Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 8, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EST

9:00 am
think i don't want federal money for route 95. i think that's a terrible thing. i don't want route 95 through my state. imagine what the citizens of pennsylvania would have said today. and it literally, that is what's going on with respect to 21st technologies that are critical not just to the states they run through, but to our future as a 21st century manufacturing power or not. >> mr. andrews. >> thank you. i'd like to thank the witnesses for really compelling testimony this afternoon. thank you very much. and, mayor, i have to disagree with you on one thing. you said that there is no democratic or republican way to fill a pothole? >> i've been around here long enough that when they're here, i think the republicans would say, well, wait, we'll do tax cuts, and the potholes will get filled magically somehow when that happens. that's their answer to everything. [laughter] i wanted to go beyond the infrastructure discussion which
9:01 am
i think you collectively have made a compelling case that we ought to do and to reflect on what governor o'malley and we talked about earlier, you know, for a $600 million annual investment we could renew the build america bonds, do all the good things done with that in infrastructure, and we're spending $4 billion a year in subsidies to the oil companies. want to talk about how to pay for it. but, mayor, there's some other aspects of the majority's budget cuts which i think would reflect on jobs in the city of philadelphia not just in government. i know that one of the largest employers, if not the largest employer in the region you and i live in is the university of pennsylvania. >> yes. >> and one of the major things the university of pennsylvania does is health care research, medical research, maybe among the best in the world. ..
9:02 am
>> they continue to grow. they continued to bill. they teach young people into the region. we have 101 colleges and universities in the tri-state area. we are one of the most
9:03 am
post-secondary rich regions in the united states of america. so from an employment standpoint, from a tax revenue standpoint, from the research at the university of pennsylvania i believe is certainly in the top five, possibly in the nation in terms of nih grants. and we have a few others that are pretty big in the region as well. doing good work, finding solutions to help the challenges that many americans face. so again, you know, look, i'm just the mayor of philadelphia. i do not understand some of these concepts. and whether it's we're going to stop spending, reduce the size of our government, tax cuts, et cetera, i do not understand how this leads to the 15, 16, 18 million americans getting jobs. >> the conclusion here is a would have a devastating impact on a city like philadelphia and many others across the united states of america.
9:04 am
>> and i think it does do mr. gresser's point, too. we to look across the pond, that the impact that these kind of draconian reckless and poorly thought-out text -- tax cuts, it's impaired and destroy jobs for middle-class workers in that country. let's not repeat that mistake your. thank you very much. >> mr. scott. >> thank you. it, too, want to thank all of our witnesses for their testimony. it's been very interesting and very helpful. ms. monteverde, i want to thank you for your work with the ports. we have one, we have several ports in virginia. port of hampton roads, richmond, and we do great work. and you mentioned business, if you add -- time is money, so if you come off the ship and you
9:05 am
want to truck your products and you're stuck in traffic for a long time, that will increase the costs. is there a limit to what costs can be passed off and things like agriculture? is there a point we just lose the business and can pass on the cost? >> agriculture especially is very price sensitive. and a lot of -- at any can make a difference. and so it really depends on the product that many other products that we are great at exporting, really can be hurt by slow downs. and so it's really vital that especially come as i said before we don't want a situation where folks are sending cargo back through candidate and was going to lose a lot of maritime jobs. it's a big issue on the west coast. several years ago canada has a freight policy as a cover. they decide to invest on the east and west coast. they created a whole new port which is just eating lunch of a lot of the west coast ports. and if it's cheaper, and i was
9:06 am
at a hearing recently were caterpillar said look, we're going to send part of our cargo up to canada since it's not as congested. this is a huge problem if we don't make our investments, we're going to lose u.s. maritime jobs, which you've heard before, are some of the best paying jobs and they are very much in urban areas to really have a lot of unemployment. so we don't want to have a situation where we are shortchanging ourselves just because we get make some decisions or can't make these investments a priority. >> thank you. one of our challenge is to try to get the most jobs with the least money, and you've talked about infrastructure, creating a lot of jobs, the construction area, construction industry is one where there's very high unemployment. you can't outsource the jobs. they have to be done here. and we've heard, mr. buckner,
9:07 am
about the more competitive bids this year. people are getting. can you quantify that? >> i have -- certainly there is a lot of, states have found that the bids are coming and way below the engineering estimate, what had been budgeted. just a recovery act projects, back in february all of the recovery act highway funds had to have been obligated, and there were 12,300 projects for which funds have been obligated. as those projects were going to be it, and as the money was being released from projects that were overfunded, at the end of december 2010, there were 12,931 projects being funded. so just with recovery act money, money that was saved from projects that had already been obligated and bid, 600 additional projects, which is a
9:08 am
little bit more than 10 projects of state. so that's just one piece of evidence that the contractors are, you know, getting the best deals. states have been able to get for quite a long time. >> what school was did, about 75% of engineering estimate, are using bids come in at that range? >> i can't say that's entirely typical, but certainly almost every state is seeing bids coming in less than a had anticipated. >> and the squeezing isn't -- you need the same number of people doing the work. so you are squeezing overhead and not the number of jobs, is that right the? >> i believe so. >> mr. mayor, can you tell me what happens to a city when you have high unemployment? >> well, the first impact, of course, is you're going to have less revenue. you have less people working.
9:09 am
that's both for the city government as well as the private sector, because fewer people working are of course spending less. they have cut back. they are buying fewer goods. that means i'm losing sales tax. businesses are losing business. they didn't, because of lack of business, start to lay people off themselves. that's contributing to the problem. that's more people are not paying taxes because they are not working. and it starts really a bit of a spiral, downward. in the meantime, i have 2575 miles of street in the city of philadelphia. they still need to be repaired. we've had a number of snowstorms. we are already beyond half of the snow that we got this past winter, we still have too much to go. i still have to pull out all the street. i still have to pick up all the trash. i still have to fill potholes, provides police office, et
9:10 am
cetera, et cetera. that crunches the budget. i had to -- as a result of unemployment nearing 12%. at the height of this, we are now down to 11.6. we are nowhere near 2011, 2010 when it was when i came into office in january 20 -- 2008. the world has changed. >> can you say a word about the social pathology? what happens to crime and welfare? >> on the one hand, our numbers in 2010 from a pure public safety standpoint are pretty much even with where they were in 2009. from a violent crime standpoint. we have seen come and i think this is a phenomenon across the country, seen an uptick in robberies, burglaries, and those kinds of incidents. not a social scientist and i'm not a police officer, but i do know how to read and i've been around for a little while. we believe it is some connection
9:11 am
in terms of that kind of activity, and high levels of unemployment. but beyond that it is debilitating to the spirit of people in our cities, and then i will go back to what i said earlier, did you see months and months of debate about unemployment, insurance, where are the jobs. i said on a couple of gay and, i've been in a situation where i announced at 10:00 in the morning a project where to arra funds which i could not use any for budget deficit, 10:00 and when am announcing a new program with a r. i a funny. at 2:00 and yet and i'm announcing it cut back and progress because of lack of city resources. literally in the same days i had to do that. so it is confusing to the public to understand you're getting all this money, but yet you're cutting our services and i can't get a job. so it has -- people are tired. they are tired of what's been
9:12 am
going on. they are tired of not having a job. they're tired of not having health care. they are tired of mayors and governors all across the country, but especially mayors who cut services, programs and raise taxes. we are wearing people out. with this current environment. so it has its direct impact on the spirit and you know kind of where people are. they are worn out from this recession. they want us to do something about it at the local, state and federal levels. >> mr. ruppersberger. >> first, the panel ,-comcome you have been great with the governor's testimony. it's almost a no-brainer. we need to invest in infrastructure. we need to invest in infrastructure surface transportation equipped to deal with a portrait if we don't, it's going to hurt america. and again, i'm very disturbed with some of the comments that were made about where some of our new members, or maybe existing members are just talking about just cutting for
9:13 am
the sake of cutting. the election is over. the rhetoric is over. it's time to lead. right now just based on his testimony we need to get the message. the congresswoman delauro was right. we just can't do it here. it has to be you all working as a teen. let me give you a suggestion to things that can happen. the fact that the afl-cio and the chamber of commerce are working together on this issue gives you all a lot of power and the ability to influence those decision makers that just want to come in and cut for the sake of cutting because it might look good politically. those days are over. the election is over. and i would ask you first, mr. silvers, if you would have a dialogue or if you're having dialogue dialogue about how important the investment in infrastructure -- you can cut all day long but if you have to invest to grow. it's a matter of prioritizing. we have to be -- that many programs out there we can't afford and we don't realize that, either party, then the deficit will continue and that will make us weaker. but we will grow in a positive way if we do this the right way.
