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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  June 9, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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the presiding officer: the senator from montana. mr. baucus: mr. president, i ask to speak as if in morning business. mr. baucus: i suggest that further proceedings of the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. baucus: mr. president, i ask to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. baucus: the book of matthew chapter 23 verses 1112 read, the greatest miewng will be your servant, those who humble themselves will be exalted.
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i rise today to recognize five of montana's great servants. our state has faced severe flooding, unrelenting flooding for the past several weeks, water levels rising, montanans across the state stepping up to help. this is the essence of what it means to be a montanan, stepping up to help ordinary montanans, ordinary folks doing extraordinary things for their friends and neighbors. we're all in this together. that's why i'm calling attention to montana heroes, going above and beyond the call of duty in the floods that we are experiencing in our state today. i want to recognize pastor kathy moorhead of the united methodist church and father wathem of st. benedict's church. they showed me the flood damage caused by muscle shell river.
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most of the town has been under water for days. i remember many times going to the busy bee cafe, never in my wildest dreams i did think that would be under water. today, a few days ago it was, the floods have come back again. it's not totally under water, but so much of it is virtually destroyed. kath really -- kathy and daniel took it upon themselves to make sure that their neighbors had a hot meal, a dry place to sleep, medical care, a shoulder to cry on. it's not only for those at this -- displaced by the floods, but also for the national guard so the national guard doesn't have to eat the rations that they otherwise would have to eat. i talked to the guards, they're so appreciative enough to eat that -- that food that they otherwise are given. ask anyone in roundup and they'll they'll you that kathy's and daniel's efforts continue to
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be indispensable. floodwaters returned to roundup and our prayers are with them today. this month the crow indian tribe faced devastating floods. rising water has severed food and water supplies, no drinking water. rushing water has swept away bridges and streets. as soon as the floodwaters struck the wrote reservation, wrote tribe member april twanita got to work. she helped with the red cross to set up food place for the victims. they made sure they knew where medical care was most urgently needed. she is universally recognized as the go-to person for help, april kwanita. april has been working 18-hour days, sleeping on the floor of the crow housing authority. april's hard workinspires us alr
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through the floods. floodwaters destroyed the harris family. neighbors charlie and gill hopped on four-wheelers and went to rescue the harris family. the harris family was under six feet of water. they offered the harris family a warm and soft place to stay, a shoulder to cry on as they worked to save their cattle. gayle say, we're montanans. this is what we dovment pastor kathy, father dan, angers charlie and gayle are the best montana has to offer. they represent our can-do attitude, our willingness to help our, and our belief is that when times are turvetion we know that we're the strongest when we work together. there are hundreds of other unsung heroes across montana.
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and i'm calling on all montanans to share their stories of ordinary folks doing extraordinary things for their friends and neighbors, whether on facebook, or they can call my office, we want to hear these inspiring stories. some folks in our state say it's somewhat true, montana is really one big town. we tend to know each other. we're a big area, few in people, but we tend to know each other, about one to two degrees of separation. we're really one big small town. in closing, mr. president, i want to share a humble thank you for all the montanan montanan hk home. i don't know what we'd do without you. thank you for your service. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator missouri. mr. blunt: missouri has withstood number of tremendous disasters this spring. the floods that our good friend
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from montana just talked about are headed down the missouri river from montana to the dakotas to missouri right now. but we've had floods along the mississippi, we've had floods of the black river that required the evacuation of part of popular bluff, missouri, we've had tornadoes in both st. louis and joplin, and now, as i said, the missouri river floods, the mo river is beginning to reflect -- the missouri river is going reflect what has happened upstream, above-normal snow pack that we don't see much of but we see it when it melts in the spring and high rainfall amounts in spring have made the difference in what's happening in our state. the flooding along the missouri river which is about to get to crisis stage will now join floods along the mississippi rirvetion the black river, and tornadoes in st. louis and joplin. river levels are expected to rise near record levels and
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remain there until early or mid-august. this, of course, will put a tremendous pressure on our levee system of the estimates that i heard this week were that between now and two weeks from today there'll be at least two dozen levees under water. which means the water would have got high enough to come over the tops of those levees and maybe over 50 levees on the missouri river before it gets to st. louis will be under water and will have water on both sides of them until well into the summer. that begins to undermine the very basis of the levee itself when it stands in water on both sides. the corps and local sponsors are working to reinforce the levees along the missouri river. we see that the department of agriculture and the corps also has to get engaged to get the damaged land cleared and
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rehabilitated for all this levee protection to be restored. there's some discussion in the opening of the levee in the boot hill, place called bird's point, that had been the plan to open that levee in a flood disaster since 1937, but it hadn't happened since 1937, 130,000 additional acres of farmland means at this moment we probably have 500,000 acres of farmland, a little more than that under water and that number will be much higher than that by this time next week. but that 130,000 acres at bird's point will still be under water most of next year unless the corps goes back in, as they committed they would, and gets a temporary levee that becomes a permanent levee in as soon as possible. we also, mr. president, can't over-- can't underestimate, and it would be hard to even
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overestimate, the challenges that joplin, missouri, faces, a city that the death toll has now exceeded -- from the tornado has exceeded the death rate from any tornado in the last 50 years. i live about 60 miles from joplin in springfield, missouri. i represented joplin and springfield both in the house of representatives for 14 years. i had an office in joplin. i was there -- i've been there literally hundreds of times, and, as southwest missouri yarntion i have seen lots of tornado damage, but i have never seen anything like this damage. i went to the area tuesday after the tornado hit on -- over the weekend. i think the tornado hit on sunday afternoon late. i was there most of the day tuesday. i was wry riding down streets with a veteran street sergeant
