Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 19, 2013 7:00am-9:01am EST

7:00 am
are in place, workplace protection and when you are thinking about that, senator ayotte and our colleagues that the beating a spending plan for federal government for the fiscal year, does a number of things. there are three things to do for deficit reduction that makes it simple, entitlement reform saves the program, doesn't settle poor people, tax reform that uses, eliminates tax expenditures, we have a lot of them, some of which met their% they need to be retired or modified but revenue that we generate to reduce corporate tax rate and use of revenue for deficit reduction, look at everything we do and get better results for less money for everything we do. those are three things i continued to harp on but one of
7:01 am
the things we do with the budget resolution, on the bus appropriation bill, separate appropriation bills that follow, sequestration across the board cuts to allow agencies, departments, to allocate their resources. hopefully that will enable us to look at risks, areas of risk, put more money there and areas of risks put less money there but in terms of what we can do to help you do your work better, give us one good idea. >> i will start. having answered my question, you had given my response and it is recognizing that this country there are a number of risks that we face. is a large country and part of the conversation we have to have, the department of homeland security administration and lawmakers and american public is
7:02 am
we can't mitigate every threat so it is understanding those that have the most significant consequences and ensuring we are having a conversation, mitigating them, personnel to go about doing that so having the conversation that we have today over the course of time, what is critical, you have already taken steps by moving away from sequestration, that will be helpful to us as well but i think recognizing that we have to manage risk and we can't prevent every incident. as long as we are adapting. >> federal protective services -- >> be very brief. >> in a unique position, we have to weave our way through state, local, federal, civilian
7:03 am
contractor environments and we do that with a very small force. your help in helping us to in your support helping us to move through, navigate through those areas is critical, quite frankly because we are trying to look out and predict, if you will, what is coming down the road to keep our people save and we need the support of folks like yourself and this committee to help us to work through some of these challenges. >> as quickly as possible please. >> we believe that continuing to evaluate those employees who have access to classified information or facilities is critical and we need to have resources to be able to conduct those evaluations and have access to records that are
7:04 am
sometimes publicly available, sometimes not available in order to do those evaluations and general support for that approach to doing business is essentials. >> before you arrived, i with saying to senator heitkamp we are fortunate to have four attorneys general on this committee and a great deal of expertise in this particular area so welcome. >> i think the witnesses for being here. i wanted to follow up with you, mr. lewis and ask you how other dod policies might affect the security clearances at facilities, and those who can gain access to them in particular as the thought of any dod regulations that need to be reviewed or revised. for example the current discharge regulations and how they are implemented.
7:05 am
as i understand it in the case of mr. alexis had he been dishonorably discharged that would have raised a flag and that would have gone directly to hold the security clearance. could you help me understand in light of this case is this something we need to think about? one of the things i am wondering about as well is the breakdown with the reach out, obviously that was beyond but is there anything we need to do on the mental health end looking back on this and i understand that 2020, when you look back at something you can see things that you didn't see at the time. what i'm trying to understand is anything we need to look at internally on those two issues from the dod perspective or anything we do to serve on the armed services committee working jointly, the committee's we
7:06 am
should be doing. >> i do not believe there are issues with how the discharges occur. not to get into specifics but generally, based on what was known at the time of the discharge, it was not considered to be an unusual determination to an honorable discharge in that particular case but the larger issue is how do we collect, identify and collect relevant information that allows us to constantly adjust our perspective about cleared individuals and individuals interested positions and that is the challenge. i hate to keep blowing the same horn but continuous evaluation process not just collecting information but having staff
7:07 am
available to evaluate the information and take action on that information, to me that is the real issue here. >> i appreciate it. senator collins, senator heitkamp and i have one where there would be random checks that are important as well after you receive your security clearance, a pretty lanky period on which there is a review and unless there's a reason something is flat to. i wanted to ask also mr. lewis, what steps have we taken, and will get this whole situation with what is happening, implementing, and to weaken
7:08 am
legislate, understand what steps you are taking in positive action. >> the federal protective service looking closely with federal partner is to look at again processes and procedures for folks going into federal buildings but also looking at the communications process as well as to one of the challenges, the fact that so many of responding agencies, the level of communication and how you'd do that, we are looking aggressively at how we do that, not just in the washington d.c. area but across the united states because in a crisis situation communications become critical, and as such good timely communication is essential to a positive result. we are looking in a variety of
7:09 am
areas and taking questions as they come about from the navy yard as to how to improve processes across the spectrum and the federal protective services. >> i also wanted to ask you, mr. patterson. is it accurate to say -- general patterson, that at p.s. doesn't use risk assessment consistent with the interagency security committee standards? trying to understand where we are with this. i know there was also a report that the interim facility assessment tool wasn't consistent with this assessment standard, it excludes consequence from assessment and i want to understand if there is a difference, why is it there? is it something we should be more uniformly putting in place or is there a reason for it? >> there's a reason.
7:10 am
we have just built what we call modified infrastructure survey tool and thad particular tool was developed -- within the department, who had developed a tool over a period of 6 or 7 years and we fought this was the full we could modify because it brought what we believe all the areas of the requirements to bear. what we look at with our full is specifically vulnerability. look at the vulnerability of a facility. separate from the vulnerability peace we all said to threat assessment. we connect with the joint terrorism task force, local law enforcement, any number of agencies out there to get blood we believe, very in-depth comprehensive perspective on the threat we also provide our
7:11 am
federal partner. the peace that is not part of the process is the consequence and we haven't figured out how to do that in the federal facility. >> what does that mean? >> we are working to better define what is it when you are asking for consequent in the federal sector what is it you are looking for? we know that when we help a federal partner to begin to pull together and understand the emergency occupancy plans, we help them to understand and go to the consequence peace and when looking at establishing federal security level we are also looking at the consequence peace. we haven't figured out how to incorporate that in an algorithm method that will allow us to
7:12 am
provide reasonable and rational meeting to consequence a lead facility. we are fairly certain folks like irs and social security and others have stepped through the consequences of losing a facility and if there was the event something happens to the facility we haven't figured out how to incorporate that into a full. we are working to figure that out. >> i appreciate your answer and i want to thank all of the. we look forward to working with you on this important issue. >> i am going to excuse this panel of witnesses. thanks for being here. i would say for work from here, just keep in mind all those people, hundreds of families who lost loved ones in oklahoma city
7:13 am
keep in mind at fort hood, those who lost their loved ones, keep in mind if you will the families of the 12 men and women who died at the washington navy yard and think of them, celebrate christmas or some other way, the family's sitting around the christmas tree, dining room table, there's somebody missing. we need to do our best everyday to ensure those empty chairs, people that are not around because of a tragedy like the one i just mentioned, keep their families in mind, and going forward this is not just about process, complying with recommendations, it is about saving people's lives and making sure they can share their life
7:14 am
with their families. take that with you, thank you. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
7:15 am
>> the second and final panel, welcome. glad you could join us. very briefly introduce you and welcome your statements and ask some questions. first witness is mark goldstein, director of physical infrastructure for the united states government accountability office, and audit arm of the united states congress, we are grateful for the work you and your colleagues do, in the area of government property, critical infrastructure and telecommunications. at the request of this committee and other congressional committees g a. o conducted 12 reviews of federal facility securities and federal protective service became part of the department of homeland
7:16 am
security in 2003, reporting oversight of contract cards, facility reassessment, cooperation with local law enforcement, planning and budgeting for security challenges tampering protection of federal agencies. witnesses advocates emphasis on the first syllable, stephen amitay, director of the national association of security companies. mr. amitay has worked with congress on federal agencies and government accountability focusing on legislation and other issues related to issues since 2006. final witness, david wright, of bent national program director union, the american federation of government employees. he has served in his present capacity since 2006. he is a 27 year veteran of federal protective services and
7:17 am