9:14 am
had had conversations with the chamber about this? >> present trunk of the afl-cio has spoken to the gym on several occasions last week when they were together in switzerland about, a dialogue that let -- that led to a joint statement. i can tell you that i have every reason to believe the chamber is as committed as we are to the importance of getting infrastructure funding up and moving both our countries future and for jobs. in terms of how committed we are, the reason that i am here and at present trunk it is not a because present trunk it is discussing what we're going to do to support president obama's infrastructure program and jobs program. we see the fight for jobs and the fight for america's future in the way, that is outline an exit of this panel outlined. as the central national policy
9:15 am
issue of the coming year, but much longer-term the net. and it's unfortunately i think as you've indicated, completely intertwined with this question of whether we're going to engage in a truly self-destructive out of fiscal austerity. there is simply no way to invest in america's future and dismantle our government at the same time. >> from the port point of view i think one of the main issues, dredging is clear in issue. we are two groups that have had good history in the past might get together and that's the environmental community and the porch talking about dredging. the issue this dredging, a lot of it, where do the spoils go? somehow we have to educate people for the ports are such an economic engine, how important it is to where we stand in the world and creating jobs, but also that we need to do it the right way and bring the army corps of engineers into play. i know time is short, i served
9:16 am
in local government for 17 years. i know where you are but, you know, how to get things done if you have the right people in the right place. congresswoman delauro and our country and anti--- when we were talking about the stimulus and having testimony, one of the main problems that occurred is that with the money, we finally get that money out but we found that most jurisdictions were not ready. they were not ready. i think it's incumbent upon the mayors and governors to really come together. i can tell you from being a member here i want to put money out there but you don't want to put money out there and let you know what it's going, it's going to be managed and spent my. a lot of problems we have with these cost issues is we haven't managed a money grab. i think it's very important, they call it shovel-ready. if there's a need to got to get your -- that's where the civil engineers, business committee can come together to help you make a plan, have a plan. finally, with congresswoman --
9:17 am
oxman edwards talked about not have a plan built year here by year. its first grade arithmetic. basically you have got to have a plan. anybody who is donating in business, some of our friends on the other side talking about, you got to the basic of business, you have to invest, you have to invest to move forward and have a plan and have a business plan. to coming here and just slashed 5% and no rationale or review doesn't make any sense. it's incumbent upon you all your we can only do a certain amount. if you want to influence the other side, it's important you come together, republicans, democrats, labor, chamber of commerce to make this happen. yes, that's it for me. >> congressman, i will suddenly do my part both in philadelphia and working with the u.s. conference of mayors and other mayors organizations. and as you pointed out, afl-cio
9:18 am
and the u.s. chamber our meeting together, certainly i meet with the chamber back home, but i think, i have been thinking about this that u.s. conference maybe should reach out to the governors association to see see if we can get more dialogue and partnership going. we've had a significant change in party in terms of the number of governors across america, this notion that somehow i'm not going to take federal funds because you said, the campaign is over. it's time for governing. all of us took an oath and have an obligation to get things done. that's why we are here. >> it's about the future of america. >> i will take it back to the conference. >> let me talk a second about your comment about reaching out to environmental communities. we have some great stories to tell based from california, and reviews of those models throughout the united states. we have been reaching out in the last two years to the environmental community to talk to them about when you do a lot
9:19 am
of dredging projects, as you know coming from baltimore, most dredging projects will not be done in the united states in less than a significant environmental component to it. in order to restore wetlands and some other activities. in order to get a dredging project through you do have to add some different environmental component which all of our members tend to do. we are reaching out. we had a meeting over the summer with folks and we had people from the ocean conservancy come to our convention and went on to their meeting. we are doing that and using some of the california models on port develop it and reaching out and having cooperative agreements with some of the environmental community. but our work is just starting in that area. >> thank you. the speaker, the leader will make a final comment. but let me just say, a real thank you to all of you for being here today for what you're doing individually to address
9:20 am
the problem. we are clearly here because we know the imperative of creating jobs. the president did talk about it and educate and innovate and build to create. this is the building portion of what we are talking about here today. and all of you, including governor o'malley, talking about what this investment in infrastructure means for middle-class jobs, what it means for the prosperity of our country. and we talk about individual pieces, how we leverage dollars that build america bonds, what we're doing for for our ports. the broad diversity of this infrastructure that we have to focus our time and our attention and our resources around. and it's about for the future not the past, about a national growth strategy of which infrastructure is at its core
9:21 am
and at its center. if we're going to create jobs, not just for now, for the future and turn this economy around. so we are very, very grateful for your comments, your innovation and your africa and i thank you on behalf of of congressman miller who is co-chair of the steering and policy committee come and our members for being here today. madam leader. >> thank you very much. thanks again for bringing us together. i thank our colleagues for taking the time to coming back to washington for those who came back and those who are here. thank you for being with us today. as i listened to the testimony, which is all excellent and we thank you, not only for your testimony but for your leadership, mr. herrmann, i hope you'll tell the society of civil engineers have grateful we are to them for over the years instructing us about the challenges that we face. that it is not just in roads and bridges, et cetera come it's about the water we drink.
9:22 am
we have learned to me that some of our water systems are made of wood and brick. we really have health reasons why we must do all of this. so thank you, and thank you for your statement for the infrastructure and -- mr. baca, your facts and figures are so compelling. i just want to walk out of the room and say this is something so obvious, so self-evident that we must do it. i hope we can continue to have you as a resource as we go forward. ms. monteverde, i think you can hear from what our colleague and/or other colleague, cedric richmond, coming from louisiana led the way on this, about the ports. when you think of ports, i was in baltimore original to san francisco now. we take pride in our port and our environmental dredging collaboration their, but it's not. it's about the whole country.
9:23 am
it's about product to market. and as you mentioned, mr. richman, it's about the mississippi river and all that agriculture product and everything else coming down the river, much of which is perishable where time is important. when people are viewing this hearing they have to know it's not just about the ports and the port cities. it's about what it means to the economies across america, to the great midwest as well. and the fact that the harbor maintenance trust fund, many do not realize, i could realize that our harbor maintenance trust fund which money is collected for the purpose of maintaining the harbors was partially done for that purpose and part of it return to the general fund. i don't think that's a partisan issue to get that money to be used for the purpose it was represented to be used for. mr. silvers talked about, well,
9:24 am
and many of you did, about the reauthorization, about the reauthorization bill. long overdue about the aviation bill which was a job creator which we should deal with, the harbor maintenance fund, making a correction there. infrastructure developer, bank, all of these things. we can make an argument about each one of them which is very compelling that they create jobs, that they are necessary to building the future to out educate, out innovate and out built. the mayor, he was so comprehensive and how you brought it together and your leadership is really very patriotic. because our country, when thomas jefferson was president of the united states, and this is the problem of a federal involvement of this, the founding -- of the founding of our country thomas jefferson when he was president, he talked about the projects. he instructed his secretary of trade have infrastructure agenda
9:25 am
for america, as america grew with louisiana purchase and the lewis and clark expedition, taught us more about our country, this is about the canal and other infrastructure initiatives that followed in time would follow that growth. it was a major undertaking. it was a decision of our country. it was about talking about don't have, and we have this or do we have that. it's about do we decide that growth is important for jobs. growth is important for deficit reduction. we have to talk about announcing a budget with growth, not just talk about cuts, et cetera. 100 years later in honor of the centennial of the gallatin project, teddy roosevelt had his initiative for building infrastructure of america, largely centered around establishing the national park service. and that green aspect of american, and it was a great
9:26 am
thing for our country, has been. 100 just later, 2000, and this would be about what, eight? 100th anniversary of the national park service, nothing happened. so it has to happen. we are a couple years behind because we couldn't get the previous administration ready for such a grand vision for our country. but if we are going to get all the particulars we talk about now, and has asked governor o'malley earlier, the people of your state ready for some of these decisions that have to be made, we have to talk at the high ground about what this means for the future of our country, not just about finding common ground about the particulars of this. so as long as we take the debate to a vision, to a big winning the future as our president obama has said, i think we have a chance to get the bank, the build america bonds, the funding
9:27 am
that we need to go forward your the best biggest manifestation in this century, our since teddy roosevelt of course was interstate highway system that president eisenhower. the time of not a good economy, made a decision about the security of our country. it's about connecting america, and it created jobs. it moved commerce. it did so many things, but we have to do what we have to do at this time. so we give people hope so that they have jobs, and if they don't have a job they might, crime rate michael a. if they have jobs their children will have a better chance and have more hope and the rest. because mayors come as you know at the comforts of mayors, the first proposal you handed me wasn't stronger families, stronger cities, stronger
9:28 am
families, stronger america. and that applies to our state and county, et cetera as well. so the leadership on the private side. on the public site. your private sector experience has served your city will. it can't be done, and thomas jefferson knew, had to be public-private partnerships. even that long ago. so the role of the public -- the private sector is very, very important, and we have to have some investment. investment. as mr. hammond is there's not enough appropriated dollars in the world to ever address the infrastructure needs, the deficit needs that we have. but with sophisticated, underfunding of banks, bonding, with the public-private partnerships, we really have a running start on it. this is about our patriotism, about how we decide for the future. there isn't one partisan aspect of this.
9:29 am
it's supported with a chamber of commerce and our friends in labor. it's what people want, jobs and a better future. it recognizes that if we're going to do this in the best possible way we have to educate our people. so we have the skills and the talent, and we have to prevail. and all these jobs, whether it's water systems or bridges or highways or mass transit or whatever it is to protect our environment, our made in america. so it's in keeping with our thing up naked in america. it's in keeping with our standard of does it strengthen the middle class. doesn't reduce the deficit. so hopefully this will not have any bipartisanship to a. it's a question of how we get from here today. but i think in order to prevail on some of the finer points we're going to have to talk about it in a big way. and we look forward to continuing that conversation to
9:30 am
can help you all will continue the intellectual resources to us in that way. and we're very honored by your presence. i know having been raised, the demand on your time. so that's why we are honored what you are all here. we know that you have to get back. if we were in china, when i was there, and i -- when we were in china, it would take a 29 and a half minutes to get from washington. we went to beijing and when we landed, the train and i was speaker, 29 and a half minutes. and that would be maybe a little bit longer distance from beijing, 29 and a half minutes. cars off the road. quality of life proved by not being in cars and all the rest. [inaudible] >> you would be here so much more often in 29 and a half minutes. that it's over be a great thing. thank you all very much.
9:31 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> in a few moments the head of the federal communications commission unexpended broadband service to rural areas.
