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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  July 26, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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the trenches working with small-business retirement plans, it seems like every time we turn around there is a new notice that we are supposed to prepare or give to employees. i feel like we are dealing with the will of perfection. like if every one of our employees was a ph.d. and wanted to know everything possible they could possibly know about everything, this is the notice. and what happens though in the real world is you write the notice exactly to comply with the regulation and you hand it to an employee -- i can't tell
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you how often it is tossed into the trash basket while you are handing it to them. you could at least pretend to look at it. and i really do agree with a lot of what was said about electronic is the way to go. i mean, people in the work force they are looking at the internet, the are looking -- they are not looking at least ten page notices anymore. and by the way, anything -- if you see a notice that is more less prepared by the government -- i thought one of the slides was funny because it all is words. lawyers -- and i am a lawyer so i can - myself -- they think in terms of black and white and words. most people don't like that. they like pictures. so, what i was going to say is we should be simplifying, the most obvious place is notices. there's things that we could put in the tax code. senator hatch has recently introduced a bill that tries to
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take away some of the complexity that is not even providing any policy goals. so, you know, that is an easy one. to me that is low hanging fruit. if you take away the complexity and have your system totally intact, so we should do that. but there are other things. for instance, a year ago there was a proposal called ersa employer retirement savings account i think was put out by bush. the idea is it is the not highly compensated and please put in a 6% contribution average, a 401k contribution plan and there was no need to do discrimination testing. well, fast forward to today to the although enrollment escalation. if you were able to get 6% base for them on highly compensated and you did it with the escalation enrollment and stirred with a 6% level, and then you were able to not do
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discrimination testing, devotee a huge incentive. people would do that. companies would do that. another thing is how do you have employees keep their money in the plan? you could say something like if you don't take money out until you are age 65, then all of the money comes out in capital gains, or 70 or whatever number you want. but it's these kind of ideas that led incentivize. so for me, before i wanted to think that the government-type option i think the system is doing well, unfortunately sometimes the government in trying to make the system perfect is actually layering complexity and if we could pull the complexity away we could end up with a system that is more vibrant. >> i think we had another audience question. >> an additional thought. the question i keep asking when i hear of these issues and hear
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the kind of comments that paul has made, is what is the reason to believe that, you know, the whole that we are talking about here -- if you want to define this as the share of workers who aren't participating in a retirement plan, that is a little over 50% -- what is the reason to believe we are going to fill that hole through some changes that are aimed at the simplification? and i guess i have not heard a credible explanation of why we are going to all of a sudden cover those tens of millions of workers just by making those kind of changes. maybe it will make some gains, but the strike me as playing at the margins than really addressing that problem. >> shaun, what do you think of michael's ideas of apps and itt put a lottery out there -- you end up with so many people making 401k contributions putative i think it's time for us to stop thinking so burdened
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down regulations to start coming up with some really interesting ideas. the idea of gameifcation and if you are the 50th person to do you get an extra $700 or a thousand or something. the other thing i would say is the emphasis is on talking about matching contributions. in the small business will come a lot of the contributions are what we call the not elected employer contributions. so it's not dependent upon whether the person has the wherewithal to make the 401k contribution. some people just don't. some people just don't. so it's nice that you have that option to get an employer contribution even if you couldn't make the 401k. >> i think when you talk about gameifcation and things like that come in the workplace -- and it doesn't address people
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don't have access to anything and there are millions of people that don't have access to anything. it may have some interesting facts with employers that sponsor plans offer it to individual workers and they don't offer it to everyone necessarily. but certainly those kind of ideas do not address that problem. >> real quickly and i will speak for michael and that the employer got a percentage if there is someone that on the lottery much like the 7/11 gets a percentage of the lottery win. there needs to be incentive for both employers and workers to move forward. and i know we could continue this conversation forever, so i'm going to take another question to you can get some more in the. >> thank you. i think i would agree with shaun that at some level we are going to have to consider requiring the offering of savings plans across the business community.
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compensated for by whatever costs those require. and serious protection against litigation. but i also agree with paula that there's an intense need to make those if we did go to some kind of saving system there was near universal at the employer level. it should be very simple and clear and easy to implement. i wanted to point out one thing that i think is best sometimes in this debate in general. that is that the incentives to savings that small businesses in july have the effect -- enjoy have the same effect in the code and have to be shared with the whole employee base. there is a danger particularly when progressives talk about the upside-down incentives in their retirement savings system that the cap or reduce or cut down
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those incentives to small businesses to offer and wind up costing millions of people access to any savings plan at all. in other words, those kinds of policy moves against savings incentives would be the exact opposite in their impact to the although ira proposals that richie nielsen supports and we also support. >> i think we have time for one more question. right up here. >> thank you. this is just a data point to share with you, paula, regarding small businesses and their likely to the offering a pension plan to their employees. from the center for retirement research at boston college, her data for and for years that have fewer than 100 employees, 49%
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offer any kind of pension plan to their employees. for companies with more than 100 employees, 90% of her some kind of a pension plan to their employees. so, it's very -- >> do you know the date of the study is? >> alisa come specifically -- i mean she's a very respected research -- >> so are the folks in the small business administration. judy, do you know more about this? >> 25 employees to 50 or something like this. so anyone less than 100 -- >> tenet, 25 to 50, anyone over 100. >> probably your data is true but also this data is true. >> if you have data that is completely opposite -- >> it's not opposite. you have different cut offs on the number of employees. i'm just saying very small companies, probably thoseofer -- >> i think the study actually
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went below 20. it went to 10i think. so if he were to look at -- judy, do you want to respond? >> i think paula's plight is on the look at the w-2, the numbers were better. alisa's study is based on the data that is commonly used but it is serving data and the point of the irs study is when you look at the actual people when they respond, they don't necessarily know. so i think that's the difference between the data. i would also say whatever point you are using there are still millions of people that don't have access to savings. and so, i am with paula on saying the small business is doing a great job. but there are still many people -- of all of them in small business. that is one of the mistakes people make. therassue. >> one more comment i want to make about a study that was done it was published in social
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security bulletin. it's based on the w-2. so it is taking up only the 401k contribution. and many small business plans provide profiteering contribution. so you could be looking at an employee that does not have the wherewithal or the desire to make the 401k contribution, but they were still covered by the contribution that would not have been covered in that w-2. so, if anything, this data is airing on the side of not picking up all of the coverage in my opinion. >> so, this morning before the panel began, i warned michael moderator's that being the last panel i might take the privilege of going all afternoon but i think i should have been worried but the panelists and the audience going all afternoon. i hate having to cut off this great discussion, but we are at the end of the time today. i would like to call deborah whitman back to the podium to give closing remarks. [applause]
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>> succumb i am going to quote michael today you heard from only the u.s. chamber of commerce and the aarp, but from employers come from workers come from plan administrators and the financial-services industry, and from representatives of vulnerable and underserved populations. and we saw -- you heard what only the call from aarp and the chamber our call to action to expand or place savings options come to keep and enhance incentives to save and increase efforts are not retirement. and in each of these key areas come you heard concrete solutions and ideas. on extending access, latisha talked about the two-thirds hispanic population that worked for employers who don't provide
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the opportunity to save in the workplace. and you heard from bob reynolds that really the only solution lies in the reform and expansion of our people deduction system. and we heard from everybody else that auto come auto. the more we get automatic, the more people save and the amount to contribute as a lead over time and we automatically put them in and invest in the better to be on the incentive series we are in the middle of a conversation on reforming our tax code. so we need to expand that conversation. as shaun said, the bottom 80% of the population has seen real wages decline over time. we need to provide all people incentives to put money aside for their future. and lastly, we need to increase education around the importance to save. and i will quote michael again. we need an app for that, maybe we need a lottery, a spotlight
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or score you put on both your data and facebook pages that we need to make sure people understand the importance of savings. so, the only way to get to the last part to conquer is to get policymakers here in washington to hear these areas of the common consensus and move forward with many of the common sense solutions that we have discussed today. as shaun said, workers as by year to retire, and i can't think of a better conversation to have right now than this one. in closing i would like to thank my team at the public policy institute, particularly gerient david. i would like to thank our collaborators at the chamber of commerce, alita and randy for putting on today's event and all of you for coming and listening on line, watching on tv because i think this is a really important debate and one that we
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actually can solve. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] president obama left this morning for camp david or he will be spending the day with members of cabinet and their family. the president will return to the white house tonight. and other administration news today the attorney general eric holder told the russian government the u.s. will not seek the death penalty for the
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former national security agency systems analyst edward snowden. reports say mr. snowden filed papers seeking asylum in russia on the grounds he will return to the u.s. and would face the death penalty. congress has gone home for the week but when they come back next week both bodies will work on spending for the next budget year. they will have one work of a week left before the august recess and dozens of bills that make up the federal spending have been passed since one dozen bills that make up federal spending. part of the problem the lawmakers say is the house and senate yet have to agree on the budget out line on which spending is based. house leaders discussed the impact yesterday.
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>> i would ask my friend, the majority leader, does the gentleman expect we will go to conference at all on the budget and i yield to my friend. >> mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman for his tenacity as this is a weekly discussion between he and me, and i am delighted to respond to say to the gentleman, mr. speaker, that is something that we should commit ourselves to working out. but as the gentleman knows, the position of the majority is we don't want to enter into discussions if the pre-requisite as you have to raise taxes. the gentleman has heard me every week on this issue and that we believe strongly you fix the problem of overspending the reform, the programs needing reform to address the unfunded liabilities first. then if the gentleman is insisting the taxpayers need to
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be more of their hard-earned dollars into washington, that discussion perhaps is appropriate. but, as a prerequisite to entering the budget talks that we agree to raise taxes is not something i think the american people want this body to engage, and i yield back. >> i think the gentleman for his comment. the premise is absolutely incorrect. the american people ought to know that. the senate to go to conference. the senate wants -- excuse become the haven't voted to go to congress because the republican members of the united states senate won't vote to go to conference. there was a notion that was set that was a prerequisite the house agreed to anything, mr. speaker. nothing. now, my friend, the majority leader, mr. speaker, has said repeatedly that we have a pre-requisite. we have a difference of opinion. that is what democracy is about. there is no pre-requisite. there is no precondition.
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there's no condition proceeding as lawyers say to go into conference that the fund number one the senate couldn't make us agreed. that is the conference is all about, mr. speaker. they are about coming together and understanding their own differences pitted there would be no need for the conference if there were not differences. >> and members of congress will return to capitol hill next week. the house begins work on transportation the treatment of hunger strikers at guantanamo compromises the core ethical values of our medical profession the of long endorsed the principle that every competent intervention.
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the world medical association and the international red cross have determined that force feeding through the use of restraints is not only an ethical violation, but, an article for free of the geneva conventions. my concern is what's just set aside the numbers you might or might not feel you can safely pushout. there are a number come an unknown number with the president has said it is 46 that you can never try to be do you honestly think that the people behind me and the people who are those prisoners just because states? >> this soldier of the argument to keep the guantanamo bay is prosecution for medical treatment. the detainees both note that to
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the national security. for transfer should be transferred. we must try the positions for all wall of war detainees as we have done in every conflict. >> this began on c-span, the senate judiciary so committee on human rights looks at this is our website. it's the history of popular culture. it's a collection of stories on the history of popular culture,
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and to say pop culture is quite more than that i think that what i have been trying to do is go into more detail with how popular culture impact the politics and sports and other arenas, so it's not just about pop culture. what we have on the site is the story about popular music. we have sports biography, we have some history of the media entities and newspaper history, so there are a range of things and when i formulated the sight i cast a wide net to see what would work. senator tom coburn called for a national park champion
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yesterday at the senate energy committee on the national park funding. the oklahoma republican plans to release a report next month on possible new funding sources. more than $11 billion in maintenance and national parks has been deferred. the budget request for fiscal year 2014 totaled just over $2 billion. >> the energy and natural resources committee will come to order. in 2016, just the years from now the national park service is going to celebrate its centennial anniversary and while the creation of the national park system is one of our country's greatest successes, the park service faces significant funding challenges taking care of the more than 400 national parks, monuments and other sites the congress and the president have entrusted to its protection. it has now a deferred
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maintenance backlog that is estimated at $11 billion, and it is perhaps higher. the backlog grows each year. meanwhile, the park service like every other part of the federal government faces significant limitations on the funding the congress appropriates for the operation and care of our national parks, and it is unlikely that the appropriation levels are going to increase anytime soon. certainly not increase to the amount necessary that would fully address the deferred maintenance backlog. senator murkowski and i wanted this hearing so the committee can explore and consider new ideas to help fund the park service for the next country to the it wouldn't be inappropriate park hearing if you didn't refer at least once to the famous quote the national parks are the best idea we ever had.
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and we certainly continue to be very popular idea. despite the budgetary challenges the political parties push for the new or expanded national parks in their home state. already in the congress bills or calling for new studies of the national parks have been referred to this committee and other seven bills would establish new national parks and six bills would expand the size of existing park area. these bills are evidence of the extraordinary popularity, national parks with the american people and the desire to protect new areas and tell you stories that are not adequately represented in the national park system. i support many of those efforts in fact one of the bills in the existing national park area is legislation that i propose to expand the national monument. so, i understand the desire and the need that americans are expressing to protect these very
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special places. at the same time, my view is congress has to come up with fresh creative ideas to help the park service make concrete, tangible headway with this maintenance backlog to ensure the long-term viability of the park system. for example, today i am going to want to explore with witnesses the idea of raising fees for non-u.s. citizens like many other countries do. for example, this could apply to the back country permits that are very popular. and of course the argument on behalf of looking at an idea like this is those are individuals that use the park system, they don't pay taxes to support the parks, and there is a very high volume and increasing volume of foreign visitors. and we come senator murkowski
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and i were especially interested in having dr. colburn here today because he has been persistent in advocating for the need to address this deferred maintenance backlog for quite some time. as dr. colburn does on so many issues, he makes it clear that you cannot just pretend the problem some to exist. you've got to stepup and you've got to look, as i indicated, at the real and creative approaches that we can build bipartisan support for to address these kind of concerns. he is raising legitimate questions about how the park service is going to be the will to properly care for the national parks and how it will ever be able to address this immense funding backlog. so, senator murkowski and i thought it was especially appropriate that he would lead off the hearings this morning so that we could get his perspectives and consider the real issues that he has raised,
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and we thank him and we will hear from him in just a few minutes. the last point that i wanted to make is gets closer, we are going to examine all of the creative ideas that have been proposed thus far. certainly there ought to be opportunities with the national park partners such as the parks on the funding groups and i would just ask that the colleagues on both sides of the of that support the parks would be open to considering some of these new approaches. for example, the committee recently included $50 million in dedicated funding in the helium bill to pay for the federal share of challenge cost sharing agreements for national park deferred maintenance projects. and in effect through the helium legislation, senator rakowski and i said here is a chance to meet one of the country's economic needs, and in the years ahead with a specific timetable,
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really it gets the government out of the helium business and we were able to do that in a bipartisan way. we will pay special attention to some of the funding ideas that was proposed by the bipartisan policy center again an effort to reach across the aisle and a challenging area. we are going to ask some details about that. our park service is primarily rely on federal appropriations to fund deferred maintenance projects the agency is able to use revenue collected from park entrance and visitor user fees to fund repairs, maintenance and other projects of our visitors. however, the authority to collect and spend the revenues expires in december, 2014. and if that all isn't renewed, the park service would lose almost $180 million annually. so i think it's critical that the fi legislation would be passed during this congress so that the park service and other land management agencies do not lose that particularly important revenue source.
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.. and it wouldn't have happened without senator murkowski and i thank her for her bipartisan approach. >> thank you mr. chairman and as you know we have an opportunity to move and perhaps as many four s. 14 of these bills so look forward to moving this process forward. thank you for this very important hearing this morning for those of us in alaska. our parks are pretty special and
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not that they are not special in other parts of the country. i think ours are just bigger and they take up more space and they are a constant reminder of the national treasures that we have. i thank you dr. coburn for your interest in this issue. your interest in ensuring that we are on a path towards greater sustainability when it comes to the operation and maintenance of our national parks and our parks system. mr. chairman i do believe we are taking an important step today with this hearing and starting this discussion about how we are going to pay down the national park service's maintenance backlog which the park service estimates that approximately $13 billion. now i would like to be clear right away, i don't think this is an issue that should be solved for additional federal funding. we all know around here that we are facing very serious fiscal situation so we have got to be looking at new and i think alternative ways to find funding for the park system and also to really reassess and reevaluate
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their current funding priorities. one of those areas that i think we need to be looking at is what is happening within the land and water conservation fund and this very significant increases we are seeing there. coming from a state where we have got close to 70% of our lands held by the federal government i always approach a request to purchase additional federal land with skepticism and in particular during tough economic times so i can imagine why purchasing more is such a priority. it strikes me as almost counterintuitive that we would be having more lands to the maintenance list when that government already is dealing with such obstacles when it comes to the maintenance of the existing park lands. i do do think that this is an area where we could have potential for an agreement that we could update the statute making it more relevant to our
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current reality both from a public lands policy and a budgetary standpoint. i would like to work with you mr. chairman, dr. coburn, director jarvis on really reforming the lw cf so this can be a tool that the national park service and other land management agencies can use to fund deferred maintenance before we buy additional lands to add to the federal -- i appreciate that there are at times some sensitive, time-sensitive acquisitions that need to be made. i would want to make sure we have a process to include those but as a general matter i think there is room here for compromise and i look forward to a discussion on that topic this morning. the next hearing that i would ring up is the potential for increased funding and involvement from outside groups and their friends groups. one of the major complaints i hear from friends groups are these bureaucratic obstacles that many of these groups face when they are trying to donate to the national park service for a specific project.
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we need to be looking at this and we need to figure out away to streamline the process and encourage folks to contribute to their resources and dollars. just yesterday we got a press release from the park service out in rangel saint elias and it is an advertisement and it's a public advertisement for a cleanup event on august 3. it's basically an invitation to folks in the area that come and help clean up. it's going to consist of burning scrap wood recycling and picking up trash that has accumulated. bring your sunglasses, you raincoats, your water bottles and the first 100 volunteers get a free t-shirt and a water bottle and lunch is going to be provided. i think it's fabulous. it gives people real ownership in their parks and i think that is huge for us. these are exactly the type of volunteer efforts that the park
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service should be using and expanding upon not only to save money but again to bring locals into their parks were very positive experience. i also hear from private ceos who want to donate funds to the national park service and to specific parts that they feel their donations are not adequately recognize. i would hope director jarvis can talk about how we can work together to improve the donation and the recognition procedures. an idea that i would like to put forward is for donor recognition throughout the national park system. for example we should have tasteful recognition of private donors willing to pay for specific maintenance backlog projects perhaps the naming of the room or the naming of the bench. their dollars i think we can bring into the park system that we need to make it easy and we need to make it worthwhile for the. we just passed through the house and the senate a measure that would allow for recognition of donors to the vietnam veterans memorial. i think there are some ideas out
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there that we can look to. another thing i would like to race before returned to dr. coburn is looking at the current recreational fee structure. some national parks charge entrance fees. others don't. i think we need to look at this fee plan and ensure that they are is some equity across the national park service. i think it's kind of unfair that my constituents in alaska have to pay to visit some of their parks but other folks around the country don't bear that same burden. for the parks that do not charge an entrance fee maybe we should look at the idea of charging for parking within those parks. i'm told by the park service that at the national park service started charging for parking on the national mall, this is just one example, they could raise an additional $2 million per year. i don't know if i want to pay more parking here in washington d.c. but it's an idea and you can put the money back into the maintenance of the mall. again mr. chairman i am pleased that we are at this point.
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i really do hope this is the beginning of very constructive dialogue that allows us to address in a meaningful way the maintenance backlog of our wonderful national parks. >> thank you senator murkowski and i think as usual you offer up some ideas that certainly ought to be explored and we are going to do that together. i also want to note before we go to dr. coburn that we have three colleagues who have long, long histories of being advocates for the park. chairman udall as far as the chairman of our subcommittee has brought extraordinary amount of passion and expertise and family thank the ranking member. senator portman also both in terms of private sector involvement and service in the senate has a long record of supporting the parks and then i think would be fair to say senator alexander is almost mr. parks. he has consistently advocated for sensible park protection in our country so i'm very grateful
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to the colleagues for coming and i know senator udall has to leave fairly early. after dr. coburn has given his testimony i will make sure that all colleagues who are under the gun will ask questions certainly before i do. dr. coburn i think it's pretty clear that your message is getting through, that people understand that this is a very very serious challenge and you can't pretend to be in denial and say it doesn't exist so thank you and nobody has done more to make the point here about how important this challenge is and we welcome your testimony. >> thank you and i appreciate being invited before the committee. in the next month we will release the 2013 parks report, a study on many of our parks and the problems they have, the financing of our parks, where the money goes and following it all the way down. and list in their recommendations of things we hope the committee will consider
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that i appreciate the opportunity to come before you. i was born in wyoming. i love yellowstone and i love rocky mountain national park. i love the grand teton's and i spend a lot of time in that part of the country when i'm not here so i am a critic of what we are doing because i love our parks. my oldest four grandkids just spent time at the grand canyon and yellowstone, enjoying and taking in those magnificent parks. you know, the national park service has a little bit less than 3 billion-dollar budget and 401 units, park units covering 84 million acres of land. but with that budget they also are responsible for 27,000 historic structures, 2461 national historic landmarks, 582 natural landmarks, 49 natural
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heritage areas and 84 million acres of land. the budget for the parks themselves is only 1.36 billion dollars. the remaining annual funds of their budget goes towards a multitude of activities including affiliateaffiliated areas, grant programs, research centers administrative expenses and additional land acquisition. congress and multiple administrations have recognized that deferred maintenance problem for years and as a matter of fact president bush gave a speech in 2001 and said under his administration we were going to correct that and they did her one year. if you look at the graph over here, the deferred maintenance went down one year. and then as continue to climb ever since. and i would make the point and i think most commonsense americans would make the point before we had additional parks we ought to be taking care of the parks we have and we have to prioritize what are jewels are.
