tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 6, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
happening on the ground. we are trying to promote public health and economic growth and job creation. >> the committee, before i start, is different than some other committees. we ask questions that are asking for yes or no answers. we are trying to seek information. we would appreciate a direct answer. it you or the administrator and are complying with the executive orders and dealing with regulatory reform. that is correct. >> that would be a yes. >> you have a role in ensuring this very important to president executive order.
is that correct? >> yes. >> you are the men. now, when you have a rule and it has economically significant impact in the economy, wouldn't that particular rule require more attention? >> absolutely. >> because there are huge implications of the impact in the economy with this regulatory framework and this risk analysis that should be done in supporting documents. officials have repeatedly claimed that during the obama administration regulatory reviews have been shorted and i'll think that, is that a fair claim? >> no. >> abcaeight. while the impact is much larger,
your staff, i'd think, has remained -- your staff has remained small. i have a graph. it looks like it is wiggling quite a bit. i am trying to show you to charts. the first shows that your room -- reviewing more large complex regulation. the second shows that the agency spends less time on the review. this would be in contrary to we just talked about and you agree to. isn't it true that your office's reviews are shorter in duration? >> do we have a printed chart? >> we do. will the staff give him a chart that is not -- >> moving. isn't it true there shorter in duration than those under previous administrations?
>> i would want to attack those numbers. whether we are as fast, i would want to check. >> why are so many regulations issued after schorr reviews to public comments that they violate the executive order principles? >> i don't agree with the premise of the question. we have about the same number of rules as the first two years of the bush administration. 2007-a the bush administration imposed higher cost than 2000's 9-10. >> i have here a steady that i will insert into the record. it praised the economic analysis and reviewed showing the quality of analysis declined when nephews were shortened. are you familiar? >> i am.
>> to you agree? >> not really. the important thing is not based on the calendar but the degree of attention and care. the same study shows no premonition and quality. we are eager to increase quality and make it better. >> the executive order i cited earlier requiring agencies to identify and a clear and simple matter of the substantive changes between the draft submitted for review and the actions subsequently announced as well as those changes in the regulatory actions that are made at the suggestion or recommendation. despite claiming to be the most transparent administration in history we'll understand the position is that this requirement only applies to the
formal regulatory review process. is that correct? >> i believe that is correct. we're following the bush administration and its predecessor. there has been continuity across republican and democratic administration. i'm not sure what you mean by informal, but it sounded right. >> most the rules are submitted on an informal basis before the draft rule is officially submitted. with respect to significant rules would you be willing to provide changes suggested during the informal review process? >> it is very rare that a rule is submitted and formally. that is not normal practice. it is extremely unusual. all i would say that happens sometimes is there are interagency discussions of rules
we don't have the authority to make changes in those discussions. sometimes the agency describes that the discussions are informative. so in other words informal review is extremely rare. what is not is interagency discussion, and there are no changes made because there are no rule checks. >> you're saying is rare, but was it done? >> in a formal review, no. discussion, but not -- typically not in formal. >> you're saying is rare, but it occurred. >> i would want to go back and see. my own involvement is standard and touring a formal review. i would want to go back and see. >> obviously we probably don't agree on that point.
>> there is informal review which is very rare where someone sends a rule and says what to you tank. in health care context -- >> if you would follow up because you're saying you're not sure that you can remember. just follow up. with that, my questions are complete. >> it sounds like the definition of an informal review is determined to it, in your mind, as somebody actually send text over and it was reviewed and sent back bursas general discussions about potential rules and policies. >> exactly. >> i would like to ask you about the cost of regulation. we keep hearing that the annual cost of deregulation is more
than one and three-quarters trillion dollars. as i understand it the basis for that figure is a september 2010 study the state's the annual cost of drug regulation totaled approximately one and three-quarters trillion dollars. a 0nd breached a different conclusion finding regulatory costs ranged from 62 billion to 73 billion. i am wondering how all they calculate an estimate of total regulatory cost. >> the cure. what we do is to aggregate the cost of all of the rules in one year and then over a 10-year timeframe we can multiplied the number of rules issued by the cost that we generate and then you can have a 10-year as a result. the study to which you refer,
the extraordinary figure is deeply flawed as is a report by the congressional research service. it has become a bit of an urban legend. we share the concern. one implication of that analysis, the united states would be richer if it adopted regulations more like those of sweden or canada even though both the world date and oecd rate those countries as having more restrictive business environment. >> who said that? >> screen and grain. a respect those offers. >> regulations more like sweden and other countries? that is -- >> an indication of their analysis that we would do better if we had regulations. >> and the administration does not agree. >> we do not except. >> one of the reasons why, what
the crs review showed and what others have demonstrated is the estimate was so high in the study is the offer only utilizes the highest cost estimates and tribulations. now, additionally what i have heard is that the authors of the study did not calculate the monetary benefits of regulation where there are benefits. omb found in 2008 annual benefits range from 1,503,000,000,000 tax 806 billion. >> yes. >> can you please tell us how regulation could benefit americans and save money? >> there are various ways. i refer to them know cub rule. that can save money. a lot of concern about rising gasoline price.
if you have more fuel efficient fleets consumers can save money. clarifying savings. a rule that promotes fuel economy can save consumers a lot of money. if you have all of the saves lives, that saves money in the sense that healthier packed living people are good for the economy and the value people health and longevity. in those three different ways we can have significant benefits from regulation. >> it seems to me, i don't want to be implying that more regulation would save more money or fewer regulation would cost or save more money. in truth here have to look at it on a continuum sometimes it's not cost-effective and they should be fixed or repealed, but
sometimes that protect public health and can save money. you have to work and regulation by regulation which is what the administration is trying to do. >> exactly. >> i yield. >> thank-you. familiar with the paper from 3,000 -- 2003. >> vaguely. >> page 14 and this is quoting. older people are treated worse for one reason, they are older. this is not an injustice. the question, some people describe this as the senior discount. your office, oversees
regulation, you will be doing an analysis of the upcoming health and human services rule for the independent payment advisory board in light of this philosophy. i am older than the author. i am starting to blink i'm not sure of the end of what pat again and wrote. not a legitimate part of what you do as a government official part of the team. not focusing on sentences and yon cass sunstein for years ago. it points out an important philosophical approach. and many of us are concerned right now. this is the only plan promoted by the demonstration and they're for the democratic party for
dealing with the cost increases in the medicare program over time. the difficulty that a lot of -- the difficulties that i have with an independent been an advisory board is, for the first time some central planner, maybe a benevolent planner, but one who is pushing data points around on the spreadsheet in far off washington d.c. will be able to tell me where to get my care and when to deny care, but most importantly, when i've had enough. if that's based upon the fact that i am old, that is a troubling relationship. i appreciate your answer, and we will take that at is how you can incorporate that into our evaluation of the independent payment advisory board that the president has popularized as his
approach. our last hearing earlier this year, and i appreciate you coming back. , shifting gears, another example of a mandate that is inconsistent with the executive orders for regulatory efficiency. the epa proposed federal complementation plan for greenhouse gases that would affect the state of texas. probably exclusively the state of texas, but a federal plan implemented because taxes to not meet the requirements under state implementation plan. so the epa said it was necessary to step in. wall street journal. the war on taxes from earlier this year right before you came and testified, this was the result of an error of 18 years.
eighteen years the plan did not address all plans subjected to regulation. so somehow regulators in texas 18 years ago were not able to -- 18 years in the future, and as a consequence the epa will come in and regulate at the federal level of the power, production, electricity in the state of texas. this seems incomprehensible. ..
my recollection is the court said greenhouse gases are pollutant and the epa could not conclude that they weren't. >> we are trying to help the epa with legislation. >> well, the justice scalia said it was a very active debate within the court.deba and when the court said that, is was massive, help the epa thought it had been made a thi mistake or 18 years but instead that it had to do something tolw allow permits to be given out in texas was people to build, a those court decision and permitting practice n if i may that they made impossible because they came back and said you can't do a state implementation plan. we'll take that over at at federal level. texas was the only state singled out for that. and the "wall street journal" article called it political revenge in an effort to intimidate other states from
joining texas in lawsuits. >> i'll tell you something that nicely connected the enterprise we're in with your question is that we're looking back at regulatory practices and epa has one rule i hope will benefit taxes that will eliminate redundant regulatory requirement that costs a lot of money. >> the gentleman's time expired. >> it's fair game to raise that question. >> mr. chairman, i would like to submit this for the record. >> by unanimous consent, so ordered. >> i'd like to review it before its submitted for the record. >> thanks. >> well, we're waiting for her to review it, we'll take -- >> just take the next questions. >> yeah, we'll start. mr. waxman is recognized for 5 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i believe in government because
they can help set the rules in place to make the society of ours and the economy more productive, more competitive, provide for more jobs and also protect the public health and safety and that's what regulations are all about and we hear negative antigovernment and antiregulation statements that you'd wonder what they think would operate in its place except for whatever industry wanted that may or may not be the best for the economy and for our public, but i want to focus on what i think you're hear about to talk about and that's efforts to ensure that executive branch agencies deploy a regulatory process that produces common sense balanced regulations. that should be our goal, and i'm pleased that we're going to look at this topic. in january, president obama directed executive branch agencies to undertake a thorough look back at regulations within
their jurisdictions and to examine ways to make those rules more efficient, more effective, and more reflective of public input at large. at this point, you've received lookback action plans from 30 didn'ts and agencies; is that right? >> that is correct. >> can you tell us the ideas emerging from these department and agency plans? >> happy to do that. there's been a lot of discussion in the last decade for participation from the department of health and human services which are conditions imposed on hospitals and doctors and a lot of these vice president been rescrutinized in light of what's happened on the ground and possible redundancy and changes in medical practice and hospitals over time. hospitals are often concerned that the federal government is too hard on them, hammering them a little bit with respect to regulatory requirements, and hhs has a very detailed discussion
of steps that they are taking to reconsider those requirements. we have in the context of has discard communication from the -- hazard from the department of labor and ocean in particular, there's been suggestion from employers in particular that they need to be harmonized across international lines and things are simpler and less burdensome for them. they proposed the rule and the plan says they're going to finalize it in a hurry. there's been a great deal of discussion about med -- medical devices and innovations in the united states which often these small companies are frying to bring medical devices to market have an adequate process within the fda or if it's too time consuming and difficult. the epa announced a number of initiatives to speeds up that process. that should save a lot of
money. one thing with a potentially large payoff involves exports. we know often small american companies have the best opportunity to grow if they are able to export. one thing we've heard a great deal from in the last year and a half from signal business in particular -- small business in particular is that it's too cumbersome and difficult to navigate the system and there's too many restrictions, and we've taken away some of the restrictions, and we'll take away more. that should promote economic growth not in the long term. >> we hear from members who are frustrated, hearing from their frustrated constituents that a lot of the regulations don't make sense to them. the purpose of the innovations are to see if they are right, and if they are right, bring them up to date and make sure they are basic common sense and tried to accomplish the economic goals as well as the protection
of the public with is another side of it. what happens next in this review process? by the end of the summer, do you expected the agencies to have final regulatory lookback plans in place? >> late august. >> and what will happen then? >> my expectation is that we'll have in late august three tracks. one track will be things that are completed and as i say, we expect a billion dollars in savings to be able to be achieved in the very short term. other things that are on fast tracks in the sense that the rule making apparatus has already got moving. maybe there's a proposed rule out there, maybe we can propose is relatively quickly, and that's the second track which is a potentially rapid for the rules, and then there's a third track where the rule making apparatus has to be inaugust rapted, and my hope is we can
prioritize with the aid and views of the people on this committee and your constituents and the fact of stakeholders and prioritize thing to complete in the relatively short term even though the work is being inaugurated these days and through the summer. >> realm, it appears to me that the president's regulatory review process holds a promise for creating a more effective, efficient, and responsive federal government. i applaud it. it seems to me something that both sides of the aisle will want to see government succeed should welcome so. i certainly encourage your efforts and you in nor efforts and we should be willing in congress to do whatever we need to do to help out. >> thanks so much, thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. we have a vote -- we have just under 10 minutes, and after this, we'll break. we have a second panel, and so i encourage all members to come back. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
mr. sunstein you testified before the committee, i asked you about a rule you imposed with the deepwater moratorium on drilling and that didn't fall under the purview of the types of rules you would review under the executive order. when the rule came out, the signing tisk experts the president appointed disagreed with it. they said it would reduce safety in the gulf and the best rigs leaving the country. they were true unfortunately. we lost over 13,000 jobs, about a dozen rigs to foreign countries. the scientific efforts were correct unfortunately because those terrible consequences happened and so we lost those jobs. safety was surely not improved, and yet under the rule you're taking the position that that type of rule would not fall under your purview. i ask that the rule, make not
properly drawn, if an actual rule that's gone through the process that cost our country 13,000 jobs and according to the scientific experts the president appointed reduces safety and doesn't fall under your purview. is that something to relook at? >> that's a great question. anything with an adverse job effect, we're focused on. our do main is the domain of regulatory actions defined under executive order 1 # 866, and for technical reasons of moratorium doesn't count as regulatory actions. >> right, but should the executive order be updated, amended, revised to take into account those types of rule as well. i'm talking about a rule that cost 13,000 jobs and did not fall in your purview. >> a legitimate question. anything that cost jobs in that
domain or any other domain is part of the lookback process. >> i know the fcc is one of the entities who said they don't fall under the purview, they'd like to be included, and i think there's some other independent agencies that said they would voluntarily like to be involved in this. have you gotten any requests from the fcc or any of these other independent agencies? >> we have gotten a plan actually from the nlrb. that's significant. it's a short blain -- >> i heard it's a one-page plan. >> sure it is. >> of all the independent agencies, you have one page to review? >> we very much hope for more. >> this is it? >> we very much hope for more. >> you have not had anything else? >> you're right. the independent agencies have not delivered plans, but we are hopeful and encouraging them to engage in a lookback process.
