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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 5, 2016 8:00pm-12:01am EST

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sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span city tour is working with affiliates and visiting cities across the country. tonight president obama talk about the economy and job market. and secretary kerry and the president of columbia talk about a solution to the civil war. and later an effort to address puerto rico's death. according to the bureau of labor statistics 151,000 jobs were added to the job market last month bringing the unemployment rate to an 8-year low at 4.9%. president obama spoke about the new numbers and took questions from reporters at the white house briefing today. this is about 20 minutes.
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>> the presidentpresident:tgif, everybody. the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9%. even as more americans join the job market last month. this is the first time the unemployment rate has dipped below 5% in eight years. americans are working. all told over the past six years our businesses added 14 million new jobs. 71 months of private sector job growth. over 2014 and 2015 our businesses added more jobs than
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any time since the 1990's. most importantly this progress is translating into bigger paychecks. wages have grown at their fastest rate since the crisis and the policies i will push this year are designed to give workers more leverage to urge wages and explosions. unemployment, deficits, gas prices are all down. jobs, wages, and the rate of the insured are up. i should mention, by the way, since i signed obamacare into law nearly 18 million americans have gained coverages and our businesses are created jobs every month since. on that all of them full-time jobs. as i said in my state of the union address the united states of america right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. i know that is still
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inconvenient for republican as their doom and despair tour continues in new hampshire. i guess you cannot please everybody. that does not mean there is not more work to do. china is going through a transition, europe's economy is cloe slow and emerging markets are challenged. this is making it more difficult to sell exports. we have to pay attention to this and take smart steps this year to continue progress. we have to do more to make sure the progress we do make is broadly based and impacting folks up and down the income scales. the budget i send to congress on tuesday is going to make sure that we can continue that progress. talking down the american economy, by the way, does not
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make that progress. my budget is going to offer more opportunities for americans to get job training and education they need for a good paying job, offer new ideas for security , d will create more jobs by investing in the future and that is why we will place a big emphasis on clean energy, private sector solar jobs are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy and pay better an average. that is one reason why my budget will double clean energy research by the end of the decade. it will create more jobs faster, lower the cost of energy, help renewable power compete with dirty fuel across america in a more effective way. those are steps we will take to
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make sure the future is stronger and a future that is worthy of the hard work and determination of the american people. the progress we made going from 10% down to under 5% is a testament to american workers, american businesses, and the american people being resilient and sticking through it. my hope is that rather than hender their progress we will continue to help them make progress -- hinder. with that have a great weekend. enjoy the super bowl. i am not telling you my pick because the bears are not in but i am hoping for a great game. with that josh? is he back there? josh, take it away. >> do you think you don't get enough credit? >> let me take a couple questions. why not. what the heck! i am in a good mood it is friday. go ahead. >> you were implying yesterday
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in a joking way that you don't get enough credit. >> this is when i was talking with the warriors. >> were you referring to as you did just now to republicans and their message which you could say could be expected during an election? or were you referring to the fact the polls showing 57% of americans saying they don't think thinks are going well in this country. why do you think that is? >> well, at the time i was making a joke with a basketball team. but there is no doubt that while we have made significant progress and there is anxiety and concern about the general election of the economy. if you look at the surveys people feel better about their circumstances and finances and they are not sure about the future. part of it is there is still a
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pretty big carryover from the devastation in 2007-2008. if your home value drops in half or you lose a job you thought you were secure in or your pension looks vulnerable you will remember that. a lot of people still feel that. they are right to recognize there are longer term economic trends we still have the tackle and that the economy is more dynamic and it churns faster and the pressure on companies to maximize short-term returns often time at the expense of long-term investment, the lack of loyalty to workers who built those companies and threaten to be laid off, the fact wage and income up until the last six months haven't gone up as fast
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as corporate profits have, all of those things people feel and experience. even though they know things are better they are worried where are we going. i think the argument i am making here, and will continue to make during the course of this year, is we should be proud of the progress we have made. we have recovered from the worst economic crisis since the 1930's. the worst in my lifetime and the lifetime of the most of the people in this room and done it faster, stronger, better, more durable than any other advanced economy just about. had we adopted some of the policies that were advocated by republicans over the last four or five or six years we know we would have probably done worse and we know that because a lot of the european countries adopted those policies and they haven't gotten to the same place they were before the crisis.
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evidence and facts are on our side and this job's report gives you one more indication the facts are on our side. i think it is important to understand how do we take the next step and make people feel more secure and confidant about the future. that is why invesments -- investments in job training and going after the cost of ed education, and raising the minimum wage so if you are working full-time you are not poverty, investing in transportation and clean energy, investing in technology, going after the jobs of the future; all of those things are a recipe for continued growth and increased security. and those who are adding to the anxiety don't seem to have
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plausible solution other than cut taxes for the folks who have been doing the best in this economy and somehow magically that is going to make other folks feel good. alternatively we argue the reason you are feeling insecure is because immigrants or poor people are taking more and more of your paycheck and that is just not true. the facts don't bear that out. that is not where the weaknesses in the economy are. that is not what is depressing wages for middle class families or making them more vulnerable. i want to keep making that argument during the course of this year. we should feel good about the progress we have made understanding we have more work to do. it is sort of like -- you know. i am 54 so i have to work out harder to stay in shape and, you
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know, if i am feeling good in the gym i want to acknowledge that what i am doing is working otherwise i will just go out and have a big double bacon cheese burger because i will think this isn't working. if it is working we should be staying on the same path. that doesn't mean i am necessarily where i want to be. it doesn't mean i stop doing some hard work to get where we need to go. all right? i was only going to pick two. just picking two. go ahead. >> thank you, mr. president. how can you improve workforce participation levels? as much as people talk about the recovery so few americans are in the job force especially compared to 2008. and if you don't mind if you comment on the $10 a barrel fee
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we have heard so much about. >> on the first question, part of what was good in this job's report is the fact the participation rate in fact didn't drop. that wasn't the reason why unemployment dropped. more people are entering the workforce and feel more confidant and are finding work. what is true is we are still at a point where the labor participation rate is lower than it has been historically. some of that is explained by demographics. the population is getting older so you would expect that there is some decline but it is not fully explained by americans getting older. some of this is still the hangover from what happened in 2007-2008. this is part of the reason why we have to keep our foot to the accelerator in terms of doing
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the things that need to be done to keep the economy growing and strong. we should not let up from the progress that has been made so the labor market continues to tighten and feel are more confidant that if they go out and look for work they can find it. there are some cases where some folks have been out of the labor market a long time and may not be equipped for the jobs of today. that is where we have to target special efforts. i get a lot of letters from middle age workers who got laid off and are not confidant about their current skills and haven't reentered the workforce. they need to get retrained. that is a special group of folks in their late 40s early 50s still away from retirement but
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feel like they cannot adapt. there are young people; high school dropouts. folks in rural communities and inner cities that just came of age right in the middle of this terrible recession and haven't gotten attached to the labor market yet so we have to make special efforts to get them into job training programs and community college and allows them to get skills. there is a wide set of strategies we can take on that. but it is going to require overall, though, a strong labor market for them to feel like it is worth it to make these efforts and we want to keep making sure the labor market is as strong as possible. with respect to oil and energy, i will probably make a larger speech about that and the direction we need to go on this.
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the basic proposition is that right now gas is $1.80. gas prices are expected to be low for a while. for the foreseeable future. that overall can be a good thing for the economy. but what is also important is that we use this period where gas prices are low to accelerate a transition to a cleaner energy economy because we know that is not going to last. everyone of us has seen cycles where gas prices go down and then they pop back up and the idea here is that if we say to oil companies, which by the way got a significant benefit in the
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omnibus, allowed them to export oil. if we say to them now, all right, oil companies, we know you are having to retool and prices are low, you are allowed to export but what we are also saying is we are going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil imported, exported so that some of that revenue can be used for transportation, some for the investment in basic research and technology that is going to be needed were the energy sources of the future. then 10-20 years from now we are going to be in a much stronger position when oil starts getting tight again, prices start going up again, we will have further weened our economy off dirty fuels. we will not have just made
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environmental progress but also have a much stronger economy, stronger infrastructure, and creating the jobs of the future. i think we will look back and say that was a smart investment and a wise decision for us to make. but the point is it is right to do it now when gas prices are really low. they will be low for quite some time to come so it will not be a disruptive factor in terms of the economy. all right? okay. guys. of course they always say something. i said two questions but i hope you guys have a wonderful super bowl party. all right? thank you guys. >> are you still in a good mood? >> i am in a good mood. >> on news makers, director thomas freedman is here, the director for the centers for disease control. he talks about the zika virus. watch the interview sunday at 10
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a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> one of the things i saw throughout this entire timeline is that most of the founding fathers and the early presidents knew in their mind slavery was wrong. they knew it. but they were not willing to inconvenience their own lives to make that come true. >> sunday night on q&a associated press report jesse holland discusses his book the invisible; the untold american story of african-american slaves in the white house. >> the majority of presidents were slave other than -- owners. they would bring in slaves from their plantations. george washington did this. his slaves served as the first
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domestic staff to the president of the united states. >> secretary of state john kerry welcomed the president of columbia to the state department to discuss efforts toward a peaceful resolution between rebel militia and the columbian government. they pledged to ask for $450 million in aid to help end the conflict which has been ongoing for half a century. this joint conference is 40 minutes. >> president santos and the members of the american delegations completed a working lunch next door in the jefferson room and now mr. president i am delighted to welcome you to the ben franklin room. his picture on the wall and named for a unique american diplomat. i think you know that columbia's first vice president was second in power to the great liberator
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who was compared to franklin pause of the breadth of his exper expertise. this proud is claimed by no fewer than eight towns in american. there are a lot of connections between our two countries. many more than those as you know. but the most basic is the founding commitment to liberty and peace. and that is why president obama was so pleased to meet with you at the white house yesterday and why i am particularly pleased to be able to welcome you here to the state department. years ago, as a member of the united states senate and the foreign relations committee, i was privileged to join with then
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vice president biden and senator dodd and others in working to help put together what came to be known as plan columbia. at the time, in the late 1990's, columbia was literally on the verge of becoming a failed state besieged by financial issues, guerilla movements and violent cartels. i can hearing the entire supreme court had been assassinated in columbia at one time. 12-13 people if i remember. we responded and passed planned columbia amidst big question marks. today we have come to us at a time where columbia stands as an
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example of possibilities. i have been privileged twice as secretary of state to witness transformations that are remarkable. columbia's democratic institutions are strong, the level of violence is at the lowest in decades, the economy is growing and poverty is falling and as president obama said this someone of the strongest partnerships in the h hemisphere. and columbia has reached a pivotal stage in trying it end the rebel war; a war that has lasted almost half a century. i am grateful the united states through our special envoy has been able to support columbia step by step in this historic process. when i went to columbia two