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we all know. we have -- alaska has wonderful jules, colorado, the smoky mountains. we have wonderful -- but we have got to take care of them and the political process to add a park is driven one, by recognition two by commerce ecosphere is always the hope that commerce will follow a park but i think mature thinking would have us really look at the priorities of what we have today and want to invest and keep what we have today. before we make commitments to lessen what we have today. in 1997 national parks service report based on identified maintenance rehabilitation developmental needs and national
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park service does not have and never has had enough funds and his staff to care for all their resources and its cost the yet we keep adding things for them to do. contributing to the fundamental problem are unrealistic expectations reflected in further by park planning documents, overwhelming deferred maintenance workload and of multidisciplinary focus to set and achieve realistic goals and corporate efforts, recognizing the value of the aspects of separate parks. since 1997 we have had 26 parking units since 1997. in april 2013 the present administration said the following. because of the age of existing mps assess the capital construction that the service continues to rapidly expand on the capabilities of of the service to keep up with no major repair rehabilitation needs. within the same month,
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reconfirming the park service does not have the resources to take care of what it has they added three new parks and 13,000 acres through the acts. not for us but through the antiquities act so we are going to make this graph much worse just on what's been done in the last year. the line item construction budget for the national park service was 75 -- $77 million, the lowest level since 1988 in 25 years, last year. their construction budget was at the lowest level in 25 years. deferred maintenance is five times more costly than routine preventative maintenance and we know that. the park service can give us that only know that's true in other areas and yet when we don't have the resources to actually resurface the road then what happens is we have to rebuild the base on the road. the cost is astronomical so all
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these things are multipliers that are actually hurting this number, actually making it grow higher as we pass on cheaper maintenance that actually would preserve and then have to go to full replacement. the top 10 most visited park units in 2012 had deferred maintenance backlog of $2.6 billion. so 20% of the deferred maintenance backlog is in our top 10 most visited parks. in 2012 the 59 national parks representing the crown jewels posted 65 million visitors and they have -- those jewels have $5 billion of that maintenance. i can give you some significant examples of deferred maintenance. you will probably hear that from the director that i will just give you one example.
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at independence national historic park in philadelphia over the last five years hazards have resulted in 15 part claims filed at $2 million a year paid out. what i would tell you is that had we spent a fourth of that each year on maintenance, none of that would have happened. so it's not just the deferred maintenance. we are spending money in other areas on lawsuits because of deferred maintenance. and i appreciate what senator murkowski said. i think the fund ought to be reallocated. it's going to continue to grow as oil continues to grow. those funds will increase and i know we are in competition with other desires for land acquisition but it seems to me that if we were to take 75% of
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that fund by changing the requirements of the fund and put it into park maintenance over the next 10 years to get us caught back up that in fact we could meet the obligations that are really expected that the american people without doing anything else and actually get caught back up to a place where we are really protecting these national treasures that we have. the other point i would make is that over the last decade, congress has appropriated over half a billion dollars to acquire even more land while in the same period the cost cost of the mbs land has doubled. that's just for maintaining the national park service is situation. why don't i stop there and i will answer any question you have. i would make one final point. of the top 25 most visited national parks in 2011, only eight have been approved since
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1970. in comparison of the 25 least visited national parks, 20 have been established since 1970. so the priority, not only the fact that we are establishing new parks and we don't have the money to do so that the priority of what we are establishing in terms of exposure to the american public and visitation is very very low. so what we are doing is sacrificing our desire for new parks by putting at risk the crown jewels of our national park system. without i will stop and take any questions that you have. see dr. coburn thank you. do any colleagues either have questions or want to be recognized at this time for a statement on this issue? >> mr. chairman i don't need to go ahead of anybody but if it's appropriate i don't want to question another senator but i wouldn't mind having a litter -- little quality with him.
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i will be glad if he's got time to say that i will be glad to go after senator udall or you or anybody else. >> everybody is being so collegial. senator udall would you like to start? >> i agree with senator alexander. i'm not interested in questioning and another center. to believe senator coburn's research is worth considering. i do find it interesting that we have not fully funded lwcf at the 900 million-dollar level for many years because it's been funded a somewhat appropriators have wanted to do. so i'm certainly open to taking a creative look at all of the senator coburn because the parks that you mentioned are america's best idea. there have been and i would like to get this in the record at some greater depth but there have been some cases for example where lwcf has had a dual or threefold purpose. in colorado the national park which i think they be visited. maybe you and i can join forces
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and spend some time there on the ground since i know you love colorado and spend a lot of time there. the creation of the national park which was a national monument that we expanded it to a national park helps the ranching economy in the valley because their water supplies were threatened and it's an example of how lwcf was creatively focused on protecting the way of life and using the marvelous natural landscapes. on a case-by-case basis i still think lwcf has a very important role when it comes to land acquisition. one other comment, a lot of the maintenance needs our buildings roads bridges and water systems and the purchase of additional land sometimes better in holdings to make the national park complete to land land trades in the lake is relatively inexpensive and makes a management job of people like director jarvis easy. so i have a disagreement as to the utility of lwcf when it
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comes to land acquisition in situations where it's merited. >> but you wouldn't deny the fact that if we don't start catching up this is going to go into an elliptical curve in terms of the cost. but i would make the point for example we have had her recent purchase at the grand teton national park and the planned purchase plus the purchase that was made although maybe totally proper the amount of money paid for that small expansion would cut the backlog at grand teton in half. so had he not bought the additional land the backlog maintenance if you could've used that money for maintenance which is not a given, you would have cut it in half. so all of a sudden, when we buy land under good intention to expand a park because something is available at a certain time, it is a trade-off against the protection and the maintenance and upkeep of that park so i think it has to be balanced and
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i would just make the point again, as we expand government ownership of private lands and we expand parkland at the same time we are not been good stewards of what we already have the american people ought to be questioning what we are doing and how we are doing it. you know we all know it's about priorities here and what i would tell you has got to be a priority to fund the maintenance of our parks. got to be a priority because every year we don't do it markedly increases the cost of trying to catch up the next year. 370 million bucks we are falling behind. >> there is no question in senator coburn it is frustrating to think about the 900 million-dollar allocation if you will of lwcf monies but i think last year we actually appropriated something in the order of $200 million he could argue $700 million in limbo left
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in the hands of the appropriators to be directed to other needs so there may be a sweet spot here that we all ought to continue discussing. >> and that fund should grow based on our energy production. >> most definitely. i think we had here just recently on the committee there were dueling numbers to an extent that there was somewhere between six and $8 billion a year generated by offshore royalties. mr. chairman, ranking member think that was the number we heard? so it would be traffic to employ these monies to the purchases their previous congresses thought they should be deployed to. >> very good. senator senator murkowski have been senator alexander and senator portman. >> thank you for your comments and i for one will look forward to the record that you and your staff have prepared and appreciate the level of detail that you have given this issue. in your report and analysis, do you look at the issue of fees as
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they are applied across the park system? i mentioned in my opening comments that there is a seeming inequity that in certain areas to have fees in certain areas you don't have fees. do you look at that at all and where do you come down on this? >> we also talked about in the deficit commission for less than a quarter per visitor you can add about $70 million a year to the maintenance budget. that's at 25 cents a visitor so you know there are all sorts of ways for us to do it. it ought to be consistent. i think the park service struggles with two things. one how do you satisfy the local community in terms of this and then how do you extract enough resources to help maintain the maintenance? there are all sorts of things that we can do to bring that up. as a matter of fact we are going to have recommendations in this report on how you increase the
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revenues coming to the parks. that will be a part of what we are doing. i think the other thing is to try to match expenses within park service to revenues rather than -- we have a lot of parks that cost 100 books per visitor per visit, $100 and we ought to be saying should we be putting resources there or putting resources where we have the highest level of visitors and the highest usage? >> i appreciate that and again i will look over to the recommendations that you put forward. i do think that your proposal that we need to look to lwcf and how we might be able to carve out on some of these dollars that are directed to this for parks and maintenance back luck and if we are smart it's not a permanent carve out. once we can get on top of your curve here then you should have some flexibility or i would hope
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we would have flexibility to move that elsewhere. but thanks for your leadership on this and we will work with you on it. appreciate it. >> senator alexander. >> thanks mr. chairman and senator coburn and thanks for coming. i would like to make a comment and get your reaction to it and then if if you think there's any sense and that i would like to work with you and turn it into some specific proposal that we might actually try to get done. senator udall talked about the land and water conservation fund. i was co-chairman of the commission with his father in 1985 and six under president reagan that recommended full-time in the land and water conservation fund which is $900 million. the national land act is not for maintenance. the idea of it is for federal and state land acquisition but as senator udall said only once a think has it been fully funded
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and the idea was that the money from offshore drilling, if you intend on john m. bierman to little bit and he takes some of that and improve the environment over here, it's a nice balance except it has never happened. and we did get through senator domenici's leadership a little bit of funding on new drilling in the gulf coast and one-eighth of a census of land and water conservation fund. it's not much money so we have had a lot of bipartisan support for a long time for full funding of the land and water conservation fund at $900 million. this never happened. senator burr i believe is a bill that would make it mandatory funding and we do have this prospect of increased drilling for oil and gas offshore and there are some opportunities there. now let me be localizing with
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this problem a little bit and put it into perspective. you said that about half of this $11 million is rhodes. its roads. in tennessee here is what we do with roads. we pay for them as we go. in other words in the 1980s we had three big road programs in these we said over going to borrow money? know we are going to grace the gas tax and charge the people who use the roads to build the roads and every single republican in the legislature voted for that because there was a conservative pay-as-you-go policy so we had zero road.. we have a $900 million to we collect every year in gas taxes. it's one of the lower gas taxes in the country but it all goes to build roads that zero goes for interest on the debt. if you go go to new jersey for example they spend $900 million in principle and interest and we are spending it on roads and we have the best roads in the country every year. i think it's ridiculous for us
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to be borrowing money from the federal government that is so heavily indebted to build roads in the national parks. we shouldn't be doing that. we should be having user fees of some kind to build the roads it seems to me. and if you want to get at the maintenance, if the maintenance is -- deferred maintenance is $11 billion in five or six really not that is rhodes why do we start by figuring out how to develop a way to take care of the roads, maybe the states through their user fees up to take a share of that. tennesseans drive on the great smoky mountains roads and north carolinians do more than anybody else or maybe we take a combination of what the two of you have said and maybe senator murkowski said and maybe in exchange for fully funding the atlanta water conservation fund for 10 years we do that with a mandatory funding that is derived from oil and gas
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revenues which is sort of the user fees and a lot of that goes to transportation and for at least 10 years we use that to take care of the roads in the national park. that knocks off half ,-com,-com ma that knocks off half the backlog, at least $5 billion to go. and while conservationists might be shocked at the thought because that money is supposed to go to acquiring new lands, senator coburn has made the point we shouldn't be doing that when they can take care of the once we have got and you could add to that we have not been funding the land and water conservation fund anyway. so if we were to say that for a period of time we take some of this new money and use it for roads that helps the parks and that gets that your point and it gets us into a habit in this country of fully funding the land and water conservation fund which we can do maybe more with a straight face when i do a better job of taking care of what we have got now.
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i would be interested in your reaction if you think it's realistic to come up with a proposal that fully funds the land and water conservation fund for a period of time and uses some of it for roads and at least get that part of it taking care of. and using the weapon is to do it that are derived from user fees or energy experts rather than borrowing the money by a federal government that is broke. >> i think your committees of jurisdiction is the best way to a process that i would say a couple of things. one the federal government owns 640 million acres of land right now. if you do $9 billion over the next 10 years of land acquisition what is that going to be? in other words at what point does the lwcf stop and do we buy all the land that's available out there and so what happens to land that is taken by the federal government in terms of loss and the tax rolls?
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in other words there is an economic and if it but there's also an economic loss. one other thing we have to look at is how do we and our our parks? i can imagine that the grand teton's national park with the people that lived live out there and visit that, if you set up a plan to end alex future and created a recognition of those that were involved in ann dowling it, that you could create an endowment in the rocky mountain national park, the grand teton and several others around this country where you would create an endowment and never touch the principle that would be totally dedicated to the nate -- maintenance and preservation of those parks. this wouldn't even become a question. where it would be a question is the parks where people don't really want to go that don't really match the level of pristine nature that we see. and that has been part of our
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problem and parks that don't come to the level of what we intended when we started creating parks. that is one of the reasons i am trying not to add parks until we take care of it is they think i can tell you a lot of places in oklahoma that we would love to have a park but it doesn't come up. the economic benefit wouldn't be great so i will work with anybody to try to fix this backlog that i want to fix fix t permanently. i want us to try to end out. i want us to create a place where we can have people come in and invest in our parks and get some small recognition for it and create an endowment so that over the next 20 years this is my problem. i think there are a lot of americans who would like to do that, to participate in the preservation of what are some of our greatest assets in this country. so i think there are all sorts of ways to get there. i think you ought to use a large portion of appropriated dollars from this land and water
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conservation funds to help on the backlog rather than buy more land right now. >> mr. chairman if i could make just one comment. >> off course. >> if there were money and the land and water conservation fund i think i would agree with you. i think of the land, the great smoky national park is two or three times as many visitors every year is anti-western park, as nearly 10 million visitors a year and in 2005, 100 million backlog in the smokies was roads. i'm just suggesting that one way to tackle this is to get roads out. let's pay for roads with user fees of one kind or another. and then let's focus on the rest of it with an appropriated dollars. >> mr. chairman? >> senator udall. >> thank senator alexander for his comments and i want to associate myself with this
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comments and i want to thank senator coburn for his interest and passion on this. the question i would point out and senator alexander was there at the beginning at the genesis of the lwcf idea and of course lwcf has four different missions urban forests dayside funding and federal funding and we have to take all of that into account. but i think senator alexander's onto an approach that may have utility and it would be a hallmark of this committee pickett move something forward to really get at what we are discussing here today so thank you mr. chairman. >> senator portman was next. >> senator udall's partner. >> thank you mr. chairman and i'm not going to hesitate to ask my college questions. he answers them so well. first of all i think this is a great discussion and i think the chairman for asking tom to join us and the great input from two members who have a lot of
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experience in the ranking member who has a lot of experience. i think this is kind of exciting because there is an opportunity for us to do the right things about our parks. i think mr. udall is the chair of the subcommittee having flexibility and how you look at this differently is important. i'm the ranking member now and we probably don't focus as much as we should. our parks are treasure and we have to be sure as thomas pointed out the deal with this backlog. it did serve briefly on this national commission on the centennial. i off it when i got into the race for the senate and as some on the floor in the group here my focus was on this stewardship i really think we make a mistake in focusing too much on acquisition. i will tell you we need to in my view have some flexibility on this because you make a good point. mark talked about these and
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holdings for you can actually through acquisition helped to make a park more efficient and i will give you a good example of cuyahoga national park. its top 10 in the country. it's not the smokies why wasn't my inner -- anniversary last weekend on the roads were fine. [laughter] we didn't run into any potholes. we have had a few potholes fixed in cuyahoga however. i think it is one use of land and water conservation fund but i do think this idea of using it for about what is really interesting and there is actually some precedent to that. mark udall talks about some of the uses of the fund and i think the fund also this historic reservation phone fund is really for maintenance. so that is some way in which we now use the land and water conservation fund, not for acquisition but for maintenance of historic sites and nonfederal sites as i understand it and we
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will hear later from the national parks association and national parks municipality association as they put together this report for us that we have in our material. my question for you is one about the flexibility on the land and water conservation fund and if we will be able to thanks to the new technology on oil and gas but also how do you get the private sector more involved? we will hear some about this later. when i was in omb we offered a balanced budget in fy2008 over five years. but we pre-funded for the parks and there is a little bit of a flatline there when congress is bonded to that. it wasn't a reduction but at least we planned it out for a while but congress frankly didn't take up the issue in the issue is really threefold. the most important one i thought was the challenge in the challenge in a match so we went to the private sector and said what you put some money and every year, 100 million bucks into parts of the book of congress to pass legislation to match it with 100 million bucks,
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dollar for dollar match. that never happened in the chairman is talking about what was done in connection with this helium legislation and a 50 million-dollar challenge in that legislation. i just think as you indicated earlier with regard to the tetons in and the interest in preserving them and their friends groups and philanthropic groups and in a sense provide somewhat of an endowment but it should be more connected to what are they recognized me to the park on the deferred maintenance which as you said is five times more costly than regular preventive maintenance. what do you think about that? does the federal government have a role to play here in providing incentive for that are the sector to step up and maybe naming rights done in a tasteful way as senator murkowski was talking about the to tap into this love of the parks, this interest in the park and frankly the economic effects of the parks? >> i think there is a role. what you need is a champion. we had a champion for parks,
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teddy. and what you need is a champion that will go out and say look at where we are. most americans know that we are kind of in the grips of some pretty tough financial prospects going forward in terms of our debt and their long-term obligations. so i can say i think you could do a challenge. what you need is a champion, somebody to go out and call on those with wealth in this country and say come help us send out the parks. if we get ahead of the curve, which we never do but if you think about an endowment, it an endowment is doubly saving. it means that you have income coming off the endowment which you can apply today but it also means you are not borrowing money against the future so you are saving because you are performing proper maintenance one and number two you're not paying interest cost on it.
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so it's just smart. i would say if we could develop a champion, a retired congressman retired vice president who would go around the country and rally for the parks and endow the parks so we could actually put in motion a preservation for what is really a tremendous asset for our country. but i think the conflict is everybody wants a park even when it doesn't make any economic sense to have a part of the this whole argument is about the economic benefit. and at a time when we can't take care of the very critical resources that we have today. so like i told senator alexander i will help dotewant us to get p and do it anyway because it's going to say this at time of money if we do it on a timely fashion rather than a deferred fashion. >> thank you chairman. >> thank you senator portman and i think we have had something like 10% of the senate here now to get into this issue and i
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want to see what other colleagues would like to make comments. i think on this site there are other colleagues that would like to comment or ask questions of dr. coburn. senator manchin. >> i applaud senator coburn suffered but the bottom line is that he is absolutely correct. i don't have the presence of state parks or national parks in my state, but west virginia has used national parks around the country and they are appreciative to have that opportunity. we are all in their committed and we will do whatever we have to do. i agree with you some honest to with you someone has to go out and beat the drum on this but perfect -- i will refer to maintenance as relevant. when i was governor every time there was time to build something everybody wants a new park. i got a national park, if it colleagues wanting to build new buildings so before i approved of the new buildings to be built
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i wanted to see what the deferred maintenance was. it was so pathetic that they didn't deserve one more penny for one that building because they hadn't taken care but they had. if we continue down this road and can't take care you can't ask the taxpayers are any of these benefactors and when we are not good stewart so i would say to have a value cap on deferred maintenance and i'm sorry i came in late. you may have come off as senator. i don't know. do we know how much are deferred maintenance is on a national parks? >> yeah. it's $12 billion. >> 12 billion. >> backlog. this is a compounding growing problem because they fear you don't preventative maintenance to get behind the curtain and pretty soon now if you are replacing the road rather than resurfacing. and so this is kind of flattened a little bit but it's going to accelerate. especially what we have done to
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the park service this year. >> it's not the money we are putting in her maintenance -- equal to how much? >> they are running a $377 million deficit on maintenance every year. so every year they get further and further behind and the degree of maintenance to catch back up, the cost becomes more complex because you are not doing preventative maintenance. you are doing structural maintenance. at the grand canyon we are dipping water out of the river sometimes from the water in there to run the toilets. grand canyon national park. are we proud of that? >> well, i am committed and again the state doesn't have an awful lot of structure in our state. we still benefit as americans. we have to look at it as a whole, not just what is good for my state or do i get a part of this and do i get something for
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it? this is something that has to be done and i applaud you, sir. >> thank you senator manchin and certainly a problem-solving approach is going to be very useful. senator barrasso is next. co want to thank senator coburn for his leadership. i agree completely that the land and water conservation fund should be for maintenance backlog in upper new acquisitiacquisiti ons. we do have the grand teton national park and the foundation founded in 97. actually at work to construct the great thomas visitor center which opened and was dedicated to craig after his death so their partnerships that exist but i agree with your comments about the land and water conservation so thank you. >> thinks mr. chairman. >> and the other colleagues who would like to make comments or ask questions with respect to dr. coburn? senator heinrich, senator baldwin would you like to pass up this time? okay, very good. dr. coburn i think you have seen
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the really extraordinary interest among senators on both sides. david brooks is sitting in back of me and he is something of a guru on this whole issue of advocating for the parks and i asked him when was the last discussion in the senate about these kinds of issues, looking at these kinds of questions on how we deal with a the very real problem of backlog and mr. brooks is basically a repository of knowledge about parks, basically said he couldn't even remember when there was a discussion. so it's pretty obvious now that we have this debate underway. i want to tell you two things with respect to substance. first you and i have talked about this question of trying to make sure you get the money where the need is and in particularly being more creative about it. i want you to know i'm going to work with you or to go do with the respect to the issue i touched on earlier because the
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fee revenue expires in december 2014. that would be one place to really look very concretely but one of the ideas you have been there apparently are efforts underway and there may be creative ways to do it so we are going to look at that. on this endowment issue, he basically had me at hello because this is an area i am convinced where there just won't be one champion in the united states, there will be a lot of champions and we are going to pursue that very vigorously. i have already had some of that discussion so thank you. i think you've seen the interest among the senators. we will be working closely with you in the days ahead.
