreamed these things up. these were based on comments we ot from security experts who
worked with o.b.o. on a daily basis. i would tell you, for one, if you can build a beautiful embassy under design excellence and you can do it fast and it doesn't cost any more, i'm all for it. i don't care. i don't care what we build, but what i am concerned with, it's just not logical to the people we talk to and frankly to me that you can build under design excellence as quickly and as cost-effectively as we did under standard embassy design. you know, pull a design off the shelf and build it and adopt the facade in a way that is fitting with the local -- the country as opposed to going
hrough a design bid-build with architects and builders, it just doesn't make sense. now, if you can show me with facts and figures that it does, i'll salute and agree with you. >> there's one thing you did not mention, and i assume you meant to -- function, too. you talk about cost and security, number one. >> sure. >> cost and function. you want to make sure they function properly too. >> yes, absolutely. standard k that embassy design was a living, breathing thing. i mean, there were reviews done constantly. sure, was everything perfect? no. the ceiling is too high. we can't put the light bulbs in. we don't have enough parking or the medical facility is not large enough. and those challenges were addressed periodically and
standard embassy design was modified accordingly. function is certainly important and i think the director mentioned 100 consulate windows versus one. that should -- and maybe that happened, but that should be worked out as you're planning he design in a certain country that says five windows aren't enough for us and hope free within the budget we can adopt that. delaying embassy construction? >> my response is no but i need to go into detail which can sometimes lose folks. but if you would bear with me. first of all, we use two different methods to deliver projects at o.b.o. we use design builds and we use design bid-build.
sometimes we don't have a lot of advanced notice. sometimes we need to turn around and go into tripoli immediately, set up an embassy and move quickly. but because our appropriation do egular it allows us to advanced planning. we know in any given fiscal year we will do these five embassies, we design before. because we're going to get under the excellence initiative to 100% designs when we award the contract, the duration from award to cutting the ribbon and letting people into that safe, secure facility is actually shorter because we will only be doing construction. we will not be doing design and construction after the award of the project. if we don't have a lot of advanced notice, i think we really do need to go back to design-build and re-examine the type of building we will put in place. i think what's great about this
-- this initiative and this new approach is that it will allow us not only to meet the same schedules but in cases to improve on them. >> now, what do you have to say about that, mr. green? your microphone, please. > i'm not an argument tect nor m i -- architect nor am i an engineer. if o.b.o. says they can construct quickly, i am not going to question it. i say the folks that work with o.b.o. on a regular basis questioned it. now, the -- ms. muniz, the new united states embassy in iraq was built during the previous administration, is that right? >> uh-uh. >> before they started the program? >> yes. >> that was brought with delays, cost overruns, contract
corruption. this committee found seven years ago back in be 2007 that the project was delayed 16 months and the cost was $144 million more than originally projected. so the issue of delays and increased costs can occur regardless of whether the department uses standard embassy design, concept or design excellence concept. would you all agree on that? do you agree? >> i would agree. baghdad was a kind of unique situation. once it had been planned initially, then the defense department wanted to put more people in there so we had to modify the size of it. i'm sure there were many, many other things i want to be there, i want 15 desks instead of three. it was a moving train, believe me. >> ms. muniz. >> i think that's accurate. in fairness, as my colleague,
mr. jones, pointed out, we build in different environments. there are all kinds of things that our projects are subject to which can complicate delivery. the department, the country can decide to change the staffing pattern significantly and require us to modify. war, shortages, natural disasters can impact those schedules. so while i haven't looked at the iraq project in detail, i've looked forward since coming to o.b.o. i do think that in difficult environments, as folks who know construction firsthand, those can have a real impact. i do think having a dialogue with congress, with our appropriators, our authorizers, and this committee on such changes so that people understand those changes i . ink can be helpful >> i ask unanimous consent to enlt into the record a letter
sent to the state department describing the detail of the many flaws with the construction of the u.s. embassy in iraq in 2007. and -- >> without objection, so ordered. if the gentleman will yield? >> of course. >> i will join with you. i was on the committee at the time. chairman waxman did a great time exposing that our wartime construction of an embassy, as fortress u.s.a., as a base for when we departed and vague ideas of what they wanted at the beginning and ever changing was the best example of a bad example of how to build an embassy. i think the ranking member has made a good point, that that is exactly what we don't want to be doing. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> if i could have the indulgence for 30 seconds to follow-up on the ranking member. mr. green, i just want to have the public sort of understand something about the standard design. if we were looking, let's say, at the 737 aircraft, something
most people have flown in that are listening, they started making them in the late 1960's, early 1970's, and they're very different than they are today. but it's a continuous design that at any given time they -- the 737 is a standard build. would that be somewhat similar to how the evolution of standard built goes is what you build 20 years from now would be the standard would change over time but the idea is to effectively have a continuously improving product, like a 737 boeing aircraft, that everyone kind of recognizes it but it keeps getting better over time? >> i think that's a fair analogy. >> ok. >> and ms. muniz, it's the same idea, it's not a fixed design but an evolution of a standard build. thank you. mr. chaffetz. >> i thank the chairman and thank you for holding this hearing. it is pivotal. ms. muni sdemrmbings, in response to a -- ms. muniz, in
response to a cbs morning news program and evening news program, the state department was able to put out its facts sheet. they did produce those documents. again, no documents produced to the united states congress. and this, you say, all facilities will be delivered on the same, if not, shorter schedules. there is no evidence to the contrary. do you have any examples of a design excellence building that s coming in on time or a shorter schedule than standard embassy design? and do you have any examples of any building that's been built for less than money -- less than the money we would have spent under standard embassy design? >> thank you for that question. what i'd like to go over is as the committee knows, the process to -- >> no, no, no. i don't -- i'm sorry. i have five minutes and i got
like 100 questions. o you have a single example of successes? >> yes. >> which one. >> there are early excellence initiative projects. there was one in 2011. one in 2012. there are three -- >> i need the names of these facilities. >> we could submit that for the record and i'll take a bit more time to go over those. all of those -- >> ok. hold on. i'm sorry. i've taken up a minute and a half. you're going to give us the names of these buildings and when will you give them to us? >> 2011 -- >> no. when are you going to -- you said you want to submit them for the record? when are you going to give them to the congress? >> i could give them to you now. >> go ahead. >> 2011 is yenten. 2012 is imoban. those are early excellence initiatives. the first projects that will be awarded under the full initiative and the new
standards are in f.y. 2014. those are typically awarded at the end of the fiscal year and they are all on budget and on schedule and we will provide additional data about those projects as soon as those projects are awarded. morsi.s go to port when was that originally scheduled to be completed? >> in 2014. >> may of 2014, correct? >> yes. >> now when is it slated to be completed? >> in early 2018. >> they're having to stay in , dangerous, lity correct? >> the reason port morisby is on the vulnerability list and getting a new embassy is because it's dangerous. >> when did you get the final determination that the marines ere going to be located there? >> the embassy being built there was based on numbers that were provided in 2008.
as the committee members know, the numbers and the programs for embassies is not set by o.b.o. it's set by the policy side. >> i asked you, when did you get notification that marines -- >> we awarded the contract in 2011. two years into the construction of that project we were ma reaps were going to port moresby. including marines, that's doubling the size of the embassy. there was no way to continue with the project in a way that allowed us to deploy our resources intelligently, that would have allowed diplomatic security to certify the building and to could he locate all of the staff. -- co-locate all of the staff. we made the modifications necessary based on real changes that reflected american priorities in port moresby. >> when did you get the official note if i kay that you were getting marines? >> 2013. >> can you provide that to this
body? >> yes. >> when will i get that? >> the department is part of that answer so we will provide that as quickly as possible. >> this is the challenge, mr. chairman. if it's so dangerous and they need marines, why aren't they there now? >> the deployment of marines is not something which is within o.b.o.'s purview so i would refer that question back to d.s. we could get back to you on this. >> again, get back to us on it. tell me, what happened -- so that cost was going to be, what? originally under standard embassy design, it was going to be an expense of roughly $50 million was the projection, correct? >> no. that's inaccurate. the $50 million is the construction contract only. the information that we provided to the committee and to the cbs reporter who reported on this is that the budget was $79 million. >> what's the budget now?
>> the budget is not yet reconfirmed. i think we will be close to $200 million. >> it's not reconfirmed? what about this -- this document here that i have that s initials on it that says will remain $211 million for this? >> we believe that the costs will be under that. we are 35% design. >> why? but that is what was signed off on? >> that is not what was signed off on. that is not a final budget. >> i passed my time and i have a host of other questions, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. we now go to the gentleman from massachusetts, the other mr. tierney, congressman lynch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, i appreciate this. i know we're beating up on the state department a little bit. i do want to say to be fair that the state department did turn around an immediate quest from the chairman last
week to support a delegation to .nspect the embassy in london that question came on friday. the codel left on saturday. and the briefings were lined up for monday. usually congressional delegations are scheduled weeks ahead. i want to thank you for helping the committee do that inspection. but i would caution you, and to your colleagues that have the authority to approve oversight committee codels for inspecting these various embassies that we do need cooperation. we need cooperation right now. in iraq and i know you have a little bit of resources, but we have a responsibility here as the civilian part of this government to get in and make sure that our folks are safe.
so we need cooperation there. we need cooperation in yemen. we need cooperation in afghanistan. and so we understand very well the trepidation you have. but this is the necessary part of our job. we need full cooperation from the state department on doing oversight. it's not just your job. it's also our job. so we just want to amplify our need to get in and out of these countries as expeditiously as possible. we apologize for any diversion of resources to make that happen, but if we're going to sign off on a budget, we need to know what the situation is on the ground. we owe it to the personnel in these facilities. enough about that. i want to talk a little bit, ms. muniz, about the drawback -- i understand, you know, mr. chaffetz has an affinity for the standard design.
but looking at it, it requires a pretty good parcel of land in order to set it down. this is the problem we had with bashar al-assad in damascus. we're sort of downtown there, we're on the street, very exposed. we need -- we were trying to at that point try to get the set design configuration for the new embassy there, new location. so there was nothing downtown so we end up further out. that exposes us, even though we would, mr. chaffetz' idea of the set design of security there, we would have to be further out, out of town with a long commute for our people once they fly in, they'll be very much exposed in getting to the embassy. this is the same problem we had in afghanistan. the most dangerous drive, you know, in recent years is when delegations fly in to afghanistan and then you got to
ive up that road through masoud circle. they tried to tip my car over there. that rotary there a while back. a bunch of people very upset about something flushing -- down the toilet, something like that. you know, the crowds just went wild. so putting our people out in a remote location is not the safest result for our embassy either. tell me the answer. how do you -- how do you configure this? now, you have to abandon that set design, is that still on the table, when the land is available? >> thank you for the question. let me reply to it quickly. you make a great point. part of the difficulty of the standard embassy design is that
it was a largely horizontal solution. so that where land is abundance, where we could be near that property in close proximity to our colleagues to travel back and forth which not only has security but extensive cost implications, it made sense. but in the cities we're required to build in now, not only is it not possible to find those 10 acres, if we were able to find it, it is extraordinarily expensive. the example of london, we are building on less than five acres. 4.9 acres. property in london is very expensive. it makes a huge difference to a smaller plot of land while meeting all the security requirements, including the legal requirements for the setback. so both cost and security i think play, but it also gives us a lot of flexibility in building in all of the locations that we need to build
in where 10 acres may simply not be available. >> yeah. so what you're saying, the design excellence model gives you that flexibility? >> it absolutely gives us that flexibility. >> yeah. when i try to think about the different locations, the different demands, the different environments that our embassy has to operate in, you now, it does give me paws to try to come up to -- pause to try to come up to a one-size-fits-all solution which the set design more or less requires and i do support your ability to have modifications on that more towards the design excellence peace. sometimes we do have what someone -- a casual observer
might observe it far beyond what is necessary so you have to caution people on the process aspect of that as well. i've exhausted my time. >> if the gentleman will yield for a moment? >> sure, i would. >> i believe there are multiple examples of standard embassy design on less than 10 acres. and one of the concerns i have is we have multiple g.a.o. reports, we have an inspector general report all confirming that these buildings in general -- there are some exemptions -- exceptions, but we're coming in under budget and faster. >> you know, reclaiming my time just for a minute. >> sure. >> the baghdad embassy, though, dear lord. that was $750 million. that was 3/4 of a billion dollars. >> and baghdad is not a standard embassy design. >> it's a modified monstrosity. that's what it started out as. we have more than 10 acres there. it had you know -- so
the ideal situation. it's not a question of one method versus another. i think that whatever allows us sock flexibility to consider the situation on the ground would probably provide the best -- and i don't disagree with the points you're raising. i don't. i don't. i just think it is so varied, the landscape under which the -- o.b.o. and the state department need to operate, they need that flexibility. that's all i'm saying. i yield back. >> the gentleman yields back. now recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. walberg, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for the panel for being here. i just open my statement having had the privilege to travel to a number of embassies and consulates in regions of great insecurity. my impression of our -- of our public servants that are in those positions was enhanced,
increased almost disbelief that some would take those positionings. so we do want to make sure they're cared for appropriately. want to make sure that the taxpayers are cared for appropriately as well. and i would add my comments to those already requesting you please convey to people who can get us documents that we've been requesting. it's so important. when i've been listening to questioning already and find disagreements on numbers, on size figures and things like that simply because we don't have the information. we can't do the work. i don't expect any hard drive to break down. i hope not. before we get that information, but we really need that. muniz and mr. jones, you talk about the design excellence.
