tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN January 27, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am EST
approvement act? and what other benefits are being experienced? . >> um as far as benefits of the sandy recovery reimprovement act is a very important tool and the other lesson that we have learned from is the events of katrina is that there are certain types of projects that are technically difficult that exceed the average capacity for people to manage and you need expert so we engage very early. and identify where the projects will be whether they are hospitals or other large public infrastructures. we brought in a lot of experts. it wasn't until you passed a sandy recovery improvement act that we had the resolution had we been using an old program and using actual costs, there would have been more uncertainty for the application can't on what they could and could not do. it would have been more overhead in making those decisions and they would not have had the ability to get what they were going to get
from us and move forward. as it is we have obligated the majority of those funds. they are now engaged in repair and construction. we still have projects from katrina that have not even been resolved yet. so i think that one, better understanding the complex its and projects on the fronten and two you gave usa tool we did not have before to more engage the applicants and to get a better resolution of what the project involved and getting a figure agreed to and obligating dollars on the front inverses waiting for the construction to start and constantly coming back for the revisions and updates. what are some of the most alarming trends that have you observed in disaster preparedness, response and recovery? i this i that it was alluded to by representative carson when we talk about vulnerable populations, as we you know have built our programs it is something that and i have disagreement
with my state colleagues on this. nobody disagrees on the importance of getting this right. but this is one of the thing that i observed is that we ten to treat the hard to do as an an ex-in planning funding and programs. and instead looking at the communities as they are, in building the programs so that they do not say we need to have an an ex-for kids or an an ex-for those with animals and the elderly. they are part of the community. we will need to plan more and we need to plan for what is there and not exclude it. when you look at the vulnerable populations. i will be hoevent with you, one of the growing challenges anyone creasing poverty and maybe the middle class with no safety net that a disaster will wipe out all of their savings and wipe out their most important equity their homes. we saw this in the 0-4 hurricanes. i do not think that people understand how big of a role that the poverty and lack of safety nets and the middle class that are just one
payment away from all losing all, makes them troomly vulnerable to disasters in very difficult to recover. i this i that this is up with of the things another he we look at the program. we cannot forget there are parts of the community vulnerable and the numbers are growing. and it has a lot to do with the economy and the distribution of wealth and the lack of resource as monk many people that consider themselves middle class. one disaster wipes them out. and they have suddenly found that their safety threats nets are not there for them either. thank you. the chair will recognize ranking member carson for five minutes the administrator written testimony talks about the need for clarification for functional needs, support for the general population shelters and that fema and the doj have provided this information. what is your sense sir about when will the joint guidance be issued from fema and the
doj? . >> there is a lot of guidance issued. i am not sure. what guidance i know. there is ongoing discussions but let me tell what you the outcome should look like. i think that if you do not know watt outcome looks like we will talk about the process. the good outcome. and as the state director i will think it as soon astive as a local emergency manager i was sensitive to the issue. but a perfect i wouldn't say perfect it should not be pfr but the expectation. you arrive in a shelter, and you should not be turned away. if you arrived because you had a pet people have pets. we have a plan for that. and if you show up on oxygen, if you show up with a family member on a ventilator. now it may not always be the best place. there may be other options, but i think that what you want is in a crisis people do not really have the luxury of picking and choosing where they are going to go. so we would like to get to
where most people the majority of the population can choose their shelter based upon what is convenient for them. not what we have only been willing or able to provide. we are not there and it is unfair to say that the local state government should be there immediate loochlt we did not get there. we are not where we are at because of the lack of effort or trying. this is the states and locals will have to deal with,isting buildings and many of which were not designed for people with disabilities. and you flow. is requirementes to upgrade them. many times it is minimal and the level of care the type of the equipment and the durable goods. so this is a goal i this i that most of us agreed to work towards. people should not be turned away from shelters because they are not easy to accommodate. but also we need to understand that it is alon lot easier to say and do. there is big challenges of what could be done to get there. so we will continue to work with partners with justice and with the disabled
community that advocate for that right. and i this i that is probably the thing to drive me passionately is that this is a civil right. absolutely. yeah. we have to do everything to ensure that we are maintaining that while understanding that this is not easy. if it was nobody would be saying, we have questions. but there is a lot of questions asked what is a reasonable complication. and to what degree that they could be prepared inform that to the level that they could implement that care and probably the hard question is always, where is the money going to come from? often times in local governments that have soon tremendous reductions in the staff and funding bases and yet expect to provide service in the crisis. and many of which will not be declared by the federal government and would not receive the federal dollars. lastly sir, i have hear from some of my could not state went about the long waits to attend the fema training
center in alabama and as well as the i guess you can say the insufficient funding for the emergency response training programs in general. could you provide from us sir because of your last statement so phenomenal and deeply in sight full. we appreciate that. could you provide the subcommittee sir with some description of each of the fema training programs and over view quickly of the budget to the last five years? . >> well, the center for preparedness is a hard place to get into. there is a high demand this. is the only non-dod facility in the united states that offers live agent training. meaning your hazmat team will actually go in and experience what it is like to handle lethaler in agents and biological agents and in a controlled environment. it is priceless training for those teams. are the national academy. hemsberg is a program for many fire executives as well as training many specialized programs across the country where people come in both for training
there, and also for training as delivered to the state and programs that are developed jointly with the national fire carred plea. and the emergency management institute co-located in helmsberg providing training for state and local emergency managers. bringing together, many of them outside of their normal working environment to share their experiences but also to get the latest updates. it is both a capacity issue. in state and current programs. so again, center for domestic preparedness we have funded for so many seats. we will maximize that many of and the staff will continue to look at how to increase the capacity. it is a finite resource with high demand and we will try to accommodate those that have applied but it is again a premier facility which capabilities not found elsewhere. with a very high demand for the resource. thank you sir. thank you mr. carson. the chair recognizes mr. norton for five minutes.