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>> mr. jarvis says it, but i also would like to express my thanks to you for the fact that you worked so closely with the committee. we could not possibly have gotten that cape hatteras national seashore legislation out of committee without your very valuable -- you know that one on for years and years and i just want the public to know that i am particularly interested in some of the efforts that you all have made to really look at technology to resolve some of these conflicts that have just gone on and on. as we all know the end drew questions at cape hatteras with
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respect to the turtles and how you ensure protection for them and also be welcoming to visitors. you all worked very closely with the private sector, with companies in the private sector to look at approaches where in ineffective to put tags in effect on these nests so that through sensors you could know when the turtles would hatch and he would be in a position to resolve the conflict that had gone on and on, that you could add an additional measure of protectioprotectio n for the turtles while still doing more to welcome visitors to this wonderful treasure that the north carolina senator felt so strongly about. it's those kind of fresh approaches we need. let's see if we we can, for some on the funding issues. we will put your prepared remarks in the record and their entirety and why don't you go ahead and made your comments. i know you will get questions from senators. >> thank you mr. chairman and thanks to all of the senators
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who are here today. i actually really, i come up here a lot to say that i really appreciate this discussion because it is critical to the future of the national park service. congress has charged the national park service with protecting america'america' s special places in perpetuity and that is a fundamental responsibility of congress then to provide an annual appropriation commensurate with the responsibilities that it has given us. we have embraced opportunities to supplement the funding for entrance fees, confession generated visa new models of public-private land management however annual appropriaappropria tions remain the primary means of addressing our deferred maintenance backlog. at the end of fiscal year 2012, the national park service faced an 11.5 billion dollar backlog and deferred maintenance. in order to merely hold backlog at a steady level of 11.5 you
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would need to spend nearly 700 billion per year on deferred maintenance. in fiscal 12 we had 444 million available for that purpose which falls significantly short of an necessary 700 billion so as a result every part must make very difficult decisions about which facilities to repair and which ones to differ. managing this large deficiency with limited resources requires we concentrate our efforts on correcting the most serious deficiencies of all of our assets. we systematically track asset conditions and maintenance activities which gives us the ability to identify the most serious deficiencies. the total need to address the high priority nonroad facilities is 4.2 billion for roads it's 3.3 billion. we prioritize repairs that are most critical to protecting resources ensuring the health and safety of our visitors and provide rewarding visitor experiences. we are us require that each maintenance project pass a
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financial sustainability test proving that the park will be able to keep the asset and an acceptable condition for the lifespan of their placement component. there have been occasions when congress has provided a one-time boost to the funding of our backlog. a recent example of course is the $750 million the national park service received from from the recovery and reinvestment act of 2009. we executed a set of projects at 260 park in its the majority of which address deferred maintenance. we are absolutely open to ideas that supply additional funding and we appreciate the work of abou policy center mpca and that national park hospitality association. some of these ideas raised by the roots have been around for some time and have been pursued. we are currently reassessing concession fee is promoting the use of leasing authority engaging our volunteers and investing in energy saving cost-cutting tech knowledge east. the bipartisan policy center
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provides two proposals that are identifying new revenue sources and have no net increase to the federal budget. one is to increase fee revenue. for example competitive pricing of our annual pass in state annual passes are using peak pricing models for our highly seasonal parks. the other is jeannette establish a public-private partnership matching fund with revenue offsets. our experience with a 25 million-dollar centennial challenge fund in fiscal year 2000 which was talked about here makes us confident our donors will respond to a federal matching funds. already partners are stepping up to help us prepare for second century. last november in partnership with the national park foundation we kicked off the first phase of the centennial campaign that will culminate in a strategy for introducing the national park service to the next generation. the repairs to the washington monument provide a visible reminder of the effectiveness of public-private partnerships.
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the mp has received 7.5 million appropriate funds for the earthquake repairs with the understanding that a philanthropist was prepared to match that amount. by working with our partners and their friends we will be able to reopen the monument in 2015. a number the proposals for the white paper where are you pursuing a practical legal and financial limitations. we are exploring them in a manner that is consistent with mps policies regulations and laws. in addition we are supporting legislation to authorize commemorative coin celebrating her centennial in 2016. the white paper also identifies some proposals that face significant challenges. one proposal is to increase the federal gas tax by 1 cent and use the revenues. our roads rivers and a 5.7 billion or 50% of the backlog. another proposal is to establish an endowment which we support. there are proposals to develop a model for managing park concessionaires so much of model
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used by the defense department and its base exchanges and recreational facilities and to pursue bonding and revolving loans. i would like to mention fenty the significant impact of sequestration from the budgetary cuts to the national park service and its related bureaus. sequestration was designed to be inflexible damaging and indiscriminate and it is. it is undermining the work we need to do one or many fronts. it's increasing increasing our backlogs and eroding our workforce and differing important work. to conclude the national park service will continue to pursue new and creative ways to address its funding needs and i want to thank our many partners who are here who have come to us with these ideas and i appreciate the support of congress to resolve this extraordinary challenge. thank you. >> director jarvis thank you very much. because of the numbers of senators here i'm just going to ask one question of director jarvis to get us started and recognize my colleagues.
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director jarvis or decades the park service has recommended expanding the oregon caves national monument and one of the primary reasons has been because the existing site is not large enough to protect the site given the volume of visitors. so in the case of oregon caves, not expanding the site could actually increase the cost of maintaining a very unique resource. my point is that park acquisition and maintenance costs are not always a constant and certainly oregon caves raises that issue. adding to the monument might actually hold down the cost of maintaining the site. so, my question to you dr. jarvis is, isn't this part of the thinking that ought to go into this debate? in other words we are going to explore plenty of ideas and we
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saw that with a big chunk of the senate but wouldn't you say philosophically we have to try to find ways to intertwine this theory that park maintenance acquisition together can be part of an effective and cost-effective approach to stewardship? >> i would agree completely with that chairman. oregon caves is a perfect example where the boundary addition that we have proposed would protect the watershed. to the cave itself, as you know and as i know having been responsible for that great park is that it's an active wet cave. there is a stream that runs the middle of it and the water for that stream comes from the surrounding lands and we have always been concerned about the water quality resulting from the activities on those lands. and so by protecting that and adding it to the park we would
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actually reduce our concerns for maintaining the water quality that runs through the cave and then through the château. yes, buying land can save money. particularly in holdings within our national park which is predominately what we are restricted to what with the land and water conservation fund. it significantly can reduce some administrative costs in terms of providing access and maintaining critical resources. >> very good. senator murkowski. >> thank you mr. chairman and director jarvis thank you for being here and your leadership at the parks. i think it is important to recognize that we have seen some innovative things coming out of our parks. i mentioned what they are doing getting the neighbors involved to do cleanup. i think we need to see martha and i think that helps us again not only in addressing some of the issues within our parks but again bringing the local people
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in and giving them ownership, giving them pride in their parks. that is a good thing. another thing that we have got good in alaska right now as you know, we have some very huge parks that are very inaccessible if you happen to have the luxury of owning a float plane or you can pay to fly into a place like lake clark, you've got beautiful opportunities within these parks but they are very remote and very hard to get to. what you are doing it in katmai with the webcams that are stationed right at the falls there, so right now as we speak and i will do a little promo for you but you can go to the think it's katmai and you can watch dozens of ayers munching on salmon and it's better than reality tv i'm telling you. this is the real thing. so it's good because it brings the parks to people when we know
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that far too many of our parks as wonderful as they are are very remote so how we can do that i think is good. you heard the dialogue going back and forth between colleagues here in senator coburn, and my concern that the park service seems to be prioritizing acquisition of land over the maintenance backlog issues. can you address really that issue, why we are seeing the level of land acquisition that we are and i think senator coburn's statistics were really quite straightforward and i think very compelling, why we are putting the priority on land acquisition ahead of the maintenance and backlog and then at the same time you address that the terminology that you used i think was financial sustainability tests.
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.. so if you can speak to the priority as opposed to remain in spec blog and then what analysis goes into and out review prior to the land acquisitions. >> let me just clarify that, you know, land water conservation
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fund is available to those for federal land management agencies . and the national park service, munched those four, the only one that is restricted from buying lands outside of our park boundaries. we can do very minor boundary adjustments on the edges, but without your direct authority we cannot buy land outside park boundaries. >> but within your existing budget you used funds to proceed with planned acquisitions. >> that is the only money that we use for land acquisition, and water conservation fund. we cannot -- we basically get our funding in specific pockets. we use the land water conservation fund for land acquisition and then use our minutes accounts for maintenance. we are not allowed to move money between us to. that is basically up to you to have to granta's that kind of authority. we do not have that. in terms of acquisitions,
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because we don't get very much money we have five very robust primary setting process that predominantly goes toward the key, critical issues like threats to the resources and opportunities for visitor enhancements, hardship cases. we had one in montana recently where an individual was on their deathbed and they're really wanted to up to acquire the property as well. so we go through a very rigorous process to determine what our priorities are. right now we are in the 150th of the civil war and have had a priority on protecting some key components of our civil war battlefields. so there has been a strong portion of that as well. the park service also allocates the state side of the land and water conservation fund which goes out to the states to protect habitat and provide visitor enjoyment. and on our main and inside we
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have an incredibly robust program in determining our priorities and asset conditions. so you basically take every asset, every building, every road, every trail, every restaurant and go in and determine the existing condition and asset party. how important is this to the visitor experience? >> is this presidential home -- >> is that based on the number of visitors? >> as part of it. that is absolutely part of it, but it also might be independence of is a very important building. that would be court to the purpose of the park as opposed to an old barn in rocky mountain national park. >> my time has expired, but you have not addressed this financial stability or sustainability test that you referenced. how does that work? >> that means that once we elevate of building from of poor condition to a good condition, then we require that the park put the annual maintenance into
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that building to keep it at that conditions. they have to demonstrate that they're going to make that a priority. make that investment to retain it because we did not want the fix the building up, raise its condition to a new level and then watch a decline. what that means is they have to make very, very hard courses but other buildings that they're going to have to defer the maintenance on. we do not want to lose the investment we have made in improving the condition of the facilities we have the money for . >> and yet as noted from dr. cockburn start, we are clearly seeing that. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for having this hearing. i got here a little bit late, not sure i am correct, but i'm not sure i heard the word sequester. while we are having this big discussion, and i think it is an important discussion, a look at this as an immediate impact of my constituents are sealed --
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peeling and our economy is feeling because of the sequestered. while i'm glad to have the discussion i look and say we have 13-8513 national parks, three crown jewels. we have visitors producing $261 million, thousands of jobs across our state. if the sequester continues, it's something like $153 million impact across the country. we have already had over a million dollars of impacts that we have had to absorber from mount rainier since 2010 that are affecting visitor impacts. when i look get some of these gateway towns that are part of this operation, everything from port angeles to eden vale to the north cascades, what is the economic impact going to be? we don't get a budget deal. let's get this, something like 227,000 jobs in washington state that a related to the outdoor
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recreation industry. so for some of my colleagues, this conversation about the future and road maintenance and whenever is one economic question and certainly one that i have certainly a disagreement on. come to in the second. my immediate question is what is the economic impact of all of this sequestration having on the economy of the state or national parks and outdoor recreation is a key part of our economy. but don't want to lose sight of that. likeness on what sequestration is doing now have what it will do in the future to lessen and economic impact that is being felt and will continue to be felt. what do you think we can do to help get our colleagues to understand this issue? the second point is to my colleague, senator alexander and i have been sponsors of the creation of a new park called the be reactor park celebrating
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the achievements of scientific excellence that our country achieved in preserving that, something between doe and the department and creating. i think we should stop creating national parks because somebody thinks that means back blood? no go i want to commemorate what happened and various parts of what we have done across the country. i am certainly not just -- i certainly cannot claim to have the attitude that we're not going to do any new park until the maintenance backlog is caught up. i guess i am just one that believes that our generation's challenges to be good stewards. these are our decisions to be good stewards for the next generation. i hope you would comment on beck continuation of the b reactor
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part in the economic impact on national parks and whatever else we can do to help our colleagues eliminate that it really will impact jobs and small-town economies across the country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator can well. let's start with sequestration. the 5 percent cut that we took in march of this fiscal year resulting in $130 million cut to the operations and responsibilities of the national park service. halfway through the fiscal year. n just as the summer season was beginning, most of our national parks so that on the ground we had a hiring freeze. we withheld the hiring of 900 prepositions. 1,000 seasonal. so there was a direct effect. every part in the system had to take a 5 percent cut. i was not given the authority to take that of the top.
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in the other account, every account took a 5% in it. every park and the system is aligned in the budget. so there were direct effects, late-season openings, reduced operation hours, fewer rangers, during justified fire, fear rangers for search and rescue. i was in the teton this week, talks directly to the rangers. there visitation is up and rescue zero, numbers of seasonal send rangers are down. in maintenance specifically, i gave you the number of 444 million that is currently available in our operating budget for maintenance. didn't mention the debt that was actually reduced to 416 million by sequestration. all of our operating accounts that would be applied to deferred maintenance were hit at the 5% level as well. so it's about $27 million directed from sequestration.
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my theory on new units i that history doesn't stop this because you have an economic challenge. the national park service's -- has been challenged and charged by this body for almost 100 years to take care of not only the extraordinary crown jewels such as the grand canyon in grand teton and your simi but historical sites that are representative of the full american experience. and that story is in complete. and the reactor is the perfect example of that. it tells an incredibly important story about this country and its development of the atomic bomb and its role in ending world war ii. the same thing with harry tubman or the story of port monroe in virginia. what's different about these sites is the national park service goes into the knowledge
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we have extraordinary public challenges. we look for partners. certainly with the b reactor we have the department of energy. we have the committees and others to work with us. we go in and attempt to minimize that direct responsibilities of the national park service that would add to our maintenance backlog and recognize we also want to be a part of the stories that tell the american experience. >> i'm not sure my time has expired, but -- [inaudible conversations] >> all rights. i want to point out, last time i visited the grand teton i was so surprised walking down the street how little english i heard being spoken. this is -- we think of these as our crown jewels, but this is an international tourist area that supposedly generates 436 million benefits to the local economy.
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so this is -- these are huge economic resources. i hope it will track is a committee these gateway communities, the local economic impact as well as what sick -- sequestration is doing. we have to be very smart about getting -- you know, not saying we cannot live within our means, but as you pointed out, again, sequestration impact is across the board and is not giving you the flexibility to do something that might have less impact on those local communities. i think the chairman. i think director jarvis. >> thank you, senator. you are making a number of exceptionally important points. we all recall another washington resident was here at the committee. she pointed out that recreation now is a $646 billion annually boost on the american economy.
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this is outdoor recreation close to $650 billion a year, everything from diamonds to equipment tech clothing. the list goes on and on and on. the points are well taken. one of the reasons that i asked about the case is that i think you also touch on another very important point. it is not correct to say that maintenance and acquisition are always mutually exclusive. in a number of instances they go hand in hand and that acquisition may, in fact, actually lower some of them in its costs. you make a number -- >> i don't want to by my colleague, but the director will remember this one correctly. the land acquisition on the river basically allowed us to expand. why did we do it? it kept getting washed out. the access an entry point kept getting washed out. we kept coming to congress
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asking for $230,000 every for five years. so by doing that land acquisition we were able to move the entry point to a higher level and solve the problem. i certainly agree with your point. >> i would also know by way of doing a little advertising that the senator's bill on the b reactor is right now part of the hot line under way. senator alexander and senator heinrich. so i urge all colleagues on both sides of the aisle to clear this very fine piece of legislation. all right. senator alexander, your next. >> thank you for the fine piece of legislation. like to move the discussion from the west to the eastern united states where we have -- and i would like to get the director's comments on the two areas we have been talking about. the appropriateness of even thinking about the land water
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conservation fund in terms of your backlog. whether that's appropriate and not. first of like to talk about roads, parks. i have always thought -- and this goes back a long time. we don't have any business using appropriated dollars to build roads. roads are to be paid for by user fee. so what you just told us, the critical backlog is roads. what is your annual budget for roads? >> the road money from the transportation bill. >> so all your road money comes through the transportation bill. >> highways, federal and highway programs. the roads inside national parks, most of them, our federal highways. and so there is a separate appropriation and about 160 million per year.
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map 21 of the transportation bill that comes to a national park service. >> so you're not using other appropriated dollars to build and maintain roads? >> as correct. >> just using the federal transportation dollars. >> that would be correct. >> i guess there is not enough -- you don't get enough every year to the federal transportation funds in order to maintain your roads. >> exactly. >> that's where your telling us. >> to take another $3 billion you get 150 million per year. >> 168. >> 168 million per year. i would think about 20 years. >> we wanted to put the right. >> so how rapidly do you need to catch up? you wouldn't do all that in one or two years. you would if you had the money, doing overtime. >> yes, we would, but we would like to see a significant increase to that amount of money coming to us. >> but one way to approach this backlog that we talk about is to get rid of the road part of a problem.
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i mean, that's -- i know in 2005 that was 110 of $180 million critical deferred maintenance for roads. >> roads are critical visitor access to assets that need to be maintained. >> yeah. is it -- it would be true in the great smoky mountains that a disproportionate number of the visitors to the park are north carolina or tennessee residents. is that also true in other parks? what i'm getting at, is it appropriate to expect the states to help pay for part of these roadster there are programs? >> i really can't speak to whether or not that as a state responsibility. i no throughout the country our infrastructure is challenged. the drop of the river bridge was a perfect example of the many eroding bridges and roads across our country, and i really don't know whether we could settle the states with this additional responsibility.
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i believe, frankly, that the roads inside national parks are federal responsibility and should be appropriately funded through the federal tradition program. >> let me ask you about the discussion we had here. you are some of that about the land water conservation fund. is that here? as i remember, the land and water conservation fund does not have much of anything to do with maintenance of national parks today. >> that's correct. >> so if we were to try to put the two together that would be a new way of thinking for a lot of people. the conservation movement and other places. >> would. however, it is also true that the conservation community for a long time has wanted to find a way to a fully formed when water conservation. if the congress were to decide
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that priority nationally were to fall if on that and further assure my time use the money to catch up on maintenance in national parks, will be your comment? >> if i may for a moment, the land war conservation fund is a revenue source. from the audubon and a shelf, leasing. and there are many billions of dollars. >> but it's not really because it goes into the general pot. it's not -- it never goes directly into the land water conservation. >> correct. >> the point is, you were one of the principals in the early days. want to make the point, it is not a tax and the american people. it's a revenue source from the african and a shelf. oil goes into the treasury and used to be real appropriate. i want to make a pitch for the historic preservation fund which is another component the comes from the same source.
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the concept behind this was that it will be taking a public asset and you want to give something back to the american people for that. does the fundamental purpose, a concept. and that think that this would have to be well debated. if you're going to switch that concept, that this funding that has been traditionally used for other historic preservation funding for land acquisition would go to maintenance. >> a fair point. i do think, mr. chairman, senator, there is something there that we can discuss. there's something that we can -- them land water conservation fund and national park minutes of never really been in the same caboose. those are two different spots.