>> yeah, and i know we had our meeting with the president on wednesday. i think you were there. one of the questions asked to the president was specifically relating to the epa, and we've had this conversation with the epa on many of the proposed rules and regulations that have no impact on improving safety. it's much more alignedded with the political agenda and ideology rather than safety, and, in fact, the epa has almost bragged that they don't have to comply with the rule. we brought this to the president's attention. has anything changed in that regard? >> the epa is very clearly complying with the executive order, and you've seen both a plan for the epa which is detailed. it has 31 suggestions for reforms, and the epa will be considering what comes in in the next period to add to that 31, and the epa's recent rules have been detailed in their
compliance with the executive order including their analysis of what you point to, job impacts. >> can you give our committee any examples of where you said no to the epa in any of their rules and regulationings or the department of interior for that matter? >> the way we work with epa and interior is collaborative rather than anything else, and you can see that -- >> have y'all collaborated in a way where some of their proposals were rolled back? >> you can see a number of their rules when they were finalized were far more modest than when they were proposed. >> can you send examples to our committee of cases both the previous proposal and then the rolled back proposal that i guess ultimately made its way into -- i don't know if it made it all the way to regulation or just further in the process. >> we can show examples, and i know the national association of
manufacturers particularly applauded the concern >> the gentlemen's time expired, and we just -- >> i appreciate that. >> complete the answer and then we'll call it recess. >> the epa's action with respect to the boiler mack rule including a recent stay and also a scale back in response. >> appreciate it if you get us that information, and thanks, i yield back. >> we don't have any objection to the article being entered. >> okay. the article will be made part of the record and we'll reconvene right after the vote. thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> thank you, and i appreciate you being here today. i'm reflecting back on a quote from ronald reagan that says it's not my intention to do away with government, raptor than to make it work with us, not over us, stand by our side, not ride our back. government must and can provide opportunity, not smother it, foster opportunity and not stifle it. he said that in 1981, and i think we can agree. nobody said we don't like regulations. they do provide a role in health and safety, but there's am by giewty added on. when the administration came out with the executive order in january of this year, it said that regulations should be evaluated that are difficult and are those measures that you use when you review regulations? >> our principle focus as the previous sentence of the executive order emphasizes is cost and benefits and quantified so our focus is how much does
this cost? what is the benefits? that's the principle focus. .. or returning veterans for example and can't use bathrooms without assistance, dignity. >> one of the things we had a hearing on the other day had to do with yucca mountain and this law clearly states when these licenses and other things go forward action is as is to be taken and yet now we hear a new standard coming out that we are supposed to look at issues of consensus and social consensus in those areas. and get what you just said was you don't have the authority to overturn laws.. i'm assuming that the department of energy is one of the serioush you can have oversight over?
>> yes. >> you intend to have any discussion with them with regars to if they decide to ignore the law based on a new standard that is not in the law? law? >> i should say fidelity to lock is ever first foundations and that's the requirement of everything we do we oversee the doe rulemakings, so if there is rulemaking authority in the demand we would as a matter of course engage with them and if there isn't something as an honor of course we would engage with them on, we would be happy to engage with them. >> i think it's extremely valuable if you can report to the committee on that issue because law is quite clear but that a part of energy is doing that is supporting that look at the new standards is also quite clear and we need to have your response. will you submit it? another issue has to do with impact of the health care bill of small-business is.
according to the administration estimates its regulations are going to force employers as much as 80% of small businesses coverage the next two years and that is a big concern. are you aware of that assessment of impact? >> that particular number was not aware of but i know of the general concern. >> when you get cost-benefit analysis and we are seeing numbers grow in terms of the cost of the health care bill and we see estimates that are not 9 million people will lose their benefits of 30, 40, 80 million even of those exceeding with the estimates to provide health care and equal or double that amount may lose health care and so along those lines have you been pushed in any way to move rules through quicker despite information like that? >> no can you believe finalizing any of the rules based upon how the agencies have handled or incorporated public comment and
response from the business community? >> the basic answer is yes and we often engage for lengthy periods with agencies because of those public comments and i spend a lot of personal time on the website netz regulation.gov study in those comments. the only qualification is as you suggest fidelity to the wall is our first obligation and if the law requires action or action by a certain we have to respect that. >> when republicans at the white house this week the president was asked questions by the epa regulation looking at cost benefit analysis how would we look at that in terms of the impact on jobs as well and that was the standard for all we had to adhere to and of the congress wanted to do something otherwise we should change those law and certainly i agree with him once level of the land is there but the question also becomes of how you act. you're in a position of
considerable authority and so on these areas of delay or pushback have you ever done so to any agency can you give an ex symbol of how you have pushback and how you need to delay putting on this regulation until we analyze it or until you come up with a cost-benefit analysis? >> 100 laurels have been in with drawn from the review and the reason for the withdrawal is sufficient engagement with issues of cost and economic impact so you can see that. you can also see often the final rule comes out a lot different from the proposed rule often it's a lot less expensive and less burdensome and sometimes proposed rules to start finalized because there aren't significant concerns from the standpoint you have raised and the agency review that involves not just the opposite information regulatory affairs
the department of commerce, the ek economic advisors plays a role. >> how about pushback, healthcare rules? have you done any of that? >> our first obligation with respect to the health care will is to obey the law. >> what have you pushed back? >> i wouldn't want to phrase it pushback. we worked with the agencies to make sure the costs are as low as possible and make sure the burdens are reduced. you may have noticed with respect to the grandfathering rules there was an amendment to the rule that responded very concretely to the concerns from affected sticklers about excessive burdens and there has been a lot that has been done and we and others have been participating in that in trying to make sure that the implementation -- >> i'm not sure i'm getting an answer. has it happened? >> let me reword it this way because employers routinely change but keep the same benefits to cut health care costs without any change in
coverage. in the interim final rule or the grandfathering plans issued in january, excuse me, june of last year employer plans lost the grandfather status for changing the carriers regardless with their benefits remain the same city you believe health and human services should have instead proposed a rule open to comments of stakeholders who could have advised the own decision before the problem began? >> what i say about that is the interim final rules receive comment and the hhs should be and is, has been highly responsive to those comments in the particular case you give so responsive as to amend in a hurry the rule to respond to some of the most concerns and we all discussed that. it's also the case there were q&a la guidance clarifications that were very responsive to concerns raised buy exactly the
people to whom you refer and that's good governance. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> i see no one on the democrat side. we will go to the chairman emeritus joe barton from texas for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> congressman burgess was speaking to us some rules in texas, and i'm going to follow that but in a little bit different way. are you familiar with the 2.5 rall that the epa is, getting to replace the care standards that were ruled not in compliance with the clean air act several years ago? >> yes ibm. >> are you aware that i think just this week or maybe last
week the epa disallowed texas state implementation plan and put down some requirements that if implemented are probably going to shutdown 25% of texas electricity generation capacity? >> and the clean air transport draft? >> it's but just came out. >> that oral is under review now, and so my understanding is that nothing has been done along the lines used just described. >> i want to give you an opportunity to demonstrate real accountability. my understanding is the office
of that you hold is the president's direct link to reviewing all the various regulations except those that are specifically exempted by the order in other words, you're the president's man who makes sure that all these myriad agency regulations do pass some minimum test for cost-benefit and things like that. and you're supposed to review every significant order etc., etc.. i want to read you what the epa said about this interstate transfer decision they just handed down. it says all this proposed action is not a significant regulatory action under the term of the exit of order 12866 therefore not subject to review under
executive order will 866 and 136553. it's going to shut down 25% of the power generation and texas that's not significant? do you consider it significant? >> under our executive order it has $100 million of annual cost or significant impact on a sector area that counts as a significant so if you like i will definitely look into that. >> i want you to do more than definitely look into it. i want you to do something about it. if your agency to disagrees with the regulatory decision can you stop it? >> if there's a regulatory action we have the authority to stop it to the extent consistent with law.
we have seen 100 withdrawals of rules and that speaks for itself. >> i'm going to read you something. this is generated by the state of texas so that's the source. it says the only way to achieve the epa's be have contemplated the emission reduction mandate by 2012 compliance which is next year will in fact be to cease operating of the affected units from the year leading to the loss of jobs, shutdown of mines and serious risk to electric reliability. now keep in mind, texas is in compliance in terms of the standards. keep in mind the regions
affected by texas, st. louis and i think baton rouge have just been declared in compliance and get the epa has come out in the last week and stipulated by next year texas has to achieve an additional 34% reduction in the answer to emissions. we achieved a 33% reduction the last ten years and the next six months we have to achieve 34% more or shut down the plant's. i think that is pretty significant >> i think you said one of my favorite words of english language and that is proposed. this is a proposed rule, correct? notte final? >> from the standpoint of those concerns that's excellent news and has happened the last two years something's been proposed
not deemed significant and further assessment and public concern it has been deemed significant at the final stage and there has been oira and saltzman commesso -- we will definitely take a look at that. >> my time is expired but i'm going to work with chairman stearns and ranking member degette and chairman upton and ranking member waxman. we are going to follow-up on this, and we are going to expect -- we are going to work cooperatively with you and your staff. but if you have any authority now is the time to exercise it. >> thank you, gentlemen. mr. solomon is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding this hearing and mr. sunstein for being here. what is the process for determining whether a regulation is subject to executive order? >> the basic idea is it is
significant meaning does it have $100 million annual cost on the economy or benefit by the way and $100 million in in pact dennett can be deemed significant also if it affects a factor or an area so there can be something that falls short of the $100 million threshold but nonetheless an economic effect or generates novel issues of policy or law. so the net is wide but it doesn't include routine or mechanical kind of daily monday in things. >> i have right here a proposal to a disapproval of oklahoma's implementation plan for the regional i and i talked to you a little before about that. epa proposes to disapproved the plan and they did what they were told to and the achieved the goals that were supposed to be achieved coming yet at a much
less cost, yet the federal government stepped in and sit know we are going to implement our federal implementation plan which has a much more aggressive time line and will cost ratepayers almost $2 million what i'd like to know did oira review this proposal? >> federal implementation plan we would review the decision to go forward with that. a disapproval of the state implementation plan isn't a rule. so that we would not review. >> i've introduced a bill recently called the treen act and i talked to a little about that. requires a cumulative analysis of the regulations that intact america's manufacturing energy prices to understand how they will impact the competitiveness and job creation. will you and the administration supports this? >> three words used, the a cumulative cost competitiveness
and job creation that are very much our focus prominent in the executive order and this is something daily we are attending to. with respect to legislation, my own plane is a narrow one of the implementation and i defer to others on that issue. >> i talked to the white house and the president about this and the scene supportive but i don't know if they are telling me that to placate me, it could be, but mr. sunstein you are an intelligent man there's no doubt about it and in the administration you are highly regarded what you say carries a lot of depth and wait and will you tell the president you think that he should sign that bill? >> i tend not to tell the president -- >> i think he would listen to you so. he doesn't know all this stuff like you. if you come in and a guy like you is going to say okay i think we will do it he might have done that when we were the colleagues at the university chicago.
>> he's good at some things and you're good at other things and i think you could be a big impact on him on this and i hope you can because i've never -- i go around my district oklahoma, around the country, i never heard people talk about the epa like they are now. people are tuned in this is costing and everything that is thomas passed down to consumers. it's not on the businesses, they just pass it through so we have to keep that in mind and it does affect competitiveness in jobs and the economy. mr. sunstein, you talked -- you said good things today and i hope he will support this because i think it's something we should do and i don't think it's too much to ask to do cost-benefit analysis of the global competitiveness and jobs. >> appreciate it. >> the gentle lady from tennessee is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. try. mr. sunstein, i think you can tell that we are all hearing from our constituents and they are frustrated with what is coming from this administration. i started in january dillinger
listening sessions to our employers and our districts. they were jobs related listening sessions. i mentioned that to you the last time we talked and they are incredibly frustrated with as one of my constituents said you know, we used to get an update on i will, periodic one page update. now the regulation comes in and reams of paperwork, and it's such a heavy burden that the jobs numbers today should not surprise you all because what you're doing isn't working. so this should be instructive to you, and i hope we can work with you on this and i know that you all are saying we've got a draft proposals that are out there we need input, and what the input is coming back to do is you are on the wrong track.
so if you are on the wrong track, sir, please advise the administration to change what they are doing. now, i know that the executive order is the 16563 that we are discussing. independent regulatory agencies are not to be subject to the review. but these agencies are coming in by using your words, encouraged to do so on a voluntary basis and to perform the retrospective analysis of existing rules and you hoped they would do that is that correct? >> that's correct. >> i have a june 1st letter to the editor in "the wall street journal" where commissioner from the cpsc notes that under the obama administration the cpsc, and i'm quoting her, has ignored the recent direction to look for in the eliminate burdensome regulations. we are just too busy putting out new regulations, and of quote.