into thank you mr. chairman i have just one question that i would like to take advantage of the experience that mr. fuga at the has had in disaster mitigation and ask for his candid views and here i am not asking you about funding, that is not something that you control. i want to contrast the difference between the way that congress behaved after the terrorist attacks and the way they behaved after katrina and sandy. after the terrorist attack the country, it scare the dickens out of the country. i am going to say that it scared us so badly that after the fact we actually through money at the jurisdiction. the there was not a state that did not get fund to prepare for the next disaster attack. not including the states that al-qaeda never heard
of. never would venture to care about. and every state got some funds. i was on homeland security at the time and saw it happen. again i am not asking you about funding. i recognize and i appreciate that predisaster funding we have over again found in this subcommittee and committee that savings from 1 dollar invested $4. as we look at katrina and sandy. i mean i recall that in order to get funds for sandy even after new york and new jersey were laid low. it took two votes to get funding for to you begin to
do your work in sandy. now um what i really want to know is as an agency that has looked at the disasters now natural disasters for decades whether or not the agency will need to have a revision whether in law or structure. can you sit there and in the face of katrina and sandy, and not envision when you see hurricanes occurring where they are not suppose to occur, when you see climate not only changes but this disasters in parts of the country that have never known them. is the fema of today structured decadesing a, the fema that can handle the unknown that we now see
before us? and here i am looking for how the agency whether it needs to ask for revisions in law or in its own structure, rather than what you encountered after sandy, and after the finger was pointed at you, it didn't matter when we gave money or how you were structured. you just had to take it. and instead of just taking it it does seem to me that the agency with expertise should come before this panel and tell us whether you are prepared for disaster for earthquakes or to occur in california or the kind that it has never seen before or shall we just sit here and think it will never happen and just wait for it to come after us. is the fema of the 21st century prepared for what we know now from our own experience with katrina and sandy?
is surely to come in parts of the country that we never expected? . >> if so, if you think that it is prepared tell us. if it is not fully prepared you should actually. i ask you then, is the agency looking at how it could make recommendations for what appears to be the entirely new era in both terrorist disasters and for that matter in now we know natural disasters. are you looking at the future? future? . >> i learned a long timing a that the person that says that we are fully prepared and we know what will happen is a fool that will certainly be no you do not know what will happen so we don't. no. i want to make clear. you know they have hurricanes in florida. you no he that they have earthquakes. in california. i bet you did not know that we had we would have a quake quick here in the nation's capital i am talking about what you don't know.
and what you will be held responsible for not with stanning the fact that you don't know. is your agency structured so it can handle what you don't know? . >> that is where we are going. what we changed the question was traditionally, what was fema capable of responding to? as you point out, that is an aron if you are only prepared to have a certain level of disaster. you fail so we started to look at where was the risk in the population and not looking at what fema was capable of responding to but what is the worst case that could happen? we started to ask questions that were not easy to answer because the questions started to generate response levels greater than the federal government. it forced to us really take a different look at how we fund as you point out the hom homodollars as we fund the jurisdiction and many of us were not likely to have a terrorist attack. they are a resource for the rest of the nation when it is a big disaster that happens. we saw this in sandy. many of the responsible ors
from outside of the area were able to responsive because of the capabilities of homeland security dollars so. we are following what you are pointing out. we cannot prepare for what we expect or what we are prepared to handle. we have to prepare for what could happen. this is driving our strategic planning this. is driving how we are looking at how we are structured with fema. not to what we can respond to. but what could happen. that is again driving a lot of our decisions again it is, we don't think that the resources are necessarily the first answer but it requires resources in sustained funding and a budget as you well know. operating under continuings are lugss is not how you prepare for catastrophic disasters and in my term here. have i been unmore continuing resolutions than i have unbudgets so i would love to have the staff if necessary, you no. if you were available to sit down and talk about this but we are definitely trying to look at the future and looking at what could
happen. looking at how you build a response. can i tell you it is built today? . >> no it is a work in progress but i think that we have moved past the barriers of planning of what we know and what we are prepared to respond to and asking a harder question. how bad it could be. and the president said this in a will earlier meet that can i of attending. we can't protect everything so we need to know what we can live without and what we can't. if we can't live without as a nation that is where we need to fox us. so when we start to look at disasters and where they can happen and where they are expected verses what could happen based upon the modeling and the data of various organizations and pop layings a the risk. we are looking at how do you build and. this is not just fema but you call it the whole government. and we will come back to this is will take mutual aide and the federal government. our department defense and private sector and it will take a lot of the public to respond to that scale of the
sdaf disaster. so that is where i would just ask that a the an appropriate time it would be not resting to have a briefing. and as to how they are looking it he unknown that we now know to expect but we do not know what it is and could bring calamity to us as congress would be asked to do. and it didn't have the funds to do and expect for it to happen if they would pinpoint how they would go about that. it would educate me. and the suband full committee. mr. chairman. i think that we have samples we are doing. the catastrophic planting and some of the work that we have done. and in the new cascade fault zone and off of the coast of the northwest u.s. the new earthquake risk. that is again a very large risk of a large area. and i this i that we can show where we are going and tell you what we think is the path to get us there then that will give you the opportunity to look at are there additional tools that you can give us the last
thing that i want to end with it is the stafford act was often times the constraint that was seen as what fema was capable of doing. the past year since i have been in female a we have responded to the haiti, the triadedly the role of the usad. with we are asked to support usad. we did. and last year we were asked to accompanieded children's and the mass care issues of children in detention facilities. we supported that. and we were asked to support the ebola response many of the things that may not be in the papers but they are capabilities that you built and you gave us the tools un homeland security act as amended. the stafford act however is limited to often times the natural hazards with the limited flexibility. i think that there is an important point. when you look at growing hazards like cyber and others what is the role of the disaster relief fund and consequence world and if it is not in rebuilding in the emergency response costs and
the ability to use the emergency declaration to mobilize and bring resources to bear. is this worthwhile looking at such things which it is a question, what is the role in the pandemic? it is not specifically excluded in the emergency declaration. it is not mentioned. cyber. again we do not look to have the role in the prevention or the law enforcement or or even the response to the technical aspects of it. but states and locals will be dealing with consequences of it. many of which will follow similar patterns of other types of hazards. we saw this in deep water horizon again the cost guard is the lead agency for that. and had many of of the tools to deal with the response. much of the coordination with the local and state governments would have to be built and again, fema is not looking to grow our role. but we think that is better understanding of what the intent of congress is as you point out in the homeland security act as a menned as a principal adviser to the president and to congress on emergency management and also the role in the
capabilities that we have built for many of the sdafer disasters not limiting the applicability to other lead agencies to support them or governors when they fall outside traditional known disasters. chair will recognize mr. graves for five minutes thank you mr. chairman. mr. fugate i want to go on a few things that followed up on the line of questioning. one is which is the program that we can go back over bigger waters at length in south louisiana we have lost about 1900 square miles of wet lands and 90 pers of the coastal wet lands lost in the continental united states and what that does is makes the gulf of mexico close for our coastal communities and there by increasing their vulnerability. unbigger waters before the changes enacted the rates and some cases increased rates 20, 30, 4 0 times what they were previously.