served as inspector, performed myriad responsibilities necessary to that decision from responding to crimes to overseeing contract cards to security assessments, mr. wright brings a wealth of experience before this committee, to find solutions that face the federal protective services. we thank you for that and welcome you, your prepared statement for five minute and the entire statement will be made part of the record. thank you for joining us. let me ask a question. were you here for the first panel? good, that is great. thanks for staying. you are recognized, mr. goldstein. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify. the federal protective service and protection of federal buildings. as part of the department of homeland security federal protective service responsible
7:18 am
for protecting federal employees and visitors, 9,600 federal facilities under the control and custody of the general services administration. the federal facilities demonstrate continued vulnerability to a tax or other acts of violence. facility and security assessments, approximately 13,500 contract security guards deployed to federal facilities. my testimony discusses challenges interest in sharing contract guards who are deployed to federal facilities and properly trained and conducting risk assessments at federal facilities. it is based on g a o's work from 2008-2013 on contractors assessments and programs and preliminary results of ongoing work to determine the extent to federal agency facility risk assessment methodology is aligned with federal risk assessment standards. our findings are as follows. of ps faces a challenges,
7:19 am
properly trained and certified, deployed to federal facilities around the country. in our september of 2013 report, providing active shooter response and screener training, and according to guard companies, they have not received training on how to respond during incidents involving an active shooter. without insuring all guards receive training in federal facilities. and prepared for this threat. similarly an official from a contract guard company stated 133, 38% of its 350 guards have never received screener training. as a result guards deployed to federal facilities may be using x-ray or magnetometer equipment but not qualified to use which raises questions about their ability to screen access and control their facilities. one of their primary
7:20 am
responsibilities. gee ao was unable to determine the extent to which the guards received active shooter response and screener training in part because of ps lacks a comprehensive and reliable system for guard oversight. f prius agreed with the a o's recommendations that they take steps to identify god that require training and provided to them. and continues to lack of effective management control to ensure it's god's met training and certification requirements for instance although it agreed with our 2012 recommendation of a comprehensive and reliable managing information on guard training and certification and qualifications it does not have such a system. fps continues to face challenges assessing risks at federal facilities. amitay reported fps in a manner consistent with federal standards. gao's work and risk assessments and federal facilities indicated is unchallenged for fps and
7:21 am
other federal facilities. federal standards like national infrastructure protection plan, risk-management framework, and provisions state risk assessments should include fred fulmer ability and consequence assessments. recess until decisionsmakers identify and evaluate security risks and implement measures to mitigate that risk. instead of conducting risk assessments, interim vulnerability assessment tool referred to as modified infrastructure survey tool to assess federal facilities that develop longer-term solution. but it does not assess the consequence, the level duration of nature potential loss resulting from an undesirable event. reassessment efforts, a tool that does not make consequence does not allow an agency to fully assess its risks. xp as has eliminated knowledge of risks at 9,600 federal
7:22 am
facilities around the country and officials stated they did not include consequence information because it was not part of the design. gao will issue a report on this issue early next year. in response to our recent report, they have agreed with recommendations in the 2012-2013 report on sp is contract guards and risk assessment processes. that concludes the opening statement and i will answer any questions you may have. >> my name is steven amitay from the national security companies. this is the nation's largest security trade association whose member companies employ 300,000 security officers across the nation servicing commercial and governmental clients including numerous federal agencies. and works with legislators and officials at every level of
7:23 am
government to put higher standards and requirements for security companies and private security officers. of most relevance to today's hearing since 2007 kahan nasca has worked on legislation related to the federal protective services protective security officer program, the contract guard program and also worked with the federal interagency security committee on its 2013 best practices for armed security officers in federal facilities. not including military services there are 35,000 contracts security officers across the federal government. and cost-efficient countermeasures reduce risk and mitigate threats to federal facilities. to further ensure security at federal facilities at p.s. and security contractors need to work together to address issues and challenges with the program
7:24 am
gao has identified over the past several years. improvements need to be made to other elements to the risk assessment to the threat mitigation for federal facilities. these elements are governed by standards, but as we learned earlier today, and federal facilities. when critical element in this process is the decision to implement specific security countermeasures for its facility. sp s is responsible for conducting security assessments and recommending countermeasures but mr. chairman commack as you noted in opening remarks, the implementation of those recommendations or put another way the decision to mitigate risk or accept risk is solely up to the facility's security committee or the f s c which is made up of representatives from
7:25 am
other agencies. can add agent representatives generally do not have any security knowledge or experience but are expected to make security decisions for respective agencies comment and this is something security contractors have witnessed firsthand. it calls into question whether f s cs are making informed decisions regarding mitigation or acceptance of risk. tie in the budget have put pressure on agencies that accept more risk. in the end counter measures deemed necessary for security should not be rejected because of lack of understanding or an unwillingness to provide funding. this requires training for fmc members and dhs being able to challenge noncompliance with iec standards or decision not to implement countermeasures' lose these provisions were in legislation passed last congress by this committee. as to addressing the issues that
7:26 am
g a o identified and other measures, the pace must not be as fast as gao and security contractors would like nevertheless the commitment to improving the program is questionable and there have been substantial progress made. since the appointment of director patterson the degree of dialogue and breadth of cooperation with security contractors has been unparalleled. contractors were working on a host of initiatives for the program. for the lack of resources to provide critical x-ray and magnetometer training, at p.s. is about to launch a pilot program developed with nasca to train and certify contractors' instructors to provide this important training. active shooter training for ps ofs looking at what other agencies and doing in this area
7:27 am
and seeking input from security contractors and working to revise and standardize the training lesson plans and require security contractor instructors be certified for all areas of ps the training and revision of the security guard information manual. the s g i n governs and instruct p s os how to act and not following it is considered a contract violation. format of this new version will also allow making revisions as needed. one area that needs further review our instructions related to p.s. 0's ability to act and potential for acting in extreme situations like active shooters. as provided to contract security officers, some other federal agencies congress might consider providing statutory authority to authorize ps ofs to make arrests on federal property. xp s is working to improve
7:28 am
management of training and certification data. for the latter effort, nasca recommends fps explore commercially available technologies. in conclusion much still needs to be done to address the program issues raised by gao but fps has come a long way with contract security force. nasca looks forward to working with congress to improve security at federal facilities. >> thank you. ayotte, you are now recognized. make sure your microphone is on please because we want to hear every word. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify at this important hearing. i am the president of american federation of government employees local 918 which represents federal protective service officers nationwide. i am also inspector with fps. we are committed to critical homeland security mission of
7:29 am
securing the federal buildings but there are important issues that require resolution. federal employees at facilities are extremely vulnerable to criminal and terrorist threats. i want to assure you my fellow fps law enforcement officers are trained, equipped and competent at responding to active shooter attacks and i am appalled that bureaucracy and inefficiency restricted our law enforcement officers whose office is less than the one mile from navy yard from assisting with the pursuit of the active shooter. it is because the navy does not pay security fees to the fps. congressional review of federal properties must be viewed in the context of leadership required to accomplish the mission which to say the least remains unfocused if not broken at all levels. physical security plays an important role in protection of all occupants of federal
7:30 am
buildings but the frustrating inefficient and outright wasteful bureaucratic system of implementing physical security countermeasures through a flawed facility security assessment process and implementation by facility security committees who have to divert their mission funding is i can the and not true security. .. >> it was tested by both general services administration and
7:31 am
officials at the federal protective service. i think that would be a good start to remedying our assessment problems. use of private contract security guards at major federal facilities is a risk as they are basically limited to the arrest powers of a citizen. the proactive law enforcement patrol and weapons screening at this building is accomplished by federal police officers who have the lawful authority to respond to active shooters. how can we demand less to federal buildings with thousands of occupants? how well are the 740 or so boots on the ground officers and agents doing our critical -- doing it -- providing the critical law enforcement protection of federal buildings? overall, quite well given the dynamic mission, the headquarters staff with very little field experience and inadequate field staff. how's management doing? not so well.