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years ago, president santos expre expressed this vision of possibility to me and asked for our help and because of orear orearly -- of our early engagement in the columbia effort it was only natural to say yes, we are pleased to help. but as the president can attest these negotiations are also difficult and trouble. given the years of strife that is hardly surprising. our delegation discussed the tough issues that need to be solved including plans to disable the group and measures for countability of war atrocities. the stakes are too high to take anything for granted and we don't. no one is in a celebrity status. there is work to be done. we are here to renew the
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commitment to these months in order to complete the task. having gone to war myself i can tell you i know what it means that in peace time children are supposed to bury their parents and in war time parents bury their children. columbia has known too many generations of parents burying their children. the key to plan columbia's success was also its comprehensive vision of how security is established and a commitment to stay the course until the job is done. peace has to be built on a solid foundation always, anywhere. improvements in maintaining law and order are only a beginning. in addition with support from the united states, columb colum
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have been building an economy, extend right do is journalist and civil society and so much more. just as important, the government came to the fact that terrible human right abuses were committed not solely by rebel groups but also by government and paramilitary forces and those abuses also have to end and be accountable. mr. president, as defense minister, you helped to address a dark chapter of this conflict that of the false positives. and today we welcome your commitment to forging the peace agreement that insures meaningful justice for those and other crimes. the united states plan columbia required an investment of funds over some 15 years. an unusual degree of
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perseverance by our government on a bipartisan bases. we would never had made that investment if the people of columbia and government had not made a greater commitment and been willing to devote their resources and energy to it. while the united states provided some $10 billion for plan columbia that was less than 5% of the total. the success of plan columbia may well serve as a model for other countries in and beyond our hemisphere. even as the day a potential peace agreement may be drawing near we are not about to be complace complacent. we believe the same approach that brought columbia this far is needed for the country to sustain it's progress and capitalize on the benefits of peace. that is why yesterday president obama announced we will collaborate on the successor
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strategy to plan columbia. that strategy, which we are calling peace columbia, will support the government's efforts to provide security and economic opportunities in areas that are vacated by fark and help us intensify the fight against trafficking in illegal drugs. as with plan columbia, columbia itself agreed to take on the largest portion of this cost. but unique u.s. capabilities can help columbia to win the peace and we are determined to do that. in addition, the united states and norway have launched a global demining initiative to help columbia rid itself of these deadly devices by the year
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2021. together we will commit an initial $50 million toward the initiative. i was just recently in both cambodia and laos where the war we were engaged in vietnam tools are still maiming people and taking lives and where we have still working on de-mining an ordinance. we understand this challenge and it is one of the reason we are committed and proud to be joining with norway in this initiative. it is critical to save lives and open the door to greater rural development. i can share with you we have received commitments to participate from the eu and 11 countries including canada,
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jap japan, chile, south korea, the united kingdom, and many more. we know the challenges ahead for your colleagues are substantial but with courage and determination a just and lasting peace can be achived and the prospects for columbia can grow bright and brighter. a great writer from columbia wrote life always holds in store more surprises that are more complex and unforeseeable than any dream. [speaking in foreign language] columbiains have a good reason to dream about a future that is
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more peaceful and prosperous. we will continue to stand with columbia as partners and friends. i thank the president for his visit which we think has been a warm and exsessional and it is because we in -- exceptional -- good contact. i am pleased to yield the floor to our distinguished guest. >> good afternoon, i would like thank secretary kerry and his team for their hospitality we received here at the state department. we had a very interesting and important meeting. after yesterday's announcement by president obama when he said
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we were going to start a new chapter in our new relationship. we open the chapter called peace columbia. this meeting allowed us to land this initiative and think about where we are going to center our efforts, we identified priorities such as continuing and this will fight drug trafficking, organized crime and
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organized crime in other countries. we have already start and there is a great mutual benefit. the other issue we identified was the implementation of these operati operational and logistical parts of the greechlt agreement. we need help there and the united states has a lot of history with this. the third issue has to do with rural development and what we will do in the project zones to bring the presence of the state to those areas to build roads, hospitals, and schools in areas which because they were under conflict had been completely abandoned. the state wasn't there. the government wasn't there. and the force point as mentioned
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by the secretary is the de-mining process. columbia after afghanistan is the country with the most mines in the world. it is an enormous effort and it is very ambitious. until 2021, we want to eradicate all mines from columbia. this is a large effort and thank you secretary kerry and thank the united states government and the government of norway and other governments who have shown their interest and who have committed resources for this de-mining process. post conflict of situations offer enormous challenge but at the same time they offer enormous opportunity. life will change completely in the country. it will be much better.
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we will not be afraid anymore. we mean not be afraid of being at war. unfortunately we lived with that fear for more than 50 years. 15 years ago nobody would imagine that today we would have the results that the world is seeing. we had a similar meeting as the one we had 15 years ago today and i was reminding senator kerry how the two governments were sitting, one in front of the other, speaking about the next 15 years and what we could do. we can now say the purposes were achieved and we hope in 15 years from now we meet again so we can say peace columbia also was achieved successfully. this mutual assistance and cooperation with the u.s. has
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yielded enormous results for the trade partner and the most important investor in the country. that is why we give so much value to the help and cooperation we receive and continue to receive. there is a real commitment not just to work for columbia but to work with columbia for the good of our country and for the good of the region. this three-day visit is at an end and it has been the most fruitful we have had in the last few years. i was telling senator kerry that i have been coming with presidents for this type of visit for 25 years.
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with many presidents and never had we had such a constructive and fruitful visit as the one we had today, yesterday and the day before yesterday. not only have we met with the government we have meetings with the two highest representatives of the parties and that is part of the success of the help we received from the u.s. derives from the fact the policy is bipartisan and we were able to talk with leaders in congress -- democrats and republicans. and we leave very optimistic believing that this bipartisan approach will continue with
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support from both parties and that will be the guarantee of police -- peace columbia. we are grateful and proud of the visit because columians have to start believing more in ourselves like our friends and allies believe in us for objective reasons we have to believe more in ourselves so that we can start working on this better future where peace is signed. peace is a golden opportunity for the union of the people of columbia to them to settle as nation united we continue to try to attain those objections that the founders of this country
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said to themselves benjamin franklin as though we see here and in the other room jefferson; the same objective to seek ha y happiness and justice and that is what our founders wanted also. we can continue to go forward with a shared vision and common objectives and that embodies how changes are made for the good of our two nations. thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. [applause] >> we will now take two questions. one from each side. the first question from leslie from roiters. >> thank you. mr. secretary, good morning or good afternoon by now. what can you do before the munich meeting next week to keep
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the syria peace talks from totally collapsing? you have come under criticism you are believing the russians too much where you convinced them to go the the peace conference while bombing the people at the table. are they seeking diplomacy and seeking a military solution? president santos, what new assurances did you receive from the republicans you met yesterday that they will get you the money that president obama has asked for? also the peace time opportunity that you referred to comes at a time of low commodity prices. is there any effort by the
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government of columbia to help you get through this? >> first of all, let niasia ell ellis -- me say neither russia or the supporters of assad are in compliance with the resolution 2294 they voted for or at least russia voted for. obviously assad didn't have a vote. that resolution calls for in december, on the 18th of december, called for immediate access for humanitarian assistance to all syrians in all parts of the country. neither of the assad regime nor the supporters have made that happening.
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secondly, it also calls for an end to oil airline bombardment and all artillery and bombardment of citizens and that should have ended that russia voted for and it hasn't. moreover, there is evidence that is clear that russia is using what are called free fall bombs, gun bombs, they are not precision bombs and there are large numbers as a consequences of hospitals and civilian quarters being hit and in some cases after the bombing took place when the works went in to try to pull out the wounded the bombers come back and pull out the people who are killing the wounded. this has to stop. nobody has any question. but it is not going to stop just by whining about it.
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it is not going to stop by walking away from the table or not engaginengaging? you have to a negotiation to arrive at the modalities of all parties complying and providing the access and providing for a cease fire. the next days will tell the story of whether or not people are serious or people are not serious. we are engaged right now, as i talk, yesterday in direct discussions to determine whether or not access could be quickly provided, a number of modalities for providing that humanitarian access is being discussed and the modalities of the cease fire are being discuss and the russians have made discussions on how a cease fire could be
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implemented. but if it is just talk for the sake of talk to continue the bombing nobody will accept that. we will know that in the next coming days. the parties met in geneva, they came to the table, we are not at the able, but we obviously are following it closely and engage would the opposition and other members of the international syria support group which includes russia and iran and others. so we are pushing in the direction of trying to get the full implementitation -- implementation of resolution 2295. these calls have been interru interrupted at the judgment of the un envoy who made the
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decision to suspend them while the decisions are being worked out. that makes sense particularly since we have a meeting scheduled in munich on the 11th, where the entire national syria support group will come to see whether or not these parties are serio serious. as i said, we will know in the next few days who is serious and who is not. that has always been the attention of the diplomatic process. the diplomatic process has to use the tools at its disposal. diplomacy is the opposite of the pointing of a rifle and pulling a trigger. it is an effort to come to an agreement and find a way forward that ends the pointing of the rifle and the pulling of the trigger. that is precisely what we are engaged in right now. i believe that over the course
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of the next few days we will know the answer to the question you have asked -- whether or not it is an effort to delay. if it is an effort to delay the talks will not go forward. if it is an effort to gain the process than i said from day one the war will not end. when i was in russia i said directly to president putin in the next month or two, you and others that support assad have been asked to make fundamental decisions about the way forward. if you are trying to leave us out in place the war will not end. there will be more terrorist created, more violence and it will be harder to hold syria whole and united as a single country. that is our mission. that is the purpose of these talks. and as i say we will have a much better sense in the next few
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days of how serious each party is. russia has indicated to me very directly they are prepared to do a cease fire. the iranians confirmed they would report a cease fire. we need the other parties to come to the table and acknowledge they are prepared to do that and at this moment we don't have that full acknowledgment. >> recording your question to me, i had the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the republican party both in the house and the senate. i spoke to speaker ryan and the chairs of the different committees in the house. the same thing with the senate le
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leader and the chair of the different committees and other leaders from the republican party and the democrats. from the republicans i didn't hear one single voice that put in doubt the enormous success of plan columbia. one of the reasons that always emerged in the discussion of this success is that it was a bipartisan effort. many mentioned it is a high return on your investment. what we see now compared to what we had 15 years ago you can see the change, dramatic change, for the better. what i received was expressions of continuing support. i did not mention i did not know the exact numbers of how much
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the plan would contemplate how much. we heard the figure of $415 million dollars and i hope the u.s. congress supports the government because this is a bipartisan effort that has been extremely successful, good for the united states, good for columbia and good for the whole region. and don't forget that columbia bears the share of the cost. 95% of the effort was financed by columbians.