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that both he and i had been down many times and neither of us could tell quite where we were because the devastation was that great. every street looked like the street right flecks to t the billeteddings were ground up. the 2x4's had become tooth picks. it was almost unrecognizable. this same tornado had it hit and stayed on the ground for six miles in an area of farmland would have done some damage but there wouldn't have been nearly as much damage. as it happened, it ripped through the city of joplin in a swath that was at least a half a mile wide and at some places three-quarters of a mile wide, stayed on the ground for six miles and destroyed approximately 30% of the buildings in a town of 50,000 peevmenpeople. a141 people were killed, including those that have died in hospitals from injuries since the tornado because of the
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tornado. more than 900 people were injured. 8,000 homes and apartments were destroyed. and i think here the word "destroyed" is the right word. others were damaged. these were destroyed. 8,000 places where people lived three weeks ago aren't there today, and more than 500 commercial properties were demolished by this devastating tornado. homes, chunks the high school, the votech school, the elementary schools, catholic schools all gone. and other schools damaged. how you just get back to school in august and september of this year with those schools gone is a huge challenge, one that a community would assume it would never have to have to meet. but the community has been meeting it as have people from all over the country and particularly from our state. rescue efforts led by groups
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like missouri task force one and other public safety officials, the fire departments, the law enforcement, the medical personnel, the volunteers have up till now been tireless. but i can tell you, they're getting pretty tired. people in missouri and across america have been overly generous with their time and resources in the aftermath of this storm, and all missourians are grateful for it. large carpings and small -- large corporations and small community organizations and individuals have helped. people have responded to calls on the phone by doing whatever they were asked to do to make a small donation. the general motors foundation announced a $1,000 grant to the red cross, along with two vehicles, full-sized vans and free access to their onstar service after the disaster. the ford motor company donated another $50,000 to feeding
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america for joplin, and their employees in the kansas city plant are assisting as volunteers in relief efforts. walmart committed $1 million. home depot and walmart both had a superstory demoll ieshed. and in both cases they had late sunday afternoon shoppers in them. one store, mr. president, a man and his four-year-old and one-year-old -- i'm not sure they were on their way to the home depot. but at the last moment they were running into the home depot thinking that would be the safest place to be and the big concrete walls collapsed inward and the mom that had sent them to get light bulbs or whatever she sent them to get never saw those three people that were so much a part of thei her life be. the st. louis cardinals donated 25,000 to convoy of hope.
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kansas city royals and kansas city chiefs each gave $35,000 to heart-to-heart international. dura sell opened a -- duracell opened a relevel trillion. tide opened a center for the thousands of affected families. the united way pledged 100% of their funds that were raised in a drive to joplin. target contributed $95,000 to relief. at&t and verizon both gave $50,000. sprint, a kansas city-area-based company gave $150,000. tamco gave $1 million. their headquarters are in joplin. many of their employees were affected. love's travel shop gave $150,000. great southern and southwest missouri bank both donated $10,000. the girl scouts in houston, missouri, were collecting toys
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for the children of joplin who had lost their toisms the university of missouri produced tornado relief t-shirts with the slogan "one state, one spirit, one missou." and a semi truck of groceries and other items were sent to the location. the american red cross, harvesters community food network sent 14,000 ready-to-eat meals. the kansas speedway, the highway road house and kitch nongrove city collected items for victims. the ozark technical community college collected funds to help people. the students in a high school in stst. louis, which had had its n tornado, sent things to joplin as well. so, mr. speaker -- fema is doing what they can do -- or, mr. president, rather, fema is doing is what they can dovment we need to prioritize spending, as i reach the conclusion of my
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remarks, and mening the people who needed to be mentioned. i sent president obama a letter. i spoke with secretary napolitano shortly after this disaster insignificance that the federal government do what we did in katrina and reimburse taxpayers for their expenses at the 100% level. we've gone from 75% to 90% owe only 10% more, and i'll be happy with that number. 75% was the first number discussed but we're at 90% now. the federal government needs to do this. local utility companies need to get the same kind of assistance others have had in similar disasters. in all cases, mr. president, the first responders were people's neighbors, their neighbors will still be there six months later when people are still struggling, but with thanks to everyone who has helped helped,ppreciation for the
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federal employees who have been there, and absolute insistence that we do everything we need to do to treat this disaster as it needs to be treated because it truly is a disaster, and i'll be working with everything we can find to make this situation a challenge that the community can meet, and i would yield my time. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that after i'm recognized, senator white house be recognized briefly. we're speak on the same topic. at the conclusion of senator whitwhitehouse, senator alexande recognize the. officer without objection. mr. reed: i am pleased to rise today to help mark the 350th anniversary of the settlement of block island, rhode island. block island sits 12 miles south
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and has contributed to the economic and ecoul logic vitality of my home state. it has a rich history. in 1614 the dutch merchant and explorer adrian block charted the island. in 1661, columnist from massachusetts sailed to rhode island to establish a community that would later become the town of new shore. ÷ during the revolutionary war block islanders lit fires on beacon hill, the island's highest point. over the past 200 years, block island constructed two lighthouses that have provided safe passage for countless people. today block island is home to over 100,000 residents and welcomes 20,000 visitors each day during the tourist system. block island has been graced by
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president ulysses grant and president william jefferson clinton. i was pleased to guide president clinton around the mohegan bluffs and the lighthouse during his visit along with the first lady, now secretary of state hillary rodham clinton. throughout the years rhode islanders worked hard to preserve the beauty. captain john r. lewis, a block island resident, spearheaded a campaign to save the southeast lighthouse which was threatened by eroding shoreline. bob secured nearly $1 million in federal funding and persuaded the islanders to raise $270,000 through donations. i must applause the efforts of senator john h. chafee and senator claiborne pell, my
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predecessors, who worked very hard, particularly senator chafee, to ensure support for the movement of the southeast light. their efforts in conjunction with these federal leaders and state leaders saved the historic landmark which still stands today. block island is not only unique for its rich history, it also has a beautiful landscape. over 40% of the island is now preserved land. the island boasts dramatic bluffs, pristine beaches and 25 miles of public hiking trails. over 40 kinds of endangered species call block island home and thousands of migratory birds pass through each year making this a truly exceptional place. indeed, block island was included on the nature conservancy's list of last great places. this honor identifies sites in the western hemisphere with significant biodiversity and ecosystems with rare or endangered species. generations of block islanders