you talk how working with them was a very participatory in the process. can you talk about the bureau of diplomatic security participated in design excellence? we know how that works but design excellence. your microphone, please. >> sorry. the foundation of -- >> you can move that microphone up closer. >> i'm sorry. the foundation of the excellence initiative, sort of our base going in statement was we are not changing the security standards, period. i have been in discussions with my colleagues in diplomatic security at the highest levels and at the working level and has made that assurance. i think that that is what is most important to them and they have every reason to insist that that still be the case. >> did they clear? >> yes. >> on design excellence? >> they cleared on our process,
yes, and they support the process. >> who cleared? >> i would have to get back to you on the clearances. but, again, how we put those together is in the responsibilities of the bureau of overseas buildings operations. to the degree that we continue to build facilities that meet all of diplomatic security concerns, that's what they need to sign off. in addition to understanding that we not add cost or add time to schedules in a way that would also jeopardize security. and we have committed to not doing that. >> but they haven't signed off or they have signed off? >> we have the support at the highest levels of diplomatic security and moving forward with this. a formal signoff within the department was not in the process but they have signed off on our documents describing the process and how we're going to go about it. >> could you get those
documents to us? could i give you that assignment? >> gentlemen. >> to get -- >> yes. >> to get those documents to us. >> a number of people mentioned the document request. i'd like to convey both professionally and personally i take seriously the role of this committee and other congressional committees. it was a vast request. we are working as quickly as we can to collect that information together and we'll get information to the committee. >> again, the information that was in al jazeera didn't come to us. >> i understand that. >> i appreciate your emotion on that. i appreciate your promise, your intentions. e really need the documents. mr. green, the panel on diplomatic security organization and management, a group which you chaired, says in its final report and i quote, that it understands the desire to have embassies and consulates be more welcoming
and to reflect the openness of american society. and i quote, o.b.o. is convinced that design excellence has widespread support within the department. however, the report also mentioned from a diplomatic standpoint, there are questions raised by the changes under way in the embassy construction program. a question, can you explain what those concerns are from a security perspective? >> sure. and we outlined them in the report. i leave that to the committee to read at your leisure. but there's another one that came up later and it goes to an earlier discussion here about the flexibility, the design excellence provides in real estate and smaller places. hat is one of the areas that
d.s. really objected to in our discussions with them. both urban sites and smaller areas. are we going to just have more waivers for the 100-foot setback? i know the difficulty in transiting if you're out in the oon docks -- boondocks somewhere, but if security in fact is our most important issue, then -- and let me quote from an o.b.o. document here. it says whenever possible sites will be selected in urban areas, allowing u.s. embassies and consulate to contribute to the urban fabric of those o.b.o. cities. it will be paid to the general ensemble of building, streets and public places which the embassies and consulates will form a part. what they don't want is a car
on the street a car bomb can drive up to and blow a hole in the wall. so i agree with the flexibility. there are cost issues, as the director has mentioned. but some way as we recommended in our report, the department has got to do an in depth analysis of the security implications before you just start building downtown. >> i appreciate that. my time has expired. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i thank the gentleman. i recognize the gentlewoman from illinois, ms. kelly, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chair. the independent benghazi accountability review board made several recommendations to enhance embassy security, including the creation of a panel to evaluate the organization and management of the bureau of diplomatic security. mr. green, you led this panel, which issued a report last year raising concerns with the design excellence program.
this report stated, and i quote, the panel agrees that special consideration proposed in places like london and paris are warranted security concerns for many other posts deserves serious consideration. the report also found, and i quote, no evidence of a business case or cost-benefit analysis supporting this initiative. mr. green, is that correct? >> when we did the report, there was no evidence of any business case or cost-benefit analysis, that's correct. >> then why is such a study worthwhile? >> why is such a study we did worthwhile? this was only -- this was only one recommendation of 35. there were 34 other recommendations that dealt with d.s. management and operations and organization and training. this was only one which came to light as we began to talk to
d.s. people that expressed concern about security. >> and has the department responded to this finding? >> no. the department has not responded to any of these recommendations. i heard informally they accepted in part or in whole 30 or -- of the 35, but i frankly was not expecting them to respond. this was a report that was asked for by the undersecretary for management based on the a.r.b. recommendation. we did the report. we turned it in and went home. >> so you're saying there's no cost benefit study on the new -- >> not that i know of. >> director, i gather the department has not dismissed mr. green's panel in its finding as relevant. so what has the department done in response to the report? >> typically a cost-benefit
analysis is done before we go into a scenario where there is additional costs to make sure that that additional cost is warranted. as i explained and assured the committee, there is no additional cost under the excellence initiative. we're setting budgets based on standard embassy design budgets. if anything, we're hoping that costs will go down as we're able to look at longer term operating costs and to make decisions that allow us to assess that. the recommendation was also we ensure -- that we look at what the impact was on security. again, as i've explained to the committee and to the members, there is no impact on security. we will meet all of the security standards. two of those standards, as you know, are in law. that's set back and co-location. so as mr. green describes the concern about being on urban plots, we will always meet that
setback that is required in law regardless of being in a smaller plot. it's simply that the ability to have a building go up rather than be horizontal, to not have a warehouse in a place where we can get materials in real time and to build one would be wasteful, we're able to take those into consideration and build on smaller pieces of property. >> would my friend yield just for a second? would you please tell us -- remind us what the setback requirement is. >> the setback requirement is 100 feet. >> mr. green, any other comment about the director's response? >> no. >> well, i'd like to thank you and your committee for the work on the panel. >> will the gentlewoman yield for a moment? >> yes. >> on the one hand, ms. muniz, you say you're confident that it's going to come under budget. at the same time we don't have a cost-benefit analysis.
that hasn't been done, correct? >> i've not said underbudget. i've said on budget. >> you were hoping it would come under budget. >> the department sets budgets, o.b.o. sets budgets based on number of desks and based on the program for a facility. we use historical data, historical data accumulated from the construction of the standard embassy design. >> but you have no completed -- you have no completed design excellence, in fact? one in chad as a success story, is that correct? that was one of your examples. if we went to chad right now and look there, what would we see? >> it's one of the early projects. >> what would we see if we went to chad? you used an example of success. what would we see? >> i don't know what we would see. >> does it even have a hole in
the ground? >> i don't know the status. >> you came up with the example. and i'm telling you that it's not even scheduled to be completed until october of 2016. we are not sure if there is a hole in the ground and you're using that as a success story. am i wrong? >> i described the projects that were awarded using the projects. it is not to say that they are completed. >> do you have any completed studies? any completed projects under the standard -- under the design excellence program? >> as i explained, we do not. the first project that we awarded as a variation on the excellence initiative was in 2011. the first real projects that we were awarded, we will award, as i stated, are in 2014. that is this fiscal year.
>> so the example you have is just the awards, it's not -- time has expired. i appreciate the gentlewoman from illinois yielding me time. the now recognize gentleman from michigan, mr. bentivolio, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, thank you for being here today to testify. the chairman earlier alluded to beauty is in the eye of the beholder. i can tell you from experience the sandbag bunker looks really good to a soldier under a motor attack, but i'm not sure we want to build the embassies looking like a sandbag bunker. but i know we do have a need for curb appeal. going through these reports and talking to some people outside a his hearing, i just have few simple questions. do we have a final number for the baghdad embassy, cost?
>> i believe we do but i don't have it at the top of my head. >> i heard that the contractor made over $500 million profit. do you hear the same thing? $500 million in profit. >> again, this was a project that was -- >> one of the most expensive embassies ever built. >> that was before my time under the bush administration. >> do you have access to those numbers? >> yes. we can certainly provide those. >> what do we say the london embassy is going to cost? >> the total project cost for london is near $1 billion. >> $1 billion. how many people are going to work in there? >> if you exclude the property price, it is under $800 million. the cost to do a major rehabilitation and security upgrade of the existing chancellory which would have never met security standards -- >> i understand the need for -- i understand the need for it. for $1 billion -- we do need an
embassy in london. but $1 billion seems like we should be looking at some alternatives. i know in places like iraq we use barriers, concrete, prefabry indicated concrete barriers that are placed relatively quickly in times of danger. as the question in regards to costly -- let's see. heavy reinforcement, standard distance of 100 feet, steel structures with curtain walls, all kinds of things that deal with security but you're putting more emphasis, it seems, on curb appeal. i just -- a few more questions. can you give me a few reinforced concrete examples of how moving to this new design strategy enhances security? >> so i think london is a great example and i'd like to speak in that context.
>> $1 billion worth. yes, you have my -- >> the properties that were existing in london -- this was a project that did not have to be done. for net zero for the taxpayer we're able to 100% replace those facilities for $50 million more than it would have cost to do massive upgrades to the existing facilities that would have still left it vulnerable due to setback. no co-location and not meeting other security examples. >> would it hurt the -- outside of london, just outside of london where the cost is less expensive? $1 billion. >> i would argue in london it wouldn't hurt to be outside of london. >> did you have a uniform layout for allem bassy facilities which could aid security personnel and training during emergencies? i mean, you have to go from one embassy to the next. everything is different. the design plan is different. everything is -- seems to be tailored as expensive costs. >> our diplomatic security
staff are incredibly skilled, and right now they deal with a wide variety of context and of building. i would also like to say if we stayed with the standard embassy design, which basically had two separate bars of construction, it is less efficient. it is harder to get from one bar to the other than a co-2. london is a good example of -- than a cue. london is a good example of that. >> $1 billion for an embassy, and that's efficient. i just -- i just have a real problem with that because having experienced in iraq and vietnam, i know we build the same bunkers. pretty much same standard design. few improvements here and there but they suffice. i know we can do the same thing for a more modern building, use a standard format design. either going up or out. you could probably have three
standard designs that would fit just about anywhere. why do i know that? because i had experience in that business. you know, we build our military vehicles pretty much the same way. they're compartmentized. an an walk -- go into abrams tank and change the engine out in about an hour. mr. chairman, i have a real problem with $1 billion designs and costs when contractors are making $500 million profit on some of our most expensive embassies. thank you very much. i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. i now recognize the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. you got a pretty hard job. really is. but two things. mr. lynch mentioned gratitude for your cooperation and turning around a codel. secondly, i know the chairman of the subcommittee sent some
request for information. it is helpful to the committee. it's a burden on you. but it really makes for better .ife for all around i do want to acknowledge the hard work that you have to do. one question i have is how much -- i mean, the costs are high. how much of the complications that you face day-to-day in making decisions about an embassy, wherever it may be, have to deal with the enormous security requirements that now seem to be part of everything. i'll ask you, ms. muniz. >> i think the security requirements clearly significantly add to the expense, but i don't know that anybody in the state department on this committee would call into question the need for those security measures. both operationally during building and the measures
physically that are put in place. but it does -- when you look at the average cost of an embassy as compared to an office building on the market, those costs are very different, but they are really driven by what are some of the safest facilities in the world. >> well, mr. green, you know, one of the things that i find a little bit troubling is when i visit embassies. they're remote in many cases. in difficult working circumstances it seems for some of the embassy personnel as a result of the security requirements. is there some indication that there are some cases where too much security actually interferes with the ability of the embassy personnel to do their job effectively? >> i would say generally no, but if you -- if you talk about access, for example, for employees, particularly
non-u.s. employees who are held up going through various security checkpoints, possibly there is. but i think generally d.s. is ot going to spend money to oversecure a place. if anything we probably have some that are undersecured. >> ok. that's helpful. mr. chairman, i am prepared to yield the balance of my time. >> will my colleague yield his time, mr. welch, to mr. connolly -- >> i'll yield my time to mr. chaffetz. >> sorry. go ahead. >> all right. i yield my time to mr. connolly, thank you. >> i thank my friend. sorry for the misunderstanding. you know, this is not a theoretical discussion. mr. green, when you were in the reagan administration, i was in the senate and i went to beirut before the embassy bombing, no
setback. right on the main thoroughfare. had a friend killed, bill macintire, embassy. and there was a bombing in beirut. to say nothing about the barracks in kenya, tanzania, some of the critics about the cost of security and securing our embassies, of course, is the first to talk about the lack of security in benghazi. and it is a balance, but security we've learned all too painfully is a very important component in making decisions about for thefying setbacks and the like. is -- for theifying setbacks and the -- fortifying setbacks and the like. the need of accessibility and the need of convenience in another country -- we cannot
forget, it isn't just about us and our security and convenience. it's also about the population. our embassy consulate is serving lots of people want to get visas and do business and so forth. help us understand a little bit from your point of view with your commission, how do we strike the right balance? >> that's probably the toughest question that anyone here has asked today. i don't know there is a magic bullet to do that, but you got to manage risk, and people have different opinions of how you do that, whether security takes precedent or access takes precedent. i remember when i was still at the state department there was a big battle between those who in the old usiaa who wanted more access for the local populous to go to the libraries . then on the flip side of that
were the security people that said we can't afford to have a library hanging out there in some commercial building. so we haven't solved it. i think it's -- you know, you have to manage risk based on the situation, based on the threat. and if you need more security or less security, then that's what you do. i mean, we are going to adjust. >> let me add based on what you said. you can't have a cookie cutter approach because the situation will be different everywhere. >> that's right. >> i thank you and, mr. welch, i thank you for your courtesy and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has expired. we'll now recognize the gentleman from florida, mr. mica, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chaffetz. i think this is a very important hearing. sometimes it doesn't get the attention others do, but it is
an important meat and potatoes hearing that talks about our embassy security. that was highlighted at the events of benghazi and also our vulnerability with our various posts around the world. kind of interesting. my brother was a member of congress that chaired the subcommittee -- i think it was international operations that did the buildings when they were -- >> that was your democratic brother. >> that was. and if he got it right we wouldn't be here for this building but touche, mr. connolly. n any event you can do anything, mr. green, it's almost impossible to protect
every compound, our employees are at risk around the world. they can't all be confined in the compound, but some things can be done. e have -- we have two lists. one propaired by o.b.o. and the other is diplomatic security folks on the risk level. i just saw a copy of one of those which you all have not provided to us but we have gotten a copy of it and for obvious reasons we don't publicize that. our enemies to know where our emphasis is. there are just some commonsense things that need to be done and some posts are more at risk than others, right, ms. muniz? >> yes. >> mr. jones, you'd agree and
mr. green. one of the problems we have is there's the security list i've seen and it differs from the o.b.o. list. can you tell me about the differences, ms. muniz? >> yes, i can and i appreciate the opportunity. d.s. -- >> right. >> that is called the vulnerability list. >> right. >> that list is very, very extensive because it includes every building in a compound which may have, say, half dozen facilities spread around the town. we take that information -- >> but it does rank them? >> yes. >> your list is different from their list, is that correct? >> we basically translate their risk to the highest posted. we pull up -- in other words, if they're assessing 12 facilities, we pull up the highest at-risk and put it on -- our vulnerability list or
our capital security cost sharing -- >> but they don't match, i'm told? >> they can't match. for their 10 entries we would have one. >> well, again, this started out as looking at design excellence and choosing design as opposed to security. you have diplomatic security that is directed to make certain that our folks are protected, and then you have your organization overseas buildings and you're making your determinations, but they don't mesh. and it may leave some of our facilities at risk. for example, benghazi, i was told was high on the list but actually didn't get the attention either from reinforcement after a number of requests of security personnel and other safeguards. and some of the attention that
should have been focused there, and that would be the secretary of state's ultimate responsibility, is that correct? would the secretary of state make a determination there or -- >> the department, o.b.o. and d.s. basically decide on that capital security construction schedule. >> does the secretary review the list? >> not to my knowledge. >> not to your knowledge. that's something we might need to change in the law. but, again, i would think that the secretary of state, charged with the safety and security of our embassies, would at least look at the list. and you don't think, like the former secretary, when benghazi occurred, even looked at last or was given a list? >> i can't speak to that, but i can assure you that working with diplomatic security, which we do every year on that list that diplomatic security signs off on the order of that list and it is based on the ranking
-- >> someone failed in benghazi and i was told it was high on the list, that the proper attention was not paid to making certain it had the protections. even a high schooler could look at a list, libya, benghazi, and pick that as a top priority. wouldn't you say that would be a top priority if you were looking at a list a year ago or whenever? >> the capital security construction program provides us funding to build embassies and consulates. benghazi was neither an embassy nor a consulate and was not on the list. >> but it had american personnel and it also posed a risk. diplomatic security was also responsible for the security of the personnel there. and they contracted also for services, is that correct? >> i can make a general statement about benghazi and
about o.b.o.'s role. i think beyond that i didn't come today prepared -- >> i just want to know the general procedure. r. issa and i visited post -benghazi, some of a couple of posts. we saw some commonsense things that needed to be done, improvements, video capability, improvements in a whole host of areas. do you know if the improvements have been made so our personnel are not at risk? final question. >> if you're talking about improvements in benghazi, we -- >> security improvements in our diplomatic posts. there have been a host of groups investigating, reporting, and they've said that certain things need to be done. i cited one as video capability.