7:32 am
can we do better? absolutely. any organization is in trouble when leaders are not held accountable. a recent office of special counsel public file disclosure reveals that a regional director violated rules when he arranged to buy a system from his neighbor on behalf of the goth. the punishment of a three-day suspension is the opposite of accountability. i've been told that there are other instances of misconduct by equal and even higher ranking officials. after accountability is established, performance across the board can improve with focused professional, and ethical management that builds on best practices in the regions. give our inspectors and police officers adequate staff, tools that work and direction on priorities, and we'll make sure the job is done. in conclusion, federal employees and the public they serve deserve the best and most effective protect they can
7:33 am
provide -- protection they can provide. they're not getting it done. once again, i thank you for this opportunity, and i'm available for questions. >> great. whether wright, thanks very much for your service. i'm going to yield to senator ayotte for the first questions on this panel. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, i really appreciate that. i wanted to ask mr. goldstein if particularly on the gao reports and what you have found, it really troubles me when we with think about that there's no comprehensive i believe you described as a strategy or oversight model and then the fact that we're not sure how many people are receiving, there's certainly a category that aren't receiving active duty, excuse me, active shooter training and/or screener training. how can we from the gao perspective, what is your recommendation in the terms of from the policy perspective how
7:34 am
we can move this as quickly as possible to address this problem? >> thank you, senator. we've been very concerned that with respect to both active shooter training and training on magna tommer thes that fps has not tone a good enough job in insuring its contract guard work force is able to get that training. one of the problems with the active shooter training which i think people don't understand here though is, it's only a very small part of just one part of the training they receive anyhow. it's -- they get what's called special, it's a kind of a special training of two hours which covers special events of various kinds that might occur in a building. so out of the 120 hours of training that they receive overall, only two hours go to special events, and only a fraction of that two hours actually covers active shooter training. so i think it's important to recognize that for all intents and purposes contract guards are
7:35 am
not really getting active shooter training for the most part. we are concerned they don't have enough training in this area. when gao did the penetration testing of a number of federal buildings in 2009 and penetrated all ten buildings that we tried to get into in a variety of different cities with bomb-making materials, we found at that time that guards did not have the requisite training to be at post. and we find now, several years later, that many guards still do not have that -- >> and these are the contract guards, correct? >> we, ma'am. -- yes, ma'am. >> so let me ask mr. wright, how does with respect to the agencies that can pay the fee, how does your training differ? how'd the training of the individuals that i understand would work, um, and maybe i have this wrong, but would work at the federal protective service union, you know, when we're looking at this training issue, do you know how the training
7:36 am
differs? >> as federal law enforcement officers, we complete our training at the federal law enforcement training center -- >> so you would go through the same training as any federal law enforcement officer. >> yes. >> okay. >> and there is a slight difference. we're talking contract guards. they are stationary at their post whereas our federal protective service inspectors and police officers are mobile. >> and if you were to the point of your testimony, if you were to provide the services, for example, at the navy yard that the federal protective service -- just so i understand -- would you do more of a roaming capacity is what you're saying? you wouldn't do the person who stands -- because the capitol police officers here, they actually stand at the magna tommer the when we walk through, and i'm just trying to understand what this would look like. >> that's the model that i would look for, the model that works
7:37 am
here and at the capitol buildings, that you would have federal officers begin their careers at the x-rays before they promote up and gain seniority and go out into the field. >> and i want to understand, is there other agencies that with regard to this training issue on the fps contracting issue, is this something that we've got -- we're facing beyond the navy yard? i assume that the contracting issue in terms of the training issue goes well beyond the navy yard facility. is that true, mr. goldstein? >> the work we've done here really focuses on fps, so i can't comment more broadly. we haven't looked at contract guard situations and what training -- >> so it would really just be focused here on the navy yard. >> right. but we have found that the kind of training overall that fps gives its contract guards, that similar training is given by doe, by nasa, by the pentagon
7:38 am
force protection, state, kennedy center. so most -- they are in line generally with the kinds of training that you would give to a contract guard at a federal facility. the problem is implementing it. that's where we seem to see the falloff as insuring that the guards are actually getting -- >> there's basically no accountability. in other words, we can check off the training box, but no one is saying this person actually has done it, that this -- we're tracking them. i mean, basically for in a law enforcement setting you have to do a certain amount of training that you have to complete every year, and that's part of being in that position. is that -- that isn't happening with this. >> well, excuse me. as mr. coburn has, you know, senator coburn noted, those are contract requirements, to have your protective security officers have required training and certifications. and that would be a contract violation. so, you know -- >> so we're actually entering contracts with where we -- where we don't have them required to
7:39 am
train on screening? >> the requirements are in the contract. with the x-ray and mag tommer the training, of the 132 hours of required training for fps protective officers, contract guards, 16 hours are provided by fps. and fps' inability for their personnel to be able to provide that training is an issue that the gao has noted. but that is not a party of the security contractors not providing the training that they're required to provide. >> so we're not providing the training for the security contractors, but we're also -- we should be reviewing these contracts to make sure we're proper hi prioritizing what type of agreement we're brokering in terms of the requirements for background and training, shouldn't we? >> we. and a couple of issues. one as mr. amitay says correctly, the federal protective service is not providing the training they are
7:40 am
bl gated to provide under the contract. >> right. >> on the other hand, fps is also not gaining the assurance that it needs that the contract guard companies themselves are providing the training that they are obligated to provide. they're not doing enough of the checks and the certification -- >> and who's watching all this? i mean -- >> gao. >> but, i mean, you're watching it, but who within the chain of command, meaning the management of this, is making sure that it gets donesome. >> there's -- each region is supposed to go through a process to assure themselves and do checks and do audits. some regions have not done it, some regions have not done it in a random fashion at all where they could really gain assurance, some have done i. when we've gone in behind them and looked at what they've done, not only did we find our own breaches in cases of guards standing posts without the right qualifications, we also found significant disparities between our review and do review -- and the review that fps had done as
7:41 am
well. >> i think some of those disparities are disparities in the documentation, per se. and i think there are instances where the guards have received required training, they do have the required certifications, but there are issues with the documentation. for instance, with certain medical requirements some statements of work require a licensed physician to sign off on those medical requirements. on others it could be a nurse practice decisioner the. and gao might come in and looking at what the current requirements are for licensed physician and see that, oh, this pso it was signed off by a nurse practitioner, therefore, that's in violation. >> well, i know my time is up, but what we're talking about here, though, is the documentation on the training for the, i assume, the most important focus here, the screening and active shooter training. >> it was a wide variety of issues. we found not just the magna
7:42 am
tommer the and the active shooter training, but we found 23% of files we reviewed conned taped no documentation in a variety of areas. firearms tripping, drug testing, it's across the spectrum of the kinds of certifications guards need. >> my time is up, so i'll -- [inaudible] >> thank you. thank you for those questions. i'm going to ask two questions. the last one, the second question i'm going ask is -- i like to ask when we're in a situation like this. couple different panels, different points of view, broad range of perspectives from which to testify and answer questions. i want you to each pick maybe one, we'll say two, two -- go back to what you heard one another say in response to, well, it could just be your testimony, your response to our
7:43 am
questions. think back to the first panel, some of the things they said this the testimony in response to our connection and just think about takeaways for us on this side of the dais that you'd just like to put an exclamation point behind, underline and say as we go out of this room today, this hearing room today, for god sake, keep these couple points in mind. these are really good takeaways. and that's my second question. so you can be thinking about that. my, the first question i have is for mr. goldstein. and in the -- and we've already talked to this to some extent. i'm going to come back and revisit it very, very briefly. but in the past decade or so, you've overseen, i think, 12 independent reports of federal facility security. you've looked at the armed guard programs, collaborated with state and local law enforcement
7:44 am
and human capital planning. gao's also conducted, i think we call them covert testing, you talked a little bit about some of that, said that's gone on of federal facilities. in other words, actually tried to penetrate l federal facilities to test how secure they are. it's a little bit like what we do in the nuclear power plant world. how, again, for the record, how would you assess federal facility security today? over 30,000 feet, how would you assess federal facility security today razeeing this is -- realizing this is a time continuum, but how are we doing today? is it getting better? is it getting worse? have we plateaued? is it uneven? >> i think it's very uneven, mr. chairman. yes, there have been improvements since oklahoma city and since the twin towers, of course. we have more focus on this area.
7:45 am
we have more physical protections in places. we have more intelligence as well. but some of the basic issues still remain unresolved, the kinds of issues that you've brought up and some of your witnesses have brought up this morning. there is still inadequate attention to many of the things that are in the forefront of what we need to do in terms of get into a federal building and making sure not only, um, that the people who stand on the front lines of federal buildings are qualified to be there and do the service that they're being paid to do that taxpayers are paying them for, but more broadly, that we're wisely using government resources in this area. because we haven't effectively adapted a risk management process to the federal portfolio, structure chully every building -- virtually every building that is at a level three or level four security risk is treated this
7:46 am
the same fashion, and we don't prioritize across that portfolio in an effective way to make sure that we're effectively spending government resources. so i think we still have a long way to go, sir. >> all right. follow-up question is what is, if you maybe had to pick the next thing or the first thing, the next thing that the federal protective services ought to be doing in order to further improve federal facility securities expeditiously as possible? and i don't know if that's a fair question, but take a shot at it. >> sure. um, i mean, we've talked a lot this morning about the two fundamental issues in our last report on risk assessments and on contract guards, and while they are moving slowly, i think they are trying to move in the right direction in both of those areas. i think the area that still bedells the security -- bedevils the security community is this three-legged stool between gsa, the committees and fps. and in trying to figure out the
7:47 am
best way to get security at federal buildings. should there really be a significant role for individual agencies within a specific building for, you know, people who don't have a lot of security background? be should they really be making decisions about the government's buildings? i do think while the isc has developed standards to try and improve the level and effectiveness of the federal facility security committees, that's an area i think they still need the spend a lot more time and trying to figure out is that really the best way that we can protect federal buildings? >> good, thanks. thank you very much. all right, mr. wright, i'm going to ask you to respond to my first question. again, point or two that you'd really like to say, for god sakes, forget everything else you've heard in this hearing, don't forget this. and there's probably more than one thing we should keep in
7:48 am
mind, but if you would. go ahead. there you go. >> if you'll indulge the focus of this hearing was the navy yard tragedy, so just very clearly right off the bat in regards to active shooter, look at our jurisdiction and authority. we, our guys responded to the navy yard. we were less than two minutes away, and we had people at the d.o.t., the department of transportation facility right across the street ready to activate and use their training and equipment, and we were, we were held back. so that's just a real, you know, low-level stuff. i need you to demand accountability. this committee, as referred to by mr. goldstein, in 2009 after they penetrated ten of our buildings, our fps director sat
7:49 am
here and committed to this committee that he would fix the national weapons detection training program. to this day, that program is not complete. >> we making any progress? >> uneven. it is scattered across the nation. i think one of the big problems with fps is you finally have a vision or at least somewhat of a vision, a headquarters, and i guarantee you once that vision leaves headquarters, it goes down to 11 different regions. i think three, four, five different senior executive service officials, and the message gets lost. thereby once genre deucing again
7:50 am
reducing any semblance of accountability. we have 11 different regions and 11 different ways of doing business regardless of what our headquarters says. >> okay. thank you. mr. amitay? >> yeah, thank you. yeah, going off what david just said, um, it is true that, you know, there is a vision now at headquarters. part of that vision is to standardize the training, to increase the training. and the lines of communication with the reasons do need to be improved, and that's always been a problem, though, with fps, the fact that it has had to deal with 11 different regions. i think, though, you'll see at fps david also mentioned the national weapons detection training program which is basically the x-ray training for psos. that's a new program that requires 16 hours of initial training and eight hours of annual refresher training.