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preserved what the narrangansett india tribe called god's little island. as we celebrate the 350th anniversary of block island settlement, it is fitting we recognize block islanders for their effort to preserve one of our country's most treasured places. and i would yield the floor to my colleague. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the other senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, thank you. i rise today to join my distinguished senior senator, senator reed, in commemorating the 350th anniversary of block island, and i thank him for his leadership in organizing this moment of recognition. every rhode islander can recall their first trip out to block island. for most it starts with a drive down to gallo lane where countless visitors boarded the block island ferries, the carol jean, block island and the anna sea. the ride from galilee lasts about an hour wind out at the
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point judith harbor of refuge and into the ocean. as the mainland slips away, off the stern, a small speck on the horizon grows larger with each minute. soon the great bluffs of the island come into view, followed by the friendly hustle and bustle of block island's old harbor. as the ferry pulls into the dock, the full scene unfolds. the national hotel, ballards inn and all the shops and restaurants along water street. as you step ashore you can't help but feel enchanted by the scene. a mere 12 miles separate the island from the mainland of our ocean state but can seem a world away. generations of rhode islanders made that trip and most will continue returning year after year only to find with a sigh of relief that the scene is just about as they left it. it's no wonder that the nature conservancy named block island as one of the earth's last great
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places. formed by a receding glacier thousands of years ago, the land was first inhabited by the narrangansett indians who named their home god's little island. it took its modern name from adrian block, a dutch explorer who charted the island in 1614. it was later settled bid a group of families from massachusetts 350 years ago this year. in the centuries since block island has been occupied by british red coats during the war of 18, and -- war of 1812 and become a favorite for sailors and fishermen across the region and country. today the island is a mainstay of rhode island's tourism industry, the southeast lighthouse is one of the many must-sees for ocean state tourists. right thrup with historic
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newport and the slater mill in pawtucket. the jobs generated by block island from the ferry workers to shop owners are a real help to our economy in these tough times. i'm happy to join senator reed today to commemorate 350 years of history for the people of the town of new shoreham. congratulations on this historic milestone. thank you, mr. president. i thank the distinguished senator from tennessee for his courtesy and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, on next tuesday the nation's largest exporter and employer of 159,000 americans will be appearing before an administrative judge in seattle to defend itself against a claim brought by the acting general koupb seflt national labor relations board -- counsel of the national labor relations board. that claim is that a corporate decision to expand production of its next generation airliner in south carolina, a right to work
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state, is a violation of federal labor law. since 1947 the federal law affirmed the right of states to enact what we call right to work laws which prevent unions and employers from requiring employees to join a union as well as pay dues or fees in order to keep their jobs. in tennessee, for example, manufacturers such as nissan and now volkswagen and general motors have built factories and increased their production of cars made and sold in the united states in large part due to the environment created by tennessee's right to work law. the president recently went to the midwest to say in effect that the auto bailout helped restore the american automobile industry. i would respectfully disagree. i think what has restored the american automobile industry has been the right to work laws in
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22 states which have created a more competitive environment in those 22 states and in the midwest and other states where the laws don't exist, which permits manufacturers to be able to make in the united states cars and trucks that they sell in the united states. but, unfortunately, mr. president, american companies in our 22 right to work states are under assault from a government agency that's driven by antibusiness, antigrowth and an antijobs agenda. this may be the most important battle over labor laws in the united states today. that's why senator graham and demint and i -- actually we have 35 senators skpoerg this bill -- cosponsoring this bill, introduced legislation to preserve the law's protection of the right to work and prevent the nlrb from moving forward in their case against the boeing company and others. the job protection act, as we call it, will prevent the nlrb from ordering a company to
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relocate jobs, will guarantee employer rights to decide where to do business, and protect employer-free speech associated with the costs and benefits of a unionized workforce. the company that will be tried on tuesday is boeing, a solid, upstanding american success story. over the last century boeing has built the passenger planes that allow americans to travel the world, has built the warplanes and weaponry that enable our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen to defend freedom, has built the spacecrafts that send our astronauts into orbit and to the moon, has built satellites that deliver communications around the globe. boeing's newest commercial passenger airliner is the 787 dream liner. it's a shining example of american innovation and american entrepreneurship. it's been designed with the paramount focus on efficiency and peformance to allow a
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mid-sized aircraft to travel as far as a jumbo jet while using 20% less fuel and producing 20% less emissions than today's similarly sized aircraft. and traveling at roughly the same speeds as the 747 or 777. there's also been a tremendous commercial success despite these difficult economic times. since 2004, 56 customers spanning six continents have placed orders for 835 dreamliners valued at $162 billion. president obama has recognized the leadership of this company. he's named the chief executive officer of the company, mr. mcinerny, as chairman of the nation's export koupb seufplt and more reece -- export counsel. and more recently mr. bryson has been nominated to be the nation's commerce secretary. the boeing success prompted the company to decide in 2009, two
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years ago, to establish a second assembly line for the airliner in south carolina. this is in addition to its current assembly line in washington state. south carolina is a right-to-work state. washington state is not. on tuesday, next tuesday, the nlrb acting general counsel will ask an administrative judge in seattle to stop boeing from expanding its production in south carolina, arguing that the decision was made in retaliation for past strikes by union employees in washington. that claim ignores these facts. no union jobs are being lost here. nobody is being demoted. no personnel are being moved. no benefits, salaries or work hours are being cut back as a result of this expansion. it ignores the fact that boeing's decision was announced, as i said, nearly two years ago.
