tv [untitled] June 21, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EDT
proposals and none of the bidders did anything that represented a problem. it really is a question of is it prudent to enter into a long-term lease when we might have an alternative to contract to services. >> i don't know about all of the bidders. i do know in kansas city that bid for this, they had invested lots of money in that bid, which is also something that the faa needs to think about when you go out for bid and you have competitive bidders making substantial investments to try to make that work and then just decide maybe that's not what we needed. probably ought to pull that trigger when you're more sure of where you're headed though. economic circumstances clearly are different than they may have been a handful of years ago when that discussion could have started. will you make a decision on whether to go for bids that include training or whether to go for bids that only include
facilities at some point do you think? >> at some point we have to decide whether we want to contract for training as a service where the trainer would provide everything, the facility, the materials, the actual instruction or whether we would want to use the model we used in the past which is to first have a facility and then bring trainers into it with the faa having the responsibility for development of materials and that's exactly the analysis that we're in the middle of. >> are trainers faa full-time employees or they are always -- >> they are contracted. >> they are contract employees and they would be in a sense just depending on who contracts with them, you or the successful bidder for the training? >> they are always contract employees. it can be any number of models. >> one last question on these -- >> i hate to be rude --
>> we have votes, chairman. let me go ahead -- is that okay? okay. thank you for your courtesy. senator? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we appreciate you being here. we do appreciate your service. i know you have worked really hard in the past. let me ask you about faa's certification. certainly this is so important. we have to do effective. it has to be sufficient. we produce a lot of aviation products. we're a global marketplace and it's really important that this is done in a timely fashion. unfortunately sometimes that's not the case. it's not done very timely. can you comment a little bit on perhaps some ideas that you have on how we can do a better job of that in the future and any proposals that you've got in solving that problem? >> senator, i think there are two parts to it.
the first is to ensure that we are establishing the right priorities and that we're doing carrying out our certification responsibilities as efficiently as we possibly can. we have put in place in recent years mechanisms that enable us to establish those priorities and to do things in parallel so that we're not taking a lot of time to certify these things. now, as you well know, the certification process is important because that's how we ensure safety of aviation equipment, aircraft and everything that goes into the operation of our aviation system. the second thing is working cooperatively with industry through designations for some of the technical aspects of certification where we can rely on the industry to perform some of the technical work while leaving for the faa the analysis and ultimately the
determinations as to air worthiness. that has given us greater band width. more ability to move more things through the process. we have been successful in working down our backlog. we're not where we need to be. and so to me what that means is we have to give renewed emphasis to what we can do through designations for the technical aspects and continue to find ways to make the process more efficient. some of it is just doing things in parallel as opposed to waiting for one aspect of the analysis to be done before moving onto the next one. i have met with many, many interests in the general aviation industry and aircraft manufacturing industry. we learned a lot. and i think it's something that requires a very high level of my focus to ensure that we stay the course there. >> i appreciate that. we talked a lot about jobs and the economy, which we can't talk
too much about it and again these are the things that play into that. in relation to that, i understand that we're moving more toward a risk based safety oversight. would certification be one of those things that either is going to be done in that way more or something to be considered in that regard? >> by moving to -- it's a little bit of a different animal. the risk based approach is how we evaluate where there might be operational issues in the system. and in the past years ago, we tended to use more of a forensic approach, which was a problem emerged, an accident happened, you reviewed what caused it and then the focus was on how do you prevent that from happening in the future. through data driven approaches, what we're trying to develop is more information about where there might be potential, what does data tell us in terms of patterns that might be developing where if not
addressed there might be a problem that would emerge down the road. and this is definitely where we are focused. how can we use risk management techniques to identify areas of risk, to address them before there is a problem and that's what i referred to in my opening statement. when i talked about how do you take the safest system in the world and make it safer? you do it by making it smarter. that means we have to rely on data and use that data in ways in which we can develop a better understanding of where there might be risk and take actions to mitigate it. >> and again, it does seem like -- and i think we're really saying the same thing that with the certification process that, you know, some things people need to devote more time to than other things and hopefully working together we can make that where we're more effective. thank you, mr. chairman, very
