>> that decision was not influenced by white house officials. the notification that was distributed by the department of education is not an enforcement action. it was a policy decision that included some white house involvement but was the responsibility of the department of education. >> given the major component that transgender students in north carolina are prohibited from using the restrooms due to gender identity, then doesn't that necessarily mean that even if schools choose not to follow this guidance that they will not suffer a loss of federal funds? >> what this says is, well, the way this works is that if the our schools, and i think they will be in the minority budget our schools across the country that do come forward and indicate they did not intend to be in for pints with this guidance and there's established process for litigating those differences with the department of education, so there's the
establish process. >> and was a plan to make enough to the be no loss of federal funds for north go on at this time in conjunction with the announcements from the department of education, justice for this guidance for transgender students? >> as alleged north carolina inconsiderate page hb2, a policy decision that was made -- hb2, even as agency was considering whether or not the implantation of hb2 would put a range of federally funded programs at risk in the state of north carolina. a decision that was made was to not withhold any funding until the enforcement action that was announced by the department of justice had made its way through the courts. so that was a very specific
thing and that was a response to developments that occurred this week with regard to the situation in north carolina. this guidance is guidance that has been in the works for years. and, but it is guidance that is broadly consistent with the kinds of principles that this president and this administration have long fought for. >> even if you said yesterday with regard to hb2 that they would be in no loss of federal funds as the enforcement action is on click of the course, a department of education spokesperson said the review is ongoing. do you know why the spokesperson said that? >> i don't but this is a little public it so it may have just been a bit of a ms. kinney tatian. but relates to specifically to hb2, no federal agencies will be making decisions with the -- this communication -- until the
doj enforcement processes has worked its way through the court. okay? margaret. >> do you foresee similar directives to come from the administration? >> i'm not aware of any other come i guess it's time we sit latest evening guidance it could have impact on -- >> usage of received inquiries. had received inquiries from other industries, companies elsewhere also to many this kind of clarity on how they should be treating -- >> it's surely possible. i'm not aware of any guidance that will attract the amount of interest this one has. >> i want to go back and i did you talk about with kathleen. can you just clarify does the president see this as a clear-cut civil rights issue? >> well, i think there is a question of civil rights here.
and there is a question of how can we ensure that the civil rights of every student is protected. there's also a question of how to ensure that the dignity and safety of every student is protected. and the guidance we put forward would do both. and again i think that's why we are going to see a lot of school administers comfort and announce their intent to implement this guidance. or they're just going to let the guidance without announcing it. or like me school administrators, they are already doing this kind of work to ensure the safety and dignity of every student at the school your this is the thing i was mentioning the four. this is something over the last week or two has been a pretty loud part of the political debate. this is something that school administers all the cost of shipping you with for quite some time. so they don't have the luxury of falling back on talking points.
they've got to implement practical real world solutions that make a difference when it comes to the safety and dignity of students at their school. posting a law-enforcement officer outside of every bathroom to check the birth certificate of people walking through the door, that's not a practical solution. that's not going to has anybody's safety or dignity. it's impractical. is rooted in a political argument that has very little grounding in actual fact. so i recognize that's some sort of something the politicians frequently do. which is make arguments that may sound good politically, just to score some political points. but to do that at the expense of students all across the country is something i don't think that they should do. >> do you think they should question of the civil rights? is this because the courts still
haven't ruled on whether there is protection under the law of transgender person as a protected class as an extension of sex discrimination? >> i think what's undeniable is this is an issue where case law is still being built up. i think the reading of this guidance i think is pretty common sense. you can't just commit against people because of their gender identity. you can't force people with a specific gender identity to use a different facility. that's discriminating against them. what we should do is treat every student the same. we should protect every students safety. we should protect every students dignity. we should give every student access to individual youth facilities if that's what they prefer and they are unavailable. that's the cornerstone here of
our argument. >> are you saying it is built up but you're going so far to say this is on shaky legal grounds because we still the same federal protection? >> no, no. i don't need to telegraph. out of me to telegraph any lack of confidence in the legal conclusion that has been reached. the law is clear. and i think you should be notable that it's not just the department of education aside onto this but the department of justice, to get the point i'm trying to make, margaret, is that this is, look, this is something that is relatively new. this is a relatively new policy consideration that school administrators are having to make and this is a relatively new element of our political debate. i was thinking earlier today, because there was some discussion whether or not the word transgender have ever been uttered in the white house podium before.
and i think that's a pretty apt illustration of how this debate is changing and has emerged. and so it's new to our political debate, but this is not new when you consider what school administrators have had to do to ensure the safety and security of every student at their school. this is something they have to deal with every day. that's why most of them don't have a lot of tolerance for bunch of cheap political rhetoric. they are looking for solutions, and solutions are exactly what were provided by the department of education in their letter to them. okay? rich. >> thanks josh. you're saying this is a problem school administers are dealing with, but then it was also a problem that didn't exist until it entered this political realm. how long has the administration been getting questions about this? to the north carolina law
prompted this guidance or speed it's time when? >> they did not. this is guidance that has been in the works for years. this is relatively new to our political debate but again this is something that has been the source of questions in the department of education has received for a number of years now. and again, those questions to the department of education were not rooted in the desire of the high school principal to make a political argument. it is rooted in the desire of the high school principal to get some advice and to rely on the experts that the department of education to help him or her ensure the safety and dignity of every single student at their school. that's what these principles are looking for. .com in those cases principles are not making a whole lot of money. it's not a glamorous job but they do it because they care deeply about our children are major deeply about providing a
good quality education t to our kids to pick a debate about the future of this country. they care deeply about ensuring that a learning environment that they're responsible for managing is one that is respectful, that's inclusive and that is safe. and that's the kind of guidance that they were seeking from the department of education about how best to accomplish those goals. >> the knowledge, there still is a very difficult process here. for example, that guidance says when a student on student's parent or guardian is notified from the student will assert that gender identification different from the previous. and then goes onto say, that gender transition can happen swiftly, or over a long duration of time. if they principal is sitting in front of a student and there could be questions of clarity, sincerity. these are all things that are still not answered and out there, right?