i've got to tell you that is the kind of thing that we are hearing from our employers is frustrating to them. so let me ask you this. among the 30 preliminary draft plans that are supplied by the agency by oira may 18th and released on the white house website, did any of them come from the fcc, the ftc, cpsc, ferc or the nrc? >> nope. >> what will be your next step to address it? >> i'm hopeful, and i said in writing and i will say right now that we would very much like the independent agencies to engage in this look back process. >> i've got to tell you the american people are hopeful for jobs and you'll troubled. they are getting tired of this
and they are expecting us to take some action. and what you are doing with sending out all these regulations is wrong if it's going to have a $100 million in pact we are going to pull it in here and hold dewaal accountable and the american people are going to hold you accountable for this. you've got to find a way to get these agencies to get some of this regulation of the book. let me ask you about one and a half minutes left the accountable care organizations. health care in the tennessee is a very important industrial sector for us. the proposed rule on the accountable care organization is incomprehensible. huge it's incomprehensible. there is a group representing some of these organizations such as the mayo clinic for the administration saying that more than 90% of its members would not participate because the rules, not the rule has written are so onerous that would be
nearly impossible for them to succeed. i'm hearing the same thing from my constituent companies, in addition the regulations were stated to be overly prescriptive, operationally burdensome and the incentives are too difficult to achieve to make this voluntary program attractive. one of the major problem seems to be the medical groups have little experience in managing insurance risks in the administration blueprint rapidly exposing them to potential financial losses. what has oira world and in reviewing the rule today for the account of your organization? >> the quote fugate is reminiscent to the meaningful use rule which the hhs proposed a while back. >> and there are problems with that, too aren't there? >> we are hearing about those problems with the meaningful use
role. >> and can potentially of -- >> are we going to speed the process of? >> i would like nothing -- >> how we help to speed that process up? >> there are two things. first, this very hearing in your interest in making sure what is on the plans are not implemented already or are not on each fast-track that they are implemented in a hurry. your ideas what should be on the plan that aren't on the plan are very welcome with respect to that the rule is you raise i said is a little pitiful. >> should we retrieve the rulemaking authority and address it still charlie? >> i would say the act has a mechanism and the word proposed not just because i recently married but also because the fundamentally constructive nature of proposed rules or interim final where you get a
chance for people to fix things. i've heard the concerns to which you point and our role will be trying to address those concerns. >> my time has expired but i would just like to place a motherly reminder actions speak louder than words and the american people have gotten very tired. they are fatigued with the talk. >> thank the gentleman from colorado. stomachs before mr. chairman and mr. sunstein for appearing to answer some questions. do you believe they have an overregulation problem in the united states? >> yes or no answer i am pleased to give, yes. >> u.s if you disagree with some of the others we have a price tag in mind of the overregulation but i hope to be able to cut the leadership of
the agencies to cut three existing cost down very significantly. >> with the cost can be right now and what we can say is we already cut hundreds of millions and in a short term will be able to cut a billion. if we aren't able to cut billions of this process the would be a surprise to the >> executive order 563 specifies that regulations should promote job creation and regulation should impose the least burden on society. when were the your office of edify with our rules promote job creation or whether they will result in job destruction? >> okay what we have been doing is working carefully with the agency's credit and guidelines approach we've been working with agencies when a role has potential job impact to make sure that is addressed fully. >> will you be issuing
guidelines for the analysis to identify the rules? >> it's an interesting question whether this should be done by a guide line verse is rule by roel basis and we've been focusing on 530 plants in the last month. >> you will not be issuing guidelines. >> we are focusing laser light on the job impact of rules and you can see actually with of rules with strong or amended in the last month in part because of concerns about the job impact some of them very prominent so this is something we've been doing on a daily basis. whether this should be done through guidelines or not it's an interesting question it's consistent with the executive order and also some words on this to focus on job impacts and rules whether guidelines are useful or not as i say that's an interesting question and very worth considering. >> under the process you're considering that are you going
to require methods of analysis that account for the direct and indirect impact or will your office follow the epa lead? we had testimony from the assistant administrator of the epa and ignored the job losses that resulted from shutting down facilities. >> i believe that testimony was focused on a rule issued before the recent executive order, and under the recent executive order job in pacts have been and will continue to be discussed. >> but it requires a look back so they should have done a look back on that. >> well if epa, the role you are referring to is a proposed rule where there is extensive set of comments including comments that involve job impact and would be very surprising if those impacts were not carefully addressed before the rule was issued in terms of look back process we are very much concerned with the prioritizing the look back so as to get job growth going.
>> there are a number of studies i have one right here in my hands a number of studies that show health effects associated with job loss, health effects and impact on family and back on education, if the rule is expected to shut down a facility, shut down a business or reduce employment, do you think the cost to americans as a seated in the shutdown should be considered under to exceed of order? >> i'm aware of that empirical literature it's an interesting set of findings. what i would say is the job in pectorals definitely should be addressed whether the health impact still are a consequence of job impacts should be addressed is a little bit of a frontier's question of social science i know the literature to which your pointing and existing allin the documents don't require that, but it's certainly worth thinking about. >> right now you're not taking into account impacts on children or families when they lose a job
as a result of -- >> to take account of a job in pacts which as i say is a central focus of ours is to consider job impact on families and children. the word job impact in ordinary language especially in the current economic environment, even before the word jogging pact naturally calls out adverse effects on families and children. >> are you aware of rules of the department of transportation real regarding the counties tens of thousands of not more dollars each? >> yes and i am aware the secretary of transportation is very concerned about that and pulled back on the rules. >> so they have a pullback on the rules? >> absolutely. he personally has been in the two engaged. the rule that was causing the public concern was pulled back and there's reassessment. and you can be sure that the most vocal and convincing
concerns about the unjustified cost have been well heard by the department of transportation. >> i think the gentleman's the time is expired. mr. griffith is recognized for five minutes. >> the executive order 13563 states the regulatory actions must be based on the best available science. your office has primary responsibility for helping the president and chief the subjective. you may be aware there's a pending science decision of the national toxicology program that involves the listing status of formaldehyde and an upcoming report on carcinogens. this listing status is important as the basis for the regulatory actions that may be taken now or in the future by the epa and other federal agencies and in addition affect the market place purchasing legal decisions in the near future. my understanding is that the studies and the data sets reviewed by the ndp and its on willing decision making process are the same as those used in the draft of formaldehyde
assessment by the epa. as you may know the national academy of sciences recently called that epa draft assessment into question and raised serious concerns suggesting the assessment is in need of substantial revision at the very best. i assume you agree the government must of consistent, coordinated and scientific positions on matters of public health considering the inconsistent positions of fundamental science issues between the bodies can you assure me that you will personally be involved in retrieving this issue and insuring any policy decision made by the ndp will reflect the best available and sound science including recommendations and conclusions of the national academy? also, oira from times times has engaged in the academy of sciences to review the scientific evidence and provide an assessment will you engage on the questions at hand in the report prior to this release?
>> thank you for that. our domain, our central demand and falls regulation and will making and the best available science crucial to that and we care a lot about the national academy of sciences i work closely with the president's adviser john holguin and the office of science and technology policy to make sure the science is right on the issue raised its not rule making in the sense with our normal domain, but i can promise you that in the next 24 hours i will discuss this with john holder in. >> let me let you know why i'm concerned that it. we heard the regulations are good and in some cases i'm not sure they are always good for jobs but sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't but formaldehyde is of great concern in the county alone we have an industry that employs over 600 people. we are also looking at an announcement in the next week we are going to lose jobs in that same county.
the county is 17,000 people come and we are looking based on regulations over the course of the next couple of years we have a good chance of losing it of regulations go into effect, and you can do the multiplied years and realize that in the areas where the money tends to stay in the community, and i am talking about the county, not one count of all the town sat up to 17 so the county that has the 600 jobs based on the industry that uses formaldehyde is extremely significant and it's not the only county in the district where jobs can be impacted by these regulations, so i ask you to look into that. let me switch over to another subject of interest in the district and that is the regulations we do appreciate that the epa did decide not to regulate and i assume you stand by your statement in your opening statement both written and oral as to that and i appreciate that. it's also fair to say that those regulations treating milk animal
fats as an oil never actually went into effect if they had been etkin had been kicked down the road for some time and without the april 12th epa announcement that they were going to exempt the products you mentioned in your written statement. without that exemption they would have been regulated in november this year is that not correct? >> it is mostly correct. my understanding is the coverage of milk was real and into law enforcement, and this is a good thing, was not firm, so it was an enforcement, kind of an enforcement limbo. >> without the action on april 12th the enforcement would have begun november. >> that's correct. >> i appreciate that. thank you very much and i appreciate your work on trying to save jobs like so many others that is the main concern in our district, and we hope that you have the presence here and can
convince him to some of the regulations that have already gone into effect and not propose and not willing to affect whether they will cost jobs like the regulation would have done. >> thank the gentleman from texas mr. green is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and mr. sunstein. i would like to talk about the importance of regulations on protecting the economy and an advance of the hearing you wrote german upton and chairman stearns sharing our concerns of burdensome regulations and investment and chasing jobs overseas. i have an industrial base and i share that concern. although i am concerned about some of my republican colleagues that the regulations regardless hurt the economy, and let me give you an example of the years of deregulation brought the market to the point of collapse in 2008. the federal reserve had the authority to stop the practices that fueled thus the prime
mortgage market and chairman greenspan refused to regulate the industry. the security exchange commission relaxed its that cattle will in 2000 for aligning investment banks to increase the ratio to 33 period one. the treasury proposed legislative efforts for the transparency and oversight concerning foot trading in energy derivatives. the office of thrift supervision and control remained for protecting home buyers from predatory lending and was the result in the fall of 2008 from the united states collapsed this economic crisis created a recession called the -- causing 8 million americans to lose their jobs. from the t.a.r.p. oversight panel the concluded had regulators given adequate attention to any of one of the key areas of transparency in fairness we might have averted the worst aspect of the crisis.
mr. sunstein, this oversight panel concluded the lack of regulation was a primary cause of financial crisis. my first question is do you agree with the findings of the oversight panel and is this a case where the lack of regulation harmed the economy and caused the nation to lose millions of jobs? >> in general agreement with that. >> the increase of government, any increase of government rules and regulations, do they hurt the economy? >> depends on the rules in the regulations. some do and some don't. >> hopefully we learned our lesson the we have to keep learning a lesson we saw during the financial crisis targeted effective regulations can provide and receive cards for the economy and we hope we remember the government regulations can play an important role in protecting the country and citizens but on the other hand i see a lot of what i think our release. silly regulations and how did
they get to that point? and i tell people congress is the only institute known to man that can turn an elephant into a draft. sometimes i think the committee is coming up to the regulations can do the same thing. mr. chairman, that's -- i appreciate the opportunity to ask these questions. >> i thank the gentleman, and mr. sunstein, we are going to do a second round, so we want to to much longer. i will start out with i want to go back to the chart up there. i think we have given you a copy of the chart. did you know that that charge came from the web page regnf.gov? >> i did not but it's one of m >> i did not but it's one of my favorite and 3 regnf.gov? >> i did not but it's one of my favorite and i trust it. >> assuming that that information is correct if you look at the draft again, you will see that the fell one graph shows the number increasing in
the number of regulations that have economic significance in that review by the oira from 2008, 2009. do you see that? >> i do. >> he would assume it came from your web site that that's accurate? >> i would. >> then you go to the second graph and see that during the same time, particularly in the 2000, 2010 and 2009 the average duration for those reviews have gone down. do you agree with that? >> that looks about right. i wouldn't put a lot of weight on the fact. >> let me finish. the information came from your web site that you approve, it's accurate, you agree that the first graph is correct and the second is correct, so i guess going back to the first question where you disagree i guess that you would now agree the second chart shows less time and review of the regulations and you would have to agree with the chart.
>> i tell you what i want to see before signing off on that the left hand chart says economically significant rules are reviewed and the right-hand chart says average duration of the regulatory review. most of the rules review it are not economically significant. so, what i believe is the case, the why would want to see the chart to make sure, is that in 2010, our average duration for the rules in general is pretty close to the predecessor. i believe that's true but i want to see the chart to make sure. >> well, i'm glad you agree that the charts are accurate. i think that you are parsing your words here by saying the actual wording of our title you might not agree with. >> it's not semantics. we review significant rules that are not economically significant. economically significant or just a well under 50% of the rules we review. so, what we want to compare is the significant rules of the
average review time or the -- >> okay. all right. it sounds like the chicago professor at lot. i think the point we are trying to make is you have had more economically significant rules in the years from 2008 to 2010 and at the same time the actual review and economic impact has gone down so that's the point we want to make and we want you to understand that you might come back with a little different interpretation but these can from your web page. let me move on to my next set of questions dealing with end of life care rules. during your last appearance you testified that the decision to include the end of life care rolls into the medicare regulation was inappropriate and the american people deserve to see the content of the rules before they are finalized. do you still agree? >> absolutely. >> are you aware that on
march 3rd, 2011 and appearance before the subcommittee on health, psychiatry sebelius freely admitted that she made the decision to public this regulation without notice our public comment. were you aware of that? >> i was not. >> that is based upon what he said she did not comply with that. have you ever had any discussion with secretary sebelius about this submission? >> secretaries sebelius was very responsive to the concern that this had not been adequately ventilated by the public and that was promptly corrected on exactly the ground he stayed and that was the secretary's decision. >> so here we have in the care who rules in medicare, controversial to say the least. and she agreed that she had not even sought public notice. don't you find that as a word
preposterous? >> i think what happened is that long before anything like that went into effect the correction was made and there is a good thing. >> but you agree she was incorrect by not asking for public comment? >> well, hhs i think what they formally said is not the haven't asked for public comment but it hadn't been adequately ventilated by the public. >> ventilated? not in the sense of a year but -- >> do you think those particular rules, and of life care should certainly have asked publicly for public comment and in a very clear manner unambiguous set of the american people have confidence? that seems to be basic wouldn't you agree? >> that's why the secretary amended the rule. >> was your office every from the decision to include this
regulation? >> we saw the regulation -- >> yes or no? and answer is no. were materials provided by the hhs about the regulation to you? >> the regulation was presented to us. >> could you segment those to the record for us? >> the regulation is the same that was published. >> but i had asked for the materials, not the regulation, the materials. >> i don't believe any independent materials were provided. >> has your office ever been contacted about the possibility of including and of life care rules into future regulation? >> no. >> at this point do you feel that the analysis for the end of life care rules are sufficient by the administration and a comment period that it's an adequate? >> would understand is the provision to which you object has been eliminated and i
support the secretary's decision. >> and so we don't think it will ever come up and again the rule for the end of life care? >> we are in the business of reviewing rules that come before us i would defer to the secretary. >> but your understanding is by her unending and pulling this that there is not going to be any further end of life who rules or are they going to be amended -- >> i would defer to her on any such issues. >> all right. my time is expired. >> i recognize the gentlelady. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. sunstein, in your testimony you talked about how initiatives described in the preliminary if regulatory fullback plans by the agencies to potentially save billions of dollars in the future. can you describe some of the steps that agencies have taken that have already led to
significant cost savings for individuals and businesses? >> yes. we have from dhs something that happened in december which was a reporting requirement imposed by the airlines. it's 1.5 million hours. so that 1.5 million hours has been eliminated already. i mentioned the epa rule it also exempted biomass from the greenhouse gas permitting requirement. something that was of great interest to the volume as industry. it's a three-year exemption particularly launder that will have significant economic consequences, and now what was announced they will finalize $500 million burden reduction initiative, and we have a number of initiatives that actually work announced long before the president's executive order promised over 60 million hours of annual burden reductions and i don't know how much an hour is