7:51 am
compare that to the current requirement of initial training and then, you know, essentially eight hours that's combined with 40 hours of refresher training every three years. that's a positive development. the delivery of this training, though, that has been a problem, and it has been slow getting it out. and i think fps realizes that the stretched-thin inspectors really should not be doing training. you know? that shouldn't be their mission. and they're starting to turn this over to certified contract security instructors, and we think that's a great idea that will allow for more cost efficient and effective training. definitely pps needs to be -- fps needs to be doing more with that. other agencies are well ahead of fps in terms of training their officers to respond to active shooter incidents. i've talked with never contractors, and they basically say that, you know, with those instructions and post orders there really is some confusion
7:52 am
for psos as to what they can do in an active shooter situation. i mean, obviously, you know, as the instructions do say when they're in your face with an active shooter and be a loss of life, you can engage him. are they able, though, to be more aggressive in terms of maybe, in terms of maybe detecting an active shooter. if a person comes in, is being really suspicious, you know, can they kind of get into the guy's face and see what he's doing. i've been told that at doe the active shooter policy for those contract security officers is basically p don't let the threat continue period. and so, and so -- but i think fps, though, is working to improve the training, to bring it up to a higher quality. they are working also, as mark said, you know, to try to monitor better their certification and training records. and, mark, stay on them with
7:53 am
that. because we do think that there is technology out there. i sometimes cringe when they say, well, we're working with the science and technology directorate to basically try to come up with a, you know, a data management system, something that as mr. coburn pointed out, the contractors must have and already do have. and so there should be greater integration in terms of a comprehensive data management system. so is that fps and contractors can know and gao can know who exactly does have the required training and certifications. >> all right, thank you. mr. goldstein, the last word. >> thank you, mr. chairman. one quick clarification for dr. can coburn's -- dr. coburn's possibility. gao's recommendations, there have been 26 between 2010 and 2013. by our records only four are in process and have only been in process for about three or four weeks when we received them meaning that there are 22 still open, and we can -- we will provide your staff with the exact information. >> thank you. thank you, that's very
7:54 am
interesting. thank you for that clarification. >> yes, sir. i would, just three brief points that haven't been brought up too much this morning which i think are very relevant. the first, as mr. amitay has said, i think it is important there be better clarity in terms of contractors' liabilities. we've interviewed dozens and dozens of contract guards over the last decade, all of whom have felt they don't have clarity on what their roles and responsibilities are and when they can use force and when they can't use force. and most have told us over the years that their companies have all but said don't you ever pull out your gun, don't you ever do anything with it. so there is a lot of rack of clarity in this area. the second is the role of the inspector at the federal protective service. it would be great if they were able to, as mr. wright has said, be able to roam around more, to do more things, to be able to assure the security of the buildings they're responsible for, but in cases they're locked at their desks. they're doing other work.
7:55 am
they're involved in getting contracts out the door. therethey're often still contrat officers. the level of things that they are responsible for really precludes them in instances from actually being out and about and being the eyes and the ears of, in taking care of the police function that they really have. so that would be the second. and then the third, finally, i don't believe there really is much coordination at all based on the work we have done in the past with local and state police jurisdictions so that when tragedy does strike, that the federal protective service has worked out in any kind of detail with local police jurisdictions exactly what kind of focus, what kind of approach, what kind of countermeasures they can take. so more work needs to be done if that area as well. thank you, sir. >> thank you. thank you all for being here, thank you for what you do with your lives. thank you for your preparation for this hearing and for your
7:56 am
response to our question. and mr. goldstein, a special thanks to everyone at gao for the continued good work -- >> thank you, sir. >> -- that you do. i don't have time, our caucus lunch has begun, weekly caucus lunch has begun and i'm late, so i'm going to wrap it up. if i had more times, one of the things i'd get into is the issue of turnover among these contract officers. i don't think we really spent much time on that, and i would just say as a closing thought when i was governor of delaware, we had a real problem with, in the area of information technology, training folks to work in that area for us as a state employee. developing the skills and getting hired away. by someone who paid them a lot more money. and the governor who succeeded
7:57 am
me was smart enough to realize we ought to pay and change up the way we incentivized folks to become -- to work for the state in that arena. we have a similar problem actually here in the federal government. if you look at the skill sets and the compensation packages and the way we attract and retain skilled folks in the cyber world in the department of homeland security as compared say to national security agency, there's a difference. and, dr. coburn, our of staffs and colleagues are working on a way to reduce that disprayerty so -- disparity so dhs won't see their people trained and hired away by others. we're going to work on that. training so important here, tsa one of the things we keep coming back to, quality of training. not just original training, but refresher training and the quality of that training. the thought that's in the back
7:58 am
of my mind is what's going on with turnover. my guess is there's a fair amount of that in these jobs, so a lot of the training that's done might not -- i know with to the benefit of federal taxpayers but who these contract officers go to work for. if i had more time, i'd ask each of you to respond to that. but just raise your hands, and by raising your hands, is that a problem? is that a concern that we should have? okay. thanks very much. all right. the, i'd just say in closing the hearing record will remain open for the next 17 months. [laughter] all right, 17 days. until january 3rd at 5 p.m. for the submission of statements and questions for the record. i'm sure you'll get some, and we would appreciate your responding to those. again,ing thank you very much for being with us. our best wishes to you and your families in this holiday season. thanks very much.
7:59 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
8:00 am
[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. every weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our web site, and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> and we are live this morning with politico's playbook breakfast series. they are hosting the afl-cio's
8:01 am
richard trumka this morning. the labor leader is expected to talk about immigration, the economy and the future of labor unions. politico's mike allen will moderate. we expect it to get under way shortly, live coverage here on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
8:02 am
[inaudible conversations]
8:03 am
[inaudible conversations] >> and once again we are awaiting remarks from the afl-cio's richard trumka, he's the labor leader s and he's expected to talk about immigration, the economy and the future of labor unions this morning as part of politico's playbook breakfast series. this is one of the series of year-end conversations politico
8:04 am
offers. yesterday they had a round table with mike allen, we will show you as much of this as we can until today's conversation with richard trumka gets under way. ♪ ♪ [applause] >> early to this blockbuster round table playbook breakfast. appreciate your coming out early, very excited to have some of washington's fascinating, most fascinating and most respected correspondents here who's going to talk about what we just saw and are going to give us a preview of what we're about to see. and we're going to have them come on just in a second, three of them are best-selling authors, and so we'll be talking a little bit about their books too. we'd like to thank bank of america for making this series possible. we've had a fascinating year around the country talking about some of the most important
8:05 am
issues in washington. so we're appreciative of that. i have, as always, the twitter machine with me. we'd love to get your questions, your rebuttals for our panelists as we go, just hashtag playbookbreakfast, it'll pop up here. like to welcome all of you in live stream land and hope that you will tweet along with it. and now i'd like to welcome our panel. come on up. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you very much. so we have jake tapper of cnn who this year started the heed on cnn -- the lead on cnn, and he's author of "the outpost," an amazing book available in paperbook but on amazon still available in hardback, it's great gift. and actually we have kelly o'donnell, nbc news white house
8:06 am
correspondent, former embed in iraq, has covered news in l.a., new york. you probably have not heard, but mark leibovich had a book this year -- [laughter] "this town," also a new york times bestseller, and peter baker, chief white house correspondent of the new york times, a friend since "the washington post" days when you were covering -- [inaudible] and i was with the rich monday times dispatch. and peter's amazing boob -- book about the bush administration. seven years of work went into this book, and "the new york times" magazine picked it as one of the five best books of the year. kick things off, jake tapper, if you could interview anyone in 201, who would it be? >> first, can i say how i met you, mike? laugh i wasn't lucky enough to mow you in the richmond
8:07 am
times-dispatch days, but i met you, we were at the reform party convention -- >> with matt labash. >> in dearborn, michigan. and you were with "the new york times" darting around. that was quite -- >> he's still darting. >> that was when jesse ventura was talking about taking over the party. good times. [laughter] >> i thought jesse ventura was your pick for who to interview. >> he's not. [laughter] i mean, if it's anyone, anyone in the world? >> you're jake tapper, sure. >> i guess edward snowden, i would love to interview him and really, like, do a long interview with him about not just his life, but the leaks and what he has leaked and why he did it. and then a very close second would be pope francis. and i don't know which one is likelier to happen or less likely to happen. [laughter] >> i'm willing to travel to russia, to brazil, to hong kong or to the vatican for any of those interviews.