this increase in vulnerability. whether it is real or not is not the fault of the people. it is largely based on studies actually a result of federal actions tied to the project dating back to 1928 when you add on top of that the restrict that's were put into place and you add on the top of that, some of the challenge that's i noted earlier regarding the core of engineer projects note today have a cost of benefit ratios and stuck in the projects for decades literally. we are missing the tune to its save taxpayer dollars by being proactive than racktive that is more pensive as the two studies that we noted before show. there are opportunities here to make the communities more resiliant and to save taxpayer dollars. i understand that not all of of those are part of the agency. but i want to urge and again going back to the comments of? isner norton the better
coordination of the fema and core of engineer there's are better opportunities and projects here for the communities to be made more resilient to where the hurricanes and other disaster left side be rainy days as oppose to catastrophic losses as we have seen in recent years. i wanted to perhaps correct the record on the comment that you made or just provide a little bit more context of the national program. you made a comment to the program is 20 billion dollars in debt. and i though that have you seen the stirred he's and you look at that and you can justify the programs in the black from 9 to 16 billion dollars and you and i may not agree on that. but i it that i this is noteworthy. and the study issue kate that can 66% of the commissions premiums that were retained by the write your owns in the form of commissions not going into the fund and lastly, as i recall from the 2005 storms the program will borrow $17 billion the majority of the debt that you reference and you had the core of
engineers and they indicated that katrina was an not begineering failure of the corps of engineers and the rate pairs are left holding the bag in this case. so i just wanted to make sure that, it was also included in the record not to distort the sol vancy of the nfip program and to be clear that louisiana is perhaps one of anomaly and that is vulnerability is not the as a result of the decisions communities that made in most cases but a result of the changing landscape. largely a result of the federal actions that have had add haves consequences on the communities and the environment in south louisiana. my sister lives in marero on the wrong side of the mississippi river levee systems. when storms come she will be flooded. i also know that we did a lot of good work dave paulson over seeing in in his term building back better there were key did heing sippingses made when the latest storm hit, i
believe isaac, the area was elevated they did not have to shut down i was with the governor driving through the hurricane and getting down there. they were able to maintain a full response. they evacuated. where they had put in their levees and much this was their decision they were able to protect parts of the community. they were agent also making did he significant overs what would not be defensible anymore and buying out and we locating in the communities. so we know that this area. we have worked in it but the numbers there in and how you get to the numbers the fact is that the flood insurance program still owes and has borrowed from the treasury to pay out. and again two of the very large payouts were katrina and also sandy and it is not able to pay that debt down. it was paying it down slowly after katrina. and again, this is a sense of congress as do we want to have a sound program that i think that the answer is, for parts yes. and other parts, we actually would put people out of their homes that i do not
think was the intend that is why congress made that change and in bigger waters we got to make sure that we have set an appropriate level that we can't run it as an insurance company. and say that it would be sound. and we will have to understand. we will have to run the risk there. is no other way to keep people in their homes and the administrator in closing i want to say that i agree that the taxpayers should not be footing the bill in this case however we at the same time should not call a program that is being run inofficially. and the $17 billion katrina expense that the corps of engineers admitted to be their liability or their fault. students me. thank you mr. fugate for your testimony today. your comment have been helpful to the day's discussion. i look forward to working with you on legislation and imput in support is vital. to getting it right and to get it signed into law
. >> any discussion in the brief number of deck/ages. major disaster emergency hazmat. all appear on the fema website and declaration statement. okay. and they are all funded out of the disaster relief fund they are distinction and the overwhelming amount of spend comes from major disaster declarations and people that combine them together and say we have more declarations but that is inprecise and not very helpful there was a steady increase in the disaster declarations during our life times it has increased from the 60es to now.
and there has been a steady with that increase though. it also would acknowledge that last year was the lowest number since 2001. and i mention that to reinforce one fact that is often lost when we start to talk or at least having theories about why the disaster declaration occurs that is that they will begin with the actual physical events how do we explain the increased number of disaster declarations? . >> the extreme weather event in the last 50 years the population of the nation has nearly doubled. it could be argue that had the population density has increased the density not only nextisting communities but spurred a lot of increased development in areas that are very vulnerable to natural disasters:.
federal expenditures, state for state and communities in a process that can involve a partnership at all levels of government and also at the nonprofit sector and with the private sector. pure disaster declarations would result in less spending, but continuing to lessen the impact of future catastrophic events may arguably whole lot more promise and long-term savings and protecting our citizens. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you, you, and i am happy to respond to any of your questions. >> thank you for your testimony command we apologize for the sound system. you may proceed. >> unfortunately we're going to have him to pass that one. thank you.
>> see if we can get this want to work. anyway the of the subcommittee and chairman schuster has shown how tough these issues are. we must find a way better than the cost curve. in pursuit of this mission i believe we can save additional lives and do a much a much better job of protecting property. i am the senior partner. glad joe spent seven years in federal service of our nation and served as a fema administrator from 2,005 until 2,009. i began my career as a fire rescue firefighter. as a result, i have had a front-row seat as to how we as a a nation prepare for and deal with disasters. i have witnessed unfortunate policy errors and wasted taxpayer dollars. in most cases this is the result of
insufficient investment and mitigation before disaster hit. i believe this new congress has the golden opportunity to advance a bipartisan national disaster strategy that will better protect american people, property, and save taxpayer dollars. with the senate and house of representatives working together across party lines now is the time to address the failed status quo of waiting for stars to hit and then passing massive supplemental appropriation bills. the director has done a tremendous job of fostering resiliency and the community-oriented approach since he took the reins. however i am sure even he would admit there is still much work to be done to build a more resilient country by shifting more money to predisaster all incentive programs hopefully understanding the realities of exploited cost can serve as a motivator. any attempt to change the status quo must begin with an understanding of the nature of the problem. first let me describe the nature of the problem we
face. according to fema federal major disaster declarations have jumped to a yearly average of 23 under president reagan to an average of 65 under pres. obama. the trend is undeniable but also nonpartisan as the average number of disaster declarations per year has risen. the 2nd slide is a representation a representation of the average overall insured losses over the last three decades. this. the spike in overall cost is dramatic over the last two decades increasing from an average of 33 billion per year to doubling to $65 billion year in the next decade. the federal government has warned the overwhelming majority of these losses. the hundred and 37 billion has been spent $400 a household with over 60 billion on superstore
standing superstar standing alone. only a dollar was invested in preventive measures. this this low predisaster investment is an important factor. for every dollar invested in mitigation it save the taxpayers $4 in recovery. ironically these are the most preventable with proper predisaster mitigation and resiliency tools like modern building codes. building codes are the most effective mitigation measure we have yet only 11 states across this country have adequate building codes and enforcement mechanisms in place. most of the states lacked proper building codes and are directly in harm's way when it comes to hurricanes and other natural
disasters. it disasters. it seems to me that the critical question is what can congress do. i am always reminded of the advice given by america's most famous firefighter ben franklin, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. providing incentives is the most cost effective mitigation tool we have. the build strong coalition urges the enactment of the safe building code to provide an additional 4% incentive and post is actor grants to states that adopt and enforce the strong building codes. future savings that result should be reinvested in predisaster incentives. facilitate modern building codes and communities across the country. i applaud you for the announcement of the congressional roundtable to begin the dialogue on how to identify and quantify factors driving disaster and use that information to ultimately study and find
solutions. it is my recommendation that the new congress passed legislation in short order to commission a blue ribbon panel to explore why disaster declaration is at an all-time high and what is behind the dramatic increase in disaster spending to read some questions the panel could explore include the increase is related to population increases? other related changes in spending for construction of homes? what changes can be made to enhance building resiliency? the panel could also make recommendations concerning the proper role of federal state, and local governments with specific attention given to the roles of fema, hide dot to minimize the duplication of effort and waste. i believe congress should authorize this blue ribbon panel and use its finding to put in place a comprehensive national disaster strategy that aims to save lives and ultimately taxpayer dollars. i want to thank you for
allowing me to testify before the subcommittee and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your testimony. you may proceed. >> thank you chairman, ranking member, members of the subcommittee. the statement for the record goes into specific detail on many issues. for now i will cover the current state of disaster it's, efforts within her and concerns with the systems of management cost. as you have already heard, the number and nature of federally declared as investors has widened over time. it provides only a glimpse. the majority of events are handled at the state or local level and do not warrant federal assistance. in 2013 there 2013 there were 205 gubernatorial declarations in over 13,000 events. in addition local and tribal governments responded to nearly 31,000.