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but but i do think this is worth thinking about that we have not had a way to fund the land water conservation fund. we've been trying for 40 years. we have it on the books that it is supposed to come out of oil and gas drilling, but it doesn't. it goes right to the general pot and we appropriates money. so maybe listening to the call for a focus on deferred maintenance and the senators traditional support for land or conservation fund and the up coming celebration of the park, maybe there is some way to do two things at once. would just urge that we think about it. keep in mind that such a big part of this is refunding. we ought not to be breaking our backs to find other appropriated dollars to build roads and parks. that ought to be part of the root system. i mean, those are my thoughts. a very much thank you for having this hearing.
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it's very helpful. >> thank you, senator alexander. consistently because of your interest in the parks we get these issues up for debate. that is injected the point of this exercise. a very much appreciate. the senators next. >> mr. chairman, i want to thank senator alexander for kind of making clear what the issues are here and understanding that the problem and the relevance between the problem of what i have heard as some propose solution because i don't think a moratorium on the land and water conservation fund is going to do anything to get the biggest driver of the backlog of the national park service in terms of maintenance. you have 50 percent of that backlog tied up and transportation needs. there were inadequately funding our transportation needs through the appropriate method of
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basically user fees. the gas tax. and we are not meeting that need every year, not just the park service. we are beating the air for structure need nationwide when it comes to our roads and bridges and their interstate highways. that seems to me to be of very irrelevant part of this conversation. so i certainly support a moratorium on the land and water conservation fund, but it does seem to me that we need to begin to address this issue of the backlog at our national parks in terms of amendments. and i think we need to attack that had gone. the biggest driver of that. add to one to ask director jervis. i think it is very important that we're now seeing our visitor peek -- visitor fees back into the park service budget. that is something that could expire. that is a critical way that we can address some of the
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challenges of the parks service. think it is important that we reauthorize that, and of want to just ask you your general use on the hell are parks, affordable recreation and vacation opportunities for american families, most of us grew up on our summer vacation is going to the parks. want to make sure that in trying to address these challenges we don't price that part experience outside of the working families. >> thank you for that question. i agree with you 100 percent. we currently collect about 170 million in recreation fees, interest campground and a special use fees and about another 60 to 70 in concession franchise fees. about 250 million annual fees coming into the national park service. frankly, we have always tried to
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keep the fees as a component of our budget program, but we never wanted to get to the point where we were pressing i national parks to the point where you were excluding any component of the american public. there is an expectation. i want to be clear about that. their tax dollars are the principal source for maintaining the national parks. we do have a great advantage from the fee legislation that we do retain 100 percent of the fees, and they are your feet dollars of work directly back to the park. we make that visible to the american public. the vast majority goes into maintenance backlog. it pays for everything from upgrading water treatment plants to it improving trails and restrooms and facilities. so it is a delicate balance between how much you charge to gain entrance to the national parks and making sure the public
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understands the the dollars are coming right back to serve the. >> mr. chairman, i also want to thank senator can well for bringing up the manhattan proposed park. i think that is something that i have heard consistently over and over again from the community of los alamos and the surrounding communities, how important it is to their history. i think character jarvis will find a very willing partner in as communities to make sure that we do a good job of making sure that has -- make sure the park service has the resources they need and the support in the community to create that new part unit. and i want to thank senator cam well who part of the issue are just seven parties recreation jobs are. it is not inconsequential to have 68,000 jobs tied directly into outdoor recreation.
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certainly the impact of carlsbad caverns national parks, the national monument in albuquerque , places like bandoleer next to the national monument next to los alamos, these are major draws to people from across the country they come to new mexico and the local economy. >> we are very glad you're on the committee, senator heinrich. one of the areas of we're going to focus on is this question of the economic multiplier associated with up to a recreation. i talked about the numbers in terms of trying to offer up big figure. when you're talking about billions of dollars each and to get people's attention. when you're out in the overall western particular and see what this means, everything from gas stations to motels to people who sell equipment and guides and
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the like, it really is extraordinary. we're glad you're on this committee. to have the particularly hammering away at the value of upper recreation is especially important. we thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i accept the invitation to continue on that theme for a moment. we talk about the economic impact and the impact on jobs, some of the larger and premier parks. i represent a state where there are two national park units and a scenic trail. the st. croix national scenic river way to the parks unit in the apostle islands national lakeshore parts unit. the economic impact of st. croix national scenic river way is estimated to be a little over 4 million in excess of 12 million added economic value
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for the apostle islands where i vacation every august if i can. >> you're going to get that vacation in this august. >> i have it marked on the calendar when i arrive in the apostle islands. and i -- we also value the ice age trail. i have hiked quite a few of those stretches. ..
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my constituent put in 70,000 hours of volunteer work, maintaining the ice-age national scenic trail in calendar year 2012. and it didn't go unnoticed. the ice-age trail alliance was the recipient of the director's service award last year. but in speaking with volunteers and staff on the trail, they mention that sequestration has really constrained the ability of the trail alliance to provid even some of the most basic tools one would use as a volunteer to maintain and expand the trails. axe handles. shovels. work gloves. trail markers. basic things like that. now, we know that sequestration
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was never intended to occur. it has. but it seems to me that in this environment. we have to think creatively and incareer the efficiency of these federal funds, and when you can leverage this type of volunteer activity, we want to do everything we can to not erect a barrier to that. how can we leverage our public investments to continue this type of incredible volunteer effort and expand it beyond the example of the ice-age trail in wisconsin? >> thank you for that question, senator. national park service could not do what it does without the extraordinary support of our volunteers. the latest numbers i have from
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fiscal 2011 is we had 229,000 volunteers in the national park system. working with the -- contributed 6,000,800 work hours. and if you calculate that against standard pay rates that's $145 million contribution to the work of the national park system. volunteers require supervision, they require care and feeding and supplies. and that comes from the appropriated side of our organization. in order to really allow our volunteers to be the most effective they can be. and so it's critical that we have the base funding for our volunteer program. we have volunteer coordinators in some cases the volunteer coordinators are volunteers. but it's best done when the work can be organized by career staff
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, maintenance reply yeahs that design the trail work and can supervise a crew on the ground, ensure they're working with proper safety equipment, they get orientation, they drink their water and take care of. thes and the band-aidss are available. so, the base funding for our maintenance trailwork, particularly our long-distance trails like ice age, is critical, to effect the ability of our volunteer work force to go out and get this work done. >> i'd just like two other quick comments and observations. one -- i think it's specially important during tough economic time wes pay close attention to the outdoor recreational opportunities that are not
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necessarily just the big crown jewels but the thats that are close by. families that are strapped can't afford the long-distance vacations they might have at better times economically, and yet the capacity to go and enjoy with family these opportunities are crucial, and then the other comment i would make, especially given the fact i've picked on the example of the ice-age national scenic trail, is how important continuing with the land acquisition is even in tough times, because it's a trail that is not finished yet. and you can't start at one end and yet hike all the way through it. it's in different strips, and we need to complete and it have a commitment to doing so, and that has to be ongoing before some of those lands are developed in other ways and we can't get the back. >> if i may make a comment.
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>> of course. >> i would -- i want to echo the senator's comment about local hack -- ac sez families. across the lan every one of the local assets was enhanced through the water conservation fund, and we often forget that general running at $40 million to $50 million, this is a direct grant program to local parks, state parks, city parks, to state fish and game agencies to provide access to provide boat docks and swim can areas and it's critical to the overarching american
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infrastructure of the parks. >> one question on the endowment front, director jarvis. i think you could see that a number of senators are very interested in this. dr. coburn talk about the idea there would be a champion for the cause of parks, and i think you can see there will be multiple champions of this kind of cause, and they're going to be on bite sides of the aisle. and i'm especially interested in n following the work you're doing on endowments. i talked with david reuben steen -- reboundenstein who has been working on the washington monthly, and on the next panel, david mcdonald, is going to talk about the endowment they manage and coordinate with you all at the park service to fund maintenance of the historic carriage roads at acadia national park. my question to you is, as we get into this, what is your take on how to generate the most appeal
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with respect to endowments? from the southeast my pants it makes more sense to look perhaps at maintenance projects, at individual parks, rather than to try to establish a large nationwide endowment, but that may well not be the way to proceed. do you have a judgment on that? >> yes, sir, i do. let me talk about this for a moment. the national park service is a institution with perpetuity mission but we live on an annual appropriation. if you look at other organizations around this country that have a perpetuity mission, whether it's a major university or a major museum, smith -- signature --
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signature -- -- smithsonian have an enadopt. the park service does not have an do you -- an endowment. and then a group of extraordinary individuals, all citizens who volunteer their time, to think about the second century of the national park system, said if there was one thing of all of their recommendations they felt would make the greatest impact, it was anen -- an endowment. how do we do that? we have engaged our partners, such as the friends of acadia, and largely the national park foundation to figure this out. how can we do this? one component was on monday of this week, the national park foundation board and i interviewed three organizations that could develop a capital campaign withan endowment con opponent to that. and so we will, through the foundation, not appropriated
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dollars, but through fill lan -- -- we are also in the next two months i will be meeting with the foundation, with -- to look for corporate parts in the, the automobile industry, the travel industry, the hotel industry, looking for relationships with us for the centennial campaign as well to build public awareness to build philanthropy, i think the american public may only pay 80 bucks for an annual pass, and they can have 10, 20 national park experiences, but they want to give back. right now we have not created that opportunity for them to make a donation specifically to an incutment to -- endowment.
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and i think an endowment can be created as well. people love the national park system but they really love yosemite or acadia so we are seeking to include an endowment for a specific thing such as the carriage trails or the -- one of the major developments anotherow yosemite. we now including that in our agreements. i do believe it would be enhanced if there was some federal matching con opponent that -- component -- the work we have done indicates there would by more willingness if there's a federal component to this endowment, and we would love to work with you to figure out how that can be belt. >> thank you very much,
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director. as you heard earlier in the discussion of the bill we're trying to start philosophically this challenge approach there will always be questions how you get started and in effect, i guess, the technical lingo would be funding funding the corpus, e basic proposition you're advancing in terms of trying too use the challenge concept makes sense. >> center mccow -- senator. >> thank you. recognizing peep want to give back, not only with a direct donation to the parks or their own park, but also recognize something would be willing to donate land, and we mentioned in your response to some of my questions, that when you are
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looking at land acquisition, one of the things is an issue of hardship, if you have somebody dying and they want to provide their land to the parks. as we think about land acquisition, perhaps in terms of mandating -- i don't know if we want to mandate but have a process where you can certainly provide for land donations, but also for future exchanges of -- for future land acquisitions, to provide for some form of an exchange. and so as we are thinking about those ideas and how we can reduce costs and yet still continue to add to the treasures we have, i think we need to recognize there are other ways to acquire land rather than just the federal dollars from
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treasury. director jarvis, we have one more panel, and i know the chairman has a hard stop here in about a half an hour. i wanted to ask you about the situation in -- with the expiring concession contract there with air mac. we have been working to find a resolve to this. their contract runs out at the opened this year. the prospectives you but out didn't attract anybody weird. hoping to find some temporary extension. in the meantime the people are noticeably stressed if the concession doesn't move forward. i really do have a situation where the town's economy is threatened. speaks a little bit to what senator cantwell mentioned with her smaller communities. but i'd like to talk to you about where we are with this.
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i don't know. i think we need to look at whether or not this might be a situation where facilities need to be sold by the park service. if you can't make it work through these concession contracts, if we're not getting anybody that is interested, it does make you wonder whether or not the best option here might be to sell the lodge there in tabla sher bay national park to a private entity. we see that in up denali with the private lodges. in terms of -- there is a clear and marked difference there. so i would like to talk to you about that. i would also like the opportunity to discuss in more detail with you a situation that has recently arisen, and this is a little bit outside the scope
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of today's hearing put it's a critically important issue to us in my state. as you know i sent a letter to you dated july 12th about the park service's new policy requiring that seafood that is sold by vendors and concessionaires have to be certified by this nongovernmental third party, has to be certified as sustainable. everything that i can tell is that this policy was developed without consultation, with noaa, the federal agency tasked with the responsibility of managing our nation's fisheries sustain blue. the ngos that you're relying on here, in my view, have a troubling record of meddling with at least alaska fish emen's fisheries management. we have some real concerns about
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this. so, i read yesterday -- i thought it was pretty good news -- that this was in a seafood online site, i read that the park service is going to be pulling back on this, and a meeting with noaa. so then when we called your offices to confirm whether or not this was true, we're told that, no, not necessarily. in fact that may be an inaccurate statement that in the national park service spokesman made yesterday. so i'm trying to figure out what is really going on here, but you need to understand that the pick mix indication -- implications for not only the state of alaska which has a strong, well-managed sustainable fishery, is really quite concerned about the implications of this policy. it is something that i have asked to speak with you directly on. you can -- we can save ourselves both from that conversation if
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ju just give me they assurance we have pulled back and the park service is not going down this road. so if you care to comment on that, would certainly appreciate it. >> well, i don't know how much time you want to take in this hearing but i'd be glad to come by your office and talk in detail about this. i'm not pulling our national healthy food sustainability standards over the issue this. was developed over a year-long consultation process. >> with who? >> every one of the concession aires. >> was noaa involved? >> i do not know whether noaa was involved tour, n.i.c.e. the agency that makes the, the terms of what is sustainable within -- >> these are guidelines. that's not a policy. that's not a law. not a regulation. it's a guideline. a recommendation to our concessionaires they no sustainable -- >> you're saying they need to have a certain label that i applied by some ngos from --
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based out of london that says this is the label you have to have on your fish, and if you don't have this, then concessionaires, you shouldn't be using it. what kind of a message that sends? >> we drew from the industry standards for guidelines for sustainable foods. >> what industry standards? >> as i said, i'd be glad to come by your office. >> we need to have a further discussion's this, bus you're giving -- because you're giving me the very clear impression that in fact your spokesperson dhhs. >> incorrect. >> kathy hub bert, spokesperson for the national park service, was incorrect. >> that's right. >> you're not pulling back. >> what i, a willing to do is change the guidelines so it includes alaska wild-caught fish. that this fix.
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the guidelines were drawn broadly to give guide to the ken sessionaires. we want a park vice-president -- park visit to be healthy. i want the copper river so many -- sam -- samon. >> i think we need to have further discussion about this because i'm concerned that the park service and hhs doesn't understand that when you go with one certification -- again, a certification by an ngo that is an internationally based entity -- coming in and saying that this is the label you have to have, what that does to the alaska fisheries, as you well
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know, is limits their ability to market the healthiest, best and, by the way, most sustainable fishery that is out there. so, we need to make sure we're not cross-purposes on this, because it's too important to my state and, quite honestly, when we're talking about healthy fisheries i will take second fiddle to nobody. so i want to make sure we're not locking ourselves into a standard here that is simply not the right standard. so, if we can set aside some time, hope any before we go on break in august, i'd appreciate it. >> you had a second question. >> we'll visit about that, too. thank you. >> very good. director, you have been very patient, as always, and again, thank you for your past cooperation.
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i think you can see there are a lot of senators. this doesn't often happen on a busy day when everybody is looks towards the wrapup for the summer work period, and i think it shows the level of interest among colleagues and the bipartisanship.
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opportunity to thank the chairman and these subcommittee fo >> my parents moved to the united states in the 1980s, and i was born in 1987 in california. shortly after my birth west virginia we moved back to low colombia and tried to pursue a life there they had my sister, evelyn, while we were living in colombia, and in 1991, when i was four they moved back to the u.s. they moved become in order to provide a better life for us. they wanted to us live without the drugs, violence, and daily car bombings that defined daily life in colombia ya -- comb --
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colombia. for many years i did not know about my family's immigration status. however, as the years passed i gap to understand that my family was not like most. even though my parents worked hard to provide for our family we were never treated the same. my fathers and mothers worked hard to make sure we never left alone. they understood the meaning of family and understand how important it was to raise their daughters in a stable home. my mom volunteered at our school and working with us on our homework. i remember my mom asking my teachers to send home extra homework, even on friday. so that my sisters and i would catch up to other students my youngest sister was barn in
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1963. we all brew up in the same home, attend the scale -- the same school. but there was one major difference. sara and i were narl born u.s. citizens and my sister evelyn was brought here on a now expired series sample it wasn't until high school that it learned about my family's immigration status. there were so many things that would come up that i didn't understand. for example, i was not able to get my driver's license when i turned 16. and i cannot tell you how hard it is as a teenager to not be able to drive. as hard as this was for my youngest sister and for me, there is always the light at the end of the tunnel. we were u.s. citizens. evelyn did not have that. she knew there was no relief in sight after graduation. no path to college no path to a normal job.
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she had to walk across that stage interest and -- stage and into the shadows. in the somewhat normal life she has gotten to live and the every home she had ever known was over, and she had to walk across the stage without our mom watches because our mom had been pulled over at a traffic stop, arrested, and forced to leave the country. all of this happened with my sister in the car. this all occurred while i was a sophomore in college and i cannot put into words the level of devastation that's caused. it affect mid permanent will being and my academic success. my sister skis worked hard in school and all earned. scholarships but unlike my youngest sister and i, evelyn was unable to claim her scholarship because of her undocumented status.
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as a u.s. citizen i have been able to pursue the american dream. i'm a graduate of ford state university and am currently pursuing my masters degree at the university of florida. living in a maxed stat -- mixed status family i have learned to cherish every moment with our family, especially since we lost our mom. as u.s.a. citizen i'm hopeful that congress finds a way to keep this from happening to other families. as of last year it had been over six years since we had seen our mom. it had been over six years since her life came to a haltful this is the only home she knows. she has been here for 21 years. yet she is punished every day and forced to live a life in limbo, for in reason at all. the american dream has been bittersweet for my family. and i had to watch my sister and others like he be denied
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opportunities afforded to us, and the only country she has ever nope, by what amounts to be an accident of birth. thank you so much for letting me share my story. >> the treatment of hunger strikers at guantanamo compromises the core ethical values of our medical profession. the ama has long endorsed the principle that every competent patient has the right to refuse medical intervention. the world medical association and the international red cross have determinedded that fours-feeding through the use of restraints is not only an ethical violation but contravenes common article 3 of the geneva convention.
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let's set aside the number you feel you can safely push out there. are unknown number. the president says it's 46 -- that you can never trial. do you honestly think the people behind me and the people impel this hearing will stop asking for the release of those prisoners because they're in the united states? >> this soldier -- it's hard to understand. i brought the u.s. for incarceration or medical treatment, the detainees pose know threat. the 86 men who have been cleared for transsir, should be transferred. we must find lawful disposition for all lawful detain years as we have done every conflict.
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>> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> good afternoon. and this hearing of the subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights and human rights will come to kill her -- come to order. i understand ranking member cruz will be here briefly. today's hearing is entitled "changing guantanamo: the national security, fiscal, and human rights implications." we are pleased of a large audience that demonstrates importance and timeliness of this discussion. thanks to those of you who are here in person and those following the hearing on twitter and facebook using #closegitmo. at the outset i want to note that the rules of the senate prohibit outburst, clapping or demonstrations of any kind. there was so much interest in today's hearing that we have moved to a larger room to accommodate everyone. anyone who could not get a seat is welcomed to go to the overflow room for a live video
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feed, 226 of dirksen, the simpler. i'll begin by providing some opening remarks then i return to sender ted cruz and senator leahy, our chairman of the full committee who has now joined us for opening statements before we turn to witnesses. i want to spend -- it's been more than 11 years since the bush administration established the detentions and at guantánamo bay. in that time i've spoken on the senate floor more than 65 times about the need to close this prison. i never imagined that in 2013, not only would guantánamo to be open, but some would be arguing it would keep it open indefinitely. the reality is that every day remains open, guantánamo prison weakens our alliances, inspires our enemies, and calls into question our commitment to human rights. time and again our most senior national security and military leaders have called for the closure of guantánamo. listen to retired air force
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major matthew alexander. he led the interrogation team that tracked down a house or car, the leader of al qaeda in iraq. is what the general said. pardon, with a major city i listen time and again to foreign fighters and sunni iraqis, state that the number one reason they decide to pick up arms and join al qaeda were the abuses at abu ghraib and the authorized torture and abuse at guantánamo bay. it's no exaggeration, the major said, to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. in addition to the national security cost, every day that guantánamo remains open we are wasting taxpayer dollars. according to updated information, i receive from the department of defense just yesterday, guantánamo bay's detention cause for fiscal year 2012 were $448 million, and for
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fiscal year 2013, estimated $454 million. do the math. 166 prisoners, $454 million. we are spending 2.7 million dollars per year for each detainee held at guantánamo bay. what does it cost to put a president and keep them in the safest and most secure prison in america in florence colorado? $78,000 a year. against 2.7 million that we're spending on guantánamo. this would be fiscally irresponsible during ordinary economic times. but it's even worse when the department of defense is struggling to do with the impact of sequestration, including the furloughs and cutbacks and training for our troops. every day the soldiers and sailors serving at guantánamo are doing a magnificent job under difficult circumstances. i went to the southern command in miami and i met with the men
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who were in charge of this responsibility. i can tell you that they are saddened by this assignment but they're doing exactly what they're supposed to do. at great risk and at the great separation from their family and personal challenge, they are accepting this assignment. they look to us as to whether this assignment still makes sense. every day at guantánamo bay, dozens of detainees are being force-fed, a practice the american medical association, the international red cross condemned, and that a federal judge in washington recently found to be quote painful, humiliating and degrading. as president obama asked in his security speech, is this who we are? is that something our four, founding fathers foresaw? is that the america we want to leave our children? our sense of justice is stronger than that, the president said. it's worth taking a moment to recall the history of guantánamo bay.
