tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN July 25, 2014 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
belligerent moves of russia and our nato allies and what they face there with natural gas. how are we going to address, not just national security, but global security when we have such limb is put on natural gas? >> let me just say if you can make your answer really brief. we have a vote started. my goal was to try to get everybody in prior to. we might be able to do it if we stick to the time so can you speak briefly to that and then we're going to -- >> this is a very consistent strategy to support the president's all of the above energy policy and it does know set specific limits on any fuel and it expects all fuels to continue to be operated at significant levels, but it will provide a more efficient energy supply system and it will reduce the harmful carbon pollution. >> hopefully we can work with
you. >> thank you very much. we move to senator carper. >> mccarthy and give us an idea what percentage of all electricity generated by nuclear in this country today. is it about 20%? i think it is. it's something in that -- somewhere around 20%. any idea what percent of zero emission activity is generated by nuclear in our country today? >> zero. >> think about that. what percentage of the electricity that has essentially zero emission generated by nuclear is not zero. it's got to be -- i don't know, closer to say, 50%. think about that because there's hydro and solar and wind, but it's got to be 50%. >> 50? >> 5-0. my staff heard that they do not treat all resources the same in your proposal and specifically, we starred to hear that nuclear energy could be disadvantaged by
this rule because of specific benefits that renewables enjoy over nuclear and other energy sources. we've even heard concerns that some nuclear power plants may be forced to close down because of the way the rules are structured and it doesn't make a lot of sense. you and i talked in the past about nuclear and we both agreed that nuclear was to be part of the mix and we heard about climate goals and just to make sure we're on the same page. do you believe that nuclear energy -- do you believe that nuclear energy should be on an equal footing with renewable energy to help states meet their carbon goals set in these proposals and the the first part of my question and second, have you heard concerns from the nuclear industry? so can you tell us what you believe is the crux of the problem and the proposal and to commit today to resolving this issue, please? >> sure. sure. >> first of all, as you indicated, nuclear energy is a zero-emitting carbon
energy-generating technology and for that reason we've gone to great lengths in this proposal to make sure states are aware of that and that nuclear energy is factored into the standard setting process. we've also called attention to the fact that there are some nuclear facilities that seem to be on the fence as to whether or not they're competitive today in a way that it would allow them to go through the relicensing process and make that process worth it, if you will. and so we have been highlighting that issue in this proposal in encouraging states, because the replace am of the base load capacity un unit that is a zero-carbon-emission emitted will be a significant challenge for states who are relying on nuclear facilities and we have heard that it didn't go far enough and we went too far and we will be listening to those comments because we certainly have heard them. >> it's important that you do.
thank you. >> now that your proposal has been released beyond r the nuclear concerns, have you already heard feedback from the industry and your states that you think are valid concerns and it could be addressed in a final rule and is there positive feedback that you want to share with us today, please? >> i think a lot of the comments we're hearing are valid and we need to look at them and some of them, whether or not we understood certain state circumstances or whether or not the framing of the rule is as good as it should be. we've heard from leadership states that we didn't give them enough credit for their leadership. we've heard from other states that we've given too much credit. so there's a lot of valid considerations here and we're going to pay attention to each and every one of them, but i think we've got a great head start with this proposal because of the listening we did before we even put pen to paper. it it gave us a tremendous opportunity to put out a proposal that i think for all
intents and purposes has been very well received, but i know that states and utilities are rolling up their sleeves, trying to see whether or not they can make this work and how they can make it work to the advantage of their states and the utilities and we'll keep working with them every step of the way. >> and just a closing thought. you call this 37% of our generating capacity will drop, maybe as low as 31%, that's still a lot. i would say to my colleagues, there is a huge economic here. huge economic opportunity just like there's economic opportunity in diesel emission reductions to create jobs and just like there's economic opportunity to reduce mercury emissions to create jobs and technology that we can sell all over the world, there is similar opportunity here. whoever can figure out how to economically, safely, smartly reduce the the emissions from the coal-fired plants. we're off in the races and just the market alone in china would be terrific.
>> thank you, senator. >> okay. let me tell you what's happening. the floor said if we got there 11:20, 11:25 we'll be okay, but i think what we'll do after we hear from senator inhofe who wanted to go, if it's okay with everybody we'll break and those of us who can come back, because i know senator markey will get extra time because he missed the opening statement and senator brasso wants to have another round and i would love to have another round. >> okay. >> we'll come back and we'll end this on a very high note with my good friend, the senator from oklahoma. >> if any of you want to go ahead and go on over there i'll tell you on the floor what i said, all right? >> well, we don't want to miss it! >> stop the the clock. >> stop the clock, put it back to five. there we go. good for you. >> ms. mccarthy there's been a lot of discussion as to what your authority is to do some of these things that are perceived to be done so let's just suppose a state that say oklahoma does
not submit a state plan and you develop a federal plan for the state and how do you develop the state and let me be specific, under existing authorities, can you currently required a state to have gas dispatched at 70% of capacity. >> senator, you're way ahead of me. those are considerations that aren't even on the table right now. right now we're looking at proposing a rule and i have great hopes that they work effectively. >> i'm talking about existing authorities today. under your authority today can you do something like that? >> not unless this rule were passed. >> that's fine and let everybody know and under the existing authority do you currently require a state to unilaterally restrict electricity demand by 1.5%. under current authority?