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-- colombians. the oil crisis has hit us. the adaptation to this reality has been done in a well-planned manner. we have been pragmatic. we call this intelligence austerity because we are doing it in a way that will allow us to maintain our fiscal policies, fiscal responsibilities, but without affecting too much growth and especially the most vulnerable sectors of society. that is why we are leaders in growth in the whole of latin america last year we were number one in economic growth but also in the reduction of unemployment and the reduction of poverty and
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in the increase and strengthening of the middle class. this year we think we can repeat that because we have put in place largest investment in our history in infrastructure which is already going on. the housing projects that have already put in place will stimulate the economy very much and we hope to grow around 3% this year also. and in terms of needing more finance, we have ample room in terms of access to markets, financing, because of the way we have been adjusting ourselves to this new reality. fiscal responsibility, confidence of the markets in the economy and a priority, will be a priority and we will maintain
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these policies in order to weather the storm and maintain our course in the right direction. >> final question from michael trado. >> good afternoon, senator kerry and president santos. president santos, what conditions have been quoted for past columbia and what guarantees have you offered or have you been offered because we know that there is a new government coming. we heard criticism from republicans to the past columbia. secretary kerry, i would like to ask you what commitments and conditions will be imposed by u.s. government to the fark given their request that they e
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be -- farc in response to being taken off the terrorist list. >> i will answer your questions. conditions of president obama's government to columbia? no conditions. this is in cooperation between two countries that are friends that are seeking common benefits. if things go well for columbia they will go well for the u.s. if the objectives we want to reach are attained, both concrete and the region as a whole, will benefit -- both the country -- peace in columbia is not just the peace for one country. it is piece for the region. this is the last armed conflict in the whole of the western hemisphere. it is the oldest and one of the
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most cruel and ending this conflict would be success and victory for the whole world. so the support from the not only the u.s. but the world as a whole. what happened in the u.n.last week and i expressed gratitude to president kerry who was there. the u.s. supports the resolution that was unanimously approved and that is significant because it represents the support of the world to the peace in columbia and to the plan peace columbia. it guarantees in terms of the c
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support of the party i will answer like the prior question. what i received from the republicans is the recognition and unanimous acknowledgment of the success of plan columbia. and the will to continue to support it. this was the most successful bipartisan foreign policy initiative of the u.s. in the last few years and what i received, no formal commitment of course because that was not the case, but i received a commitment to continued support. of course in all processes there are people who are not in favor of one thing or another. these policies are never perfect. they cannot be perfect. there will also be people against them. it is normal here. normal in columbia. normal in the world as a whole. what i have perceived in the
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u.s. is an enormous support from the majority of americans, from members of congress who have supported this peace process in columbia because peace in columbia means peace for the region. >> let me reinforce what president santos has said. there are no conditions. we have reached no agreements of any conditions whatsoever. there is no discussion of that. the united states and columbia enjoy a very robust, outstanding law enforcement relationship, and an extradition relationship. it benefits the united states and colombian justice process and it relies on decisions by
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two sovereign nations and we respect that. that is how we will continue to proceed and when appropriately we will seek extradition and countries make their decisions and we proceed forward. with respect to the issue of farc and there designation of terrorism it is just entirely premature and impossible to begin to answer that question and inappropriate to deal with that question because there is no peace because nothing has yet happened to make that a relevant question at this moment in time. so for the moment, there is no process. we are not thinking about it. if and when peace is achieved and there is a reason it take stock we will appropriately take stock. but this is not the moment and i have nothing to say with respect to that particular designation.
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>> on the next washington journal, a look ahead to the new hampshire primary to discuss the candidates, the primary process and what is important to primary voters. washington journal live every day at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span.
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>> if a caucus is the test of a candidate's organization, which is what we saw in iowa, a primary is a test of the candidate's message. a primary is different because you go in and cast your ballot and leave versus a caucus where you spend a couple hours in a room hearing the speeches and make the decision. we will see in new hampshire and what we saw in the past is the field begins to widow out. especially on the republican side. it is a two-person race for the democrats. it is a question of expectations and which candidate can exceed the expectations and in new hampshire we saw because it is the first test of voters going to the polls. if you saw the coverage between the iowa caucus we were able to take you to the campaign ralr s ralries -- rallies and the venues trying to close.
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we will do the same thing in new hampshire. if they chris cross the state our buses will give you a sense of what is happening in this key state. it is the first in the nation p primary. for of those of you not in new hampshire you will get a chance to see it unfold. >> saturday night, a panel discussion on the life on the career of the recent librarian of congress who served from 1987-2015. and then in too dumb to fail matt lewis argues the republican party needs to return to its roots in order to avoid becoming a minority party. he is interviewed by a columnist for the new york daily news. >> you have to pretend to be
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something you are not. ...
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>> >> not good morning. and i.m. the director of the regulatory reform initiative. welcome to our "in-depth" analysis of the upcoming super bowl. [laughter] we are here on friday morning donna issues that are incredibly important for millions of americans of puerto rico and throughout america it is a great privilege hear we are committed to a fancying the
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conversation that involves the compromise with complicated issues. and how to deal with the finances of the commonwealth of puerto rico. so we have the all-star panel with differing lenses and experiences to have this conversation it is important for everyone to understand the treasury department led by secretary lew to put out a thoughtful and detailed proposal and speaker wright and has admitted the house will come up with a proposal sometime next month in their real and important deadline
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several required tough choices and action necessary to turn the situation around. which dash as a backdrop but i will introduce the panelist to begin the conversation were we will turn to the audience for questions. the counselor to the secretary at the department of treasury and related to the broad based economic growth. serving four years the role of counselor is key to provide insight and analysis and ideas and solutions to the secretary. distinguished in marin -- in many ways as a baker scholar the council to foreign
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relations and a regular participant of public policy >> for those of you there growing up in the washington area he was the mayor. serving from 2007 current leave the ceo that we owe a great debt of gratitude leading the comeback with his two terms as mayor. call while that sounds i get a bipartisan group of outcomes. as a chief financial officer of the control board as a graduate of yale seated next
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is the co-founder and chief investment officer as a pioneer in the municipal market leading innovation to prioritize trading public-private financing is securitization with a distinguished career on wall street working at goldman sachs with citigroup didn't variety of leadership roles on the history of the island in the p.r. and learning from the bs school of pennsylvania with a professor of corporate law and author of numerous publications within new
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financial deal with the unintended consequences in the history of being kreps the law in america. a leading figure frequently quoted in the press and as important to be distinguished in the classroom as well including that harvey levin award for excellence in an upper level teaching. with that it is my pleasure. you were on the island last week. you're at the forefront for quite some time. what is going on today and where does it stand in washington? >> thinks for organizing this event today.
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and greater attention to this crisis. very simply a question of 3.5 million americans. it is an american crisis. all sova puerto rican crisis. and one that starts with the economic recession or a fiscal crisis ended say liquidity crisis to show signs of unitarian. let me give you a few elements. the commonwealth ran out of cash in june approximately of this year. the only way you can find essential operations is to delay payments to suppliers to take funds out of insurance funds including workers' compensation fund
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and borrow from the already depleted pension fund virtually unfunded and not to send out tax refunds. what does this mean? the revenue forecast has already fallen short. these actions which are necessary to provide liquidity to push the economy into a deeper recession. i should remind everyone that 58 percent of quarter we can children -- puerto rican children live in poverty there is no room for error in this economy. and what has changed in many months we have traveled to puerto rico the meeting with
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puerto rican officials that there is a palpable sense of fear in day justifiable expectation on the part of our fellow citizens of puerto rico and we collectively that the administration and congress will act as we always have with a crisis to do what is necessary to stem the crisis to allow the economy to continue on a path towards growth. so we are encouraged by speaker wright and commitment -- there are positive discussions double sides of the aisle abroad and accepted recognition
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that this crisis needs to be addressed now. and we look forward to working with both and chambers of commerce to design the appropriate response. there is an urgency to. there is an undeniable urgency and promising discussions taking place in congress and a full blown effort by the broader administration in this is in just a treasury but from though white house and all agencies of government but the proof will be in the action we take together. >> as antonio laid out a dire situation in many may not remember the mayor
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williams you are part of a turnaround and left a city that was booming. from your experience what can local government do? what can't they do? and what are the pros and cons that enable them to do that of the d.c. control board? >> there are a lot to similarities to under the control authority in to talk to them.
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and then it is a lot of similarities between them and start off with the differences of truth in lending to have a treasury department focused on washington d.c. and a very able but despite at acrimony to have a bipartisan consensus between republicans say in the clinton white house and had to be successful i hope that is the case now. with financial experience and expertise looking at last night's debate. it is hard to deal with those issues that people suffer going from those commotion's.
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in fairness we did have of booming economy in the '90s. with real economic issues with the commonwealth. i do believe there are some similarities. there is a moral hazard in any financial crisis and with the emergency is somebody builds their house on the shore and the hurricane comes you don't tell them we will not rescue you because you should not live on the shore. you take care the immediate problem than the heather issue but the immediate issue here has to be taken care of because people's lives are at risk. but it does have to be in the context of curve -- improving accountability and
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investors on which sat in terms of fiscal relationships to address the issues bin that you are a student and with that communication with others. >> believe that the subjugation we don't have full representation but everybody recognizes that this relationship my only
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point was a longer-term relationship to reset the table with the short-term issues in dealing in a way that is politically defensible under the authority of the control board with the right leadership on the ground. and very importantly use this opportunity to explain to the people here is where we are. and take these steps but all
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of us would agree to take them for a better future in this is certainly the case is in washington d.c.. no. we take these steps to get to a better place. in this is under estimating these fiscal situations with leadership on the ground and public education is the ability to explain the fed needs a situation in layman's terms to the constituency. and i say this as a financial person. but i would highly recommend to you tim geithner is book of a financial crisis.
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>> i am pretty biased. >> the with vice many bondholders on or off who were thinking deeply about this. what is the outcome what would work and what wouldn't work? >> and in tears -- a terribly important topic. as a family from puerto rico in this is helpful that this is a fair amount of confusion with a healthy dose of completion as the
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catalyst for the crisis. the challenges that puerto rico faces with the obies government has been around for some time. but overnight to change radically to have that huge response from the federal government to set aside a rule of law that otherwise cannot be untied. the truth is it has not done a good job of collecting taxes. they need to decide what businesses they are in. it is like having 78 dmv.
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in all those other issuers with this all day long. and into government in that context. with varied year term issues with the federal programs in we have challenges with respect to the headwinds of the lack of harmony. said to separate fact from fiction p.r. is not a third world country with family is not well off to be deeply proud of the united states in this is resolved by a couple of things.
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we have to be very transparent that is a very big challenge. to say they could raise revenues almost 20 percent and miraculously they are out of cash. butted is hard to separate the truth from fiction. not all revenues are collected nine is all subservient. that is what drives the of liquidity crisis. in and the consequence to restructure all that. so to you talk about governance also looking in
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municipal industry participants and. so as we address that crisis to create risk. setting aside special rules to flout the rule of law to upset the fragile equilibrium that finances nearly 70% we cannot set that aside to make something politically appealing. clearly there is a need for fiscal oversight. in the effort can be made. clearly there is a package in the government to go towards growth.
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and yes puerto rico has that not all of it is the same but we have to bader that constitutional obligation with convoluted whiteboard ideas that serves lots of other issues as well. and to package those three in a framework as a way to solve the liquidity crisis. >> i have to say it to say this with pride i didn't understand what that meant.
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>> that makes sense. did you point out with parts of industry it is hard to be the leaders as well. in to provide that framework to make those tough choices. not just for the liquidity but a bright economic future we all aspire to. >> independent control board that provides fiscal oversight to keep expenses in check to make sure there is a controlled to be
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invaluable. with those harmonization of programs. tuesday to decide those businesses they iran. and why that suits you for your constituency. >> i want to bring you into the conversation these are the world's experts in doing work in financial regulation but the key theme in your work with the consistency in the of bankruptcy code.
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that is the common theme in the republican party. >> what i am -- confused about now to coalesce the idea of the control board but much more silent on questions and bankruptcy. cry is that so preferable as was alluded to? singh to start off why can puerto rico act like michigan when they put detroit into bankruptcy? where did this situation. >> this is a very important conversation. maybe the most important at this particular moment in
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time. so why can't they use bankruptcy the first is for reasons that are not clear to anybody that i don't know. that the term states was defined for the purpose of the federal bankruptcy laws for every purpose except filing chapter nine. into use bankruptcy and across that backdrop to be
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kicked out of chapter nine we will put in place our own restructuring that looks like chapter nine. that would be a territory. stowe puerto rico did this in 2014. to end what has happened that law was struck down by two federal courts and a federal trial court a and then struck down in there was another provision and another that says states cannot act their own restructuring was. this applies to ruth puerto rico to prohibit them from restructuring even though the rest have it does not
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have access to chapter nine. in to agree to be the case it will be decided in maya track record is well below 50%. my guess it isn't decided until the summer. said advest that puerto rico will win. up co-author filed the
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images period saying that the supreme court should reverse the lower court but why do republicans seem to be coalescing to something that sounds like a bailout approach? i hope that's not where republicans are coalescing. my sense that is the opening bid what i would call a bailout or we would call a check. but there has been that hostility among republicans why is that? there are two factors between hostility one is that many creditors have
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been hopeful. another way that puerto rico fixing the thing is hector was talking about. that we don't need bankruptcy so why pullout? so the group of people have shrunk considerably in the last two months. so all of us are suggesting some sympathy. for some type of mechanism. ed with that bankruptcy like alternative is the concern this is a slippery slope?