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after 9/11, the bush administration decide to set aside the geneva conventions, which has served us well in past conflicts, and set up an offshore prison in guantánamo in order to evade the requirements of those treaties and our constitution. john q. working in the white house wrote on december 20, 2001, and office of legal counsel memo and said that guantánamo was quote the legal equivalent of outer space. a perfect place to escape the law, but others, others even within the bush administration disagreed. general colin powell then the secretary of state objected. he said, disregarding our treaty obligations quote will reverse over a century of u.s. policy and practice and undermine the protections of the law of war for our own troops. it will undermine public support among critical allies, making military cooperation more difficult to sustain.
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then defense secretary rumsfeld approved the use of abuse of interrogation techniques at guantánamo. these became the bedrock for interrogation policy in iraq. according to a defense department investigation. the horrible images that emerged from abu ghraib are seared into our memory, some of the most outrageous and extreme techniques. guantánamo became an international embarrassment and an international controversy. the supreme court repeatedly struck down the administration's detention policies. justice sandra day o'connor famously wrote for the majority in a case quote a state of war is not a blank check for a president coming into the quote. by 2006 even president bush, president bush said he wanted to close guantánamo. in 2008, a presidential candidate of both major parties supported closing guantánamo. within 48 hours of his inauguration, president obama issued an executive order
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prohibiting torture and setting up a review process for all guantánamo bay detainees. i'll be the first to acknowledge the administration could be doing more to close guantánamo. last week senator feinstein and i met with senior white house officials to discuss what they are doing under existing law to transfer detainees out of guantánamo. but let's be clear to the president's authority has been limited like congress. we have enacted restrictions on detainee transfers, including a ban on transfers to the united states from guantánamo that make it very difficult if not impossible to actually close the facility but it's time to lift those restrictions and move forward with shutting down guantánamo. we can transfer most of the detainees safely to foreign countries, and we can bring the others to the united states where they can be tried in federal court or held under the law of war until the end of hostilities. let's look at the track record. since 9/11, since 9/11 nearly 500 terrorists have been tried
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and convicted in our federal courts and are now being safely held in the prisons. no one, no one has ever escaped from a federal super max prison or a military prison. in contrast, only six individuals have been convicted by military commissions. two of those convictions have been overturned by the courts. today, nearly 12 years after 9/11, the architects of the 9/11 attacks are still awaiting trial in guantánamo. during his confirmation hearing i discuss with the deputy attorney general in the bush administration and is the nominee for fbi director this whole case. here's what he told me. quote, we have about a 20 year track record in handling particularly al qaeda cases in federal courts. the federal courts and federal prosecutors are effective in accomplishing two goals in every one of the situations, he said. getting information and incapacitating terrace, end of quote. someone argue we can't close
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guantánamo because of the risks some detainees may join in engage in terrorist activities that studies show that even in our federal prisons the recidivism rate is more than 40%, far higher than the rate of any of those released from guantánamo. the often quoted recidivism estimate includes hundreds of detainees transferred under the bush administration when the standards for release were much more relaxed. no one is suggesting closing guantánamo is risk-free, or that no detainees will ever engage in terrorist activities if they are transferred. but if a former detainee does return to terrorism, he will likely meet the fate of the number two official in al qaeda in the arabian peninsula was recently killed in a drone strike. the bottom line is our national security and military leaders have concluded that the risk of keeping guantánamo open far outweighs the risk of closing it. because the facility continues to harm our alliances and serve
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as a recruitment tool for terrorist. it's time to end this sad chapter of her history. 11 years is far too long. we need to close guantánamo. i when i recognize senator cruz, the ranking member and. >> thank you, mr. chairman. president obama tells us the war on terror is over. that al qaeda has been decimated, and that we can now take a holiday from the long difficult task of combating radical islamist terrorism. i don't believe the facts justify their rosy assessment. five years ago, the president campaigned on closing guantánamo. and yet guantánamo remains open as a detention facility for those deemed to be the most dangerous terrorists that have been apprehended.
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and to date, the administration's position seems to be to continue apologizing for the existence of guantánamo, to continue apologizing for our detaining terrorists and standing up to defend ourselves. but to do nothing affirmatively to address the problem. in particular, if guantánamo is closed, it raises the fundamental question of where these terrorists will be sent. now, we can embrace a utopian fiction that they will be sent to their home nations and somehow lay down their arms and
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embrace a global view of peace. i don't think that utopian fiction has any basis in reality. we have seen whether it was in boston or benghazi, or fort hood, that radical terrorism remains a real and life threat. now, i have significant concerns about the obama administration's overbroad encourages into the civil rights of law-abiding americans. but at the same time, i have concerns about their unwillingness or inability to connect the dots and to prevent violent acts of terrorism. and until we are presented with a good viable strategy for what to do with terrorists who would
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work night and day to murder innocent americans, i have a hard time seeing how it is responsible to shut down our detention facilities and send these individuals home, where they almost surely would be released, and almost surely would return to threaten and kill more americans. that's a question i hope this panel shed some light on, how we can responsibly proceed in protecting the national security of this country, protecting the men and women of this country who expect as the first responsibility of the federal government that we will keep the nation secure. and i look forward to the testimony today on that question. >> thank you. senator leahy? >> thank you. i do want to thank senator durbin for holding this hearing.
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i think it's long past time we take action and this unfortunate chapter in our nation's history. you can do that and still fight terrorism as it threatens us. it's nice to pretend the president did something that taking a holiday from terrorism but, of course, he never said any such thing. but i do know that for over a decade the indefinite detention of prisoners at guantánamo has contradicted our most basic principles of justice, degraded our international standing, and by itself it is on our national security. i think it's shameful we are still even debating this issue. as long as we keep this detention center opened at guantánamo, and it continued to serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists just as the
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photographs at abu ghraib did. it will discredit america's historic role as a leader in human rights. countries that champion the rule of law and human rights do not lock away prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial. countries that champion the rule of law and human rights do not strap pressures down and forcibly feed them against their will. we condemn authoritarian states when they do this, and we should, but we should not tolerate the same thing in our country. senator durbin points out at a time of sequestration, to be spending as much as two-and-a-half, 2.7 million dollars per prisoner to hold them in guantánamo, you can do far, far, far less at super max prisons, if that is the issue. i mean, how can we talk about all the things we have to take
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out of our budget because things that actually benefit americans, and yet we can spend this kind oof the fortune down there. and talk about spending hundreds of millions of dollars more to overhaul the compound. that's what's been requested. for more than a decade we have seen precious manpower, resources, money squandered on this long failed experiment. it should be directed to important national security missions at home and abroad. furthermore, again as senator durbin point out, the military commission system for trying these detainees is not working. tiny handful have been prosecuted there as compared to hundreds in our federal court. we far-reaching federal courts overturn two convictions in guantánamo, in opinions that
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would prevent the military from bringing conspiracy and material support charges against detainees, something even the lead military prosecutor at guantánamo himself acknowledge. the same charges that could be pursued in federal court where process to have a strong track record of obtaining long prison sentences against those who seek to do us harm. we are the most powerful nation oon earth. why do we act afraid to use the best federal court system we've ever seen? probably the best court system in the world, and we act like we're afraid to use it. we convicted nearly 500 terrorism suspects since 9/11 in these federal courts. so the status quo at guantánamo is untenable. i appreciate the president's vow to shut this unless is a, inexpensive prison. decision in june to appoint a new special envoy to coordinate
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efforts is a positive step towards closing the facility. so to our reports a periodic review board, begin reviewing this. now, i'm glad to see that commonsense provision are included in thi this year's natl defense authorization act, recently reported by the senate armed services committee, incremental, but it will help. i look forward to working with members of congress to bring a this about. i'll put -- the witness is waiting, mr. chairman. >> thank you, thank you for being here and thank you for the sport you have given to this subcommittee. we want to welcome one of the fellow members of the senate judiciary committee, not a member of this senate committee but today she's more than audrey. she will be welcome to participate. you can even come down the line if you'd like and set -- >> a little later.
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>> senator dianne feinstein. >> thank you for your comments and thank you for allowing me to sit with your subcommittee. as you mentioned, i believe i came in the room, i was at guantánamo about one month ago with john mccain and the president's chief of staff. we've been looking at the figures of cost, and apparently they are much higher than we thought. if the new costs are correct, the cost of, of the facility is $554.1 million in 2013. and as senator leahy said, that is to .67 million per detainee. i want to point out that to keep a prisoner in maximum-security in our federal system is $78,000. so this is a massive waste of
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money. a month ago when i was there, there were 166 inmates, most had been there for a decade or more. 10 years with no hope, no trial, no charge. these 166 detainees are slated for trial while 46 others will be held without trial until the war against terror is over. whenever that may be. 86 of them, more than half, have been cleared for transfer by either the bush or the obama administration. nonetheless, they remain in dismal conditions and legal limbo. by the end of president obama's second term, the majority of guantánamo detainees there today will have been held without trial for almost 15 years. i would submit that this is not
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the american way. and i would submit that guantánamo has been a recruiting tool for terrorists. it makes a myth out of our legal system, and it really ought to be closed. we saw the hopelessness. we saw when we were there, 70 detainees were undergoing a hunger strike. twice a day, american military personnel restrained the detainee in a chair by his arms, torso, and feet. a tube is inserted through the nose and into the stomach. and for some detainees, this has been going on for five months, twice a day. i'm very pleased that you have some medical testimony here today, and i look forward to hearing it. but this large-scale force-feeding and this behavior is a form of protest. it's not an attempt at suicide.
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i believe it violates international norms and medical ethics. and at guantánamo, it happens day after day, and week after week or so i find this unacceptable. i believe the facility should be closed. i believe all of these people can be transferred to high-security facilities in this country. and that that is the proper thing to do. so i thank you for this opportunity. >> thank you, senator feinstein. senator whitehouse, any openingg comment? >> weekly because i want to get to the witnesses by do what you thank you, chairman, probably history. i think it's important. i've been around long enough, been through several stages on guantánamo. there was the stage where it was the worst of the worst, and they were too dangerous to release. and then the bush administration released a huge chunk of them and then said okay, now we're really down to the worst of the worst. then they released another huge chunk of them. now we have i think 86 of 166
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slated for release and we simply have been able to find places for them to go. .. patrick leahy who is here and chairman feinstein and the chairman of the intelligence committee. see thank you senator whitehouse. its customs is where the witnesses and i would ask the first panel to please rise. raise your right hand. do you from the testimony you're
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about to get before the subcommittee will be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? let the record reflect that all of the witnesses on this panel answered in the affirmative and before you recognize the first witness i ask consent to enter into the record a statement from retired major general michael leonard who served in the marine corps for 37 years. general leonard led the first joint task force guantguant ánamo which established the detention facility in 2002. he couldn't be here today and he wanted to make sure his views were on the record. we will circulate a a statement to the committee and i commend my colleagues the details in a statement general leonard applied to the geneva convention asked to bring in the red cross to inspect this facility. he was rebuked by civilian political appointees. here's what he says. responder the goodwill of the world after we attacked by her actions in guantánamo. after we were attacked by her actions in guantánamo. that decision to keep guantánamo open has actually helped our enemies the general rights
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because it invalidated every negative perception of the united states. to argue but cannot transfer detainees to a secure facility in the united states because it would be a threat to public security is ludicrous end quote. we are pleased to be joined here today by retired major general paul eaton. he is currently a senior adviser to the national security network he retired from active duty war after more than 30 years in the united states army. in 2003 and 2004 general eaton served in iraq as the commanding general of the coalition military assistance training. prior to serving in iraq general eaton commended the infantry center and was chief of infantry for the army. he studied at west point earned a master's degree in political science from middlebury college. general eaton thank you for your service. please proceed at five minutes in your entire statement will be made part of the record and that opened to questions. >> chairman durbin thank you very much. thank you member cruz members of his subcommittee or inviting me
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to share my views on closing the guantánamo bay detention center. i mentioned that i have the last operational mission to create the iraqi armed forces. my biggest challenge when i did that was to overcome over 30 years of saddam despotism and its impact on society in iraq. we worked very hard to develop the bridge call the moral component to instill the adherence to the rule of law. we drilled daily the notion of the civilian control of the military. military justice prisoner management and battlefield discipline. we stressed accountability. then abu ghraib blew up on us. the day that happened, the day it hit the press my senior iraqi adviser air force general under saddam retired. he came into my office and said general, you cannot understand how badly this is going to play on the arab streets. we lost the moral high ground. investigation of abu ghraib by
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mineral -- make sure general to boot found torture implemented at guantánamo was exported to detainee operations in iraq. abu ghraib was the logical outcome of our experience. men who had served in guantánamo during the worst days of enhanced interrogation techniques were deployed to iraq to get model ice interrogations. not my words. abu ghraib was the smaller guantánamo and is one reason i'm convinced we have to close down this detention center. you can't both guantánamo enough to shake the shine again after the scents of the past. improvements in detainee treatment in a military commission rules will not change the belief in the minds of our allies and our enemies that guantánamo is a significant problem to the prosecution of the u.s. security agenda in general and u.s. military in particular.
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the argument that the guantánamo facility represents a valuable intelligence tool is simply wrong. the shelf life of intelligence and particularly the people who have the potential intelligence is very short. the argument that guantánamo facility is necessary to hold dangerous menace simply wrong. as senator durbin mentioned are supermax prisons do this quite well. we have a great many allies and alliances created for many reasons. most providing for mutual defense. my team in iraq was composed of nine nations military and civilian. a late-night discussion are guantánamo -- would come up time to time and asked to abu ghraib off into some of our closest allies refuse to send this detainees because of guantánamo and we are losing intelligence opportunities every time this happens. releasing any individual guantánamo detainee does not change our national security posture.
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for this soldier the fear-based arguments to keep the extension facility open is hard to understand. if brought to the u.s. for prosecution and incarceration or medical treatment of detainees opposed -- pose no threat to national security. the 86 men who have been cleared for transfer should be transferred. we must find lawful dispositions for all law of war detainees as we have done in every conflict. further, guantánamo places our soldiers and nation at risk. not only because it puts -- makes america look hypocritical as we promote the rule of law but because it makes the detainees look like the warriors that they are not. our leaders in iraq would pose the question early and often. did we create more terrorists today than we managed to take off the streets? guantánamo is a terrorist creating institution and as a direct facilitator and filling
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out the ranks of al qaeda and other terror organizations that would attack our country and our interests. guantánamo in military terms is a combat power generator for the enemy. we as a nation are strongest when we uphold the constitution. the bill of rights, the geneva conventions and the other laws of the treaties and conventions to which we subscribe, we are weakest when we stray from the rule of law. we have an opportunity and an imperative to close guantánamo now as we wind down combat operations in afghanistan. there is no national security reason to keep guantánamo open. in the words of one of my colleagues, they don't win unless they change us. we have got to resist that attempts to change. thank you very much. >> i thank the gentleman. or good or stephen xenakis served in u.s. army as a metal core officer for 28 years before retiring.
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a psychiatrist with an active clinical and consulting practice general massimo is an adjunct professor at the uniformed services university of health sciences and military medical department. he is the founder of the center for tens translation medicine and research organization conducting tests on brain related conditions affecting soldiers and veterans. general massimo previously served as senior adviser to the department of defense on issues relating to the care and support of servicemembers and their families. graduating from princeton university and the university might maryland school of medicine. thank you for your service to our country and please proceed. see thank you, sir and thank you i read -- cruz and senator feinstein. appreciate the opportunity to testify today. as you said i'm board certified in general psychiatry and child adolescent psychiatry in and of extensive and teaching and administration commanded retired at the rank of brigadier general
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commanding medical centers and magical -- medical reasons. the federal court in office of commissions have called bite me as a psychiatric and medical expert. i've had multiple interviews, multiple interviews with detainees advised attorneys and spent cumulatively three months at guantánamo over at guantanamo over the past four and a half years. i currently provide consultation and expert testimony is needed on seven and current and former detainees. i have reviewed medical intelligence and military files of nearly 50. the treatment of hunger strikers at guantánamo compromises the core ethical values of our medical profession. the ama has long endorsed the principle that every competent patient has the right to refuse medical intervention. the world medical association and the international red cross are determined that for speeding through the use of restraints is
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not only unethical violation but contravenes common article iii of the geneva convention. force-feeding completely undermines the physician-patient relationship by destroying the trust that is essential for all clinical treatment including medical issues unrelated to force-feeding. it engages physicians in the use of force against detainees. at guantánamo physicians and nurses have become part of the command apparatus that uses punitive and painful methods to break hunger strikes. in use of restraint chairs, dry cells, for-sale extractions and denial of communal privileges. the plain truth is that force-feeding violates medical ethics in the international legal obligations and nothing claimed in the name of defending our country and justified cruel inhuman and degrading treatment of another man or woman. the detention facilities at
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guantánamo diminished america's standing among our allies and put a -- the underlying issues that contributed to the hunger strike must be addressed including ending the harsh conditions of confinement that have been put into place this year. statements in the media leaves the impression that the detainees are highly trained soldiers eager to get back on the battlefield. the vast majority of these men did not fit the picture of the worst of the worst. these detainees pale in comparison to violent prisoners accused of serious felonies or murders that i have seen and evaluated in this country. to be clear, if any detainee has committed a crime i strongly believe they should be charged prosecuted and convicted and punished accordingly. the fact is however that most of these detainees have not been charged. the restrictive and oppressive conditions undermine our national security objectives. force-feeding must end. it is unethical and they -- of human dignity a form of cruel
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inhuman treatment in violation of our geneva convention recommendations include first underlying issues that contributed to the hunger strike must be resolved including expeditious release. second, detainee should not be punished for engaging in hunger strikes. third, all directives orders and protocols provide exclusive play or implicitly the health professionals act as adjuncts of security officials must be rescinded. trust in the medical staff by detainees has been so deeply compromised. independeindepende nt doctors and nurses should be brought in. fourth, the aging detainees require more confiscated and sophisticated medical care. the regular rotation of uncle staff in pete's continuity of care, diagnosis and treatment. he plays is dedicated and professional military clinicians in untenable circumstances of
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providing sub optimal treatment to an increasingly ill population. it is not fair that doctors, nurses or detainees. thank you for the privilege of speaking to you. >> thank you. we will hear from our next witness frank gaffney founder and president of center for security policy in washington. he is a weekly comics for the "washington times", town hall in news he's the host of secure freedom radio syndicated radio program. in the 1980s mr. gaffney served in the reagan administration as assistant secretary of defense under national security policy and deputy assistant secretary for nuclear forces and arms control policy. prior to his work in in the department of defense who is a professional staff member on the senate arms services committee. he received a bachelor's degree from one georgetown university and a masters in international studies from johns hopkins school of dance international studies. mr. gaffney the floor is yours.