worth but even if it is worth relatively little, which i don't believe that 60 million ellers turns into a lot of money. >> as you described in your testimony, now that you have had the comment turkomen the public process i think you said now through august of the agencies are actually going to be looking at a more exact way that they can cut regulatory burdens and start implementing the plan on would assume august from september; is that correct? >> exactly. >> i hate to do this to you but i suggested to the chairman that we have you come back in the fall after the labor day and talk about what progress has been made over the summer because just like you, we are very committed to comments and regulatory reform. it's like i said to you before, at least my view i always been a
proponent of the regulatory reform but i don't think the regulation is the necessary -- i don't think the regulations personally have values attached to them. i don't think that they're inherently good or bad. i think some regulations are helpful and they can protect the public interest and save money, and i think some are overly burdensome. i think that is the view that you share and the administration shares, correct? so if you can come back and let us know what kind of progress you have made, i think there would be helpful. would you be willing to do something -- >> i would be delighted. >> one of the things the executive said is that he wants to tayler -- the president wants to taylor regulations to cause the least burden on the society, and a lot of our concerns on both sides of the always the concern about regulatory burdens on small businesses. so i am wondering if you could talk to me about what you see
all ready and not what you see coming ahead this summer to reduce the regulatory burden specifically on small businesses. >> on the same day that the president issued the executive order, he issued a memorandum on small business, protecting small business from justified regulation, and with the memorandum does is two things. first it reiterates and underlines the requirement of the bigot pachauri flexibility act an extremely important statute for small business. second, it goes further by saying if an agency is not going to have flexibility for small business such as a delayed compliance, they are partial or total exemption simplified reporting requirements specifically explain itself. now we have seen in the last months some prominent actions by capital all departments to eliminating burden for small business. sometimes reporting burdens, sometimes not reporting burdens
and sometimes regulatory burdens. and in the two important cases by pulling the rules back so as to engage in the small business community to see if there is a way of doing it would be minimal the burdensome on them. >> one of the things i noticed i was thinking about this when i talked to businesses in my district small and large, one of the great frustrations is obsolete regulations that have reporting requirements that are based on lack of technology and now that the technology and moved ahead and they say why can't we just report electronically, why do we have to sell all of these forums, too? is the administration doing anything to specifically address those concerns? >> absolutely and we have heard the same thing. it sounds more small potatoes than it is. small businesses we can do it electronically. you are having us do all this paperwork which is a mess for
us. if you look through the plans you will see numerous initiatives from numerous agencies that they were going to go from paper to electronic and we have a little precedent here actually not so little, the department of treasury has a paperless initiative that's going to save $500 million in the next few years by a eliminating the use of paper. taxpayer dollars we hope to transfer that. >> let me ask if you can get somebody from your staff to send an e-mail listing all of those initiatives so we know what's going on and communicate that to our constituents. thank you. >> the gentlelady's time is expired. dr. burgess is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and we are appreciative of you spending so much time with us today. you wrote a piece for "the wall street journal" 21st century of regulation and an update on the
president's reforms. you talked about let's stop copying over spilt milk but to set the record straight everyone in this town loves to blame all the problems on the world on the previous administration but sometimes we need to give credit where it is due to the administration and the spilled milk for will actually was proposed in the federal register january 15th of 2009, which was a few days before the president took the oath of office. is that correct? >> our final rule is much more aggressive in its deregulation than the bush proposal. >> all right, give the president credit when we talk about that. i do have to follow up with some of the questions ms. blackburn asked because the apco insect mr. chairman if i may ask today's politico deputy secretary health and human services now at the hudson institute senior fellow at the hudson institute said it's time to address the rules and gives a
very good description they actually are a concept started with the group demonstration project under the secretary michael levin in the previous administration and while perhaps they are not my individual favorite, they may have been a bipartisan approach to bring down the cost of delivering health care in the country particularly with in the medicare system. many clinics across the country had embraced this concept. but when they were left with a mismatch of regulations they said we can't do this. this doesn't work yet it was working in their demonstration projects in psychiatry lippitt's administration. one of the things he found is that they put a 2% savings before they got to participate in the shared savings there was a 2% barrier and into the rule it's now 10% to almost 4%. so what they found an undersecretary leavitt was only four out of the ten practices as
i recall the position practice demonstration project data only four were actually able to meet the barker, and now we have in fact increased the bar and meet the higher. is that a positive step in this regulation? >> the rules proposed in your comments and those of your staff as well as those of your constituents are not just welcomed but are needed so we got this right. >> just to be clear we've got a hard deadline do we not in the affordable care active january 1, 2012? so this rule has to be revised or repos. the clinics have to escalate the state of and decide whether or not they can meet the statutory and of the financial requirements which are significant ball by january 1st, 2012, is that correct? >> if we could in four months produce 600 pages of look back plans with hundreds of rules to be revised and we can get that done on the schedule. >> you can get it done but i am
talking about a guy singer and mako clinic, i'm talking about gunderson lutheran. are these organizations going to be about, through the complex financial analysis that's going to be required, in order to meet its january 12012 deadline? >> the statutory deadline, yes? >> well, we are going to do our best -- >> use it to ms. blackburn no more legislative interference was necessary but i would submit to que perhaps we do need to amend this secret document to allow clinics more time to analyze why you're going to put forward. what is the minimum financial outlay clinic is going to have to come up with to institute an accountable care organization by your reckoning? >> i don't have a secure for that. this is a proposed rule where all these issues are under discussion. >> the figure that's given is like $1.8 million that the hospital association estimates it's going to be between 11 to
$25 million. so it's a significant financial investment and doctors should be in the driver's seat. if they are going to deliver on the promise as a patient i want my doctor to be in charge. i don't want my health plan to be in charge, i don't want the insurance company to be in charge. but the doctors are in a poor position to be able to manage the financial out late because not only did you have to pay the startup cost of all of the things, the ancillary personnel, the electronic health records and all the things required for the disease management care coordination, but he also have got to manage against the financial risk of taking on a group of patients who has a set of chronic illness which is ideally what they are going to be a managing. and here's the problem we have. we are trying to figure out what to do with the sustainable growth rate for mia lee and many people think the model may be the way we can visit to a different way of payment so we stopped paying for stop and pay for wellness and you deliver to
us a regulation that is so confusing that the people who report to be able to do this are now shaking their heads and walking away, and we have got six months to fix the problem. >> i appreciate that and you are clearly a specialist in this and we need your help to get it right. there was a somewhat analogous controversy over the regulation under the americans with disabilities act, chamber of commerce incidentally raised many questions about lack of clarity and overreaching and the first people out of the box to celebrate what the eeoc finalized was the chamber of commerce. so my hope is we can fix this. >> i'm going to submit a question in writing that deals with the fda and medical device because we've heard a lot of testimony about that in this committee. it's extremely important issue and the fda guidance documents under development by the agency and out of a streamlining process is going to impact those it is incredibly important.
not for the manufacturing in the country but america's patience and patience in the future. thank you. >> thank you. >> the gentleman mr. bilbray for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, one of the things that's frustrated me after 35 years in public life in one way or the other, working with regulatory agencies and being in a regulatory agency is the huge gap between the intention of the legislation and the attwell application. gooding symbol would be wouldn't you agree that any environmental law that is being implemented in a manner that hurts the environment, you know, may not be obviously was not being implemented in the manner with the legislative intent. would you agree that no environmental law should hurt
the environment? sounds right? give me an example what we've got. we've had for a long time in san diego. the clean water act requires going to secondary activated sludge for sewage treatment. the institutional father of the greenhouse gas issue stood up and demanded that we take a second look at law, and as you know we we require that you do environmental assessment. the environmental review said not implementing the law would be the best environmental option that there are negative in their middle impacts, the habitat to the ocean introducing chemicals, the air pollution, but the bureaucracy still is caught on this issue that don't confuse us with a scientific fact. we have the law and is is you got to do this no matter what. and we have been fighting this battle for 20 years, and we are
still running into this issue. don't you think that the administration has two ways to do this. either make the call like the judge did we had to have a judge in the sierra club and the health department suing the epa to force them not to put this in, that's interesting coalition because remember the county of environmental health is from my find republicans. either accept that or come back and ask us to change of the law to allow the items to be done. how would you propose we handle that kind conflict? >> i don't know the particular controversy. i know some of the names. the first obligation of the executive branch is to follow the law. so it's profoundly to be hoped that following the law is environmentally desirable, and by and large that is the case, the clean air act as noted previously -- the clean air act
is the wonders particularly good data on overwhelming health benefits but there's good data on the benefits of clean air act also so have to follow the law. .. act was quantified. you actually know, you spend as much money, you reduce this many metric tons, you say this many lives per million, right? >> right. >> the clean water act doesn't do that. mostly because it predated the clean air act and it's not sophisticated enough. wouldn't you admit that maybe we got to be sitting down and talking about quantifying the clean water act, because the clean water act are vigilant really was an act to allow pollutants?>> chica dumpi chicago dumping into river that went intothe a ohio all the way
down to new orleans rather clean up their mess from what they historically did. one of implementing what you've told us to do, so i wouldn't want to comment just in my little domain on what you should do tomorrow, but i would say that the executive order makes a very strong plea for quantify cation for costs and benefits, and that would apply to the clean water act. >> let me shift over. is there anything that requires four to five to one mitigation for disturbing has habitat >> i don't believe so. >> no, there isn't. is there anything in the endangered species act requires when you go in to clean out a flood control channel, you have to mitigate every few years, remit gait for that? >> i'm pleased to say i'm confident there's nothing like that in the act, but just note that the department of interior in its lookback plan referred
spectically to streamlining the requirements under the endangered species act and taking another look at that. >> i've run into that where it's just not an impact on local community, but displaced public space and park land because there's agents under fish and game and fish and wildlife screaming bloody murder that we have to get our pound of flesh if you four to one to make up for somebody else's problems, and i don't know, do you know anywhere in the endangered species act that allows agencies to make a permitee to allow for other violations? >> it's a pretty short statute, and it doesn't require what you particularly described. i think it's authorized, the secretary of interior has a lot of authority under some broad term, so i believe it's not required, but it is authorized. >> mr. chairman, i believe the
one thing in the rule making were so many of these things were done by -- in the rule making process that was never included in the legislation that was passed by representatives post of the united states, and i think this is one thing republicans and democrats can work at, getting the act back to where it was meant to, making sure the clean water act is helping the environment, not just fulfilling a bureaucratic agenda and hurting it, that the clean act is implemented to protect the public health, not just running up costs. i hope that both sides can work on this one, and i appreciate your testimony today. >> i thank the gentleman. the gentleman from virginia is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i appreciate you what you're doing. we have to roll back some of these regulations that are killing jobs, and it really doesn't matter to me who gets the credit as long as we get the job done. in my earlier questioning, and you were kind to say you'd look into it in regard to the national toxicology program
remitted to formaldehyde that affected jobs, hundreds of jobs on the northern end of the districts, affecting thousands jobs across the nation and particularly some well-needed jobs in the southern end of my district which is my district that is about the size of new jersey. interestingly the science there is also similar in its belief that there may be the national toxicology program may be labeling that as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen, although there's huge debates on that. as a matter of fact, the science indicates it's not a problem, so if you can add that to the list, i'd greatly appreciate you looking at that. it's interesting because my predecessor wrote a letter last year details question, and i can give you a copy if you'd like, and i followed up with congressman this year saying, hey, do you have an answer to the questions because the main
thrust of those questions were, all right, we have all these jobs that are going to be impacted, and yet, the science doesn't seem to back up the ruling, so i do ask you to take a look at that. also related to jobs, obviously, i come from a coal district and i know the rest of the committee members are surprised it took me this long to get the coal, but i do come from a coal district, and as we've heard today, there are a lot of regulations out there, and i really wish we can quantify as congressman bilray was just saying because we all want clean water, clean air, and clean jobs. we have to have a balance to see whether or not you get your bang for your buck. my opinion is everybody on this committee knows is that a lot of the regulations proposed in the newer regulations related to the mining of coal have very little positive impact for the environment. i won't say they don't have any, but they have very little at the cost of huge amounts of jobs and
huge use of coal in the district and in this nation, and one of the things that i think is interesting and this applies both to the formaldehyde as well. the products will be made. the question is if nay are made here? if another country wants cancer, that's fine, but the bottom line is when you talk about coal and some of the things, one of the things interesting is we've had testimony here that we actually may be creating a worse problem with coal by shipping the jobs overseas. we're still using the products. they still come back here. they are made in china and india and you name it, places that i didn't know about when i was in high school that, you know, now are on the map and competitors of ours, and we're ships coal over there, and they ship their air pollution back to us. as you know, it takes 10 days according to a nasa study for the air to get to the eastern
shore of virginia, and as a result of that, i'm concerned that not only are we getting a small bang for our buck on the regulations proposed and that are coming out and that have some already implemented, but we're actually increasing the air pollution in the united states by shipping these jobs off to countries where they don't have even the reasonable regulations that i think everybody would agree the clean air act did bring us in its early days, and so i think we have to be very, very careful with what we're doing and we're using the clean water act i think in my opinion and others who testified here inadd vertenly to dire -- dirty our air. i yield the rest of my time. >> i agree with you about the fact we are here to implement the law and sometimes there's problems, and god knows every source abroad i didn't want to touch clones and hair sprays for consumer productses. you mess with the ladies' chanel
number 9 or whatever it is, you have real props. but u.s. versus the arizona just filed last year -- this administration claims in that that the executive branch has the ability to pick and choose which laws it wants to enforce. look at that file because to me it's extraordinary because that's the position of this administration that the executive has the right to choose when not to enforce the law, and they've got that on record, so if it can be applied to the issue of immigration, my question is why wouldn't it be publicble to these other -- applicable to the other regulatory groups. i leave that with you to just look at it to see how that affects your latitude in
straightening out the problem. i yield back. >> does the ranking member have concluding comments? i'm going to let you go. i have one comment. you previously testified that you disagreed with the crane report that stated that the current regulations are costing american businesses $1.7 trillion. are you aware that the crane report was a report commissioned by the obama administration's small business administration in 2009? >> yes. what i'd say is i wouldn't say i disagree. i say i hope this is not a subtle difference. i don't agree. i don't think it's been supported -- that number has nots been supported -- >> well, i think your answer is you do not agree with the crane report. >> yes, the number i don't believe has a solid -- >> i just want it on the record that you disagree with the crane report. >> yes, i disagree with the analysis of the crane report. >> well, thank you. i see you won the prize for forbearance today, and we thank
you, and we welcome the second panel. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] i'm going to ask unanimous consent dr. burgess asked that troy's opinion in the "politico" >> in the meantime a look at the u.s. capitol where the senate will be gaveling in in about 15 minutes. we will have live coverage from the floor starting with the general speeches. at 4:30 p.m. senators will turn to the confirmation of a new solicitor general. test vote on the nomination is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. eastern. you can watch the senate live here on c-span2. before we head to the senate floor we will take a look at former pennsylvania senator rick santorum's announcement from
this morning that he is running for the gop nomination for president. we will show you a portion before the senate gavels in. >> america is a great country. not because of our government. it's because our founders founded a great country. [cheers and applause] >> i love our tea partiers to raise the constitution up. [cheers and applause] >> that constitution which is the owner's manual for america. [applause] >> but in the constitution that they hold up is also another document that is always printed. it's a declaration of independence. the declaration of independence is the why of america. it's who we are.