without a strong emergency management system at the state, local, and tribal levels many of the nearly 50,000 would falter or require federal support. that federal support comes in the form of public assistance which amounts to half of the total funds allocated to the disaster relief fund. in order to assure the most effective use of those funds and in response to numerous government audits last year fema initiated an internal study of its this program. in the coming weeks the agency we will share data with the desired goal of an agreed-upon redesigned pa program that meets the needs of all stakeholders. a redesigned program will also assist in reducing and appropriately allocating those administrative costs. the report highlights the continuing increase of fema's administrative costs as a percentage of the drf which average 13%. while less than 2% was apportioned
for grantees. this has been an area of great frustration and concern and certainly needs further examination. we help an improved process will reduce the opportunity for future audits and the obligations by simplifying and standardizing efforts and reducing the time necessary to close disasters. the disasters. the current rate of the obligation causes significant economic hardship and require significant staff time that would be better spent preparing for future disasters. reducing administrative expenditures would also allow the nation to explore uses for these funds such as increasing resiliency by identifying and incentivizing and funding additional opportunities. these efforts will ultimately reduce our disaster cost. intend to continue conversations on these issues utilizing the combined efforts of the response and recovery community to explore alternatives and make recommendations. we have gone to great
lengths. efforts such as the sandy recovery and improvement act and hr 3300 provide opportunities to drive down the cost of disaster. we will continue. only through an effective response and subsequent recovery can we work toward building more resilient communities reducing the overall cost of disasters and ultimately save more lives. i look forward to our continued partnership and welcome any questions. >> thank you for your testimony. [inaudible conversations]
>> okay. good morning, chairman, ranking member. i am assistant fire chief of emergency operations. today i am testifying on behalf of the international association of fire chiefs. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the miserable. in 2013 wildland fires impacted every state in the nation. more than 47,500. they burned roughly 4.3 million acres and cost the federal government over $1.7 billion. local fire departments respond. for fires on federal lands they cooperate with the us department of interior and agriculture. nearly 97% of percent of all wildland fires are extinguished during initial attack.
the u.s. forest service estimates local fire departments provide more than $36 billion per year. the city and county of san diego are no stranger to the threat of wildlife fire. in 2003 2007 and three 2,007 and again in 2014 they experienced fire sieges. tens of millions of dollars in damage. the primary federal agencies are the department of interior and the u.s. forest service. however, fema plays an important role. under fema's fire and management assistant grant fema provides assistance in the form of 75 percent matching funds to help offset the cost to threaten
such destruction as would constitute a a major disaster. also provides hazard mitigation assistance which can help states and local communities protect public and property. today fema plays an important role in helping states and local communities address the threat. it does not duplicate or replace suppression. however, we would would like to recommend policy changes to help play an even more beneficial role. in a dynamic wildland fire environment must use more flexibility. they must be submitted by what is burning uncontrolled six hours into an uncontrolled fire incident. the application was rejected due to being submitted at a.
when it slowed. received two hour sooner approval was likely. likely. in the future field must take into consideration special circumstances that could compromise the time and submittal when a threat continues to exist. to do otherwise may unfairly burdened local and state taxpayers. number two congress should congress should allow fema funding to be used to mitigate the risk long after wildland fires extinguished the distraction of vegetation leaves communities vulnerable to the threat of mudslides and flash flooding. fema should fully reimburse fire departments for interstate mutual and deployment. one fire departments are deployed they expect to be
made whole. unfortunately this is not the case. when a local fire local fire department apparatus is committed to an emergency incident it is no longer available in that department. it will only reimburse the department for 16 hours hours of the 24 hour day for this equipment after the 1st 48 hours. a fire departments are not fully reimbursed local government policy makers may not be as willing to send them to assist in other communities. congress should stabilize funding. in recent years federal fire agencies have seen wildlife fire suppression cost exceed budget. the department of interior and u.s. forest service have been forced to transfer funding from other accounts. this has this has depleted accounts aimed at activities like reducing hazardous fuels and preventing
wildfires. we support the efforts to address the wildland fire problem to the creation of the flame fund and the national cohesion wildlife management strategy. we also have also have been supportive of legislation like hr 167 which would allocate the cost of suppressing the largest 1 percent to the disaster relief fund. efforts to adequately cover the cost we will allow the department of interior and u.s. forest service to fund other programs designed to prevent future wildland fires. i think the committee for the opportunity to address the issue. the threat of wildland fire continues to grow more severe. fema plays an important role in helping communities prepare, respond to, and recover from that threat. we look forward to working with the community to address these issues. i issues. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you for your testimony. i will now begin the 1st round of questions
limited to five minutes for each member. if there are any additional questions following the 1st round we we will have additional rounds of questions as needed. if we can pass the microphone down. >> you have analyzed the history of our nation's disaster assistance authorities and the creation of fema. can you explain some of the basic principles that are fundamental of fema's assistance programs in the nation's approach to disaster recovery? >> yes, mr. chairman. fundamentally it begins as a partnership between the federal and state government i think it is written that the stafford act is written in a way that is of interest because it is extremely flexible. we were talking about some of the ways that it works and some of the ways it does
not work. what else struck me is i have occasionally heard it referred to as the kind of act you could drive a truck through. i also heard it referred to as a straitjacket. perhaps both people are right. essentially fema is looking at the state as their partners, partners, and i think that in that way it works fairly effectively. you have state agencies that have grown in sophistication and ability through the years and are able to work well with fema and make it work. knowing that the state and locals can do well in working together to repair infrastructure, repair buildings repair water services, but one of the things i want to stress that i think is difficult is we say good things. we do have -- there is one problem on that. creating expectations for families and individuals.