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>> thank you mr. chairman. one small addendum i had the privilege of serving in this body for senator scoop jackson who many of you have a wonderful memory of i'm sure. i appreciate the chance to testify on this issue and i recognize i'm on the distinct minority on this panel but i take comfort in the fact that i do represent the vast majority of americans and certainly the vast majority of those of you in congress on this question. should gitmo be closed? i think the answer is resoundingly no, unless there is a better alternatives available to us. i would like to describe why i think there is not a better alternatives available by putting this into context if i may. and that is to describe why we have gitmo in the first place. it is because we are at war. this is a point that is seemingly lost on a lot of us who talk about this in sort of an abstract concept but somehow
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this detention facility can be removed from that overarching problem. we are not just at war. we are at war because others attacked us and in your wisdom you hear in the congress gave the authority to fight back. i am afraid that increasingly we have lost sight as to who it is we are fighting with and again i think that there is -- bears directly on the question before you today. we are fighting i would suggest against people who adhere to and a doctor and they called sharia law. not all muslims do but those that are engaged at this point, excuse me. >> please, no outbursts of -- thank you. >> those that do adhere to this doctrine believe it is their obligation to destroy us, to
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force us to submit to there will fat bears directly upon this question of what happens if they are allowed to return to the battlefield. and i think we all agree recidivism among those who are released from gitmo is a problem. perhaps as you said yourself i think mr. chairman it's not as bad as as recidivism in the federal prison system. that is a sobering thought which again i would argue suggest we don't want to put these prisoners into the federal prison system if it's even worse than it is at gitmo. the main point though is if the commitments these prisoners have , should they be allowed out , is to wage this jihad as they call it against us until we submit. it adds urgency to the question that senator cruz asked which is
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how do you prevent that from happening? and with the greatest of respect i would say i find unconvincing the idea that any of these problems are made more tractable by simply moving these people into the united states. for one thing, it does raise a question as to whether the cost that we are paying in several of you have alluded to this excessive wasteful inefficient cost, but how much has it meant that not a single one of these people or any of their friends have been able to attack us because of their proximity to a federal detention facility inside the united states. how many americans lives have been scared as a result? there is no way to know for sure but are we feeling lucky? do you want to take a chance? my guess is you will find much more violence inside the federal prison system, not least because
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these individuals will be engaged in proselytizing their form of islam, sharia, inside the prison system but beyond that you will have almost certainly their colleaguecolleague s trying to do what was done in iraq yesterday by al qaeda, which is to try to spring them or at the least inflict harm on an american community that has the misfortune, perhaps the thompson correctional facility community, as an example has the misfortune of incarcerating these people. my concern is that let's just set aside the numbers that you might or might not feel you can safely push out. there are a number, an unknown number but the president has apparently said its 46 that you could never try. do you honestly think that the people behind me and the people who are in telling this hearing
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caviling for the release of those prisoners just because they are now in the united states? finally i would just say to you, you know better than i federal judges inside this country will almost certainly look, at least some of them, with sympathy on the claim that these prisoners once they are inside the united states, once they are entitled to all kinds of constitutional rights they might not otherwise have in places like gitmo that would perhaps result in their release inside the united states. i find that he owned malfeasance where we go down that road. it's derelictiderelicti on of duty and i pray you will not close gitmo and i hope my testimony will encourage you not to do that. >> thank you mr. gaffney. our next witness is lieutenant josh fryday. lieutenant fryday is a member of the judge advocate general corps
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and united states navy stationed in washington d.c. at the office of chief defense counsel for military commissions. lieutenant fryday served in the disaster relief effort following the tsunami and nuclear disaster in japan. prior to joining the navy lieutenant fryday worked at the district and connie's office in the u.s. attorney's office in the northern district of illinois. he received his b.a. in political science and plus it from the university of california-berkeley where he graduated phi beta kappa and received his j.d. from the university of california-berkeley school of law. lieutenant fryday thank you for being your dam please proceed. >> thank you chairman durbin ranking member cruz members of the committee for inviting me to testify. i'm grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences with you. while the office of the chief defense counsel for the military commissions is aware that i'm testifying today my statement is based on my own personal experience and knowledge and is not reflecting views of my office in the navy or the department of defense. over the past year i've been
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assigned under military orders to serve as military defense counsel's for individuals detained in guantánamo bay cuba. as you know there are 166 remaining. i represent one of them and his name is mohammed. people often ask me if it is difficult representing a detainee at guantánamo. i'm proud to live in a country where my commander-in-chief can order me to perform such a challenging mission. my colleagues prosecutors and defense lawyers alike are patriots who love their country. we are taught in the military to perform her duties with honor, courage and commitment. and i am here today doing my duty to talk to you about my clients in guantánamo bay. my client has now been to time by her government for over 10 years. after five years of detention in 2080 was charged with material support for terrorism. in 2009 the military commission
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process halted in the charges against him were dismissed. a recent d.c. district court decision hamdan versus the united states help material support for terrorism is now no longer a crime that he or anyone detained prior to 2006 can never be tried for in a military commission. i am not here today to ask for sympathy for the man i was ordered to represent that i would like to tell you a little bit about him. he is in afghan citizen with a third-grade education received and a pakistani refugee camp his family went to after fleeing the russian invasion. he was roughly 22 years old when he was detained although he does not know his exact age. he has a son who is six months old when he last saw him in 2003. he has never been charged with harming anyone, either afghan or american. had my client been brought to federal court instead of guantánamo he could have and would have been tried years ago.
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since 9/11 nearly 500 terrorists have been convicted in federal courts. in the guantánamo military commissions, six. now after a decade of detention with no crime he can be charged up he sits in guantánamo imprisoned indefinitely. my client has asked me how it is possible for my government to detain him for over 10 years without proving he committed a crime. i try my best explained their people in our government who believe under the laws of war we are allowed to detained people indefinitely until the war is over. he then asked me, you will no longer be out war with afghanistan after 2014. can i go home then or does this war never ends? as a servicemember and an attorney sworn to uphold the constitution and our strong legal conditions i don't have
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good answers for him. if my client is guilty of the crime he should be tried and given his day in court. so i thank this committee for your willingness to listen to his story today for as long as he is in guantánamo no judge or jury ever will. we are a nation of laws and the people of principle. denying my client a trial and detaining him indefinitely is at odds with their values. on the eve of our revolutionary war we held trials for british soldiers responsible for the boston massacre. our founding father john adams served as one of the british soldiers, defense lawyers, but today even basic due process in guantánamo is denied including the opportunity to confront your accusers being presented with evidence against you and have access to counsel. our threats are real.
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criminals and terrorists should be prosecuted and jailed. our enemies must know that we will bring them to justice no matter what. but as a people guided by a principle and the rule of law, we can do better than in definite detention. for centuries american servicemembers have fought paid the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the fundamental values to that define our nation. we should strive to always be faithful to those values, especially when it is most challenging. >> thank you lieutenant. the last witness on the panel is elisa massimo the president and ceo of human rights first and adjunct professor at georgetown university law center. human rights first is one of the leading advocacy groups and ms. massimo have been great partners with the subcommittee working on human rights agenda. before joining human rights
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first massimo was a litigator in private practice and taught philosophy earned her j.d. from the university of michigan master of arts in philosophy from john hopkins and phi beta kappa -- ms. massimo you testified before the senate committee before and i welcome you back. please proceed. >> chairman durbin ranking member cruz members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to testify today about the importance of closing guantánamo and how we can do so in a way that protects our country our national security and our values. as a present of an organization essential mission is to advance american global leadership on human rights i focus on ensuring that our country remains a beacon to freedom seeking people around the world and they can continue to lead by the power of example. that is why after the terrorist attacks on our country we joined forces with more than 50 retired generals and admirals led by former marine corps commandant gulag and centcom commander who believe that our values and institutions are assets in the
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fight against terrorism and not liabilities. i've been to guantánamo and that the dedicated people serving under difficult circumstances. we have beneficial observers every military commission at guantánamo since its inception. we know and have great respect for the servicemembers and civilian defense lawyers who are struggling to navigate the sun tested and jerry-rigged system to rig some form of justice from it. some would have you believe that guantánamo's critics are a handful of human rights activists some foreigners tend to fence lawyers to detainees. that is not true. the loudest and most persistent calls to close the prison come from our own senior defense law enforcement intelligence and diplomatic officials. people with a printed 60 view of the costs and benefits of guantánamo who have concluded our national security is best served by closing it. president bush said he wanted to close guantánamo. guantánamo. henry kissinger called guantánamo a blot on a national reputation. jim baker said it has given america a very bad name. admiral dennis blair former
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director of national intelligence called one-time unquote a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment harmful to national security. secretary gates told president bush that guantánamo is the national security liability and advised him to close it down. major general michael leonard as he said was in charge of standing of guantánamo in 2002 said it cost us the moral high ground. former chairman of the joint chiefs admiral mullen said guantánamo has been quote a recruiting symbol for enemies. general colin powell said he would close if not tomorrow but this afternoon and senator mccain has suggested would be an act of moral courage to find a way to shutter the prison. whatever one thinks of initial benefits of detaining prisoners at guantánamo there's a growing bipartisan consensus that we no longer need it. today's hearing catalogs the reasons why it is imperative to transform this consensus into action. we heard about the astronomical cost of guantánamo the time of the pentagon is furloughing more than half a million employees. general eaton reminded us the impending end of combat
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operations in a mist and will require a change in detention authorities. general said to describe the deterioration of malik on time on the degraded mental state of many of the prisoners a combination that is leading to a tipping point and lieutenant fryday told us that guantánamo has warped our system of justice. in many ways to struggle with al qaeda is a war of ideals. that is the battleground on which our country should have the greatest advantage. sometimes when we lose our way outsiders will admire our values and remind us of who we are and what they stand for. family members of guantánamo detainees have written letters to human at dance in this hearing and i want to quote from them. the uncle of an algerian who has been detained for more than a decade without charge has been cleared for release and wrote one in 2002 i was told that he was detained by the americans. i thought that at least he would have the right to a fair trial. trial. i thought his race would be respected and justice would prevail. what i feel today is mostly and comprehensive -- and cumbersome.
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how can this this nation on the prize itself on defending human rights as its eyes to these violations of its founding principles? a man from tunisia has been held for more than a decade without charge. he has been cleared for transfer. his mother what i do not understand why my son is still in guantánamo after all these years when we know he has been cleared. we never thought united states was the kind of place where people could be held like this. we have often talked about who we are as a nation but sooner or later who we are cannot he separated from what we do. as we wind on the war in afghanistan we must expunge the legacy of guantánamo and restore america's reputation for justice and the rule of law. the question is not fly or if but how their two-day human rights first has published an exit strategy with a detailed plan for closing the prison. among the challenges facing our country today closing guantguant ánamo is far from the most complex. while it may be to clinicallclinicall y complicatcomplicat ed as senator mccain recently said it's not rocket science.
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it is a risk management exercise and the risk is manageable. with leadership from the president and congress we can get this done. thank you again for convening this hearing and listening to our views. we are deeply grateful for your leadership mr. chairman on this and so many other human rights issues. >> thanks ms. massimo. we will have rounds of questions seven minutes per senator and i ask that each senator tried to stick with those time-limited they can. again i think the panel. let me start at the beginning. marion illinois is a small city in southern illinois. it's a great town and in a rural setting and it has a federal prison, marion federal prison prison. incarcerated are convicted terrorist. i've never heard one word from a person living in marion illinois about their associated with those terrorist being in that prison. the notion that mary ann and other places where federal reasons exist is that our
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federal prisons are pretty good. people don't escape from them and the community around them feels pretty safe. mr. gaffney the notion of sending the worst of the worst to the florence supermax prison 30 miles away from it a city in the middle of nowhere where they can have little or no communication with the outside world, why does that frighten you? >> senator i'm concerned as i said in my testimony that several things. one is i think there will be more violence inside the prisons and secondly i think we cannot he sure but i think it's a safe bet on the basis of experience elsewhere -- >> excuse me, have you been inside of the supermax prison? >> i have not personally have the privilege of being inside a supermax prison. >> please. i have visited a similar facility and most of them are in a very restricted lockdown condition. >> as they should be. >> is rare for them to have more than one hour a day outside of the detention facility and then usually by themselves so how do
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you believe they will be able to incite problems within the florence supermax? >> i'm so glad you asked that. one of the things that is concerning me is what we we are seeing them and they prisons writ large now, not just the supermax that includes the supermax and that includes this rasul at the station. the fact that we have imams brought in for the purpose of i believe catering of course to the muslim population and in the process also converting and promoting this doctrine which does produce violence. there is no getting around it. it is supremacist in character. you have to assume there will be opportunities especially if we start as we have done with the shoe bomber relieving them of some of the limitations on their freedom, then you will get i think more violence. >> i'm sorry but i have a limited amount of time. we have now incarcerated in federal prisons marcelle he
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suspected in this part in 9/11 and being held with no hint of problems within the prison are outside of it. i also want to make something very clear for the record. there are some very patriotic muslim americans who do not want to be characterized as part of an extremist movement. they are people who i work with every day. [applause] and the notion that that bringing in an imam or someone associated with their religion is an invitation to violent extremism presumes prison authorities will pay no attention number one &-amp&-amp ersand perhaps everyone brought in as a danger and i think that's wrong. c quickly responds, sir? a fellow who started the -- is in federal prison himself. he is a terrorist and he is a man who created among other things and infrastructure inside the united states for promoting sharia through the muslim brotherhood. on your question is critically important. will marion be at risk if they take research from gitmo?
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i'm concerned that they might be not least because quite apart from whether they spring people from the supermax facility, it makes it a target for terrorism. it is an opportunity to create a spectacular incident. >> mr. gaffney their domestic gang members and leaders of extremist groups from all of the united states incarcerated in these prisons and they are handled very professionally and securely. communities beg for the opportunity to have a federal prison constructed near them. let me to the question to ms. massimo. i believe the president should move according to his promise to close guantánamo but i believe congress has made that exceedingly different -- difficult. ..
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i hope the provisions become law. we also, in our exit strategy document that we released today break down the population at guantanamo. it's essentially about the math. we have 166 people. there are -- the majority of those have been cleared for transfer. the president now appointed a
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leader at the state department to take on the challenge awaiting the appointment of the defense department to do the same. there's renewed energy on this as you heard from senator feinstein with what's going on down there with the hunger strikes. this is something in which the president and congress have to work together. presidential leadership is essential, but congress needs to trust the commander in chief to make the decisions. >> lieutenant, thank you for the compelling testimony, thank you for the service to the country, and thank you for reminding us what we're about in the country when it comes to the rule of law. that reference to john adams is one that stands out in this man's biography before he was elected president. he was assigned to defend british soldiers accused of massacring american colonists. it's where we have to continue. you've been a prosecutor in the
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criminal justice system at the federal level, and now the defense counsel when it comes to military commissions. some in congress argue we can't trust our article 3 courts. if they get a miranda warning, they clam up and don't talk or cooperate, while others over 500 accused terrorists have been successfully prosecuted in article 3 courts and six in others. what is your position on the proper tribunals and trials? >> thank you very much for the comment. it's not my job to provide a recommendation to the body, to this committee. it's not what i've been assigned to do and ordered to do. i can't say having been in guantanamo and seen the commission up close -- it's been 12 years since 9/11, and we litigate what clothes they wear in court, what notes are taken in meetings, and what rights
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apply. it's a confusing system. it's a slow, inefficient system. it's the numbers of as you indicated, much slower system than federal court. there's still a lot of barriers in the military system, barriers for council, issues of attorney-client privilege, issues of classification that are confusing, state rules that are relaxed, and there's a lot of differences that need to be worked out as we move forward. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank each of the witnesses for coming here for your testimony. seems to me this is an issue that inspires a great deal of passion, a great deal of emotion, and it also seemed to me that our national security policy should not be derived simply from bumper sticker ideology, but rather from
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careful, hard decisions about how to protect the national security of the united states. there's two facts in particular that i think are hard facts that i've heard little discussion of from the panel today. the first is as of january 2013, the director of national intelligence in the obama administration has confirmed or suspects that 28 #% of former guantanamo detainees reengaged in terrorism. now, that is a very inconvenient fact for any argument that would leave a substantial risk of the individuals that are currently in guantanamo being released. the second fact is underscored by timing this week which is on monday of this week. about 500 prisoners, including senior members of al-qaeda, escaped from the abu grave
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prison, which is now controlled by the iraqi security forces. i think that, likewise, underscores the inherent risk on relying on foreign facilities to detain known terrorists, particularly terrorists for whom there is a substantial risk of their reengaging in terrorism if they find themselves at large. the first question i'd like to ask is to general eaton, i thank you for your many years of service and leadership. there are, as of november 2012, 166 detainees in guantanamo. is there any reason to believe that if those individuals were released, their recidivism rate would be any less than the guantanamo detainees already released who reengaged in
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terrorism at a rate of 28% according to the head of the dni? >> senator cruz, thank you for the question. i spent a career managing risk. soldiers never get all the assets they need to buy risk down to 0. the question, i believe, could also be posed, is the existence of guantanamo a higher risk than release of the prisoners we have there now? we have a terrific system. the -- our intelligence architecture provided 28% -- if we accept 28%, then we have that same intelligence architecture to help us buy down the risk of placing those individuals back in the care of countries that will take care of them, which is a requirement that this body imposed on the secretary of defense, a certification
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process, so when we talk about releasing the 86 that are cleared for release under conditions that meet the expectations that the secretary of defense has to certify, i think it's appropriate, and i think that the risk associated with that is, indeed, relatively low. it's not 0, but i live in a world, a military world, that accounts for risk, and you buy the risk down with every factor available to you, and america has a great deal to help buy down that risk. >> general eaton, if i understood your answer correctly, if detainees are released, we can act to mitigate their risk of reengaging in terrorism. i would note that it seems to me you did not dispute the premise of my question, that these individuals, if released, we
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could expect to reengage in terrorism, and at least the same rate, and, in fact, i would suggest to you surely it was not the case that the people rereleased initially were the most dangerous. under any rationale system, those presumably released were deemed to be the least dangerous, and so the rational inference would be those remaining, if anything, return to terrorism at a higher rate, not a lower rate than 28%? >> senator, as yogi said, predictions are hard, especially if it's about the future, and we've got a -- we've got a population that is up knowable to a 100% rate. again, we mitigate risk. we guy it down. it will not go to 0, but i can't put a figure on it. >> with respect, general, it will go to 0 with respect to the
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detainees if they remain detained. we're talking about the risks of future acts of terrorism. let me say broadly to the panel, at the outset i noted the most difficult question which is easy to say close guantanamo and get applause from a various audience, but the harder question then is what do you do with the terrorists? there's one of two options. you either send them to u.s. detention facilities. now, the chairman has generously volunteered mira in illinois to host these terrorists. i don't know what the citizens of illinois think of that. i feel confident what the citizens of texas would think about that of their coming to texas. i would note we had multiple instances of individuals in federal prisons engaging in terrorism, directing terrorist acts from federal prison like the blind chic.
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lynn stewart was convicted for aiding terrorism for individuals in federal prison, or the alternative is send it to foreign locations, whether it's nations like yemen with enormous instability or other allies, and given the escape we just saw in abu graves, it is hard to have any confidence that if these individuals are sent to the foreign facility, they will not in due course be released, and in due course permit future acts of terrorism taking the lives of innocent americans. i want to close with a final question. it has been reported that under the obama administration, approximately 395 people have been killed by drone strikes. are you aware of any reasonable argument that it is somehow more protective of human rights, more protective of civil liberties to
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fire a missile at someone from a drone and kill them than it would be to detain them and interrogate them, determine guilt or innocence, and determine what intelligence might be derived from that individual? >> mr. chairman, one housekeeping item that i neglected to ask if my entire statement could be put in the record, and there's a short letter from the distinguished military officers i want in the record as well. >> without objection. >> senator cruz, look, i'm probably not the best arbiter of what is humane. you have people on this panel who spent a lot of their time dwelling on that. i focus on national security, but just as a human being, i will tell you that i think if you kill people, that typically is less humane than incarcerating them, letting them starve to death, is in my judgment, less humane than feeding them involuntarily if
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necessary, but this is not my specialty, and i would defer to others who may have a higher claim on knowledge in this area. >> and we get no actionable intelligence from someone killed by a drone. >> and that's where the national security piece comes in. for closing the option to detain and interrogate people is i would suggest as i'm sure senator feinstein knows, a real impediment to our ability to prosecute a war like the one thrust upon us with people who operate with a high regard for operational security. to the extent that we deny ourselves unilaterally this ability by putting them any place to have the interrogations i think is, well, i said it earlier, strong words, but i think it's a dereliction of duty. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i want to respond to the question about
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recidivism that senator cruz raised because it's a reasonable concern like it is in the criminal context as you heard, but the claim that 28% of guantanamo detainees have quote-on-quote rejoined the fight is misleading, and defense department officials said they are merely suspected of having some associations with terrorist groups and may have not engaged in any activities that threaten our national security, but that does not mean that all the prisoners are innocent farmers. i think we have to relate to what is the overall objectives. you know, a lot of people in guantanamo are precisely the targets that al-qaeda looks to, and some of them could cause harm if they are released, but
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that doesn't make them different from the hundreds of thousands of other angry young men in the muslim world who believe in the same cause, and there are, sadly, no shortage of potential suicide bombers. guantanamo does nothing to solve that problem. in fact, it probably makes it worse. >> okay. >> senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to ask a question of lieutenant friday, but in your past, did you serve as an intern in my san fransisco office, perchance? [laughter] >> proudly, ma'am. >> well, i'm very proud of you. [laughter] that's what i wanted to say. [laughter] isn't it true some of the 80 detainees not cleared for transfer, as you spoke, and can only be prosecuted in a federal criminal court because the charges of conspiracy in the material support of terrorism
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are no longer available in the military commission, e; -- is that not correct? >> that is correct, ma'am. >> so what we're saying is for those, if there is no al alternative prosecution in the federal court, they remain without charge or trial until the end of time? >> let me clarify, ma'am. materials and support for terrorism and conspiracy is a crime that can be charged in federal crime. it's not charged in military commission, but it is a charge that is available to the federal court. >> right, if you keep them in guantanamo, they cannot be trieded by a military commission; is that not correct? >> that is correct, ma'am. they cannot be tried p on the phone: so the only hope would be they would be transferred out into -- to be tried in a federal court? >> either that or go through a meaningful process like the pr visas set up where our country determines that at some point
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they are no longer a threat, in which case they could be trappings ferred if they meet the restrictions. >> let's talk. i believed from the days of colonel davis there that the military commission is an ineffective instrument. how many cases have they actually tried? >> six convictions. >> and explain what the six convictions are and who is still serving. >> so the six convictions were for the names are hicks, homdam, moore, and because i do not serve in those trials, i don't know all the details of each case. we know that homdam has been overturned by the dc circuit court for saying as i described in the testimony, the charge he was charged -- >> maybe i could give them.