>> i think this goes to ron's question. we acknowledge come and effect this is what should happen, school administrators do to make decisions about the best way to protect the dignity and sake of the students after school. and yes, these are complicated issues. that's setting aside even the kind of range that might be available to a school administrator. so we of our schools are so widely underfunded, right? you faces question are we going to build a new bathroom or are we going to provide up-to-date textbooks and our science classrooms? these are practical questions that administrators are going to have to answer for themselves. that's what it would not be wise for the federal government to be imposing a solution or adding an additional requirement under the law your that's in fact what we have not done that because we believe in the value and the importance of local control of schools. so we want schools and what
school administrators to be reaching the kinds of conclusions and the kinds of solutions that are in the best interest of that community, and the best interest of the students who attend that school. so that's also why you've seen the use department of education drop on solutions that have been admitted to schools all across s the country. servicing those good ideas and sharing them with other school administrators that are trying to solve the same problem. that's a pretty high functioning u.s. department of education providing a gullible service to school administers all across the country that are simply just trying to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for their kids. >> in the past week the administration has come out very strongly on these issues with action against north carolina, and those are domestic issues. internationally the united states still has relationships with and gives aid to countries that put lgbt people behind bars, charges them and executes
them. is the u.s. going to insert its influence international? >> i would lead a pretty. the president strongly -- when he comes around the world and we certainly have made a direct statement. the president has been crystal clear old in public settings but also in private settings in his conversation with world leaders about our expectation and the priority that we place in this country on human rights. >> including funding? >> i think that as many questions that has been discussed in a number of other settings about whether or not significant human rights violations undermine the relationship that the united states has with other countries or in some cases could even interrupt funding that is provided by the united states to other countries. there is an increasing situation
a couple of years ago when there were questions about whether or not the united states was going to interrupt the federal aid that we provide to egypt in the aftermath of a crackdown on political dissidents there. that situation is not funny but it did provoke an increasing response as i tried to describe the way that fundin fun is provo individual countries and tranches. some people have some fun with it. but it underscores that this is a policy priority of the president when he travels around the world. i have sat in rooms with the present has talk to world leaders, and the president of the united states, respectfully, but directly, raises concerns about the treatment of minorities in their countries, including the rights of gays and lesbians, and the rights of
political dissidents, the rights of women, the rights of journalists. and look, as a country these are values that we are deeply invested in. and we use our influence around the world to try to advance those values. the president make the case rather forcefully both in public and in private on american soil and when he is abroad. >> do you expect lawsuits speak with well again, what i expect is the vast majority of school adventures take a look at this kind of figure out a way to implement it in their schools. >> josh, thank you. to follow up to the follow-up to the follow-up on the question of transgender guidance -- >> i am assuming a lot of patience today. [laughter] >> the administration and its final month expect issue more guidance, for instance, there's a hearing that happened this morning where a mother said that
football killed her son because of concussions. so i'm curious, on any other directives or issues or guidance the administration plans to give out to impact the nation's children, like guidance on ctv? >> i don't have any announcements about additional department of education guidance that will be likely to be issued in the months ahead. you can check to see what policies they may have in store. >> on zika, back to that first statement, you mentioned yesterday a list of things the republican-led congress has not done such as zika, puerto rico, opioid addiction. >> passing a budget. >> house passed 18,000 opioid addiction yesterday -- 18 bills on opioid addiction yesterday. on zika, making its way through right now. does the president expect to
pass the legislation if it reaches his desk? and are you championing about the effort by the florida senator rubio and others to give older than 1.9 billion? >> we welcome the bipartisan support our zika proposal has received including from senator rubio. i think this reflects the degree to which for all of our policy differences with senator rubio, when it comes to look out for the public health and well being of the american people, there shouldn't be a partisan difference. and i think senator rubio and senator nelson both understand the consequences for mothers and babies in florida of not doing everything possible to fight zika. so we certainly welcome that show up bipartisan support from senator rubio and senator nelson, and hope that the united states said it and the united states house will listen to the
vice upper public health experts. so $1.9 billion number was not chosen at random. it actually reflects the sum total of efforts that our public health professionals say they can and should take over the long term to protect the american people from zika. so if there are some public health professionals in the united states congress to look at this carefully enough to offer up their own alternative, they can do that. but 1.9 billion is what our public health professionals say that we need. 1.9 billion is what our bipartisan governors from all across the country belief that congress should provide so they can fight zika in their communities. so there's strong bipartisan support for our proposal because it's rooted in the facts because if we did basic database on the advice of the top scientist in the country. that's why we welcome the support of republican senators come and we would welcome
bipartisan congressional passage of the legislation that's long overdue. >> would've that anything less than 1.9? >> this is a process that unfortunately is still working its way through the congress. we would have liked to have seen congress begin this effort many months ago. the president convened a meeting with his national security team at his public health experts in january to discuss this issue. just a couple weeks later he signaled his intent to request resources from congress. just a couple of weeks after that we put forward a specific proposal that detaed how the $1.9 billion would be spent. so we worked at a very rapid pace over the winter to put forward this request, three months now gone by, almost three months, and we've seen very little movement from congress and has been quite disappointing. but maybe as people like senator rubio we in and demonstrate the
bipartisan support for the recommendation from our public health professionals, maybe we will build up some momentum. >> josh, another issue of the day the president is hosting world leaders, the refugee crisis on it was back in september that he pledged he wanted to allow 10,000 syrian refugees into the country. by the end of fiscal 2016, october. 's we have some time but the latest data but statistics are showing just a little more than 2000. is the administration confident you will reach your goal of 10,000 by october? and can you also explain some of the delays and a slower than expected process, what are some of the other issues be? the challenge is simply this, but individuals who enter the united states through the refugee program are subjected to more screening, more background checks than any other individual who tried to enter the united states. these individuals have to undergo a background check. their individual person.
biometric data is collected and all that information is then run through databases that are maintained by the military, use intelligence agencies, other national security organizations in the united states. but also law-enforcement organizations in the united states and organizations overseas. all of that work takes time. and the president was clear that we are not going to cut corners when it comes to security even as we meet its ambitious goal. so i don't think anybody was under the expectation that they would be a linear increase in the number of refugees that would be admitted. i think we always contemplated that this was a program that would ramp up over time as we added capacity and as we added our capacity to conduct these background checks. there's no denying there's a lot of work to do to me to the school. it will be challenging to get it done. but last year around this time there were questions raised about whether or not we would
need our previous refugee goal. because we've fallen behind base. but yet based on the good work of our profession of the department of state and department of homeland security we did succeed in meeting that goal last year at the president has made clear that meetings or ambitious goal this year is a top priority. i'm confident all the people working on this problem understand the priority that the president has placed on this issue. >> how is the political rhetoric, the harsh language and some of the fear that's been drummed up around immigration and by the refugee crisis impacted the administration's ability to get them to the bible and? >> i don't think it's had an impact. the people working on this inside the u.s. government are professionals and they understand exactly what needs to be done when it comes to implementing these vigorous background checks. they understand why it's important that a thorough vetting be conducted before
refugees are admitted to this country. and that's what they are doing. and the political has that impacted their ability to do their jobs. >> you think the admission she is confident it will be able to reach its goal of 10,000? >> i am confident that you confident that people understand that the president thinks this is a top priority and they have some work to do to meet this challenging goal. so we certainly intend to reach this goal. janet? >> thank you. going back to immigration. many other critics come immigration credits have called the refugee status for the central american families, living action on that? and would you say that this is in correlation to central america found crossing the border? [inaudible] >> no, it's not. as secretary johnson indicated the operations that are
underweight, continuation of operations that were previously announced. at the same time i do think it is important for people who are in central america and contemplated making a dangerous journey through mexico to try to get to the united states, these operations should make clear that that's not an option. that's not a viable option. it should also make clear to parents in particular that child smugglers who say they can stick their kids into the united states are not telling the truth. and, in fact, entrusting your children to the smugglers is dangerous, and we strongly encourage people not to do it here so that's an important think that it's important for people to understand what the policy is in the united states is also important people understand what we've tried to do. what we try to do is to enhance the assistance that the united states provides to countries like guatemala and honduras.
last year in the omnibus budget proposal about 700 million was provided by congress to improve is to get a situation in some of those countries or make contributions to try to put a sticky situation and try to address some of the root causes that would prompt people to undertake this dangerous journey. if this serves to discourage people from considering to make this journey, that would be a good thing. but our motivation for carrying out these operations is rooted in president obama as secretary johnson's commitment to enforcing the law. we are going to do that in a way that's humane, make shipping with access to due process. the only people who would be subject to operations like this are people who are subject to an order of rule by an immigration court. the only people who could be part of an operation like this and removed from the country would be people who have exhausted any sort of claims for asylum or humanitarian relief.