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that puerto rico is allowed to file like chapter nine or the commonwealth itself the concern is we will talk about a bankruptcy approach in illinois a. but it seems to me that this same kind of thinking that made republicans enthusiastic or large ready until institutions also applies here. gives a way to resolve the disaster in and creates better incentives. the cure bar were is unable to pay the way you think about lending. to him bankruptcy can have big effects on politics.
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and cause you to think about if that is funded properly or not. i will stop there. >> bankruptcy is a good thing to leave the same status quo in place. but simply to the exclusion of everything else. but to look at those structural issues i thank you take care of the patient is the emergency review have to rehabilitate the patient. >> to put a foot note on that so with the approach we have personally outlined with the control board and to not chapter nine by restructuring.
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>> treasury and the white house have laid out a 10 page plan to have fiscal oversight increasing federal funding and from what i served bin congress on a hopscotch level throughout a wide variety of programs with the treasury proposal to increase puerto rico share of funding they're often not counted to get that proportional amount purpose of want to start by commending you for your leadership that you hear the treasury and white house providing leadership either
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agree or disagree. so what response have you gotten and other stakeholders? >> as we said at the outset. >> and leave a little space for further comment. there is broad agreement that this is a crisis. no debate about that. second, even on this panel you are airing grievances that there should be a restructuring of the dead or disagreement as to which one gets restructured it appropriate oversight in that disagreement what constitutes oversight but
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why we believe that needs to be included in the restructuring mechanism in the oversight should be respectful of the self governance. both of those points are absolutely fundamental. puerto rico has been shut out of traditional bond financing over to a half years the confining its exclusively from hedge funds in 2014 into maturity with eight-point 5%. with the secondary market is 11.5%. that the debt is unsustainable as whole.
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so therefore any solution that deals with resetting liabilities of the commonwealth has to look at all of the debt. for it to be treated with a broad but -- broad brush equally. so they will say that was backed by the full faith of the puerto rican constitution. so the revenue bond holder will say there is already a
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default on those issuers in the race to the court has already begun. so that liquidity in crisis to make it ever harder a consensual restructuring of the debt we do not say this needs to constitute a new chapter of the bankruptcy code or needs to be modeled on the existing chapter nine. but to the contrary a especial legislative access required of article four of the constitution me there for cities or states. puerto rico is not a city or a state.
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but puerto rico today because of the status as a territory has a completely different relationship of any city or state. with the rule of law a dent we say puerto rico deserves the tools that it needs recognizing the severity of the problem. on with the tools should be. as to the rule of law, there were no financial simply is on the investments were
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made. we agreed the financials need to be produced in a timely manner with real involvement to make sure there is greater transparency and timely issuance. second the 2014 bond issuance and i invite anybody to look back at this to amend the rules of restructuring of the 3. $5 billion of debt. with no recent audited financial. this isn't easy said in the beginning it is one of the
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most complicated restructurings that any of us have seen. but we believe the conversation needs to embrace all of puerto rico. there are different ways to deal with the relatives of wine or another predator but without the backstop of the restructuring authority the biggest concern in to become another lost decade with the crisis and the cascading defaults. but number one is the restructuring authority to have flexibility of how the particular is are drafted into lot. second, oversight.
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it was clearly a success and worked in washington that the mayor saltier but one does not transpose to another. and for a the commonwealth with that self-governing status it is that a strong belief that any oversight must accomplish two things. number one, it needs to leave that self governance in place and establish appropriate checks and imbalances. in the people of puerto rico
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let the revenue and expense is would-be. there is the history of fiscal mismanagement that extends back for many years so in our judgment the restructuring authority and the oversight but simply won't address the reality with enhanced governance. >> i cannot recall -- recall the fiscal minister increases in their want to bring in the panel to layout where do you agree or disagree and where do you
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take the conversations in a different way? >> it is the issue of restructuring by called the narrative of solvency denial therefore there all the central but it flies in the face of the rule of law then in accordance with the law with the without to be constitutionally corrected is easily the achievable.
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>> with the general obligation. the other is clearer is unfortunate to to put at risk we have a real jeopardy. nowhere near of nowhere near that level of prices but to have great difficulty that
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the people that invest because of the willingness to pay those challenges because of the contemplation regime from the federal government. 150 basis points and now the yield is the equivalent of puerto rico. and the truth be told it is insidious. because make no mistake this is a municipal liquidity with a means to do something special there is no way
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there when that comes to fruition are not won't matter. in to be across the nation and then the definition in of chapter nine is available under chapter nine the we do not to invent something special with an enormous risk outside of puerto rico
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nearly 20 billion of boom citizens and individuals from the commonwealth themselves. >> so that is held on an island? day want to respond? >> there is the preference to make sure that is made whole with the basis with the full faith and credit of us covering of them the totality of that of the 19 billion that is guaranteed of total debt. if you talk with someone if
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you deprive the revenue bond which have been attached there is no easy of come for the commonwealth. we are talking about a financial crisis of unprecedented terms with this killing and complexity. in again, to reiterate to push ahead with what other class but they have varying opinions and ongoing litigation. but the creditors need to be a part of the discussion in
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to make that case because the enemy of the commonwealth because what worries us it could easily have become with them claiming one thing in the revenue creditors me part of the last payment with no mechanism at all. with that supermajority agreement that this could unfold over a decade.
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where in the absence of those elements and has taken longer. we have to believe it is part of the discussion it again have expressed flexibility as to how the specifics are crafted the restructuring authority is needed however let's go back to where you started it is a human crisis. one statistic is 2.5% of defect -- puerto rican relieving leading up to october 31st there were 90,000 departures on the island. those who have pride in
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their country leaving instead of staying? they are working when they arrived florida or texas or new york or pennsylvania disproportionately working and led by families the under five population is dropping and think about it. there are now many more to stay safely with economic security incident access on the island. aside from separating families who would rather stay in the same place, this
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cuts into courier tax revenue. number to it deprives the commonwealth of the source which it needs over the long run. in a full-blown crisis and that has occurred since the 1950's and entirely due to economic insecurity to find a good paying jobs and anxiety over access to health care to think it needs to reimpose a greater degree of control and to restructure that debt is totally unrealistic.
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>> fifth since the neck that feels like deja vu all over again. you're in a small publication known as "the new york times" with the municipal entities access to bankruptcy that it has the authority that it needs. is that the right solution? to get that mayor's reaction of how you changed the core
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issue of the economy. netted said restructuring to much of that is direct or indirect puerto rico that it has to be part of the process. from our rule of law point. does that have a ramification?
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that the market claims that it would have but the claim if we make bankruptcy that the municipal bond market would collapse based on the assumption it can't tell the difference between a good risk and a bad risk that contagion. >> now you have degrees of magnitude. and i understand that point where investors and when california was issuing script into were clamoring
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for tar. if the answer is yes but small the that is fair. the small thing for a lot of people. >> what is the alternative? if you compare to the market were everyone is paid bin that option of where it didn't exist before but that isn't the comparison.
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that p.r. in that situation as compared to a rule of law oriented that would be clear with hugh gets what clear with market expectations. >> let me reenforce but they just said. the comparison is between that was tailored to the territories across 18 different issuers we're not taking it and organized one.
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traditional municipal bond investors tell us consistently that the best thing that happened is for this crisis to be resolved as quickly as possible. is a protracted and litigious case to find a mechanism with the traditional bond investors
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that they lost access to a half years ago that need to start coming back to the islands our proposal makes it sooner than a disorderly default and i pulled to a dozen of them end as a viable framework for its consistency but that vast majority are not concerned about the outcomes ballistic creates a change of the framework. . .
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>> to do so is disruptive. it will create harmony may not manifest itself in a complete destruction of the marketplace but it will create significant meaningful cost. it will impair the marketplace to it individual investors. they make up three quarters of the marketplace.
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they don't really know everything about what they are investing in. they don't understand the path of which things fall. when there's bad news and things go down often is sell and panic. it is 81 way marketplace. this marketplace is very cleverly structured, very retail oriented upon which we have staggering amounts of infrastructure. the be very thoughtful and careful about disrupting that. it's cavalier of us to assume that we are not going to create jump the shark here by introducing the idea of impairing the general obligation debt. this morning it came out thin editorial demanding for the ability of the future to protect the constitution, this is a
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widespread understandably notion. i don't think -- i think it's very dangerous to dismiss it without appreciating how much the marketplace is based on. unfortunately the willingness to pay, not the ability the willingness under the rule of law. >> mayor williams you have heard all sides and lived it where do you come out? >> i think it's comprehensively talked about the debt and the issues presented by that. the pages on the emergency room, the way to look at it but the way i experienced the issue that got you into that emergency the missteps you have to take to get you out of it. the public sphere, people invest in they live in a city like d.c.
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or they live on the island of puerto rico because i have freedom to achieve and realize my opportunities. i believe i am being treated fairly. it's something we often overlook but i think it is can central. i overlooked overlooked it in school i thought it was boring. but coming into public service it is essential. the notion of settled expectations. everything we do here in this is why we want to be the hard teacher in november i think we have got to recognize the sovereignty, the self-government's of the people in puerto rico. i think that that is important. i think we are at a point where you have to get control of the lead and reset the management of the situation. what i fear is that we deal with these dead issues and that being
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too polite or to differential, expecting too much of the status quo we do not get the longer term issues. they include the relationship with the federal government that created the outmigration, created this lack of expectations in the first place. it's very important to do that. >> so i will turn the question from the audience, i think i siebert. were having this conversation about banks. >> thank you very much. i want to touch on something and i have not heard any conversation about it at all is based on the premise that someone suggested that puerto rico is america's greece. one of the key aspects of dealing with the economic problems in greece
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has been the assistance of substantial restructuring of the real economy in greece and specifically privatization of other private activities. i haven't heard one word about that today. i'm interested in your thoughts about the specific economic restructuring issues that puerto rico needs to address such as, notably the electric utility. there's an interesting article a few days ago about the management and it was incredible. it goes beyond that. so my question is this, as part of the restructuring of puerto rico, to what extent needs there be assistance on restructuring of various economic institutions for the government owned and controlled ones in puerto rico, or is that something that needs to be pushed off to the future and only restructuring dealt with.