>> no, sir. >> good. and under existing authority could you currently mandate the use of renewables in a state? >> we do not. >> okay. now, say a state does submit a plan and their renewable portfolio standard does apply. i would ask you if you can enforce it. >> actually, sir, we wouldn't be requiring any of those things here. what we're requiring is a certain level of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generated by fossil fuels. that's what an epa would be actually requiring and mandating. how the states get there is certainly their choice. >> well, but -- all right. but -- so you're saying that under current law and policies that epa couldn't enforce a state renewable portfolio standard, but under the es. s rule that we're talking about they may be able to, is that accurate? >> that is one of the issues that we've raised because epa
often has things in state plans, some of which we enforce and some of which we don't. >> under current law, you may be able to under the esps. >> actually, the one certainty i have is that we will be able to enforce the fossil -- the amount of are carbon dioxide from fossil fuel facilities if this rule goes as proposed. >> what i'm getting to here, this rule would be a broad expansion of the authority, the epa has overstates that has a broad, political imexact could dramatically reshape the entire sector of the economy and isn't that exactly what the supreme court ruled against in the uarg case? >> the expansion of authority that you would be having. >> actually, i don't think that the supreme court indicated that we were expandsing our authority in that case, but questions would be raised with plans and what's included and how we could
be immremed and when working with those issues with the states and all epa is doing here is regulating pollution from sources that you regulate -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt, but you are proposing a rule that you don't have authority to do, to enforce today. >> no, i believe we have clear authority to do the rule as we've proposed it. >> i'm talking about the authority under the current system. >> i don't think we're expanding our authority with this rule, sir, no. >> it appears to me that you are, but in the short period of time let me try to get this other thing out of the way. from what i understand the epa had the academic staple that about 6% of the nuclear fleet is at risk of shutting down and then the epa made an attempt to shut out the nuclear plants accordingly. the ferc has authority under power prices and power reliability, power transmission.
the question i would ask you, did the epa talk to anyone at ferc about the adjustment of whether the rule would actually help nuclear plants? in other words, to help the 6% that we have found that are going to have problems? >> actually, i don't know what direct conversation epa might have had with ferc over the nuclear facilities. >> did you talk to them about these issues? >> at a high level, and i know that our staff was working closely with them and doe in terms of our administrative actions, but i just want to make clear -- >> there is no way you can tell me today or tell this committee who the staff was or who they talked to, but you personally did talk to someone about these issues. >> we've actually been meeting with the commissioners. >> i'm talking about you personally. >> yes. i have had meetings with the commissioners and with -- with nayruk and many of the commissioners.
>> thank you. >> thank you so much. we'll recess briefly, come back and there's zero time left on the clock so i'm going to run. when we come back we're going to have senator markey open it up and then what happens? senator brasso sessions and if there is a democrat that comes back we'll go back and forth. thank you, everybody. we will take a brief respite. 40 years ago the watergate scandal led to the only resignation of an american president and the final weeks of the nixon administration. thisec wooend the house judiciary committee as it it
considers impeachment of the president and the the charge offa, buice of power. >> what you have here are questions about what the framers had in mind, questions about whether the activities that had been found out by the committee and by the senate, watergate committee were, indeed, impeachable and thirdly, can we prove that richard nixon knew about them and even authorized them? >> watergate, 40 years later, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span3. michelle flornoi is our guest on this week's "q & a". >> if you're in government you're focused on the crisis of the day and part of my responsibility of the undersecretary of defense and was representing the secretary of defense on the so-called deputies committee which was the senior level group working
through the issues and developing options for the principles and the president. a lot of crisis management focus. when you're in a think tank your real utility is not trying to second-guess the policymaker on the issues of the day, but help reduce their work and help them look over the horizon to see what are those issues that i'll confront a year from now, five years from now ten years from now and how do i deal about america's role in the world. >> former undersecretary of defense and co-founder of the center for national american security michele flournoy on the creati creation, its mission and current defense policy issues sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q & a.
the committee will come to order. i hope everybody used their break for good purpose. so we are now going to turn to our newest member who i am so pleased is on our committee, senator ed markey. you have six minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, madam chair. administrator mccarthy, just to clarify, you have the authority, is that not correction, under the clean air act to set a carbon pollution standard for our power plant, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> now, when you were developing the state targets you looked at four different types of actions, but a state does not have to follow these exactly. a state can figure out the best way in their assessment to reach the carbon reduction target, is that -- >> that is correct. >> so if we have 50 states you
could have 50 different approaches. >> that's right. that's what i expect. we may. >> we may or may not. we're not in a position to tell them what to do. they may not have the same plan as another state, but they may not. let me ask you another question. a lot of times you hear from people saying that it really hurts the economy of the united states when there is a clean air law that goes on the the books that it's too dangerous to run the the risk of trying to make the air cleaner, to reduce the number of people who get sick, to reduce the number of people who die from dirty air and they say pretty much the air is clean enough. don't make it any cleaner, but we're seeing this huge increase in the number of people who don't die or don't get sick because of the clean air act. what we have over my shoulder is a chart from 1929 to today, and it reflects the growth in the
gdp of the united states of america that includes the 1970, the 1977, and the 1999 clean air acts and with the exception of a period of 2008 and 2009 when there was a complete failure of regulation of the financial industry, we've seen upward of gdp grow. can you talk about that, the connection between this clean air, you know, journey that we've been on in in the gdp in our country. is there a choice that we have to make? >> i think chairman boxer elegantly stated the kind of gdp growth that we've seen while we've been able to significantly reduce air pollution. basically, over 70% reduction of air pollution under the clean air act while gdp has tripled. every time we put a new rule out, that is what we often -- i'm sorry, what we always hear,
frankly, from some small groups, but it has really never come through, but in this rule, we don't expect that this will have an impact other than to have jobs grow, the economy to grow, the u.s. to become more stable, the u.s. to take advantage of new technologies, innovation and investments that will make us stronger over time. >> so i just would like to say that -- and senator whitehouse is part of this greenhouse gas emission and we've been part of this over the last six or seven years and massachusetts is now fourth in the united states. and we're not the perfectly sunny state. we're like the perfect storm state, but we're moving forward on that front. we've now created 80,000 clean energy jobs in massachusetts. we're going to add another 10,000 this year bringing it up to 90,000 and while nationally, electricity rates have gone up 13% over the last six years,
they've actually gone down in massachusetts by 6%, even as we've had a system that's not too dissimilar from the one that you are now propounding for the whole country and we've seen a 23% expansion in the massachusetts economy while we've had a cap and trade system in place in massachusetts. so i just think it's important for people to understand that the model's already there. it can be made to work. it's flexible, but it does, in pack, have a lot of evidence that shows that it can be done i understand that some states have already surpassed the renewable energy production level bell into the 2013 state targets. are you considering building more ambition into the targets where states can and are already going further than the levels assumed in the proposed rules? >> senator, we are looking at
all comments that we received. we have a very long comment period, 120 days. we are looking forward to four public hearings next week. so we will be certainly listening to those and making appropriate changes one way or the other. >> and again, following on the massachusetts model, isn't it very possible that the proposed rules that you are considering could wind up lowering electricity rates for people all across the country? i think that's kind of, to some people, contradictory from the way they think about the issue, but we've seen it in massachusetts that's happened and talk about nationally what you could expect to be seen by consumers. >> what we're projecting is consumers will see a lowering of their energy bills and that's because we're getting waste out of the system and because that's the cheapest, most effective way to get these reductions is to become more efficient. >> in massachusetts, we have a funny accent and we say that's
working smarter, not harder and so, plain the eshexplain what y the states a way to implement. >> do this as best as you can with your accent. >> there are two ways to get reductions at fossil fuel facilities in terms of the pollution they emit. for carbon, you can run them less or make them more efficient when they run. both of those are part of the building blocks here and we can do that by increasing efficiency at the facility and you can can also do that by providing consumers and many low-income consumers support for new building codes, weatherizing houses, more efficient appliances that they can use. when those things happen, their dollar rs go down in terms of how much they spend every month. >> i think your plan is smart, it's effective and it's ultimately going to be cost effective. thank you. >> smart. know smart, but -- okay.