so there are rules that govern us, but at the end of the day the president is serious about enforcing the law. thdepression discontinued beliee there is a better way and that comprehensive immigration reform legislation through congress would improve the way that we manage our immigration system in this country. >> is there -- [inaudible] >> there has been a discussion about working with the united nations to allow people in central america to apply for asylum and be considered, be carefully vetted for inclusion some sort of the refugee process. and we worked diligently with united nations to try to get that process up and running. there's still a lot of work to do with regard to establishing that program but there has been some consideration doesn't give into that idea. what's notable about that is that is an application process that doesn't begin in the united states. it begins in central america anu
can begin that should serve as an encouragement for people who are interested and think they may apply for may be eligible for the kind of humanitarian relief, that they can apply for either home country. they don't have to undertake the dangerous journey to try to get to the 20. they don't have to trust the smuggler. they can apply for that status in their home country. >> josh, as you know, data out today show pretty sharp increases in rates and less humans in about 20 different cities. is there a reason for concern and give anymore to say on the interpretatiointerpretation of ? >> i do anything to say beyond what i said yesterday. i will say that when director comey was talking about this he acknowledged that there's a lot of ambiguity about the broader trends because in some parts of the country we haven't seen increase in violent crime and over all, crime across the
country is at or near historic lows. the example that he raised that i think is an illustrative point is that we have seen a spike in violent crime in dallas but not in houston. so the question is what accounts for the different environment. so we've got experts in the department of justice were taking a look at the situations. as president obama did lester was actually correct his attorney general to ramp up the assistance that we can provide to local law enforcement that is trying to fight these violent crime spikes in some communities in the country. and that additional assistance has taken a variety of forms, is included widespread sting operations that were carried out i u.s. marshals to round up individuals who are wanted for violent crimes. there's also additional assistance that has been provided to individual enforcement organizations to
improve training of their law enforcement officers to make them more effective. so that is some assistance the federal government can provide to law enforcement agencies that are doing with these kinds of spikes that it is unclear what contribute to the spikes because we do know that as a general matter all across the country crime rates remain at or near historic lows. >> do you dismiss the notion that there's some sort of progress in effect? i think a dark about how there's no evidence to back that up. i guess what i'm trying to understand is do you think he is wrong, or do you think he just doesn't have the evidence to substantiate what he said there's a difference. either you were not sure or you're sure he is wrong. ..
we can't make broad sweeping policy decisions or draw conclusions base on anecdotal evidence. the president has confidence in vast majority of law enforcement officers all across the country to do their job and do them well and in a way that's effective in fighting crime and protecting civil rights at the same time. the president does not believe, at least not evidence to substantia, the but look, if there's evidence that materials that claim, then we should do something about it.
i guess the point is there isn't evidence out there to draw any firm conclusions about what's happening, the president does have a lot of confidence in the vast majority of law enforcement officers that are selflessly protecting our communities and doing it in the right way but we should look at this problem and get to the bottom of what exactly is going on and director comey did indicate that it's unclear what's going on. he acknowledged that it's a complicated situation. that's where he use it had dallas-houston comparison that there's no clear answer. we need to spend more time trying to figure out what's happening. he's right about that. we should use the evidence that's uncovered to formulate an appropriate policy response and that's what the president believe the priorities should be. >> josh, there's a lot of
uncertainty about everything. we all are. one has to act to the fate of uncertainty anyway. your suggestion seems to me that you're not acting because you don't have evidence when, in fact, in merely every case you have to act in the face of uncertainty, can you help me untangle? >> the president often talks about this about how often uncertainty impacts the decisions that he's required to make as the president of the united states. that uncertainty typically applies to situations in which there are no guaranties that what the president is prepared to choose will work. so, for example, if we determine that the so-called ferguson effect is potentially
contributing to an increase in crime, then we need to sit down and figure out what can we do to address it and there will be some uncertainty about whether or not that will work. but there won't be uncertainty about the fact that we are trying to solve the right problem, we are trying to solve the problem that actually exists and collecting evidence to verify what it is possible to know even if once we get to the stage of considering solutions, that there will and a naturally be uncertainty about what the future holds. but even in that case, there will be some evidence to inform the choices that the president has to make. >> got more dead bodies, that's clearly a problem. >> i'm not denying that there's
a spike in violent crimes across the country and that's why the president last year ordered the attorney general to provide some additional assistance to law enforcement agencies, we saw the marshall carry out wide-spread sweep about fugitives being captured. there's plenty of evidence to indicate that there are some communities, again, this is not a wide-spread phenomena, at least based on what we know now, but some evidence in some communities, including president's home of chicago and the president has ordered actions, specific actions to try to address it but there's not evidence at this point to link that surge in violent crime to the so-called video effect, ferguson effect. there's no evidence to
substantiate that. there's evidence that the vast majority of law enforcement, men and women across the country are doing their job as well as ever, that they're fighting crime, protecting people's civil rights and to protect the communities that they're sworn to serve and protect. so that's the ambiguity that exists and that's what we need to the bottom of before we start offering up specific solutions. >> on the transgender question, can you help us you think tangle the president's role himself, like did he play a direct role in the guidance? did he meet with his attorney general in the last week or recently to discuss, did he meet with the education secretary in the last week or the week before that to discuss, did he encourage the issue himself of this guidance and why in particular might have persuaded him that this was the right thing to do?
so can you -- we what role he played? >> he's regularly updated as policy process moves forward. so he was certainly aware of the policy that was under deliberation by the department of education and i can tell you that the outcome does reflect his view, that the department of education should be response toif request that they have received from school administrators and the department of education has an obligation to put forward tangle, real-world suggestions for how this problem can be addressed in communities all across the country. the president also agrees that imposing an additional requirement under the existing law is not something that the
department of education needs to be doing right now, so it's possible and, in fact, important for the u.s. department of education to play an appropriate role in offering this guidance to school administrators that are trying to enhance the safety and protect the dignity of every student in their community. >> that suggestion is that he's sort of a bistandard to this guidance coming out, that it was part of a process and he didn't really do much to encourage or discourage, it just so happened, is that an appropriate interpretation or did he play more active role? >> well, obviously ch obviously the president sets a longer-term vision for the priorities that his administration is going to pursue. i can't speak to all of the conversations that president obama has had with the education secretary about this or other matters, but i think it is fair to say and i think it's
important that this kind of announcement reflects the president's strongly held view about the need to prevent discrimination but also the need to protect the safety and dignity of every student in america. this does reflect the president's view, but at the same time there's an established policy process for considering these kinds of questions and ensuring that the outcome reflects the priorities set by the president of the united states and in this case they were. >> in an interview with the newspapers, president obama defended by saying prosecution were a small pamphlet, the administration has targeted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, can you explain the president's remarks, do you think he's aware of how many more leak investigations this
administration has conducted versus all of the predecessors? >> i don't think we are going to get deep into this today, the first is what the president said is true, a number of those investigations were initiated by the previous administration. what is also true as questions of criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions are not influenced by the president or any other political operative in the white house. these are decisions that are made by department of justice prosecutors. that's the way the process should work and it would be inappropriate for the president to intervene in either way, it would be inappropriate for the president of the united states intervene and say, you should go investigate this individual, it would be just as inappropriate for the president to intervene and say, you should lay off that guy from "the new york times". that would be inappropriate too.