8:08 am
>> okay. so edward snowden, if you're watching on the live stream -- [laughter] is and what would you like to know when you were done talking to him that you don't know now? >> about edward snowden? >> or his holiness. >> well, his holiness, i'd like to know what he makes of all the talk, the commentary about how different he is from his predecessors. i wonder how much he actually feels he is in terms of substance -- >> and how intentional it is. >> yeah. and how intentional versus how much it is media jumping on comments. when you read the comments he has made, it does not seem accidental. it does not seem as though the media is jumping on this to drive a wedge between him and his predecessors. in terms of snowden, i think, you know, in addition -- you'd want to do an actual program-by-program takedown on what he objects to and why he has leaked, but i think psychologically you'd want to know what made the snap, what
8:09 am
made him decide to do this incredibly bold and risky act? what drove it psychologically for him if terms of -- because it's not like you go into the national security agency thinking, um, that you're not going to be conducting surveillance and there aren't going to be perhaps questionable practices. or at least ones that are on the edge. so what was the appointment. >> kelly o'donnell, you're kelly o. on twitter and on morn toking joe, they -- morning joe, you're up on capitol hill for this amazing year, and last week on the day that paul ryan and patty murray made their deal, reuters do did a story with the headline "u.s. budget deal could usher in new era of cooperation." [laughter] what are the chances? >> well, i think there is a moment for some mod deaths cooperation -- modest cooperation. i think there is a certain buzz that isn't getting along a worthwhile thing. we've seen that before. i think there is a certain premium that the public is
8:10 am
giving to lawmakers right now to encourage them to get along. i think the sort of institutional forces make that difficult. but if they get enough sort of praise and feel a payoff for getting along, i think that can be helpful. so that's sort of my optimistic sense. i think that can go off the rails at my point. >> mark leibovich, yesterday we were e-mailing about some possible topics, and i asked you what mistake d.c. journalists often make, and you told me -- >> just one. [laughter] >> most often -- >> agreeing to do the playbook breakfast. [laughter] >> and in second choice thinking the elected officials they're writing about and -- oh, yeah. so what's the mistake journalists make, and today said thinking too much about the officials we're writing about acting so solicitous of them and wanting to be their friends. have you ever made that mistake?
8:11 am
>> i was, actually, you did not -- i was worried that just this follow-up would happen. [laughter] first of all, i actually thought the first question i would get was why did you agree to do? and so i'm thrilled to be here, thank you all for coming. [laughter] it wasn't a mistake, it was a reality. and it happened once. it was -- >> oh, come on. >> well, i think -- put it this way, no, i am friendly with many, many public officials. there was one public figure who, um, actually i felt like, you know, i had a personal relationship that i would not write about, and that happened about seven and a half years ago my wife had breast cancer, and i was writing -- or she was diagnosed with wrest cancer -- breast cancer. and i was writing a profile of elizabeth edwards and john edwards the weekend after she's announced she had this relapse, and that was supposed to be the first print interview of them in
8:12 am
vegas. that day my wife, you know, out of nowhere gets this diagnose though sis, and i told her then-pr rep, jennifer, you know, can't make it. and then elizabeth edwards called, and she was just an incredible friend through that. so at that point i recused myself from all elizabeth edwards or edwards-related stories. >> pull back the camera, why are journalists too solicitous of public officials? >> too solicitous? well, i think you have to ask the individual journalist. i do think one of the big mistakes in journalism and if washington generally -- and in washington generally is that people accrue their own self-worth to the institution they're working for and the function they're trying to pay -- that they're trying to play. meaning people think politician x is being so nice to me and so solicitous of me because they really like me, and they think i'm special, and we actually could be friends, and it's really cool that, you you know,
8:13 am
senator x and congressman y come to my wedding, and look at this, and we can show all this off. in fact, you realize that, you know, you just -- it is a real, it can be a real seduction game, and you can lose your distance -- >> kelly, you've known some of these senators and members for years and years. how do you avoid having them think you're their friend? >> well, i don't think we're personal friends. i think we're professional friends, and i think there is value in being warm and friendly and know about their kids and know about their spouse and know about some of their interests that are not directly related to what you're covering. i think there's a lot of benefit in the simple niceties of life in getting along, but i don't think i'm personal friends with anyone i cover. >> who up there in the house leadership or the senators is friendliest? like most wants to hang out with the press or, like, maybe thinks the press is their friend? [laughter] >> wow. that's a dangerous -- the trap door is right here. [laughter] i think there are very, very, i think politicians often will
8:14 am
draw into it the people who have that tactile need, that need for -- >> not answering the question. >> yeah. i'm not going to name a name -- [laughter] only because i have to go to work there today. but be i do think there are a lot of friendly people, and i appreciate that friendliness. i have maybe the best relationship with people who i have been in their home states or districts and been in that setting and then in washington there's a different dimension. >> so what is speaker boehner like when reporters are around and cameras aren't on? >> he is pretty frank and direct can, i think. >> smoking? >> yes, yes. i thought i should even alert fire officials at one point because i thought i smelled smoke, and i realized, oh, we're just near his private space. he is very warm. i think he actually likes interacting with reporters more than it may appear. and i think he is willing to give us some of his perspective on how things are working that
8:15 am
he's not as free or chooses not to be prix to say publicly. and i appreciate those moments because it helps you interpret his public statements a bit more if you have a sense of what he was thinking when there were no cameras around. >> so, peter baker, you have this amazing history out about the eight years of the bush administration, but you're also one of the most astute observers of the obama administration. yesterday ron foreignier posted a story online with the headline this is the end of the presidency. that was a quote referring to bush, but his point was there are a lot of parallels between the fifth year of obama and the fifth year of bush with. how deep is the obama hole? is it bush deep? [laughter] >> there are pair 4re8s, and i think -- parallels, and i think we get wrapped up in this debate, a web site isn't a hurricane. all that's true. [laughter] hey, you heard it here first. >> i think it was your newspaper
8:16 am
that on the front page like tried to make that -- >> well, i think the case we made on the front page was that the political -- >> your book party. >> -- positioning of where these two presidents are at this stage of their administration is similar, obviously, for different reasons and different dynamics, but the point was president obama one year after his re-election has found himself, his credibility challenged, the trust that people had in him has diminished, he now has more than 50% say they don't think he is telling the truth all the time, his reputation for competence and effectiveness is challenged this the same way that president bush's was at in the point. and you saw in president bush the potential ramifications of that. he fell below 50% approval ratings in march of his fifth year in office, and he never got above that again for the rest of his presidency. he went longer than my president before -- any president before
8:17 am
with less than majority support. and that has a tangible impact. he didn't get social security his second term, immigration his second term. the ownership society which he articulated for the domestic agenda the last four years of his administration didn't go anywhere, and that's the danger for president obama. now, the difference is theover overarching albatross for president bush was the iraq war. president obama doesn't have that. in theory, he can get past this moment, in here theory, he can recover, but as one democrat said to me, you can lose ten points in a week, but you can't gain it back in one week. >> in "days of fire," you have a seasons here that says even to the extent that president bush salvaged a failing war through the surge of after years of letting his generals call the shots, bush could not ultimately salvage his presidential -- here in d.c. up in new york welcome all of you in live stream land.
8:18 am
we'd love to involve you in the conversation. i've got my twitter machine here and if you would tweet your questions to hash tag playbook breakfast, they'll pop up right here, and i will ask our guest. before we get started, i'd like to thank the bank of america for making these conversations possible. what a year, a dozen laybook breakfasts, and -- playbook breakfasts, and we really appreciate the support of these conversations, and we're excited to kick off in january too. so now for the last playbook breakfast of the year we're honored to have with us somebody who started working in the coal mines of pennsylvania for $2.96 an hour when he was 18, and now he's president of afl-cio, president richard trumka. mr. president? [applause] thank you so much for coming.