there are many others. maybe we don't want to discuss in an open forum. but can you tell the committee from your position, have those improvements been made and addressed? >> so let me respond on two fronts. >> excuse me. could you please speak into your microphone? thank you. >> sorry. as the committee knows, the secretary, in the wake of benghazi, appointed an accountability review board. that review board made 29 recommendations. the department accepted all of those recommendations and has been aggressively implementing those recommendations. they've also reported to congress on the implementation. o.b.o. is involved -- >> can i interrupt you right there? because part of that accountability review process was the development of this report by mr. green, and you had secretary -- undersecretary kennedy go on cbs news and say
they don't accept it. so how do you say that the state department has accepted all those recommendations when mr. green's recommendations wasn't accepted? >> i think all the members would want -- can you also give us for the record what has been implemented, if some of those recommendations have to remain not public, that's fine but give them to the committee? so can you answer the two questions? >> i could certainly take that back to the department and we could reply to that request. >> you didn't answer mr. chaffetz. >> if he could repeat the question. >> we're going to recognize mr. connolly now and then we'll come back to this. the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly. >> i thank the chair. don't repeat the question, ms. muniz. the assertion is being made that patrick kennedy made -- contradicted the secretary of state, and i don't believe that's true. i believe that's inaccurate.
and for the record, i would ask you to go back and have mr. kennedy clarify. but i'm quite confident, knowing mr. kennedy, he was not contradicting the secretary of state who said she had accepted all recommendations, as you just said. and if there's any daylight between those two points of view, by all means, come back and clarify. i didn't hear mr. kennedy say any such thing. sorry. thank you. i also find it interesting that in hindsight we have perfect understanding of the security needs in benghazi, and you should have understood that benghazi of all of the posts in the world was number one. shame on you for not understanding that. how many posts do we have in the state department around the world, ms. muniz? >> we have roughly 270. >> sorry? >> we have roughly 270. >> you really don't like that microphone. you need to -- >> we have roughly 270. >> perfect. 270, is that right? >> you can continue to watch
this hearing online at c-span.org. we'll leave here as the u.s. house gavels in momentarily. they were delayed a bit this morning because of hazardous material spill or a problem on the house side of the capitol. that's all been cleared up and the house comes in next to begin work on the treasury department spending for 2015 and also continue work on the energy and water spending for the next fiscal year. one diplomatic note as we leave the hearing on embassies, the german government today has asked the top u.s. intelligence official in berlin to leave the country. that word from a lawmaker from chancellor angela merkel's party. that's from the associated press. now live to the house floor. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] the speaker, house of representatives, sir. as you are aware, the time previously appointed for the next meeting of the house is 10:00 a.m. today for morning
hour debate. this is to notify you, pursuant to clause 1-c of rule 1, of an imminent impairment of the place of reconvening at the time. the impairment is due to an industrial accident. signed, sincerely, paul d. irving, sergeant at arms. the speaker: under clause 12-c of rule 1 and the order of the house of january 7, 2014, the speaker dispensed with morning hour debate today and notified members accordingly. the prayer will be offered today by our guest chaplain, rabbi david cohen, young israel of the west side, new york, new ork. the chaplain: master of the universe, continue to grant compassion and understanding to this august body. we live in a world on fire, where there is turmoil throughout the globe. a world that is ravaged by
terror and barberism. a world where youthful potential and its rich contributions are instantaneously destroyed. yesterday in these hallowed halls the united states congress posthumously honored raul laurenburg for his humanitarian efforts in saving jews during the holocaust. please, god, enable this body to continue to advocate for decency and be the moral compass of our nation. next week begins the three-week period of jewish mourning over the destruction of our temples in jerusalem. it is an inauspicious time, a time focused on the inequity of baseless hatred between brothers. please, god, enable this
institution to serve a reminder that in a world of darkness, one small candle can light up the world. let us say amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. . pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance today will be led by the gentleman rom texas, mr. williams. mr. williams: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to 15 requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. williams: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one
minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker: without objection. mr. williams: mr. speaker, i rise to recognize the important works of meals on wheels, a community-based organization that exemplifies the american spirit. neighbors helping neighbors serving those in need and working together to make our communities a better place. each day volunteers from over 5,000 meals on wheels programs across the nation deliver over a million meals to elderly citizens. recently i had the opportunity to visit with one of these organizations in my district, meals on wheels of johnson and ellis counties. and theirs and other programs like it, an army of dedicated volunteers, serves a model of being their brothers' keepers, also the home-bound neighbors, which also provides these individuals with a caring visit from loving volunteers. lives are touched every day because the investment is made in helping them remain in their homes. today i salute the thousands of donors, founders, boards of directors and especially those individuals served by meals on
wheels. organizations like this is what america is all about, loving your neighbor and serving those in need. in god we trust and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of the national gay blood drive because i know that being gay does not make someone an unsafe blood donor. mr. quigley: our current f.d.a. policy paints all gay and bisexual men with the same brush, banning them for life based solely on orientation instead of focusing on actual behavior. today, in 61 cities across our country, gay and bisexual men will stand with straight allies to call for an end of this discriminatory policy. implemented in 1983 during the height of the h.i.v. crisis, the outdated policy is based on unjustifiable fear and bigotry instead of science and facts.
but it's 2014. we have advanced blood screening and we know much more about how h.i.v. is transmitted. so we need a revised policy to match. a revision blood doaning agencies support. we can no longer treat gay and bisexual men as second class citizens or turn away healthy would-be donors who could be providing life-saving blood. i ask my colleagues to support the national gad blood drive and once again head toward true equality for all. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? without objection, so ordered. mr. speaker, in 2012, obama victed 640,000 illegal aliens. mr. johnson: brush evicted 80% more. in 1993, clinton, 98% better
than obama. now obama demands $3.7 billion from american taxpayers to cover up the worst border security record in decades. out-of-control debt, risk and american insolvency and bankruptcy. mr. brooks: obama's border mistakes must be paid for by cutting foreign aid or not paying illegal aliens billions of dollars a year in fraudulent tax refunds or better government management. not by borrowing more money. lack of money did not create america's porous border problem. incompetent border policy did. presidents bush and clinton did better security with far less money. president obama should do the same. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york rise? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. mrs. maloney: mr. speaker, the good news june job report has
been described by some as a blockbuster, a great success. but it could have been better. the economy added in june -- in the june report over 288,000 private sector jobs. that's five straight months in which 200,000 private sector jobs were added, and this is the best performance since the boom years since the late 1990's. the good news is that unemployment is down to prerecession levels, but the bad news is that it could have been better. extending emergency unemployment benefits would have added another 200,000 jobs, according to the congressional budget office. this combined with the government shutdown, fights over the debt ceiling, governing by crisis, all these actions prevented job growth from being even stronger. our economy has proved to be incredibly resilient, and imagine what we could do if six months from now we extended
unemployment benefits, we authorized the highway trust fund which adds another 700,000 jobs, re-authorized the export-import bank, all of this would create jobs. let's work together to create these jobs and pass these important programs. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, yesterday the terrorist group hamas launched three long-range rockets targeting an israeli nuclear reactor. hamas is an arm of the muslim brotherhood and has received support from the toe tal yarian totalitarian -- government in iran. the obama administration has exhibited a false moral equivalency. mr. desantis: u.s. aid is to be spended if the p.a. is hamas influenced. yet, the obama administration
as continued to fund the hamas fatah unity government. the administration is funding it, we condemn the jewish state for failing to broker a peace agreement with the palestinian group that includes the hamas terrorists in there. this was following rocket fire. rather than criticize israel during this time, the united states should allow them to defend itself against an enemy that seeks destruction of the jewish state. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> request permission to address the house -- address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. green: mr. speaker, members, i rise in support of comprehensive immigration reform and to address the growing number of unaccompanied children arriving from central
america. it's been over a year since the senate passed bipartisan reform legislation to strengthen the border and provided a pathway to normalization and earned citizenship for those already here. the senate passed the bill with 68 votes. mr. speaker, the senate oftentimes can't get 60 votes to turn on the lights over there. so this legislation has broad support, and i urge its immediate consideration. last week i visited our immigration intake facilities macallen, texas. any children traumatized during the long journey to our country. americans know these children we're talking about need to be treated as children. the president has asked for emergency funds to further secure our border. give the border patrol the resources they need to make sure these children are treated with care and dignity while they're in our custody. if this chamber is serious
about border security, it would immediately consider the president's request and give our folks on the border what they need to do their job. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, when there's a blaze, when there's a fire, when there is an explosion, when someone has an emergency medical problem, the firefighters rush in. while others flee danger, the firefighter with sirens, red lights, horns, red and white trucks, charge into the jaws and midst of danger. sometimes the danger is overwhelming, and firefighters are injured and killed. yesterday afternoon with temperatures approaching 100 degrees outside in an area called forest cove near the san jacinto river in houston, texas, the fire alarm sounded
at the fire station. a house fire then turned into two alarms. the firefighters rushed and battled the fire in the hot, humid texas summer heat. firefighter daniel groofer, depicted in this pofe -- groover, depicted in this photograph, was pulled from the blaze. but later daniel died. mr. speaker, he, like his dad, was a career firefighter. groover, a 21-year veteran of the fire department, he was from spring, texas, was married and had three sons. chief terry garrison said about him, firefighters risk to save lives and that's what daniel was doing. he and his firefighters are a remarkable breed, an american breed. mr. speaker, been said that all people are created equal. a few become firefighters. one of those was daniel groover, and that's just the
way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? new york. i'm sorry. i did that again. the gentleman from new york. >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. mr. higgins: i rise in support of the federal aviation administration's proposal to update flight simulators to more accurately warn of emergency situations. though these situations are rare when they occur the result is catastrophic. in my own western new york community, continental flight 3407 february of 2009, killing all aboard because the pilot did not know how to compensate for a loss of speed caused by ice on the plane's wings which error.an aerodynamic aviation safety reform in the wake of flight 3407 are requirements that pilots undergo additional ground and flight training in order to prepare for catastrophic
events. i urge the f.a.a. to act quickly to implement these new simulators comply with the law and give pilots the best possible training for the safety of the flying public. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the entleman from colorado rise? mr. lamborn: mr. speaker, the cries i -- mr. speaker, the crisis we are currently witnessing at our southern border is the direct result of obama administration's selective enforce of our nation's immigration laws. through its disregard for border security, this administration has created a magnet for illegal immigration. this is endangering the lives of children and adding additional strains to our already overtaxed taxpayers. and now the president says he needs $3.7 billion from congress to address the problem that his disregard for our laws has created. virtually none of this money
addresses the real problem of securing our border. we need to deploy the national guard to the border. the national guard is well equipped to handle this humanitarian cry sills. it would provide critical relief to our border patrol, allowing them to better concentrate on protecting our border. my amendment to the ndaa transferring $5 million to the army national guard would do exactly that. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from illinois rise? without objection, so ordered. the gentlelady is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. june saw nearly 300,000 new jobs added to the economy. lowering unemployment to the lowest level since 2008. still, we must do more for america's economic security. this includes ensuring that americans are able to earn a living wage. mr. kelly: and vulnerable families can depend on unemployment insurance in tough
times. this week i voted for the work force innovation and opportunity act because it will help individuals acquire the skills they need to succeed in the work force and help employers find the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. monday i had the honor of visiting a family-owned egg farm in illinois operated by brothers keith, craig and kevin mussman and their dedicated employees. mussman has 400,000 organic-fed layers and distributes eggs in the united states, mexico and canada. this is exactly the type of small business congress should be promoting. that's why i will continue to -- touring family farms and small businesses in illinois to bring their ideas and concerns back to washington. together we can help our businesses thrive and protect our workers. it's key to our recovery. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise?
without objection, so ordered. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to recognize raul gus staff walenberg of sweden for his her owism during world war ii. i was humbled to join my colleagues to present the congressional gold medal to his half-sister. mr. hultgren: in 1944, president roosevelt appointed walenberg to the wall refugees board to protect more than 700,000 jews living in budapest. with assistance from sweden, wallenberg denounced violence, exemplified unparalleled courage and perpetuated the highest of humanitarian ideals. although he miss tearsly disappeared -- mysteriously disappeared en route to moscow at the end of the war, he's credited with saving 100,000 jews from certain death in concentration camps. in 1981, congress awarded wallenberg honorary citizenship posthumously. one of only six other non-u.s. citizens so honored. including sir winston
churchill. wallenberg's work endures as a model of service to human kind and courage in the face of danger. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. veasey: mr. speaker, i rise today to encourage my colleagues to do the right thing and work across the aisle and take swift action to address the humanitarian crisis that our nation is currently facing. as a parent, i look at the situation at our texas border and i think of the circumstances that will lead my wife and i -- would lead my wife and i to send our 8-year-old on a dangerous journey, thousands of miles away from his home, his room, his toys, away from the things that he loves most. and send him on that journey without us. children are waiting their fates at detention centers, victims of crime, violence and war, and we have a responsibility to address the root causes of their migration.
without a comprehensive solution, however, we will continue to face situations like the crisis that we see now at the southern border. for over a year now, house republicans have refused to take up a long overdue overhaul of the immigration system that will streamline the legal immigration process, decrease the nation's deficit, secure our borders, create jobs and provide an earned pathway to citizenship. we need to put politics aside and work together to pass a fair immigration plan for the 21st century that honors this country's history and as the land of opportunity, justice and equality for all. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida rise? ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask unanimous con sent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to recognize the live like bella foundation for childhood cancer. an organization based in my home district of miami.