we've got a department of justice and you should check with them for insight into decisions that attorneys of the department of justice were making. >> do you think he was regretful that the prosecutions took place during his administration or he went onto talk about the notion himself that there should be as much freedom as possible? as you say the prosecutions took place during his administration and your suggestion is that they took place potentially without any input from him or any of his direct reports from the white house? >> i'm suggesting it would be a genuine scandal if that were not the case. >> i think so. is he sorry that the number of prosecutions took place during his administration during the fact that he can do nothing about it? >> no, i think the president does believe that people who swore an oath to protect sensitive information should
follow it and the president does believe that the department of justice and other agencies have a role in enforcing that oath. and that enforcement should take place without regard to political considerations and inquiry is going on right now that i'm not going to comment on but i think is an indication that this is something at least when it comes to the handling of these kinds of matter by the department of justice that should be firmly inflated from politics and there were insul insulated? [inaudible] >> jonathan, i will give you the last one. >> thank you. why did he decide to go and what
can you give us an advance preview? >> for years leaders have been encouraging president obama to consider delivering the commencement address this year because it's the 250th anniversary of the first commencementddress or the first commencement ceremonies so the president is looking forward to participating in this historic occasion. it certainly is the mark of a remarkable institution of higher learning. i know that it's quite proud of the class of 2016 and the president is looking forward to congratulating the class on all that they have achieved. i think you'll have observations of the world that they're prepared to enter. this is a -- they are prepared
to enter in a country and a planet that's rapidly changing. and the -- these students are as well prepared as any students have ever been to confront those challenges and use those -- the changing environment to create a better world and that's what makes the president so fundamentally optimistic about the future of our country and that optimism is manifested quite well in this year's graduating class. so with that, why don't i do a week ahead? i don't have any notes about any unplanned, unscheduled movements for the president but we will see if he's able to make the most of his visits. so on sunday, if this is not
written down here, obviously the president will travel to new jersey to deliver the commencement address, on monday the president will host medal of valor ceremony, awarded to public safety officer who is are exhibited exceptional courage regardless of personal safety in the attempts to protect and safe others from harm. on tuesday will president will attend meetings at the white house. on wednesday the president will participate in dnc round table. on thursday national medals of science and technology innovation to 17 scientists, engineering, innovators. the medal of science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science, the medal of the national technology and innovation recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to america's competitiveness and quality of life and help it had
nation's technological workforce. on friday the president will attend meeting at the white house and on saturday route vietnam. designed to increase u.s. diplomatic, economic and security engagement with the peoples of the region. this is obviously next saturday, a week from tomorrow and i will have a lot more to say about the president's trip to the asia pacific during next week's briefings, with all of that, i hope you guys have a great weekend. we will see you monday. i resisted making that joke. >> i know. >> we will take it back up next week. thank you, you too. [inaudible] >> early on in the briefing he talked about president obama hosting the leaders from leaders of in nordic.
our arrival ceremony indoors. of course, our nordic friends are used to tough weather. you should know that here in washington we have not seen the sun for about three weeks, which you experience for months on end but despite that fact we want you to know that we are deeply happy to have all of you here. we are honor to welcome not one nation but five, our great nordic friends and partners. president and prime minister solbart and fines of norway, prime minister and mrs. lofan of sweden.
prime minister of denmark and prime minister johanson and daughter of iceland. to you and your delegations, welcome and the united states. i'm going try this as best as i can. [speaking in native tongue] [applause] [inaudible] [laughter] >> those i'm not sure were delivered perfectly but i think the spirit was understood. today is an opportunity for michelle and me to return warm hospitality that we have received and during my spit to stockhon. for americans, there's a phone
number that you can learn about swedish. iceland invites you to send your questions to #goodfinder. they are important countries and they are extraordinary friends. this is a special day, i think, for the millions of americans who probably trace their ancestry to nordic countries particularly in the midwest. they honor their parents and grand bhoornts crossed oceans and caferred out new lives
>> they display horses and love and lesey. this is heritage and friendships that bring us together here today, around the world america's closest partners are democracies. and we only need to look at our nordic friends to see why, we share the same interests and the same values. we believe that our citizens have the right to live in freedom and security. free from terrorism and europe where smaller nations are not bullied by larger nations. we believe in trade that support jobs and strong protections for workers and the environment and strong safety net that provides a basic measure of security in life.
we believe that we have a moral obligation and protect our planet including our beautiful artic. we believe in societies that create opportunity for all people through education. health care, and equal opportunity including for women. in fact, in a world with economic disparities, nordic have some of the least income inequality in the world which may explain some of the reasons that they're some of the happiest people in the world despite not getting much sun and we believe in the inherent dignity of every human being. we believe in pluralism and tolerance and respect for free speech and freedom of religion. that's why we welcome the refugee who seeks a better life, that's why we stand up for human
rights around the world, that's why our nations are leading contributors of humanitarian and development aid, to spare a child even on the other side of the world a preventible disease, to give girls even on the other side of the world the chance at an education and to end the outrage of extreme poverty. in their own region and with the world, the nordic countries are a model of cooperation and they consistently punch above their weight in meeting the challenges of our time. our nordic partners are not large countries but there are almost no issues that we deal with, whether in terms of security or economics or humanitarian assistance where the nordic countries are not
some of the most reliable and effective important partners. that's why i wanted to invite them here today because sometimes we have a tend ency to take our best friends for granted and it's important that we not do so and they have been extraordinarily important for us in shaping and maintaining an international order that is rule-based, that is fair, that is just, so i really do believe that the world would be more secure and more prosperous if we had more partners like the nordic countries. there's been times where i have said why don't we put the small countries in charge for a while and they could clean things up. [laughter] >> now, i will admit that to our american nordic languages and expressions can sometimes be a little confusing. we have a television program
called game of thrones. that's what it sounds like sometimes. [laughter] but the truth is we are grateful to everything that our in in -- nordic have contributed to us. we read our children anderson children's imaginations come to life with legos, our homes are infused with furniture and design, some of us sing to abai do want to point out that finland has the most heavy metal bands in the world per capita and also ranks high on good governance, i don't know if there's any correlation there.