8:19 am
>> you bet. >> thank you for being here for our last playbook breakfast. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> what does a timberman's helper do? [laughter] >> normally, you put up props, roof support that are being -- >> oh, sure. yeah. >> yeah. and you put crossbars across, and we would have to put those up as you advantagessed the mining system, we would -- advanced the mining system, we would put you up. and the timberman made half a cent an hour more than i did, i was a helper. >> it's an amazing story. when we first reached out to you for if playbook breakfast, you weren't in town, you were deer hunting. how did you do? >> did well. hunted hard and ended up taking a couple of nice bucks. >> and one was very nice. >> ten point. very nice deer. >> and what are you going to make with your ten-point buck? >> sausage, some jerky concern. [laughter] some roast, some steaks,
8:20 am
tenderloin butterflied. >> you were telling me backstage that there is one meat that's tastier than deer. >> elk. best meat in the world. it's absolutely the best be. >> and you've taken, you've taken a but elk in your time. >> i have. >> all right. the big issue of our time, and this is something that we hear everyone from elizabeth warren to pope francis talking about, and that is the increasing income inequality in the country. you represent 11 and a half, 12 million working men and women, what can you do to help? >> first of all, there's a number of things that we can do. you have the wage stagnation that could be helped if we restored the right in this country to have collective bargaining to more people. if you look back over the years, from 1946 to 1973 productivity in this country doubled and so did wages. and the interesting thing about
8:21 am
that point in time was that the bottom two quartiles' wages were rising faster than people at the top. during that period of time organized labor represented about 35-40% of the work force, so we were -- >> what's the figure knockout -- now? >> we're about 12. so we were driving wages in an entire industry. nonunion workers would get a raise because we negotiated raises. from '73 to date, productivity's continued up, but wages have stagnated, and the difference is all of -- the difference between those two figures, it's all going to the top 1 or 2% because we represent, as i said, about 12% of the work force. so that's one thing. the other thing is you push for full employment. as full employment comes, it'll actually have a tug on wages, create more demand for the middle class, allow them to do purchasing and create more jobs. >> and tell us what you mean by full employment. >> you're looking at 4%.
8:22 am
yeah, that would be the goal to shoot for. >> and what about all the people who are underemployed? like, that's what i really, like, hits me when i read the stories, people who they're trying to live on the kind of job they once would have thought they had right when they get out of school or people whose ambitions have been curtailed. >> can you know, they're the underreported about people because they don't consider them unemployed, but they, in all essence, they are unemployed because they don't work 40 hours. more and more and more that's becoming young people, people under 30, more and more and more it's women. so those two groups of americans are really taking the price for it. and it's becoming more of the trend rather than less to have the trend. part-time jobs, some people have a couple of them, two, three part-time jobs to try to get by. so they really should be focused on the underemployment, and we sort of ignore them because in
8:23 am
this country when we talk about the unemployment rate, we don't talk about underemployed people, although we do in the labor movement. >> you have, i think vice president biden uses the expression the finger tip feel for labor issues. you get the bureaucratic side of it, you work in a big building here in d.c., you talk to the hill all the time, but you're also a politician. you were just reelected as president. what is the biggest -- >> i'll tell you, my grandfather would not be happy with that. you calling me a a politician. [laughter] >> or a bureaucrat. >> worse yet. [laughter] >> this is interesting. president trumka, both of your grandfathers were coal miners. >> correct. my dad, both of his brothers, midwest of my uncles -- most of my uncles and many of my cousins mined coal in pennsylvania. >> you said richard jr. became a lawyer. what happened to him? >> he saw the errors of my way? no.
8:24 am
[laughter] he, you know, it was a different world. i mean, the mines at that time weren't hiring, and quite frankly, like my dad i wanted to make sure he had a good education and had options open to him. had he chose chosen to go into mines or to go into an apprenticeship program, i would have been very, very proud and happy. he decided he wanted to go into law, he practices law, he's in the litigation department of a law firm here, represents workers in some instances -- >> so that's your consolation. >> well, you know, my consolation is whatever he does that makes him happy would actually be okay by me. because he can't live in my shadow, and he can't do what i want him to do. he has to do what he wants to do, and by and large, i can tell you he does what he thinks he wants to do and what's right. >> and has for some time. >> yes, he has. since about this big. [laughter] he was born to be a litigator though, i can tell you that. >> he's a talker. >> well, i can tell you one
8:25 am
great story. he was about 2 years old at the time, and he had done something, and i was about to discipline him, and he stood with his hand on his hip, and he had this little fat finger, and he pointed at he and he goes, you can't stair me -- scare me, i'm in the union. [laughter] i thought i'd gotten through at least. [laughter] >> a good way to escape your discipline. so i got sidetracked, i was going to ask you what is the biggest element or story of working conditions in this country for regular, everyday americans beyond the beltway that the media miss? >> every day is really, really a challenge to just get by because those without the job are struggling, and is we just did a, quote, budget deal that didn't include an extension of ui. so you're going to have -- >> that's the number one thing you wanted to talk about when you came out here.
8:26 am
when your guys were prepping you, that was the number one thing they wanted you to talk about. why is that so important? >> because you're going to have 1.3 million people who are going to have no benefits as of december 31st, and in the first six months of 2014 another 1.9 million americans will be without any kind of income or support. these are long-term unemployed people, and it becomes more than just -- it's not about a campaign issue, quite frankly. it's about feeding them. and i can tell you this, when it comes to ui, when it comes to helping those workers, those unemployed workers, santa's not the only one that's going to be making a list this time of year. we're making our own list as well to make sure that they don't get left behind. because, you know, look what happens. they get left behind, we lose gdp, we lose jobs, we lose buying power, and everybody ultimately suffers. and these are not people that
8:27 am
are malingerers or lazy, these are people who had bad luck; their plant shut down, they were laid off or whatever, and they don't have an opportunity to go back to work. and we really want them to make sure they do. but your question is what's out there. so they face be challenges. people without a job are struggling to find a job. those with a job are worried about losing a job or losing benefits. those that are a little older are struggling and figuring out how are we going to get by in retirement because the 401(k) generation has sure been a colossal bust for most americans. it's within great for -- it's been great for investment bankers on wall street, but it hasn't done so well -- >> what's the number one thing the media, and i'm speaking broadly here, this could include print, television, what's the number one thing we could do to better cover the lives and realities of working people? >> talk about stagnant wages,
8:28 am
talk about inequality in a real sense -- >> but those are abstract. >> no, when you put real faces to them. you talk about somebody who struggled. talk about a 55-year-old man who just got laid off and doesn't know where he's going to go. talk about a 22-year-old woman that came out of school at the top of her class and can't find a job in her chosen field. but show those faces and then talk about the policies that could make a difference. because if you talk to people up on the hill, they'll say, yes, we have a big problem. and you say, okay, we have a wage stagnation handgun problem, inequality -- stagnation problem, what are you going to do about it, and that's when they get real abstract. you know, there's a number of of policies that we could do. instead of talking about cutting social security, for instance, we ought to be talking about expanding social security so that the under-30 generation doesn't hit a train wreck
8:29 am
because they are the lowest percentage of them are employed right now, and their wages are lower than they've been in the past. >> how could the u.s. possibly afford to expand -- >> oh, that's nonsense. we're the richest nation on the face of the earth, mike. how can we afford it? we can afford to do everything we decide to do. just make it a priority, and we'll be able to pay for it. look, deaf of sits aren't the cause -- deficits aren't the cause of the crisis or a bad economy, they're the result. they are the result of it. >> so what should the government do less of to expand social security? >> well, they should do less loopholes for corporations and the very rich. they should do more spending on infrastructure to make us as a country more competitive as a nation and create jobs in the process. we should be increasing the minimum wage -- >> let's talk about that for a second. >> if minimum wage had kept pace
8:30 am
with inflation instead of being $7.25, it would be $10.75. if it had kept pace with productivity, it'd be $18.7 5, if it had kept pace with the wages of the top 1%, it would be $28 an hour. >> i'm going the surprise people watching, i think something could well happen on money mum wage next year. -- minimum wage next year. if you look at polling, this really breaks through. what do you think or hope will happen next year, in an election year with this congress? >> well, let me be expand that out for just a second, if you don't mind, mike. you know, there's a growing trend toward populism in this country. now, not matched in the policies yet, but there's a growing trend -- >> and we see this with the election of mayor de blasio in new york. >> well, you see it in a number of ways, with the occupy
8:31 am
movement, you see it with elizabeth warren get elected, you see it the way obama ran the campaign against mitt romney, you see it with the pope right now being named man of the year talking about inequality, talking about poppe limp. but -- populism. but the policies haven't caught up with what americans believe. 80% of americans think you ought to increase the minimum wage. 70 some percent of americans think that social security should be -- ..