we'll turn to senator raso. >> miss mckarth e why did you let high-powered washington lobbyives with the defense council reach into the epa and essentially write your climate change rules for you? >> i did not. >> know according to the nrdc. they had a blog on july 8th and madam chair, i would like to have this introduced into the record by the nrdc by one of the lobbyists involved in crafting the rules who stated "the new york times" ran a very nice article yesterday about the nrdc's part in developing an innovative proposal for curbing carbon pollution for the fossil fuel fired electric power plants and they go on to say they're proud to have played a role. they're proud of what they wrote. let me ask you another question, are you going to attend the climate change conference in paris 2015 as your predecessor
did when she attended the climate change conference in 2009? >> i have not made a decision on that, senator. >> a key part of the climate change strategy is to us have believe that he and his environmental and diplomatic all-star team can arrive in paris at the u.n. climate change conference and convince the world to follow his lead. his whole plan hinges on president obama's foreign policy prowess. his foreign policy record is a series of empty threats and resets, miscalculations and lead from behind barriers in iran, libya and iraq and after all of those missteps he wants us to believe that in 2015 he and his team can demand that china and india would stop burning fossil fuels. well, even if the president was able to reach an agreement like the treaty in the 1990s, it would still have to be ratified here in the senate. the kyoto treaty overwhelming failed in the senate. the officials from the epa and
state department can't deliver in paris and subsequently in the senate, we're going to be left with his domestic climate action plan which includes your rules for new and existing coal-fired power plants. according to secretary of state john kerry in a column he wrote in "the financial times" last month, he wrote even as we strive to do better we recognize no country can solve this problem alone. even if the u.s. somehow eliminated all of the domestic greenhouse gas emissions it still would not be enough. the rest of the world is spewing too much carbon pollution. that means that the president's climate action plan which includes the epa's new proposed rules on their own do not reduce
global temperatures or prevent any of the serious impacts that are predicted by the u.n. it can't make a dent. so the question is can you guarantee success in paris and if not, aren't these climate change policies all pain for
america and the citizens of this country and little gain globally? >> sir, what i know about this rule is it will leave the united states in 2030 with a more efficient and cleaner energy supply system and more jobs and cleaner energy which are the jobs of the future. no matter what happens internationally this is of significant benefit to the united states in terms of those kids in the audience who want to breathe healthy air and don't want their kids to get sick. >> so you admit that it has no impact on global climate? >> no, it will have significant impact in the tone and tenor of the discussion. >> no impact on global climate. you do. you never said how this would impact global climate. >> don't put -- >> just a moment. could you freeze for a minute -- freeze the clock. i don't think we should be putting words in anybody's mouth because she never said what you said she said. could you refine. you take from her response something.
she didn't say what you said, it's just not right. >> i take from your response and from the secretary of state's comments that then no matter that these proposals that you're
putting forth will have no impact on global climate as a result of the failure of others to cooperate as the secretary of state has stated. this can't be some rich person's gamble where you make a bad bet. this has a real impact on people. when, you know, we're asking coal miners, seniors on fixed incomes, families and children who suffer higher electric bills and the unemployed to make this expensive bet that you're putting forward and i have a lot of problems to doing that to people around the country because of some rich lobbyists and powerful lawyers in washington who are now reaching into the epa to write their regulations. you know, countries around the world are already abandoning fossil fuel, anti-fossil fuel policies because of need of affordable energy. we're seeing it in australia,
their parliament just repealed their carbon tax. the associated press last week quotes the australian prime minister who said a useless destructive tax which damaged jobs and hurt families, cost of living and which didn't actually help the environment. why aren't we following his lead? >> senator, climate in action is what threatens our seniors and our kids. that's what's threatening our communities today and that's what's threat edge the viability of the planet in the future and so i -- i'm responding to his p epa and that's my job. >> if you want to stay for another round of questions you're welcome. >> thank you. >> please stay if you want. >> i would like to ask unanimous consent to place into the record two documents. one is a poll just recently taken that shows that 70% of the people support your plan. so not withstanding the fact that other senators say that they're defending the people,
you're defending the people, in my opinion. secondly, i also want to put in the staple made by william rubbingelshouse who appeared before the committee at the suggestion of senator whitehouse who worked for senators nixon and reagan, quote, we like to speak of american exceptionalism. if we want to be truly exceptional then we should begin the difficult task of leading the world away from the unacceptable effects of the increasing appetites for fossil fuel before it's too late and i would like these to go right back-to-back with senator barroso if there is no objection. we'll turn to senator jill brandt who was know here and she gets six minutes and as a republican comes we'll work back any forth and then i will close, so i will withhold and we'll go to senator whitehouse and senator markey after senator jill brandt. >> thank you, madam chairwoman. i am so grateful for mccarthy for being here and for holding this hearing.