we hear a lot of talk about american exceptionalism. what does that mean? the declaration tells us. we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and endowed by our creator to certain unalienable rights. [applause] >> life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. [applause] >> our founders, our founders did something revolutionary with that statement. prior to that time where they came from, rights did not come from god to every individual. that's not what those countries believed. writes came to the sovereign, to the king, to the government, and then the government would distribute the rights.
they left those countries because they didn't want a keen to tell them what rights they had, because they knew what rights they had from god. [applause] >> and in that constitution they established a framework to do one thing, if you're going to some of the mission of america, what transform the world, what made this the greatest country in the history of the world and in the 200 years of america, life expectancy doubled in the 2000 your previous, it did nothing. why? is the principal purpose of america was to make sure that each and every person was free. that is the purpose of america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, that is
at stake now. more than it has ever been in the modern time. we are facing a time where we have a group of people led by president obama who believes that america's greatness is in government, not in people. and there is one singular act that to me is the linchpin, and that is obamacare. obamacare does something that no other entitlement has ever done, and that is obviously makes you buy something. but more importantly, it's the government for the first time that's going to of its clutches to create the dependency on every single american. not those in margins of life, not those who are old or sick. but every single american now will be hooked to the government with an i.v. and they'll come to you every
time they want to do more and say, well, you want that i.v., you want that health care, then you've got to give us more power. margaret thatcher said this, after doing an assessment of her time in britain versus reagan's time, she said i was never able to accomplish in england what reagan a commerce and america. and it was one thing that stood in my way. the british national health care system. why do you think they worked so hard? why do you think they were willing to break every rule? why do you think they were willing to lose this election? why do you think they ignored the polls and chanted down the throats of the american public? why do you think they cared so much about passing this bill? power. because they knew they would get you. juan williams said to me about a week after president obama decided to double down, i saw
him in the green room and i said why are you doing this? here's what he said. he said, let me tell you what president obama's team is telling me. he said, quote, americans love entitlement, and once we get them hooked they will never let it go. they want to hook you. they don't want to free you. they don't want to give you opportunity. they don't believe in you. they believe in themselves, the smart people, the planners, the folks in washington who can make decisions better than you can. look at what they're doing with mediscare. dare say to seniors you need to trust us, we're the ones will make decisions what every senior can have. we can't trust seniors to make decisions. did anybody look at the medicare prescription drug plan? the medicare prescription drug plan is exactly the model paul ryan has asked your we shut it down the throats of the american public. no, we didn't get we gave him a choice. seniors love that plan and it's
exactly what we are proposing for medicare, which is give people the resources to go and choose for themselves as what's best for themselves. [applause] >> our founders knew, our founders knew that establishing freedom, writing in that document was the easy thing to do. they were students of history and they realize they knew the hard thing to do. was to maintain freedom over the course of time, over the course of leaders who would try to sing that song to give up that freedom in exchange for security. that's another reason i'm here in somerset county at this time. i'm here because just a few miles from here, almost 10 years now, a group of average americans, a traveling salesman,
stood with his back against the wall and rallied and led people, average americans, to do what needed to be done to say freedom in america. [cheers and applause] >> and on this day, d-day, jun june 6 in 1944, almost 60,000 average americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on normandy, to drop out of airplanes, who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom. average americans, the very americans that our government
now and this president does not trust to make a decision on your health care plan. those americans risks -- risked everything so they could make that decision on their health care plan. [applause] >> we are facing enormous challenges today certainly of a different kind, but they will test whether this generation will keep faith with those patriots. and keep america, the greatest country in the history of the world. today, across america people are looking for a leader who is optimistic and he believes that we must meet those challenges and that we can meet those challenges. that we can keep faith, not with
big government, but with free people. [applause] >> in 2008, a weary to public, a troubled public from a financial crisis looked to a president, look to elect a president who they could believe in. and that president, president obama, took that faith that the american public gave him and wrecked our economy and centralize power in washington, d.c., and rob people of their freedom. [applause] >> i believe now that americans are not looking for someone that they can believe in. they are looking for a president
who believes in them. [cheers and applause] >> fellow americans, it is our watch. it is our time. it is our time for all of us to step up and do what america requires us to do. i'm ready to lead. i'm ready. [cheers and applause] >> i'm ready to do what has to be done for the next generation, with the courage to fight for freedom, with the courage to fight for america. that's what i am announcing today that i am running for president of the united states. [cheers and applause]
♪ ♪ ♪ >> former pennsylvania senator rick santorum earlier today. we will have his presidential campaign announcement in the entirety tonight at eight eastern on our companion network. the usn is about to gavel in to begin a week. live picture to begin with general speeches first and then at 4:30 p.m. eastern lawmakers will turn to the confirmation of
the chaplain: let us pray. lord of life, you have given us the great hope that your kingdom shall come on earth. infuse our lawmakers with such power that your kingdom indeed will come, even as your will is done on earth. may the fact that you rule in our hearts so transform our lives that we will be your instruments for good in our nation and world. lord, we dedicate this day to you to
be used in serving your kingdom. thank you for putting at our disposal all that we need to succeed. assure us of your presence, above us, beneath us, around us, and within us, providing us with clear direction to advance your kingdom on earth. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. 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, june 6, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable christopher coons, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chai. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 today. following morning business, the senate will be in executive session to consider the nomination of donald b. verrilli, to be solicitor general of the united states. unless an agreement is reached, at approximately 5:30, the senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the verrilli nomination. s. 1125 is a the desk and due for its second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title.
the clerk: s. 1125, a bill to improve national security letters, the authorities under the foreign intelligence surveillance act of 1978 and for other purposes. mr. reid: i would object to any further proceedings with respect to this bill. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. reid: mr. president, i welcome back my colleagues for -- the presiding officer: excuse me. the bill will be placed on the calendar subject to the provisions of rule 14. mr. reid: sorry about that, mr. president. i welcome back my colleagues for what i hope will be a productive month. this month is not unlike last month, though, or the month before, or the month before that. once again our constituents are concerned with one thing above all: that's jobs. work. they're concerned because of what the economy means for their families and their lives. they're worried about paying their bills next mond and sending their kids to school next year. too many want to go to the bank once again and know the dignity
of depositing a paycheck instead of an unemployment check. our constituents are also concerned because of what our economic future will mean for our nation. they're afraid that the ill-informed politicians might lead the country into a default crisis and they all fear terrible consequences that would have, consequences that would hurt us as a country and hurt our families and really the world. i heard these concerns last week in nevada. we all heard them in our states when we went home last week. we hear home loudly and clearly. so we're going to focus our attention this week and month on jobs, just as we have all year. i'm disappointed that our republican colleagues seem determined to distract that focus. they want to spend the senate's time debating an extreme social agenda that would hurt families, seniors, and our economy. they want to end medicare in order to pay for more millionaire tax breaks and oil company subsidies. that's not good policy nor is it
good politics. the american people strongly oppose that policy and so do democrats in congress. but every day republicans prove that they're not just tone deaf to americans' opinions but also tone deaf to cold, hard economic facts. last week we got a discouraging jobs report. the economy added jobs but not as many as we'd hoped, and moody's sent a letter that gave a clear warning that default crisis would send our economy into a tailspin. there's no time to waste. the longer republicans insist on dismantling medicare as a price for moving foorksd the longer the unemployed will wait for good news and the closer the nation will come to a default crisis. the republicans' ideology of obstruction isn't limited to economics or seniors' health. we also see in their approach to the senate's constitutional duty of confirming appointees to important positions. a few weeks ago the republicans blocked a widely respected legal
scholar for a seat on the united states court of appeals. now they're continuing these partisan antics by threatening to block two more noncontroversial nominees. the first is peter dimon. he is one of the nation's top economists. he's won the nobel prize in economics. not long ago he had bipartisan work. all after awed for no known reason be, the republicans have decided to stand in the way of this nomination. the second, don verrilli, is the president's nominee to be solicitor general of the united states. the judiciary committee approved him by a 17-1 margin, so in addition to being supported -- i'm sorry, h he's clearly not controversial. now the republicans are threatening to block in nominee over requests for documents totally unrelated to him or his position. i hope they don't.
i hope they don't hold him up for those reasons that have nothing to do with his nomination. blocking every nominee no matter the merits is no way to govern or lead. it is no way to move forward. mr. president, if we're going to keep our economy upright and our families and our nation as whole, we have to recognize real problems and propose realistic solutions. we can't hold one policy hostage to another or be bound by some strange ideology. every month we play these games. every month we do that, it guaranteeguarantees that the fog week will be the same avoidable fights. we need to get serious before it is too late. would the chair announce morning business? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. and under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i would ask unanimous consent that i would speak for 30 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: when it comes to doing oversight, i think i have a reputation of doing just as vigorous oversight when we have republican presidents as much as when we have democratic presidents and what i'm speaking to the senate about today has no partisanship in it because i could have said the same thing and did say about the same thing when there was a president bush or a president clinton or a president reagan. i speak today about watchdogging the watchdogs, as i have done many times in the past. i first started watchdogging the pentagon back in the early
1980's when president reagan was ramping up defense spending. then a group of defense reformers were examining the pricing of spare parts at the defense department and we uncovered some real horror stories, like $750 toilet seats and $695 ashtrays all going into military aircraft. ridiculous, of course. as news reports of these horror stories were hitting the street, offices of inspectors general -- we call them o.i.g.'s -- office of inspector general -- these were sprouting up in every federal agency as a result of a recently passed act of congress in 1978. the defense department o.i.g. officially opened for business march 20, 1983.
today, thanks to the inspector general act of 1978 and the taxpayers, we now have a real army of watchdogs. the question is, to what extent are they doing their business? this mushrooming ig bureaucracy is very expensive. it costs over $2 billion a year. but it now occupies a pivotal oversight position within our government. a very important role to play. as a senator dedicated to watchdogging the taxpayers' precious money, i looked to the i.g.s for help. that's because i just don't have the resources in my own office to investigate every allegation that might come my way. like other members of congress, i regularly tap into this vast reservoir of talent that's
called the inspector general. we count on him. we put our faith and trust in their independence and honesty. we rely on them to root out and deter fraud and waste in government, where ever that waste and fraud rears its ugly head. if -- and that's a big if -- if the i.g.'s are on the ball, then the taxpayers aren't supposed to worry about things like $750 toilet seats. but i underscore the word "if" because fraud and waste are still alive and well in government. now, you could legitimately ask, how can this be? we created a huge army of watchdogs. yet fraud and waste still exist unchecked. so i keep asking myself that same question that you might ask: who is watching dogging the watchdogs? true, there is an i.g. watchdog
agency called the consult of inspectors general on integrity and efficiency, but that's just another toothless wonder. so the senator from iowa has the duty today. i'm here to present another oversight report on the pentagon watchdog. i call it -- quote -- "a report card on fiscal year 2010 audits issued by the department of defense inspector general." it assesses progress towards improving audit quality in response to recommendations that i made on an oversight report that i gave to my fellow senators last year. after receiving a series of anonymous letters from whistle-blowers alleging gross mismanagement at the office of inspector general and the audit office within that office, my staff initiated an in-depth oversight review.
my staff focused in this audit on reporting by that office and our work began two years ago. on september 7, 2010, i issued my first oversight review. it evaluated the 113 audit reports issued for fiscal year 2009. it determined that the offices of inspector general audit capability, which costs the taxpayers about $100 million a year, these capabilities were gravely impaired. as a watchdog, degraded audit capabilities give me serious heartburn for one simple reason: it puts the taxpayers' money in harm's way, it leaves the huge sums of money vulnerable to theft and waste. audits are the inspector general's primary tool for
rooting out fraud and waste. audits are the tip of an inspector general's spear. a good spear always needs a finely honed cutting edge. right now the point of that spear is dull. the inspector general's audit weapon is effectively disabled. in speaking about my first report here on the floor last september 15, i urged inspector general hedell to -- quote -- "hit the audit reset button" and give audits -- and get audits to refocus on the core inspector general mission of detecting and reporting fraud and waste. my report offered 12 specific recommendations for getting the audit process back on track and lined up with the inspector general's act of 1978.
the office of inspector general's report or response to my report has been very positive and very constructive. in a letter to me dated december 17 last year, inspector general hedel promised to -- quote -- "transform the audit organization" consistent with recommendations in my report. the newly appointed deputy i.g. for auditing, mr. dan blair produced a road map pointing the way forward. blair's report laid out a plan for improving -- quote -- "timeliness, focus and relevance of audit reports." he promised to create -- quote -- "a world-class oversight organization providing benefit to the department, the congress and the taxpayer." end of quote. as part of the response to my
report, the audit office also tasked two independent consulting firms: quest government services and knowledge consulting group, to conduct an organizational assessment of the audit office and its reports. these independent professionals seemed to reach the very same conclusions that i have. the quest report issued october 2010 put it this way -- quote -- "we do not believe audit is selecting the best audits to detect fraud, waste and abuse." the auditors of quest reports states have lost sight of that goal and -- quote -- "need to step back and refocus on the i.g.'s core mission." end of quote. so, mr. president, that is exactly what i saw last year and what i continue to see today. however, i want to be not
totally pessimistic. all of the signals coming since my report from the i.g.'s office are encouraging. they tell me that i am on the right track. the best question before us is this: when will the promised reforms begin to pop up on the radar screen? the fiscal year 2010 reports examined in my report card are issued between october 2009 and september 2010. they were set in concrete, so to speak, long before mr. blair's transformation was approved. so the full impact of those reforms will not begin to surface in published reports until later this year or in the fiscal year 2011-2012 reports.