8:32 am
and indexed for inflation thereafter. i think it has to be indexed so we don't run into this problem. it would also increase the tip wage. that's something no one talks about, mike. the tip wage is $2.13 an hour. $2.13. hasn't been increased since 1991 by the way, three quarters of the people who earn tip wages are women. it would increase tip wages 70% of minimum wage. so it would be a good thing. you could say isn't possible? think about this. chris christie just won an election. the same electorate that elected him by the same margin increased the minimum wage and indexed the minimum wage in new jersey. so it's a policy that is not
8:33 am
only, should happen, i believe will happen. i think in 2014 from and must happen for the good of the economy and the good of the country. >> do you think this republican house will pass it? >> i think they won't have a choice. >> why? >> the growing sentiment right now. they will take it on the chin. look, they're alienating, latinos and immigrants. they're alienating african-americans. they are alienating catholics right now by going after the pope, call them the pope, a marxist. >> the speaker -- speaker boehner is catholic. >> yeah. >> he's not going after the pope. >> conservatives are. is not the only person who speaks for the republican party. i don't know if that's good or bad. >> mr. president, you have a problem. your problem is you're shrinking.
8:34 am
in 2002 speech i know, my student started looking back he. [laughter] in 2002 to 13 million -- >> not shrink enough, i can tell you that. >> in 2000 do you have 13 million members. last year you had an 11.5 million members. what do you do to get more members? >> well, i mean, we are doing several things. the short answer is the same thing we have to do to make the country better. we have to change the political climate, the legislative climate and economic climate. >> that's all? >> we can do that before lunch and after lunch we will play ball. no. we're working on it. but what we're doing is expanding out to our progressive friends. when you put the policies of progressive americans together, we are actually the majority. but we don't act like that. we've been allowed to even in echelon a section at a time. so we're trying to put together
8:35 am
a coalition of progressive people. we reached out before a convention six months beforehand, we started reaching out to progressive friends and allies, and we said look, in the past we would come up with a solution and we would say come join us. let's change that. first of all let's sit down and let's all of us tried to create that solution. so six-month before the convention we joined with progressive friends and allies from the naacp, do -- to the sierra club. we -- >> women's groups? >> yes. environmental groups. and 75, 80 different groups. we talked about the problems. we talked about solutions and we decided to open up the labor and form strategic partnerships with those groups so that we can do
8:36 am
those three changes that are necessary for the good of the country. and again, that's changing the economic climate, the political climate and the legislative climate. >> it used to be if you're going to organize an employer you could go to a factory or to a mine. you can't do that anymore. one must -- one fascinating thing researching this conversation is the concept of fragmented workplaces. an example is car washers or cabdrivers. in l.a., new york, you worked to organs both of those. these are people who don't work in the particular concert location. how do you reach them? >> there's also other groups, although -- i should correct you. you can still go work in a mine or a factory if you can find one. we also to domestic workers, home care workers that are everywhere. >> homecare is huge and growing
8:37 am
spirit one of the growing sectors in the country, same with domestic workers. we go out very, very labor intensive. go and talk to them. you've got to go and find out their needs, then you bring them to get a come start to develop issues to work together. it's very, very labor intensive. but we been successful at 20 some thousand taxicab drivers in new york city, domestic workers from los angeles to michigan to ohio. carwash workers in new york and the west coast. so we are organizing, but you're also seeing other signs of people getting entrance. your sink fast food workers that are fed up with the minimum wage and the bad treatment they did, starting to come together and demand, doing collective action to demand better wages. wal-mart workers, thousands of them across the country coming together to try to change the wal-mart model, which quite
8:38 am
frankly drives the low-wage model in this country. >> a lot of what you've been talking about is developing friends and allies as opposed to formal news paying card-carrying members. has formal membership in the afl-cio probably peaked? >> absolutely not. i think we are on the rise. we have more members this year than we had two years ago. we re- affiliated the food commercial workers. we re- affiliated the labors. we re- affiliated unite. so we have more members than we did a couple years ago. the question is easy enough? is enough to do the three changes, change the economy, political environment, change the legislative environment? and the answer is no. that's why we decided we had to reach out to progressive groups. because all of us will have a difficult time because the entrenched power that insist in
8:39 am
the political system through money, with the leaves because of their connections and interconnections with one another. it'll be difficult enough for all of us coming together. but that's the goal. that's the direction we're heading in. wringing progressive people together, we start educating about the economy at the grassroots level, not just our members and nonunion members. did start talking to candidates at the lower level, educating them on the economy, making sure they understand really how the economy works and how it doesn't work. and then make them understand some of the failed models that are out there. spent a couple twitter questions coming in. please continue to join us at ashbrook playbook breakfast. president trumka, how would you these the transition from a coal and natural gas economy to a renewable economy? >> i think you have to look at a time period that it happened.
8:40 am
you know, cold still produces about a little over 50% of the energy in this country. also feels still feel. we still use a whole lot of fossil fuels we will not be able to shut them down overnight, nor should you. the transition needs to focus on people. and let me give you sort of an example. i grew up in a small mining town. one mind, the town was built around that mine, and when that mine went down, the town went down. they are our minds like that everywhere. there was a bill like that, a cotton mill in north carolina or a clothing mill up in maine or massachusetts. you go through that transition but it wasn't all at once. we really have to focus on the people and transitioning them. not just giving them a fancy burial but actually giving them away and a community a way to grow back into the economy, and
8:41 am
succeed. so the transition has to look at the transition of the people and the community getting back to some kind of help. so you don't just pull the plug on -- and say you're on your own, go find out what you can find out and let your town or your community or your economy died spent another twitter question to do you think unions should get an obamacare exception -- exemption? >> you know, whenever they built the first automobile it wasn't a perfect automobile. when we started playing baseball, i mean in 1800, it wasn't a perfect game but it's evolved. obamacare is a good start. it has some good things, some very unintended consequences that really do need to be looked at and change. and we need to build on it. we made -- i will use we in the generic sense of america. we made some classic mistakes.
8:42 am
when it was passed. first, we exempted the pharmaceutical industry and said, that medicare couldn't use its buying power to drive down prices. that needs to change. we jettisoned the public option for the wasn't the competition that we needed to keep the prices down. we made some mistakes with the exchanges. we made some mistakes with the system's biggest a lot of mistakes. >> sure it was, but look, it's a good start. everybody agrees that what we had was in working. a health care system that didn't provide good results but spent twice as much as any other nation in the world was not a system we ought to be saying, let's go back to you. we needed to change. we need to keep evolving. when we first did social security there were problems just like this. when we first did medicare and
8:43 am
medicaid, there were problems just like this. if we had a congress that actually cared about america rather than creating issues and having an issue to run against obamacare or for obamacare, we would fix the system. >> and the affordable care act is a very unusual problem as you know. i social security or medicare that almost any bill the size will go in and make corrections of vice sizes. everyone is afraid to reopen the transport and so we are stuck with a bill that needs even at the very least technical correction. >> to get back to your original question, should we be exempt, it does have some very unintended consequences that really jeopardized the existence of health and retirement funds added been the backbone of health care in this country. spent what is the exemption you believe -- >> we just need to have it tweaked so if you have an existing plan like healthy
8:44 am
retirement plan that covers 500,000 people, you ought to be able to continue it. >> you were for the affordable care act. are you getting a lot of grief about that now from members they can't keep their doctors or are having to pay more? >> i don't know how you would be saying have to pay more right now because it hasn't kicked in yet. look speed excuse me come your sink under the affordable care act people will not have higher deductibles and have today speak was i didn't say that. you said already. i said it hasn't kicked in so they can't be paying anything already. spent they are starting to squeal spent a lot of them are. were looking at examples of where we need to make changes. our health care plan really is treated unfairly in this done. here's how. let me tell you. you raised it so i'm going to give you a full answer. look, anybody else if you're eligible for a subsidy, you get
8:45 am
paid to subsidy. we said don't pay the subsidy to the worker. made a subsidy to the fund that covers them that helps them out. because if you're a minimum-wage worker, having a tough time, in some places okay, here's 3000 bucks, you can go by health care or you can go buy shoes for the kids. i would venture to say some of them are going to buy shoes for the kids instead of buying the health care. the second thing is, our employers pay into the trust fund. they pay an amount into the trust fund. now, in order to get the subsidy those low-wage workers have to come out of the trust fund and now digging as not providing healthcare for all of their employees even though they're paying for them so they had a penalty. then on top of that it is $63 per covered like the on top of that, even though we had the
8:46 am
same plan we always had. so that's an unintended consequence that benefits insurance companies at the cost of non-for-profit plans that needs to be adjusted. and am i getting grief about that? sure, i'm getting grief about that. do i want to see obamacare scrapped? absolute not, because it's a good start. but as i said, baseball is not the same game it was in 1800. a model t -- we don't have the same cars as the model t. we continue to make improvements and we will continue to push those people up on the hill to make those improvements. because the system in this country is broken. we pay twice as much as any other nation and we get worse results. it has to be fixed spent what kind of grief are you getting? >> typical, what are you doing, you dummy. you know, your typical stuff.