9:32 am
>> up next fcc chairman julius genachowski on a plan to promote broadband expansion to rural areas by redirecting a federal subsidy now used to support funded service. he spoke in washington for a half hour about the fcc's national broadband plan and priorities for this year. >> last year the fcc released
9:33 am
america's first national broadband plan. the plan identified broadband, high speed internet, as vital infrastructure for economic future and global competitiveness an essential platform for innovation and job creation, crucial to the success of our businesses, large and small come into building stronger, more connected communities. broadband is also a key building block our national broadband plan taught as our education, health care and energy futures. but we won't fully realize the promise of broadband of the fundamental american promise of opportunity for all if large swaths of our country are left out. history tells us that universally available infrastructure can drive our economy and improve our quality of life. lincoln understood as we open transportation to the american west with a transcontinental railroad. fdr understood this when he
9:34 am
brought electricity to rural parts of our country lighting up forms and homesteads from my own to west virginia. eisenhower understood this when he built our national highway system unleashing commerce and connecting communities. in his state of union this year, president obama called on the nation to invest in a 21st century infrastructure that will enable businesses to grow, innovate and compete in the global economy. the indispensable infrastructure of the 21st century is broadband. the good news is that we are not at the starting line when it comes to broadband connectivity. our country has made real strides and expanding access to broadband, innovative technologies like dsl and cable modem service. in many billions of dollars of private investments that help make wired broadband of up to more than 100 million american homes. and thanks to policies that are unleashing spectrum for the next generation of mobile
9:35 am
connectivity, and a revolutionary mobile devices, applications and services created and sold by american companies. and billions more in private investment, the u.s. is well-positioned in the global mobile revolution with the opportunity to lead the world for years to come. but there's bad news. the bad news is when it comes to our broadband infrastructure, we are not where we need to be. worst, we risk falling behind. we risk falling out of global competitors if we don't accelerate our rate of progress. this is a rates we can't afford to lose. consider a study that iti f., robert atkinson and scott andy's put together come into study that has impressed us at the fcc a great deal which leaves no doubt that our country needs to step up r&d. the study looked at 40 international countries and rank them on a small number of metrics relating to
9:36 am
competitiveness and innovative capacity. things like i.t. investment and broadband deployment adoption. on a snapshot basis it ranked the u.s. sixth out of 40 among the nations in the survey, which is an interesting rorschach test. it's terrible. and that alone should be a call to action, but it's not there truly scary part of the study that mr. becerra. that study looked at the same metrics and rank each country on the rate of change in those metrics to call the countries were improving so measure rate of improvement, rate of improvement of innovativeness, competitive ability. on that basis, it ranked the u.s. forget out of 40. -- 40th out of 40. i should do them more than give us pause. it tells us that moving forward slowly in these areas is moving
9:37 am
backwards in our global economy. other countries are moving faster, and when it comes to this fundamental infrastructure that is the platform for economic job creation and opportunity for years to come, we have to take that kind of study seriously. that it sees the opportunity of broadband we need a proven across our broadband economy, advances in application, devices and networks that drive innovation and investment across the full broadband ecosystem, back in -- maximizing benefits for all. our plan found we also need to overcome a series of real challenges. one is expected. the invisible infrastructure that seems our noble network of mobile data traffic is exploding, and we face is an spectrum crunch with demand for spectrum outstripping supply. that's why we are pursuing a strong multiparty agenda to unleash more spectrum for broadband and drive spectrum
9:38 am
efficiency. this includes voluntary incentive auctions which we bring market forces to underutilized spectrum, freeing up spectrum for mobile broadband. another major challenge is broadband adoption and deployment of multiple studies like the itif study shows the u.s. lacking other countries. roughly one-third of americans are not online. that figure is under 10% in singapore, to give you a sense of it. and too many parts of our country are not connected at all. up to 24 million americans couldn't get broadband today, even if they wanted it. the infrastructure simply isn't there in their communities. assist us a problem in rural community and our country and in tribal and similar areas. tomorrow at the sec my fellow commissioners and i will vote on a plan that is critical to
9:39 am
overcoming key broadband challenges and is one of the sec's highest priorities are a proposal to modernize and reform the universal service, some people call u.s. effort to do what you focus where on this to bring usf and the closely related intercarrier system into the 21st century. universal service has been at the core of the fcc's mission with a commitment to make about communication services available to all americans. the program is help connect virtually every american to our 20th century communications grid, for spring basic telephone service to places where there was no economic case for service. and extending the benefits of mobile phone service for more and more areas across the country. universal telephone service helped spur american success in the 20th century. small businesses in our smallest
9:40 am
towns suddenly had the country and live the world as markets opened them. universal service brought new life to main street driving commerce and all reaches of our land and strengthestrengthens we die families and friends together. but, of course, the world has changed. and a 21st century high speed internet, not telephone, is are essential communications platform. and americans are using wired and wireless networks to access the internet. but while the world has changed around us, u.s. and into many ways ways has stood still. and even moved backwards. the program is still designed to support traditional telephone service. it's a 20th century program poorly suited for the challenges of the 21st century. where usf has changed over the years, it is too often changed for the worse. however well-intentioned, policies have been put in place over the years that today are weighing the program down.
9:41 am
as republican lee terry codifies chairman that oversees communications said last year along with rick boucher, then the democratic chairman of the subcommittee, and this is a quote, the universal service fund is broken. that's why the commission will act tomorrow. usf must be fixed, modernize and streamlined for the 21st century. the fcc has taken steps in the last year to address some key aspects of usf. we have modernize our key rate programs so schools and libraries can get faster internet connections and access to 21st century learning tools like digital textbooks. for updating our world health care programs, patient several clinics can benefit from broadband enabled care like remote consultations with specialists in where in the country. these changes are helping deliver on the national broadband plan's goal of ultra- high-speed broadband to anchor institutions at every community in the country.
9:42 am
late last you we propose a mobility fund intended to spur the buildout of advanced mobile wireless networks in areas not served by current and next-generation networks. next month we will be taking up a part of usf called lifeline fleet of which helps low-income americans get connected. and important program that is in real need of reform. and we are also considering proposals to reform the contribution system that supports usf. today i want to discuss the largest part of the usf program, the part focused on supporting communication service to rural america. i want to talk about our plan to modernize it, to directly support fixed and mobile broadband, make the program less wasteful, more efficient, or accountable, and more fiscally responsible. i'll begin with some of the challenges facing the program. first, the program is played with inefficiency. the fund pays almost $2000 per
9:43 am
month, more than $20,000 a year for some households to have phone service. according to one study, approximate $100 million to serve areas were competing providers without a single dollar of government offers service to all households. in many places the existing system funds for or more phone companies to serve the same area. second, the program lacks necessary accountability. usf guarantees hundreds of companies that significant rate of return on expenditures they choose to make related to networks used for phone service. but when public dollars are at stake, no company should control their own spending, funding spigot. there needs to be oversight and accountability to ensure public money is being used wisely. we need clearly stated goals and performance metrics to gauge how
9:44 am
the program is being invested. third, some of the rules in place are creating perverse incentives. for example, one will intended to encourage new investment is instead rewarding companies for losing customers. believe it or not as copies lose they actually get more usf support. meanwhile, the overall growth of usf is not constrained. these and other problems have combined to produce a rural, rural divide. where some parts of rural america are fully connected, sometimes the state-of-the-art broadband faster than anything available in many urban area. but other parts of rural america are entirely left behind. a couple of much ago i was in west virginia with west virginia with chairman rockefeller who has long been a chicken of serving the underserved. during our visit i spoke with people who can't get high speed internet are coverage at the home or business, even though communities right next door are connected.
9:45 am
how frustrating is that? how can it be acceptable with millions of americans small businesses are missing out on the outside of our digital economy, and on 21st century education and health opportunity. the rural, rural digital divide is not a one state problem. it's a national problem affecting oregon and maine and no states in between. the closely related intercarrier compensation system has its own set of challenges. intercarrier competition is a complex system that phone companies make to each other when they connect. it's long served and implicit subsidy for rural carriers with intercarrier rates set well above costs so that long distance service is subsidized to the local network or as a result it can cost 10 times more to call event a few towns over and to call someone on the other side of the world. that doesn't add up. to gain this flawed system, some
9:46 am
local phone companies into arrangements with chet lunner conference call providers to inflate the volume of incoming calls in order to increase payments they receive. some call this traffic. on the flipside there's a problem people called phantom traffic. some carriers disguise the source of called to reduce or avoid payments to other carriers. the intercarrier compensation system is not only flawed, it's unstable. over all intercarrier revenues are in rapid and unpredictable decline as more and more people drop landline phone service. there's also considerable uncertainty in ongoing litigation about how intercarrier should work in a modern era with voice over right or of voip services. to top it off the intercarrier system today discourages private investment in cost-saving 21st century infrastructure pick some companies fear losing millions of dollars in intercarrier, if
9:47 am
they upgrade equipment enabling more efficient ip interconnection. simply put, the current interrelated u.s. app and icc system is unsustainable. it was designed for a world separate, local and long distance telephone companies, a world of traditional landline telephones before cell phones or skype, a world without the internet, a world that no longer exists. so what should we do now? some say we should limit the universal service fund altogether. i reject that idea. why the world has changed, the importance of universal service has not. we simply shouldn't let millions of americans be bypassed by the broadband revolution. americans it the 17 year old girl in florida who is doing her homework in the parking lot of the local library at night because her family can't get broadband at home, and the
9:48 am
library's hotspot is her only option. or americans like the residents of the road commuting in georgia that was being considered by a major airline carrier as a site for a call center. those jobs could have replaced some of the ones that left with a shot at textile mill. the airline eventually pass because the community didn't have adequate broadband infrastructure. without a modernized usf, these people and millions like him will continue to be left behind. some people say the universal service fund doesn't need major change at all. they like the status quo and they say the status quo is largely fine. i reject that proposition, too. in its current state, the program is not getting the job done. it's leaving billions on the outside looking in, and wasting taxpayer dollars every day. that's unacceptable. we need to be responsible fiscal stewards to get the most bang for the u.s. -- the usf but.
9:49 am
particularly in light of its inefficiencies we need to control the cost of usf. and we need to ask tough questions. for example, should the government use consumer dollars to guarantee double-digit returns to companies receiving usf fund. along with pursuing other key broadband initiatives, broadband can drive our economy and provide broad opportunity in the 21st century as universal telephone service and rural electrification in the 20th century. so building on the excellent and groundbreaking work of the national broadband plan, our usf and icc agenda rests on four pillars. modernizing the programs to support broadband networks, ensuring fiscal responsibility, demanding accountability, and enacting market-driven and incentive-based policy.