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that means that down in south carolina, there have been 9,000 instruction jobs -- construction jobs. they hired 1,000 new workers to work at this plant and the plant is supposed to open next month, in july. at the same time boeing is actually added 2,000 new jobs in washington state since its announced expansion in south carolina. that's 2,000 new union jobs in washington state. south carolina, of course, is a right-to-work state where employees may choose to join the union or not join the union. suspending its expansion to south carolina will result in billions of dollars of lost economic development in jobs to that state. but the nlrb's acting general counsel does not seem to care about these facts or the impact of this case on those jobs. recently several of boeing's
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employees in south carolina whose jobs are hanging in the balance asked to intervene in the case. the act be general counsel opposed that stating that -- quote -- "these boeing employees in south scar have no cognizable interest in participating in the proceeding sufficient to justify their intervention." mr. president, it's hard to imagine anyone with a more direct interest than the boeing workers in south carolina, but facts like these don't seem to matter when you have an agenda. but this case is about more than airplanes, more than boeing and more than south carolina. this is about the future of our economy and our competitiveness as a nation. it's just the latest attempt by this administration to chip away at right-to-work laws, to change the rules and give unions more leverage over employers and have political influence in washington determine the means
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of production for private industry in the united states. if the acting general counsel's request is affirmed following next week's hearing, it will be prima facie illegal for a country that has faced repeated strikes to move production to a state with a right to work law. the chief executive of boeing, mr. president, has pointed out that this will not only hurt the 22 right-to-work states, it's also not good for the states that do not have a right to work law. those nonright-to-work states will suffer because a company that operates in their state that is unionized will effectively be prevented from growing or expanding to a right-to-work state, therefore, hindering the ability of any state to attract new manufacturers and create new jobs. so instead of making it easier and cheaper to create jobs in the united states of america,
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manufacturers will be further incentivized to expand or open new facilities in mexico, in china, or india to meet their growing needs. boeing and its 787 dreamliner are shining examples of what is right in america and what is necessary to rebuild and grow our country's economy. the new production plant in south carolina is the first new assembly line for large airplanes in 40 years in our country. we need to remember that boeing sells airplanes everywhere in the world and that it can make airplanes anywhere in the world. we would like for boeing and other manufacturers to make in the united states what they sell in the united states so the jobs can be in this country instead of overseas. as this administration's commerce secretary, gary locke, correctly observed -- quote --
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"manufacturing is essential to america's economic competitiveness. it's a vital source of good, middle-class jobs. it's a key driver of innovation, "said mr. locke. with 9.1% unemployment with a soft economy, government and washington need to allow manufacturers such as boeing to prosper, innovate and create jobs. we need to make it easier and cheaper for those manufacturers to make in the united states what they sell in the united states. expanding new production lines in south carolina was a business decision made by boeing's executives and board members on behalf of its shareholders who believed it was in the country's best interests. as i mentioned, those board members, those chief executives of that company are well respected, including by the president of the united states who has invited them to be a part of his administration. but under this administration,
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the nlrb seems only to be concerned about the interests and agenda of organized labor, an agenda that has been soundly rejected by the vast majority of private sector workers in both right-to-work states and nonright-to-work states across the country in recent years. so, mr. president, all eyes will be on seattle next tuesday when one of our nation's greatest assets and contributors to our economic future will be put on trial for investing, creating and innovating in our country at a time where we're in the middle of an economic recession. this will be a true test of whether manufacturers are able to make in the united states what they sell in the united states or whether they will be encouraged to make overseas what they sell in the united states and put those jobs there instead of here. it will be a true test of whether the administration's export policy is exporting airplanes or exporting jobs.
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mr. president, i yield the floor. and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: yes. mr. whitehouse: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i'm here this afternoon because on may 12, 2011, the national academy of sciences released a significant report.