climate change, as everyone knows is one of the biggest crises we've faced and very watched the destruction after super storm sand e it is not only costly, but people are losing their lives and people are not acting bold enough and we have to do more and we have to do better. the costs of inaction are enormo enormous. we could continue or try to continue to pay for disaster after disaster make steps to reduce carbon pollution and foster innovation for cleaner energy sources and more advanced technology. so i think that there is a picture of success here that we have to grab a hold on and achieve it, and i think with your leadership we will achieve that goal. new york state is a member of the regional greenhouse gas initiative, and i know you're familiar with it and have testified about it. today the regional greenhouse gas emissions are 40% lower than in 2005 and it's projected to produce $1.6 billion in economic
benefit which i wish my colleague was still hear to hear these numbers. these are economic engines and 1.1 billion in electricity savings and 16,000 additional jobs per year and 765 million retained in local economies for fossil fuels and that's a huge success. from your experience, how can other states use the example to implement a successful program to cut greenhouse gas emissions and can other states and regions expect the same type of net economic benefits that we've seen in new york as a result of the program? >> i'm incredibly proud of the regional gas initiative and all of those states because i think it was specifically designed to take the waste out of the system and to continue to grow the economy. those numbers are great, senator. thanks. the individual states can develop their own plans or they can certainly join other regional approaches like the the regional greenhouse gas initiative and we're providing information to why that's
inexpensive and why that's a good thing to do and provided an opportunity for them to have additional time if that's what they so choose, but i think the most important thing part leadership states moving out in front is that they've shown us that there are cost effective, practical ways in which you can make this work significantly to address climate change and to grow the economy and not just not hurt it and provide an impetus for growth and that has been the basis of this, our determination on best system of emission reduction and adequately demonstrated and the leadership states really, frankly, not just the reggie states, but all across the united states we've seen states show tremendous leadership and that's what we're building on. we just want every state to come to the table and look at the same things and see how they design it with the same idea of success in mind. >> i read that there were challenges when other regions of the world have tried to do this. there were fraud, you know, that undermined the results. can you talk about why we're successful and they weren't and
how do we expand this more across all states and should we ever have a national reggie? >> yeah. i think we learned from some of those lessons really directly, and i think we also learned from a lot of the work that congress did in trying to design a cap and trade program for the u.s. those are things that you learn from and you don't repeat mistakes. i think we very well understood how we can make sure that the reductions we were trying to achieve were verifiable. >> right. >> beingable and how we could do it in a way that provided the flexibility to but investments in things that were actually going to be beneficial economically like energy efficiency. one of the best designs of reggie is that money was actually going to support the kind of programs that are going to lower costs for individual consumers. >> i just think our energy cost savings are amazing. how -- how can you, in your position, urge other governors, other states, other regions to
really try to adopt this and be successful as well? what tools do you have? what do you need from us? how do you expand this? >> i think trying to make sure that there say table set for every state to look at these issues and work together. i don't think epa is trying at this point nor should we tell states how they should meet these goals. we're trying to provide them an opportunity to provide them as much technical information as they can, to look at all of the options available to them if they want our help doing that and we have been having meetings that bring energy and environmental regulators together in every state so they can understand how they can design a strategy that works for them. that's the most person thing for me is that they roll up their sleeves and start working because action right now is essential. so we talked about the cost savings and there's also obviously the health benefits that we can expect from these
types of reforms. can you talk a little bit about some of the health benefits we can expect from the implementation of the new clean power plan proposed rule? >> i certainly can. the health benefits in this rule are actually quite large, from reducing carbon pollution you actually have an opportunity to keep temperatures from rising, more o zone from being formed which always results in more asthma attacks and this also will be directly reducing particularate matter and emissions, so-2 emissions and mercury emissions as we look at the regional -- at the ria that was developed. and just to name a few things, we're actually avoiding 2700 premature deaths in 2030, up to 6600 premature deaths. we're talking already just in 2020, reducing more than 100,000 asthma attacks in our kids and in the u.s., one out of ten kids face asthma. >> i've been in an emergency
room. >> and you worry about minorities and those in the front line of a changing climate, those numbers matter. >> senator, thank you. senator sessions? >> thank you. well, ms. mckarcarthyccarthy, t court statement that when an agency, epa, claims to discover in a long extent statute an unheralded power to regulate a significant portion of the american economy, we typically greet r its announcement with a measure of skepticism. so what our american people need to know is that you've not been given explicit statutory power to do what you're doing. you've achieved it by i guess a 5 to 4 ruling years ago by the supreme court and it ought to be viewed with skepticism. the american people run this country. you don't run this country. the epa does not run this country. you are accountable to the people for the best interest of
this entire nation, and i think that you -- i think the congress should never have approved this and that's one of the problems you face. the epa has proposed emission target for alabama which would require 27% reduction in the rate of co2 emissions relative to 2012 levels. it reaches a target by assuming that it is technically feasible for alabama to retire 10 million megawatt hours of coal-fired generation capacity which is significant. increase natural gas generation by an equivalent amount, generate over 14 million mega watt hours from renewables as well as preserve existing -- existing nuclear capacity, and not an increase. so, first, you've been talking about consulting. did epa consult with the state of alabama about those
assumptions achievable assumptions? >> you know, we have been working with both the energy and environmental regulators in every state. i cannot name you specifically whether or not we've had individual meetings with the folks from alabama, but i can certainly check and get back -- >> i don't think you've been dealing that accurately or completely with them on these assumptions, these abilities and you're talking about a huge 14 million megawatt hours from renewables. are you aware? >> senator, i am not sure about those numbers. i am more than happy to go through them -- >> would you respond to an inquiry from me? >> of course. >> thank you. section 111-d of the proposed rule that's been debated here quite a bit, references extreme weather six times, at least and sites claims about projections about increased severity of
hurricanes and tornadoes. do you have any data that you can show this committee to establish that we can expect an increased number and severity of hurricanes and tornadoes? >> i -- i am well aware that the new national assessment indicates that we should be expecting more intense storms, more heavy precipitation. there is -- i don't believe any assumption made about the frequency of hurricanes at this point, but certainly the seve irity and the intensity of the storms is expected to increase. >> do you know how many days it's been since the united states has had a category 3 hurricane? >> i do not have that information, but sir -- >> it's 3200 days. that's almost ten years. we haven't had a category 3 hurricane.