much. >> thank you, very much, mr. chairman, and thank you acting administrator huerta for being here today and answering our questions in a straightforward manner. the airport improvement program is essential to many communities both rural and urban. in addition to smaller airports which are central to rural commerce, we have a lot of them in my state often struggle to get funds needed for infrastructure. i'm concerned about the effect that this new requirement that could force small airports like the one we have in duluth and elsewhere to delay completion of critical infrastructure projects that were under way before the higher local match went into effect. i don't think it's fair to change rules mid stream. i hope you'll work to find a way to help these airports complete
their projects because it's obviously very important. you can't just change the rules mid stream and then expect everything to keep going as planned. so i'm going to be in duluth tomorrow. we've had some major flooding up there and was just wondering what i can tell them about this. >> senator, the small airports play a very important role in our national system of airports. as you know, i had the pleasure of joining you a couple years ago at a very important airport in minnesota that i think serves an important need in the community. this question of the local match is something that was included in faa authorization and we certainly recognize the burden that represents for some of our smaller airport sponsor particularly those that are mid stream in projects. we think that generally the challenges that they have are pretty project specific and very site specific and we have been
aggressively and actively reaching out to airport sponsors. this is presenting a problem. how can we work with you to manage through these match issues to ensure that at the end of the day we get to a successful project consistent with provisions of the aip program. so what you can tell your constituents in duluth if they have not been in contact with their local airport district office -- >> they have. >> we need to make sure we sit down and work through an actual project plan to see how we can manage through this. >> okay. that would be very helpful. i hope you can commit to making sure that cold weather airports such as ones you just discussed get the flexibility they need to complete infrastructure improvement with the short construction season issue. they are waiting for awarded funds to be release sd so they n get the construction done during the summer season.
>> it creates a frame work under which we prioritize cold weather airports for grant making purposes and we're working on implementation of that. on an informal basis right now, what we're doing is making those determinations of where do we have an airport with a short construction season that has a specific need to get something done quickly and we're making those a priority as we move through the system in recognition of the unique circumstances they face. >> okay. good. you came in the summer otherwise i'll make you come to duluth when it is 20 below zero and do construction. we have to try to fix it. i really appreciate that. >> absolutely. >> and then last i wanted to just ask about the pilot fatigue issue. i understand in the final order of the new regulations that it only applied to commercial pilots. cargo pilots were not included. can you expand on why the faa chose to do this and then i also have a concern about commuting practices. i know senator cantwell touched
on this and that some pilots commute across the country to their hubs and we have the issue where the faa isn't following through with this request from the inspector general about this particular commuting issue. >> first of all, as it relates to the pilot fatigue rule, as we talked about, the rule as it is currently drafted does exclude the cargo industry but i have been very vocal in suggesting that the cargo industry should abide by the provisions of the rule. we've encouraged them to do that. secretary lahood has encouraged them to do that. it's something that we've stressed should represent a good business practice for them in ensuring a safe system. we will continue to meet with the cargo industry to apply aspects of the rule to make sure that they have an understanding of what compliance looks like. again, i encourage them to abide by the provisions of the rule. we couldn't make it work from a
cost benefit standpoint so we ask for their voluntary compliance. as it relates to provisions of commuting, clearly pilots have a responsibility to report to work fit for duty. this is one of the things that we wanted to address in the fatigue rule. i think we have come a long way in doing that. there is a level of personal responsibility that exists in the pilot community and i think the pilots have heard that. they understand that they bear responsibility and we have to be vigilant to ensure that they have the opportunities for rest that they need so that they can report to work fit for duty. >> very good. thank you very much. i look forward to working with you on this. we'll put a few more questions on the record. thanks. >> thank you, senator. voting has started. senator cantwell has probably already voted and racing back here because she has a couple more questions she would like to ask. in the meantime, senator blunt, who i so rudely interrupted