the stafford act does not come close to bringing people back to where they were before disaster. in fact the total amount that can be spent currently on any family is $32,400. now, that can't replace the flood insurance policy, homeowners policy, and at times there is kind of an image created that don't worry fema dollars a coming. well, to an extent for state and local government there is some truth in that but certainly for families and individuals nothing replaces solid insurance and the culture of preparedness. overall you have seen it really growing and maturing and address a lot of the toughest problems that communities face. it does it faster, certainly
responds much better, but it is left with the question is what is next. we can get better and better at responding, be faster and at responding but as one who has also written absent that you are going to be repeating the same work over and over again in the same places until you try to reduce the risk overall. >> as you testified, the cost of natural disasters are driven by just a few events. if we are to look for solutions to reduce the cost we are going to have to understand. do you have a sense of what some of those factors may be? >> the biggest factor is we have had a series of events now where we -- where it has become, we think about the
unthinkable. and back in the 90s we think unthinkable as a hurricane a hurricane going directly into new orleans or really strong hurricanes hitting the new york city and new jersey areas. areas. we have started to have those things occur. these costs are being driven by. some of the things we can do is to begin to take steps to protect these structures, do elevation, move some areas out of where rivers want to go over coastal surges want to go. overall some of the biggest disasters we have had committed would be hard to take a chunk out of because they went where people were and were valuable real estate was which ended up costing us a a great deal.
there is still much we can do. >> the chair now recognizes the ranking member for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. i understand the states concerns about liability for failing to provide adequate sheltering during disasters. at the very same time how do you suggest we provide the same kind of access to shelters for those with functional needs support services? >> thank you for the question. dealing with the vulnerable population is an issue that we have been working on for a number of years and it is an extreme. the issue comes down to how is it that we achieve the vision that the administrator laid out given the fiscal constraints and the resource constraints that we have at the state and local level to ensure we are able to provide that ability for anyone to seek shelter at any location
during those times when we we will be severely resource constrained. we continue to make a progress. that is going in the form of increased cooperation. helping us to make sure that we are able to apply those resources that may be in another jurisdiction. we will never be able to afford to have all of the potential durable medical equipment at every shelter location all the time that we have the ability to transport those in short order. the same thing for the human capitol. and one hurricane in 2005 the 2005 the state of florida have approximately 280 shelters open. we did not have the resources but if we have the network in place, the partnership and cooperation in place at a time as those
needs arrive weaken the.quickly. make sure that we can get the resources available to be shared appropriately and make sure we have the conversation ahead of time to make sure that that in fact is going to be the need and inappropriate solution to the situation. >> and to that., mr. mccarthy you mentioned the difficulty of measuring state readiness and the capabilities when reviewing disaster declaration. what options have been considered and do you have any recommendations for determining readiness and capability? >> it is something that fema has worked on a few times trying to look at what the states themselves think the strongest at what they can probably take. i think their are a number of pieces yet to be looked at.
there their are certainly a lot of ways of measuring the ability. i think a lot of states are simply responsible and know that they have to do they're the ones that have to respond 1st and do a lot of responses absent federal help but it is interesting to think that their are some states that do a wonderful job because they get hit frequently but their are other states because it is very episodic business, they might not get hit with something substantial for years. and then it makes it all the more difficult. not being really responsive. a checklist that maybe fema
could go down looking at. i think gal has made a couple of suggestions. >> some have indicated that too many small disasters tieups fema resources and inhibit the ability to respond. >> regardless of the size of the disaster we firmly believe that if we look at premedication issues particularly with our building codes and how we are putting a house together we can reduce our cost significantly.
15% 15 percent of the country lives on 3 percent of the land. continue to rebuild hurricane andrew almost 90,000 severely damaged. we look very carefully at what damage was caused, what caused them to fail because the windows to blowout. change of building codes. it was not easy to do. a lot of political will. regardless of whether it's a small disaster a catastrophic event, it's the same type of damage. really the damage to each
individual is identical. we need to step back and look very clearly a what we're doing to our building codes and how we are building these things back. that is will reduce cost. >> the chair recognizes mr. graves for five minutes. >> going back on the same thing could you talk a little bit about some of your experiences with predisaster mitigation as opposed to post disaster response. >> obviously being on the ground coming in as a fire administrator.
in the middle of katrina we think we saw very clearly, very clearly that we were not putting enough money in predisaster mitigation. seeing the same things. we rebuild back in the same places. we're not going to evacuate florida. we know that's not an option the option, the other option now that we are here and we no are going to have hurricanes what are we going to do about it. we can't just just sit there and folder hands or sit on our hands. so i firmly believe and appreciate so much with the committee is doing to step back and look at what we're spending money on. the roundtable issue, we don't need to no how much we're spending on disasters. we don't have a clue of what
we're spending totally. we do no that if we do things up front to protect their businesses, protector houses have good plans in place. so i think that is recognized also. >> quick observations. >> am sorry could you repeat that. >> do you have any reaction to the different approach to response and hurricane sandy as compared to previous disasters? >> we made changes after katrina waiting for the storm to make landfall we wait for the local community to come in. the federal government steps
in. i call it a system of sequential failure. we saw it clearly. we had changed our philosophy from a reactive to a proactive system. it worked extremely well. not one for talented. working with the locals and the state. the budget office and president bush agreed we would do a predisaster declaration. he carried on the same philosophy. a lot of resources prior to the storm making landfall. still had a significant impact. as as far as changing a response i don't think i would.
some of our other issues not involved in those. i can tell you that spending money on the ground prior landfall makes a lot of sense, and it works. >> the new standards many many many, many other regulatory changes and policies put in place in recent years. can you react to that statement and perhaps some of the impact you have seen in florida? >> more flood insurance policies. we have about 37 percent. acutely aware of the issues
surrounding it and saw some of the price increases. it has impacted the communities but it has also given us an opportunity to consider alternatives and ways to improve into the future. continuing consideration about about ways to perhaps privatize flood insurance and encourage that market. we're also looking looking at investing more in the community ready system portion, taking advantage of that program to achieve discounts for policyholders by improving the readiness and resilience of our communities. it definitely is something that is top of mind but is also an opportunity to make sure that we better prepare for future disasters by taking advantage of existing federal programs as they are today and fully taking advantage of everything that they offer. >> thank you.