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>> is to have a fair relationship with the federal government. one of the things we did in d.c. was after we have achieved expectations, build confidence, we were able to go to the congress and move our medicaid from 5050 to 70/30. i think with the right -- the federal system would be able to work effectively where and now it doesn't. i think that is important. >> puerto rico is america. puerto rico is simply a part of the united states of america with a large population of citizens who are in economic distress. what you touch on is correct. our debate has been about restructuring and about oversight this morning. i'm encouraged by the fact that the debate is about which
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creditor class gets which protection is supposed to all of this debt is payable. that represents progress from where we were just several months ago. beyond repaying the debt, there's a set of initiatives that is critical, they need greater investments, we have proposed an earned income tax credit as part of our four-point plan. we were not be able to describe it earlier but earned income tax credit is just one tool to bipartisan tool and has worked well for republicans and democrats. it has a triple effect effect in puerto rico. number one, it puts money in the pockets of families that need it. number two, it's it's a strong incentive to join the workforce and provide the financial return to join the official workforce. number three, it, it builds
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revenues over the long run. we have also suggested that the gross inequities of puerto ricans in the healthcare system need to be remedied. we have suggested the medicaid match needs to be increased. this is a key part of our platform. nobody mentioned it but some of the outmigration is simply due to healthcare. there are more than one dr. each day trained at the university puerto rico leaving the island in order to practice medicine on the mainland. this has been going on for two years. greater civic duty around medicaid would have health care and economic benefits. as to your broader question, there's no doubt a role for the private sector to play, there is high interest in investment into puerto rico on the part of alternative energy providers.
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there is interest in investments in infrastructure. none of that can happen with the level of uncertainty in crisis the economy is currently subject to. let's be clear, number one, stop the crisis. get to the other end of the crisis, reset the debt, so the economy can support it and so the government can also make needed investments in its own economy. it allows private capital to come into puerto rico and there is an interest in port private capital to invest. the federal government has a role to play in healthcare, inappropriate incentives, the puerto rican government has a role to play in private industry does as well. we are talking about stemming the near-term crisis but what we really need to do is put puerto rico back on the path towards growth such that not only do the
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puerto rican seeking opportunity on the mainland stop leaving for better opportunity but perhaps some of those families return. there is an interest in returning to puerto rico. the job is immense. we have emphasized oversight with restructuring because it is needed now. there is more that is needed over time. >> i think were speaking very well on the important topic which is in addition to stemming off the immediate crisis we have to have a vision for puerto rico and that includes improving the energy structure. it includes making a welcome environment for investment and there's a staggering amount of global investment interested in puerto rico they just want to wait until less choppy waters.
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i think the environment currently is such that there's a lot of people who are very interested in being a part of the solution. myself and other creditors, the federal government, the leadership, private entrepreneur private business leaders on the island i want to be part of the solution because they want to make the best. it is part of the united states and has natural resources is a fertile platform for growth. we can set a good torn for the future of puerto rico by navigating this crisis. >> a question on timing, how quickly does washington need to act before it comes to late. before things really spiral out of control. is that view view of
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a deadline shared on capitol hill? what's the consensus for action? >> i think aaron said it in his opening remarks. what has changed between last year and this current work session in congress is there is broad recognition that something has to happen now. speaker ryan has set a deadline of march 31 were responsible solution to be introduced on the house floor. he has held two hearings through the energy and natural resources committee. he will be holding a third. there is a constructive bipartisan discussion that is taking place in the senate. it is a leadership issue. is the top issue for the administration as a whole. we whole. we are encouraged by this broad recognition of the seriousness with which the discussion are now taking place. >> so if it is super bowl sunday and it's a conversation about
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puerto rico i think that talking about baseball is fair. are we looking at opening day we think there'll be legislation moving through? are we going to have a solution before the all-star break? where are we here? this this needs. >> this needs to happen now. i hope what you have heard from all of this panel and some of the statistics that i have given, we are not talking about some possible future hypothetical problem. please, u.s. at the beginning how was our trip with the secretary to the commonwealth. this is a problem today. the commonwealth is looking to us today to design a comprehensive solution to resolve this crisis. so this is recognized in congress. it it is certainly recognized in the broader administration. it is our view that we will meet
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this deadline and that we will do everything in our powers to work with members of both sides of the aisle in both chambers to find the solution that comprehensively allows puerto rico to navigate the crisis. it's now. >> i think another -- i visited one of these educational research, you have to be structured you can't just go down to cuba and go to a lecture. it will be cold. so i went down here in my all my martyr, the thing that struck me about cuba, havana there were a dumb shell, i don't know what the equivalent would be, i think it would be breathtaking. one of the things for americans we need to think about is not just the urgency that antonio's talking about but the trip in terms of san juan in puerto rico
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want to be the star of the americas. if you just sit around and wait you are going to lose a key opportunity. cuba is sitting there waiting to be opened and become a huge, vibrant capital again. the opportunity ought to be seized in san juan, not to preempt it but to get moving. >> i think you're exactly right. tourism, bacardi one of the major brands of the island originated on a different island. right there there is some real competitive issues. you have more experience on the island than all of us combined. >> we don't need to pick industry. we need to make the ground fertile. let let the market go there were confined this opportunity. there are natural resources to draw from there. especially in the strength of the workforce, the fact that the
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united states rule of law you need to make the environment welcoming. you can't have a fluid tax scheme that you have to deal with, you can't be dependent on subsidies for particular industry. you want to set the ground, set the table so puerto rico can grow from it. i think it's a big part which is dealing with the crisis we have to have a vision towards the future for growth of puerto rico. there's there's a lot of people who want to contribute to that. [inaudible] >> i think a lot of people here
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may be hard for antonio to talk about area as a personal matter i think it's a little unrealistic that we use this crisis to solve the situation. i say that as a family in puerto rico that arrived in the early 1800s, was there for the transition, and has family that has fought for this country and served in public service. we want to be as equal member of the country as anyone else. the difference between puerto rico should be no different than being from oklahoma. truth be told, it's probably a big list, it would be great but i think it's a little unrealistic. inflation has been an enormous problem in the crisis. we need to separate fact from fiction, get to the immediate needs of what we need to solve the issue.
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with great leadership we can make the difficult decisions about status at a later date. >> i would say somewhere between here and status it is appropriate, like puerto rico in d.c. we have been troubled from our founding with our relationship with the federal government and our lack of representation. one of the reasons they call me the colonial government i said let's just deal with our immediate issues, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. let's deal with the immediate issues, about two years into our recovery we had a very productive discussion with the administration about our relationship with the federal government. now on the political level but on the balance sheet level if you will. what are the things they federal government to do? so doesn't make sense make sense to be
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running the prison system? the government took it over. those kinds of things, we continue that discussion as we went. they arranged and got into the healthcare issue, into issues of education. when. when you're talking about restructuring you really talking of it about a part of what someone will call the balance sheet. yes the with you must with restructuring the point i keep hammering this you have to deal with the other liabilities, deal with the manager assets in a conference away. >> i would like to briefly weigh in on this. there is no question that status is vitally important. why are we proposing the restructuring authorities and the itc and the fair medicaid treatment, the provided provided to puerto rico? as a territory, puerto rico status does not afford it adequate tools in those three
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areas. so we believe as congress is the broader administration, we need to afford the commonwealth those tools that it needs now such that it can navigate this crisis. we agree that over a long period of time, status have contributed to the crisis so we have tailored our legislative proposal to provide the tools that commonwealth needs most urgently today to resolve this issue in the areas of restructuring and healthcare. it is a real issue and an issue that the people of puerto rico will need to decide. >> let me push back on that a little bit and take the question one step further. i gave david and the republican party a little fun jab about
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consistency with bankruptcy here not there. on the democratic party and i'm a proud democrat, i came to ask myself the tough question, what what were talking about here is not a principled solution to the question. were talking about puerto rico going from one tenth of a funding treatment to one half. and it's in this funding pod but not that. there's no equitable principle solution. it worked for hawaii, america has been a growth business. why the democrats not taking a step back as a party and saying puerto ricans are citizens, their americans, we said that repeatedly here. america is a country that started with 13 states, today we have 50, i was going to have
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territories left over from a colonial expansion that is more than 100 years old or are we going to have a principal position. i've been struck by the lack of anybody putting that forward that now is the time of the statehood. why why do you think that is? >> i would turn to you because you are on the ground. >> truth be told i think it's like a club first of all the members of the club have to want to invite the new members then. the other thing is the people invited in have to want to join. i think we have got to use this crisis should develop, as much as we need to put a grounds that for fertile growth for business, we also need to reset puerto ricans expectations of what it means to be a member, the tolerance for the underground economy is important to me. i go down there, i know exactly the university exists if you have cash in your pocket and you
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speak spanish. there's an enormous culture that has to be dealt with. i'm not answering your question essentially but i just think the truth of it is it's very hard, very unlikely as much as the club once invite new people in the new people have to realize what the consequences are for joining that club. i'm an advocate of statehood but the truth is it's not clear that the club wants us invited in and that's both sides of the aisle. it's not clear that all puerto ricans want to go in. we have to get past this before we can entertain that notion. the consequence and beautiful member of the club have to be understood by everybody. >> even us people who would like to be a steak this is true in d.c., and d.c. the reason why we are not a state was people
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thought we were a rack in a badly managed rack. we were a city and americans went past, americans didn't really like cities in the 20th century. there's there's less of that now, the thing that remains is we are a democratic entity and i don't think the senate wants to have two more democrats. i think they were start with republican entities they will be a state tomorrow night. >> it's an interesting point in american history the last time we added alaska ny came in as a pair because hawaii was a staunch place in alaska was full of democrats. trust me, i don't think i'm breaking news at the election night in november, they show the opposite. we are not great at predicting the future political alignment. >> i give a lot of credit to the
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congressman to advance his agenda and put on a timeline, track i think it's done a lot to force the issue and he is to be commended for doing more than a lot of people have done in a long time to put the agenda of status on track. it faces a lot of other issues. you and your your day jobs no more than i. >> i think will bring the conversation to a close. as important as we think about this to think of it as a crisis, there has to be action now. i've heard a lot of support around principles that need to be laid out. details are important. we have also heard that this could be more brought about puerto rico. it could affect other territories, one topic that did not come up was the status of native american tribes who are not state but who invest heavily
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in gaming and energy which may be headed for financial problems. so this is something that will keep coming up. we encourage i want to provide a place for leadership and commend antonio for the leadership that he has provided in treasury has provided in the space. we urge congress to get to work in crafting a solution and reiterate our commitment to providing for all sides to air their points. thank you all very much. have a wonderful day. >> [applause].
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[inaudible] >> several presidential candidates are in new hampshire this weekend ahead of tuesday's primary. we'll have live coverage tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern every public in carly fiorina and it town hall. in later former secretary of state hillary clinton holds a rally in portsmouth at 7:15 p.m. eastern. you can find find the events live on c-span. >> the citizens of the granite state are not easily won. the the country needing voices and a political discussion. in cities and towns their casting their votes. thanks to the people of new hampshire it is good to be back here. >> first in the nation primary. >> new hampshire.
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>> it's great to be back in new hampshire is called new hampshire's primary, the most cherished of american political rights. >> governor thank you so much for being here. >> this is a place where you can observe a candidate in the heat of a dialogue, and the heat of tough questions about their issues. it's not just a place where where is there's a scripted speech. >> new hampshire put the first of the nation primary status very seriously. >> is a series of town hall meetings will be having. >> this is my 20th town hall meeting. >> welcome to our 115 town hall meeting in new hampshire. >> [applause].
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♪ ♪ >> i'm voting for bernie sanders because he is honest and he has a good record, and he cares about the people and really wants to make changes. >> i think the election is important to participate in because it's a historic race if you don't participate you don't really have a voice. >> on participating because this year is going to be historic, either side could give us the first female president. >> the citizens of this country. >> coming up next, house oversight hearing on the flint, michigan water contamination.