9:50 am
in pursuing a plan to meet these objectives, we must ensure that reform occurs for both usf and icc which are fundamentally interrelated, while minimizing disruption along the way. so we need a sensible, but certain transition. one that is participating companies sufficient runway to adapt with no overnight flash cuts, but with clear milestones and a firm path forward. the notice of proposed rulemaking the commission will vote on tomorrow set forth the two-stage proposal. in the near term we begin several key reforms. these would include proposed changes your intercarrier compensation rules to stop waste, and reduced disputes that result when companies exploit loopholes in our rules to gained the system, and to address the proper treatment of traffic for
9:51 am
intercarrier. these would bring certainty and predictability to an uncertain area. we also propose to start a multi-your transition path in partnership with the states to phase dan intercarrier payments and shift the necessary recovery to usf. doing so will provide much needed predictability for the industry and investors, while also reducing the inefficiencies and perverse incentives created by the current system. we would also set the universal service fund on the path to reform by taking existing funding that is being used in efficiently and without sufficient accountability, and transitioning it to the connect america fund. so we will find broadband for underserved areas out of saving some existing programs while constraining the size of the fund. the plan to commission will vote on tomorrow will include specific proposals to control costs but can limit the funds annual expenditure. the fund will increase the
9:52 am
accountability of universal service fund recipients and to better measure the performance of the fund as a whole. these immediate reforms that move us towards a more their dissipation of usf, targeted at the underserved areas where support is needed the most. they would allow more carriers and opportunity to expand their services to healthy public-private partnerships, including wireline, fixed wireless, mobile, and satellite providers. they would set the foundation for longer-term. the second stage of reform would focus on streamlining and consolidating the various existing mechanisms to support networks to rural consumers and to a single smart and efficient connect america fund. the connect america fund would provide ongoing support both to bring advanced high speed internet and to maintain service would exist today, create jobs and fueling economic growth. at the end of this transition,
9:53 am
we will no longer subsidize telephone networks, instead we would support broadband in a targeted and efficient manner. as we do this, we will make sure that all of america's continued access to voice service and can make calls on their home. voice will be ultimately one application that consumers can use over their fixed or mobile broadband connections. would also target funny to those areas that truly need it with the economics dictate that broadband would not be available. and would ultimately a limit the regulated event of intercarrier charges that can slow the transition to and all i.t. broadband world. as we move forward we will work with congress and all parties on this plan and on any constructive ideas for accelerating the transition, and spurring buildout of high speed internet in underserved areas. we also look forward to looking closely with the states. usf and icc are both hybrid
9:54 am
federal state systems, and successful reform will require the best ideas and healthy federal state cooperation. in the coming weeks there will be ample opportunity for public input to improve and refine the proposed framework the commission will vote on tomorrow. we will run a fact-based, data-driven, open and participatory process including public workshops on key issues. i call on all stakeholders to engage with us in this project. i look forward to all input and ideas, consistent with the pillars for reform i outlined earlier. so to those who say the connect america fund should fund the highest speeds technically possible, or industry-specific proposal, but you must show us how much it would cost and who would pay for it, consistent with our commitment to fiscal responsibility and accountability. to providers concerned the connect america will help them know that network that will
9:55 am
support only their competitors and provide in other areas, work with us. to maximize the number and types of providers that can compete for support. a technology neutral approach is key to putting scarce resources to the best possible use. to those who receive intercarrier compensation, help us develop sensible but certain transition paths that maximize predictability while minimizing disruption. to those who pay intercarrier compensation, work with us to ensure that reforms ultimately benefit consumers which will be the true measure of the success of our efforts. now i understand the change may not always be easy, but ignoring the problems of usf and icc is not an option. it's not a question of if we should reform the system, but how we reform it. last year during the release of the national broadband plan, all five fcc commissioners adopted a
9:56 am
joint statement which said, and i quote, the universal service fund and intercarrier compensation system should be comprehensively reform to increase accountability and efficiency, and encourage targeted investment in broadband infrastructure. since that time we've continued to work together at the commission and with the outstanding fcc staff focused on this issue, and our commitment to this cause has only gotten stronger. now is the time to act, and i'm confident that we are for usf and icc. thank you very much. [applause] >> the chairman has to ultimately run, to make this happen, but he has generously agreed to take one or two questions. i would just add by the way itif has been a long advocate for
9:57 am
comprehensive usf reform. so we really, really appreciate your leadership on this. and it is long overdue and hopefully we can move forward. i want to ask folks from the media if you have questions first, if not we can just go here. [inaudible] >> there had been when the rulemaking -- when the rulemaking was originally an issue, there were some within the industry were somewhat upset that the contribution issue was not included as part of this, that we need to go hand in hand, you can't fix this without fixing comp contribution. i know you mentioned that's on the agenda longer-term, you didn't put a date on that. do you feel that -- what you have to say they really want a
9:58 am
contribution dealt along with this? >> the first focus needs to be on fixing the program, and that's what we're going to begin tomorrow, there's work done on contribution will continue to be work done on it in future. but the first up is make sure that it's a program that needs its purpose, that's sufficient, and is targeted come and that's what we work on tomorrow. >> question right over here. >> do you support personally eliminating the rate of return regulation? would you like to see it eliminated? >> as i mentioned we have responsibility to ask tough questions about rate of returns. it's something i don't want to
9:59 am
jump the gun on what we'll do tomorrow tomorrow but it's something we'll be looking at in the preceding and there are some clearly issues. >> one more. >> i was wondering if there was any thought to perhaps approach congress and ask for the money's on the auction, the proceeds, instead of going into the general fund, targeted to some of the broadband programs and initiatives that you are outlining today. >> as i mentioned we will be looking to work with congress, and everyone on itif to accelerate the transition to connect america fund that is focused on to serve america and that is getting the job done. thank you everyone. [applause] >> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:00 am
>> it is to say, federal aid, and the usn is about to gavel and. they are suspected to wrap up early today to allow democrats to -- they will vote on an amendment at 10:30 a.m. and now the live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. senate will come to order. the chaplain dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god our strength, you fulfill the desires of those who trust in you. you are great in power
10:01 am
and infinite in understanding. give our lawmakers today a sense of your nearness. may they open their hearts to your presence, their minds to your precepts, and their wills to your providence. remind them, lord, that you are the source of their abilities and the one who opens doors of opportunity that will keep this nation strong. dwell with them and make them productive for your glory. we pray in your sacred name. amen.
10:02 am
the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. 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 presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., february 8, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jeanne shaheen, a senator from the state of new hampshire, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will resume consideration of the federal aviation administration authorization bill. at 10:20, there will be a vote -- i'm sorry. at 10:20, there will be up to ten minutes for debate equally
10:03 am
divided on the nelson of florida amendment. that's amendment number 34 regarding nasa. senators should expect a roll call vote at approximately 10:30 in relation to the nelson florida amendment. it will be the only vote of the day. today will be a short session in order to accommodate senators attending the democratic issues conference. madam president, i ask consent that jeremy parsons, a nasa detailee of senator bill nelson, be granted privileges of the floor during the senate's consideration of s. 223, the f.a.a. re-authorization bill. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: madam president, i had a conversation last night with the republican leader, and for all senators, we need to have amendments on this bill, the f.a.a. bill, laid down, and we all know -- there is a lot of posturing going on around here. we still have one issue left. it deals with slots at airports. it is not going to be resolved.
10:04 am
we have worked on this for years, and it will not be resolved except here on the senate floor. if it's not resolved and we don't have amendments laid down to take care of, i'm going to file cloture on this bill on monday. it's a shame. i wish i could blame the republicans for the impasse, but it's both parties. we have people on both sides of the aisle who are trying to take advantage as they see it on this slot issue. this is an extremely important piece of legislation. i know the slots for the senators is important, but it is not important enough to hold up this bill. we have been trying for years, years to get this bill passed. we have -- this will create or save 280,000 jobs. it will improve the safety of our air travelers. it will give rights to people who are flying, who don't have those rights. we have a passengers' bill of rights. it is just a shame that this one issue is holding up this bill.
10:05 am
i repeat, if we don't have this matter resolved monday, i'm filing cloture on this bill. we have got to complete this legislation. we have -- before we leave for our president's day recess to go back to work in our states, we also have the fisa legislation that is a must. it expires. we have got to take care of that before we leave. and, of course, we have many other issues, but those are the two that i'm concerned about today. we have got to pass the f.a.a. bill. we have got to take care of the fisa legislation again. i would hope everyone understands we're not going to be playing around with this slot issue for another year. this bill has to pass. it's -- there is one way we can solve it. we will offer their amendments and we will vote on it right down here. well, there is no -- i hear yesterday there are meetings going on to try to resolve this issue. these meetings have been going on for months and months and months and they have held up this legislation, and that's
10:06 am
unfair, and so i tell everyone we have got to move forward on this legislation, and if we don't have this issue worked out by monday, i'm going to file cloture on this bill. it's a shame. i repeat, this is a bipartisan bill. this is not something that republicans are trying to hold up or democrats are trying to jam through here. this is a bill that democrats and republicans believe is in the best interests of our country. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
10:07 am
10:08 am
mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings on the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: as the debate over spending gears up ahead of the president's budget next week, i thought it important that we just step back this morning and note one thing, and that's the fact that this debate has completely and totally changed. two years ago, the president and the democrats running congress weren't debating whether to cut spending. they were debating how much to spend. you recall that a lot of them were disappointed that the stimulus wasn't even bigger and that it ended up bigger than it ended up being, and some actually still are concerned that the stimulus wasn't big enough. so we have seen a welcome shift. today, the only debate is how much to cut. it's a debate that republicans and i think the vast majority of americans are happy to have, and it's in that context that i wanted to mention the president's pledge to freeze his already outrageous spending levels for the next five years,
10:09 am
and some troubling estimates we got yesterday about what that would mean for the deficit from the people whose job it is to analyze spending and debt who are in washington. in their monthly budget review, the congressional budget office said that if the current spending levels are frozen at the same level as they are now and congress were to enact no other legislation affecting spending or revenues, the federal government would end the fiscal year with a deficit of of $1.5 trillion or about about $200 billion more than the deficit democrats ran last year. in other words, even if we don't add another dime to the current spending levels, the deficit will get even worse than last year. that's what would happen under the president's best offer, which is to lock in the dramatically higher spending levels from the past two years and put the budget on cruise control. the deficit wouldn't stand still. it would grow by $200 billion
10:10 am
over the next several months. so yesterday's predictions by the c.b.o. should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks they can hide behind a spending freeze. this is a dire warning that business as usual is a recipe for disaster. if we don't immediately reduce the size and scope of the federal government, the deficit will be even bigger than last year's record deficit. so we have to get real. we need to listen to our constituents. freezes aren't going to cut it. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. reid: madam president, i ask that the bill be reported. the presiding officer: i need to -- under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of s. 223, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 5, s. 223, a bill to modernize the air traffic control system, and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: the
10:11 am
majority leader. mr. reid: i ask consent to set aside the pending amendments so i can call up amendments numbered 54 and 55. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report the amendments en bloc. the clerk: the senator from nevada, mr. reid, proposes en bloc amendments numbered 54 and 55. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: thank you, madam president. i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment so that i may call up my amendment number 49 which is at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from new mexico, mr. udall, proposes
10:12 am
amendment numbered 49. mr. udall: i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to insert my statement on this amendment in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment so that i may call up another of my amendments, number 51, which is at the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from new mexico, mr. udall, proposes amendment numbered 51. mr. udall: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to insert my statement on this amendment in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: madam president, just to conclude here, i want to thank our chairman of the commerce committee, jay rockefeller, both chairman rockefeller and ranking member
10:13 am
kay bailey hutchison i think have done an excellent job on this f.a.a. authorization bill. i don't have any doubt that they working in the committee have pulled us all together, and it's a remarkable bill because it is a job-creating bill. it's a bill that we need right now with the economic slowdown we have in america. the other thing this bill does that i think is very important is update the air traffic control system, and that's something that's terribly important. it's called nextgen and we're moving on to the next generation of air traffic control. it's important, i think, to remind people that -- that we are behind the country of mongolia when it comes to air traffic control, so it's very important that we get this bill passed. and i agree with leader reid when he said we -- we can't be on this forever, we need to move it along, and i look forward in helping with -- in helping with
10:14 am
that process. with that, i yield the floor. mr. rockefeller: good morning, madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i want to reiterate some of what the leader has said and some of what the senator from new mexico has said, and that is the vast importance of this bill. i have said many times on this floor there are 11 million people who work for the aviation industry. that's only the direct jobs. there are probably two or three million indirect jobs. it's one of the major parts of our economy. then here we stand after 17 delays. kicking it down the road for three months, completely messing up f.a.a.'s ability to work with runways or make improvements if necessary. you can't fiddle around with runways if something goes wrong.