inspired by bella rodriguezer toess, a young girl who courageously -- rodriguez torr sembings s, a young girl who courageously fought cancer, this foundation supports the fight against pediatric cancer while offering much-needed support for families. cancer is the number one cause of death in children under the age of 15. live like bella is dedicated to raise funding for innovative cancer research at miami children's hospital. during national childhood cancer awareness month, the foundation will host its first annual bella's ball, where miami will dress up in golden shimmer and shine in memory of bella and to create awareness of childhood cancer. the event enjoys broad support from miami celebrities and athletes as well as many local businesses. i encourage everyone in our
south florida community to attend this event on saturday, september 13, that supports a wonderful cause in need of greater public attentiveness. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota rise? mr. ellison: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. ellison: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, an increase in the minimum wage is good for jobs, the minimum wage workers are adults who support families and exorbitant c.e.o. pay actually has been proven to hurt the performance of companies. three new studies have confirmed these three points and i'd like to elaborate a little bit. the minimum wage workers are older than they used to be. the average is 35 years old. 88% are at least 20 years old. most are women. women make up 48% of the work force yet 55% of the would had beenen beneficiaries of the increase in minimum wage would be women. the raise of minimum wage would
not cost jobs. that's a myth. here are the facts. 13 states have raised the minimum wage in 2014 and all but one has seen employment gains. now, that doesn't prove causation but it does prove that this claim that minimum wage is hurting jobs is false. it's also the case that we're often told that high pay for c.e.o.'s is just an award and incentivize them to work hard. high c.i.o. pay does not increase profitability. in fact, in june a study was published that looked at long-term performance of 1,500 companies, that is a lot of data, they're finding higher exorbitant c.e.o. pay hurts companies from forbes, forbes says, how could this be, in a world of overconfident? well, bottom line is the myths that we live by are not true. let's raise the wage and get some accountability of the executive level. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from montana rise? without objection, the
gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. daines: mr. speaker, coal strip, montana, is a town that runs on coal. hundreds of hardworking montanans depend on jobs in the power plants and its coal mines to provide for their families. but one anticoal energy consultant said that montanans ould plan for life without coal strip due in part to job-killing regulations imposed by the obama administration. e.p.a. administrator jena mccarthy recently met with a group of democrat senators who commended the agency's efforts on these emissions rules. i urge administrator mccarthy to get out of washington, d.c., and speak with the montana families who will be directly and negatively affected by these regulations and explain to them why the obama administration is waging a war on their livelihoods and their town. he's waging a war on the middle class. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california ise?
without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. mrs. capps: mr. speaker, i rise in support of the national oceans policy. later today we may consider an amendment to the energy and water appropriations bill to undermine this important policy. the amendment would promote inefficiency in ocean management, it would harm coastal communities. we depend on the marine environment for many important uses like food, tourism and the transportation of goods. these diverse interests often conflict, which is why the national ocean policy provides a forum for local stakeholders and federal agencies to talk to each other and work things out. efforts to cripple the nation -- national ocean policy will prevent local ocean users from deciding what issues are most important for their local communities. and that makes no sense. improving coordination between federal agencies and local
ocean stakeholders is a bipartisan idea that was first suggested during the bush administration. it should still have bipartisan support. i urge my colleagues to support the national ocean policy and reject efforts to undermine this commonsense idea. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? without objection, so ordered. the gentleman is recognized. mr. lamalfa: mr. speaker, i stand to address the crisis occurring along our southern border, which is a direct result from the president's failure to uphold the laws of our nation. illegal aliens apprehended in texas are being shipped and flown to california, my home state, as well as other states on the taxpayer dime. allegation states were on the first three flights into san diego. causing a flood of our state
with these illegal aliens not only creates a humanitarian crisis that must be dealt with, but it cross lines that the american public will not and should not tolerate. we cannot continue to stand by, allow this administration to continue to pick and choose what laws will be enforced. these policies resulted in what we're facing now, unlawful immigration, they're getting a mixed message and signal from this administration. i believe they may receive some form of amnesty from this administration or at least have a chance to stay in this country, regardless of the laws of our nation. unless this president and administration start upholding the laws of the land and ensuring our border's secure, this crisis will continue to get worse and worse, affecting ur children, our economy, very detrimentaly. the president's demand and solution he's proposing for $3.7 billion in additional funding isn't a solution at all it. does nothing to address the border problems we have in enforcing the border. mr. speaker, we need to get the real solutions and this flood of illegal immigration is just
going to be a bigger detriment to our nation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. speaker. while we were on break, the 5th anniversary of the interstate -- 58th anniversary of the interstate highway system was celebrated. and while there's lots of discussion here in the house about different issues, there's nothing more important for this congress to do than create jobs for the american public. and the best way to create jobs is to pass an extension of the highway act. infrastructure bills. president eisenhower was the president who knew we -- was the president who knew we needed a strong infrastructure in a highway system and when he needed a sponsor in the senate, it was albert gore sr. from tennessee, a democrat, who sponsored that bill. we need bipartisanship the way we had it with eisenhower and gore to come up with a highway extension. if it's a gas tax, whatever it
is, we need to do it. we need to put americans back to work and we need to put our infrastructure first. that should be the responsibilities of this house. i pledge to support transportation efforts to get a bill passed and to make america proud about its infrastructure again. bridges, runways and roads. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from tennessee, for what reason do you rise? without objection. mr. duncan: mr. speaker, we have a very sad human tragedy going on at our border, with many thousands of children coming to the u.s. from central america. americans are the most generous, compassionate people in the world. but if we don't secure our borders, we will destroy america as week of known it. there are probably several hundred million people who would come here in a short time if we simply opened our borders. we must have a legal, orderly system of immigration and it must be enforced. our entire infrastructure, our
schools, our hospitals, our jails, our sewers and so forth just cannot take in hundreds of millions more people in a short time. we need to immediately deploy our national guard to secure our border and we need to immediately change the laws so that every unaccompanied child is -- does not require a deportation hearing. this is an emergency situation, mr. speaker it. does not require more money. it requires immediate action with funds that are already available. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. yesterday i spoke about the flood of unaccompanied minors crossing our borders to escape drug and gang violence caused by america's war on trugs. today i want to speak about --
war on drugs. today i want to speak about the effect of that drug war of young people being trapped in the inner cities of america on this side of the border. 58 ago, take, for instance, 4 t, 14 killed over the july weekend. most involved drugs if not all. d politicses crack down on drug crime in the 1980's and 1990's. look at the impact it's had. it's a failed war on drugs that's become a war on urban youth. many boys on the streets of chicago or atlanta can barely cross the street without bullets streaking past their heads. the war on drugs and its impact on our youth needs to end now, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one inute. mr. duffy: mr. speaker, i rise to address the concerns of the nuclear arms of iran. this administration has a questionable track record on diplomacy. just three weeks ago, it put five taliban commanders back on the battlefield. we are witnessing an unraveling of our hard-fought gains in iraq because the administration's inability to negotiate a status of forces agreement before our withdrawal of troops. syria is in flames, al qaeda is on the move, the taliban are resurgent in afghanistan as we talk about a drawdown, and the list goes on, mr. speaker. the administration has time and time again demonstrated terrible judgment when it comes to foreign policy. there is real concerns by
experts who have testified in front of the foreign affairs committee that the deal in regard to iran's nuclear weapons, not just leave the region but the u.s. less safe. mr. president, put down the pool cue, pick up the map and let's rule together to make sure we don't have a nuclear iran. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from indiana rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise out of an overwhelming concern for young people and children in central america. mr. stutzman: president obama has a habit of saying to americans, let me be clear. i wish he were clear to thousands of central american families who have not yet tried to cross our border. in 2012, the president announced he would not enforce the law with regard to 800,000 young people who crossed our
border illegally. predictably, families and dangerous smugglers got the message. detention centers in our southwestern states are overflowing. the photos and stories of the traveling and living conditions of these kids is heartbreaking to see and to hear. tragically, the administration doubled down on sunday when homeland security secretary, jay johnson, promised more executive action and refused to say new arivals would be returned. this ambiguous approach created the crisis in the first place. without clarity, more suffering will surely follow. mr. speaker, i wish the president would consider the consequences of his disregard for the rule of law and be clear with would-be legal immigrants. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's request is granted.
the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. thompson: i joined fellow lawmakers in sending a letter to the secretary of the agriculture of grounding resource management directive. similar to a large number of proposals stemming from this administration, the director seeks to federalize water resources at the expense of state authority and private property rights. additionally, it will interfere with state and private water rights along with other activities. furthermore, the director was proposed without state and local input, which will encourage litigation and potentially interfere with the adjacent state, local. in pennsylvania's allegeny national forest, 93% of the subsurface rights are privately owned, which means the consequences of this directive could be even more complicated and threatening to private property and water rights. mr. speaker, the mission of the forest service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests. unfortunately, this policy would achieve little or no environmental benefit while at the same time undermines the
agency's statutory obligation to manage these lands. the forest service should withdraw this ill-time and punitive directive. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina ise? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. mrs. ellmers: mr. speaker, i rise today to speak about the excessive audit system that exists in our medical equipment providers that provide essential medical equipment for our seniors across this country. it's negatively affecting them and their businesses. these businesses provide essential services and education to our seniors and medicare patients. it is important to point out that this practice was put in place because of the fraud and abuse that exists within the system. but rather than targeting fraudulent practices, they are targeting people playing by the rules and are being punished because of the bad actions of a
few of the bad actors. one example of a business in my community that provides essential health care to edicare and senior patients, providing oxygen hospital beds which is essential basic equipment. they've been audited 50% of the time. this is a practice that has to end, and i am introducing legislation tomorrow that will address this issue, reform the system and get to the point of really addressing the fraudulent practitioners that need the reform. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma rise? mr. cole: mr. speaker, by the direction of the committee on rules, i call up house resolution 661 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 118, house resolution at any olved that, a,
time after adoption of this resolution the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 5016, making appropriations for financial services and general government for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2015, and for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and amendments specified in this section and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on appropriations. after general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. points of order against provisions in the bill for failure to comply with clause 2 or clause 5-a of rule 21 are waived except for section 627. b, during consideration of the bill for amendment, one, each amendment other than amendments provided for in paragraph 2 shall be debatable for 10
minutes equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent and shall not be subject to amendment except as provided in paragraph 2. two, no pro forma amendment shall be in order except that the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on appropriations or their respective designees may offer up to 10 pro forma amendments each at any point for the purpose of debate and, three, the chair of the committee of the whole may accord priority in recognition of the basis of whether the member an amendment has cause it had to be printed in the portion of the congressional record designated for that purpose in clause 8 of rule 18. amendments so printed shall be considered as read. c, when the committee rises and reports the bill back to the house with recommendation that the bill do pass, the previous question shall be ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or
without instructions. section 2, upon adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to consider in the house the bill h.r. 4718, to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to modify and make permanent bonus depreciation. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the committee on ways and means now printed in the bill, modified by the amendment printed in the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution, shall be considered as adopted. the bill, as amended, shall be considered as read. all points of order against provisions in the bill, as amended, are waived. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, and on any amendment thereto to final passage without intervening motion except, one, one hour of debate equally divided and by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on ways and means, two, one motion to recommit with or without
instructions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized for one hour. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, for the purpose of debate only, i yield the customary 30 minutes to my friend, the gentlelady from new york, ms. slaughter, pnding i yield ending which myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for such time as he may consume. mr. cole: during consideration of this resolution, all time is yielded for purposes of debate only. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks . the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. cole: mr. speaker, on wednesday, the rules committee met and reported a rule for consideration on two measures, h.r. 5016, the financial services and general government appropriations act. and h.r. 4718, that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation. the resolution provides a modified open rule for consideration of h.r. 5016 so that all members have the opportunity to come to the floor and offer any amendment to the bill that complies with
house rules on this important piece of legislation. the resolution also provides a closed rule for consideration of h.r. 4718 and provides for 60 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking member of the committee on ways and means. in addition, the rule provides for a motion to recommit. mr. speaker, a little over two months ago i was pleased to present the house the rule for consideration of the first two appropriations bill. this rule will provide for the consideration of the eighth appropriations bill by the house. in the appropriations committee, we've already reported out 10 of the 12 required appropriations bills and are moving closer to finishing the two remaining bills. contrast this with the other body, where they have yet to pass even a single appropriations measure. mr. speaker, the financial services appropriations bill maintains the fiscal discipline agreed to as part of the bipartisan budget act of 2013
that this country desperately needs. while the president requested n additional $1.7 billion over fiscal year 2014 enacted levels, this bill actually funds these programs at $566 million less than last year's level. in addition, this bill maintains a number of important funding restrictions over the i.r.s. given their unconscionable targeting of conservative organizations and their deliberate stonewalling of legitimate inquiries by the ways and means and oversight and government reform committees, these funding prohibitions are necessary and appropriate. in addition, mr. speaker, this resolution provides for consideration of h.r. 4718, which permanently extends bonus depreciation. during this extended time of sluggish economic growth, it's important for the congress to pass legislation that will encurning our job creators to do -- encourage our job creators to do just that, create jobs.
one found that permanent bonus depreciation would actually grow the economy by 1%, adding $182 billion to the economy, increase the capital stock by over 3%, increase wages by about 1% and create 212,000 new jobs. since its creation in 2002, this credit has routinely been extended on a bipartisan basis. it's an important -- it's important that we do so again today. mr. speaker, i want to commend chairman rogers for making good on his commitment to ensure orderly and timely consideration of appropriations bills. i also want to commend chairman camp for examining the tax code and ensuring we can provide tax certainty so many businesses need in order to make investment decisions that benefit us all. i urge support of the rule and the underlying legislation. with that, mr. speaker, i
reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new york rise? ms. slaughter: good afternoon, mr. speaker. i rise, i first want to thank the gentleman from oklahoma, my good friend, mr. cole, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for such time as she may consume. ms. slaughter: thank you, mr. speaker. we are breaking a record again for the most closed congress ever. the majority has -- they've wasted time, money and energy on legislative proposals designed to distract us from the problems at hand. and that certainly is true today. the american people are hoping that congress will create jobs, expand educational opportunities, support working families, but instead we insist on spending millions of dollars on investigating made-up scandals and adding billions and billions to the deficit. today we have one rule for two bills. first, the bonus depreciation
bill and, second, the financial services appropriations bill. two bills with nothing in common except to highlight the majority's instistence of choosing policy over people. now, h.r. 471 would make bonus depreciation permanent. this is a policy that maybe you've never heard of. but is a policy that used to be bipartisan and still would be on a one-year or two-year basis like the senate has proposed. it is designed as a temporary measure and i emphasize temporary because if it isn't temporary, it is not effective. bonus depreciation gives businesses an extra large immediate tax deduction for a portion of the cost of investments in equipment, instead of spending more of the deduction over future years, it incentivizes purchasing of equipment now in order to provide an immediate boost to
the economy, instead of in the future when the incentive may not be available. and that is how it has always temple rarely worked -- temporarily worked. but if we make it permanent, the taxpayers are then subsidizing the cost of equipment that businesses would need to purchase anyway. my good friend mr. cole, who is as good a businessman as he is a congressman, and that's saying a lot, said yesterday that in 2003 his small business went out and bought $100,000 worth of computers specifically because he could take advantage of the bonus depreciation. which was in place and a very smart thing for him to have done. and that's exactly how bonus depreciation is supposed to work. now, mr. cole knew computers would be cheaper at that time than in a year or two when the tax credit would have expired. so he spent the money on the equipment and that surely helped the economy and i'm sure created some jobs.