i remember when frederick hit my town of mobile ten years before that, we had camille which was a 5. frederick, i think, was 3, but we're not having increase. the data is pretty clear on that, so i just want to tell you, you're asking us to alter our policies economically,a great cost and one of the basis of that charge is the increased storms and we're not seeing them is all i'm saying. it may happen. i don't know, but i don't think you have a scientific basis and i would like to see any science you have to justify that position. finally, you suggest that by 2030 you predict in your written statement here, quote, average electric bills for american families will be 8% cheaper. as i understand it, you assume that we'll have a 1.5% energy efficiency increase every single
year during that decade. 1 opinion 5%, where is the average today, i understand? it's pn 5%. >> are you confident? >> so how can you have confidence that that would occur? >> we would have an actual reduction in the cost of americans. >> sir, we feel pretty confident that the data indicates this energy efficiency is the least effective way. >> i totally agree that the energy efficiency is a bipartisan issue that i can work on together with you, and i would say if you maintain that and don't do the other things, we might have -- we would have a much lower cost of electricity. >> thank you, senator. senator whitehouse? >> thank you very much, madam chair. while my friend senator sessions was speaking, i pulled up a story from the birmingham news.
now it's two years old. it's from 2012 and at the time it was about a guy named bart slossum which was one of two residential customers of alabama power who were selling solar electricity back to the grid. he's, quote, wondered why there's no photo voltage presence in alabama and it is full of sun, he said. the story goes on across the country and across the globe, solar energy is spreading spurred by equipment and generous incentives from govern ams and utilities and drivers across the border in tennessee and solar arrays are sprouting in the field. the sunshine state is a national leader in the production of power from the sun and georgia came online this summer with planned future projects expected to boost that state's generation by 2015 and alabama finishes at or near the bottom so it seems
that there might be some potential there for investment in solar. >> it would be great if we could make solar work, but the experts tell us that because of the cloud cover we're not nearly as efficient as the states further west who have clear sunshine and is not very effective. >> well, we'll certainly see about that and certainly the costs are coming down. my concern is that when the alternative to solar is to burn coal and there are costs that the rest of us have to bear in that decision anywhere. if you're an accountant and you're doing the the books for a family or for a business, you've got to look at two sides of the ledger. you look at what the costs are and you look at what the the income is and then to the bottom line does a lot of what my
colleagues have been saying during the course of this hearing i believe has only looked at one side of the ledger. specifically, the narrow side of the ledger that relates to the costs of the coal industry as if our highest and most important goal in this exercise was to make sure that coal plants kept running. i think that epa has tried to look at both sides of the ledger. looked at costs and looked at benefits and on a net basis, when you actually do accounting for the costs of this, looking at both sides of the ledger and not just a one-sided view, what do you get as your net assessment whether this will be good or bad for our economy and other people? >> in 2030 it's a net benefit between $48 billion and $84 billion. >> between $48 billion with a "b". >> that's perrer yoo. >> so in that time period,
presumably we would have added up presumably over that time. >> i will double-check, but i believe that's the case. >> but that would be the minimum? >> yes. >> the number gets bigger if you do that annually. >> that's right. >> the bottom line is there is a positive net benefit. >> very much so. yes. >> i just want to say i appreciate very much the concern of my colleagues here. i know that senator barroso is representing the state of wyoming and i know the state of wyoming has a significant coal economy. i believe that $1 billion of the revenues of the state of wyoming come in to its coffers from its fossil fuel industry. so if there's going to be an interruption of that then senator barroso has every reason to be concerned and he has every reason to expect the rest of us to listen to his concerns and to
try to work with him to see what we can do to help with those concerns. what i can't have is to have a dialogue in which wyoming gets its concerns ventilated, but has no interest whatsoever in what's happening in rhode island where we have kids with ozone. we have very serious asthma problems where we have 10 inches of sea level rise, where the flounder fishery is virtually gone and where our prospects of having a ski industry is evaporating such ass and the ski valley if you want to go to rhode island and ski. it's not much, but it's there and we'd like to keep it, but the evidence appears to be from the estimates that connecticut and new york and massachusetts are going to lose theirs. so if they lose theirs it's unlikely rhode island will be a sanctuary of snow down there south of them. >> yeah. >> so we've got real costs on our side, and i hope that madam
administrator, you will bear in mind that there are kofs on both sides of this ledger, and i contend that the costs on our side of the ledger actually outweigh the costs of the other side of the ledger in pure economic value by a lot. >> those were annual costs and they're pretty staggering. >> those were annual costs. >> so it will add up. >> the the net benefits here are tremendous, but i don't think -- >> tebs of millions of dollars. >> i don't think they by far and away capture the benefits that we're going to achieve by addressing and stepping up on climate. >> and so, madam chair, if there is that kind of benefit it would seem to be reasonable that we could find a way through the politics of this body to deliver some of that benefit back to the states of west virginia and wye onlying to balance what's going on here, but we can't do that if they pretend that this problem isn't real. they can't do that if they pretend that the other side of ledger doesn't exist. we can't do that if they continue this pretense that coal isn't harming people all across
the country as well as benefiting people in their states. >> senator, thank you so much for your contribution. i see senator sanders here. i am going to do my round and i'll turn the the gavel over to senator sanders to take as much as he wants and then close it it down. now, i want to say administrator mccarthy, that senator sessions told you that you don't run america. do you think you run america? >> i'm not taking the blame -- no. let the record show you don't think you run america. are you implementing the clean air act? >> yes. >> was there an endangerment finding that said that too much carbon pollution is a danger? >> yes. >> can you summarize for us the major dangers of carbon pollution. >> the major dangers identified in the endangerment finding were the dangers related to increased
temperature, increased floods, increased droughts, disease that is related to this, heat strokes. there are a number of impacts associated with a changing climate. >> is it your responsibility to protect the clean air act and to protect clean air, clean water, safe drinking water? isn't that what you swore you would do when you took this job? >> yes, i did, and i meant it. >> i know you meant it. i just want to say, colleagues, for all of the bluster on the other side about how, you know, what administrator mccarthy is doing is a danger to people. people don't believe it. 70% of the people side with the epa and let me just read the groups that support epa carbon-pollution standards and what i want to say to everyone in the audience wherever they come out on this, i want you to think when i mention these names who do these people really fight