however, that is not to say that some improvement is not possible any time now since discussions regarding the need for audit reform actually began in june 2009. as you will soon see, mr. president, there is no sign of sustained improvement, not yet today, but a faint glimmer of light can be seen in the distant horizon. in order to establish a solid baseline for assessing the i.g.'s transformation efforts, my staff has taken another snapshot of recent audits. my latest overview report is best characterized as a report card because that is exactly what it is. each of the 113 unclassified audits issued in fiscal year 2010 was reviewed evaluated and
graded in five categories as follows: category number one was relevance. category number two, connecting the dots on the money trail. number three, strength and accuracy of recommendations. four, fraud and waste meter. and, five, timeliness. grades of a to f were awarded in each category. it was necessary obviously to use numerical grades of one to five and then convert them to standard a to f grades. scoring was based on answers to key questions like this: was the audit aligned with the core inspector general mission? did the audit connect all the dots in the cycle of transactions from contract to payment? did the audit verify the scope of alleged fraud and waste using primary source accounting records? were the recommendations tough
and appropriate? and lastly, how quickly was the audit completed? then each report was given a score called the junk dog index -- junkyard dog index. that is the overall average of the grades awarded in the five evaluation categories. for grading timeliness, the following procedure was used: audits completed in six months or less received a grade of "a." those completed in six to nine months a b. those completed in 9 to 12 months, a c. and those taking 12 to 15 months a d. and those that took over 15 months an f. after each report was graded individually, all the scores for each report in each rating category were added up and averaged to create a composite score of all 113 audit reports. the overall composite score
awarded to the 113 reports was d minus. this is very low indeed. admittedly the grading system use is subjective. however, subjective as it may be, my overall staff has determined that it is reasonable and a rough measure of audit quality. and right now overall audit quality is poor. the low mark is driven by pervasive deficiencies and surfaced in every report examined, with 15 -- 15 notable exceptions out of 113. those deficiencies are the same ones pinpointed by the quest report previously referred to. instead of being hard core, fraud-busting contract and financial audits, most reports were policy and compliance reviews having no redeeming value whatsoever.
that's basically the recommendations that i gave to the inspector general last september when i criticized then what they were doing. spending too much time on policy audits and not enough time on chasing the money on the waste of taxpayers' money. because you've got to follow the money if you're going to find out where there's waste, fraud and abuse, particularly the fraud. so what's been done for most of these have no redeeming value whatsoever because they did not pursue fraud-busting contract and financial audits instead of policy and compliance reviews. quite simply, the auditors then were not on the money trail 24/7, where they need to be to root out fraud and waste as mandated by the i.g. act. there is one bright spot, however. the auditors got it right,
mostly right in five reports and partially right in ten other reports. clearly, this is a drop in the bucket. but these 15 reports which constituted just 13% of the total that we reviewed for fiscal year 2010 output prove that the audit office is capable of producing quality reports. the 15 best reports earned grades of good to very good. overall with excellent grades in several categories. they involve some very credible and commendable audit work. each one deserves a gold star. while the top five reports earned overall scores of c-plus to b-minus, those scores would have been much higher were it not for long completion times. the average time to complete the top five reports was 21 months. long completion times make for
stale information, and of course makes the reports irrelevant. had they been completed in six months, for example, they could have earned a high b-plus scores, such long completion times clearly show that doing knitty gritty, down in the trenches audit work requires large audit teams. if -- and i want to emphasize "if" -- they are to be completed in a reasonable length of time. right now there are no specified goals for audit completion times. they are desperately needed. and then audit teams can be organized with the right skills set to meet those goals. my report includes seven individual report cards, six on the best reports, and one on the worst report. i think the best way for my
colleagues to understand my audit report card is to briefly walk through two of them, the best and the worst. the highest grade was awarded to an audit that the department of defense entitled "foreign allowances and differentials paid to d.o.d.'s civilian employees supporting overseas contingency operations." end of title. this report examined the accuracy of $213 million in payments to 11,700 d.o.d. civilians in fiscal year 2007-2008 for overseas -- quote, unquote -- danger and hardship allowances. after reviewing the relevant payment records, the auditors determined that the defense finance and accounting service -- and i'm going to refer to that as their acronym,
dfas -- made improper payments, underpayments and overpayments totaling $57.7 million. the audit recommended that dfas director -- quote -- "take appropriate corrective action to reimburse or recover the improper payments." end of quote. and that new policies and procedures be put in place to preclude erroneous payments in the future. this report received an overall grade of b-minus, however it received excellent grades -- a-minuses in three categories, relevance, connecting the dots on the money trail, and fraud and waste meter, but earned a b-minus for incomplete recommendations and an f for timeliness because it took too long -- over 21 months to complete -- and so it's stale at that point. the auditors went to the primary source records to verify the exact amount of erroneous
payments. and i want to emphasize to the auditors at the i.g. that this move is the one reason why this report earned high scores. very few audits, just a handful actually verified dollar amounts using primary source accounting reports. and that's why i emphasize so often to follow the money trail if you're going to find the fraud and the waste. now, in this report the recommendations were good but did not go far enough. recommending recovery or reimbursement of over or underpayments was worth a b-minus, but responsible officials were not identified and held accountable for the sloppy accounting work that produced $57.7 million in erroneous payments. it's kind of a rule of thumb around this place. if you don't identify who screwed up and make them feel personally responsible and send
a message to other people, how are you going to get changes to be made? did the audit office follow up to determine whether dfas director had made steps to reimburse underpayment or recover overpayments? the answer is probably no. in fact, nothing has been done. on february 23, 2011, in response to a question from my office, dfas reported that the department of defense was still -- quote -- "developing a policy" to fix the problem. isn't it funny that they've got to develop a policy for what's so obviously wrong? and once that process is completed, though, dfas will -- quote -- "take appropriate corrective action to reimburse and initiate collection action." end of quote. when auditors make good recommendations like here in this audit and nothing happens,
it's like they are kind of howling in the wilderness. and of course, that's got to be very demoralizing. at this late hour, probably correcting these mistakes, the chances of correcting are fading fast. for starters, this audit work began over two years ago. couple that with the fact that it looked at payments that were made in the year 2006. that's five years ago. with the passage of so much time, this has become essentially an academic exercise. that is exactly why reports need to focus on current problems and why they must be completed promptly, and that is exactly why this one, which took 16 months to complete, earned an f for timeliness, but otherwise was a pretty good audit. the rest of the audits examined in my report card, 98 of all or
87% of the total output for fiscal year 2010, were poor quality and earned grades of d and f. these are prime examples of the kinds of audits in the request report previously referred to. that's an outside report brought in by -- have the department of defense bring them in to do some investigating that isn't questionable because they don't have an interest in what comes out. but these audits were not designed to detect fraud and waste. well, that's what the i.g.'s department ought to be doing. follow the money trail. now, it happens that they did not document and verify financial transactions. they were not on the money trail where they needed to be and where their audit manuals tell auditors to go to detect fraud
and waste. they did not audit what truly needs to be audited. they had little or no monetary value or impact. some were mandated by congress, including 27 memo style audits of stimulus projects. that's from the stimulus act that we passed here in 2009. tiger teams should have been formed to tackle these audits. unfortunately, the exact opposite happened. these were the worst of the worst. they contain no findings of any consequence. they offered few, if any, recommendations. most did not even identify the cost of the project audited. the taxpayers were deeply concerned about the value of these so-called shovel-ready jobs that were supposed to be quickly consumed by the stimulus
bill of 2009. the taxpayers were looking for aggressive oversight. the taxpayers wanted assurances that huge sums of money were not wasted. the taxpayers got none of the objectives they sought. instead of probing audits, the taxpayers got the equivalent of an inspector general stamp of approval like a rubber stamp that reads okay, approved. mr. president, i will not review the worst reports. it typifies -- i will now review the worst report that typifies the ineffectiveness and wastefulness of the bulk of the fiscal year 2010 audit production. i remind my colleagues, each one of these reports costs an estimated $800,000.
the report that received the lowest scores entitled by the auditor -- quote -- "defense contract management agency acquisition work force for southwest asia." it received an f score in every category across the board. the purpose of this report was to determine whether the defense contract management agency had adequate manpower to oversee contracts in southwest asia. it concluded that the defense contract management agency was unable to determine those requirements, and there was no plan in doing so. the report recommended that the defense contract management agency -- quote -- "defined acquisition work force requirements for southwest asia." end of quote. this is one of the many o.i.g.
policy reviews, but this one is unique in that it took 18 months to review a policy that did not even exist. this audit should have been terminated early on but as the report points out, the inspector general's office has no process -- quote -- "for stopping audits that have no longer -- that are no longer relevant." end of quote. so this is kind of like a runaway train. and what redeeming value did this report offer to the taxpayers? none that i can see. this is the stuff for the department of defense staff study or some think tank analysis, not for an independent office of inspector general audit. this audit, like so many others like it, did not focus on fraud
and waste and not surprisingly found no fraud or waste. the defense contract management agency has a long history of exercising lax contract oversight. the office of inspector general resources would have been better spent auditing one of the defense contract management agency's $1.3 trillion in contracts. go where the money is if you want to find the fraud, follow the money. the inclusion of individual report cards on the best and worst audits is meant to be constructive educational exercise. so i am hoping the analyses accompanying these report cards will serve as a guide and a learning tool for auditors and managers alike. i am hoping the auditors will
read my report and use it to sharpen their skills. i hope it will help guide them on a path to reform and transformation. if the auditors adopt and follow the simple guidelines used to gauge the quality of the best and worst reports, they will begin producing top quality audits that are fully aligned with the core i.g. missions prescribed by that 1978 law. before wrapping up my comments, i'd like to call the attention of my colleagues to several very interesting charts presented in the final section of my report card. they appear in the chapter entitled "comparative performance with other o.i.g. audit offices." meaning in other departments of our executive branch. these two sets of charts highlight striking contrast. they show that the department of defense auditors are being
significantly outperformed by their peers at three other agencies -- the department of health and human services, housing and urban development and homeland security, and by very substantial margins indeed. their peers may be five times more productive than they are at the department of defense and able to produce audits at one quarter of their costs. i would offer one caveat of what i have said, though, about the other department's i.g. while i have reviewed comparative costs of productivity dated from all four audit offices, i have not evaluated the quality of reports issued by the other three o.i.g.'s, meaning health and human services, department of homeland security and housing and urban development as i did report on quality of the department of defense report
card. i happen to think it's a fair apples to apples comparison. now, it may not be, and i want to say that i don't know for sure. deputy i.g. of auditing, mr. blair, needs to provide a satisfactory explanation for these apparent disparities, otherwise he may need to hit the reset button once again on audit production and costs as well as what he has said he is doing now. while inspector general haddell cannot be happy with an overall audit grade of d-minus, i think he understands the problem and i believe that his heart is in the right place and he's taken the right steps to fix it. his apparent commitment to audit reform and mr. blair's promise to --quote, unquote -- create a world-class auditing oversight organization, those words happen to be music to my ears.
they bode well for the future. in other words, bode well for the future that these people do their job and do it right. fraud and waste will be rooted out as people would fear to commit that in the first place, considering the fact that people are going to be on their tail and find out about it. for right now, though, i cannot report that i see sustained improvement in audit quality. not yet, not by a long shot, but the signals coming my way are good, and i said that at the beginning of my comments. the ray of hope can be seen on a distant horizon. maybe we'll see it in the next batch of audits and i'll be here to report to my colleagues what those audits show and i hope i can give every one of them b's and a's. the 15 best reports show that the department of defense office of the inspector general audit office is capable of producing quality reports. that number is obviously just a drop in the bucket, but these
fine reports could be a solid foundation for building on the future. repeat them ten times and mr. blair could well be on his way to creating that world-class auditing operation, one that would be capable of detecting, and not only detect but because people are going to be so scared of them that it's going to deter fraud and waste. mr. president, before those lofty goals can be changed -- achieved, mr. haddell and mr. blair need to tear down some walls, and i call them the top ten audit roadblocks, and these roadblocks are these. one, top management lacks a clear and common vision of and commitment to the inspector general's core mission, a problem that adversely affects every aspect of auditing. two, second roadblock, most audits are policy compliant
reviews that yield zero financial benefit to the taxpayers. roadblock three, auditors are not on the money trail 24/7 where they need to be to detect fraud and waste. roadblock four, auditors consistently fail to verify potential fraud and waste by connecting all the dots in the cycle of transactions. they need to match contract requirements with deliveries and payments using primary source documents. by making these matchups, auditors will be positioned to address key oversight questions like did the government receive what it ordered at an agreed upon price and schedule, or did the government get ripped off, and if so, ripped off by how much money? roadblock five, most audits take so long to complete that they
are stale and irrelevant by the time they are published. reasonable time to complete goals need to be set and the audit team then can be organized with the right skills set to meet -- the skill sets to meet these goals. roadblock six, until the department of defense accounting system is fixed, complete audits will require large audit teams if reports are to be completed within a reasonable length of time. roadblock seven, audit findings and recommendations are usually weak. responsible officials are rarely held accountable, and wasted and stolen money is rarely recommended for recovery and returning to the treasury. roadblock eight, while relentless follow-up is an important part of audit
effectiveness, it is not practiced by the audit office. and the last roadblock, nine, since the department of defense broken accounting system is obstructing the audit process, contracts designed to fix that system need to be assigned a much higher audit priority. these mighty barriers stand between all the promises and reality. i.g.haddell and deputy blair must find a way to tear down these walls. otherwise, audit report and transaction will never happen. these unresolved issues will demand tenacious watchdog by my oversight team and by other -- i should say all other oversight bodies as well, including the committees on armed services and appropriations.
mr. president, my oversight staff will keep reading and evaluating the office of inspector general audits until steady improvement is popping up on my oversight radar screen every day. i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: quorum call:
mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, as senators return to washington this week, we do so amid a crush of troubling news about the economy. in the past week alone, we have learned that home values across the country are still falling, at a time when about one out of five homeowners already owe more on their homes than the homes are worth. auto sales are down, manufacturers are showing the weakest growth in nearly two years. and there's deep pessimism about the prospects of a recovery anytime soon.
so while some in washington have sought to sort of paper over the economices problems or offer weak assurances that a recovery is right around the corner, millions of americans continue to suffer with no end in sight. and very few people are confident that things will turn around anytime soon. now, it's no secret why. for two and a half years democrats in washington have paid lip service to the idea of job creation while pursuing an agenda that is radically opposed to it and the results speak for themselves. they told us that if we borrowed $1 trillion and spent it, unemployment wouldn't rise above 8%. two and a half years later unemployment is hovering above 9%, higher than when the stimulus was signed. they told us that if we spent trillions on a new health care entitlement, we'd see health care costs go down.