but why would mr. cole buy the computers immediately if he knew the tax credit would be there forever? he wouldn't, i don't believe. we'll talk about that later. now, this tool was put in place between 2002 and 2005 at 30% and then at 50%. it was re-enacted in 2008 and then extended four times, often as part of a larger stimulus package, most recently at 50% that expired at the end of 2013. now, when enacted as a temporary measure, there has been bipartisan support. however, the bill we have before us intends to make it permanent. completely negating the purpose of the bonus depreciation as a temporary measure. the nonpartisan congressional research service looked into the change and they said, and i quote, it's temporary -- its
temporary nature is critical to its effectiveness, end quote. and the bonus depreciation, quote, was enacted for a ecific short-term purpose, end quote. and, mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert the congressional research service's report, bonus depreciation, economic and budgetary issues for march 24, 2014, into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. slaughter: thank you, sir. what the majority's fond of saying is this measure will bring in $10 billion in revenue. and i heard it over and over again in the rules committee last night, that we're going to have $10 billion in revenue. but what they failed to say is that over 10 years, it's going , $287 us $287 billion billion, nearly $300 billion, which could buy us a lot of high-speed rail, a lot of bridge infrastructure, a lot of highway work.
if what we were doing is a permanent subsidy to tax cuts to every business that wants to buy equipment. the committee scored this at the $287 billion over 10 years. we're not making that up. now, the majority is cobbling together a piecemeal approach and it will not work. we would love to have tax reform, we cry out for tax reform, but this isn't it. to tap it -- top it all off, this is another closed rule. and let me say what that means. even if a member wanted to offer an amendment to pay for the nearly $300 billion cost of this bill, which are the rules in which we operate, you know, pay-go, they couldn't, they wouldn't be allowed. there are so much better things to spend that $300 billion on, the things that we really need in this country, but the enclosed rule ensures that it would stifle the debate and hijack the process. and more than that, we know the senate will not take this up
and so once again we are doing a bill that might make some people feel good, but now that you think about it a little bit, because even the businesses who are going to be prospering from the tax increase are going to be responsible for the loss of $300 billion. so with the second bill, which is h.r. 5016, the financial services appropriation, the majority cherry-picked which agencies to fund and which to strangle. for purely political purposes. they continue to chase down the ll but defunk -- all but defunct i.r.s. the i.r.s., making is to that $2 billion worth of tax revenue will not be collected because they have cut the budget of the i.r.s. so much. so, add that $2 billion to the $300 billion we're voting today to depreciation and add that onto the deficit too.
not paid for. , the majority has also put forth legislation that obstructs once again the district of columbia's home rule, by restricting funding for constitutionally protected medical care. the majority insists on ensuring that women are second-class citizens and they continue to chip away at our constitutional rights. further, the bill continues to prevent multistate policies under the affordable care act from providing coverage for abortions under the federal employees health benefit program, exetcht in the -- except in the most desperate of circumstances. we need to say over and over again that the women in this country who are using birth ontrol, 58%, more than half of them, are using it for medical reasons and they are being deprived, the women in this country, 58% who are using prescription contraception are
using it because they have medical issues and it is expensive. but we will not let them get any help because it's something we simply don't believe in, providing health care for women. now, government workers deserve the same benefits and same access to comprehensive health care as those in the private sector enjoy. it is in fact dangerous for the majority to target abortion care and require its exclusion from health insurance plans that include other important and necessary reproductive health services. women expect and deserve the best health care and coverage that fits their needs and i reserve the balance of my time. oh, let us -- sorry, excuse me, i have one more here. maybe two. let's remember that 58% of the women as i said use them for medical purposes and i'd like to be able to say that women should expect their government to put their health and safety above election year politics. but this is what we've come to expect here.
women deserve better, but i'm afraid in the house women's rights again continue to be undermined. and time and again we have prioritized in this house, some of us, politics over people. let me mention the veterans, for example. a lot of those veterans who served and sacrificed for our country, listen to this, this is really important to know, while those veterans who served and sacrificed for our country wait months in line for medical care, the house majority will spend more money investigating and trying to debunk a nonexistent benghazi scandal than helping the veterans get the care they need. that's right. the committee investigating benghazi has a much larger budget than the veterans affairs committee -- veterans affairs -- veterans' affairs committee. if that's not a political statement, i don't know what is. just yesterday transcripts from the armed services committee about benghazi proved that everything that could have been
done was done and i know that when i last did the rule on the floor, on the special benghazi committee, that i received a call from the mother of one of the navy seals that died, saying that she really wishes congress would stop dragging their family back through that horror. they know what happened. instead of working on the real problems, and we've got them, they're finding time to sue the president for doing his job, to hold vote after vote to repeal med -- obamacare, and let's remember the shutdown of the government which took $24 billion in that short time out of this economy. so we come here to make things better and with these actions and with this behavior we make things worse. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the rule and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr.
speaker. as usual my friend is a sharp and acute debater and makes points over a broad number of issues. i do want to say for the record, i'm not such a great businessman, but i have a great business partner who's been my partner for 25 years, she's the managing partner, she made the call and i've been very fortunate the friends and -- to be friends and partners with her for many, many years. i think she probably moved as quickly as she did because she didn't think the government would have the good sense to keep this open. but the fact is, under both republican and democrats, we have done bonus depreciation. when my friends were in the majority, they continued to routinely extend it themselves. and after more than a decade, it's become frankly pretty much a permanent feature of our tax code. it's not so permanent that you can absolutely rely on it in a business sense. but i still accept the argument, after something has been repeatedly confirmed by both sides and both sides have
repeatedly extended it and made it effectively permanent, we ought to go ahead and provide businesses that certainty. but again, we'll have a debate on that and that's appropriate. second point i want to discuss, i do differ a little bit with my friend, we always quibble, no matter who is in the majority, over how open the process is and how much the minority is allowed to participate in it. but we do that, we usually need to remember if we're in the minority what our record was when we were in the majority. i want to remind my friends on the other side that throughout the 111th congress, the final two years of their time in the majority, the house never considered a single bill under an open rule. that is the definition of a closed proelse is. on the contrary, under republican control, the house has returned to the consideration of appropriations bills under an open process with 22 open rules. again, i was on the
appropriations committee when my friends took the opportunity that every member enjoys to come down and participate in the appropriation process away from everyone. their side and our side alike. additionally, the congress is allowed under our control more than 1,000 amendments to be offered on the house floor, including a total of 488 amendments offer by democrats and another 137 by partisan amendment -- bipartisan amendments. 40% of all submitted amendments have been made in order. compare that to our friends who have made only 17% in order under their majority regime in the 111th congress. so when you actually compare the record of the republican majority to the most recent democratic majority, any fair analysis would show that republicans are running a far more open and transparent house. i think that's something that my friends need to recall. when they raise this particular critique. with that, in mr. speaker, i'll reserve the balance of my time -- with that, mr. speaker, i'll
reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves his time. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. ms. slaughter: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from the district of columbia, ms. norton. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized for two minutes. ms. norton: i want to thank my good friend from new york for yielding and for her work on this rule. mr. speaker, a congress controlled by members trying to reduce the federal footprint at every turn ought to be the first to reject two amendments in the financial services appropriation which fly in the face of their own core philosophy. first is the abortion amendment that would keep the district of columbia from spending its own local funds on abortions for low-income women. mr. speaker, 17 states that are represented in this house spend
their own local funds in this way and we are determined to fight until the district's low-income women have the same reproductive health rights as the women who live in those 17 states. there's a second bill, a second amendment, that targets the district of columbia in its marijuana decriminal scation law -- decriminalization law at the same time that the states are rapidly moving in the same direction, 18 of them before the district even got there, have decriminalized marijuana. . 23 states have legalized medical marijuana. and a recent poll, pugh research poll, found more than half the person -- pew research poll,
found more than half of the american people supported marijuana legislation. mr. speaker, this amendment that targets the district of columbia is authored by representative andy harris of maryland. maryland is one of the states that has decriminalized marijuana. he couldn't convince his own state where the voters are accountable to him not to decriminalize marijuana, so he wants to come to this house oor where -- and try to keep the district of columbia where voters are not gabble -- accountable to him. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from the district of columbia is recognized for two additional minutes. ms. norton: i appreciate the generosity of the ranking member. he wants to come to this floor and try to convince this body where not a single member is accountable to the residents of the district of columbia that it
should not decriminalize its marijuana laws. i don't know why the members from those 18 states have decriminalized. let me tell you why they were decriminalized in the district of columbia. they were decriminalized for racial justice reasons. we discovered through a scientific study that african-americans were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, even though whites and blacks in the district of columbia and in the united states of america use marijuana t the same rate. 40 years ago this congress passed the home rule act. leaving local matters to the district of columbia, just like your local matters are left home. we demand the same respect for
local control for the district of columbia residents who are full american citizens like everybody else who represents people on this floor, we our sent -- we demand that american citizens have the same respect for their local control that on this floor every day you demand for your own residents. i thank the ranking member and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma vebled. mr. cole: i have enormous respect for the gentlewoman from the district of columbia. she does an enormous job of representing her opportunity and is an articulate member of this body. it is true we do have an unusual degree of authority as congress over the capital of the united states.
that's a constitutional issue, article 1, section 8 issue. being the capital brings great privileges and benefits to washington, but it also unquestionably at times brings some difficulties and some strengths as well. we all whoever is in the majority tries to manage that as best we k in terms of the abortion issue, the language in this bill that applies to d.c. as i understand it has been pretty routine under both democrats and republicans over the years. it's not historic -- will i yield to my friend if i could finish my friend. i certainly will yield. so that's my understanding of that issue. on the marijuana issue, the federal prohibition here has existed for many years and was proposed in the president's budget. the amendment was offered and adopted in the committee. there was a very spirited debate about this. dr. harris does add new language to prohibit local funds for recreational use of marijuana. the intent is to prevent d.c.
from legalizing marijuana for recreational use. d.c.'s enacted a law which makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offense carrying a $25 fine. that goes into effect later this month. november, d.c. may have a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in small amounts. i suspect this will be an ongoing discussion and concern between the congress and community. with that i would certainly yield how much time would my friend like? ms. norton: just a couple minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. mr. cole: i yield to my friend. ms. norton: i appreciate the generosity of the gentleman for yielding. first let me state that the district of columbia gets not one single benefit that any other member who pays taxes, except we pay taxes without representation. not one single benefit. hat the rest of you don't get.
secondly, on marijuana decriminalization. i respect the differences we have there and the states are experimenting now. we only decriminalized marijuana, and recently a member of the counsel introduced an amendment, which i bet you the other 18 states have not done, to educate our young people about marijuana so that they don't go off and try it. nobody's for smoking marijuana. i wish we hadn't smoked all those cigarettes, there will be would be -- would be millions of people alive if we hadn't. we don't want to see people go to jail for possessing a marijuana, and we don't want to live in the city where the only people who get arrested for possessing marijuana are people who look like me. is is a city full of college students. they don't get arrested. who get arrested are
african-americans because the police patrol those areas more sternly than others. we are asking for racial justice, but above all we are asking for local control. i want to say one thing about your citing of the constitution. you're absolutely right. the constitution gives the district gives the congress control. but you passed 40 years ago the home rule act. and that home rule act was congress' understanding that there ought to be no members of this house who don't have total control over their own local money and over their own local affairs. we ask for the same respect. i thank the gentleman. mr. cole: reclaiming my time. i thank the gentlelady for the points she made. i would just say that, again, this is going to be an ongoing source of tension. it has been. to clarify, when i said the capital, i meant to imply in no way that citizens here don't
have the same obligations and same responsibilities and bear the same burdens. i happen to have two wonderful military bases in my facility. we think we are privileged to host them. we drive considerable benefit from their presence, both employment -- as the gentlelady suggests, we pay taxes, too. we are american citizens. those weren't put there for our benefit. they were put there for the purposes of defending the country but we are happy to have them. i suggest there is probably a lot of that same pride in this community for hosting the capital of the united states. that was my intent with that remark. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. ms. slaughter: may i inquire if my friend has any more requests for time? mr. cole: i do not. ms. slaughter: i would like to close. we are going to call for the previous question, mr. speaker, if we defeat the previous
question, i'm going to offer an amendment to the rule to bring up the legislation that would treat wildfires like similar major natural disasters, and ensure that money intended for managing public lands is actually used for that purpose. it's time to make commonsense changes to the federal wildfire budget and discuss our proposal on wildfires, i am pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from oregon, the distinguished ranking member of the committee on natural resources, mr. defazio. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon is recognized for two minutes. mr. defazio: i thank my good friend for yielding that time. sometime in the end of july or at the latest very early august the inadequate budget forest firefighting for the departments of interior and forest service will be exhausted. that's right, exhausted. we are going to be at a point where there will be fires ranging across the west. we are looking at record drought. record fuel, dry fuels.
and you will be able, probably, to smell or see the smoke across a lot of the country. and we should be doing everything we can to prepare for this and spreent this in the future. and that's the -- prevent this in the future. that's the crux of the problem. we can't stop fighting forest fires because we can't. but they will borrow and decimate every other account in their budgets. 40% of the forest service budget goes to fighting fires on an annual basis which means every year we repeat this little groundhog day thing. they have to suspend the programs that would prevent future forest fires, that is fuel reduction programs, forest health programs, they have to cut into the recreation budget, and all the other activities and things they must do. cut into their timber management program. everything gets decimated and the money just goes to fight fires. we have the rarest of rare things here.