continuing to mitigate or lessen the impact of future catastrophic disaster grants may arguably hold the most promise in reducing expenditures on page two there were fewer disasters. we understand trends by looking over a. of years when there has been an acceleration. we were offered a graph which was helpful which showed that this has been reflected through democratic and republican administrations. there probably there probably was a reason for the greatest rise between presidents reagan and hw bush even less than the rise between katrina and sandy. i also note that you say that fire management
assisting grants often obviate the need for major disaster disaster declaration because they provide funding that help states to control wildfires. the funds would go one place rather than another but it would probably be viewed less than what happens when you have one of those huge fires in california. when you get to defining declarations i say good luck that is basically presidential, the governor coming to the president. i think congress might be able to pass something that tries to reduce it. i don't think i would advise
there is allowed to have a question i asked about changes in the stafford act or other ways to look at how we have run mitigation or 40 disaster relief before in what looks like a knew era you indicate there are a number of sections you could repeal. he said that there was a suggestion that would have applied a strict formula to the declarations process and also would have reduced the federal share of disaster from 75% 75 percent to five disaster assistance from 75 percent to 50 percent and quickly add congress insisted that a formula not
be able to be the sole determinant of declarations. as long as this is a union of states that probably will be handled on a case-by-case basis. the only real hope is in an area where we set confusion and help. we we quote extensively from the chairman who talked about real confusion between various programs for mitigating disaster and then you.to -- and you call the mixed messages. and one mixed message or one that would have caused uncertainty is one from the administration introduced what you call a nationwide resilience competition with resources of just over a billion dollars.
you said you said it would boost future disaster mitigation savings but it was not clear that this program linked to other programs. it did not have the same cost-benefit requirements. well, my question to you is if what the administration was doing was saying you have to compete for these funds in the competition what the competition building those various notions that we now use on a basis of whichever program you apply for and get some kind of regularize notion of forcing efficiency moving to real mitigation and getting funds based upon that competition to who could do mitigation, who
needs to do mitigation most because you have to compete. why doesn't the very fact of the competition building the very factors that today resulting confusion among the various programs that are now used to reduce mitigation. >> that is an excellent. and what i would say really the competition ends in march and we we will be able to look at it. in fairness i i say they don't appear to have the same cost-benefit ratio it is something that could get built-in. in fairness to hug they mentioned what they were looking for was innovation. at times some people would look and think that it did not encourage enough innovation. i guess what is difficult is -- and i apologize for
having spent a career at fema but fema has been doing mitigation since 1988. that does not mean that is where all mitigation money must go, but it has been a theme throughout the hearing today how much coordination is there, how much do they really talk to each other. and so i guess with resilience we we will learn more. we will find out whether it has been innovative. it has it has just been hard to see this and not know whether or not some of the people that have done a lot of mitigation across the country have been a part of what has been undertaken. >> i would suggest if you follow the money and the
largest amount of money was given for competition that one of the factors in competition would be the common notion of building codes. well, if you apply for mitigation funds and are sitting there with no building code, i wonder if you could win that competition. as against other jurisdiction you might have an equally good application but also have taken some self-help initiative on his own to have building codes throughout the state. that is the kind of thing that would bring together what now are what you call next messages. you have several different programs trying to do the same thing. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> now recognize each member for an additional five minutes.
both of you have testified to increasing cost and losses associated with the disaster. where do you see these trends going? >> as i mentioned in my testimony predisaster mitigation withering away seems to be the wrong message. i don't know that the difference in philosophy and i don't know how i got to this. but it seems to me you really do have to get it up front. you have a lot of enthusiasm to do mitigation work after you have already spent hundreds of millions repairing things. the important part is to at least consider getting it on the front end. i will turn to the chief. >> you heard him say that we have had years up and down. if you look at the trends over the last 15 20 years
actually it has continued to rise and continue to rise and continue to rise. so we have to do something. we have limited dollars. we have to respond. we know we have to respond. did not have the money up front. somewhere along the lines of third-party takes the politics out of it and allows us to get a handle on this. if we do nothing continues to rise beyond capacity.
disaster response and recovery. your thoughts on the federal government to help reduce cost and losses related to disasters? >> it is a partnership not just between the federal government and the states the state and the locals, the locals and individuals in the private sector working together. how are we going to protect our businesses, protect our homes, protect our communities from disasters that we no we're going to have a man we have not done that. convincing the public to prepare themselves for a catastrophic event. we saw hurricane mama not a catastrophic hurricane. we had tens of thousands of people the hour of the storm
because they had not prepared themselves. that cost the federal government millions. so is it not only the predisaster mitigation but the planning, training educating the public and getting the private sector. we lose about 40 percent in every catastrophic event. that's a a huge hit on the economy. going through homestead it took 20 years for that community to recover because small businesses failed. there were no jobs, and people bailed. it is a partnership something we have to work together. we have a great administrator who recognizes that. we just have to given the resources to make it happen. >> briefly if any of you
aware of examples where states have used federal programs to invest in a way that is already shown to have avoided additional damage and loss. >> mr. chairman, a lot of wonderful examples and best practices that we can see across the country from north carolina to st. charles county, missouri there are businesses here anymore. we're saving money. it is the dog that does not barkan does not get headlines. those are just a few examples. >> mr. chairman, we have already discussed the business of ministration this tremendous work. cooperation with the national programs to help us
do a good job of meeting the needs of our citizens using federal and other dollars as well. >> hazard mitigation grant program has been hugely successful. it allows agencies in the community to find defensible space, the creation of defensible space that allows us to go in and protect those homes. they also allow communities to invest in noncombustible holding materials. we have experienced, and not just in california you know whether it be new construction that's all well
and good for the new construction or those communities that may be a suffered through the fire and rebuild. the the existing nonconforming structures and the owners that would have the challenges and urging them to get involved and allow us to protect them in a better way. the hazardous materials or hazard mitigation grant program. >> ranking member carson. >> one last question. what role can the assistance to firefighters grant program play in helping communities prepare for the threat of wildfires? >> that program has been hugely beneficial. not only by way of creating grant opportunities for fire
equipment but also training. the assistance of firefighters grant has benefited not only our agencies but our agencies all over this country in providing a wealth of equipment that we would not be able to afford on our own the safer grant which is a staffer grant that also is an assistance to firefighters grant provides much-needed staffing for large and small. that program has been hugely beneficial. there are a number of training programs that would not have been possible. we appreciate. >> thank you. i yield back. >> what do you think of our proposal the blue ribbon commission.