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homdam got a five month sentence, sent back to his home in yemen to serve the time before being released in 2009. in october 2012, the dc circuit vacated the material support because the charge was not recognized as a violation of the international law of war. hicks was the first person convicted in a military commission when he entered into a plea agreement on material support on terrorism charges in march of 2007. he was begin a nine-month sentence which he mostly served back home in australia. al-cosi pled guilty to a military support, a 14-year sentence, but the time sentence handed down in february of 11 was two years pursuant to his plea agreement. he's returned to sudan at the
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conclusion of the sentence in july of 2012. nor pled guilty to conspiracy and material support, a judge delivered a 14-year sentence, but the sentence will be less than three years pursuant to his plea agreement. because of credit for time served, he could be eligible for release to sudan in december of this year. one last one, and there's a point. omar pled guilty in the military commission to murder, military support to terrorism, and spying. he was sentenced to eight years, but he was transferred to a canadian prison where he will serve out the remaining sentence and be eligible for parole after he serves a third of the sentence. now, there's a couple more here, and one of them is your client. here's my point. the sentences were very few and very low, essentially, from the
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military commission. i have sat here over the years and wondered what are we doing? why are we maintaining this farce of a military commission which really do you want work, and we've had different people down there trying to make it work, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has been successful. last month, when i was down there, i saw a brand new spanking courtroom with nothing scheduled to go forward, and it just seems to me that everything down there is so deceiving and is an untruth about the american way, the judicial system, about the treatment of prisoners. force feeding is not humanitarian, and yet it goes on and on and on. there's no end to the war yet that we know of, so unless the
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facility is closed, it will continue to go on. do you have any other comment yod like to make or general eaton? >> secretary -- senator, could i make a quick comment, if i a? >> sure. >> i think the question of whether it's going to go on and on goes back to the point i was trying to make earlier, that's not entirely up to us. the president's saying that it has to end is only possible if we surrender and submit, and specifically, this question of will there be more of this, you know, recruiting if we leave it open i think begs to question, compared to what? >> sir -- >> does it get worse if you have more of these jihadists inspired by our submission? that's what i'm concerned about, ma'am. >> i read the intelligence daily. i know what is happening. i also know that guantanamo
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contributes nothing positively. it contributes nothing that a federal prison could not do better. it contributes nothing that a federal court could not do better. >> but if we close it, that may contribute quite negatively is my concern. >> i profoundly disagree with you. >> understood respectfully. >> if sends a signal we learn something. i saw the people there. the doctor is right. these are not robust specimens any longer. it's a very different picture, i think, than people imagined. doctor, do you not agree? >> yes, ma'am. >> so -- >> look at the prisoners from israel, ma'am, how they are regarded, and how they inspire jihaddism. it is a similar phenomena. that's why i call it to your attention of the sharia underpinning of the war we are in. >> i hope you go take a look. in any event, i want to say,
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thank you, mr. chairman, i appreciate being here. >> thank you very much, senator feinstein. we have two house members who are, unfortunately, delayed by votes, and i never saw this happen in the senate before, this may bring the institution down if nothing else is. [laughter] i'm sure it won't having served in the house. we're honored to be here, and i hope you understand, and he graduated first in the class. i don't know how long you've been in congress? >> 30 months. >> thirty months. you can make a statement, and if the panel wouldn't mind staying for a few moments. speak for five minutes, and if there's further questions from senator cruz, myself, or senator
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feinstein. congressman smith. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i'm happy the senate would have us here, and we should do it more often as i'm sure others would agree. [laughter] i'm not here to organization that we should stop detaining and interrogating suspects or that we should even necessarily release any number of the suspects that are at guantanamo. these are difficult questions, and don't get me wrong, i have positions on that. i certainly think that the l 4 inmates designated for release is being acceptable risks should be released, but that is an entirely separate question from where we hold them, and the argument that i make is that guantanamo bay, you have to balance the costs and the benefits, and there is literally no benefit to keeping guantanamo bay open. all the argumentings heard about the necessity to detain and interrogate, the necessity to continue to fight the war, which i agree with completely, the,
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you know, the necessity to protect ourselves from an enemies, all of that can be accomplished by holding them within the united states, and it's just been stupefying to me that we are unaware of the facts that we already hold hundreds of terrorists in the united states' super max prisons like yousef, many notorious al-qaeda operatives. we continue to do that here in the u.s., safely, efficiently, and i might add very much more cost effectively. i mean, number one, the average cost of the inmate is estimated at, like, $1.5 million a year in guantanamo. now, there's transition costs to shut down guantanamo and open up here, but in the long run, no question that it's cheaper to hold them in the u.s. than it is in guantanamo. the question is what is the benefit of keeping that prison open? there's absolutely none.
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there's been arguments made about somehow more constitutional rights will apply if they come to the u.s. when the supreme court already ruled that guantanamo is treated like the u.s.. that's why they granted habeas under the people in guantanamo. there are no greater constitutional rights here in the u.s.. there's no benefit. what is the cost? the cost, i think, is, well, number one, the cost, the sheer amount of money we have to spend to maintain this facility, but understand how the international community looks at guantanamo. it was openedded in the first place as an effort to get around the united states' constitution. it was the hope that if we held them outside the territorial united states, we would not have to abide by the pesky constitutional values and rules we hold so dear in the country, and the world knows that. it is an international eyesore as a result. it turns out, as i said, the supreme court said, nice try, you are in control, and the constitution does apply.
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secretary gates, george w. bush, john mccain, hard core republicans who, i think, take a backseat to no one in prosecuting this war, have said that we need to close this prison because it is hurting us with our allies and is an inspiring our enemies. now, i'm not naive. i'm not going to tell you the only reason al-qaeda attacks us is because of guantanamo bay. far from it. it's a recruiting tool that, again, is wholly unnecessary, so what i proposed and proposed amendment on the house side is for an orderly way to close the prison. the president put out a plan, occasionally accused of not having one, but it's in the folder next to me, how to close guantanamo bay. again, it's not about recidivism. those are arguments you can have separate. this argument is not about whether or not we should hold them. it's about where we should hold them, and holding them in guantanamo bay hampers our efforts to successfully prosecute the war against
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al-qaeda. it continues to be a piece of evidence that our allies use to say, well, we don't want to cooperate with the u.s. because we don't like the way they implement their constitution. we don't like the way they treat prisoners. that hampers our ability to successfully prosecute this war, and the only argument out there is somehow we cannot safely hold the people in the u.s., and, again, i find that argument to be patently ridiculous because we are safely holding hundreds of terrorists, not to mention mass murderers, med files, and the most dangerous people in the world. if the united states of america is incapable of successfully holding a dangerous inmate, then we are all in a world of hurt, guantanamo or no guantanamo, and i hope we understand that. also, the notion that this will somehow inspire al-qaeda more, i hate to tell you, but al-qaeda is sufficiently inspired right now. they are doing everything they can to attack us, and i applaud the various efforts put forth to
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stop them, but the idea that instead of having 400 terrorist inmates, we have 48 # 4 in the u.s. is going to somehow massively increase the threat, it's just ridiculous on its face. there's no benefit. the cost is great. let's get around to closing guantanamo as soon as we can. >> thank you, congressman smith. >> thank you, chairman, ranking member, and it's an honor to be with you here today. i agree with mr. smith as far as al-qaeda is absolutely very much inspired. i was at guantanamo bay this past may, and i want to dispel facts up front about the situation on the ground. first, every american should be proud of the integrity shown by the u.s. military personnel caring for the detainees. their work is difficult, but they bring the highest honor and care with the work done there with members of the joint task force at gitmo. there's no human right violations occurring at guantanamo bay. there's no doubt they are held
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in conditions that may pass standards provided under the convention, and the safe and secure environment, they have more freedom of movement and activity than in a maximum u.s. security prison with access to gym, educational materials, top rate mental and dental care. they match the care received by the u.s. military personnel. the hunger strick there. it's a political stunt. ..
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about the constitutionality at the detention of guantanamo bay. let's talk about the policy concerns surrounding it. first of all, the current detainee's have been off the battlefield for some time yet to they may continue to provide valuable intelligence to u.s. intelligence collection. we shouldn't focus just on those who are here today. as i said we are still the engaged in the counterterrorism dollar around the globe that continue to need to have a secure location which still to detain the enemy combatants the intelligence collection and the
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enormous efforts to continue to identify, capture additional enemy combatants and in fact the feet our enemy to i just returned from a trip to afghanistan as well and i can assure you there are many folks there the options would either be to kill or to capture and we will serve our national security interest better if we were able to capture them. third-party countries as i heard the senator talk about we have a high recidivism rate whether it is 10% or 15% or as the studies show on quarter of the detainee's i can assure you that we would have american servicemen were killed as a result of releasing the detainees from guantanamo bay. just within the past week al qaeda conducted an attack on the two facilities in iraq releasing 500, some of whom were senior al qaeda warriors. the transfer to the third party is simply not a reasonable solution to keeping america safe. moreover, transfer to third party presents another risk,
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human-rights risk namely the nation to which we send those detainees will torture those folks. we cannot permit that. second-best, the other option is to bring them to the united states twice in the last 48 hours in the house of representatives members offered amendments to the defense appropriations bill. twice those bills have been defeated. the american people and the house of representatives understand that bringing these detainees back to the united states is not a workable solution. last i want to talk about the damage that's been done to the national security as a result of the administration policies and rhetoric surrounding guantanamo bay. after four years in office, the president continues to insist that we pursue a political goal and then leader figure out a way to meet the real mission. the president knows full well indeed he's spoken about it that model of those prisoners are in any way shape or form transferrable or returnable including the 9/11 five. no one believes they're going to come back and putting the president did he continues to use the rhetoric of guantanamo
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bay closure. you know, the president seems far more concern that the judgment of mollifying the grievances of al qaeda in defending against the danger the enemy combatants pos to the american people. by insisting on the catch and release counterterrorism strategy or eight hill counterterrorism strategy, the president continues to do great harm to america's national security interests. thank you for the time today. i yield back. >> senator whitehouse come to you have questions for the panel or questions? >> i have a question for the panel. just a moment of background on it. i grew up the son of a foreign service family and spent a certain amount of time in africa and southeast asia and was i felt the beneficiary will of the goodwill and good example that my country represented around the world. i never was able to articulate
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and very clearly until i heard president clinton, who was a master articulator say that the power of our example as americans has always been more important in the world than any example of our power. i recently ran across daniel webster's first bunker hill memorial from 1825 when he said the last hope of mankind therefore rest with us, meaning americans. it should be proclaimed that our example had become an argument against the experiment, the experiment being our experiment in democracy. he continued that popular liberty would be sounded throughout europe. so, i would like those of you
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that oversees react to those thoughts and explained where in the range of hard military power, soft economic power and diplomatic persuasion you think the example that america presents to the world stands in the assets we bring to bear to support and defend our interests around the country and around the world. >> senator, thank you very much. human rights first has stenciled on their role. a quote from of my favorite presidents dwight eisenhower whenever america hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of america. do we want america to be represented by a young man with an end for carving or to be
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represented a man that flow back with me from africa who had just built a very large industrial chicken farm in an african country? i will tell you that as a soldier i would far better want representation by a man who knows how to bring agricultural expertise than my sons and daughters with rifles overseas. so, we are far better served by our economic problems and diplomatic role less than by were extraordinarily fine military. thank you. >> senator, i'm not sure whether i qualify as one of your candidates for answering this, but if i may -- >> you're on the panel. you may. >> i think the idealism that you described and that the general just referred to is certainly commendable, and i think it's
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something that we should strive for. and it, it has to be tempered by a certain realism coming and that is when you are confronting people who are not moved by our example and may be affected by our power, i think you need to be able to bring both tabare. and in this case, i had a colloquy i think that you were out of the room with senator feinstein about this . to the extent that an enemy like the one we confront today actually proceeds weakness not as dissuasive or xm three or desirable, but as an inducement to violence against us. the dangers of making a miscalculation here, not because it is the way that we would like things to be, but because it is the way that our enemy proceeds and response to these things, submission is their goal. our submission is their goal and i will guarantee that they will
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proceed to the closure of gitmo as evidence of accomplishing that. >> i have to react to that because i have to disagree. george washington led armies that left bloody footprints in the snow of the valley forge with no certainty that their enterprise would succeed and pledging their lives and fortunes and secret honor would not put them at the end of a rope. yet they did not torture haitians. when they caught than they did not force feed them and you can go on and on through world war to the example of britain in the shadow of hitler's's mafias some -- natzism. partly because it was sent to
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labor. we are proud of the way they stood up against the nazi menace even before we got into the war when they stood alone and winston churchill was going to be a figure in history because of that. i think the fact over and over again they refused to use those techniques is also a measure of their strength. you can just as easily make the argument that we are strengthening al qaeda and our enemies by treating them as if they were more dangerous to nazi germany, more dangerous than the opponents of the american revolution and require us to veer away from standards of decency and conduct that have characterized the nation since its inception. >> senator whitehouse, are you finished? before we adjourn this meeting, i would think the panel and colleagues. i would like to ask you to note one particular thing. 15 years ago at this moment at
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3:40 p.m., two of the officers of the capitol police were shut down and killed in the capitol by a mad man with a gun. officer jacob chesnutt and the detective gibson. each year at the time when the senate and the house were in session and we have a moment of silence in their memory we would like to ask all of those intended to please join me if you can't stand for a moment of silence and memory. if there are no further
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questions i have a script to read. thanks again to my colleagues in the house joining us here today. there has been a great deal of interest in today's hearing. many organizations have been in the testimony including the brigadier general david irvine, 26 retired admirals and generals supporting the closure of guantanamo, the full list is going to be added in the record. amnesty international, the constitution project, the national religious campaign against torture, the center for victims and torture and air force captain and jackson, don wilder and my friend tom sullivan, the former u.s. attorney for the northern district of illinois. i would also like to note that 200 attorneys close friends of mine in chicago in the district of tom sullivan representing the detainees as well. degette extraordinary amounts of time and help bring justice to the situation.
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they also receive statements from family members and those detained in guantanamo bay. i want to thank the human rights organization reproved for their assistance in ensuring these individuals were allowed to share their perspective. without objection i would like to place the steegmans in the record, the hearing record is going to be open to accept additional statements. written questions will also be submitted by the close of business one week from today, no leader and we will ask them to respond promptly if they can. if there are no further comments from the panel or colleagues i want to think the witnesses for attending and my colleagues for participating. there is a difference of opinion obviously expressed today, and that is what the system of government is all about. that we would come together with differences of opinion in a peaceful gathering and debate the important policy relative to our values and our security. and i think that this subcommittee that has a responsibility to deal with issues involving the constitution, human rights and
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civil rights is a particular responsibility to raise even the controversy will issues on a regular basis. i'm sorry but it has been five years since we have had a hearing on guantanamo. i can guarantee you if it continues to be open there will be another hearing very soon. at this point the subcommittee stands adjourned. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] in a letter earlier this week the attorney general said the charges snowden visas do not carry the death penalty and that
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the u.s. will not seek the death penalty even if snowden were charged with additional death penalty crimes. the attorney general says the letter follows news reports and mr. snowden followed papers seeking temporary asylum in russia on the ground that would be returned to the united states. he would be tortured and would face the death penalty. >> on spending for next budget year they have one week of work left before their august recess and none of the dozen bills that make up federal spending have been passed. part of the problem lawmakers say is the house and senate have yet to agree to the budget outline when the spending is based. the spending was passed yesterday >> i would ask my friend of dirty leader does the gentleman expect we will go to conference at all on the budget? and i yield to my friend. >> mr. speaker, i think the gentleman for his tenacity as
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this is a weekly discussion between he and me. and i am delighted to say to the gentleman, mr. speaker, that it is something that we should commit ourselves to working out. but as the gentleman knows, the position of the majority is we don't want to enter into discussions that a prerequisite we have to raise taxes and the gentleman has made every week on this issue we believe strongly to fix the problem of overspending the reform the programs needed to address the unfunded liability. the gentleman is insistent the taxpayers need to be more of their hard-earned dollars in to washington that discussion perhaps is appropriate. entering the budget talks that we agree to raise taxes is not
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something i think the american people want this body to engage in and i yield back. the senate has voted to go into conference, they haven't voted to go into conference because the republican members of the united states senate won't vote to go to congress. there was nothing in that motion however the way was a prerequisite that the house agreed to anything, mr. speaker. nothing. now, my friend the majority leader, mr. speaker, said repeatedly that we have a pre-requisite. we have a difference of opinion. that is what democracy is about. there is no pre-requisite. there is no precondition. there is no condition preceding as we lawyers say to go into conference that you find number one the senate couldn't take us to agree. that is the conference is all about, mr. speaker. they are about coming together
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and understanding of there are differences. there would be no need for the conference if there were not differences to the treatment of the hunger strike at guantanamo compromises the core ethical values of our medical profession the ama has long endorsed the principle that every competent intervention. the world medical association and the international red cross have determined that for speeding through the use of restraints is not only an ethical violation that contravenes the, in article 3 of the geneva conventions. >> my concern is that let's just set aside the numbers that you might or might not feel you can safely pushout. there are a number, an unknown number but the president apparently said this 46 but you can never try. do you honestly feel the people behind me and the people who are
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states? >> this soldier, the fear be starting to keep guantanamo open is hard to understand. it brought to the u.s. incarceration or medical treatment the detainee's posed no threat to the national security. the 86 men who had been cleared for transfer should be transferred. for all of the war detainee's as we have done in every conflict
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the congressional joint economic committee heard testimony this week on how to fund the nation's infrastructure needs. witnesses discussed the role for the federal government in the effort to maintain and improve the nation's roads, bridges and utilities. the american society of civil engineers recently said the country needs infrastructure investments totaling $3.6 trillion by the year 2020. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] we call the hearing to order. we want to thank the affairs committee. this is a beautiful room and we hope to be back here. i really like it. we also want to thank our witnesses for being here to discuss the critical need to strengthen and improve our nation's infrastructure system. i'm going to introduce first hour distinguished panel of witnesses and then say a few words. we have the governor reindell, governor of pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011, and he previously served as two terms as the mayor of philadelphia. he was the co-founder and co-chair of building america's
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future which focuses on -- and he is the culture and co-founder of building america's future which focuses on the need for more significant investment in infrastructure in america. robert poole is the freedom trust transportation fellow and director of transportation policy at the region foundation. mr. poole has advised both democratic and republican administrations. we also have robert puentes the senior fellow with the brookings institute metropolitan policy program where he also directs the programs metropolitan infrastructure initiative. he is an expert on transportation and infrastructure urban planning, growth management, suburban issues and housing. chris edwards is the director of tax policy and studies at the cato institute. he's an expert on federal and state tax and budget issues. mr. edwards served as a senior economist with the joint economic committee. i think if we all look back at
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american history, we know how important infrastructure investment has been to this nation. we connect the east and west coast by rail and 1869 which ushered in the second industrial revolution. we began building the intrastate highway system in the 1950's. we did it with a democratic congress i would note and republican president. and we are now in a state of need for infrastructure to be i know that coming from the state of minnesota we are in the middle of a summer day actually with an anniversary coming up a few weeks from now. a bridge collapse in the middle of the state. as i said, that day a bridge shouldn't just fall down in the middle of america. elbridge six blocks from my house and drive my family over every single day. but that is what happened. as many of you know, we've rebuilt that bridge with the help of the federal government literally in a year to date i would just have the new transportation secretary, secretary fox out there on
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monday as one of his first visits. he also went to connecticut to see where the train derailment occurred just recently to the i think we all know that this aging infrastructure does not suit our country. it's not america. as we look at how to expand the economy so we become a country that makes and invents things and exports to the world again we are in the course of doing that but to do that, we need a transportation system that matches our needs and that means not just highways and bridges it also means rail in a state of the mississippi system that would transport the agricultural products and other products to bigot so what we are going to talk about today are the not just the problems coming and we know there are problems but it's also how we fix it. how to get the funding mechanism that is going to get the democratic republican support? we certainly need bipartisan solutions to get this done. the senate has been acting and the resource development act is a great example of that which
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was a combined work of senator boxer and senator better and many others in putting some of my colleagues today where we were able to come together and reach an agreement. the bill is in the house right now and i know they are working on it but with an example of a piece of our infrastructure certainly it did not get to the level that we need to get at the problems that we have. it was actually the idea for the hearing was congressman delaney i'm going to give him a few minutes here to speak and i will also notify colleague senator warner is here who was also been a leader in infrastructure and we thank him for being here as well. congressman delaney has some of my time and then we will turn over to senator coats. >> thank you fais chair klobuchar for organizing the hearing today on this important topic and i also want to thank all of the witnesses. for carving out the time to discuss this very important topic for the country and for all of the insights and expertise and commitments to this area.