wants to finish his questioning. >> thank you, chairman. i failed to watch the clock. you weren't rude at all and i was taking time that should have gone to others and did. what i was going to ask you about, we talked about the columbia, missouri, airport the other day. on airports like that that moved off essential air service, are there things the faa can do to encourage their ability to stay off essential air service. have you got some ideas there of ways that those kinds of airports that need to be planning for more travelers and more service could get some assistance in doing that? >> senator blunt, as we talked about, columbia is to be congratulated for being able to develop a level of air service that gets them off the essential air service program and how do we ensure they stay there? there's an infrastructure component to that. after we met, i sat down with our airport staff to find out what we knew about columbia and encouraged them to meet with the
leadership at columbia airport. what i talked about with them was one thing that we will certainly need to do is in recognition that the airport is old and we need an update there and faa is willing to work with the airport sponsor on what long-term needs are to maintaining an efficient airport. >> that would be helpful. as these airports move to where they are not getting the essential air service support things we can do to help them stay there are beneficial and make money as long as we have essential air service program where we can help people stay off of it, it's hard to imagine that's not a better investment than the support that we normally would give those same airports. thank you for looking at that. thank you, chairman. >> thank you, senator blunt. what i need to do now is because
we have got a senator who is finishing her third book over there. >> i'm tweeting about you. i'm not really. you wish. >> i wish. senator cantwell is on her way back. what i would like to do with your forbearance is to recess this for a couple minutes and she'll be back to ask her question and we'll adjourn. we need to go vote. thank you very much. >> thank you, sir.
>> as you may have heard, they are taking a recess. there are a series of votes on the senate floor amendments to the farm bill they are expected to wrap up work on that but the hearing here on the faa nomination will continue and we'll have live coverage here on c-span3 when it resumes. by the way, commerce secretary john bryson this morning has informed the department employees that he's given the president a letter of resignation. politico reporting his quote to employees saying i've come to the conclusion that i need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission. that's from politico this morning. we'll have live coverage once this resumes here on c-span3. when they gavel back in. in the meantime, from yesterday the house oversight committee by a vote of 23-17 --
>> he's one of the few to face a contempt charge from congress. they usually get it most often among cabinet secretary and it's significant because if indeed they go through with this vote next week it would be the first time in almost two decades that the full house voted on a contempt charge against any administration official. it's a very big deal. certainly for the justice
department. democrats continue to say it's a partisan maneuvering. republicans say it's a serious attempt to figure out what's going on at the justice department and who knew what when and how seriously did they take this situation and we'll see how it plays out in the coming days. >> straight party line vote, correct? >> it was. i believe it was 23-17. it was after almost six hours of conversation between the two sides. it's rare that chairman issa allows virtually every member of the committee to speak but on this one he understood given the attention it was receiving and the importance of this vote that he allowed every member that wanted to to talk about this and virtually all of them did have something to say. after a quick break they came back and considered four amendments to the contempt vote. three from the democratic side that basically would have pointed out they could have waited now that the president had invoked executive privilege
and one that asked for a full receipt of how much this cost the committee. that one was voted down. issa did his best to shoot it down and another and then on the republican side that reflected the last hour the president invoked executive privilege. >> ed o'keefe, what are the politics of this? >> it depends on who you talk to. i think for the most part this is seen by the white house as a complete partisan witch-hunt in an election year and the white house put out a strong statement from its communications director said in an era when the economy should be chief focus and congress should work to help create jobs for the american people, here they are as a stated part of their 2012 goal, you know, launching partisan oversight investigations of the administration. they say that the justice department has handed over thousands of documents. the attorney general has testified nine times on the hill. just about everything he can do