and with this effort be helpful to reducing future disaster costs and better protect our communities? >> i just want to reemphasize how important that would be. we don't understand all the costs. i think having a third-party review we will help get good solid answers without the politics. i applaud you for taking that on. >> as you mentioned in your opening statement it has been at least 20 years. we are happy to support you. >> yes we do, and we are eager to participate. >> certainly the international association fire chief stands ready to assist in participate. >> lx forward to working with each and every one of you. i want to thank you all for
your testimony. your comments about helpful. i have received written statements for the record and the national concrete masonry association. i think these organizations for their input on these important topics and ask unanimous consent that these two statements be included in the record. without objection so ordered if there are no further questions i ask unanimous consent that the record of today's hearing remain open until such time as her witnesses have provided answers any questions that may be submitted in writing and unanimous consent that the record remain open for 15 days 15 days for any additional comments and information submitted by members or witnesses to be included in the record of today's hearing. without objection out would like to again thank her witnesses for the testimony today. this meeting is adjourned.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> next the second circuit court of appeals hears oral argument in the case challenging the affordable care act contraception coverage mandate. a house financial services committee hearing on making mortgages available to more first-time buyers. fema director on the rising cost and damage from natural disaster.
they have frontal lobes, it is just that the connections can be made as quickly for a split-second decision making. and a lot of the hormones are changing in the body. the brain has now seen these yet in life until you hit teenage years. the brain is trying to learn how to respond to these new hormones rolling around and locking onto receptors synapses of different types. it is sort of trial and error. i think i think this contributes to this very roller coaster kind of experience that we watch his parents. >> sunday night at 8:00 o'clock eastern and pacific on c-span q&a. >> the affordable care act includes the requirement that health insurers pay for contraception with an opt out provision that lets religious employers shift contraception coverage to a third-party. the roman catholic archdiocese of new
>> they are not currently receiving coverage under these regulations and we have planned to expectedly exempt those that would receive coverage. >> so the institution is exempt, their employees don't get covered at all? >> under the religious employer exemption that exist that is based upon this for churches and the provision and the internal revenue code that defines houses of worship and their integration. >> so they don't get coverage. okay, so this includes employers that work for this with a
special solicitude do not get coverage of all and that it doesn't always work for those with these institutions? is that one of the reasons? >> guesstimate that is one of the reasons, however the exemption for churches is a long-standing exemption with numerous statutory provisions including in the internal revenue code, churches are exempt from property taxes and filing informational tax returns and there are religious employer exemptions here. >> so if an employer wants coverage of this important service from an exempt institution, is there any method by which they could get it? >> the employee could independently seek out contraceptive coverage, but would not have it without through these regulations, which is why it is so critical that
the accommodations at emplace their that the plaintiff took advantage of they expected this religious liberty by allowing them to opt out and allow them to effectively exempt so that they have the provision to which they object, and also ensures that their employees get that contraceptive coverage without cost sharing. so the supreme court and hobby lobby emphasize the importance under the accommodations of making sure that employees refuse coverage with the effect on the employees of these institutions was precisely zero under these opt out accommodations, that there would not be additional administrative burdens and it is important to emphasize the opt out accommodations that exist in order to respect the religious liberties of these companies and believe them of any substantial
burdens. >> i am sorry for interrupting, how does the court determine when a burden on religious exercises insubstantial or somewhere in between. what is the role of the court here and how do we understand what we are supposed to be doing here and have a opt out cannot be part of this. >> this makes clear they are not rubberstamping the request of the point if and to quote religious judgment over the entirety of the substantial burden inquiries insubstantiality helps as well. >> i think that what the cleanups our objective to our of
the government and third-party. >> if this is substantial, and hobby lobby tells us that we have to defer to the beliefs of the objector. >> again, as the dc circuit made clear, there is a role for the court to play in evaluating the nature of the asserted burden. in this case the plaintiff did not object to identifying themselves as having religious objection to the provision of contraceptive coverage. they presumably do not object to notifying the third-party administrator or under the revised accommodations that they have such an objection. what they were objecting to is that once they provided that notice, the government stepped in and assure debt it was filled by incentivizing this. >> they are providing
contraceptive coverage that goes against their religious beliefs. >> they do make that argument. the regulations make clear that there is a separation between these planets in the provision. >> that the belief is a misunderstanding of the process is that your argument two. >> our argument is that there is no substantial burden under this because of regulation separates the funds that are used in this way. >> but they are mistaken that this is a substantial burden. they are just mistaken? >> there's a role for the court to play in determining what the burden actually is and how substantial it is. and these circuits have undertaken an analysis. in this includes what the regulations actually provide,
keeping in mind that they have an opt out and the accommodation exists so that they can separate themselves from the provision of coverage and it is important to realize. >> it is an essential part of the argument, if i understand it and it's a question of whether or not the burden is substantial to the court. and there will be nothing that the government could prescribe in such a program that wouldn't be defeated by the affected person saying that i object to it my simple statement that i object to it which will bring in to play the government making this available to other methods. my statement is a substantial burden in the court doesn't have to accept that.
>> how does this work with what happened with hobby lobby, it is not for us to speak about the court, to talk about this being insubstantial and instead are malfunction in this context is to determine whether the line drawn reflect an honest conviction and there is no doubt that it does. that is what they teach us in the circuit court. as long as they truly believe that they are complicit if they go through this process and we have to accept it. how can that be wrong. >> they were planning under the mandate to provide this coverage, but when it comes to hobby lobby based on the facts. >> okay, so they got the
accommodation that the plaintiffs are asking for. >> yes. furthermore, the statement that the judge has read did not address the issue of burden and the substantiality of the burden but the sincerity or importance of the leaf and excepting the sincerity and importance to the plaintiffs of the believe simply does not address this with the burden imposed on them by saying that i object. >> that does not mean that there is not an inquiry as to whether the burden under the opt out accommodation is substantial. and the government, in order to accommodate religious liberties must be allowed and the supreme
court and hobby lobby made clear that they rely extensively on this and then at the same time ensuring that the government was able to -- >> that is a substantial burden, and the lower court accepts that. how do you respond to that? >> we are going to see that they had an objection to pot in turn provide this coverage and then provide either the third-party administrative organizations or their amount of information that the government needs in order to meet our compelling interests and fill the gap that are created when they opt out of providing this coverage area.