stay in touch by skype and millions spend what would otherwise be productive hours on mind craft, angry birds and candy crush. a community is like a ship, everyone ought to help, as democratic societies we believe our ship is stronger when everybody has the opportunity to succeed. so to my fellow leaders this is the work i look forward to advancing here today and in that spirit i welcome you all once again to the united states of america. now, given the unique nature of this visit we have unusual arrangement to the program. throughout the day we are going to hear from all nordic leaders but we will not have them speak
con sec -- consecutively. because they are famous for their cooperation, there has been an allocation of time and we are going to begin this morning with president of finland and prime minister solbar of norway, so they will provide us some brief remarks and you will hear from the other leaders later today. prime minister. [applause] >> mr. president and mrs. obama, we the leaders of the five nordic countries and our spouses are grateful to you for inviting
us and convening the second u.s.-nordic summit. thank you for the wonderful work. already up on arriving pennsylvania avenue gave a heartening feeling to us. i have to apologize that we forgot to take the sun with us. [laughter] >> we have had a lot of sunshine this spring. >> the nordic family with profound values and history and with strong ties of cooperation, with you, mr. president, we feel we have spirit. equal opportunities and human rights for all, democracy, the rule of law and respect of
international law. these are hallmarks of society and agenda that we share. together the nordics are a superpower, not militarily but when it comes to innovation, education, competitiveness, sustainable development and clean technologies, together we are the world's 12th largest economy. free trade is clearly in our interest. .. x. essential threat involved that is climate change and
focusing to the arctic where we are practically enablers. the council can be use council s an instrument of confidence building. the countries give value to the multinational corporations which you have stressed during your tenure. this is vitally important. security threats are bound. the situation has become more tense in the region and northern europe. the security and stability areas calcalled for a dialogue with russia to enhance transparency and reduce risks. the countries are in many ways security providers in our own
region in europe but also globally. we shoulder the responsibilities and to seek solutions instead of problems. we are willing and able to continue to cooperate with you in promoting stability and we value highly the u.s. commitment to europe and our security. we are proud of the long-standing u.s. based on common values and interest between our people and action economically and socially. we are committed to strengthening the partnership even further. today i'm honored to say the nordic countries, mr. president the united states has a friend
and a strong partner and we are willing to work together with the united states to build a better future for the whole mankind. [applause] >> president, first lady, distinguished guests and dear friend for the other members of the delegation as you make the most of the final year we are delighted to note you have saved the best for last. a few weeks ago it was our annual exercise.
i am honored as watching u.s. marines learning how to cross country ski. mr. president, [inaudible] two years ago during the exercise just as we stood together after 9/11 and just as we now have joined forces in the fight in the partnership we are bound by the experiences and the history that we share. one of the marines i met to exercise was cage solberg. there are millions of people in dissent in the united states
there are more here than there are in norway. it's the cost of the huge atlantic ocean in the '90s to pursue the new opportunities for themselves and their children and they carry the dream of a better life in the united states. today the atlantic ocean unites us more. it's made the seed for the nation open to trade with the world and committed to developing our fish, gas and oil resources. the norwegian coastline reaches to the north keeping a close eye on the development and the key priority for us for serving stability and predictability is in our own region that benefits the entire alliance and as close allies, we share common values and that is of course no coincidence.
look for the inspiration and trusting the norwegian constitution. our common values remain steadfast. freedom, democracy for a quality and human rights. our values protect the nature of friendship and partnership that we hold dear. today it is a strong reminder of what we've achieved together but you know if there is more to be done. the countries have different roles to play in the international arena but you can achieve great things and to pursue the same good. mr. president, i would like to commend you on your leadership. your commitment to achieving progress in climate change was essential for the paris agreement. the leadership is keen to ensure the future.
we share your dedication to the new security, nonproliferation, they are key elements of the international security for the bold new reductions on the basis to make the world safer. mr. president in new york last year the international community established a roadmap for the future by agreeing on the sustainable development. the next 15 years we can eradicate the policy and have a fair and more peaceful future and do all this in a way that safeguards the planet. broad partnerships and innovative new approaches will be needed to achieve this goal. the united states and the nordics will provide a better
return on the education. i appreciate the leadership of the first lady that has a cost we share as women and mothers and leaders and today's summit is an important opportunity to advance the cooperation and to reiterate the values that we share and the truths we hold for being self-evident because we are stronger and more effective to gather this will ensure it remains as powerful as they are today. [applause] thank you, everybody. we are going to get to work. we are very grateful for the presence of our leaders here.
the united states is grateful for the partnership that we have with all the countries represented around this table. they are individually not large countries in terms of population but in terms of effectiveness, contributions, ideas, energy. they are enormously important players on the stage, and the fact that our values and interests of mine. given the threats of terrorism, the partners are making significant contributions in the fight against isys including more special operations forces and aircraft, trainers, more assistance to stabilize the area that had been liberated and the syrians and iraqis and we discussed the counterterrorism
cooperation and that includes the need to share more information and i want to thank them for the commitment in afghanistan. the countries will continue to work together to counter the violent extremism and prevent people from being radicalized in the first place. i want to commend the contribution the countries have made an absorbing refugees and we had a significant discussion around the issue of migrants and refugees. i think it is useful for the price to understand that although some of the absolute numbers that are going into these respective countries may not seem as large when you look at it on a per capita basis they
are making it enormously generous to help but it's important for the world to carry this burden and not allow any individual country to carry the burdens alone and that's the reason we wil people get strong cooperation and participation on the refugees i intend to post a. a. with regards to the european security as we head into the summit in warsaw i' i am pleased that denmark and norway will be joining the united states contributing to the enhanced allied force to bolster the collective defense in europe and all of the nations agree to increase cooperation between nato and the eu.
they maintained sanctions against russia until they could get the resolution and as it was outlined in the agreement does need to be fully implemented. we are united in our concern about russia's growing aggressive military presence and fostering the baltic region and we will be maintaining ongoing dialogue and seek cooperation with russia but we also want to make sure that we are prepared and strong and we want to encourage russia to keep its activities in full compliance with international obligations to. to reaffirm my intention to try to get this done by the end of the year for the sources and the
routes the six nations remain strong partners in climate change including the implementation of the agreement and transitioning to a carbon economy. and as the nations we committed to conservation and sustainable development that prioritized our efforts to combat climate change and we look forward to hosting the first-ever ministerial this fall to ensure that we are working together on that issue and finally all of the leaders are here are key partners and global development. the nordic countries are some of the few countries and by the way the united states doesn't fall in this category of meeting a the goals that have been set with respect to foreign aid and humanitarian assistance.
i would like us to do even more. they are doing a great job in the coordination of the global health security and encouraging women's education and inclusion in economies in the developing in eradicating extreme poverty as was outlined in the 23 agenda. all the countries have been outstanding leaders in the process and one of the things we discussed is how we can coordinate better for the common contributions we are making in that regard. so i thought that this was very useful and an important conversation although there was probably too much agreement to make for as exciting a
multilateral meeting as i sometimes participate in. with that, what i would like to do is turn it over to the pre- minister who is going to be sharing their group perspective on how it went. went. >> thank you once again for inviting us leaders to this summit. we appreciate it very much if we know that the united states and the countries share a more than 11 million so we share that and many values. let me give two examples. first, we agree on the need of global response in the common challenges and the transatlantic link is more important than
ever. it's the key to preserving this activity and in times when that a basic rules are contest at, we stand side-by-side to defend them and we will not recognize the illegal annexation or accept the russian aggression in ukraine. we are convinced it is negotiated two state solution as early as needed for peace and security in both israel and palestine and it will require actions and responsibility. we welcome the military progress made by the coalition against wales seeking to complement these efforts with strong political and civilian support. we also agreed to work together to tackle the root causes of the forced migration.