a bicameral, bipartisan bill that's supported by the president of the united states. what else in this town is bipartisan, bicameral and supported by the president? this should be a no-brainer. i have asked for hearings in the committee on the coming catastrophe this summer. no hearings have been held. we have legislation with 100 co-sponsors. no action, no hearing, no action on that bill. we need this funding this month. and that way the forest service won't have to decimate the programs that would prevent or mitigate future forest fires. come on, guys, wake up, smell the smoke, and do what's right and needs to be done. an adequate budget to fight these catastrophic forest fires across the western united states. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon's time has expired. the gentlewoman from new york. ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from california,
mr. peters. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. peters: thank you, mr. speaker. san diego and the entire state of california are facing a prolonged drought that is placing us at increased risk of wildfires. the we are currently in the midst of what is expected to be one of the longest and hardest wildfire seasons in recent memory. that's why i also agree that we have to take action immediately to ensure adequate funding for wildfires by bringing to the floor h.r. 3992, the wildfire disaster funding act of 20 sh. -- 2014. it is a bipartisan bill with dozens of sponsors from both sides of the aisle. it's fiscally responsible. and has broad support from washington and beyond. in may, san diego saw an early start to fire season when nearly a dozen wildfires erupted over a five-day period. burning 27,000 acres and destroying 65 homes. every day communities in the region are at risk of wildfires. this is an elongated fire season. we are not used to seeing these kind of events until september
or october. that means the cost to contain fires anti-damage they cause will increase. -- and the damage they cause will increase. we need to make the existing disaster contingency fund opened to cover part of the cost of wildfire response. i have seen the impact of catastrophic wildfires first hand. it's clear to me that wildfires should be treated the same as other natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes or superstorm sandy. it's vital we change the law in this way. i would like an agreement so that natural disasters include wildfires and allow our states nd localities allocate the necessary funds. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question and amend the rule so we can bring up h.r. 3992, the wildfire disaster funding act of 2014. we could bring it to the floor for a vote today.
thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from new york reserves. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you very much. i want to begin by agreeing to the last two speakers in terms of the substance of their argument. happen to be a co-sponsor of that legislation which is proposed by my good friend, mr. simpson, and i think they are discussing a very real and very important issue. this is an issue where there is considerable bipartisan agreement. i probably will end up opposing the manner in which you're going to try to bring this to the floor, but i do think it needs to come to the floor. there is an orderly process to do that. there are discussions under way to continue to work on it. but, again, my friend makes a very good point. i have tried consistently during my tenure here, no matter who was in control, to recognize that when we have disasters that people that are dealing with them need immediate help.
and you need accordingly -- need to vote accordingly and try to make that occur. they are not predictable. as i said on the interior subcommittee where we wrestled with this funding issues both my friends brought up, and there is precise -- they are precisely right. you can't predict the fire and you can't produce the amount. we end up treating fires differently than any other disaster and we savage the normal budget process and actually drain a lot of accounts. accounts in some cases would help us prevent future fires by helping us get rid of hazardous fuel built up in forests and things of that nature. again i think my friends make a good point. i think we are going to continue to work on this in a bipartisan manner. i hope -- i will note for the record that when we were actually considering the republican budget, we were engaged on that committee, which i sit on as a representative from appropriations, in discussion with one of our
democratic friends on the other side of the aisle, about bringing an amendment and writing it in the budget. we had republicans prepared at that point to vote for that amendment in sufficient numbers that could have happened. the white house, i think, as i was told, was actually in favor of doing that. for whatever reason the decision was made not to do it. again i cast no aspersions here, but i think we probably missed a more appropriate opportunity of actually cementing it down. i will say this, my friend has my commitment, both my friends, have my commitment at least to continue to try and work with them and try to find an appropriate vehicle and appropriate time to get this done. i appreciate the fact that you brought it to the floor and brought it up and reminded us it's a significant issue. i thank my friend and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves his time. the gentlewoman from new york is recognized. ms. slaughter: thank you, mr. speaker. if my colleague is prepared to close, i will close. mr. cole: i'm certainly prepared to close.
ms. slaughter: thank you. mr. speaker the ma -- mr. speaker, the majority continues to choose politics over people, create problems instead of solving them, insist on silencing debate in the chamber. it's time to consider the real problems facing the country and with summer comes the destructive fire season that affects so many of my colleagues' districts. i urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question and move to consider the wildfire disaster funding act, to make the commonsense changes in the federal wildfire budget. and, mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to insert the text of the amendment in the record along with extraneous material immediately prior to the vote on the previous question. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. slaughter: and i urge my colleagues to vote no, defeat the previous question and vote no on the underlying bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from new york yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. cole: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. cole: thank you. mr. speaker, in closing i'd
like to say that one of the basic functions of congress is to actually fund the government. this rule would continue that process for consideration of appropriations bills for fiscal year 2015. in addition, it would allow for consideration of legislation that makes bonus depreciation permanent. a provision that has existed as our tax code under both democrats and republicans since 2002. i've enjoyed the debate, as always i appreciate exchanging views and ideas with my good friend from kentucky -- or excuse me, from new york, bibi way of kentucky, two state -- but by way of kentucky, two states blessed. and i would urge my colleagues to sport rule and the underlying legislation. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time and i move the previous question on the resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on ordering the previous question on the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. slaught sla -- ms. slaughter: mr. speaker, on that i request the yeas and
nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honranl the speaker, house of represent -- the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission in grant -- granted in the u.s. house of representatives rules, the secretary received the message at 10:45 a.m. that the senate passed senate 247, senate 311, senate 354, senate 363, senate 476, senate 609, that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 255, 697, 30, h.r. 507, h.r. h.r. 876, h.r. 1158, h.r. 3110, 1216, 37, h.r. 272, h.r.
h.r. 356, h.r. 291. signed, sincerely, can karen l. haas -- karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: did the gentleman from idaho receive general leave? mr. simpson: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks, include extraneous material on the further consideration of h.r. 4923 and that i may include tab lar material on the same -- tabular material on the same. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. pursuant to house resolution 641 and rule 18, the their declares the committee in the whole house on the state of the union for the furtherers canners can of h.r. -- consideration of h.r. 4293. -- 2923. will mr. hultgren kindly take the chair?
the chair: the house is in the committee of the white house of the state of the union which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for fiscal year ending september 30, 2015, and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose on wednesday, july 9, 2014, a request for a recorded vote on amendment number 14 printed in the congressional record offered by the gentlewoman from nevada, ms. titus, had been postponed a -- postponed and the bill had been read through page 29, line 0. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from wyoming seek recognition? mrs. lummis: mr. chairman, i 16. to call up amendment
the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 16 printed in the congressional record offered by mrs. lummis of wyoming. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? he point of order is reserved. the gentlewoman from wyoming is recognized for five minutes. mrs. lummis: thank you, mr. chairman. my amendment would reinforce the department of energy's already existing legal obligations when it sells or transfers excess uranium from the federal inventory. one of these legal obligations is called the secretarial determination. that the uranium transfers will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium industry. the other obligation is to comply with the public notice and comment requirements of the administrative procedures act. the department's actions regarding uranium have come
under justified scrutiny so i will take both of them in turn. first, my amendment reinforces the required secretarial determination that uranium transfers do not adversely impact the domestic uranium industry. congress decided to require a secretarial determination because if the government dumps too much uranium onto the market, it can artificially distort the market and hurt domestic uranium industries. these include uranium mining, uranium conversion and uranium enrichment industries, all crucial to the development of a more robust domestic uranium supply chain to feed our nuclear power plants. right now 90% of the uranium used to provide electricity in this country is imported. but it doesn't have to be that way. here in the united states, including my home state of wyoming, we have abundant
uranium resources. with uranium from american soil and through american jobs, we can correct this imbalance. but the task is made difficult if not impossible with the department of energy's cavalier uranium transfers. the secretarial determination process has unfortunately become a sham. instead of protecting domestic uranium industries, it has become a tool to destroy them. prior to the may 15, 2014, secretarial determination, the department commissioned a market analysis that concluded the uranium transfers would the employment in domestic uranium industries by 4% and reduce the spot price for mined uranium by 8%. that is what their own market analysis provided.
yet the department is ignoring the results of its own study and is proceeding anyway, based on other information and analysis it decided not to share with the public. my amendment uses the power of the purse to reinforce existing tatutory law, lest the department flaw the law, rendering it meaningless. second, my amendment reinforces the department's obligation to comply with the public notice and comment requirements of the administrative procedures act. the department of energy has used its excess uranium as a slush fund, selling or bartering uranium to subsidize failed companies like the u.s. enrichment corporation, or to fund other programs without having to come to congress for the money. this program has operated in the shadows, making a mockery of our budget process. i want to quote a recent g.a.o.
report on the department's uranium transfers. it says, we believe transparency is a fundamental tenant of good government. and that our recommendations support actions needed tone chance d.o.e.'s transparaphernalia -- needed to enhance d.o.e.'s transparency. uranium transfers were recognized at the low-market value to prop up usce, shortchanging the taxpayer and further distorting uranium markets. the report documented shortcomings in the department's market analysis of how the transfers would impact uranium markets. and the failure of the department to adequately consult with the domestic industries. unfortunately on g.a.o.'s website, all of their recommendations to the department to increase the transparency of its uranium transfers remain unfulfilled. my amendment simply reinforces the existing obligation of the department to comply with the administrative procedures act.
like any other agency, they have a legal obligation to engage in reasoned decision making, not shadowed and arbitrary, uranium transactions. my amendment barely touches the legislative reforms needed to fix this broken program, but i want to thank chairman simpson for helping me at least identify a way to address this issue that might be suitable to the appropriations process. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. mr. simpson: mr. chairman. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? mr. simpson: withdraw my point of order and claim time in opposition although i'm not opposed to the amendment. the chair: withdrawn and without objection, the gentleman from idaho is recognized for five minutes. mr. simpson: for years our subcommittee has criticized the department of energy's use for its uranium transfer authorities. the department's relies on -- reliance on its uranium transfers to generate funds for cleanup has inappropriately circumvented the appropriations
process, has adversely impacted our domestic uranium mining and conversion industry and is now creating instability of funding at portsmith as the market price of uranium continues to drop. the amendment restates current law but sends a message to the department that it must cease relying on these offbudget measures and i am pleased to support the gentlelady's amendment and thank her for it and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from idaho yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from wyoming. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it, the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from connecticut seek recognition? ms. delauro: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by ms. delauro -- ms. delauro: i ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of the -- the chair: without objection, the amendment is considered as read. pursuant to house resolution 641, the gentlewoman from connecticut and a member
opposed each will control five minutes. the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. delauro: thank you. mr. speaker, i yield myself two minutes. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for two minutes. ms. delauro: my amendment would prohibit federal contracts issued by agencies under the jurisdiction of this bill from going to entities incorporated in bermuda and the caiman islands, the two nations most often abused as tax havens. this body's accepted similar provisions for the departments of defense, transportation and housing and urban development. as before, we should not spend taxpayer money on federal contracts that go to companies that have renounced their american citizenship in favor of an island tax haven. just this week "business week" wrote an article about the loopholes that long standing american companies like ingersol rand have been exploiting in order to enjoy lucrative government contracts while pretending to reside overseas for tax purposes.
these firms simply should not be allowed to pretend they are an american company when it comes time to get contracts. then claim to be an offshore company when the tax bill arrives. according to a recent study, 70% of fortune 500 companies used tax havens last year. they stashed nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, nearly 2/3 of which was hidden away by just 30 firms. of the companies who have established subsidiaries and tax haven, nearly 2/3 have registered, at least one in bermuda or the cayman islands. the profits these companies claim were earned in these two island nations in 2010 total over 1,600% of the country's entire yearly economic output. these companies take advantage of our education system, our research and development incentives, our skilled work force and our infrastructure, all supported by u.s. taxpayers. we have already acted on the
transportation-h.u.d. bill and defense. let us do the same for energy and water. let's support the firms that are staying at home and meeting their obligations and pass this amendment. . the chair: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from idaho seek recognition? mr. simpson: claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman from idaho is recognized for five minutes. mr. simpson: i rise to oppose this amendment. the financial services appropriation bill has carried language for years hi prohibits funding for any federal government contract with foreign incorporated entities which are treated as inverted domestic corporations. this language has been carried annually in the governmentwide general provisions sections of the financial services appropriation bill since approximately 2005 and is requested annually by the current administration. the changes which this amendment would propose to make could have significant consequences and really should be handled by the proper tax committees.
i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from idaho yields back the balance of his time of the the gentlewoman from connecticut is recognized. ms. delauro: the ranks of federal contractors with foreign addresses, and i'm quoting from an article that appeared in bloomberg this week, the ranks of federal contractors with foreign addresses were likely to grow this year as a new stampede of companies escape the u.s. tax system. escaped the u.s. tax system. these are qups who are taking their funds -- companies who are taking their funds bringing them to ireland, to the kaymans, bermuda because they do not want to pay their fair share of taxes in the united states of america. there isn't a citizen who can get away with that, but we are allowing these companies to do it. no only that because it is legal under our tax code, which has to be reformed, but my god that is going to take a month of sundays to get done. in the meantime they are
collecting millions and millions of dollars in federal contracts. we are rewarding these errant corporations who renounce their u.s. citizenship. they go offshore. take their money offshore. don't pay taxes so that we can do anything about education or biomedical research or any other areas that we have had to cut the budget on so that they can save their money and not pay any taxes. then we say, ok, the floodgates are opened, come and get a federal contract. it's wrong and we shouldn't -- we shouldn't do that. i'd like to yield time to my colleague from texas, mr. doggett. how much time is remaining? the chair: the gentlewoman has a minute and a half. ms. delauro: i relinquish the minute and a half to my colleague from texas. mr. doggett: i thank my colleague. i am pleased to join her in adding language of each time to
each appropriations bill that has thus far been approved in the house. i'm surprised there could be any opposition to it today. all this amendment is saying is if you renounce your citizenship and go abroad to avoid paying taxes, don't come with hands out stretched to ask the other taxpayers who stayed here and worked in america and who are proud to be american businesses and are paying their fair share, don't ask them to put their tax dollars in to providing you a contract -- government contract. it seems very apparent that some corporations are willing to do their fair share in paying for american security, energy and water projects, and other vital government services and some are not. there are a surrey of corporations who have decided they would keep their business operations in america, but they would suddenly renounce their american citizenship and become a citizen of one of these island
kingdoms. that is not the american approach of fairness in paying for the services that we need. and this amendment would put an end to that renunciation of citizenship and asking for taxpayer funded business. it is equitable, it is fair, we cannot have the resources that we need to remain the greatest nation on the -- in the world without having every american citizen contributing their fair share. most are. those who renounce their citizenship, and nominally declare they are now a foreign citizen and not subject to full american taxation, they are not carrying their fair share. i urge adoption of this amendment, equitable amendment, for fairness in our public policy. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from connecticut's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from
connecticut. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. ms. delauro: on that i ask a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from connecticut will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from iowa seek recognition? the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. king of iowa. at the end of the bill before the short title insert the following. section, none of the funds made available by this act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce the prevailing wage requirements of subchapter 4, title 41, of the ubs code. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 641, the gentleman from iowa and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa for five minutes. mr. king: thank you, mr. chairman. this is the amendment that strikes the funds that might be used to enforce the davis-bacon wage scale. that's a piece of legislation that passed here in this congress sometime about 1931.