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then president obama talks about the u.s. economy and the latest job numbers from the bureau of labor statistics. later, some recent campaign events a new hampshire feature republican presidential candidates jab bush and marco rubio. >> state of federal officials were on capitol hill this week to testify on the lead water contamination flynn -ish again, the hearing included testimony from a city city resident. this is almost four hours. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> we will come to order. >> determine its responsible under the role the house and committee to maintain order and preserve the quorum of the committee room. we appreciate your participation today i invite everyone to know this is a congressional hearing and there is a certain decorum we would appreciate everyone's participation inches i i believe there are some people in the overflow room, we are glad to do this and have everybody here today. prior to our opening statements i want to address some people
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who probably should be here, were invited to be here, and others, members on both sides wanted to be here. we have here. we have two panels today, i think this will be a good first step moving forward. some people have wanted the governor to be here, some people wanted the epa administered to be here. we will have the meeting today in documents will be provided by the epa and others, we will move forward from there. let me address a few people that i need to, that were anticipated to be here. miguel, the program program manager for region five water division at the epa, this by all appearances from what i've seen so far is a good person who is doing good work and made the right moves at the right time. ms. leanne walters who we will hear testimony in our second panel from contacted the epa of
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february 2015. keep the timeline in place. every 2015, mr. del toro was very responsive and came to her house and tested the water. in that same month, he was sent an invitation to appear as a witness before the committee, we did that last week. in further discussions with the epa, and given his excessive and appropriate responsiveness to the committee, we'll come to understand he is very active in the cleanup efforts as we speak. we therefore have excused him today and have communicated to the epa after good discussions with the epa that they would provide all of his e-mails by the end of this week. we think that is a good and productive step forward. we did not compel or push to have mr. del toro come before us today, in consultation with the democrats i think this is the right move.
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susan hedman is the former region five administrator for the epa. she is no stranger to the committee. july 2015 we held a hearing about mismanagement and retaliation at their epa and region five which is based in chicago. this has been a problem for the committee and her actions in management. again, she is the former epa minister for region five. i have a few documents i would like to enter into the record. i would ask unanimous consent to enter a june 24, 2015 e-mail, memo from del toro from thomas play who is the chief ground drinking water branch. part of this email says recent drinking water sample results indicate the presence of high lead results in the drinking water.
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without objection that will be entered into the record. i also have an april 27 e-mail from del toro to thomas boy, plant has been up on trent not been operating in a corrosive control treatment which is very concerning given the likelihood of lead service lines in the city. without objection i will enter that into the record. we have another e-mail here that is dated july 1, from susan hedman to the mayor of flint. the preliminary draft report should not have been released outside of the agency, without objection we'll into that into the record. another one from susan hedman to dane walling. i am inclined for my staff to have any further munication with
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the aclu representative. we need to focus on finalizing the report. in the in the meantime i have no objection to the city to let them know that it was a preliminary draft and who be premature to draw any conclusion based on the draft. again, this is july, you'll see this has been redacted. the top part. the p has agreed by the end of the week that we'll get the emails. without objection will enter these into the record. the committee the committee requested a transcribed interview with ms. hedman in a letter sent to the epa last week. shortly after the extent of the crisis in flint became public, miss hedman resigned her position late in january. her resignation became effective on monday. the epa has agreed to provide all of miss hedman's email again by e-mail again by the end of the week. today, we are issuing a subpoena for susan hedman to, appear
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before the committee and participate in a deposition. this will happen later this month. darnell is the former emergency manager for the city of flint, he is the former emergency manager for flett michigan he was appointed in 2013 and he was to oversee the finances. he left the position in january january 2015. the flint city council voted seven-want to make the transition from detroit city water, the committee, he is vital to understanding what happened and how these decisions were made. the committee sent him an invite letter last week, he knew this was happening and he knew he was invited. to appear as appear as a witness before the committee. most of the people that appear before the committee we do not need to compel them to attend.
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participation though before this committee is not optional. when you get invited to the oversight committee you are going to show up. we were told, and i believe 7:5t he would not attend. on tuesday i issued a subpoena. normally these are done electronically with the council record. his attorney refused service. we are calling on the u.s. marshals to hunt him down and get him that subpoena [applause]. today we are issuing a new subpoena, he will appear and he will be here to do a deposition later this month. the the subpoena will be issued today. we will need the of the united states marshals. another issue i would ask
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unanimous consent to enter into the document, this is for the record enter into the record, this is from susan had been. this is a december 10 2015, natural resources, natural resources defense council petition back in october to get the epa to do its job. again further delaying it lead members of the public to look at this, i ask unanimous consent to enter that into the record. what that business and my, before we get to open a statement i don't know mr. cummings has any business or things he want to enter into the record. with that, let us know transition, i appreciate the indulgence of the committee but i think it's important members understand where we are with subpoenas, people's participation in the intent of the committee to participate in the deposition. let's go to the opening. i will yield to the gentleman to michigan, mr. walberg for his comments. >> thank you mr. chairman.
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thank you for taking this issue, this hearing and subsequent very serious. it is a serious issue. i recognize my good friend and colleague represented, the gentleman from flint. the efforts have carried on it is important. for michigan it is important. i would mention that my other colleagues this is important for the united states. we have infrastructure needs, challenges, challenges with government at all levels, all around this country. we need to take it seriously. so, thank you for raising this. the flint water water crisis is indeed a human tragedy. it is not a natural disaster, it is the human disaster brought on by failures of humans but i think is well brought on by failures of government at all levels.
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we are here as a government oversight and reform committee to do the very thing that is necessary to do oversight and then to reform and make it right where we can. sadly sadly and i think as a grandfather and father i would not want my kids and my grandkids to drink this type of water. [applause]. it is not the thing we should expect in america, especially, but it has happened. the issue now is how do we make it right. how do we move forward? the lives of young children will be impacted for years to come sadly. the dreams and aspirations coming from their parents will be impacted. we are here today to find answers, to get answers, and to get help to the people of flint but also for the people of the united states. we must get all of the facts and get them right. there must be accountability where accountability needs to be taken. the children and families deserve nothing less. mr. chairman, i want to be clear, again this was a failure
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of government, key failure of government. just as this crisis was a failure at every level, the effort to make things right must be a cooperative effort at every level as well. the safety and well-being of our citizens are not a republican, democrat, or independent issue. it is a human issue, a human issue, an american issue that affects americans lives. politicizing the strategy will not solve the problem and it will not help the children of flint. i make my commitment mr. chairman, i make it to you mr. kilby as well. this will be an effort that is bipartisan, i think it's in our delegation step up even this morning with introduction of legislation to assist in the steel. i hope the hearing will shine the light on how this tragedy happened, who was involved, how we can make it right, how we can never let it happen again so we
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can move forward together to fix and ensure this american ideal that allows people to be free, safe, secure, and upwardly mobile happens to a great degree by principles in this hearing. mr. chairman, i think you and yelled back. >> thank you. i would remind the audience, displays of approval or disapproval, clapping, not necessarily not necessarily appropriate for this committee hearing. so please if you refrain from applause we would appreciate it. this is the united states of america. this is not supposed to happen here. we're not some third world country where you get 100,000 people who get poisoned, poisoned for long periods of time. i cannot even begin to express, i don't know how my wife and i deal with our kids deal with being poisoned for so long. i physically cannot even understand or comprehend what the parents, loved ones, and
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individuals who have been drinking that what i have been going through. i'm disappointed in the response at the local level, at the state level, and at the federal level. it is feeling at every level. it is absolutely, fundamentally and totally wrong. the public has a right to be outraged. outraged doesn't even begin to cover it. i don't how we fix this but it has to be fixed. we are going to hear from a witness today and i chatted with her for a moment before. i appreciate you coming before the committee and doing what you did early on in the process. i really do. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses, we cannot let this happen. it should should have never happened in the first place. i'm going to yield back and let's announce the time to our
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raking member mr. cummings for his opening comments. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. mr. chairman, mr. kilby, ms. lawrence i appreciate you for all your efforts for requesting this hearing and making it happen. mr. chairman i want to yield three minutes to ms. lawrence for michigan for her opening. >> thank you mr. chair into the ranking member coming. i want i want to personally thank you for holding this hearing. in my letter to the chairman unchained were 12 of this year i asked that this hearing exam of the action of key decision-makers involved in the development of this drinking water contamination crisis. i never thought this could happen in america in the stand age, and our great country and
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in our great home of michigan where we are surrounded by fresh water in the great lakes. every american halves the right to three basic meats from their government, clean air to breathe, say food to eat, and air that they can breathe that will not harm their government their bodies. we have failed their trust. i am pleased that ms. waters is here because she put the face on this tragedy. she, like so many mothers and residents of plant deserve to be heard. they're putting their trust in the government to fully investigate the wrong that the city and the citizens of america suffered and today we have a chance to start rebuilding that trust. i some it to you mr. chairman that while we are doing the right thing and holding this hearing, i appreciate appreciate your swift reaction to my request for the searing, it is difficult to correct the mistakes of the past unless we call the decision-makers in this man-made disaster and asked them what
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happened. why did it happen and when did you know, and what did you do when you found out about it? i want to publicly renew my request for another hearing. i'm so encouraged to hear that there will be. i strongly believe that governor rick schneider, dan wyatt, mr. early, and other michigan state officials directly related to this devastated event, before this body they should, and they should answer the question. the people of flint, to congressman, i stand with you in the spy. i know i have walked through flint and matt was so many people in the heart and the courage you have endured in this crisis, i want you to know that i'm standing with you and i will fight for you. and mr. kilby i will be right there with you. my objective is to never again in america, we can fix this, but
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we have to have those who made the decision come forward and give answers. i yelled back my time. >> mr. chairman, we are the last line of defense. i do think you for calling this hearing because there's some chairman who would not have called it. i mean that. they they would not have called it. but you did. finally i want to say a special thank you to the many residents of flint, michigan who traveled here to washington, d.c. to attend today's hearing. to you, we thank you for being here. i welcome you all and i think you so much. i believe that we have a moral obligation to conduct a
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comprehensive investigation of this crisis. and let's be abundantly clear, it is a crisis. we need to determine how children in the united states of america, in the year of 12016, how they have been poisoned with lead and not by accident. by the actions of their own government. i asked every member of this committee to take a moment and imagine what your reaction would be if this happened in your district instead of flint. ask yourselves, what i tolerate it? of course you would not. you would demand answers. you would demand to examine the
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actions of everyone and i say everyone, i mean everyone. you would hear testimony from everyone involved. you would obtain documents from everyone involved. the problem is that today we are missing the most critical witness of all, the governor of the state of michigan, rick schneider. he is not here. governor schneider was the driving force behind michigan's emergency manager law which he signed in 2011 and invoked to take over the city of flint from his local elected leaders. the governor hand-picked appointees. they decided to use water from the flint river. he also led the michigan
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department of environmental quality which failed to protect the people of flint. according to the governor's on task force starts with investigating this crisis. obviously governor schneider should have to answer for his decisions we asked the chairman to invite him today but he would not, we asked the chairman to give us a date in the future for here with governor but he would not. we asked the chairman to send the same kind of document request to governor schneider that he sent to the apa but he would not do that either. we want answers from everybody. from the epa straight on down to the local officials. that is the way we get to the bottom of this crisis. the problem with this approach is that it undermines the credibility of congress. our committee and this investigation, that is totally
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unacceptable to the people of flint, it should be totally unacceptable to the people of this congress and totally unacceptable to the people of the united states of america. as i said before, we we are the last line of defense. certainly we want to hear from the epa, i want to hear from the epa. based on what i have seen, the epa officials should have moved much more aggressively after they detected their heightened levels of lead. but states are the primary enforcement agencies for the safe drinking water act, not the epa the chairman argues that we should let this state continue its own investigation but i disagree. the state has failed the people of flint. now it is up to us, all of us let me be clear if we act
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selectively for political reasons then we become a part of the problem. the information has been brought to us and we now have a duty to investigate all aspects of the crisis. we simply do not have the right to remain silent. we do not have the right not to act. government broke it, government must fix it. so today, every every democrat on the committee has joined together to sign the letter to the chairman, editing folks are right under the house rules to demand a hearing with witness seats witnesses of our choosing. we we read officially request testimony from governor snyder and the three key emergency managers that he appointed to govern flint.