a year later health care costs are expected to go up. they told us that if we spent money we didn't have on things like cash for clunkers, turtle tunnels, solar panels and windmills -- in other words, on more government -- the recovery would take care of itself. and where has it gotten us? well, last week a second rating agency threatens that if we don't get our fiscal house in order in a matter of weeks, america's stellar rating runs a serious risk of being downgraded. now, this is unchartered territory. the warning signs are clear and urgent. something must be done. the first step is to recognize how we got here. that's the easy part. the government-driven policies of the last two and a half years have clearly been a failure. the next step is getting democrats in washington to admit it. that's the hard part. if the last few weeks have shown
us anything, it's that democrats in washington are in a deep, deep state of denial. we've seen their apreac aapproao all the warnings. as signed of an economic catastrophe have gathered, republicans have offered concrete proposals for creating jobs and growing the economy. we've offered multiple concrete budget proposals. we've offered specific plans for reining in the crushing cost of entitlements and for preserving them. democrats have offered a 30-second campaign ad of someone push ago grandmother off a cliff. as ratings agencies have sent up smoke signals about the catastrophic consequences of a potential default, republicans have proposed plans that would rein in our deficits and debt and send a clear significant mall to taxpayers that -- and the world -- that lawmakers in washington have the will to live within our means. democrats rushed to the white house and demanded that the
president raise taxes. the past weeks should have been a wake-up call for democrats. they sent it through to voic voicemail, more concerned about an election that's nearly two and a half years away, democrats have ignored every single warning. americans look at all this and they ask themselves a simple question: when will these guys get serious? every light on the control panel is flashing red. yet amid all the bad news this past friday the president headed out to toledo to pat himself on the back for an auto bailout that's expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. nearly 14 million americans looking for jobs and can't find them, yet the president, who acknowledges that free trade agreements will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, is now suddenly holding them hostage next change for even more government spending. american businesses want to
expand and hire, yet the white house is weighing them down with mountains of new regulations and costs, health care mandates, taxes, and conflighting signals about the future. american energy producers want to tap into our own resources, yet the administration is blocking them at every turn. one of our nation's biggest and proudest manufacturers wants to build a new factory that would employ thousands and solidify its reputation as an industry leader in the world, yet the administration is standing in the way in order to help their union allies. since when do businesses have to ask the president's permission to create jobs? most people know that when it comes to politicians, you should pay more attention to what they do than what they say. never was this truer than bh it comes to democrats in washington today. just consider this: three years ago my good friend,
the majority leader, issued a press release blasting the bush administration on its approach to unemployment and debt. he called those figures a casualty of the administration's failed economic policies and a shameful legacy of the policies of the previous eight years. at the time my friend the majority leader made that statement, unemployment, mr. president, was 5%. the national debt stood at $#.2 -- stood at $9.2 trillion. today with unemployment above 9% and the debt at more than $14 trillion, democrats are silent. they have no plan, no proposals, no sense of urgency. they run the white house and they run the senate, and yet their entire approach is to sit back and wait. no budget, no plans.
just wait for the next election. let republicans offer solutions, and then we'll attack them and pretend you care about jobs. that's the game plan. here's the problem: unless you're a political consultant or just standing around waiting for a bailout, their plan won't do anything to create a single new job. not one. and it won't do anything to address the crisis we know is coming. there is no excuse for inaction, and that's why republicans refuse to sit back and wait. until these crises are met, until we see more jobs being created, until the american people begin to regain their confidence in this economy, then we'll have to be out there proposing solutions, coming up with answers, making our case. and we'll keep at it until our democratic friends finally start to focus on the battle for america's future instead of the battle over next year's election
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: ask unanimous consent that further proceedings of the quorum call being dispense wvmentdz officer without objection. mr. kyl: and i be allowed to speak in morning business up to 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kyl: thank you. mr. president, i'd like to talk about two things briefly this afternoon. the first is the relatively bad news about unemployment in the
country, the fact that the latest numbers are out and the country has not produced as many jobs as had been hoped for. in fact, it added only 54,000 payroll jobs in may, and thereby fell short of the 130,000 to 150,000 which are needed each month just to keep pace with population growth. so we lost ground. and, as a result, the unemployment rate has now gone back up to 9.1%. it's not just the lack of jobs, but also other economic news. factory worker orders were down2 nuclear april. so we're not growing there. the home price index, which is something very foreign my state, the index edged down .2% in march and was down 3.5% from this time a year ago. all of these and other pieces of news present a very bleak
picture for economic recovery. one of the interesting commentators on this is michael barone, who's well-known to most of us involved in political work. he had an interesting op-ed today in the "washington examiner" with the unfortunate title "obama tunes out and business goes on a hiring strike." the problem is there is some information to back up his -- the title of his piece. he's reflecting on government policies the last couple of years, such as the growing government spending as a percent of g.d.p., which has gone up from 21% to 25%, so we've been expanding government borrowing and spending at the same time as the economy is depressed. that included the time in which the failed stimulus plan was supposed to have provided economic growth and job creation. it also included the time of the health care entitlement, the
dodd-frank financial regulation bill and so on and so let me quote from the piece. he said, requests its harder to avoid the conclusion that the threat of tax increases and increased regulatory burdens have produced something in the nature of a hiring strike. and in relation to the president's speech at george washington university where the president had sort of repackaged his federal budget, barone says -- quote -- "the message to job creators was clear: hire at your own risk. higher taxes, more burdensome regulation and crony capitalism may be here for sometime to come." ed a ask unanimous consent to put the piece by michael barone dated june 6, 2012, in the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kyl: thank you. the other thing i'd like to address is news on a totally different front, but it's subject that will be familiar to us from last december when the senate argued the new start treaty and ultimately passed it. i'm going to speak primarily
about questions of missile defense cooperation with russia, which was a big part of that discussion. but i wanted first to call attention to the fact that this department of state issued -- or actually presented a fact sheet, release add fact sheet last wednesday. it was entitled "new start treaty adegree gat gatt numbers of strategic offensive arms." a long tiesm but the statement from the state department confirmed what we had argued during the time of this start debate and what i thought was pretty widely understood at the time despite administration protesprotestations to the cont, namely, that the new start treaty is perhaps the first bilateral treaty that resulted in u.s. unilateral reductions in nuclear forces. as this fact sheet makes clear, russia was already below the deployed strategic forces and vehicle limits of the treaty
when we ratified the treaty. this is something we tried to point out. we said, this is not a two-way street. russia has already reduced its weapons below the levels called for in the treaty. the only country that will have to reduce devils from what currently -- redos levels from what currently exist is the united states. now this information is confirmed by the state department. this was recognized when it was posted on a blog, "why has russia already met its obligations? because moscow was in the process of retiring older strategic missiles while the treaty was under negotiation." exactly correct. this fact should not be overlooked especially not as the administration undertakes a review of the nuclear employment guidance and targeting and deterrence doctrines which are designed, or society administration claims, to be preoptions for the next round of nuclear reductions. that's according to the president's national security advise he shall.
i worry that the next round may also be a unilateral round where the united states makes all of the concessions. as occurred under the new start treaty. according to gary se expwrvment mour of the national security staff, a an arms control association conference he said "these may be unilateral steps -- there may be -- these may be unilateral steps that the u.s. could taifnlgt" end of quote. and obviously that's something we would be concerned about if we're making unilateral concessions while the russians make none. he made one other point at the arms control asoasmtion he said "we've reached the level in our forces where further reductions will raise questions about whether re-retain the triard or go to a system that is only a diad." those are important considerations. reductions below the level that we have now are going to require some more fundamental questions about force structure." endle of quote.
mr. president, when we tock speak. triad or divment ad, the triad is the system we've had all throughout the cold war that relies on the combination of icbms on land, submarine-based missiles at sea, and a bomber force that can deliver weapons on the air. as mr. seymour points out, if we reduce our weapon levels even further we'll probably reach a point where instead of all three systems we'll only have two. so i think it's clear we've reached a breaking point where further reductions will require significant changes to the u.s. nuclear deterrent and could presumably alter commitment commitments that the administration made to the senate as to the modernization of deterrent during our debate on the start treaty there were a lot of promises made about how we were going to retain the triad and we were not going to eliminate further strategic weapons and now those matters seem to be in doubt. this is why -- one of the reasons why 41 senators wrote to
the president on march 22 and asked that the senate be consulted about any further changes that the administration may choose to embark upon. and i want to be clear. it is a choice. there is no compelling justification to change the current u.s. nuclear posture. so this would be something the administration would be doing on its own. but i'm concerned that in the national security advisor's letter, in responding to ours on may 31, there was no reference to how the administration intended to keep the senate involved as this process goes forward. i think it makes all the more clear the need to pass senate bill 1097, the new start implementation act, which provides as one of its provisions for the congress to be consulted before any changes are made to the nuclear guidance. i also look forward to an opportunity to discuss these matters with the president's nominee for secretary of defense, mr. leon pa net tavment i'll be curious to learn if he
agrees with the ten-year commitment made to the senate last year regarding the modernization of the nuclear deterrent and if he agrees with general chilton who told the senate that current levels of nuclear forces are exactly what's needed for deterrence and also whether he agrees with secretary gates' recent comments at the american enterprise institute that nuclear modernization programs are absolutely critical. on the basis of the administration's commitments to our nuclear modernization program that some senators disagreed to support or to ratify the new start treaty. let me turn out in to -- turn now to the question of missile defense. there was no meeting of the minds between russia and the united states. while the administration insisted that there were no restrictions on missile defense, either legal or otherwise, the russian side believed that "the linkage to missile defense is clearly spelled out in the
accord and is legally binding." that was noted by russian foreign minister lavrov on april 6 of last year. the administration was never willing to share with the senate the negotiating record that the russian negotiators were aware of. sharing the record with us might have cleared up just what understanding the russians think they have received during the negotiation of the treaty. in order to secure russian support for the new start treaty and assuage their misplaced concern about u.s. missile defense activities, the administration initiated talks with reich to find common ground on missile defense cooperation and it canceled the third site deployment in poe land the czech republic. whereas under secretary of state ellen tauscher cawrktized the purpose of the missile defense cooperation in her speech of may 19 of last year "to turn what has been an irritant to u.s.-russian relations into a shared interest." end of quotation. though this administration's officials might deny this i
believe russian officials were under the impression that in return for russian support for new starkts the united states would provide russian russia not only an opportunity for defense technical cooperation, but russian might also play a future role in defense plans p. thus president medvedev told the russian aseemly in december 2010, "i'd like to speak plainly about the choice we face in the next ten years, either we reach an agreement on missile defense and create a meaningful joint mechanism for cooperation or if we fail to do so a new round of arms race will begin. and we'll have to make decisions on the deployment of new strike weapons." as it turns out, we didn't have to wait long until the russians threatened this choice. in reece responsible to the recent -- recently u.s.-romanian agreement, bloc missiles in
romania in 2015, president phefd threatened -- president medvedev threatened an arms race if these planned deployment races go forward. on may 18 president medvedev told journalists in moscow -- quote -- "if we don't forge a missile defense model, we'll have to take retaliatory measures, which we do not want to have to do. this will mean forcing the development of our strike nuclear potential." end of quote. forcing the development of our strike nuclear potential. and medvedev went on to reiterate a warning issued by the foreign ministry that moscow may pull out of the new start disarmament agreement in response to the united states position on missile defenses. this is what many of us predicted would happen if we ratified the new start treaty in december. i didn't think twho happen so -- it would happen so quickly. this point was reiterated by president medvedev following the g-8 summit in france when he
said -- quote -- "we're wasting time f. we do not reach agreement by 2020, a new arms race will begin. i would like my partners to bear this in mind constantly." the russian -gs -- russians are threatening a new arms race if the united states does not reach some agreement with them relative to missile defense. what they mean by that is the united states reduces our capability to defend against missiles that could theoretically come from russia. so i just have to ask, is this the new reset relationship that the administration promised? did it manage to reset our relationship right back to the cold war? it appears from the president of the russian federation's comments that this is precisely what's happened. the russian foreign minister further said russia needed legal assurances that the proposed u.s. missile defense deployments were not aimed at russian territory.
presumably, even the administration would agree that no such legal assurance can be made. but then again, could the administration include such assurance in the missile defense cooperation agreement where the defense technology agreement the administration is discussing with the russian federation? again, we don't know because no senator, no senate staff has been able to see the document that the administration has shared with its russian counterparts. so we're left to wonder. here we are the senate being part of the american government isn't even privy to what our administration is talking to the russians about, matters on which eventually the administration is likely to seek our consent to. remember that the constitution provides for senate advice and consent. what i've said before is that the senate is to give its consent; we need an opportunity to provide some advice before the administration negotiates its agreements with russia. why not share these documents with the senate and even the house and remove any cause for
concern if in fact there is none? i also note here that russian president medvedev sent a letter to the nato russia council outlining moscow's position on a common missile defense system. and that differs significantly from nato's conception of two independently operated missile defense systems sharing some form of early warning data. those are two very different things. it is not as if members of congress have been ambiguous about our concerns. following a 14 april letter to the president signed by 39 senators, four senators met with senior defense and state department officials on may 13 to express concerns about sharing missile defense technical and sensitive data with the russians and to better understand the content and legal authority of the draft technology cooperation agreement and missile defense cooperation agreement being discussed with the russians. more skwroufr, the house armed
services committee just incorporated the new start act as well as the amendment offered by representative brooks that would prohibit the sharing of sensitive missile defense technology and data. how will the united states and nato respond to the latest russian intimidation? will nato alter its plans to accommodate the russian inject alternative of a sectoral defense system? phase four is of course still just a paper missile. it's not something that we've developed already, but it's part of our ultimate plan. a final question: will the united states agree to share sensitive information or technology with russia for the sake of getting a missile defense agreement with the russian federation? the administration informs us that these russian threats are mere rhetoric associated more with the upcoming presidential
elections in russia than with any real threats and that russia will not pull out of new start or begin a new arms race in response to missile defense plans. the administration assures us that the united states will not alter its missile defense plans to accommodate russian concerns. nevertheless, the congress needs better insight into the administration's plans for missile defense cooperation and missile defense talks with russia than has thus far been the case. at the very outset the administration created a separate venue from new start to discuss missile defense cooperation with russia. this was the so-called tauscher ribicoff track. despite repeated inquiries from congress the administration refuses to provide meaningful details about the nature of these discussions. likewise, we're interested to know where the administration will recommend basing a new missile defense early warning radar called the tpy-2. will it put the radar in the caucuses as the bush administration planned to do? or will it seek instead to base
the radar in a location less advantageous to the missile defense of the united states homeland but more acceptable to the russians? even if that means that an ally like israel, for example, will be denied access to the data generated by the radar, as turkey has said it requires. to this end, and i, as i referenced earlier, 39 senators sent a letter to the president on april 14 to inquire whether contrary to the president's december 18, 2010 letter, we will make our missile defense decisions regardless of russia's actions. the letter expresses serious concerns about reports the administration may provide russia with access to sensitive satellite data and u.s. hit to kill missile technology and it urges the administration to share with congress the materials on u.s. missile defense cooperation that had been provided or will shortly be provided to the russian government. we await these materials still. lastly, the administration owes
senators information about what national security staff member michael mcfall, who i understand has been recently nominated by the president to be u.s. ambassador to russia, meant when he briefed the press on may 26 that -- quote -- "we got a new signal on missile defense cooperation that as soon as i'm done here i'll be engaging on that with the rest of the u.s. government." end of quote. i'm concerned that my staff asked the national security staff about this over a week ago now, and we still have heard nothing back. i hope to hear back from the administration soon, especially if the administration expects the senate to act promptly on mr. mcfall's nomination. mr. president, i'm deeply skeptical about the course of the united states and russia with respect to missile defense. i think it should be abundantly clear that senators and house members will be paying very close attention to the
development and deployment of the european phased adaptive approach to make sure it is done in a manner consistent with the security of the united states without consideration to russian -- quote -- "understandings of what they think has been agreed to between the united states and russia." i'll be working with my house colleagues to ensure that it is very clear that the united states will accept no limitations on its missile defenses. but i note, as i said at the very outset, that it's interesting that things that were told to us at the time that the senate was debating the new start agreement have turned out not to be true, just as many of us predicted, starting with the proposition that the united states will be drawing our weapons down while russia would not be. now it turns out that's exactly what is happening, because the russians were already at the levels they negotiated us down to. and so the question is: what did we get for our aoupb loot ral con -- unilateral concessions?