it was designed to, i'll say, keep african-americans out of the labor force in new york as they were building federal buildings. it's a remnant of the jim crow law. it's the only remnant that remains, as near as i believe, of the jim crow laws. it comes down to this. when you have a relationship between two people and they agree to a wage scale, that's all that should be required here. instead, this federal minimum wage scale sets a union scale, it's not prevailing wage, it's union scale. i have dealt with davis-bacon wage scales all of my business life. i started construction company in 1974. we almost immediately had to deal with the federal government coming in and saying on this side of the road you shall pay your shovel operator this and on the other side of the road you shall pay him something that might be half again more than that. and the guy with the grease gun gets this, and the excavator gets that. the federal government
micromanaging and disrupting the efficiencies in our construction companies results in higher costs for our projects. we have maintained a series of records over the years what it costs additional when we are doing davis-bacon, federally mandated union-scale jobs and it runs between 8% and 35% in our company over these years. there's other data out there that's done, beacon hill has some, that shows a range in the end it boils down to a net effect of a 20% additional costs for davis-bacon wage scale. here we are with -- bleeding red inc. in the federal government -- red ink in the federal government and c.b.o. made a recommendation if we wanted to move toward balance, repeal of the davis-bacon act would be one of the things that would help us move in that direction. on this bill itself it appropriates $5,493,000,000 for civil works programs. all of that would fall under the davis-bacon mandated wage scale. and the department of interior bureau of reclamation propes $1
billion and $14 million. the total in this bill is $6.50p -$6.507 billion. if my amendment is enacted we'll' a saves of $1.7 billion. no one can claim to be a fiscal conservative if they think the federal government needs to inflate the cost of wages. supply and demand sets the cost of those wages. a reasonable pay scale is arrived at. i'm hearing people say we must bring in tens of millions of people to do work americans won't do. and pay them a mandated union scale? this is not settled by the prevailing wage. somebody will get up and say, no. it requires -- it's the brie veiling wage. they take a survey from contractors and find out what the prevailing wage is. then they work that out and the board makes a determination on what is actually the prevailing wage. it's simply not true in practice, mr. chairman. it's not true in practice. in practice, yeah, some advisors sit down. they decide whether people in different categories ought to have more money next year or
not. it's an arbitrary, subjective decision, it's not prevailing wage. now this law. i have been with this for a long time. i know that it costs taxpayers a lot of money. i don't think there's any way to actually find out how hard this number is that i tell you is 8% to 35%. beacon hill has a different umber of around -- mine is eight to 35. it averages out to about 20%. that does not include the inefficiencies that are wired into this. the inefficiencies come when you have labor that is competing for the highest paying jobs and doing times the most inefficient thing with the most inefficient machine because it pays the most money. it is a jim crow law. it needs to be eradicated. it was designed to lock african-americans out of the construction trade, particularly in new york. now it's a holy grail for union wages. i used to say for the gentleman from in massachusetts who was here at the time, he would say any time there it's a relationship between two or more
consenting adults, the federal government should not stick their nose into it. i would say i agree with that. there is no reason why i shouldn't be able to climb in my son's excavator and let him pay me $10 an hour or whatever we agree to, $15, $20, not the mandated wage scale. i urge adoption of my amendment that would eliminate the enforcement of davis-bacon wage scale on this bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from iowa yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from ohio seek recognition? ms. kaptur: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. kaptur: i rise in opposition to the king amendment. what's interesting to me is that the net effect of the king amendment would be to drive wages down. another republican amendment to not really show any respect for the workers of this country. are they all going to work for poverty wages? millions of our citizens still remain out of work. middle class is shrinking. here we have a member that
stands up and he wants to have lower wages. you know, the public wants congress to create middle class jobs and pay people what they are worth. the interesting thing about this amendment is that when you look back at all the studies that have been done. for instance, when president bush suspended davis-bacon wages during the hurricane katrina rebuilding efforts, construction costs went up due to the dramatic increase in the employment of unqualified workers. i'd like to say to the gentleman, and i know you're a handyman because you told me you are, that the people who work on these projects are iron workers, i defy anybody in this place to do that. i sti steve lynch did that work, about the only one that survived that. boilermakers, carpenters, operating engineers, electricians, laborers, sheet metal workers, cement masons, these people go up on those high
bridges, they risk their lives. they need training. and you know what? they deserve the wage they get under contract. under contract. not by happenchance, not by accident. i find it interesting that the gentleman offers this amendment because in your district since 1995 you have received $9 billion in federal subsidy. that goes to your farmers. i don't see the gentleman railing against the subsidies that come to your district. you get insurance, your farmers get insurance if they lose their crops. what does an ironworker get if he falls off high scaffolding in new york city or cleveland, ohio, or whatever? i think the gentleman is disingenuous, your state ranks second in the nation for agricultural subsidies. the federal government holds you up. davis-bacon simply says that when you go to work, the price
of what you're paid, your labor, is by contract. it's not by happenchance, it's not by accident. it's not by exploitation. in fact we know when better buildings are built, when safe bridges are built, there are no washouts under tunnels and bridges, that's a good thing. that's a good thing for america. i hold respect for the workers who want to work. who receive the training to work. who know how difficult the work s i'll tell you a story from my own district. we built one of the biggest bridges in ohio several years back. we lost iron workers and an operating engineer in that process. we signed every kind of safety agreement we could possibly sifpblete you know what happened? the construction company decided because there were at least two lanes, they would pit workers against one another to see who could finish the job fast enough. what happened was some of the
cranes were not secured at the base as they hung above the river and the construction company, which was supposed to be abiding by the law in all the safety standards, found a trick in order to save a couple pennies, and it cost lives of some of the finest workers in the country. i devoted months and months and months to making sure that there were good safety standards in place and they always find a way around it. this is dangerous work. . this is work that most people in this chamber never thought about, know what they did, know what the workers went through, handling public projects, underground, above ground, above water, it's unbelievable what these people do. go to other countries loorks at the dangerous scaffolding that exists in places like ukraine and you respect the trades of this country who have managed
to build apprenticeship and training programs so we don't lose lives needlessly. davis-bacon assures we have a middle class. we have a middle class standard. we have labor valued by contract, not by accident, not by happenstance, not by subsidy like the gentleman's district get, but by plain hard work. i couldn't be more in opposition to any amendment offered this afternoon and i think the gentleman must be misguided in what he's trying to do here. but i think it's important to have definable standards. i reserve the balance of my time. would be pleased to respond. the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the chair would ask members to address their comments to the chair and not to other members. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from iowa. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. ms. kaptur: mr. chairman, on that i would like to ask for a
recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from ohio will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from -- the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? ms. speier: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by ms. speier of california. at the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the following. section, none of the funds made available by this act may be used in contra invention of section 471 of title 41, united states code. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california. ms. speier: thank you, mr. chairman. i think we can all agree that we want the workers at our nuclear facilities to be proactive in reporting health and safety violations. seems pretty obvious. in california whistle employeers were key in pointing out crit -- whistle blowers were key in pointing out critical safety problems at a nuclear generating station. had these brave whistleblowers
not come forward, we could have had a fukushima-like meltdown right next to the marine corps' base at camp pendleton and within 50 miles of eight million americans. we need more whistleblowers, not less. that's why i was flabbergasted to learn that the department of energy has allowed its contractors to force their employees to sign a agreements not to disclose waste, fraud or abuse. the d.o.e.'s allowance of nondisclosure agreements has been the discussion of ongoing investigations which found that whistleblowers at the hampford plutonium processing plant in washington state were fired after raising safety concerns. not only does this violate basic principles of workplace safety, but it circumvents congress' constitutional duty to conduct oversight over governmental activities.
this is a pattern of abuse by contractors hiding outrageous crimes within their organizations. in 2005, an employee of a contracting company deployed to iraq was gang raped by her co-workers and was then prevented from going to court because her employment contract said that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration. another contract worker in iraq reported $80 million in fraud by the major defense contractor that employed him. and was terminated for blowing the whistle. the employer used the excuse that the employee had missed a conference. shockingly, the department of energy's actually subsidizing this type of illegal and unethical activity with taxpayer money. in many instances, d.o.e.'s picking up the legal tabs for these contractors, funding long legal battles against the very whistle blowers who have brafe
-- whistleblowers who have bravely come forward to protect public health and safety. the d.o.e. told me just this week that they have no intention of stopping these subsidies and that they would only seek reimbursement from the contractors if the whistleblower won in court. my amendment is simple. it makes clear that the department of energy must protect nonfederal employees from whistleblower retaliation. it is the workers on the front lines who are best suited to identify and expose misconduct, but contract workers are the most vulnerable to termination. the risk of career-ending retaliation is currently too great for most nonfederal employees to blow the whistle on their employer or contract manager. the d.o.e. must stop allowing its contractors to stifle whistleblowers through illegal workplace secrecy agreements and taxpayer funded lawsuits. mr. simpson: will the gentlelady yield? ms. speier: i certainly will. mr. simpson: we'd be happy to accept the gentlelady's amendment. ms. speier: and i'd be delighted to close, mr. chairman. the chair: the gentlewoman
closes. yields back the balance of her time? ms. speier: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. he amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma seek recognition? clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. lankford of oklahoma. at the end of the bill before the short title insert the following, section 508, none of the funds made available by this act may be used to prepare, propose or promulgate any regulation or guidance that references or relies on the analysis contained and technical support document, social cost of carbon for regulatory impact analysis, under executive order 12866, issued by the interagency working group on social cost
carbon, united states government, february, 2010. technical support document, technical update on the social cost of carbon for regulatory impact analysis under executive order 12866, issued by the interagency working group on social cost of carbon, united states government, may, 2013. technical support document, technical update on the social cost of carbon for regulatory impact analysis, under executive order 12866, issued by the interagency working group on social cost of carbon, united states government, revised november, 2013. or technical support document, technical update on the social cost of carbon for regulatory impact analysis under executive order 12866, published at 78 federal register 228, november 26, 2013. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 641, the gentleman from oklahoma and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the
gentleman from oklahoma. mr. lankford: thank you, mr. chairman. in 2010 the administration put together a working group to monetize the costs for a ton of carbon emissions used to cost-benefit analysis rulemaking undertaken by -- that this rulemaking would be used by all agencies in the federal government, then they reconvened this group again in 2013 to further increase what they called the social cost of carbon. they increased that amount by 50% in just three years. the process was done behind closed doors. was done without any public input. the administration refuses to release how much of their deliberations were done in public, how much were done in private, in of the details of their deliberations. they refused to release the way they used the scientific modeling or even how they -- who actually did the modeling for them. or even something as basic as the list of participants at the meeting even when it was discussed. months after releasing the report and only after sustained pressure, the administration relented, put the document and the numbers up for public
comment, in a procedure that is routine for all the rulemaking processes. but the administration has continued to use the calculations that they said they set aside. they use thosal clations for the recent e.p.a. rules increasing emissions by 30% for existing power plants by 2030. my amendment would prevent the department of energy from doing the same thing. this is a rule that that isen -- that has been set aside. it's a number that has not been agreed to and there was no public comment for they cannot change a regulatory number without any notice and comment, without any public input. this would prevent them from doing. that the doe rulemakings have the potential to raise the cost for everyday activities and purchases for all americans. with that i reserve the balance
of my time. the chair: the gentleman from oklahoma reserves the balance of his time. does any member seek recognition in opposition? the gentlewoman from ohio is recognized. ms. kaptur: yes. i -- the chair: for what purpose does does she seek recognition? the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes in opposition. ms. kaptur: mr. chairman, this amendment tells the department of energy to deny the latest climate change science. the amendment denies that carbon pollution is harmful and according to this amendment the cost of carbon pollution is zero. now, that's science denial at its woferts. you don't have to look too far -- worst. you don't have to look too far to discover the damage already caused by climate change. in fact, in the state that i live in, what used to be tennessee's ecosystem and climate zone is no more. it's been moved up. if you plant any seed in the ground, you look at the back of the packet, it's all been
changed. and we see very unusual weather patterns developing all across our nation and the world. now, we can't put our heads in the sand and deny reality. there is a reality out there. although there's a book written called "last child of the woods" and it talks about how most americans now don't spend enough time outdoors, a lot of them are afraid to be out there, so maybe there are a lot of people who spend their lives in air conditioned situations or well-heated situations and don't really look at what's happening to our ecosystem. in may our nation's leading climate scientists released the national climate assessment which confirmed that climate change is real, caused by humans, and already harming communities across america. the assessment explains that scientific evidence is, and i quote, unequivocal. this amendment tells the department to ignore these scientific findings. the latest science shows that climate change is expected to exacerbate heat waves, has
anybody noticed the eratic nature of what's happening in the places where you live? droughts, i heard senator feinstein say the other day, california is becoming a desert state. interesting statement. wildfires, who can deny those? diseases water-borne which will pose greater risk to human health, to animal life and any living creatures around us. it's interesting to me that in my own state the pork industry is undergoing an incredible implosion because of something that is infecting the hog populations and they are being lost not by the tens or the hundreds or the thousands but the millions. there's something wrong. wheat and corn yields are already experiencing negative impact due to climate change and after 2050 the risk of overall decline in crop yields increases substantially. federal agencies have a responsibility to calculate the costs of climate change and take them into account.