for, okay? the alliance of nurses for healthy environments, the american academy of pediatrics, the american lung association, the american medical association, the american public health association, the american thoracic society, the asthma and allergy foundation of america, chicago physicians for social responsibility, the cleveland clinic asthma center, health care without harm, national association of county and city health officials, national hispanic medical association, national medical association, national nurses united trust for america's health and i ask for unanimous consent to put this list into the record. i think if if everyone listened to this you would say they represent the american people, the children, our families. so that's very, very key, and i also would like to note, i'm sorry, senator sessions had to
leave, that hurricane katrina in '05 cost taxpayers $125 billion and hurricane sandy as senator sanders as senator sanders has said, cost $60 billion. now i think this whole country lived through those disasters. and we want to mitigate those disasters. and that's what your rule is all about. lastly, i want to make a point for my colleagues. my colleagues. i want to make a point. my colleagues, i want to make a point. this is my point, and i think this gets overlooked. and you want it, because my colleagues are so informed on this. i just think this is one other huge piece of information that's rather new to the debate. under this proposal, in 2030 air pollution benefits -- not
carbon -- put that aside -- the other benefits will total $62 billion per year. what does that mean? reduction of particulate matter. nitrogen dioxide, 410,000 reduction. this is huge. and this speaks to the issue that senator white house spoke to, that we can move to clean energy or clean up the energy we have, which i believe is possible. and save our kids, save our families, save our health, premature deaths. asthma, missed work. missed school. so i want to say, administrator mccarthy, i can't tell you how much appreciate you taking this job as one who kind of suggested it, one of the people. >> you had a little hand in it. >> well, i want to say, i knew
that you would step up to the plate, that you had the experience of working across party aisles, that you really had in your heart exactly why you wanted to do this work, to help our families. and frankly, our economy, and our leadership in the world. and i just can't think of anyone else who could do it better. i want to say that, i mean, i, you proved it today. and even though my colleagues aren't here from the republican side, i felt they were very respectful of that. i appreciate that. >> i agree. >> i really do. but i agree with senator whitehouse, we shouldn't be having the argument about what is as clear as can be. i'm pleased with this hearing. i'm pleased with this plan. i know my people support you and so do 70% of the people. with that, i'm going to hand the
gavel to senator sanders. i need to go to a meeting, and i thank everythibody. and i especially thank all the young people today. the little ones, they actually, they were pretty good. they were pretty good considering all the hot air all of us were putting toward them, but no, i appreciate everybody being here, and senator sanders, the gavel is yours, the time is yours. >> thank you so much. now we know that gina mccarthy does not run the economy or run the world because if she did she wouldn't have to sit her for two and a half hours, right? i just want to make a few points and give the mic over to senator whitehouse, if he would like it. i'm sorry my republican colleagues are not here. i understand when i was not here
there was some argument from the senator from wyoming about how well think liberals have coerced you into moving forward in this direction, and i find that is really remarkable that my republican colleagues would dare to raise the issue of campaign finance and the amount of money folks are putting into the political process. so let me just recite a few facts for the record. according to the center for responsive politics, in 2013, the oil, gas and coal industries invested at least $170 million in lobbying the federal government. according to the center for responsive politics, in the 2012 election cycle, the same industry spent more than $93 million in recorded campaign contributions, an enormous number, which is itself dwarfed
by the amount of money invested in dark money super pac spending. then we go to another level that is really hard for me to understand these guys would raise this issue. we have the koch brothers who are today as a family worth $80 billion, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on political campaigns and setting up think tanks. and in fact, are doing that in this election as well. according to the washington post and the center for responsive politics, the koch brothers, where do they get their money? they are a fossil fuel industry. and they have invested $407 million, according to the washington post, supporting conservative, fossil friendly candidates in the 2012 election. so is there money coming into the process from wealthy liberals, and the answer is yes. but that money is clearly dwarfed by the amount of money
coming in from fossil, the fossil fuel industry. i would also add that i do find it remarkable that some of my republican colleagues in this debate have expressed their deep concern about the needs of low-income people and the elderly. and i would remind the people of this country that these are the same folks whose compassion and love of low-income people prevents them from working to raise the minimum wage so people can have a living wage, allows them to make massive cuts in the leahy program which provides fuel assistance to low-income people. many of them are on record as making massive cuts in medicaid, trying to end privatized social security. so i think there are concerns today about the needs of
low-income people might be held up to some question. senator whitehouse, did you want to add anything to that? >> one last question for the administrator. the, i take the position that the costs of this regulation are dwarfed by the benefits. and i think that is epa's judgment as well. i also take the position that it's not fair for people to only look at one side of the length earn in evaluating this legislation. they can't just look at the interests of the coal businesses. they really need to look at america more broadly, and there are lots of us who are on the other side of that equation for whom coal really is a harm. and we can work in rational ways to try to balance that, but
please don't pretend that my side doesn't exist. the third is that there is legitimate concern, and then there is concern that is for rhetorical purposes. and there's probably an a little bit of a blend between the two. but if we look at the history that epa has seen of industry reaction to proposed environmental regulations, all four republican, former epa administrators who testified in those very seats, ms. mccarthy, indicated that, over and over, the industry concerns were exaggerated. they did not prove true in the
actual fact. whether that was because they were exaggerated for rhetorical purposes at the beginning or whether that was because innovation was brought to bear to reduce costs, both can be true, but let me ask you. you've been in this business for a long time, at the state level as well as at the federal level. you have worked for republican governors before. what is your view on what the track record has been of industry projections and warnings about the costs and consequences of environmental regulation by epa? >> it has, history tells us that it is, they always exaggerate the costs. they always project environmental benefits as somehow being contrary to economic goals, and it just simply has never come true.