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it's entitled america's climate choices. in 2007, congress directed the academy to write this report. the researchers who contributed to the report include scientists, economists and policymakers from world class institutions such as the oak ridge national laboratory, dupont, and m.i.t. it -- the list of the states from which the committee comes is very broad, california scientists came from, north carolina, maryland, georgia, virginia, michigan, wyoming, washington state, tennessee, arizona, north carolina, missouri, massachusetts, new york, new jersey, colorado, texas. the report was peer reviewed. let me ask unanimous consent that at the end of my remarks the list of committee, which is
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page roman numeral v, 5, of the report be added as an exhibit. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: it was peer reviewed from such universities as stanford, the university of texas, the university of south carolina, harvard, and carnegie melon. and, yet, mr. president, this significant report requested by congress, drafted by experts, peer reviewed by science, has fallen on really deaf ears here in our nation's capital. why is this is this is it because the report addresses a problem that we have already solved? no. is it because the report tells us not to worry? nope, it is not that either. the report, america's climate choices, adds to the body of climate science evidence and reflects the clear consensus of
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the scientific community, which is that carbon pollution is creating dangers across our planet and must be addressed if we are to avoid its most disastrous consequences. these are the facts in the report and i quote -- "climate change is occurring. it is very likely caused by human activities and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems." end quote. are we prepared for these significant risks? no, we are not concludes the report. i quote again, "the united states lacks an overarching national strategy to respond to
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climate change." the report warns further that, and i quote -- "waiting for unacceptable impacts to occur before taking action is imprudent because the effects of greenhouse gases emissions do not fully manifest themselves for decades. andú -- and once manifested will persist for hundreds or even thousands of years. starkly, the report calls on us now to begin mobilizing for adaptation. the precise quote, "begin mobilizing now for adaptation." so the report is an urgent call to action by a widespread group of our most responsible
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scientists peer reviewed by our most responsible universities. why then is it being ignored? i believe, mr. president, that many of my colleagues are ignoring this report because they are hoping this problem of carbon pollution changing the atmosphere and the climate of our planet will just go away. they're hoping that somehow if we don't discuss it, indeed if we deny it, climate change will not happen. if we ignore the laws of physics and chemistry and biology, those laws may cease to apply to us. well, we can repeal a lot of laws here in this united states senate, but we cannot repeal the laws of nature. and we are fools to ignore them. some even attack the underlying science, that this is a strategy
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that is as old as industry reaction to science that industry does not like. a recent book looked at the e.p.a. efforts to protect us from secondhand smoke at a time when the tobacco industry wanted unregulated ability to smoke, did not want people protected from secondhand smoke, pretended that secondhand smoke was not dangerous. the writers conclude "most of the science upon which the e.p.a. relied with respect to secondhand smoke was independent, so attacks on the e.p.a. wouldn't work alone. they'd have to be coupled with attacks on the science itself." a memo from phillip morris' communication director, victor
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hahn, said the following: "without a major concentrated effort to expose the scientific weaknesses of the e.p.a. case, without an effort to build considerable, reasonable doubt, then virtually all other efforts will be significantly diminished in effectiveness." in other words, in order to create doubt, they had to attack the science directly. and they have done so, to the point where mr. hahn said that e.p.a. was an agency that is at least misguided and aggressive, and at worst, corrupt kraopbld by environmental -- and controlled by environmental terrorists. so it's not a new story for industry to try to deny the science that shows the danger of what an industry is providing. but these attacks simply won't stand.
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the facts are too strong against them. over the last 800,000 years, earth's atmosphere has contained co2 levels of 170 to 300 parts per million. that is solid science. that's a fact. that's not a theory. it is not in dispute. that is the range within which humankind has lived for 1,000 centuries. and by the way, it's not clear that 8,000 centuries ago mankind had yet mastered the art of controlling fire. essentially the entirety of human history has taken place within that band with of 170 to 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. in 1863, the irish scientist
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john tindall determined carbon dioxide in the at moss tear attracts -- atmosphere traps heat. that is textbook science. it's been textbook science for generations. that's not in dispute either. since the industrial revolution, our industrialized societies have burned carbon fuels in measurable amounts, usually measured as giga tons or metric tons. a giga ton is a billion -- with a "b" -- metric tons. now we release, depending on the year, up to 7 or 8 giga tons, 7 or 8 billion metric tons each year. that's not in dispute either. we now measure carbon concentrations going up in the earth's atmosphere. again, this is a measurement.