10:15 am
they have to be fixed or people die. so the stakes are enormous, and this business of slots has become kind of a -- i don't want to get rolled, i have to get my way. if i don't get my way, i'm not going to look good back home. or i'm up in 2012, and i can't do anything which in any way compromises the position that i had last year or the year before. well, most everybody around here is up in 2012 on this side of the aisle, and it's -- it's just a decision people are going to have to make, do they want to see a bill which fails, which goes down, and we go into our 18th extension, or 19th, whatever it is -- i stopped counting -- or do they want see something which is major in the american economy, which is nairnlg terms of nasa -- major in terms of nasa research, which is major in
10:16 am
terms of air traffic control systems, and which is major in terms of a passenger bill of rights? we have a lot of people stuck. i drove back from clarksburg, west virginia, to washington on saturday, and the reason i drove back is i -- i was just so sick of that airline that comes out of clarksburg getting canceled or having mechanical problems, which means they probably didn't have enough passengers because we're a small state, we on which don't -- we often don't have enough passengers to meet the bottom line. so i just drove back, and it was 6 1/2 hours. it was fine. that was fine. i'm prepared to do that. but i hate doing that. it's a waste of my time. but this -- the stakes are here. it's huge, this bill. so we have one good amendment which we're going to do this morning with senator nelson of florida -- when senator nelson of florida comes down and then i just think we have to proceed.
10:17 am
i appreciate the majority leader being quite tough about all of this and saying he's going to lay down cloture. he doesn't want to fool around with this bill. there's only one part of this bill which is in any way contentious and that's slots and that has as much to do with permits -- personalities, campaign commitments as it does with the good of the -- much more to do with that than it has to do with the good of the nation. nobody gets everything they want. in west virginia, we get almost nothing. i don't complain. sometimes i drive but i don't complain because i understand we're at the end of the foot chain because we're a little -- food change because we're a little state, and whenever there's a recession or airlines aren't doing very well financially because of fuel prices, we're the ones who get cut off. so my view about that is sort of more bitter but more maybe widespread and trying to look at the public good in general. because as the tide rises, all boats rise. so i would plead with people, plead very strongly with people to consider the broader national
10:18 am
interest and what an air traffic control system which is digitalized, g.p.s.'d and which is three or four times more save safe. i know whenever -- whenever there's a near miss in the airways, when somebody hasn't calculated their distance correctly, either the pilot or the air traffic control, and i know about those things and they happen. they happen very frequently. there were several in the papers last week. and we're playing with life and death here. we're playing with the major exporter, by far the major exporter that the united states has to other countries in terms of products and goods, and yet people sort of want to have just what they want have because that's what they said last year and they can't back off because if they did, they'd look weak, or they're trying to protect a certain airline. this, to me, isn't about airline. it's about passengers. you know, the heck with airlines. just -- let's just talk about we
10:19 am
need to have more passengers going west because the west is growing faster than the east. they're underserved. out of d.c. airport, there's one flight a day to los angeles. that doesn't make any sense. and so all of these things can be cured if people will be reasonable and not try to win out over some other group, some other constituency. i don't have a constituency. my constituency is the national interest in this bill. i don't mean to sound prudish when i say that but i so say and feel very, very deeply. madam president, if it's all right with the presiding officer, i'd like to recognize ben nelson, and he will make his amendment pending and then debate on the -- the other nelson from florida will start at about 10:20. mr. nelson nelson: madam presid?
10:20 am
the presiding officer: the senator from nebraska. mr. nelson: madam president, i call up the amendment that i just sent to the desk. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from nebraska, mr. nelson, proposes an amendment numbered 58. mr. nelson: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: madam president, the amendment that senators shiewcker, akaka, -- schumer, akaka, shaheen, tester, whitehouse, menendez, and i have offered is a commonsense approach to addressing the serious issue of protecting an individual's privacy when they pass through security checkpoints at both airports and public buildings. senator schumer and i have been working on this issue for some time and i appreciate very much his input and his counsel in taking this approach and i appreciate the support of the additional -- those additional sponsors as well as the chair, who is one of those sponsors.
10:21 am
by creating a deterrent and establishing criminal penalties for those who take and distribute body scan images inappropriately, we'll help protect the american people's privacy while making sure we're using every resource available to try and assure their safety at the same time. this is not an an tract -- abstract concern. there's always been a case -- already been a case where these images, some 30,000 of them, have been taken and posted, some of them on-line inappropriately. so it's my hope that this amendment and the other cosponsors will have prevent that from occurring again. madam president, by including this amendment this the f.a.a. reauthorization, we're simply telling our constituents that we will not ignore their privacy in the process of making sure we have safe airports and federal buildings. that's what they're asking of us and that's what we're going to deliver. so i ask my colleagues to support our amendment when it comes up for a roll call vote. and i yield the floor. thank you, madam president.
10:22 am
the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be 10 minutes of debate equally divided between the senator from florida and the senator from texas -- the senator from florida, mr. nelson, and the senator from texas, mrs. hutchison, or their designees. mrs. hutchison: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: while the senators are getting ready to speak, let me just say that we have made good progress on the bill. i think amendments are now coming in and cloture is going to be filed monday so we need to have all of the relevant amendments in by then. i just want to say briefly that i support bill nelson's amendment that we will vote on at 10:30.
10:23 am
i think that we have -- we agreed really last year on this bill in a preconference meeting that the amendment that he has to drop language from the bill would be dropped and i support the amendment. the nasa reauthorization act has intervened and that is the law of the land. it was passed unanimously by the senate and i believe that senator nelson's amendment is a good one. thank you, madam president. mr. rockefeller: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i yield some time to the distinguished senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: i thank the senior senator from west virginia. i rise in support of senator nelson from florida, in support of his amendment. he was tied up in committee and i wanted to speak in support of it. it would strike section 605 from
10:24 am
the bill t. would establish -- to consider transferring responsibilities for civil aeronautics research and development from pass this to other departments. the sole purpose is to take away aeronautics from nasa. that's simply unacceptable. it belies the very purpose of nasa in our nation's aeronautics mission. nasa stands for the national aeronautics and space administration. his ality -- amendment assures it stays that way. this assures our economic competitiveness. remember that one of our nation's top manufacturing exports -- and we don't export nearly enough manufactured goods -- one of our nation's top manufacturing exsports aerospace, which includes civilian aircraft components. ohio, my state, is a -- is -- is a center for the aerospace industry. we make billions of dollars of
10:25 am
components, both for boeing and for -- and for airbus and for many other manufacturers. section 605 would jeopardize america's dominance in aerospace, it would shift the very programs that have strengthened our nation's global leadership away from the experience and expertise at nasa. a consortium of nonprofits and colleges and private corporations and other government agencies can be effective and having effect i have to -- and have been effect i have to promote public-private partnerships in economic development, but none of these entities, either by themselves or even work together, will ever be able to conduct aerospace and aeronautic research and development better than does nasa. its fundamental aeronautics research capability is already fully integrated. it ensures the future success of the nasa space missions. furthermore, section 605 is in direct contradiction to the nasa authorization act of 2010, which reaffirmed that -- quote -- "aeronautics research remains vital to nasa's mission and
10:26 am
deserves continued support." simply put, section 605 jeopardizes not only the future of nasa but america's dominance in the global aerospace marketplace. in closing, madam president, nasa centers across the country are unique in their ability to leverage space and aviation systems through their experienced technical researchers. in these nasa centers, in cleveland, in nine other places around the country, our stewards and operators of the nation's civil aeronautics, r&d test infrastructure. i applaud florida senator nelson for nothing this amendment and his leadership in of on the science and space committee. i ask our colleagues to join senator hutchison and me in supporting that amendment. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mrs. hutchison: madam president, i would like to yield to senator paul to allow him to put another amendment into the pending amendments so that we will have that done before cloture is filed.
10:27 am
mr. paul: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendments and call up amendment 18. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from kentucky, mr. paul, proposes an amendment numbered 18. mr. paul: i ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. paul: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from kentucky. mr. paul: the amendment that i am proposing is to continue to have the airlines exempt from osha. this isn't because i'm not concerned with safety. it's that we've been doing it this way for 30 or 40 years. the f.a.a. voluntarily adheres to osha standards in their own manual. and i take the president and the opposing party at their word that they are concerned with
10:28 am
adding frivolous paperwork and frivolous regulations when in reality we're not doing anything to add to safety since the f.a.a. is already adhering to these standards voluntarily through their own manual. i would also suspect that the f.a.a. may be a little bit better at learning to have their own safety manuals and regulations than would osha, since they specifically have been involved in this. so i would like to propose this amendment and we would like to ask the body to vote against allowing osha to become involved in the f.a.a. and i will support the remainder of my time back to the senator from texas. mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president, do i need -- parliamentary inquiry. do i need to set aside a pending amendment to bring up amendment 34?
10:29 am
the presiding officer: the amendment is now pending. mr. nelson: thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: under the previous order. mr. nelson: okay. thank you very much. well, simply, others have already spoken on this amendme amendment, it is to take unnecessary language in the bill that has been superseded by the national authorization bill that we have passed of the letter --. of the letters in pass this ago, the first "a" is aeronautics, national aeronautics and space administration. and aeronautics research is a big part of the nasa bill. we have plussed up a lot of money for aeronautics research and there is superfluous language in the bill about another study. other studies have already been done. we want to get rid of that red tape. and so, madam president, i ask for the yeas and nays.