>> so being asked merely to raise her hand is not a substantial burden. >> it would be the example, saying that i don't want to work on this line, but i'm not going to tell anyone that i don't want to work on this one, i'm merely going to work this way. this is how accommodations opt out works is that the plaintiffs have to identify themselves and that is what they have been apt to do and so the government has. >> is substantial burden the end of the line or is it can it understand that it is outweighed by the importance of the government interest? >> that is certainly correct even if even if the burden was
substantial, which we have argued that it is not on the dc circuit many other circuits have found this but the government has established in ensuring that women refuse the important health care benefit and equal access to contraceptives for those whose employers object and for those whose individuals did not object. it is showing that we establish this compelling interest standard and there is an accommodation that is an alternative available to the government to satisfy the importance in ensuring that we have received contraceptive coverage. >> i would like to start, if i may, with this discussion that did have a respect with an
important respect what the government is arguing here. and that includes insurance coverage that would provide. the government said that it is too attenuated of a connection because what needs to happen in order for this to be providing the circumstance is an actual individual needs to make an independent choice to avail herself of this service. the supreme court said that we are not in the business of a value weighting that difficult and philosophical issue as to whether by providing coverage the plaintiffs were thereby violating their religious beliefs. >> we also mentioned that those
in the plaintiffs had asked about the conscientious objective and it is actually uniform before the dc circuit and you and your colleagues argue that a court must nevertheless apprenticed the mistaken beliefs that he is substantially burden. would you give the same argument in same answer here today? >> i think that this is a way that is particularly apt that the plaintiff decided was released for a variety of purposes and not for one that would be used to manufacture the steel trade.
but it's not are we ruled to question that but it makes us complicit. >> that is my question. >> it is a violation of tablet teaching and it was a violation of catholic leaves because it would thereby make us complicit. >> if your clients don't want to raise their hands to say that we want this objection exemption, how do they know that they wanted? >> government should not be able to ask us for that information. >> how does one implement this.
>> [inaudible] >> i mean how -- how -- the insurers and the government cannot read your mind. so how do they know that you want this attention. >> it is the fact that by executing the self certification, the government is constricting the third-party administrator, prior to the regime our clients would contract not to provide this coverage. but now the tpas will be authorized to provide the information and they have to go through this. so the fact that they are using this and interfering with armor analogy is violating this practice.
so doesn't involve actually forcing on ministers to provide a way. >> [inaudible] >> no, we do not. >> it is the whole opt out terminology. it is to identify we do not object it. >> what about the government using tax records. >> that may be a different question. >> i do not know the answer and i'm not a theologian and i cannot answer that question. and we don't want to be
complicit and this is objected on sincere religious grounds not only to contraceptives provisions but to all medical provision to give medical treatment. and it would work the same way. that the person had the means to identify itself and say that it has this objection and that will bring into play the mechanism that provides the medical coverage and that person is in the same position as you and it offends to oblige to say that we
providing medical coverage. >> if i can add two things to that if i can say about the amish parents that objected to providing a high school education, the court there said that their beliefs would trump this on high school education. there may be some education with an example that you're on the raises using these restricted means, but in terms of this burden increase, if it is sincere and we could have challenged.
>> the court has to accept that. but did government can challenge >> this includes in the sincerity of the belief where the burden is substantial. they are not the same question. while you might say and correctly so that the hobby lobby case was involved in some way, the sentence that the judge had read did not address if i heard it correctly, did not address the question whether the burden was substantial but whether the belief is sincere or the person really does have a religious objection and it's not the same thing. >> step one of that analysis.
>> nonetheless a sentence did not addressed the issue of whether this is substantial the burden of inquiry. >> why would we even have substantial burden at all the persons whose burden says that substantial and that makes it as a matter of law substantial there is no test. >> the substantial part of that question is i submit quite easily here because the penalty for us not complying with the mandate is quibbling. there is a quibbling about the amount of the fine for these plaintiffs and nonprofits, those would be crippling putting them
out of the nonprofit business. if a religious adherent in one of the cases was forced to go around the corner to do something that he wants to do in a public display. and this was substantial. >> the issue to which substantiality applies as whether or not it is a substantial burden to fill out a form and say that we object. and the question is whether that was a substantial burden. >> the question is we are being made to violate the religious beliefs because we believe that this makes us complicit with a scheme that violates our belief and that is respectfully what the court has alluded to before
and hobby lobby resolves these tactics. >> a moment ago you told me you would not object to filling out some sort of form to opt out as long as you didn't have to go through your own tba. isn't that what we discussed? >> yes, we did. >> it is really quite distinguish right here, that the government takes these now and now we say we don't want to provide the coverage and the government has no implement a scheme where i believe they haven't said that we can contract this and have them not
provide the service, the government intends to provide these services and to get in the way of the ability. >> you wouldn't mind if the government talk to you as long as you don't talk to them. is that correct? >> someone has to administer that, so as long as you didn't have to have a conversation with your tpas, you would not object then to letting them know that you wanted to take advantage of this accommodation. is that correct? >> they now have to do it. or at least the tba's have been apart of this. >> one of them has said that they got no extraction from you at all. the wants and identified yourself, the government could begin to talk with the tpas and telling them to provide this.
>> [inaudible] >> the self certification operates in this way. >> that is a form of the self certification. >> and the notification is in turn part of this. >> the college says we can do it substantially in your own words. why doesn't that reasoning control here? >> in this college kids, there was the wheaton college injunction that did not make clear as the regulations do the effect of the notice and they will require this tba injunction >> lavon when i'm speaking,
please. and we've believe that this is wrong, we don't want to be thinking is wrong. >> i don't want there to be an overly terse answer, but that is the end of the inquiry of the court to debate whether that is correct and we believe it makes us complicit in that than 30 here has shown that the court has to accept that. the consequences really talking about this being complicit. >> perhaps we have to accept that it is complicit, but do we have to agree that it is substantial reign.
>> by virtue of this record. >> we hope to avoid the fines by submitting a letter. the submission of a letter that says we object. >> we had been apart of religious practice that is really the same thing that hobby lobby said that it make sense -- >> it points to the nonprofit situation as and when they say do it the nonprofit way. >> i think when it is constructed, this implicates an important and difficult question and moral philosophy, mainly the circumstances under which it is
wrong for a person to perform an act that is innocent within itself but has the effect of enabling or facilitating a moral act by another. and that is what is happening here. and hobby lobby address that accommodation where the plaintiffs did not object to it. we do and frankie the government here has not even made the less restrictive means. >> the role of the court is not to judge substantiality but to judge sincerity. and by what standard we would judge it. where we have a meter that could go from sincere to not sincere? >> it's not an issue before the word. [inaudible] >> they may have told us that
our job is not to judge the substantiality but you tell us that our job is to judge the sincerity and our job is over. >> the substantial pressure here -- what does the government do to force you to modify this in some way. our religious exercises that we do not want to and we think it is immoral and and thereby being complicit. we get fined and that is the pressure. i don't think that the government really understands but that is substantial. >> i just want to understand our earlier discussion about why we
think they might be able to endure. and that would not be a substantial burden when not make them part of this. >> right now we are being prohibited by the regulatory scheme with those that don't provide this coverage and i believe that it would interfere with that exercise if there is a scheme that would tell them we don't and if i would just tell the government that i am opting out, if they could just say that, that would end it right there. >> sitting right there it seems to me that that would hurt in our exercise to not be able to