i believe that we need a globally shared responsibility in handling the migration and we welcomed the us-led leaders summit on refugees which they will actively contribute and i will attend that summit. i think it's important to have a global perspective on the issue. at ththe same goes for climate e and i applaud the president obama's instrumental role in the clean energy revolution in the global nordic countries will gladly cooperate and compete in the race to reduce the emissions and i can also say that they aim to be the first fossil free welfare nation in the world. second the u.s. and the nordic countries share the beliefs of the best foundation for the individual freedom are jobs,
growth and social investments. to create jobs, we need free-trade become a sustainable investment that embraces innovation and technology. that is why i am a staunch supporter of bringing them together in a strong transatlantic investment partnership. with freedom comes also responsibility. we strive for the traits that it's free and fair and protects our environment. we ensure that it is necessary to achieve real sustainable development. general quality is both financially smart and a fundamental matter of human rights. the countries have developed what has been known as the
nordic welfare to enable more people to work to increase gender equality and create socially inclusive societies. we see that those ideas are also discussed in the united states with a strong effort for affordable healthcare, social safety nets and higher education systems for all. i believe that seeing the u.s. advance on these issues will create new ripples of hope for all of us that believe in social justice and individual freedom. as we have learned she likes to say if only everyone can be like the scandinavians this would all be easier. we don't know about that. but let me just add that we truly enjoy the cooperation in the united states and its main life only easier but the better
but free for all. thank you very much everybody. >> remarks by president obama and the swedish prime minister from earlier today. later we will take you to the state dinner for the leaders visiting washington, d.c. from sweden, norway, iceland and denmark. their arrival is live at 7:00 eastern and that is going to be over on c-span. the reason i say inequalities and the problem is what we are concerned with is and how much money you have but how did you get it. is it something that was fair or through a process that was
unfair and when you try to equalize people that earn their money honestly that's something we are challenging and that isn't a fair way to treat people. >> the american dream is present monthly income inequality that limiting success interviewed by the manhattan institute. sunday afternoon at 4:30, pete iraq and afghanistan war veteran and a ceo of the vets for freedom talks about theodore roosevelt citizenship in the republic address and offers his revisions for americans today. >> it's not about me or roosevelt litigating where he is on the political spectrum and physical to action. to me it is meant to inspire, motivate and remind americans of every generation what makes america special and it is worth fighting for. some of us carry the rifle and many in this generation still do but you don't have to carry a rifle to be in the arena and it's our job to instill the principles that perpetuate what is an experiment in human
freedom. >> what should be the series where the future rests is filled with regime's in costumes, disappearing acts and most certainly, clowns. instead it becomes three rings of horror. we are often exhausted by that new legislators before they even have a chance to start their jobs. she recounts memorable political missteps in history. go to booktv.org for the complete schedule. >> there has never been a full public accounting of the fbi's domestic intelligence operation, therefore this committee has undertaken such an investigation.
>> the 1975 church committee meetings convened to investigate the activities of the cia, fbi, irs and the nsa. saturday at 10 p.m. eastern the commission questions the committee staffers frederic schwartz and his mother's detailing thisdetailing the abug attempted intimidation of martin luther king jr.. >> there's only one thing left for you to do and you know what it is. you have 34 days to do it. this number has been selected for a specific reason. it was 34 days before the award. you are done. >> than the director james adams admits to some of the excesses while defending a number of other practices then at eight on lectures and history. >> the rest of us may see a bat or two. they see hundreds so they are the first cf. patterns or shifts
of how people are going out of the world. so, they are the ones who sounded the alarm. >> stephen bury on the role of the coroner and how they shed light on the emerging patterns of death in a society an the sot threats to public health. sunday at 6:30, john kerry who served in the vietnam war and became an opponent shares his views at the lyndon johnson presidential library in austin texas. our veterans didn't receive the welcome home or the benefits for the treatment that they not only deserved if needed and the fundamental contract between soldier and government wasn't honored. then on the presidency. >> the person sitting at home watched ronald reagan delivered the speech. was dwight eisenhower. he immediately called the former attorney general and said what a
fine speech he just delivered. he then called a former special assistant and said what an excellent speech, ronald reagan had delivered. dwight eisenhower wrote back a political plan for ronald reagan to follow. he would end up following eisenhower's advice to the letter. >> the author examines dwight eisenhower's the guy behin defee scenes mentoring and the pivotal role the president played in the political evolution in the 1960s. for the complete schedule, go to c-span.org. on a federal disaster response officials testify on the implications of the future disaster assistance policies and why response costs are rising sharply. this is one hour and 40 minutes.
>> the 114th congress i stated that my emergency management priority was pursuing lifesaving and cost reducing disaster legislation and launching a public policy debate about the costs of disasters in the terms of both the loss of property and the human life. we followed that hearing with several roundtables to help us understand what it costs the country. who pays the cost and whether the problem is getting better or worse. early last year thinking member carson and i introduced the disaster assistance reform act to call fotook over the first comprehensive assessment of disaster costs and losses in over 20 years.
we also wanted to reform federal disaster assistance programs to make them more efficient and more effective. in february, the house passed this legislation and we hope the senate will take up hr 1471 and pass it soon. the purpose of the hearing is to discuss what he learned so far iand begin exploring potential solutions, particularly the principles that should be driving those solutions. while there are significant variations from year to year we found the disaster losses have grown considerably over the past three decades. as a result of the private sector and government are spending an ever-increasing amount of money on disasters. fema alone has obligated to write him an hundred $78 billion since 1989, for over 1,300 presidential disaster declarations. in addition, the number of
federal disasters is going up. take a look at this graph that shows the steady increase in the number of presidential disaster declarations since 1953. many have suggested including the general accountability office that the growth in the number of disaster declarations may be causing the increase in federal disaster costs. but, when we had the congressional research service look more closely at the data, they found the growth and declaration is driven by the small disasters and they represent a small part of the federal disaster spending. in fact, 75% of all declared disasters account for only 7% of costs. in other words, we could eliminate three quarters of all federally declared disasters and barely cut 7% of the disaster spending.