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i asked that her b inserted into the official hearing record mr. chairman. >> without objection. >> i asked that it be inserted into the official records and our ultimate global must be to serve the children and families of flint. so we do not know the full extent of the damage that was caused, but we know it is grave. today the committee received a letter from the american academy of pediatrics, the letter warned that thousands of children under the age of six have been potentially exposed to lead the through flint to drinking water. the letter says this. as you know the city of flint has long been an impoverished community beset by a host of economic and infrastructure hardships. this adversity, coupled with widespread blood exposure means
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that flints children will require significant health and coping with the impact of lead on their physical and behavioral health and development. their schooling and much more. as i close mr. chairman it is our job here, on this committee and on this congress to make sure help is provided to these kids. but but mr. chairman not only to the kids, but to the adults and every citizen of flint to ensure they are not forgotten after this hearing ends. that is why i say this is not a political issue, this is a moral issue. we have we have to investigate what happened at all levels. including the state and then we have to turn for accountability and reform. last but not least, there is a fellow who had a song that i used to love, he never had any hits in my district but he sang
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a song and said and his name was ted stevens, and stephen said what we bring us this time? you're only dancing on this earth for a short time, time, old or young, what will you leave us this time. i've often said that our children are the living messages we say to the future we will never see. the question is what will they leave us and how will we send them into the future? will we send them strong? will we send them hopeful? will we rob them of their destiny destiny? no, we will we will not do that and i am proud of this committee for holding this hearing, we'll get to the bottom of this and is said we will do it in a bipartisan way. thank you mr. chairman, you'll back. >> thank you. you should have applauded that but i appreciate you listening.
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[applause]. okay so we are good now. thank you. that's what i love about mr. cummings, we have passionate people on both sides that care deeply about their country, nobody wants to see this happen. we are going to have a good hearing today. i hold the record open for five legislative days for any member who would like to submit a rented statement. the chair also notes the presence today a former chairman of this committee, mr. dash of michigan, we would allow consent to allow him to purchased patent today. we are pleased to note the presence of congress and morgan griffith of virginia, we appreciate you join us today and we ask unanimous approval for you to join us today. >> without objection so ordered. >> will now have two panels today.
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it is the practice of the housing, courtesy courtesy of our colleagues in a situation like this to allow a member who represents this district, mr. dan kilby, who represents the fifth district of michigan which includes the city of flint, we have asked him to participate today to give his perspective and will now recognize him for five minutes. >> first of all thank you mr. chairman for holding this hearing and for allowing me to make some comments of what is happening in my hometown. to the ranking members, members, thank you for your support, your guidance and your allegiance to the city of flint into my colleague congresswoman lawrence whom i worked with from the very beginning, i want to say thank you for having my back in the back of the people of the city of flint. i will try to be brief. i know we have the hearers of the story, some of them on the panel, i am a just listen to.
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flint is my hometown. i grew up up in flint. i raised my children in flint. when we leave here at the end of every week, i fly home to flint. i am a son of this town. so it breaks my heart to see what is happening, it breaks my heart not just because of what has been inflicted upon the people of flint, but because it was an entirely avoidable set of circumstances. better action by people in government could have protected the people of flint and those players failed. i appreciate the outrage that members of congress, my colleagues have expressed. that outrage has come from both sides of the aisle. my hope is that outrage translates into something more than just sharing the misery of the people of flint. or or sympathy of the people of flint. we need to provide help for the people in flint.
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flint is a strong community, we have been through a really tough times. we will get through this too. >> ..
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>> >> every decision and that was made for the city of flint that relates to this crisis was made by the state appointed emergency managers a with local decisions on trade to obfuscate responsibility for this crisis to save they're local decisions but they were made by a state emergency manager the mayor of this city has no authority. with this city council has zero authority that is an important point. making matters worse the reason the emergency manager was appointed because big factors over time with the
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loss of the manufacturing base with the state of michigan cut the essential element of city resources to cut the money that support cities from its budget it has a $50 million general fund in this city to this day was eliminated throwing them into a financial crisis precipitating the employment from the emergency manager to take over the city it is now a sense to take over to get their rights. it was the state to receive manager that made the decision to switch the city of flint to the flint river water source in the emergency manager that wanted to present controlled all departments of city government including the department responsible to be sure the water was properly treated and that the emergency manager failed.
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these are facts. this is the order by the emergency manager to switch to the flint river. there is a public-relations campaign under way to say their local decisions or it was the epa to deflect responsibility but it was the decision by the emergency manager in flint to go to the flint river water source a critical decision made that precipitated this entire crisis. after that switch was made made, as citizens began to speak up. one of them is here and is on the next panel. one of the heroes of the story. let me be clear those who brought it to light and they are not public officials but citizens and activist and people who would not be
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quiet. you will hear from her. she went to the epa alternately as the chairman had indicated to raise this question. what was the question of -- the user when they were raised? to discredit the voices calling this problem to their attention whether from virginia tech the states of michigan tried to discredit his research. tried to discredit the citizens as if they were unhappy they have led in their water going to their children. again, and efforts to create some false equivalency of responsibility i am critical of the epa. don't get me wrong i have legislation i reducing
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hopefully bipartisan to require much greater transparency by the epa has is they discover there were problems that they would have shocked that from the mountaintop there is a problem is said day capt. cysteine that michigan department do its job. which it failed to do. one of the questions it has come up why didn't the epa insists the environmental quality require corrosion control to be used in flint? there is a document that i had my hand which i am submitting to you from the environmental equality to the epa saying dated february 27 indicating that
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slit has the optimize corrosion control program. they did not. so to hold the epa countable i want to hold them accountable for transparency but get the facts right they told the epa would they had this under control its using corrosion control in flint when they were not. the with haverford the epa bush let me know they haven't said data and let us force them to do their job ahead they didn't and that is their failure but it is not to insist the process be implemented. they were told it was under control but it was not. >> when this became public another hero of this story a pediatrician in flint began
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to the kaplan bubbles in children. it showed elevated lead levels. she released her data and what was the response of the state of michigan? and there is a continuous effort to just try to act like it doesn't exist serious questions about food do what and when. we have any bill from the chief of staff of the governor's offer is -- office in july 2015 raising this question to say he thought basically the people in flint were getting blown off by the state.
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so let me conclude by a couple of things. i am concerned not to know who should be fired or recipient or blatant or prosecuted or served a subpoena in a justice comes in those forms for sure. just as it comes right for the people of flint. the only way to make a right to is to know who did this. for anybody paying attention dacko on michigan. there is no doubt about who was responsible. the state of michigan was responsible was the ranking member said the state of michigan was readying the city at the time then decisions were made.
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with us state official to tell people that they should just relax. those with elevated levels going through their bodies relax? with that false equivalency in the epa should be held accountable to miss the point. this is a state failure. in those who might know is a good man.
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not in a position at the time the decisions were made. the ad was there. marc edwards was there. the people do what was happening. so to my pride to view it as a moral responsibility. to not just apologize. but where you do something wrong. something that has consequence you do apologize for sure. and to have in your power to make their right for the personnel and those people you have to steal the to do that.
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we need the pipes fixed in flint they should write the check tomorrow to replace the red service lines. he should ask for that money tomorrow. and then to make it right for the kids to give them the help that any child with a developmental urged to overcome. behavioral support. not just now or next year but that entire trajectory but those who did this and i would ask the committee to do everything in your power. id defined the state of
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michigan bears a responsibility to the greatest extent in oslo to make them right. >> i appreciate the opportunity to speak. i yield back. >> thanks for your participation all documents will be entered into the record. we will recess approximately four minutes. the committee stage and sing in recess. [inaudible conversations] >> debt will now recognize the second panel.
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the acting deputy assistant administrator from office of water at the epa. the director of the department of the environmental quality for the state of michigan. professor of environmental resources engineering at virginia polytechnic. and a resident amperage from flint michigan. stakes for your purchase additional witnesses shall be sworn before they testify. >> day is solemnly swear or affirm the testimony is the truth the whole truth rand nothing but the truth? >> let us of record reflect all the answers were in the affirmative.
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we would appreciate you live update your opening comments to no more than five minutes. agent you're in tires submission will be made part of the record. you are recognized for five minutes. >> good morning. chairman and rating river and distinguished members. aicher neece served as deputy assistant administrator. thanks for the opportunity to testify about the epa responds to the drinking water crisis in flint michigan for cry spent the day yesterday with administrator mccarthy on the ground combat with the mayor and a secretary and other community leaders and rubbers. for urgent ancestry dash
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action to protect the public to help the city recover. the epa is intensely engaged to restore saved drinking water in coordination with the broader response efforts. what happened in flint was avoidable and should have never have happened. are the safe drinking water act congress set national standards through the epa to give to the states to run force the lot. epa maintains federal oversight. that system although not public has achieved major gains nationwide. the situation that gave rise to the current crisis of the large public water system from the treated water to the and treated water sources i've hit usual. under federal regulation and the city was required to obtain prior approval from the michigan department of quality.
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they advise split that it was not necessary. failure to implement such treatment and the staff urged to address the lack of control but encountered resistance. and of the ongoing health risk of serious consequences. all parties involved need to take steps have this happen is a into venture that it never happens again. including the u.s. department of justice investigation in in an administrator mccarty has asked the inspector general to undertake the independent review of the epa responds and oversight. in to receive upon the results of that view.
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and to encourage prompt and decisive action. we are committed to ring dg nevada operators and other stakeholders and other risks. in the flint say streaky water task force has provided technical support on corrosion control treatment and proper the testing. in november epa announced we're conducting an audit of the drinking water program in the epa issued the averages the order and that is we have devised and with
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that declaration the january and though water quality experts. to provide technical assistance with the cybele efforts with the ongoing work to share information and with the public and will continue to get the system back on track. epa is committed to strengthen the lead and copper rule we're working revisions last december we received extensive recommendations for of the advisory council and other concerns stakeholders and
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will consider the input including the events in flint. in the near-term working with other stakeholders to take your term action for the existing e rule. they give for the opportunity to testify. >> and members of the committee the key for the opportunity to discuss the flint water crisis. cents january 4 i have served as director of the michigan department of environmental quality her rival star by apologizing. in retrospect government should have done more grievously investigate what happened to make sure it will never happen again. we must fix the problem for the people of flint.