10:30 am
the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there is a sufficient second. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. rockefeller: we yield back any remaining time on our side. the presiding officer: the question is on the nelson amendment number 34. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
10:31 am
10:32 am
10:33 am
10:34 am
10:35 am
10:36 am
10:37 am
10:38 am
10:39 am
10:40 am
10:41 am
10:42 am
10:43 am
10:44 am
10:45 am
10:46 am
10:47 am
10:48 am
10:49 am
10:50 am
10:51 am
10:52 am
10:53 am
10:54 am
10:55 am
10:56 am
10:57 am
10:58 am
10:59 am
11:00 am
vote: the presiding officer: any senators wishing to vote or
11:01 am
change their votes? if not, the amendment number 34 by senator nelson of florida passes 96-1. and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the senator from kansas. a senator: i ask unanimous consent to proceed for ten minutes as if we were in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: i want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to act as the presiding officer, as my colleagues across the aisle are boarding buses and leaving town. mr. roberts: i appreciate very much your courtesy. i rise today to honor the hard work and the dedication of our men and women in the united states army and all branches of service, but just a couple of weeks ago, i had the pleasure of
11:02 am
attending the uncasing ceremony at fort riley, kansas. it was an honor to me for those who have not attended an encasing ceremony. it symbolizes a homecoming, and certainly that was the case at fort riley. it sacrifice the presence of the command and the resumption of that command's authority, and it offers a time to reflect on the heroic efforts and the leadership of the men and women of the -- of the big first. since returning to kansas in 2006, the first infantry division's headquarters deployed to iraq, but this was not the first time the division was uncased its colors at fort riley. in fact, this was the fifth time in 55 years. during their time in basra, iraq, the men and women of the big red one assisted in completing many vital projects. approximately 850 soldiers
11:03 am
deployed from fort riley in february of last year. the division's efforts were supported by other services, obviously, and also government agencies. the mission was more offensive than defensive, a change for the men and women of the big red one. to quote fort riley's outstanding commanding major general vincent brooks -- quote -- "the big red one as u.s. division south was an entrusted partner to the iraqi security forces, to nine u.s. provincial reconstruction teams led by the u.s. department of state, with participants from other agencies of the u.s. government and to other u.s. forces in iraq. the big red one ensured that the hard-earned stability emerging in iraq would remain stable. their success was our success." so the accomplishments of the big red one are numerous and merit the attention of my colleagues. the division assisted the iraqis
11:04 am
in completing the basra children's hospital. a cancer center noted as one of the most modern facilities in the middle east, and i was fortunate to spend time after the ceremony with about 30 soldiers in the unit. one noncommissioned officer's experience in particular stood out. i asked all of them how many deployments they had made to iraq or for that matter afghanistan, and the answer was two or three or four. this noncommissioned officer had five deployments, and i asked him what on earth was wrong with the deployment situation in his case. he said oh, no, i wanted to come back to my unit. i wanted to come back to the big red one. i wanted to come back to iraq and continue the work that i thought was so important. and i asked him what the difference was. he said, well, when i was here first in basra, we lost nine in our unit. nine paid the ultimate
11:05 am
sacrifice. and in this deployment, no shots were fired. if there ever was system from somebody in the front line, somebody who obviously the n.c.o.'s really do run the army with all due respect to the officers, but this n.c.o. officer pretty well summed it up. first deployment, nine fatalities, last deployment, no shots fired. i am truly grateful that all of the soldiers deployed from the big red one's division headquarters this time around returned safe. mr. president, i submit general brooks' full comments for the record. by the way, mr. president, general vincent brooks, you remember that name, he will soon be receiving his third star. he will be reassigned to the central command. anyone that knows general brooks and his wife, dr. carol brooks, is not surprised. this promotion and the new command comes as no surprise to
11:06 am
anyone in the area, especially to the people who serve under general brooks and has had the privilege of knowing him. simply put, he is an inspirational leader with an outstanding record. from the kansas congressional delegation, general, well done, sir. you will be missed, but our pride in your success and your future success and the job you have done and the job you will do make us all proud, a pride that we all share. mr. president, i would ask that the general's remarks be inserted in the record at this point, and i yield back the balance of my time. the presiding officer: without objection, the remarks will be included.
11:07 am
mr. roberts: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i notice the absence of a quorum, and i would note there is an absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
11:08 am
11:09 am
11:10 am
mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, president obama talked with the chamber of commerce yesterday. i think that was a good step,
11:11 am
but talk and rhetoric are not policy and not action. it's reported that he received two applause -- he got two applause from two different lines in a 35-minute address, which is a bit unusual. it does appear that the president understands he has a serious problem with the job-creating community and is willing to at least immediate with people, but the problem really is policy and action, and i'm disappointed that he has not gone further to deal in a realistic way with the job problems this nation has. he talked about lowering corporate taxes but not reducing the burden of government borne by these companies.
11:12 am
in other words, he talked about lowering the rate through eliminating loopholes, and some of the loopholes, i'm sure, are not justified. some of them may be very effective in helping us be competitive and create growth, but just eliminating those and making it appear that the corporate tax burden has been reduced. i talked to the chamber of commerce and business people. what they tell me is we're in a competitive world environment, a competitive world environment, and businesses decide where to make products and hire workers based on the cost of doing business in that area, and a c.e.o. north america for an international company in my home state told me that he thought we were going to add 200 jobs at an
11:13 am
alabama plant that he owned overseas to make a chemical product, but his headquarter company in europe said no, after considering taxes, we're not going to build that process in alabama. it's going to be in a foreign country. in other words, they had won the competition on costs, but another country will lower tax rates on the corporations that won the bid. so the idea that you can have a high tax rate is not good. we have the highest tax rate in the developing world, as soon as japan brings theirs down, which they are planning to do, we will be the highest tax -- corporate tax country in the world. this makes us less competitive, and it creates fewer jobs. simply to eliminate loopholes in bringing down from 35 to the
11:14 am
high 20's as apparently is being discussed does not reduce the burden of taxes on corporations. many of our corporations are going to have a significant increase in their tax rates, and they'll make it less -- they will be less able to hire workers. so this is a major issue that i think we have got to confront. it's a competitiveness issue. the president continued to talk as he did in the state of the union about more investments spending. we don't have the money. we don't have the money to do more compensation, and i'm disappointed that he has not begun to realize that the day is over that we can just waltz in with a lot of good ideas for these spending programs. and he continued to talk about expanding the role of bureaucracy in this recent speech yesterday, in key
11:15 am
industries at a time we need to streamline regulations that are killing jobs in america, and he did not call for a vigorous and realistic plan to reduce spending. so, mr. president, i appreciate the opportunity to speak. i appreciate the president beginning to enter into a dialogue with the folks who create jobs. i'm not suggesting that we need to reduce corporate rates to be nice to corporations. i don't have any grief to bear to try to make it somehow easier for corporate execs to make big amounts of money. but what i do understand is that if we overtax american corporations, they'll move other places. canada is looking to reduce its corporate tax rate lower, to 16%. so if we're at 35% and canada
11:16 am
goes to 16%, will not -- that not be a factor in us losing jobs in competition with canada? we've got to defend our interest. i see the distinguished majority leader. i know he's busy and i would yield the floor. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that we now proceed to a period of morning business with senators allowed to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, that when the cincinnati completes its -- senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 4:00 p.m. on thursday, february 10. following the prayer and the pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time twor the two leaders be reserved for their use later any day, following any leader remarks, the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, there will be no roll call votes during thursday's session of the senate. we hope to clear the trade
11:17 am
assistance adjustment legislation on thursday. senators should expect the next roll call votes to be at 5:30 p.m. on monday. we'll have more than one vote on that evening. february 14, valentine's day. that vote would -- could be on a judicial nomination and we will also have some amendments to vote on on the f.a.a. authorization. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask we adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
11:18 am
11:19 am
>> epa administrator lisa jackson testified on the agency's rules to limit a pair of toxic chemicals that have been found in the public drinking water supply. she was joined by water company officials at this oversight hearing on drinking water safety. california democratic senator barbara boxer chaired the hearing. >> good morning, everybody. the committee will come to order. we have called us into data focus on a public health issue that touches every family and every community across the
11:20 am
country. the quality of our nation's drinking water. congress passed the safe drinking water act in 1974 to protect public health by creating consistent and strong safeguards for the nation's public drinking water supply. the words that president ford spoke when he signed this legislation into law are as true today as they were then. so i'm going to quote him. he said nothing is more essential to the life of every single american then clean air, pure food, and safe drinking water. and he went on to say, there have been strong national programs to improve the quality of our air, and the purity of our food. this bill, meaning the water bill, will provide us with the protection we need for drinking water. so president ford i believe had it right, and i think we need to live up to the spirit of this law and the letter of this law. congress last admitted significant portions of the act
11:21 am
in 1996 strengthening public health protections and expand the public's right to know about the quality of the water that they drink. the house passed these amendments, 392-32% has been unanimously. both of the distinguished witnesses on our first panel, administrator jackson and director birnbaum are leading efforts to use the best of able science to protect the public health. administrator jackson, epa's their emission as you know is to protect human health and environment. you've told us that many times. a core principle of the agency is to ensure that, and i'm quoting here, to ensure that national efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information. that's what you have told us. as i said last week when i participated at a town hall at epa headquarters, the mission that you undertake every day, administrator jackson, is
11:22 am
critically important to children's and families, the elderly in communities large and small all across our great country. your mission matters. it is a mission quit with bipartisan support and one that has made huge strides to improve our families and our nation's health. the epa is charged with making a decision on whether to develop safeguards a new threat to drinking water such as chromium-6 and perchlorate. i would like to applaud your announcement today, administrator jackson, that the epa will move for to establish a national drinking water standard for perchlorate. perchlorate as a toxic chemical contained in rocket fuel. it does not belong in our drunken water. and yet, according to the government accountability office, epa data show that perchlorate has been found -- can i just ask -- i can't concentrate. thanks. and yet, according to the government accountability office, epa data show that
11:23 am
perchlorate has been found 35 states and the district of columbia, and is known to have contaminated 153 public water systems in 26 states. the bush administration never did set a drinking water standard for perchlorate, leaving millions of americans and dozens of states at risk. but after reviewing the science, you reversed that decision and i applaud you for that. i look forward to the agency moving quickly to put in place a strong national standards to protect public drinking water and the dangers contaminant. chromium-6 is another drinking water contaminant that i urge the federal government to address. chromium is used to make steel, metal plating and other materials. we all know the story of aaron brock a virtue help the people in california who would drinking water contaminated i chromium-6. in '08 the national doxology program concluded that
11:24 am
chromium-6 and drinking water shows quote clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in laboratory animal test. in '09 my home state of california propose a public call for chromium-6 of 0.06 parts per billion. one year later in 2010, my states strengthen this proposal to .02 per billion based on the need to protect infants and children from dangers causing substances. we all know that infants, children or pregnant women are far more vulnerable to these toxins. in september 2010 epa released a draft scientific assessment of how chromium -- transit and drinking water is likely to be carcinogenic to humans. the agency has said it expects to finish this assessment in 2011. the nonprofit environmental working group released a report that provide us with a snapshot in time on chromium-6 levels in
11:25 am
some drinking water systems. they found chromium-6 and drinking water in 31 cities across ours country. i believe the federal government must act quickly to develop safeguards to reduce the threats and our nations drink of water, and i look forward to hearing about the work that epa engaged in to address chromium-6 and other emerging contaminants. i do want to welcome our new member, senator johanns, we welcome you. we are delighted you are with us. and also senator sessions and senator boozman are also new members. i wanted to welcome them, even though they are not here, but they will be strongly welcomed by all of us. >> thank you, madam chairman. for taking time to continue our discussions on the federal drinking water program, i know that i don't in this room agrees that we all need safe, clean drinking water. to carry out this priorty effectively we need resource but we also need sound policy based on the best of able of science.