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this is not a theory. the present concentration exceeds 390 parts per million. remember, for 8,000 centuries humanity has existed in a band width of 170 to 300 parts per million, and we are now at 390 parts per million, well outside the bound that we've inhabited for the last 800,000 years. that also is not in dispute. that's a fact. this document, america's climate choices, documents the changes in climate that have already been observed and measured in the united states. again, not theory. documented, measured and observed. these are also not in dispute. over the past 50 years, our
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united states average air temperature has increased by more than two degrees farenheit. our total u.s. precip ation has increased on average by about 5%. sea levels have risen along most of the u.s. coast. heavy down pours have become more frequent and more intense in the southeastern and western united states. and the frequency of large wildfires and the length of the fire season have increased substantially in both the western united states and in the presiding officer's home state of alaska. if you take a look at the increase in carbon concentrations in our atmosphere, they can be plotted. today is one of the last days that our pages are with us after many, many months, and they have
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been here in school in the very early mornings, and they have been learning mathematics. and it wouldn't surprise me if our pages were able to take a series of points and plot a trajectory off of those points. that is not a complicated scientific endeavor. if you plot the trajectory of our carbon concentration, it puts us at 688 parts per million in the year 2095 and 1,097 parts per million in the year 2195. now that's a pretty long way off, but when you think that for 800,000 years we've inhabited a planet in which the carbon concentration in the atmosphere was between 170 and 300 parts per million and in a matter of a
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century and a little more we will have more than doubled that concentration, and another century hence another 300 points up, that's a very, very significant, indeed an epic shift. these carbon concentrations are outside the bound not of the last 8,000 centuries, but of millions of years of this planet's history. the national academy of science's report warns -- warns us this as well. in addition to the potential impacts that we are able to identify, there is a real possibility of impacts that have not been anticipated. let me say that again. in addition to the potential impacts that we are able to identify, there is a real
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possibility of impacts that have not been anticipated. when we travel outside of a range that has protected our species and our planet for 8,000 centuries, we create forces that are hard to anticipate. and consequently, we create dangers that are hard to anticipate. this national academy of sciences report does not just stop at cataloging the effects of climate change, however. as requested by congress and as indicated by the report's title, "america's climate choices," the report lays out the choices we have moving forward, if only we will acknowledge the facts of this problem and act responsibly the laws of nature, of course, do not care if we are paying attention. climate change is happening tanned poses grave -- happening,
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and it poses grave risks to us, and it will go forward whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. as i said earlier, we can do a lot of repealing of laws in the senate but we don't get to repeal the laws of nature. there are real risks that we are facing, but there are also many positive reasons that we should address the problem of carbon pollution. developing clean and truly renewable energy sources and working to run our american businesses more efficiently will help us retain our economic leadership in the global marketplace. and that, mr. president, means jobs for americans. here's the report again. on the potential harm to our economy, if we don't invest in a clean energy future. i quote -- "the european union has already increased its reliance on renewable energy and put a price on co2 emissions from major sources without
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detectable adverse economic effects. china has placed low carbon and clean energy industries at the heart of the country's strategy for industrial growth and is making large-scale public investments. for instance, in smart grid energy transmission systems to support this growth. firms operating in the united states could find themselves increasingly out of step with the rest of the world and without the same robust domestic markets for climate-friendly products. moreover, u.s. firms in energy-intensive sectors could be disadvantaged relative to their more energy-efficient foreign competitors if energy prices rise in coming decades. that's no idle speculation. we are already seeing the united states fall behind in clean
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energy technologies. we invented the first solar cell. we now rank fifth among the countries that manufacture solar components. fifth. the u.s. has only one of the top ten companies manufacturing solar energy components and only one of the top ten companies manufacturing wind turbines. half of america's installed wind turbines were manufactured overseas. portsmouth, rhode island, installed two wind turbines, one was manufactured by a danish company. the other by an austrian company, its components delivered to aopb island by a canadian distribute tor. imagine if we drove demand for manufacturing of wind turbines, solar cells and panels, rechargeable batteries. imagine the people we could put back to work, the factories we
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could reopen, the energy this growth would infuse into our economy. the new energy economy that beckons us has been described in congressional testimony as bigger than the tech revolution that brought us our latops and ipads and blackberry reus and the internet service so important a part of our daily hraoeufrbgs whether we twitter -- lives, whether we twitter or go on ebay or shop amazon or go on facebook. in 15 years that industry grew from nothing to a $1 trillion economy. a $1 trillion economy. by comparison, the global energy economy is $6 trillion. we do not as a country want to foul out of the race -- want to fall out of the race to control that new energy economy, and yet that is exactly what we're doing. america designed much of the underlying energy technology that the world is using, but other countries have set smart
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policies and provided financial incentives to their industries, and now they're pulling away from us and bringing those new technologies to market. a $6 trillion market, and our foreign competitors are pulling away from us and bringing our own technologies to that market. our competitors are seizing the advantage in the development and deployment of new energy technologies, and we are letting them. but we can still change this trajectory. we can face up to the facts of climate change, see the opportunity in that looming threat, strengthen our economy and create jobs. the national academy of sciences report is just one remember -- one more reminder of this historic charge to our congress,
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an historic charge at which right now we are failing in our duty. i thank the presiding officer. i yield the floor. i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: i ask that the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. reid: i ask that wotder of colorado to be the assistant secretary of wildlife to be sent to the president on june 9 this year to be sent to the joint committee on environmental works and the committee of natural resources. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: notwithstanding rule 22 on tuesday june 14 at 11:00 a.m. the senate proceed to executive session to consider executive nominations 77 and 81, there be an hour of debate between the leaders or designees, the senate proceed to vote with no intervening action or debate on calendar number 73 and 81, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate and no further motions be in order to any of the nomination, any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record, president obama be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate resume legislative session. the senate recess until
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2:15 p.m. for the weekly party conferences. further that 2:15 p.m. the senate resume consideration of s. 782, the economic development act and the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the coburn amendment number 436 as modified and that the mandatory quorum under 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on monday, june 13, following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved until later in the day, and that following any leader remarks the senate proceed to a period of morning business until 6:00 p.m. with senators permitted speak up to 10 minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, as previously announce there had will be no votes on monday. the first votes of the week will be on tuesday june 14, at noon there will be two roll call votes in reconciliation to checking -- in relation to
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checking. at 2:15 there will be a roll call vote on the cloture motion that senator coburn filed. if there is no further business if there is no further business