to help the committee. he says you are stone walling and trying to hide something. we don't know what it is. you're being partisan because you won't want to embarrass the president in an election year. we'll have to wait and see how this plays out. it could intensify in the next week if the full house goes through with this contempt vote. >> what would prevent the full house with going through with a contempt vote at this point? >> if you talked to darrell issa and other republican aides, they say if the attorney general hands over everything we're looking for which includes more documents about why it is that they misled us into believing the justice department didn't know everything they did, if he agrees to reform the process of looking at these investigations and apologizes and makes sure that they properly treat the whistle blowers who came forward
to the committee, then we'll drop them. the white house and justice department will turn around in the next few hours saying they are possible things. we've been more than forthcom g forthcoming. he's asking for everything and beyond. we've never done that. it would be an extraordinary request. so we'll see. democrats made it very clear yesterday that if john boehner goes through with his vote, he will be cast as one of the most extremely partisan speakers in u.s. history because not even gingrich in the 1990s brought contempt charges against janet reno up for a full vote in the house but nancy pelosi brought up contempt charges against bush administration officials during his tenure. it has happened. never before for a cabinet secretary and for something so narrow even if it is important to some people, such a narrow situation as this fast and furious investigation is. >> ed o'keefe, would the senate have any role in this? >> the senate in a sense started
this. it was chuck grassley, republican of iowa, ranking member of the senate judiciary committee, who was the first to raise questions about this. because we lacked the subpoena power and really the majority backing, he couldn't compel the justice department and the white house to answer his questions. he went across the capitol to his colleague darrell issa and says you have subpoena power. could you check this out. since then issa has done it and grassley has been by his side. he was at the meetings the other day with the attorney general to cut a deal that would have staved off this contempt vote. they'll be asked about it. if the house votes on this, it would get referred directly to the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. >> and in fact you write in your article, ed o'keefe, if the full house votes to find holder in contempt, the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia who is employed by the justice department will have to decide whether to criminally prosecute
him. who is the u.s. attorney for the district? >> he's a man whose name i'm forgetting. ronald -- you caught me. he's a guy currently who is investigating several other sensitive matters here in the district. he's dealing with the various ethics charges against mayor vincent gray and the city council and he's a democratic appointee. he was a democratic supporter. district's nonvoting representative in congress pointed out, refer this to the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. he's unlikely to take it up. if you look at history when the roles are reversed and it was a democratic congress referring republican administration officials to a republican u.s. attorney for the district of columbia, he also declined to take the case citing partisanship. let's see if the current u.s. attorney does the same thing as
is suspected that he would. we'll see. a week is a long time in washington. it's very possible that chairman issa and speaker boehner and justice department will cut a deal between now and then that avoids this vote. certainly there are republicans champing at the bit to do this and i think they'll keep pressure on. >> ed o'keefe is two chambers blogger for "the washington post" and the co-reporter on today's lead story in t"the post." thank you for joining us on "washington journal." >> house republican leaders say they were willing to negotiate if the administration turned over more e-mails and memos and the ap writes that boehner and cantor said the full house would vote next week on accepting the committee's vote on the contempt of congress citation.
on the house's end today they are working on energy and you can follow the house on c-span here on c-span3 we're waiting for the senate commerce committee to gavel back in considering the nomination of michael huerta to be the administrator. he's been acting administrator since december 6th of 2011. the reason for the recess here, a series of amendment votes to the farm bill. they are expected to finish up work on the farm bill today. news from the administration, commerce secretary john bryson is stepping down telling department employees today that i've come to the conclusion i need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission. mr. bryson had been on medical leave since june 11th following a seizure that resulted in his involvement in two car accidents. john bryson is stepping down today.
>> on the far left of that witness table is michael huerta. this is a hearing in recess now considering his nomination to be the full-time administrator for faa. there's a series of votes on the senate floor. that's the reason for the recess. on capitol hill today across the street from congress the supreme court handed down four of ten remaining decisions in supreme court cases. neither of which was the health care decision nor the arizona immigration law but they did decide today throw out fines and sanctions broadcasters who
violated curse words and nudity on broadcast tv. the justices declined today to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the fcc policy. concluding that broadcasters couldn't have known in advance that a brief display of nudity on "nypd blue" could give rise to sanctions. that's one of four decisions handed down today at the supreme court.