11:26 am
and madam chairwoman, i countered in your opening statement you said the same thing three times. the best available science. i feel confident that the recent drinking water report by the environment a working group which we are focusing on today does not fall into that category. simply put, the report is biased and, therefore, the conclusions are skewed to fit a particular viewpoint or i should say agenda perhaps. what's more the firemen working group has rejected transparency. for the final practices of good science, when the city officials from norman, oklahoma, requested the environmental working groups testing methodology, they said no. and without transparency, without the ability of the scientists to replicate your work you can't have good science. due to the snowstorm in oklahoma, stephen lewis who is going to be one of our witnesses, and i appreciate allowing him to come, however, he can't come because he can't get here.
11:27 am
unable to travel here. his testimony can help us put some context around the environmental working group's flawed findings. and help us understand the role best public health protections norman has in place. that's norman, oklahoma. he has agreed to answer any of the fall of questions that anybody have and it respectfully request his testimony part of the record. >> without objection. >> also, charles murray, some of these guys will have to do double duties since my witness could show up today. mr. murray will not doubt provide insight into local water system dealing with chromium-6 in other drinking water mandates but also want to make a special note, welcomed the administrator, lisa jackson, administrator, it's good to see ias always. i want to thank you for your willingness last year to work with me specifically and my staff on some of the real difficult issues. i also want to thank you for
11:28 am
your help on passing several key pieces of legislation that were drafted in this committee. with your help we passed a bill to reduce lead in drinking water, and a bill to provide grants to states to reduce diesel emissions. i want you to know that i sent a spy into your office. they tell me that the picture of my kids and 20 grandkids are in there, too. i appreciate that. the next two years, there are many contentious issues ahead, many issues that have funded of disagreements. we have talked about this among the republicans on this side of the aisle, and in particular the three new that we're welcoming today to this committee. that is the regulation, regular the greenhouse gases under the clean air act. this is something that congressman upton and i -- were going to announce this today and apparently we got out last night and said to we will be talking
11:29 am
about that. the boiler met, utility, pm dust, the dust, the regular dust on farms. those of us in western states understand that you have cotton and your dirt you win, you're going to have dust that we need to talk about that. the ozone changes that are recommendrecommended, and hydraulic fracking. there may be questions on the. the we disagree on these issues. yet we have in the basilisk even open line of the mitigation, administrator jackson, i'm sure we will because there could be areas where we can reach agreement as we did before. the leadville, the the diesel the are just two examples of what we can do. so i wish all the best as we head into the new congress. let me welcome our three new members. senator sessions is not here. he was on the committee sometime ago and dropped off and he is back now. senator boozman will be here. he has been a very good friend of mine forward many years from arkansas. and senator johanns will have a
11:30 am
lot to offer having been the secretary of agriculture. he brings an abundant knowledge to this committee. and so we welcome our new members here. and thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you so much, senator. so i just want to go through the order of arrival on our site. it's boxer, garden, murray, utah. on the republican side, you don't and barrasso. >> thank you, madam chairman take you very much for calling this hearing. it's an extremely important subject. welcome, administrator jackson, and doctor beerbohm to our committee and look for to working with us to make sure that all people in this country have clean and safe water. i think for many years in the wake of seminal laws like the clean water act safe drinking water act, many of us took for granted that our water will be safe. but when you hear the stories and the accounts now that we are
11:31 am
finding chromium-6 in our water supplies, it raises serious questions as to whether we're doing everything we need to to make sure that our water supplies are say. and i add to that the fact that my constituents had to boil water because of a water main break. that also raises questions as to the availability of clean safe water for people in this nation. that's why i'm so glad we have the environmental protection agency, whose job it is under the safety water act to study chemicals and compounds in a drinking water to decide what he says, what isn't. it's a job that agency did today when it reversed the bush era decision that now it will set standards for perchlorate, a chemical that we know he impairs brain develop into fetuses and young children. and i congratulate the epa for doing that, administrator jackson. i feel better and in my constituents feel better knowing
11:32 am
that we can turn to administrator jackson, a fierce protector of public health and environment, and ask what does it mean when the environmental working group found that chromium-6 is in tap water in bethesda, maryland. and what she we do about it? you know that not only is it her job to tell us, but she hasn't her staff has the scientific knowledge, skills, to give us the answers or will work to find the answers to those issues. but for $400,000 that spent much of last week -- 400,000 marylanders who boiled the water, it's not just the dangerous chemical, for high quality water we need high quality water infrastructure. on monday of last week a major water main break in prince george's county not only destroyed cars and caused serious damage to the local business park, it shut down a portion of the capital beltway, it disrupted regular work of the census bureau headquarters at
11:33 am
andrews air force base to ensure that local businesses and schools and required 400,000 residents to boil their water to ensure its safety. that task i'm sure was made much more difficult during the snowstorm when power was cut off to many of those residents. you had another dramatic break in maryland in recent years when we so a river in bethesda turn literally into a river requiring motors to be rescued. in october of 2091000 basements were under water. in march of 2,010,000 more homes and businesses along major thoroughfares in baltimore county were left without water. madam chair, this story can be told and every community in our country. the major water main breaks have become near epidemic in our region and it tells us major parts of the system are too old and too frail to hold together much longer. the brakes are more than inconvenience. they are going to endanger the health and safety of our
11:34 am
citizens as was the economic activity and our national security. that's one of the reasons why our water infrastructure has been given a rating of d- by our national engineers. environmental protection agency estimates more than $340 billion will be needed over the next 20 years to meet the nation's drinking water infrastructure needs. for these reasons i've asked the president to include water in his six-year plan for infrastructure investment. while water mains are less visible than roads and bridges, they're just as important to our economy and equally desperate needs of repair. that's why as chairman of the water and wild subcommittee i will have no higher priority than reauthorizing water infrastructure financing act. i look for to working with administrator jackson, chairman boxer, senator in off and the of our committee to report again i hope the water infrastructure finance act hopefully to get it enacted. thank you, madam chair, and i thank you once again for holding this hearing.
11:35 am
>> thank you very much. senator boozman, we welcomed you, both sides and we're very happy to see here today. >> thank you, madam chair. >> so senator johanns. >> thank you very much. madam chair, as you point out this is my first meeting, so kind of my maiden voyage on this committee. so i will speak long. just wanted to offer a thought or two, if i could, to maybe frame how i am thinking about this and what i'll be interested in as you testify and we ask questions. in another life some years ago i had the privilege to serve the city of lincoln as their mayor for two terms. and the city of lincoln, nebraska, has a strong mayoral form of government so the mayor is not only the mayor in terms of the ceremonial duties, but is
11:36 am
also the city manager, separate city manager is not higher. during that period of time under my jurisdiction was the lincoln water system, which today does an excellent job. did an excellent job been. i think it's one of the most forward leaning, forward-looking water systems really in the country. perspective i would offer is this, there is nobody out there employed by any water system that wants to provide a dangerous product to their customers. their customers who rely upon that source of water. they want to know that it is safe to drink, not only for them but for their children and their babies. the thing that we were always struck with though, how to deal with requirements in a way that, not only provided that safety,
11:37 am
but allowed us to be able to go to customers and say this additional expenditure of money that we are going to do is justified by good science, and a thoughtful approach, typically that would come from the federal government. that's important. we have to make the case, you know, it's one thing for us to sit here in washington an issue rules and regulations which i have done also as a former secretary of agriculture. it is quite another thing for the people on the ground delivering the service to make the case to that customer or clientele that, in fact, this is the right course of action and it is justified. so when i press on issues like this and hopefully ask good, thoughtful, tough questions, it is because somewhere out there
11:38 am
-- somewhere, someone is trying to make the case that requirements are, in fact, justified. final thing i'm going to mention. it's interesting how quickly word spread of new committee assignments because i already got a letter from one of our water systems in nebraska. i'll make that a part of the record at the appropriate time. raising these same basic issues, just making the case that, look, we want to provide a state budget safeguard. we want to ensure our clientele that investment we're making is justified under the science that is available. madam chair, thank you very much. >> thank you so much, senator. senator lautenberg. >> thank you, madam chair. i welcome our distinguished
11:39 am
testified here, lisa jackson and dr. birnbaum come with a lot of experience, a lot of concerns about what we might be able to do to protect our health and well being better. clean, safe drinking water act is essential in our health and especially for the well being of our children. under the safe drinking water act we made big strides in cleaning our country's water supply. but too many people are still drinking water that is contented with dangerous pollutants. too often public water supplies are found to be in violation of epa standards, but public health is at risk even when water doesn't violate the law because epa has either failed to set limits, but much of that is
11:40 am
because of restrictions that prevent them from doing so. or because the limits are too weak. since 2004, more than 62 million americans have been exposed to drinking water that meets epa standards but actually contains intentionally harmful contaminants, including some that are toxic. in fact, research shows that there are more than 140 chemicals in our drinking water that epa does not regulate. some parts of our country these chemicals include gasoline additives, pesticides. and other states drinking water contains the so-called fracking chemicals which are used to produce national -- natural gas. you can turn on the gas and literally like the water. if that isn't disturbing enough, last year transfixed, a carcinogen linked to leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers
11:41 am
was found in the water supplies of dirty one american cities. these cities include some of the nation's largest like new york and los angeles, boston, phoenix and washington, d.c.. chromium pollution is also a major problem in our state of new jersey. so this is an issue that hits close to home for me, as well as epa administrator lisa jackson who previously led the state's department of environmental protection. we miss you there, but we would rather see you here. the health and well being for the kids aren't better with your post you. and make no mistake, when administrator jackson arrived at epa she had plenty of work cut out for her. under president bush the epa was required on several occasions to consider setting limits on contaminants found in 20 water, but each and every time the epa was given an opportunity to
11:42 am
improve water safety during those years the agency that on its hands and decided not to regulate. fortunately, under administrator jackson's leadership that epa is moving in the right direction. they are working on the public's behalf. and as we're going to hear today, ms. jackson is taking steps to set new limits on chemicals in our drinking water and doing more to determine the impact of natural gas drilling on our country's water supply. administrator jackson is making good use of the tools she has under the safe drinking water act, but the law itself limits epa's ability to protect the public's right to know. now, 25 years ago i offered to write to no law on toxic chemical release to make sure that people knew about potentially hazardous substances
11:43 am
in their communities. the public also has a right to know what's in their water, and that's why the drinking water right to know, the safe drinking water act only allows epa to require temporary monitoring of small groups of unregulated towns. so the public has no idea that they might be drinking water latent with unregulated contaminants like chromium-6 and gasoline additives and other toxins. my bill would fix this problem by allowing epa to require a targeted increase in monitoring for unregulated pollutants that could be hazardous. in addition, my bill would require epa to make information on contaminants in drinking water more readily available online and in simple english. more information on contaminants will empower citizens and help government to make better decisions on pollutants in their
11:44 am
water supply. so i look forward, madam chair, to hearing from our witnesses about how we can all work together to meet this challenge. and my friend and colleague, mentioned the grandchildren, the beauty of the grandchildren. their beauty is considerably enhanced for my grandchildren smiles will get better if the water is attacking their well being. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator lautenberg. >> thank you, madam chair. i would like to add to the comments from senator johanns and would also like to thank the witnesses were testifying today on such an important matter. madam chair, there had been an onslaught of job crushing regulations emerging from the environmental protection agency over the last two years. unemployment in this country is
11:45 am
9.4%. regulations coming out of the epa are devastating to the american economy. despite the fact that the american people rejected cap-and-trade, the epa continues to press forward. charles krauthammer wrote in the "washington post" editorial entitled who makes the laws anyway? in it he says administrators administer the law, they don't change it. that's the legislators job. i don't see that environmental protection agency has learned that constitutional lesson. the epa has continued to move forward with the job crushing clean air act regulations for greenhouse gases. "washington times" reporter stated in a piece entitled obama's regulatory reform test that, quote, well-qualified independent economists have estimated this will cost the united states in lost foreign investment roughly $100 billion a year, and many thousands, thousands of jobs.