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the >> president obama signed an executive order today establishing a white house council on rural issues. agriculture secretary tom vilsack will chair the council. he and other members included white house domestic council direct her in secretaries of the
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interior and housing and urban development spoke with reporters shortly after meeting with the president. >> this morning we believe something significant happened for individuals and families and businesses residing in rural america. and that is because the president signed an executive order establishing the white house council on rural america. this is an historic effort, the first effort of its kind and it's been done because the president wants to build on his commitment to rural america that he talked about during the campaign and that's been built upon not ready for the first years of our administration. we believe important thing is, trying to stabilize and create thriving economies in rural america to a group of quality of life they are, focus on innovations in building out the infrastructure, whether its rows of broadband access or people they there, access to health care. we also believe about more has to be done for americans reside
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in the country. that'll be the work of this council, led by secretary vilsack and coordinated in the white house to the domestic policy council and the national economic council. you'll see a lot of that dvd and work in the weeks and the comments we go out around the country, as they also coordinate across agencies in washington d.c. with that, i'm going to turn this over to secretary vilsack will tell you more about the council and lettuce is so so important. thank you. >> thank you very much. this is an exciting day for those who live, work in rural america. i appreciate the president's direction and focus on rural areas. this is an area that's extremely poor attempt to the entire treachery. a source of our food, water, ever-increasing amount of fuel and 44% at terry come from small towns, even though it represents
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16% of the population. the rural council is designed to do a couple things to give us a coordinated and integrated effort among all of the agencies of government, to be able to focus our resources and leverage resources so people can release the progress. i know folks in rural communities today see progress in a drive-by gas stations and see that ethanol and renewable fuel is substantially less than regular fuel. they know this is an administration focused on expanding renewable energy and renewable fuel opportunities. that's something they can be. what they want to see more of her and he storefronts filled with jobs, broadband initiatives we have done, reaching out to 10 million folks in rural communities across the country is going to help expand small business development. as a council that will focus on figure out ways to provide more investment in rural america to spur innovation in rural america so we can create jobs and economic growth. the council will also focus on networking, not only within the federal government, the ways in
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which we can develop her and on private sector in rural communities. most of our national resources, a good deal of public lands, which ken salazar will speak about a few minutes are located in these rural communities and discounts to look at the same opportunity to highlight the benefits and also to be able to remind folks of the economic opportunity they represent. i'm excited about this effort. i appreciate the president's direction, his commitment to those folks who live and raise a family in small towns. obviously the agricultural economy is in better shape than ever parts of the country. we are seeing record income levels, but we obviously have to expand that to other parts of the rural economy, which this council is going to focus on. i appreciate sean bean here, who will be integral parts of this council appeared with that, i will turn it over to ken.
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>> thank you, tom. for those of us from rural america, we understand the people in rural america really are the earth of this country and the president has given his cabinet the direction to make sure we're doing everything we can to help rural america address the challenges it faces. the rest of the department of the interior, work closely with the council to make sure we focus on conservation in america's greater doors, how we hope to rural landscapes to make sure we are creating jobs in rural america and all the places that we have to create asset in the national parks and wildlife places to work on. secondly, renewable energy are big issues for a seller to the country and we worked out for a long time. we'll continue to be pressing forward with renewable energy initiatives. third, a place where sean donovan and melody and so many others have been making the effort have done a lot and
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tribal countries in indian country or the last couple years. we are going to be doing a lot more of that. we'll be moving around the country as we address issues in the country. with that, i'll turn it over to sean donovan. >> thanks, ken. while coming of the president is serious about his entire cabinet been very focused on this one. secretary of housing and urban development is part of the rural council. seriously though, we have major focus on rural areas that had, whether it is at fha, where a million and a half rural residents depend on us for low interest rates, state mortgages that help you make an meet in would have been tough times in many rural communities. we insure hundreds of millions of dollars of capital, private capital that goes to rural health centers, which have been so critical to meet the health needs of rural residents as
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well. we're also deeply involved in making sure those who are at greatest risk in our rural communities get help. the president signed the hearts act, which created the first-ever program that focuses on rural homelessness, which has been the fastest growing part of our homeless population across the country. so we have been very focused already in making a difference. we will use the council to expand the center. in particular, will expand efforts to create jobs. to give you three examples come the smart innovation we are making, our rural innovation funds have been able to not only lower the cost of housing, improved housing in areas, but as i saw in rosebud, south dakota, to build a plant to do a modular house construction that lowers transportation cars with long distances and was able to put local residents work -- dozen of local residents to her
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loving homes were right next-door in the pine ridge indian reservation, with her recovery at finding we've been able to create a factory there that is building solar heaters for water for the homes in that area. its lower cost for those who live on the reservation and put folks to work with areas historically in 80% unemployment rate. so those are the kinds of smart investments we can make. it really both improved housing, but also puts people back to work. those are the efforts will be building on an expanding with the council. so happy to be part of it. thank you. >> can you give any more details about other members of the council, who is going to be part of the session and have you decided on any names yet? >> the council is going to be made up of virtually every cabinet level agency as well as a number of other regions these
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to support the president's agenda. we're going to have a series of workgroups that will be focused on a variety of issues that involve not only economic growth, the quality of life in rural communities. our expectation and intention is folks like shaun and ken and myself will be traveling to rural areas across the country, cabinet members, undersecretaries will travel around america and have a series of workshops were going to get input from folks. we want to hear from people. we know what they are seeing, what they are feeling. they have solutions that will help us leverage our resources more effectively. they want to see government work smarter. we want to work smarter. we're working hard to listen to them about how that can happen. there'll be workgroups, benefits, opportunity to showcase what the administration has been doing. it's a broad-based across a whole of government effort. >> given rural america is less
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densely populated, will investments in rural america inevitably get less bang for the best investment for modestly populated areas? >> an interesting study cannot we see capital invested in rural communities, the return on investment is equal to that which is invested in urban and ex-urban areas. so we will get you -- get it to you. the steps we are taking are already making a difference. there is a study in iowa recently on broadband expansion that show small businesses that have access to broadband regardless of what side community they came from. we'll see substantially greater sales and profits as a result of having access to broadband and those who do not. it's why this is so critical in terms of establishing networks and opportunities. it's where the administration has made an historic commitment to broadband expansion and will continue to do so with the loan programs we have a usda programs of the congress.