8:47 am
>> one of -- >> i've been getting that for years. they used to call me big fat but since i lost weight, you noticed that, i appreciated. they don't call me fat anymore. they just call me dumb. stupid. >> how much did you lose? >> well, probably around 30. >> how did you do with? >> exercise. i pushed away from the table. [laughter] spirit works every time. >> i have today a great story. one day i was proud of myself because i lost some weight. i was working real hard. i was running and i lost some weight. i said, dad, what do you think, i lost some weight. he said you have a look behind you lately, have you? [laughter] >> you went to college and law school while you're working in a mine. how did you do that?
8:48 am
>> first, i started working midnight shift in the mine, which is cool, and i went to school in the daytime. and i went on what's called a six and six month plan where i worwork six-month in my can go o school six-month. and i got out of undergraduate school and didn't union semi-to college by the way. my workers of instantly to law school and worked about six months and went to law school about six months. i got out of law school can't wait to work in the legal department for the mine workers can worked there several years and a guy i'd helped elect under reform ticket with the miners for democracy, he and i had a significant philosophical disagreement and i was i am about to work in the mine. i worked full-time in the mind and, and did a little pro bono while i practice law on the side, some black lung cases for people, some under one account, never charge anybody for anything. did some adoptions, other stuff
8:49 am
like that to help out members, people in the community. and then ran for office, ran for our executive board and they got elected and then ran for president. >> union contractors, a lot used to be done behind closed doors. you took a more conversational approach the first time i covered you, i had there, with way back in the coal strike down in southwest virginia. >> yeah, that was, to the extent a strike could be good, that was a good strike because it was over health care. >> you were confrontational. we saw a little bit of your style there. >> down your i did what we had to do to protect 200,000 retired workers and widows. because that's what the strike was over. they want to jettison their retirees and their widows from health care plan. they actually believe that are active members would support the retirees and the widows. they totally miscalculated.
8:50 am
i tried to explain that to them and they wouldn't listen, and they really were going to do with health care fund and we couldn't allow that to happen because if pittston had done away with it, publicly close to half a million workers in the industry that depended on the mine workers health care plan would have lost their health care. my mother and dad both of them at that time would have been included in that. but everybody else's mother. so we took a hard line and said you were not going to do that. it was a 15 month strike, not a single mine worker crossed the picket line back then. we engaged in peaceful, civil disobedience. it was a very, very confrontational strike that ended up being, making worldwide news. everybody in europe new. even russia, people like that knew it. we ended up winning the strike. we have tremendous support. this is an interesting thing. at the end of that strike in the
8:51 am
state of virginia, or the commonwealth of virginia, excuse me, it was one of the most conservative states in the union at that time. may still be, i'm not sure, i think it's changing. 94% of the populace in virginia supported us in saying that we should be able to maintain that health care. >> we are at the last playbook breakfast of you. let's look ahead. what you think the chances the democrats t take the house in 2014? >> look, 2014 isn't like 2006 when the democrats made major gains or 2010 when the republicans made major gains. 2014 isn't opportunity. like i said, the trend right now is toward populism, but populism can't be a bumper sticker in october and expected democrats to win. because it's not automatic for
8:52 am
them. the republicans are shooting themselves in the foot, but the democrats really aren't capitalizing on a. if you look at the bowling figures, they haven't capitalized anywhere near where they should. if they take on issues like unemployment insurance, protecting, not just protecting but increasing social security, the minimum wage, infrastructure, jobs skills good things of that sort, and they fight for them, not just do a pro forma efforts we could have been issued in october. then i think they can ultimate make a significant gain. in october. it is not automatic because i think the american public right now are frustrated and angered with both parties. and one of the two parties is going to have to show that they have a path forward that represents and benefits the average joe and jane, not just the people of the top like it's been for the last 25, 30 years.
8:53 am
>> i hear what you're saying about the message and issues. what are the mechanics about that democrats should capitalize on this? >> they have to bring the issue forward and fight for them. >> how do you want them to do that? >> in legislation. you know, talk is cheap. don't just talk the talk. walk the walk. put forward the harken and miller bill. fight them. make them vote on a. have a vote on it. hold people accountable. do the ui insurance exchange and -- extension. it's unconscionable that the people in the capital of their left town and 1.3 million people are going to be out in the cold on december 31. >> do you worry that republicans will take the senate?
8:54 am
>> at the current rate, no, i don't worry about that. i don't. i mean, while democrats may shoot themselves in the foot, these guys are taking their knees, taking their legs off at the knees. but democrats ought to be capitalizing on it more and they are not. i wish they would. >> let's say there's a democratic majority in the house and senate. which pushed for the use of the nuclear option on legislation to enact card check? >> on the house side? there is no nuclear -- well, the filibuster you're talking about. you know, look, i think you've got a number process that you normally go through. when somebody becomes obstructionism then i think you have to do something. look at what's happened. on the senate side these guys are -- have filibustered more the last three years than have a 30 years combined before that. they filibuster people for every position.
8:55 am
take the three judges here in the d.c. circuit. nina bullard, exemplary. we're going to do that because and they do some taxes. robinson, you know, three quality judges that they just filibustered. that stuff has got to stop. it's got to stop somewhere. i hope it stops at the ballot box. i hope that the american people say we've got enough of this. your and obstruction. you care more about a political issue than you do about this country. we will vote against you. and barring that, then they did a rules change on -- at this point, the president administration, he is five years in. he's got more vacancies in any other president before him. he can't even get normal people
8:56 am
appointed to make the government run. now, that is part of their strategy. they want to make government look bad. you don't put the people and that can make it run so it looks bad so you can see a bad luck. don't put more people in. it's part of the strategy. we've got to just break through that. >> would love to bring you in the conversation. just said no, we'll bring you a microphone. i want to ask you if you know the mayor elect of ne new york speak with yes, i do spend what is he like and what you make of this election? >> i was excited by his election. i think is a very, very progressive candidate. i think you'll be a progressive mayor. i think he will stand up for the average worker. i think you will also take care of business, the things you've got to do, the garbage, take care of -- to all of that stuff but more. will really focus on the little guy, or more than perhaps his predecessors have. >> you started as the real underdog in that race.
8:57 am
what do you make of his victory? what does it tell you about the time or the trans? >> populism works. it works. it gets your message and it's what you believe that a major policy, it's what the american, most of the americans believe in. >> so much of the democrats learned from his election? >> well, they should learn to, one, populism is a very powerful tool and it is aligned with the major thinking of the american people. when you talk to them, do you support an increase in minimum wage, social good, medicare, unemployment insurance? all of that stuff the american people agree with. you think the trade agreement have been good? no. 80% of americans, think they are bad. but that policy will continue the same trade agreements. not because democracy works, because if democracy worked they
8:58 am
would be completely gone. here's the real issue. what happens after they run off of populism? i mean, president obama ran a populist campaign in many ways against mitt romney spent you are disappointed with president obama? >> you have to continue through with it and fight for those policies after election day. because that's what people are so frustrated. talk is cheap. you've got to walk the walk with everybody. and we will see what happens. i think of the mayor will follow through on what he said. we're going to try to make sure that more politicians follow through. >> you feel like president obama hasn't? >> you know, look, do i think president obama could have done more in areas? yes, but let's look at the plainfield he's been dealt with. it's not like he had his utopia
8:59 am
the plainfield and yet i the hoe and the senate that were others think hey, let's work together. they have been everything they can to stymie everything he stood for. i mean, they tried to deny him a victory. they defy the will of the american people, defied it. what kind of democracy is it when you defy the will of the people that you are there to represent? whether it's minimum wage, unemployment insurance, social security, infrastructure, job creation, immigration reform, trade policy? the minority supported them because of the system is awash and a mock with money. >> do we have a question? >> good morning. i'm with alliance for justice. you spent a lot of time talking for good reason about the damage
9:00 am
being done by congress. what kind of harm to you think is intended every day americans by the supreme court? >> well, i think the supreme court has done lasting damage to the system of democracy. this supreme court the quakes money with free speech. now let's think about that. you actually believe that washington and jefferson were sitting around the table one day, and jefferson says, you know, george, i have twice as much money as you. therefore, i should have twice as much free speech as you. i can't fathom that. that this supreme court has been very, very, very fond of and accommodating to corporate america. they've done lasting damage to the system. under their rules you can hardly

64 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on