11:46 am
he bluntly stated the environmental protection agency's climate policies amounted to quote, national economic suicide. as "the wall street journal" put out on gender 24th despite the presence executive order to have the epa to a simple cost estimate of its regulations, the epa issued a statement saying that it was confident quote that it wouldn't need to change a single rule. respectfully, administrator, that sounds eric and. i will take environmental protection agency went further and they stated that its rules consistently yield billions in cost savings that make them among the most cost effective in the government. the most recent example of epa and abuse is well within today's subject predicate is the epa's abuse of power to use the clean water act to consider climate change in approving keegan details, or the total maximum daily loads for commuters.
11:47 am
i.t. mdl as a plan to reduce overall loading of a particular substance to a body of water. the economic impact of an overly restrictive tmdl can be devastating to communities. it would stop expansion of a sewer system and put in a new housing developments or a small business or a factory. they could increase the sewer rates of existing customers which could limit any new land-use activities that could impact the loading. this includes activities such as forestry and farming. now the epa wants to consider the potential, potential effects of climate change on water bodies. no one can predict what the effect would be a change in -- a changing climate in the future. not even the oracles at the environmental protection agency can do that. in fact, in epa's most recent ambergris review of the impacts of climate change on water it mentions the vote uncertainty, the uncertainty of climate
11:48 am
change affects 47 times in the 72 page report. yet the epa wants to potentially open of all 43,658 approved tmdl across all 50 states and territories, and now factor in climate change. this would eliminate any certainty in existing and future investment and new factories of small businesses across the country. the only thing that is certain is congress didn't approve this with the job crushing idea. anti-job activists did and they did it behind closed doors at the environmental protection agency. we need to send a message to the epa database of legislating without congress are over. the consent of the government is reestablished. that is why i introduced senate bill 228, defending america's affordable energy and jobs act. i've done it with 10 of my
11:49 am
fellow senators. this bill establishes that congress shall set the nation's energy and climate policy and a limit these job crushing regulations. thank the chairman of look forward to the testimony. >> thank you. as chair of this committee i'm going to put in the record with unanimous consent the supreme court decision that sent the following, because greenhouse gases fit well within the clean air act definition of air pollutant, we hold that epa has the statutory authority to regulate the a mission of such gases. and this is a hearing about clean water to consider, you at every right to say what you want but it's not consistent with the topic before us. i want to put this in director because i thought you might go in this direction. and i think it's important to note that if the epa failed to regulate our revolution, they would be going against the clean air act and against the supreme court decision. we are a country of laws, not people no matter how strongly we feel. i think those people who want to
11:50 am
repeal the clean air act, go ahead and do it. if you want to repeal it, you have every right, but the fact is to attack an agency that is carrying out the laws is totally inappropriate. and that's just how i feel about it. said in off, you can have a minute to respond. >> let me respond. it's my understanding of the court that gave the authority to the epa to do that, but not a mandate to do it. so that discretion was made by the epa. and i think that needs to be a part of this. >> well, just a moment. we could go back and forth. the epa had the responsibility to make an endangerment finding. that was under the law. if they found that there is a danger to the people from carbon pollution, they had to pass this finding, which they did. but i'm going to cut this off
11:51 am
now because we really will have lots of opportunities as we look at your law and the kind of things we want to do on our side. we will just move forward. >> let me comment on the endangered species this could go on all day. who has the last word? >> if we're going to go on i want to go on also. [laughter] >> madam chairwoman, i will address my partner and my questioning. >> thank you. if anyone can address their part during the question time. i think we see the divide here. very clearly, and it's not unhealthy that we have this divide it is the fact, and we will deal with it. and we all want a highway bill, right? but we also i think all want clean air. so we will be taking this up. getting back, we now hear from senator merkley, followed by senator boozman, followed by senator udall. and then we will get to our witnesses.
11:52 am
senator merkley. >> i thank you, administrator jackson and dr. birnbaum for coming and for your work to ensure safe drinking water act for all americans. i appreciate the work of the epa on helping to establish an appropriate testing regime. and also for your hard work on the tailoring rule to put biomass into the proper lifecycle context. so i look forward to your testimony today and thank you. >> that was amazingly brief. [laughter] >> caught me by surprise. senator boozman? >> thank you. i will fall in the senator's footsteps. it sounds like we need to move on to the question. and it will be interesting. but i was the ranking member on water resources and had the opportunity of working both -- with both of the what is there and look forward to working with
11:53 am
them in the future. these are very strict problems, and i think the key is as we move forward we have to have sound science, we have to sound methodology to back things up. so thank you very much. >> thank you so much, senator. senator udall? >> madam chair, there may be a stampede here but i will put my opening statement in the record so we can get directly to the witnesses. thank you. >> thank you very much. that is very kind. and administrator jackson, we welcome you, and please go ahead. >> good morning, chairman boxer, ranking member in half and members of the committee. i will ask permission for my opening statement to also be put into the record. and i'll get a few remarks here in the interest of time. thank you for inviting me to discuss the safety of our nation's water. as we said evident across the country americans rural areas and urban areas, rich, poor, red states and blue states, turn on their tabs with one expectation. that the water that comes out
11:54 am
will be safe for them and for their families to drink. the epa along with the state to implement our nation's drinking water laws are responsible for ensuring that our water is safe, which means addressing not only infrastructure by new and emerging contaminants as they present themselves to us. and if they affect the public health, and especially the health of our children. today i am pleased to announce that epa has begun the process of controlling toxic contamination of the chemical, known as perchlorate in our drunken water. perchlorate is a toxic component of rocket fuel. it is not naturally occurring. it can cause thyroid problems, and may disrupt the normal growth and development of children in the womb. this decision has been years in the making. but it is essentially about two things. first and foremost it's about protecting the health of the
11:55 am
between 59 and 17 million americans that have perchlorate in the water that they drink. and second, this decision is about following the site. perchlorate has been studied and reviewed for years. besides has led to this decision and it's been. we give it independent scientist, health experts and many others. the next that for us is to update our laws in a way that is sensible and practical for protecting the health of the american people. so when we do that as a look at our regulations for perchlorate we will look at the feasibility and affordability of treatment systems, the costs and benefits of potential standards, and, of course, we will make sure our approach continues to be based on sound up-to-date science. we will also continue to make sure that we act as quickly as possible to protect our health from emerging threats in our taking water, including one we also heard about this morning, hexavalent chromium also called
11:56 am
chromium-6, a toxic chemical and contaminant that is already a well known human carcinogen when it's in hailed. the issue now is that recent animal testing publicly available has demonstrated carcinogen at a basher that his associate with congesting chromium-6 in drinking water. that discovery along with the recent report by if i'm at a working group that found elevated levels of chromium-6 at the tap and 20 public water systems has heightened public concern about chromium-6. this report was a snapshot in time, but it is consistent with other studies that we've seen that have detected chromium-6 in public water systems. as with perchlorate, signs will guide all of our actions on chromium-6 that we are working to finalize our human health assessment for the chemical ergo be an independent and external scientific peer-reviewed is spring. we expect to finalize our health assessment by the end of the year and based on the current
11:57 am
draft assessment it is likely that we will tighten the drinking water standards for this chemical. however, let me be clear we will wait for our human health assessment on chromium-6 to be finalized and have gone through full peer review. in the meantime we have taken a series of steps to better understand the threat to protect the health of the american people. we're working with state and local officials on monitoring to find out how widespread and traveling this contaminant might be in our nation's drink water. second, we'll provide a voluntary guidance to all water systems nationwide on how to test for chromium-6. and, finally, epa is offer technical expertise and assistance to those communities that have the final -- highest levels of chromium-6. finally, i would like to be very brief update on a larger picture and that is where we are what i drinking water strategy at epa. i announced it about a year ago. the strategy is designed to transform the agency so that we
11:58 am
can use our existing safe drinking water act to achieve greater health protection more quickly, more cost effectively and transparently. we have made a great deal of progress. one key component is the idea of addressing contaminants in groups of contaminants that act the same way in our bodies as the agency is look at each contaminant alone. i'm pleased to announce that epa has elected our first group to look at. it is the group of volatile organic compounds that are carcinogecarcinogenic and includes things like industrial solvents that may cause cancer. another component of the strategy is to work with universities to move the signs along to let her out of it governors and engineers help us address our problems or two weeks ago i was in cincinnati with a small business administration with procter & gamble, with ge, with small businesses who are excited about the business opportunities associated with solving our nation's water challenges. in closing, tragically and safe drinking water is the foundation of healthy communities. healthy families, and yes
11:59 am
healthy economies. clean and safe water is not a luxury. it is not a privilege. it is the right of every single american and i look forward to working with this committee to that end in answering any questions. thank you. >> thank you, administer. dr. birnbaum. >> madam chair, and distinguished numbers of the committee, i am pleased to appear before you today to present testimony on our current understanding of chemicals contaminacontaminants entering the water. my name is linda birnbaum and i'm the director of the national institute of environmental health sciences of the national institute of health, and also director of the national toxicology program. in ip h. continue to fund research on hazardous chemicals and if i'm at that can affect human health including chemical contaminants in drinking water. today i'll talk about three of these contaminants. hexavalent chromium, chromium-6. chromium-6 as part of me and usher in processes such as


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on