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it is complex you to multiple levels of oversight. for daily operations than the operations to identify the locations to meet that criteria the state of michigan is responsible for ensuring compliance. to make sure those standards are met with the lead and a copper rule was protecting public health. when it came back in six parts per billion, corrosion treatment was not implemented. regardless of the testing schedule with the lead levels begin to rise to corrosion and treatment should have been advised. as a michigan and auditor general pointed out the office relate -- relied on a
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tactical complaints instead of assuring safe drinking water that would have allowed 24 runs to begin treatments. it is clear the federal rule is outdated and inadequate. and especially those with the aging infrastructure. i am confident their reviews from the u.s. department of justice will address the policy and decision making corrections to major government can provide safe clean drinking water to citizens. first i'd like to add those to help to bring the problem to light. and a final few minutes but
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governor rick snyder has said tens step plan the state of emergency aberrations' center to a merger 34 cases of bottled water and testing sibylline kips -- kids. and it addresses the short and though long-term although this is nonsense scientific sampling pool with a 93% below the parts per billion. testing of day care is sanders in homes is under way. with the michigan department of agriculture with additional follow-up with the lead levels to be
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coordinated by the michigan department nfl the human services to allow for a long-term monitoring and to which gave those to live burbles on january 21st. they have had a productive very constructive conversations on the path forward. we appreciate the dialogue beck consultation would have provided clarity that the state was already under way. and without the judy the steps. to be to have busted for partnership with the fbi -- epa and other agencies that the levels for garner appreciate those relationships established
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and made a hell of the task ahead is important and the governor is committed to provide resources and then to have those resources to the leveraged that could be put to death led to water crisis -- i thank you for the opportunity to come before you today
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the only thing we've heard in washington d.c. was these agencies paid to protect us can get away with anything. so i am begging you to do what we did not do the last two times to fix the lead and copper rule and fix the epa. the agency is involved to protect children and drinking water common the epa utilities have proven themselves time and time again and worthy of the
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public's trust they cannot be trusted to fix the problem. they have repeatedly engaged in misconduct and i outlined over the last 10 years five examples of falsified records that have conclusions that have caused children with lead poisoning and they refuse to correct the scientific record even indicates of the report that knowledge has no data after nine years. so the callous disregard is played out most recently in flint michigan. and residents there are
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living acer real experience. parched to -- to 1984 and i am ashamed for the profession that i belong to one of the drinking water in discrete zero dash industry has allowed this to occur. i really just begging please. please. these agencies do what they have refused to do to protect the kids in this country from lead in the drinking water live up to their machine and wants to get the worthy of the public trust. >>. >> my home is to be a place of comfort and safety and
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protection from the ellis said world. and for every citizen. and for those to sever their crisis the decade ago and that negligence and in a city with no democracy picked by i governors writer ed decision to was made to not have the proper regulation and. the claim says they've misinterpreted federal law had were allowed to tell epa follow the law without verification. and with the health issues.
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to say there was something wrong. to get to the science if anyone would believe as i started to research results about water. to use extra steps to minimize lead and water. 397 parts per billion and 707 parts per billion. i contacted the epa there were a thorough and as knowledgeable to assist me and i told them i did not believe there was corruption and control am the water provided in the documentation and he verified and mysterious. at first they lighted than later admitted the truth. i figured out she was aiding them with her life is and
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requested a copy of the report and made public because people had a right to know. with the report public the epa apologize to the mayor of flint because of policy but no one was willing to do their job. to forward all media requests including those during his personal time to flint to read one from plant. and how he had been handled that the report was flawed and there would be the final report. this is the ultimate betrayal for the citizens. kerry moore while punishing the silence the one person who was willing to help us. i started to do the test
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performed in accordance of the ills your average is 2500 my isis 15,000. hazardous wastes is 5,000. the fact that we sent had lead poisoning they still continued to tell everyone the water was safe. because the state and federal governments failed us we conducted citizen based stabling is elected back to madrid 77 samples all dead in a three week turnaround. after the tragedy where children were given lead in water the epa should have closed the loophole. had day done that 100 percent have prevented what took place in the flint.
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they have been -- refused to replace the partial assessments. in the report states it is tonight and for less than one-third of the time. it isn't a flint problem but a national problem. oh they tend states to not reveal the simply can't they have testings similar to the polls with the michigan one. these liberals need to be eliminated. i spoke that are currently hundred bison into change the elsie are. it would weaken a broken system and an outraged they allow this dishonesty to continue nationally.
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this is since are relying on you if there are people today still not be assisted during the crisis of shad in the sand and to have the have rioted tired i eight e.g. to help restore the trust lost by never allowing this to happen and in this these to happen down not ted years from now. spee q. [applause] >> we will now recognize the man from michigan. >> you are a good panel to have in front of us to start the investigation at this level.
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with id e-mail from the epa in response and the memo stating the epa e-mail, i want to remind you the report had a but you can respond it was that epa report. consequently real never received a report. who said that he be a land why would they tell them they'd never received a report which identified the lack of congress of controls in place?
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i do not know why the bill was sent. >> is there at we are the key to that. >> and to undo jacque and the independent review of what happens to make fantasy punished? to correct i am not aware he is saved and i said through her aunt and experts in this area. >> you believe he was punished by the epa? >> not in writing.
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but the way the epa and operates the people live simply that the ad to do their job famous old by the ethics officer at epa to lusby to 81 from flint or about flinch. he told me that himself before he was unable. >> day you believe said eta that is not following the requirements the and the floor and he sheesh cast a blind eye and hair so yes absolutely. >> to blige died snack and
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then clean bill the now we major the lead in the next day in lowe's lower then letting is it in the epa would give the effort to call but they didn't as we speak a line of the city's south to cause live with the speed with the because of a lack of clarity or the last seven first-round or both. >> i said fine to fahey but they don't care radish children. why does the epa have this problem? that is set strong statement with further testimony about
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why? >> you have to ask them why they refuse to do the job they are paid to do. >> are they violating the law? >> i believe they are not enforcing their own policies and with clint? twenty-two that unique circumstances the miracle of outsiders despite this system to show that it occurred. for those outside the system they would still we a treaty that water to this day. >> having more questions i yield back. >> we had dash hearing in july about region five.
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with three whistle-blowers to say the people retaliated before that region? and it was not dealt with and it should not have happened in the first place but it continued because she retired on monday. >> yes. we made it clear that we would not tolerate a retaliation nobody on these panels and looking at these depositions to get to the bottom of that.
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kid to expose that reality come talk to us there is no way we will stand for that we will have your back to reassure the truth gets up there this should not be retaliated there are protections in place and that is vital to was to do our jobs. please pass that along. >> bonterre yuri 29 the ranking member and myself with the document request what steps have been taken to collect the documents?
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>>. >> i am aware of the letter on february but the governor's office is reviewing the document. but with this issue of privacy. what with the michigan debris recovered are minto quality? but what is the responsibility based on the stated machine and with those corollary statements that allow us to enforce the laws in the state of michigan and.
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in they set the standard to receive the programming for yearly audits. >> with the lot to the responsibility were adopted the position. what failed and the kid you explain why a response and to revise the state's. >> question and of the day and many of the auditors will ask who made what decisions when and that is when we need to have a thorough investigation and. as i mentioned this city runs the planned it is consistent with the lead and
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copper rule. we oversee dash and iraq since u.s. and responsible for not responding megan's. >> and to advise you about water. >> but we all share responsibility whether the city stater federal government we all let the citizens down and that is the commitment to make sure that we solve that problem. you heard dr. edward stock. the citizens.
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>> you are space given the position in we have heard clearly there are issues with the epa. were you doing in the state of michigan to respond? the long your task force with bob kaplan who is seeded illustrator in in on and regulation or implementations and events but what to we have them listed with. >> is a very complex issue.
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i want to vehicular because this is the response they are perplexed as it seems to be by the city's test results and specializes to look for a higher lead problem. and reset it is the question of the day but has anyone been held accountable? >> yes. accountability here at the system and everyone deserves this process. >> so obviously you are holding people accountable and you should know what happens in it should move from a question to read a
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result to be sure this will not happen again. >> the akio ms. walters. you being here today your passion going above and beyond and i saw you taking a breath during your testimony this is your life and children. takes for the year.
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>> stakes to the panel. it is outrageous this sort of government made catastrophe would happen anywhere in the united states. i agree with my democratic colleagues that we need an independent to provide assistance to the people of the second three of women and without some in depth here michigan and him pain forced $28 million. >> they have the resources and need to make a right and never like to emergency meeting interlock it takes power away from the community. it is disappointing that forever beverages "the
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reader" had his attorney tell us when he received the subpoena that headquarters all and nonsensical. two except that subpoena to come here. what is nonsensical or disappointing that is most culpable but he needs to appear and have more people. this is an esteemed panel and three touchdowns on this but what rule to enforce the
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safe to eat -- tricky standards. isn't the primary role? >> yes to oversee compliance with the safe water -- water drinking act. >> what is the process to bring it to back on line? >> it is why does the invading the treatment plant was offline for a long period of time. >> actually the treatment plant has a long history and in was a primary source before 1967 and has been an existence since 1903 is the backup i believe they a tested on a quarterly basis so i was going from a back up to a primary in state law doesn't require additional permits. >> so how and when they
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decide to change their water source how involved? >> as mentioned it is highly unusual to go from one source to another. and so that should be with the water source change what is the cost and a black and the switch was made, there was no corrosion control, a federal law was not followed nothing. had they done that the
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unallowable to continue to the jury to water it would cost $1 a day. >> why do you think no phosphates were added? isn't that a normal step. >> is the lot. you have to have a corrosion control plan and that is why we have the law of the disaster rabat have occurred that includes the outbreak but a conflict situation there would easily save the thousand. so it probably did started innocently and someone
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simply forgot to follow the law. with the flint river or another water source? >> there are alternative approaches but you are protecting your pipes a unit people. >> if you started to send to say that it has largely ben restored and a sampling was done today and it is a pretty good tunes the flint would pass. i cannot say but until they do that testing we have to err on the side of caution
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and to assume it is unsafe to drink. and under the rule. and to identify which to simple it has become clearer that they never followed the first up and frankly the results are invalid. >> i faqs so promptly for convening this hearing. and so but it's it is "the
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washington post" and the point of my questions and blame is pretty clear. to go back to the crisis in the nation's capital but to even be it added the national implications of this hearing because the day high-profile episode in the nation's capital so surely this is the time for each of
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us to require it to the appropriate authorities for what we had just heard described here. in the district there were late term miscarriages than spontaneous abortions after unusual higher rates of lead was found in the water. when that substance was added to the water then they reverted to the normal hours was somewhat different. from when i understand from the testimony of the rule says that you can't but the
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epa doesn't allow if day are pre-flushing had all. but that just indicates and what that means, you flesh away the lead the fed you test. why? that is a deliberately close to criminal act. is there a monitoring and just that one mission and? but declined as scientific monetary that lets you know, >> epa task force as provided clearer guidance. >> at this moment with the jurisdictions that my colleagues represent? >> three stagnation and fleshy and is a concern that
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was brought to our concern and that we look closely at with oversight activities. >> the answer is no? watch out. when you were told there is no lead bidder water they could be fleshing because nobody is looking to see if that is going on. you were not there at the time but there you go back and you talk about the epa and insurgency the of the official cited for understanding there was a problem. so i can understand there was now zero consensus but let's look at the common sense way of corrosion.
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you are not asserting are you that you have to get a consensus of the lead tenant copper rule before deciding to use corrosion control read you change sources? >> i am not. >> with day billion dollar problem in the district we have a terrible situation where people led to the trouble to change the lead pipes of their own home that makes it worse because of ashley city deals with the pipes from your home that not only counter the problem and makes it worse so watch out to change the lead pipes all over america your pipes are full of lead to the federal government earlier
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state, the federal government should have been pressing this were giving money for this. or adding money of their own to change the pipes. that is the problem in the ancient water system. i want to know how to get a quick fix now. they will not remove themselves from flint. they cannot sell their homes now. nobody wants to come to flint in the already troubled area. . .
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>> is the water now save? >> we cannot guarantee at this point time that the water safe to drink. if you can and i elaborate just little bit. >> the gentlewoman's time is expired but please answer. >> we have match the parcels in flint that we know of, there's there's 56000 parcels, we have put them on a gis database if you will to doctor edwards point. there is uncertainty uncertainty as to where there is lead service

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