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as the vice chair said, we are all aware of the infrastructure and challenges the country has. the american society of civil engineers estimates we have almost a 4 trillion-dollar infrastructure hold as a country. and this is a very significant challenge but also a very significant opportunity because if we can in fact put in place smart infrastructure policy and these nine prudent and efficient and effective ways of funding the infrastructure in this country, we not only have an opportunity to put the americans to work in the short term which would be a top priority of the congress but we also have an opportunity to improve long-term u.s. competitiveness and that is to some extent where the dimension of the infrastructure discussion is most important. as we think about competing in a world that is increasingly informed and shaped by globalization and technology making sure we have an adequate modern and forward-looking infrastructure that is done in a
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smart way that allows u.s. corporations to compete is one of our central command in my judgment our most important domestic economic prairies. because we compete successfully as a country we will never be able to create jobs that have a good standard of living. and infrastructure is central to the discussion. so very much looking forward to the panelists comments today not only on the needs we have as it relates to infrastructure but also talking about how we fund our infrastructure because i think that there is a rich support in the country investing in the infrastructure that there is significant debate and discussion about how we pay for that. if you look at what is going on in the world today, you see this very significant infrastructure need, which is typically the need that is provided by government, and yet we look around and federal budget, state budget, local governments are strained. succumbing thinking about creative ways to finance our infrastructure is fiscal the appropriate in light of the larger fiscal challenges we are
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facing as a country is also part of the challenge which is one of the reasons we have introduced the partnership to build america act which is a bipartisan bill in the house that invests in u.s. infrastructure and ties it to the tax incentives for the repatriation of overseas corporate earnings. so, with that i will get on with the hearing. >> senator coats? >> standing in for the congressman who couldn't be year it gives me an opportunity to make an opening statement, which i am going to ask unanimous consent to include in the record so we can get to the witnesses. let me make a couple of quick points here. ..
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>> could promote some stimulus into the economy; however, we also realize that we simply are not liquid. we have to borrow funds in order to accomplish this, and in doing so, we then just fuel more debt and more deficit which requires for interest payments, and when we put that together with the projected increase in entitlement spending with the retirement of the baby boom generation, we realize that that
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pot of money that falls into the discretionary category, that which we have authority over how to address and where to spend it and establish priorities, that continues to squeeze. in fact, projections are in ten years from now, 90% of our budget is eaten up through interest in mandatory spending. no matter how earnest we are and how committed we are to addressing a whole number of issues that fall in that discretionary category, not to mention health research, not to mention education, not to mention any number of things priority for members of congress, we have to understand the realities of the fiscal situation we are. just a comment relevant to the fact that we have to address this, this issue, if we're going to go forward with a number of the plans that have been proposed, which have some real significance.
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in my state of indiana, we've had to, under the previous governor, and carried on by this governor, we've had to turn by public-private partnerships. that's successful for us by leasing our toll road for a 75 year lease. we've been able to accomplish very significant improvements in the transportation infrastructure. these so-called p3s, public-private partnerships may be ways in which we work around some of the limitations that we have. i just might note just from entering into that in just one area through our toll road by the end of the year 2012 in indiana, we have completed 65 roadway projects, 19 others accelerated, and we've completed 375 line miles, and 48 reconstructed interchanges,530
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preservation lines, and replaced 720 bridges. this may point to a way in which we can address more immediately some of the infrastructure problems. i'm anxious to hear from the panel, madam chairman, as to their thoughts on this and anything else to bring to us. thank you very much for sharing the committee, and we look forward to the testimony of the witnesses. >> well, thank you very much, thank you for being brief, and i know that senator casey wanted to say a few words about the governor from his home state before we begin. >> governor, you'll be happy when you hear me say i'll put a longer statement in the record, but we've had a number of great governors in pennsylvania, one of them was any father, and i certainly put him in a certainly special category, but we have had very few in the history of the commonwealth that got as much done in four years and the
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second term for eight years. remarkably effective. governor, in addition to the focus on infrastructure and transportation and economic development, one part of his record, which would be an enduring legacy is education, especially investment in early learning paying dividends for several generations so we're honored he's here to talk today about infrastructure, but i'm grateful my friend is here to watch how the senate works in the hearings, and once in a while, we're all brief, and today will be one of those days. governor, there's a longer statement in the record. >> looked like senator warner wanted to add something as a fellow governor. >> i will add two quick points. one was i hope when senator coats mentioned that the governor was one of the first colonies that he didn't imply that he was one of the early con lonists as well. i -- >> i was thinking the same
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thing, but i didn't -- >> governor, that thought never crossed my mind. i would say that one of the things a number of us, and i really appreciate the chair holding this hearing is not only how we find that permanent source of funding, but how we also use tools, and this is what the governor works on, how to create a national level, something every other industrial nation in the world has and infrastructure financing, authority, that allows us to centralize the financing intellectual capacity to partner with wall street? a way where the public sector gets protected to be able to put in place long term debt and to be able to have some form of that government backstop again that every other nation uses as a tool, and my hope is we can find consensus around this tool. not a full solution set, but it is clearly a tool in the tool box, an i particularly thank the governor's work on that. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you very much,
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everyone. we're ready to begin with the testimony. governor? >> it's a pleasure to be here, madam chairman, senator coats, representative delaney, senator casey, and senator warner, and friends of the committee, thank you for holding the hearing. i go to too many hearings on the question of infrastructure and transportation, and nothing significant gets done, nothing significant gets done, that's different from what's going on in state capitals. it's different in the desires of the private sector. we want to get stuff done. we need the federal government to be a participant. congressman delaney outlined the civil engineers report done every five years. they found our infrastructure in general ranked at a d-plus. they found only three areas of improvement, and they were slight improvements, rail, roads, bridges. what do those three things have
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in common? over the last five years, states and the stimulus bill invested significant dollars in rail with the tiger program and improvements were made because of the investments. we can't be any clearer. in 2008, building america's future put out a report that was labeled "building -- "falling behind, falling apart" quoting the world economic forum ranking the infrastructures of the world. in 2005, we ranked first in the world for the state of our infrastructure. this year, we rank 14th. we were 18th this rail, 22nd in ports, and 32nd in air transport behind ma malaysia, panama, and many, many other countries. it's a question of economic competitive fns and survival. if we want to continue to be a
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first rate economic power and protect our public, if we want to improve the quality of life of our citizens and environment, if we want to create good well-paying jobs not to be outsourced, it is time to do something. it is time to do something. what's recommended? the american society of engineers, actually congressman delaney said 4 trillion, but over eight years, the unaccounted four dollars is 1.6 trillion. they want to invest over 200 billion dollars of additional money a year in our infrastructure. that's exactly the figure that daf in its report recommended, $200 billion additional spend over the next ten years. your own surface transportation reform commission that the congress sponsored reported in 2008 that just for transportation infrastructure, you needed to spend an additional 140 billion dollars a year, and the cbo in 2008 said
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that an additional 185 billion dollars annually spent on infrastructure, i have recommended that you read the report, would be justified by the economic and societal benefits it would bring to the united states of america. well, the good news is if you look at the figures, they are dawning, and, obviously, senator coats set the environment that you have to deal with. my first suggestion is deal with it and find ways to reduce spending and increase revenue to fund something that is essential to this country's competitiveness going forward. deal with it. if we're making all the spending cuts, increasing revenue, let's find a way to fund something that will invest in our future and do something for the country. you can't name me one american company growing successful that didn't invest in its own growth? we've got to invest. we've got to do it now. the good news is that you don't have to do it by yourself. that $200 billion figure does not all come from the federal
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government. it can come from the states. it can come from the private sector. private sector in the u.s. and private sector abroad in places like china and europe with tens of billions of dollars waiting to invest in the stable american infrastructure, so let's look at where we are. look at what the states have done. i'll read you just a quick synopsis of states who in two years passed revenue increases to deal with the infrastructure problems. senator coats, states have to have a balanced budget. they have more economic pressure than the federal government has. listen to this array of states because it's blue and it's red. it's republican legislators, democratic legislators, republican governors, democratic governors, maryland, wyoming, arizona, south carolina, massachusetts, texas, and oklahoma, and in pennsylvania and michigan, two of the biggest
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states in the country, governors have proposed, republican governors, proposed significant spending increases for transportation infrastructure. it's not blue or red. it's not republican and democrat. you know it's not republican and democrat, senator inhofe, arguably, the most conservative senators in the united states senate, said that infrastructure spending is the second most important thing we can do after defense spending. i testified before congressman schuester's first hearing in the house, and 50 of the 60 members were present, and every one of them spoke, all be it briefly, and almost every one of them pledged themselves to find a way to invest in infrastructure. there was tea party members, conservative republicans who said i'm a tea party member, but i believe we've got to spend money on infrastructure. i'm a conservative republican, but we have to find a way to invest in our infrastructure. well, we can find a way. there's no excuse for not doing it. the cost is high, senator coats.
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of course it's high. the figures are as no , ma'am call, but one thing that congress never computes is the cost of doing nothing. let me submit to you that the cost of doing nothing to the american economy and to the american consumer is greater than the cost of spending money even at the level that i recommended. the chamber -- the united states chamber of commerce, not exactly a radical leftist leaning organization, estimated that each year business loses $1 trillion, the gdp loses $1 trillion that would be produced by having a first rate transportation infrastructure. that's $1 trillion a year. think of what $10 trillion over the next ten years increase in the gdp would do for your debt problem. think about that. the texas transportation institute, again, not a leftist leaning organization, says that the average consumer pays $818 a
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year in additional fuel costs because of congestion on our roads. $818 a year. if you increase the federal gas tax by 20 cents a gallon, that would only cost the average consumer around $400. $818 to the average consumer, so you are not alone in this fight. we can fund this together. the beauty of tiger was the states competed, and an important part of tiger grantings was how much the states were willing to put up, asked for federal money for the project, and often there was private money, two of the most successful tiger programs went through pennsylvania and six other states. they were the national gateway and the crescent corridor. one for csx and one for norfolk southern to increase freight capacity in the eastern half of the country. the companies put up 40%, states
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put up 35%, and the federal government put up 25%, and because of that, the freight capacity in the eastern half of the country is infinitely improved, much more competitive because of that. you got states willing to do it. you've got the private sector willing to do it. you have the people willing to do it. in every federal election, every election that's held on even year since 2000, transportation referendums have been approved over 75% of the time with the exception of 2010, arguably the most conservative election in our history, or at least in recent history, and 61% of transportation referendums were approvedded even in 2010, and those referendums call for increased borrowing, increased towing, or increased taxes, and they were improvedded in blue and red states. in south carolina, two increases in the sales tax to fund
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transportation. one to rebuild the port of charleston because the red dents knew how important it was to the economy. we can do this. we recommend there's a number of specific steps. i'll run through them real quickly. number one, obviously, find a way to continue funding tiger. that competition for regional projects was -- had a sennationally beneficial effect. number two, find a way either through the program senator wyden proposed or bringing back building american bonds to aid the states in paying for their own investments in building their own infrastructure. the program was an incredible catalyst for infrastructure development in the stimulus. it was overlooked, but it was an incredible catalyst. to generate private sector involvement, we have to expand the program more than you did in map 21. that was a great step in the
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right direction, but we want to see it expanded more. secondly, we think that we should either raise or eliminate the cap on private activity bonds that would generate a significant level of private investment. third, we've got to let the states toll interstates. in map 21, you allow states to toll interstates for additional capacity, but you didn't allow us to toll interstates for existing roads. if we're going to get the private sector involved, they need a republican return on their investments, and to do that, if we're going to maintain i-80 in pennsylvania, senator casey's well aware of it, i applied to the transportation department for the authority to toll i-80. right now, only three pilot projects can be granted for tolling the previously accredited federal highways. i-80 cost us $2 # 00 million a year to maintain, $200 million a year just to maintain. it goes through the northern
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part of pennsylvania which gets terrible weather. we got turned down. we are turned down. we were turned down because the theory was, well, why pay for it twice? the federal government paid to build the road, why pay to maintain it? that's like telling somebody you paid to buy a car, but you don't have to pay to maintain the car. it makes absolutely no sense. the restriction on towing federal highways should be lifted in the next transportation bill, and last, but not least, we have to create a national infrastructure bank as a catalyst for leveraging private investment as it does in the very successful european infrastructure bank. senator warner has a bill soon to be introduced. conk delaney has a bill. they are good bills in concept. it's very important we get this bank moving, funded with just a little bit of funding to catalyst the efforts of the infrastructure bank.
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it can be enormously successful as the european infrastructure bank has been. the european infrastructure bank generates over $350 billion of investment in the e.u.'s transportation system, and not just transportation, but infrastructure systems, and we can do the same. i want to close by harkening back to what senator klobuchar said in the opening. eighty years ago, the bill was signed by roosevelt and passed by congress. that bill led to the building of the triburrough bridge, the oversee highway bridge that linked key west to florida, it sparked 34,000 transportation and infrastructure projects in the united states of america. six billion spent equivalent to 106 billion today and did
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wonders for the country. we have a can-do state and harkens back to the challenges and met them by investing in our future, we can create millions, literally 4 million new well paying jobs that can't be outsourced at the 200 million level of investment, create millions of jobs, improve public safety, improve the quality of life, reduce the cost of doing nothing for the citizens, and return america to economic greatness. there's no excuses. time to do it is now. simpson-bowles recommended doing something in the midst of the debt restructuring. we can do that. we're americans. we've done it in the past. we can do it again. >> thank you very much, governor. mr. poole, remaining witnesses keep it to five minutes because we have a lot of people to ask questions, and thank you, governor, for that great statement. >> thank you. i appreciate being asked to speak today.
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my testimony, like the governor's, is limited to transportation infrastructure because that's my primary area of expertise. our transportation infrastructure is falling behind our global competitors in serious ways. part of the rfn is that our competitors make much greater use of long term public-private partnerships for infrastructure. today, nearly half of the passengers, air passengers in europe are being served by private airports, and that trend began in 1987. we have one private airport, san juan international, and that was just this year. fifty countries corporatetized their air traffic control system giving them a revenue stream to make major capital investments while our attempts to implement next gen through the faa are struggling, held hostage to federal budget problems. in highways, much of europe, australia, latin america, and even china are using long term toll concessions to build their equivalent of our interstate
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highways. we have to modernize ours, and we don't have the money to do it. large majority of the world sea ports are investor owned outright or the land-port model in which the private sector builds and operates the terminallings. inland waterways our government owns, but some charge tolls including the panama canal which has issued toll revenue bonds to finance the $5 billion expansion that's going on. meanwhile, our tax funded waterways are plagued with obsolete and undersized facilities. now, there's now a global infrastructure industry in transportation that can finance, build, operate, and maintain airports, highways, sea ports, ect., but none of the major players are u.s. companies. we are missing out on in entire industry as a participant, and of the 300 billion dollars that's been raised over the past decade in infrastructure, equity investment funds, while 30% of the money has come from u.s.
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investors, most of that money is being spent overseas because that's where the pp opportunities are. why does this matter? what are other countries getting by enabling a large use of long term ppp's in infrastructure? i see four major benefits. first, as the governor said, obviously, investments which we need, an important benefit, but more important is more productive investments because ppp projects, in order to be able to get financing, has to meet a market test, they have to demonstrate that the brojt benefits exceed the cost and likely reduce return on investments. that's a very important additional benefit. third, we can shift significant risks of infrastructure megaprojects from taxpayers to investors for risks of cost overruns, risk of late completion of the project, and risks of overoptimistic traffic and revenue projection. fourth, get guaranteed
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maintenance of the projects done by means of long term ppp's because the same entity that builds it does not walk away, but responsible for maintaining it for a long period of time, as a business, competing for customers. now, i think it's time, really, to take a hard look at rethinking the 20th century model the federal government used for infrastructure, which is user taxes, trust funds, and grants. it's not working very well. first of all, user taxes are seen just as taxes, and any increase, even though it goes for productive uses is seen as a tax increase and, therefore, hard to get support for. the model built in a large amount of redistribution and cross subsidy, not only an addition, but creates disaffection like people believing the program is about bridges to nowhere in alaska. congress created unfunded mandates that mean using federal dollars increases the cost that states bear to build the projects, and the model encourages states to fund projects out of annual revenues
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rather than financing them over the long term. as all investor owned infrastructure does, electric, utilities, railroads, toll roads, and so forth. the thrust of the written testimony is it's really time to rethink the federal policy for the 21st century in light of the government's ongoing stress. first, we have to sort out which functions are truly federal, refocus the federal government on that, and delegate the rest to stay in the local governments where the need really is. second, shift from funding to financing meaning federal policy has to shift much more from grants to loans, and on a basis preferably that does not put federal taxpayers as risk, and a good example of what i like is representative delaney's infrastructure fund not putting taxpayers at risk. third, enable states to take on a large share the responsibility by removing tax and regulatory
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obstacles to inability them to make use of ppp's. i suggested in the written testimony how it plays out for different modes of transportation. there's a near term list of tax and regulatory changes that could begin the transition and list of organizational changes like corporatization of the air traffic control system along the lines of a successful net canada and enabling the army corp. of engineers to replace obsolete locks and bans financed discretionary poll revenues paid by those using the new facilities. it's ambitious. i'll wrap up saying two points. one, infrastructure is critically important to our economy. we need to do a much better job of funding and managing it, and the ppp approach can make a big difference in this. the other is that begin the fiscal condition of the federal government, the 20th century user tax trust fund federal grant money is unsustainable, and i think we really need to think hard about that. that's the end of my testimony, and i'd be happy to answer
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questions when we get to them. >> thank you. mr. p ors -- puente. >> thank you, i appreciate the opportunity to talk about this important topic. the governor and members laid out the need and made the case why we need to invest in infrastructure. my remarks focus on the ways the federal government can engage in new partnerships with the private actors and public sector to invest in infrastructure and by so doing putting americans back to work and rebalancing the economy. private firms and foreign firms have growing opportunities for a fresh set of focused federal initiatives to support pragmatic public and private sector leaders in states, cities, and metropolitan areas as they collaborate on infrastructure investments. for example, congress should revive the build america program to support state and local investments. established in 2009, there's bonds for the direct federal
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subsidy that decreases costs and stabilizing the useful bond market. they improved popular as the governor noted. in the short expense ens, there was long term debt issues in every state, and a variety of infrastructure including educational facilities, and most notably, water and sue we -- sewer projects. it makes the program neutral relative to the future federal tax expenditure. since states and municipalities don't meet the same aggressive subsidy sigh discretionaries after the financial crisis, the lower rate is appropriate for today's needs. next, while bonds are geared towards infrastructure projects with the public benefit, bonds are directed at projectses that premarely benefit private entities and serve a public purpose like airports. pabs are issued by state and local governments with projects with more than 10% of the
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proceeds benefit a nongovernmental entity and drengtly or indirectly paid back by a private business. however, not exempt from the minimum tax limits ability to attract investors over time. based on the taxation can cost government 49 million annually over five years. this generates dollars in the economic activity aiming lead to savings of 750 until for airports alone over the next ten years. however, we know that public-private partnerships are arrangements that vary widely from project to project and from place to place. as challenges develop throughout the u.s. are complex, there's a concern that public entities in states, cities, and metro areas are ill-equipped to protect the deals and fully protect the interest. one solution is the creation of a specialized entity to exist with the expanding
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opportunities. the ppp units have a variety of functions like control, coordination, advice, and standardization. these are voluntary and costs no more than that $3 million annually. another way to provide technology assistance and expertise that cannot develop capacities to deal with the projects themselves is through the creation of a national infrastructure bank. if designed and implemented appropriately, an infrastructure bank has the potential to leverage billions of dollars in investment as mentioned, provide a streamline process and apply rigorous standard for critical investments. a one-time repatriotization tax holiday can be used to unlock capital and finance creation of the national infrastructure bank. today, american corporations hold over $1.5 frl in untaxed deferred diff tend payments overseas. while a similar holiday creates the 2004 american jobs creation act failed to generate domestic
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estimate los, a targeted program focused on infrastructure has the potential to deliver job creating and economy building projects for decades to come. directing the taxes into the infrastructure bank or else compelling corporations to invest a portion of the funds into a special class of bonds to support the institution, they encourage investment here in the time of political gridlock. depending on the specific goals for the infrastructure bank, capitalizing can occur in the flexible manner as well with levels ranging from 10-50 billion dollars. of course, there's real costs and hazards associated with any program; however, policym


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