never. and i think one of the points that we haven't talked about a little bit, senator that you hit on is one of the great benefits of looking at, at setting a cost for climate change that is long term and flexible. is that what we're actually sending is a tremendous investment signal in what the united states values and cares about. it will unleash innovation and investment money. this is not about a scrubber at the end of a pipe or a smokestack. this is really about investing in things people care about. investing in things that people will make money on. one of the great things, frankly, about regulating, is seeing how the regulated community grumbles during the process, but in the end figures out how to make money the great old american way. and you will you'll see this. this proposal is designed to be moderate in its ask, based on
it's practical and affordable. but the vision behind it, the direction it's going to take, i think we will get significantly more benefit than we are requiring. because we're asking for the things that the american public actually wants to spend money on. less waste, cleaner energy, jobs, economic growth. that's what this is all about. and i'm pretty proud of it as a proposal. and i know we'll listen to folks. but in the end, this is going to be something i'm hoping we'll all be proud of. >> if i could pick up on something, administrator mccarthy. what you hear you saying is you believe the united states could be a leader in the world. >> yes. >> in new technologies. >> yes. >> which help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions. and in the process see significant economic development. >> that's correct. >> all right. i will tell you just in one area
in vermont we have put some federal money into weatherization. you know what we've done? we've reduced fuel bills for people, lower-income people, cutting their bills by 32%. cut greenhouse gas emissions. you know what else we've done? we've created jobs in the area. and i suspect your point is once the economy gets moving in renewable injures we cenergies, leader in the world. is that what you meant to say? >> that's what i meant to say. >> you said at that better. the issue of money and politics has been raised at this hearing. with the suggestion that environmental folks are pouring huge sums of money in, and i would argue that their money is
being dwarfed by the industry. do you have any thoughts on that in the amounts of money we're seeing lobbying, i know campaign contributions is not your venue. but. >> let me just hit the issue directly, because i know it had to do with a "new york times" article which has been given surprising credibility. but i think i know how hard the great staff at epa worked to design this rule, basically from whole cloth, listening to states and utilities and energy regulators and environmental regulators and stakeholders from all walks of life. i am extraordinarily proud of the work they put into it. i know they didn't sleep for virtually any night, well, for months. we worked weekends. i can tell you, i had two hours of meetings on this rule for a
week, for the past i don't know how many months. and it's a discredit to them to suggest that somehow this was designed miraculously by one group many months ago, and we just had it in our pocket ready to unveil. this was a result of hashed work, a result of lots of listening, and a result of more than 40 years in that history of that agency getting the science right, understack the law and doing the work we need to do, and that's what this is all about. >> and the result of a process in which the electric utility industry, the coal industry, the fossil fuel industry, the chamber of commerce and others also had their input, correct? >> i will also guarantee you that i have met many more times with utilities than i have the nrdc. >> thank you. by way of brief closing statement, i just want to thank
senator sanders for raising this issue. i do a climate speech every year -- every year -- every week on the senate floor, at least every week that we're in session. and this week, i'm going to be talking about precisely the point that you raised. if you look back at our history in this body, there has been a very constant, strong heartbeat of bipartisan activity on climate. and many of our colleagues who are still here have had proud histories of engagement with significant bipartisan climate legislation. and after 2010, you see that heartbeat of bipartisan activity flat line. if you look at what happened in
early 2010 that might explain why it suddenly ended, you find a supreme court decision called citizens united. that allowed unlimited kornt money, unlimited billionaire money to bombard our politics. and what people often think about that is that, oh, they all came in, and they beat up the democrats. on behalf of the republicans. and this is a partisan thing. but i've heard over and over from republican colleagues, what are you complaining about? they're spending more money against us than they're spending against you. and there have been times, i believe, when actually the unaccountable, anonymous dark money that citizens united unleashed was being spent more in republican primaries and against republicans than it was against democrats. and that, i think, has
suppressed debate and had a corrosive effect on our politics and has ended what was for many, many years a proud bipartisan tradition. so i'm very glad that senator sanders raised that, and i thank administrator mccarthy for being here and for her leadership and courage. >> and with that, we adjourn the hearing.