unfortunately what this amendment would require is that the government assume zero harm and zero cost from carbon pollution and climate change. the truth is that unchecked climate change would have catastrophic economic impacts here in the united states and across the globe. those who are less fortunate will bear the heaviest burdens. and i urge my colleagues to reject this amendment. don't be a science denier, pretending that climate change doesn't exist won't make it go away. maybe every single member of this chamber should have to enroll in some stem classes so that science and technology and engineering and math are a part of our d.n.a. and it might be easier to really evaluate the world around us. with more objectivity. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman from ohio reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from oklahoma is recognized. mr. lankford: i would be glad for the members of this body to
enroll in a science class. i'd also be glad for the members of this body to enroll in a world history class. and possibly look at the history of the earth. you realize there were glacers in ohio centuries ago? if we're talking about weather today, we're talking about a different topic. we're talking about an administration not following the administrative procedures act. now, if this is about an administration saying they can change rules as they choose to, i look forward to seeing that same standard being applied to republican presidents in the days ahead. but when an administration can change a rule without notice and comment and shift the social cost of carbon by 50% in a three-year time period, without following the rule, without following the law, so much so that when we addressed it in a hearing they admitted it, set the rule aside and then
the e.p.a. chose to use it anyway, we're not talking about whether anymore. we're suddenly -- weather anymore. we're studly talking about the rule of law -- studly talking about the rule of law -- suddenly talking about the rule of law. this is not an area where we had disagreement on in the committee because it was clear the administration did not follow the rule of law. this is a simple statement. it's not a statement about climate change, it's not a statement about a future ice age or a future flood. it's a statement about do we choose to follow the law or not? . if someone wants to arling we shouldn't follow the administrative procedures act, i look forward to the day we set the entire thing aside and have the administration do whatever they want to. i hope that day does not occur. we do follow the rule of law and require the administration to do the same. with that i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. ms. kaptur: may i inquire of the chair the time remaining on both sides? the chair: you have 1 1/2
minutes. and the gentleman from oklahoma has one minute. ms. kaptur: in closing, let me say federal agencies have a responsibility to calculate the cost of climate change and take them into account. this amendment would tell the department to ignore those impacts and that in my judgment is irresponsible. the administration is using common sense and that was a clear message from the government accountability office when it added climate change to its high-risk list. that's exactly what the obama administration is doing. an interagency task force worked over the last years to estimate the cost of harm from carbon pollution. the cost cal clue lation was first issued in 2010 and refined and updated calculation was published last year. it incorporated updated, scientific, and technical information, and it was a very conservative calculation. and the full cost of clay mat change are almost certainly going to be significantly higher. it is better -- climate change are almost certainly going to be significantly higher. but it is better than assuming the costs are zeer roy.
i -- zero. don't be a science denier. let's not pretend climate change doesn't exist. that won't make it go away. let's behave as though we care about future generations and doing our very best to meet the challenges of the current area. i yield back my remaining time. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from oklahoma. mr. lankford: thank you, mr. chairman. i assure i have great care for future generations as i do this generation as i do the u.s. constitution. the no administration can ignore the administrative procedures act, changed capriciously by 50%, and say i have new science so i'm going to go into a room, literally not publish who was in the room, not take any public comment, not even disclose what the memos were or all the models that were used in the discussion, but just say, i'm going to change this by 50% because there's been updates.
so everyone's costs just went up dramatically. that's not the way we work things in america. this is not about science. this is about law. this is the first time i ever heard anyone, mr. chairman, discuss the loss of piglets connected to weather as has been discussed on the floor today, which has been a virus that spread across the entire united states. this is not about piglets. this is not about weather. this is just law. with that i encourage the passage of this amendment. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. all time having expired on the amendment, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment -- ms. kaptur: on that we ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from oklahoma will be postponed.
for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? ms. kaptur: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for five minute. ms. kaptur: i wonder if the chairman would be willing to engage in a brief colloquy regarding transparency and accountability regarding transmission and capacity market changes imposed by the federal energy regulatory commission mr. simpson: i would be happy to join the gentlelady in a colloquy. ms. kaptur: i now yield to the gentleman from new york. >> i'd like to thank the chairman and ranking member for working with me on this issue. in january, the federal energy regulatory commission, known as ferc, approved a proposal by the new york independent system operator to create a new
capacity zone in the hudson valley. the committee report accompanying the fiscal year 2015 energy and water appropriation bill acknowledges that zones like this one may result in increases in consumer energy costs. in the case of the hudson valley, this new zone would impose an unprecedented $230 million increase in energy costs in our region in just the first year, and nearly $500 million in increased costs over a three-year period. mr. maloney: initial estimates suggest that customers throughout the hudson valley could see their utility bills go up by 3% to 10%. now, not only did ferc approve this new zone, but they have completely disregarded ratepayers and local officials in this decision. they have consistently ignored local stakeholders, warnings that this zone will arbitrarily hurt families and businesses. moreover, they have failed to demonstrate that the zone would even aggrieve the result that
they are seeking. ferc has also failed to take into account a wide range of ongoing investments that will facilitate the movement of energy in new york state and which may reduce or eliminate the need for such high capacity payments. would the chairman and ranking member agree it is the intent of the report language to ensure that ferc re-examines and reforms the way they conduct this type of decisionmaking so that the proceedings ensure the commissioners hear and consider the concerns of local ratepayers. mr. simpson: i would agree that that is the intent. ms. kaptur: i also agree. mr. maloney: i want to thank the chairman and ranking member. would you also be committed to continue working with me during the fiscal year 2015 to ensure ferc makes reforms to ensure the views of residents, local and state officials, regulators and business leaders, are taken into account when ferc makes these major decision. mr. simpson: i agree to do so
and i believe the gentlelady from ohio would agree to do so. ms. kaptur: i would and i yield back my time. the chair: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana rise? >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. -- clerk: the chair: could the gentleman specify which amendment? mr. cassidy: amendment number one, regarding life stikele greenhouse gas emissions. number 91. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. cassidy of louisiana. at the end of the bill, before the short title, insert the following, section, none of the funds made available by this act may be used by the department of energy to apply the report entitled, lifecycle greenhouse gas perspective on exporting liquefies natural gas from the united states. published in the federal register on june 4, 2014, 79 federal regulation 32260 in any
public interest, determination under section 3 of the natural gas act, 15 united states code, 7171-b. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 641, the gentleman from louisiana, and a member posed, will each control five minutes. the gentleman is recognized -- chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. cassidy: mr. chairman, the united states is the largest producer of natural gas in the world and has a large and growing natural gas reserve base. the energy information administration estimates a proven and unproven reserves of natural gas are large enough to fuel america for over 90 years at current consumption rates. and more is being found. a study sponsored by the u.s. chamber of commerce and published by i.h.s., concluded that the unconventional gas development supported over $900,000 jobs in recent years.
the u.s. department of energy, however, recently changed the process in which it reviews and approves liquefies natural gas export projects to nonfree trade agreement countries. d.o.e. is release agnew report that explores the lifecycle greenhouse gas effects, according to d.o.e. the report will be used to, quote, inform its endigses, end quote, regarding greenhouse gas emissions of u.s. l.n.g. exports, for use of power generation in europe and asia, with this new report d.o.e. is compromising with intervening environmental groups who want the criteria and scope of the quote public interest, to include lifecycle greenhouse gas emission impacts. while d.o.e. claims that impacts are not reasonably foreseeable at this time, by acknowledging special interest environmental group requests for expanded cope g review, beyond the l and
facility, -- l.n.g. opens the door. they already go through extensive environmental impact analysis during the project. the national environmental olicy act, or the nepa review, -- this new report adds another layer of legal risk and uncertainty to an already extensive and difficult process. the u.s. chamber of commerce supports the cassidy-fleming amendment and notes that d.o.e.'s sole jurisdiction lies in considering the public interest of exporting the commodity and should not waste funds potentially delaying license application review in an effort beyond its jurisdiction. the cassidy-fleming amendment prohibits the d.o.e. from applying it's report on the perceived impact on the l.n.g. public interest determination process. i urge my colleagues to support
this amendment. i yield two minutes to my colleague from louisiana, dr. fleming. mr. fleming: i thank my good friend, also from louisiana. mr. caddy. i do support the cassidy-fleming amendment. mr. chairman, the president has bragged about the increase in energy production during his tenure as president of the united states. however what we have actually found is there's been a 15% decline in energy production on federal lands and offshore where he is in control. on the other hand, in the private sector, we have had a veritable explosion in production, if you don't mind me using that determine, and so what is that reflective of? it's reflective of the miracle that is fracking that is going on in the u.s. today. one of the centers of that is a hazel shale in my district where
we have produced an abundance of natural gas. we used to have to import it from other countries. today we have such a glut that we capped many of the wells. now, natural gas is the cleanest carbon-based energy. so while we are taking down coal, why aren't we increases production of natural gas? in doing so, why not supply to the rest of the world because the air we breathe in the united states is the same air they breathe in china, in russia, and vice versa. so i support this amendment. let's stop throwing monkey wrenches into the machinery of natural gas production and energy production in general. let's get the cost of energy down for americans. and let's stop this nonsense. this hyper regulatory atmosphere we have. despite the president's claim, it is american ingenuity, it is innovation by americans, specifically tracking technology
and -- fracking technology and horizontal drilling, has brought about this wonderful miracle we have. let's get both sides of the aisle onboard with this and stop messing around with our technology and let's get onboard. this is going to be the first l.n.g. export facility, that is lake charles just below my district in congressman boustany's district, that we are going to be supplying the rest of the world with natural gas which is, as i say, has half the carbon footprint with coal. with that i yield back to my friend. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. waxman: i rise in opposition and seek time in opposition to this amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. whackman: when a company wants to -- mr. waxman: when a company wants to export liquefies natural gas, it has to split an application with the department of energy. for the exnorth countries with a free trade agreement with the u.s., d.o.e. must grant the application without delay.
for exports to countries without a free trade agreement, d.o.e. has to approve an application unless it finds that the proposed export will not be consistent with the public interest. to make this determination d.o.e. evaluates a range of factors. they look at the economic impacts. the international considerations. u.s. energy security and environmental effects. mr. cassidy's amendment would prohibit d.o.e. from even considering one of the most important factors, the impact of l.n.g. exports on climate change. i don't understand why we would do that. the world's leading scientists are unequivocal. climate change is already happening on all continents and across the oceans and it's going to get much worse if we don't cut our emissions in carbon and
other greenhouse gases. so that would mean that we need to scrutinize the energy infrastructure decisions that we make today for their impact on climate change in the future. every decision to build a new l.n.g. export terminal has climate implications. . whether exporting l.n.g. will have a positive or negative on global greenhouse gas emissions is complex but it's a critical question. atural gascon sumpings for electricity e-- natural gas consumption for electricity, this will displace coal consumption in these other countries the way it's happening here in the united states, and that would produce a climate benefit. but other l.n.g. exports will
raise natural gas prices in the united states. which could increase the coal use here in the united states. and carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. so on the one hand it helps and the other hand it might hurt. l.n.g. exports would also drive new domestic natural gas production in the u.s. now, that could increase emissions of methane. that's a potent greenhouse gas. unless we take measures to control that pollution at the wellhead and throughout the natural gas system. if we're going to live in a carbon-constrained world, we need to understand and consider the climate impacts of key energy policy decisions. such as building a new l.n.g. export terminal and exporting america's natural gas. takes a dy's amendment
head in the sand approach. d.o.e. shouldn't look at this. d.o.e. of shouldn't look at the life cycle of carbon emissions from l.n.g. this amendment says that d.o.e. can't even consider those findings for any future studies of climate impacts when making a public interest determination. if you're going to have the consequences of climate change, shouldn't we know about it if we're going to say that a particular application is or is not in the public interest? considering climate impacts is not going to slow down the review process. nobody's made that argument. it makes no sense to require d.o.e. to make a determination without the benefit of all the facts. ignoring climate change will not make it go away. quite the opposite. so i'm urging my colleagues to oppose this amendment. it's a shortsighted amendment. d.o.e. has to make a determination, in those cases
where it's before them on what is the public interest. they have to look at the economic impacts. they have to look at international consideration. they have to look at u.s. energy security and environmental effects. why should we say they should look at everything else but not look at the environmental effect if it deals with climate change? it's a mystery to me why we would want to do something like this. now, mr. cassidy made an argument that that's not within the jurisdiction of d.o.e. well, we know d.o.e. could look at energy security, but the economic impacts, they're going to have to look to other agencies of the government to help them with that one. international considerations, they'll probably want the state departments and others to help them with that one. so don't limit d.o.e. and take away their jurisdiction after
what they make is in the public interest because it's in the public interest -- the chair: all time having expired, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. cass dough: record -- mr. cassidy: recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana will e postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. mcnerney of california. at the end of the bill before the short title insert the following -- section. none of the funds made available in this act may be used for the bay-delta
conservation plan. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 641, the gentleman from california, mr. mcnerney, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california for five minutes. mr. mcnerney: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to submit the statements from my colleague, mike thompson, doris matsui on my amendment for the record. the chair: the request is covered by general rule. mr. mcnerney: mr. chairman, california,-like most of the west and midwest is suffering and enduring a devastating drought. this is impacting the livelihoods of our families, our farmers, our small businesses throughout the state. california produces about half of the nation's fruits, vegetables, nuts. in other words, california feeds the rest of the country. california's governor wants to move forward with something called the bay-delta conservation plan, or the bdcp, which will build two massive tunnels from one part of the
state to the other. i agree with every californian that we need long-term statewide solutions to our state's water needs, and there needs to be some level of predictability for our families, farmers and small businesses about our water supply. to do that we need to focus on conservation, recycling, reuse and storage. the bdcp does none of these things. california voters and the state legislature have not agreed whether or not to fund this project, which is expected to cost $25 billion, a cost that keeps rising. the project is still in the draft stage. right now the plan is already more than 30,000 pages and final comments aren't even due until the end of july. according to the plan, the federal government is expected to contribute $4 billion. anyone who follows california water knows it's an emotional issue, one the state has been debating for decades.
but the bdcp is not based on sound science. for example, the delta independent science board issued a report this year that said, quote, we find the science in this bdcp falls short of what the project requires. many of the impact assessments hinge on overly optimistic expectations about the feasibility, effectiveness or timing of the proposed conservation actions, especially habitat restoration, end quote. the science board goes on to say, quote, the analysis largely neglect the influences of levee failures, environmental effects of increased water for agriculture, end quote. i want to thank the chairman for making this -- and the ranking member for making time for me to discuss this important issue today, and i hope in the future we can look at this type of funding from
the federal government. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to withdraw this amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: without objection. the gentleman yields back. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, proceedings will now resume on those amendments on which further proceedings were postponed in the following order -- amendment by mr. mcclintock of california. ms. bonamici from oregon. ms. speier from california. ms. tithe -- amendment number 15, ms. titus from nevada. amendment, mr. schiff of california. an amendment by mr. quigley of illinois. amendment by mr. chabot of ohio. amendment number 14 by ms. titus of nevada. amendment by ms. delauro of
connecticut. amendment by mr. king of iowa. an amendment by mr. lankford of oklahoma. an amendment by mr. cassidy of louisiana. the chair will reduce to two minutes the time for any electronic vote after the first vote in the series. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california, mr. mcclintock, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. mcclintock of california. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise nd be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes y electronic device. and this will be a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by