i would argue the amount saved by eliminating the disaster declarations certainly wouldn't outweigh the benefit of declarations provided to helping our smaller remote communities respond to and recover from disasters. in order to understand why the disaster costs are going up, we need to look at the big disasters since that is where over 90% of the money goes. since we started looking into this issue, we have also found the role of the federal government in covering the disaster losses has increased. as we can see here, federal disaster spending is as a sharf the total disaster losses has grown from 23% during the hurricane in 1989 to 80% during hurricanes and be in 2012. in recent years, significant disaster aid has been provided outside of the disaster assistance programs. these charts show how the
disaster aid programs outside have grown. in fact, for hurricanes and e. it was less assistance than from either the department of housing and urban development or the department of transportation. we found that these additional programs don't have the same requirements and restrictions as the fema assistance. it's tied to actual disaster damage and is for individuals, governmental entities were certain nonprofits performing government like functions. fema only spends eligible money for applicants no matter how much money fema receives. the mitigation funds must be used on cost beneficial projects to ensure that federal investment is a wise one. fema makes every effort to get money into the hands of applicants as fast as possible to enable rapid recovery from
the disaster impacts. in the most recent data provided by the program management office from march, 2016, it appears that these agencies have been slow in awarding and especially paying out fun. based on the data, only one third of the cdbg dr funds have been dispersed in only 13% of the funds have been paid out. this may be worth looking into in greater detail and it certainly shows why the company is looking to the disaster spending as well as cost and losses are needed. in the air out of the governing debt, we need to ensure federal spending is necessary and cost effective. right after i became a member of congress in 2011, my own district was hit hard by irene and a tropical storm lee. i remember the family stayed in their home to try to make their
positions to an upper floor. but the creek rose too quickly into the house next to theirs wasn't from its foundation. water started gushing through the windows as they called for help. they ought to be saved by a helicopter. the women there told me she could never live in a film again. i will never forget that preparing for natural disasters is about more than the loss of possessions. it's our friends and neighbors lives that could be at stake if we do not plan in advance. as we were rebuilding i was amazed that much of the federal assistance was to rebuild in the same place and in the same way reading people vulnerable to the next storm. the federal government has a responsibility to respond after a disaster but we also have the duty to be good stewards of the taxpayers dollar. i look forward to the conversations we have today and the ideas we are going to hear
about and taking the next steps to reduce the cost of the disasters and i thank you all for being here. i ask unanimous consent that members be permitted to sit with the subcommittee at today's of s hearing and offer testimony and ask questions. thank you chairman, great words. good morning, everyone. i would like to welcome the fellow hoosier chairman micky from the state. he's the director of the polish institute at the university, purdue university. he's also the chair of the multi-hazard mitigation council for the national institute of building sciences and i look forward to my colleagues learning about the work being
done to address the cost and losses plus the latest report from the mitigation council. the national leadership in his work are terrific examples of what indianapolis is giving in thdoing inthe field of emergency management. i yield back mr. chairman. >> we will have two panels of witnesses. we have the fellow subcommittee member, carlos from florida. for someone from south florida he knows all too well the risks posed by natural hazards and the rising cost of the disasters and the efforts that have proven successful in florida to incentivize mitigation measures and smart behaviors. the second panel will be joined by the honorable joseph deputy administrator of the federal emergency management agency were fema who's been working on ways to reduce the cost of disasters and rebuild resilience in the communities to avoid disaster
losses. ms. clark of pasco county colorado this year and is president of the national association of counties and the division of emergency management and the president of the national emergency management association he's here to talk with us about the experience to seseedings rustic perspective. the vice president's strategy and analysis for the travelers companies inc. representing to build a strong coalition. mr. kevin mickey at the institute of building sciences i ask unanimous consent that this is records be included without objection so ordered. we have hope that the chief david paulse opposing the adminr would be able to join us but he had other commitments. i do have a statement for the
administrator. i think him and the bills for their input on the topics and i would ask unanimous consent that the statement be included for the record without objection so ordered. for the witnesses since your testimony has been made a part of the record the committee would request you limit your testimony to five minutes. you may proceed. >> chair man, ranking member carson, members of the committee committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today. this is my first time testifying before congress and i'm glad to do it here at transportation subcommittee on economic development, especially to discuss the important topic of disaster mitigation. i'm honored to serve with all of you. i would like to take the opportunity to share some thoughts on controlling the rising cost of the federal government when responding to disasters. i'm a native of south florida,
and my good friend, who is working with me on this issue, is from new jersey. we both have a deep and personal understanding of the devastating impact of natural disasters on families and communities and we have seen firsthand what happens when homes, schools and businesses are not built to withstand the forces of nature. my family and i lived through hurricane andrew in 1992. fortunately in my part of town the damage was not extreme but just a few miles south where some of my family members lived, the devastation was horrifying. i know that we have pretty strong state building codes already on the books. but at the national level it is time to fix the broken federal system that is riddled with red tape, waste, fraud and abuse. there is great work already being done in the field of the
predisaster mitigation and i would like to thank the chair for being a strong leader on the issue. over the last 30 years, we have seen a significant increase in federally declared natural disasters. but instead of taking additional steps to focus more on preparing for the disasters with enhanced building codes to make the communities safer, the federal government typically waits until after a disaster occurs to react. this is incredibly dangerous and costly especially with the increase in extreme weather events. according to the weather channel, this hurricane season is supposed to be the most active since 2012. so this hearing into these issues are of the utmost importance. a friend who knows firsthand how costly the cleanup is after a disaster has more building codes by introducing hr 5177 the
national mitigation investment act of 2016. this works to alleviate losses to the resident and commercial property following a natural disaster through preventative measures. it would provide incentives for the achievement of the building codes and we do this by allowing the president to increase mitigation assistance following the disaster by 4% based off of the price of cleanup but only if the state is enforcing building codes. this incentive can encourage the states an and for companies to e proactive in future building and also save a lot of the funds in the long run. the bill would create a pilot program to work the grants with state and local governments to encourage the adoption and enforcement of nationally recognized building codes. the goal is to reduc was to rede disaster response recovery costs
by increasing resilience of buildings and reducing the amount of damage that occurs due to the disaster and chronic flooding. the grant of ortiz will be required to accomplish the goals with non- federal matching funds, no less than 25% and fema will be required to report back on the success. mr. chairman, the residents of both florida and new jersey have had to rebuild communities after the devastating effects of catastrophic natural disasters. returning to a life of normalcy is tremendously difficult and can take many years. furthermore, it poses a significant threat along the waterfront communities especially in my southwest florida district into the constituents that it represents as well. this undoubtedly affects insurance rates, property values, clean water supplies and
general public welfare. we believe that through preemptive methods of incentivizing state and local governments to adhere to stronger building codes we will alleviate the burdens and at the cost of the federal government after a natural disaster. i think my friend for working with me on this legislation and i look forward to hearing from other experts on the issue of the disaster mitigation in the next panel. this is a topic that requires the perspectives from the diverse geographical locations and multiple industries and i appreciate being able to discuss bible today thank you mr. chairman thank you for the testimony congressman. i will now begin the first round of questions limited to five minutes if there's any additional will have an additional round of questions as needed. while we usually do not have questions for the members of
congress, he's a cosponsor of the legislation. >> thank you mr. chairman. we've been working on this for a while. you and i have experience on how devastating so of these catastrophes are somehow impacts life into the community and the economy and i want to thank you for taking a strong lead on th this. i just wan wanted you to know ti think this is the way to go. investing in mitigation, special international levels where we can put some strong codes has always been on my mind so i want to thank you for the hard work.