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>> one of the things we've also found is what we can do here is actually get more bang for the buck for our federal investments as well. to give you an example of that, what we found before we came into office is often in particularly in rural areas, we'd be making transportation investment disconnected from where we're making housing investments where people live. and this is a pattern that has led to the average american family now spending 60 cents of every dollar in housing and transportation can find and given the length of commits we have in so many rural areas and the fact those numbers are from before gas prices went up $4. you can see the impact that's having on the pocketbook of rural families. so what we've been doing is bringing together those investment so we better record than, shorten commutes, give families more time with kids at home, rather than in the car.
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the interest in rural communities has just been beyond even rx dictation. we have a regional planning grant program where we try to coordinate investigations. when the 50% of applicants and 50% of the winners have been broke communities. very, very strong interest in the smart government approach where we get more than one benefit out of a single investment. >> part of that if i can add is also making sure communities understand they are not in this alone because you've got from a small community you may not have the capital or human capital necessary to participate in some programs that we make an effort at usda to focus on regional approaches and encouraging communities to come together. it's also at the local and state level as well. working in leveraging opportunities for nonprofit and community building organizations opportunity for us to really get leverage.
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>> thank you all very much. so i'm not [inaudible conversations]
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>> a federal communications commission report says that although the number of media outlets has grown in the digital era, there is an increasing shortage could of in-depth local. before the king of finance the 18 month long study, this meeting at the fcc began with a discussion of the nationwide test of the emergency alert system. this is two and a half hours. >> chief of the public safety bureau and assistant administrator at fema will give us a presentation for the emergency alert system. >> thank you, admiral permit. i will give the floor in a minute, but i want to welcome our partners from fema, damon penn, a system administrator, thank you for hoping that the presentation and also -- as
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lester name, mark paez. >> i practiced with him before we start >> thank you both for coming. thank you for your ongoing work in this very important area in the floor is yours. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm glad to be before you with damon penn, my colleague with the federal emergency management agency for cotton nudity programs. in fact, with my colleague, the director of the office of oceanic and atmospheric administration weather service has been another key partner in the emergency alerting system. on november 9 at this year at 2:00 p.m. eastern standard time, the commission, sina and noaa looking to dealer system with
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eas. eas has been around for many years. this is the first nationwide test. a nationwide test is essential in ensuring the functions have intended during emergency. as we've repeatedly learned during recent disasters such as c. or latecomers and i'm in japan as well as tornadoes, floods that devastated various parts of our country. reliable and effective emergency alert system is key to ensuring safety of our citizens during a time of disaster. first let me provide some background on the eas. the eas is an alerting system which relies on media-based communications. it will transmit emergency alerts and warnings of american public at the national, state and local levels. pas has been in existence since 1994 though its antecedents have been around since the 50s. broadcasters, satellite, radio, satellite television providers as well as cable television and violent video providers all participate in the system.
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the eas participants provide tremendous public service by transmitting thousands of alerts and warnings to the public each year regarding whether threats, child abductions and many other types of emergencies. this flag you see displayed shows that the present-day eas reaches the public. esa hierarchal message distribution session. a miller may be buy out the by a press official at the national, state or local level and initiating a specially encoded message to a broadcast station -based network then in turn delivers the message to individual eas participants. the public safety officials need to send an alert warning to alert region or even the entire country, we need to know that the system will work as intended. only a top-down simultaneous test of all components of eas can provide an appropriate diagnosis of a systemwide performance. we get along with our federal partners want to conduct the
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first national test as soon as possible. we thought was pretty to conduct a test when hurricane season was nearing its end and before the severe winter weather season begins in earnest. after consultation with eas participants, which is overnight to avoid the holiday rush and we chose 2:00 p.m. eastern standard time to minimize any disruption during rush hours. after the first task in a periodical national test will likely be retained in may, different time just like the weekly and monthly testing out. the beauty of the eas designed to work another disseminating emergency alerts or unavailable. other is no guarantee other communication methods will withstand after major disasters, various elements of the eas are designed to withstand such calamities. the bureau will soon release a public notice officially announcing the date and time of the first nationwide eas test. in addition, the beer has begun meetings with fema and u.s. participant stakeholders to
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begin dialogue to resolve operational issues in advance pass. the working to develop a dedicated website and provide information about the test of the public. i like to thank several people at the sec, sina and noaa for their hard work on these issues. i like to dodge her deputy. she, with the folks, for cybersecuritization. also greatcoat, bonnie k., thom beers and david pan, wait witmer, anton jonsson, and buckingham, mark paisley and also eric pinky for all their work on this emerging issues. now it like to turn it over to damon penn. >> mr. chairman, commissioners, thank you for the opportunity to be here today. it's a great day to announce the national test of the partnership that has been affirmed in a
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couple with mark and his efforts really produced a vital service to the american people. angst while those gathered for recognizing the importance of alerts and warnings and for your continued support of integrated public alert and warning system also known as ipods. as many of you know, our program really has tried over the past two years and again that has been really due to our partnership with the sec and the relationships we build with the industry. we've established, mueller protocols is a standard now to outreach programs and relationships and made a turnaround for program at all. how it helps us reach more than the american population of emergency occurs, what to first ensure you eas to

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