and it appears to me that the only thing we got is an understanding by russia that they are also going to be able to talk us down from our missile defense plans that could protect both the united states and allies in europe. or that as an alternative, the russians would become part of a cooperative missile defense program which would of necessity require the sharing of information that would be inimical to the u.s. national interest. mr. president, i express these concerns in the hope that we can receive information from the administration that might allay our concerns, might persuade us it is not involved right now in effect behind the senate's back, and the best way to assure us is to share with us the information that we've requested in these comments and in letters that we've sent previously. i hope that the administration will next time it asks our consent, be able to say that it had also asked for our advice, because i'm afraid if it does not, the senate is much less likely to provide its consent to
ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the cloture motion with respect to the verrilli nomination be withdrawn and at 5:30 p.m. the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on calendar 118, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate, no further motions be in order to the nomination, the statements related to the nomination be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative with the other provisions of the may 26 unanimous consent agreement remaining in effect. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i thank the chair. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination,
department of justice, donald b. verrilli jr. of the district of columbia to be solicitor general of the united states. the presiding officer: the time until 5:30 will be equally divided. mr. leahy: mr. president, i don't believe there's going to be a huge number of people lined up here to speak on this nomination, but i will use first and part of my reserve time on the verrilli nomination to speak on another matter within the purview of the judiciary. so i ask consent, with the time being charged to my half-hour, i be recognized to speak as in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, on the first day of this -- january
1, 2000, the newest federal judge and the first of the millennium was sworn in. richard lynn became a member of the federal circuit court of appeals at the stroke of midnight staying in the building with few of the monuments lit up behind him. now, president clinton had been told that of the hundreds of nominations he would make during his presidency, one that he would never regret would be that of judge lynn. how true that prediction. judge lynn has brought dignity, expertise and judicial excellence and can set the model for all of our federal courts. his calm but brilliant analyses of the most complex intellectual
property cases reflect the experience he had before going on the bench. this experience now benefits all americans. my wife, marcelle, and i and our children have been privileged to have known dick and patty lynn for over a generation as well as their wonderful daughters debbie and sandy and all of their family. this weekend their children, son-in-law eric and grandchildren jared and dakota, will gather as well as other members of their family will gather to unveil a portrait of judge lynn. i hope that as people visit the federal circuit court of appeals building or are there on business, they will pause and look. it will give them a chance to see the face of justice and a man i admire greatly. mr. president, i ask consent
that we go back on the matter of -- before us with the time still being reserved to me. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i thank the majority leader and the republican leader for reaching an agreement for the senate to debate and vote on the nomination of don verrilli to be solicitor general of the united states. by doing so we were able to vitiate the cloture petition and avoid another unnecessary filibuster. had agreement not been reached, this would have been the first filibuster in the history of the united states of america of a solicitor general nomination. mr. verrilli is by all accounts one of the finest lawyers in the country. extensive experience as an advocate for a wide variety of clients will serve him well as
solicitor general for the top advocate for the united states. a long and distinguished career, mr. verrilli has argued numerous cases before the supreme court, federal appeals court and state appellate courts. he clerked for judge skullly wrao*eut in the d.c. circuit -- skullly wright and justice william brennan. his breadth of experience in government and private practice led the judiciary committee to report his nomination by a vote of 17-1 nearly a month ago. seven of the eight republican members of the committee joined in supporting mr. verrilli's nomination. the judiciary committee heard from many respected lawyers from across the political spectrum in support for mr. verrilli's nomination. eight former solicitors general from both republican and democrat administrations, among them republicans charles freeh,
kenneth starr and gregory garrick concluded mr. verrilli is ideally suited to carry out the crucial task assigned to the solicitor general and to maintain the traditions of the office of solicitor general. more than 50 prominent supreme court practitioners urged the senate to confirm mr. verrilli's nomination, including conservatives like maureen ma hoe ni and miguel estrada. they wrote his approach of practicing law throughout his career, his insistence on coherently laying out reasons for the positions he is urging proves that don will protect and promote the rule of law. and i ask unanimous consent that copies of the letters of support be included in the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: don verrilli is exactly the kind of superbly
qualified, serious professional we should be encouraging to serve the american people. remember, mr. president, it's the american people he serves in their government. i expect he'll be confirmed by a strong bipartisan majority of the senate. our distinguished presiding officer today, former attorney general of his state, he understands as so many of us do how important it is that the government have the best people possible to present their cases, present their position before our appellate courts and, of course, first and foremost among those, our supreme court. and like all the nominations reported by the judiciary committee, currently pending on the senate's executive calendar, mr. verrilli's nomination has been through the judiciary committee's fair and thorough process. the result of the process was
that senators have erased whatever concerns they have and whatever differences they have with the policies of the obama administration, voted nearly unanimously in favor of confirming mr. verrilli based on his qualifications, experience and appreciation for the responsibilities of the solicitor general. i appreciate the effort made by the republican members of the judiciary committee in considering the verrilli nomination on his merits, and all but one of them voting to support him. these are senators across the political spectrum in our committee. i appreciate the thoughtful statement by the ranking republican in our markup nearly one month ago in which he set forth his concerns in the painstaking process he followed to aoel sralt the nomination -- evaluate the nomination and his judgment to support him. senator grassley concluded he has every expectation that mr. verrilli if confirmed will
honorably live up to his duties, obligations and assurances. i agree with that. the committee process left no doubt that mr. verrilli has an extensive knowledge of the law and an understanding of the independence required to represent the interest of the government and the american people as the solicitor general of the united states. he is, after all, mr. president, just like the attorney general. the attorney general is not the attorney general of the president or the attorney general of the administration. he is the attorney general of the united states of america. this is the solicitor general of the united states of america. he represents every one of us. he's well qualified. he's well suited to serve in the role of what is often called, as our distinguished presiding officer knows, the tenth justice. the senate has a long-standing practice of giving deference to the president to make
nominations for positions in the executive branch. subjecting consensus nominees to unnecessary and damaging delays or unjustifying harmful filibusters is wrong. it hurts not only the individual, but it hurts our whole system of government. i'm glad the senate leaders have been able to come to agreement to avoid the threatened filibuster of this qualified nominee to serve as solicitor general of the united states. frankly, such a filibuster would be a very, very bad mark on the united states senate. but i am confident that mr. verrilli's qualifications, experience, ability, temperament and judgment will lead to an overwhelming, a bipartisan vote in support of his confirmation to serve as the next solicitor general of the united states. so again i thank both the
democratic and republican leaders for their help in bringing us to this. mr. president, i will yield the floor. i will suggest the absence of a quorum but ask consent that the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. i ask consent to vitiate the quorum. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: and consent to speak for up to five minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, on wednesday i traveled to green and washington counties in upper east tennessee. that's up near virginia, north, to visit with victims of tornadoes that have swept across our state on april 27 and to see firsthand how the recovery is going. what i found was what i expected to find. washington county and green
county, in those counties the citizens are not complaining. they're cleaning up and they're helping each other. i also found out there are some things that still need to be ironed out, but so far the recovery from a devastating disaster is going well in east tennessee. the real work is being done by people affected by those storms. and by volunteers. but i think it says that tennesseans are doing what tennesseans usually do. i first met with allen groyle, mayor of green coinlt and the director of green county's emergency and homeland security agency. seven people lost their lives in green county. we visited the camp creek and the horse creek communities. we saw many of the homes that had been completely leveled and debris still being removed. we saw one home where a couple, the harrisons, had been helping
neighbors into their basement, and the tornado swept through and killed both mr. and mrs. harrison, spared the lives of the neighbors who had been helped into the basement. there were two crosses there by what was left of the framework really of the basement structure of the home. at the camp creek elementary school where fema has set up a disaster recovery center, i met pamela ward and her mother-in-law betty ward. ms. ward's home had been completely destroyed by the tornado and her husband kevin and their three daughters were staying in a hotel after discovering that the insurance on their home only paid off their mortgage. mr. brown and q. winfield who is fema's federal coordinating officer for tennessee, immediately began working to help the wards. by the time we left the next
day, mr. winfield had called to let me know that fema had approved the maximum award to help pamela ward and her family get back on their feet. i also visited washington county where i met with mayor dan eldridge who is the mayor of the county. local emergency management officials and families affected by the disaster. one resident was killed in a tornado that touched down in washington county, hundreds of homes were damaged. however, it was clear that families and volunteers had been hard at work putting their community back together. rebuilding had begun, the debris had been already removed in many areas. fema is doing an excellent job working with state and local officials. from the generosity of the
volunteers and the entire community working in a collective way with the churches helped families get back on their feet and it is an amazing sight. still very important for victims to register with fema by calling 1-800-321-fema, 3362. families are also eligible for other forms of disaster assistance, including loans from the small business administration and unemployment and food stamp benefits. while we cannot make those families whole, there are family who still need help. we have to make sure that they know that help is available. i want to make sure that whatever the federal government is able to do is doing. madam-- mr. president, over thet year, tennessee has experienced disasters of historic proportions. we know very well we're not the only state, the only community where this has happened. but beginning with the 1000-year flood that struck middle and west tennessee last may to the
devastating tornado outbreak and river flooding this year, in both the eastern and western parts of our state, 74 of tennessee's 95 counties are currently presidentially declared disaster areas. thousands of people are still recovering, and many only are just beginning to put their lives back together. in spite of everything this past year has thrown at us, tennesseans are going about their business helping themselves and helping others in remarkable and inspiring ways. mr. president, i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i wanted to share a few thoughts about the state of the american economy and the lack of effectiveness of this congress in confronting it. in particular, the lack of the leadership of the united states senate to deal with the crisis that we are facing both economically and really financially as part of our economic condition. you can't separate those two. the leading economic indicators are not good. last week, we were pummelled with a series of reports that were bad news. the numbers continue to be disturbing, actually. the share of our population that is employed today declined to 58.4%, the lowest level since 1983. so the percentage of people
working today is the lowest we have had since 1983. the may jobs report that just came in fell well short of projections. the consensus view of economists was for a gain of 167,000 jobs, but, in fact, we gained 111,000 fewer than that. we had a very low job creation month, and it marks one of the -- the worst jobs report in eight months. everybody has been saying that things are getting better, getting better and jobs are getting better, but this is a wake-up call. the numbers have not been strong. they have actually been very fragile. the jobs have to increase about 180,000 a month to actually stay level, and to begin to increase, you have to be above that, reduce our unemployment rate.
it has to be above 180,000. and so we were far below that this month. the percentage of people who are long-term unemployed, who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, jumped nearly two percentage points to 45.1%. the unemployment rate increased to 9.1% from 9%. however, the unemployment rate does not take into account those who are underemployed or who may have become discouraged, and that's why we have such a low percentage of people working. many are discouraged and have given up looking for work. since its peak of 12,800, the dow jones industrial average hit 12,800. it's down now 698 points, more than 5% over the last week, and i believe this is the sixth consecutive week that the dow
has declined. consumer confidence is also deteriorating. the consumer confidence survey is down 12 points from its peak in just february, it has been steadily downward. the consumer expectations about the future are even worse, falling more than 20 points in the last three months from 97.5 to 75.2. and the last time we experienced a three-month drop in consumer confidence of more than 20 points was march, 2008, during the heart of the great recession. the misery index which combines the unemployment rate with the one-year change in inflation growth hit 12.2%, the highest level in a year. those are grim statistics indeed. i'm looking at baron's, the lead editorial by mr. abelson, just
in today's barron's. these are some of the things he expressed unease about, very serious concern in his lead column for the barron's publication. he quotes a report from the -- the liseo report, phillipa dunning and doug henward reports, and he quoted from their signals. more than a little shocking to phillipa and doug and to us as well, referring to himself, is that private employment today is 2% below where it stood ten years ago. and as they have noted before, job loss over a ten-year period is unprecedented. in other words, over ten years, we have 2% fewer people working. the first time we have ever identified a ten-year period in
our history, he goes back to 1890, that we have actually seen a decline in employment over ten years. so far -- and i'm quoting him now -- they point out somewhat grimly -- quote -- "we've regained just 1.8 million jobs lost in the great recession and its aftermath or about one in five." so we lost -- we only recovered about one in five of the jobs. we have been reading that job growth is out there but it hasn't been much. it's been anemic. and so are g.d.p. growth. he goes on to note that the number of people out of work this month increased by 167,000, and a goodly number of those,
44.6%, to be precise, have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, within crying distance of an all-time high. the average stay in the ranks of jobless has reached the longest in the postwar period, and that's world war ii. so that's the longest time we have gone with half the people -- almost half the people being unemployed for at least 27 weeks, so it's not a good situation. and we have tried, the federal reserve has tried, the congress rammed through a bill that didn't work. i felt it wouldn't work. i explained why at that time, but it passed anyway, adding almost $800 billion, $900 billin of our total debt to our country. every penny of t