deputy administrator, you may proceed. good morning chairman, ranking member carson and members of the subcommittee cut as you know i'm the deputy administrator for the federal emergency management agency. thank you for the opportunity to testify about the efforts undertaken to reduce the rising cost of disasters. with the continued trend towards urbanization particularly the nation faces the potential for the increasing cost and responding to and recovering from the disasters. during the disaster response, the primary goal is to support the survivors through effective efficient operations. though they have procedures in place to control the cost and the response, one of the most effective ways to reduce the disaster cost is to invest in community resilience both before
the disaster strikes and thereby reducing the physical and the financial and particularly the human impacts of the event. preparedness made for the disaster strikes significantly within the financial impact on the communities i in this determination. one of the most effective mitigation tools establishing stringent building codes and standards that ensure the property a is both to ensure levels. building codes and standards that ensure the property is built. you will hear multiple times for every dollar invested in mitigation a savings of $4 is achieved due to the reduced impact post-disaster. they reduce costs to the public by an estimated $3.4 billion annually. for taking action such as the posts in the legislation where
we were able to move the recovery cost forward to based on assessments but as the mitigation costs of the times of the building back is better and reduces the future potential. they've made significant strides in the last few years bringing the larger emergency management community together around a national preparednesto theprepat provides a common approach to managing the risk and provides the communities the information tools and funding they need to make informed data driven decisions. this is just one step they take in promoting resilience. the national flood insurance program serves as the foundation for the national effort to reduce the loss of property from the floods the most costly and frequent disaster in the united states. the program identifies areas at risk for flooding and makes flood insurance available to participating communities. the community rating system initiatives in the communities to implement the floodplain
management practices offering lower insurance premiums to participating in the communiti communities. additionally they provided the mitigation assistance and flood mitigation assistance and hazard grant programs to the hazard mitigation. the programs such as the rating system and hazard assistance community resilience before the disaster strikes this year we went a step further developing the disaster concept that encourages state, tribal and territorial investment. the program will be critical to any effort for the future disaster costs in a significant way. as you indicated, the federal
cost continues to rise. the solution of moving the thresholthresholdthreshold is ds differentldisturbed acrossdiffee the cost of potential disasters they would have a financial commitment similar to meeting and insurance deductible as a receiving federal funds to rebuild facilities and infrastructure. additionally they would provide credit for the state's investmentinvestment in the resy measures such as adopting the building enhanced codes or funding preparedness and mitigation projects using the creditcredits the state's deduce could be reduced and thereby ensuring that communities have an incentive for investing in resilience. during the comment period they received 150 responses for the evaluating to provide input from the advanced notice of proposed
rulemaking to develop a proposed rulemaking for later this year while preparedness and mitigation efforts can help us reduce the cost of many areas we must continue to acknowledge the demographic patterns are not something we can easily influence that we can take steps to improving building codes and promoting preparedness. fema strives to invest in the disaster survivors while being good stewards of the taxpayers dollars we continue to look for innovative ways to encourage the risk reduction and promote preparedness and mitigation planning to implement the recovery programs in order to reduce both the risks and costs to the taxpayer. thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look for any questions the subcommittee may have. >> commissioner clark, you may proceed. >> thank you chairmen and
ranking members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to testify before you today on the cost of the disasters. i'm a county commissioner from el paso county colorado and serve as the president of the national association of counties that represents all of the 3,069 county governments although all parts of the government play a role in the disasters they serve as the first line of defense when a disaster strikes and to help communities recover in the aftermath whether it's the emergency manager managers or ss were 911 call centers to county hospitals are public-health departments or the fact we are in the majority of the infrastructure like roads, bridges and efforts of federal policy decisions regarding disasters have a major impact on counties. my county is no stranger and the topic is personal for me over the past several years the surrounding areas have been devastated by a series of wildfires in flash floods and
cause enough damage to prompt the disaster declarations over a three-year period. our county that long ago inspired of the debate to write america the beautiful is now the home to the hillsides and vegetation that protected area from the storm water runoff has disappeared paving the way for dangerous flash floods. we've been working diligently to help the community recovery and become more resilient in the future. today i submitted three principles for your consideration as you continue to discuss the federal disaster spending. first federal disaster spending should be viewed in the context of corresponding spending by state and local government efforts. thousands of disasters strike the nation each year and the
vast majority of the costs are carried on the backs of the state and local governments. according to the data over the past nine years 90% of the counties across the nation have at least one declared disaster and according to the materials published by fema, th fina, thef disasters handled is estimated at 3,500 to 3,700 annually but only about 35 a year receive 35d major declarations triggering federal assistance between 1953 to 2014. furthermore it is important to consider the respective capacities of the federal, state and local government when assessing the contributions to the nation's recovery from disasters. county governments operate under restrictive revenue constraints imposed by state policies including property taxation that
limited the ability to raise additional funds in the face of the driving costs. local governments spend significantly on disasters and changes to federal disaster spending should be assessed without consideration of this. second, the decrease of the federal disaster spending shouldn't come at the expense of state and local government. the ultimate result will further deplete the resources available for the proactive mitigation and resiliency work resulting in even costly disasters in the future. the disaster to the proposal presents serious challenges for local government. for example pasco county spent millions of dollars on mitigation projects in the last several years as we worked to recover from the wildfires in flash floods that ravaged the communities including the loss of life. but under the disaster deductible proposal of the state of colorado if they fail to sufficiently invested mitigation
efforts, the public assistance funds could be withheld from the county at the times when we are in most need of the federal assistance. in this way we could be punished because of the inaction of them entity over which we have no control despite our best efforts in mitigation and this is just one of the many issues in this proposal but this far haven't been sufficiently addressed. because of this, they haven't given the governments the confidence to disaster deductible could be implemented without the significant risk that it would simply shift the disaster cost from the federal government to the state and local government and finally, local disaster mitigation efforts to bring down the overall cost of disasters and should be supported by the federal government. counties are positioned to implement mitigation efforts through the regulatory authorities and convening powers, collaboration and the federal government helps the counties better utilize authorities and resources to mitigate the damage caused by disasters and increasing the community resiliency and decreasing the impact and cost
of the future disasters for all levels of government. they have the other federal program to undertake a large mitigation projects that may otherwise be out of their reach and have tremendous potential to drive down the cost of the disasters for all levels of government. mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee, i want to thank you again for inviting the local perspective on this important conversation and i would welcome any questions. >> thank you. >> members of the subcommittee my name is brian and i'm the director of the division of emergency management. i'm here on behalf of the national emergency management association that represents the state emergency management directors of the states, territories and the district of columbia. as the frequency and intensity and variability of disasters increase it is imperative to reduce risk wherever possible and this will ensure that the financial resources are focused on life safety and to those
aspectthose aspectswhere the rie reduced. fema believes the following. meaningful cost reduction should impact all levels and not simply shift the cost between the stakeholders. the government practice of spending more money on the disaster recovery must be changed. hazard mitigation is a documented return on investment and mitigation reduces response costs and speeds up recovery. it is the catalyst for the communitywide focus on preparedness in the future. mitigation activities by state, local and travel governments should be recognized and incentivized by the government and in the long-term, cost savings will be realized at all levels. it resides as a local level such as adoption and enforcement of building codes and land-use decisions. local and tribal governments are critical partners in sustaining the disaster communities and must be engaged in the
conversation. all stakeholders must utilize the science and the predictive tools to illustrate the data-driven results on investment calculations to. for all stakeholders in the calculations are not done in a vacuum h we must limit the priority is into the urging of congress they've undertaken various efforts to reduce costs and streamline operations. reengineering of the public assistancassistance putting is n excellent example of working to improve and maximize the programs while it is still too early to determine the effectiveness we are pleased in the effort and urg urge that sof the reforms be considered another programs. it leverages the dollars that have already been invested at the local emergency management programs. we must encourage the investments work. in the property damage to save
lives. in january they proposed the concept to create the deductible for the federally declared disasters while there was no opinion among the states many express these common beliefs about the proposal. the concept should drive the reduction in cost of all levels and not a shifting cost him an inappropriate amount of time must be given to ensure successful implementation including internal education for fema and the training for the state must be given adequate time to ensure its acted upon by the state legislatures the proposal should utilize the opportunity to decrease administrative burden and associated cost into the deductible cannot result in the late assistance to those that need. regardless of what happens in the deductible
>> is. >> as a partner to develop a more resilient nation. to make advancements of all cases of the disaster psycho mitigation and a long-term recovery are a cost. many of the of functions that the month of phil's could be a more cost-effective manner when dash manner to invest in the infrastructure necessary to achieve this goal.