white house senior adviser, dan pfeiffer said today he would not discount the republicans seeking impeachment of the president if he takes action on immigration reform. he was responding to the christian science monitor. i think we have two separate issues. one is we have a specific challenge at one portion of the border in the rio grande valley, and we have to deal with that, and that involves redirecting resources that we currently have and asking for resources from
congress. secondly, we have to deal with, and we were talking about executive action dealing around and long before we had this specific challenge on the border, obviously what's happening at the border is part of the backdrop of the decision for the thinking behind this decision will make. i think it will probably increase the angry reaction from republicans. you already have senator cruz threatening, saying that he will not allow there to be a vote on the bill unless we agree to deport all the dreamers who have received deferred action under the president's executive action in 2012. i think that speaks to both the tremendous cross currents in the republican party in immigration reform where you have people like john mccain and lindsey graham, others in the republican house who have been very open
about encumbrance to immigration reform and a native -- that has been damaging to the republican party. we talk about the lawsuit, and then you have sarah palin out there talking about impeachment. i saw a poll that had a huge part of the republican base saying they support impeachment of the president. i think a lot of people in this town laugh that off. i would not discount that possibility. i think that speaker boehner, by going down the path of this lawsuit has opened the door to republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future. and i think that the president acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood that they would contemplate impeachment at some point. >> dan pfeiffer also talked about sanctions on russia,
imgrant children crossing the southern border and the 2014 and 2016 elections. you can see all the discussion on our website. go to c-span.org. tomorrow on washington journal, we'll take a look at president obama's foreign policy. our guest is mark jacobson. and we will'll talk about the dg of malaysian flight 17. washington journal on c-span. 40 years ago, the watergate scandal led to the only resignation of an american president. this weekend, the house judiciary committee, as it
considers impeachment of the president and the charge of abuse of power. >> what you have here are questions about what the framers had in mind, questions about whether the activities that have been found out by the committee and by the senate watergate committee were in fact impeachable. and thirdly, can we prove that richard nixon knew about them and even authorized them? >> watergate, 40 years later, sunday night at 8:00 eastern on american history tv on c-span 3. this weekend on book tv's afterwords. >> i thought it would be compelling to tell the story of a white family and a black family with the same name, who come from the same place, and follow them from slavery through the civil war, reconstruction, jim crow, civil rights movement, up until today.
and compare and contrast. >> columnist and author, chris tomlinson, and how the legacy of slavery still affects american society. he talks with the brother of ladeign yan tomlinson. on c-span 2's afterwords. the sub committee on regulatory affairs heard an update from john cos cannon. regarding inquiries into alleged targeting of conservative groups. during his testimony, he confirmed a report that some information on backup tapes which perhaps contain agency missing e-mails may be recoverbling. he previously told investigators that the hard drive data was deemed unrecoverable back in 2011 when the computer of lois
lerner crashed. meeting will come to order. i want to thank our witness for being here again. and we'll start with some opening statements. i'll start first by recognizing mr. issa. >> i know that this is unprecedented to have a commissioner of the irs in front of this committee so often, and appreciate the fact that you've been willing to be briefed and participate, even beyond our request at times. as we continue to explore a number of questions, the timeline of the crash. the inconsistency of the probability of lost e-mails by
multiple people within government, we appreciate that you were not in government. you were not doing this at the time. but as you can imagine, not just the internet, not just fox, but america is beginning to question how convenient so many e-mails of so many people at the heart of targeting conservative groups for their views, for their politi politics, and for the fact that citizens united was objected to by the president, how many of them had loss of data, and how much is not available to the american people. a coverup is normally described as something that happens during an investigation around here. in ord in other words things go missing during an investigation. but it's clear that data began
to go missing at a time when congress was just beginning to look at wrongdoing that is now confirmed that began with the president objecting to citizens united, that began with democratic members of the house and senate writing letters, asking for investigation of people that were politically the opposite of their party, not asking for investigations about all people who may be involved in political activities in addition to their non-profit work. it is clear they were driven within the irs and perhaps other areas by political bias and a belief that the president wanted a fix and that the fix had to occur. again, commissioner, you weren't in government at that time. but government is today. it is their time, it is their watch. it is their responsibility. whether it's the fec, the irs, the department of justice or any and all of government's
activities that led to the unfair treatment on the eve of campaign elections of conservative groups. it is clear that there was a convenient loss of far more data by far more people than is explained by the normal arithmetic probabilities. it was your wrach to give us accurately and kind us up to date on developments regarding lois lerner. it is my view that you could have done better. you will and have paid a price in public opinion for not being as forward leaning and pro active as you could have been. but that was yesterday. today what we're asking you to do is to continue working with your i.g. and if we're fortunate enough to
get a special prosecutor, we'll work with him or her, and of coursework with the groups that now have federal junks ordering the irs to show particular information. and bringing it all together back to this committee. because this committee has an intent to make to the greatest extent possible public what we can find as being done on behalf of the american people to bring back the confidence in the irs. so i, again, appreciate your willingness to be here. these are not easy hearings. and each teime you come you leae with more questions from us than you come with answers to us. and that is the nature of the investigation that continues to evolve. so mr. chairman, i want to thank you for recognizing the early, commissioner, again you need to be part of the solution. i believe you have to a certain extent, and i believe you're committed to do more. and for that i thank you and yield back.
>> recognize the member from maryland, the ranking member of the committee. >> thank you very much. commissioner, i want to thank you for testifying before this committee yet again. this is the third time in the past month you've appeared before us and that does not count a fourth appearance you maid before the ways and means committee last month on the same topic. unfortunately, it appears that you and other irs employees are now becoming collateral damage in a fight for the spotlight among two republican committee chair men. representative issa and representative cannes. this is unseemly, embarrassing, and is not a proper way to run an investigation or to spend millions of dollars in taxpayer
funds. as commissioner knows very well, when chairman can was informed about the crash of lois lerner's hard drive he quickly announced that he would be putting the first public hearing before the ways and means committee minutes later. he did not contact the commissioner before issuing the subpoena, and he did not hold any debate or vote. in response, chairman can just moved this hearing up several days. so he was the first one in front of the cameras. it did not seem to matter to either chairman that the irs provided numerous contemporaneous documents showing that ms. learner's computer crash was a technological problem that she and multiple i.t. officials attempted to remedy. those facts, apparently, were
irrelevant. the goal was -- chairman can has now asked the inspector general to conduct an investigation into ms. learner's hard drive crash which he has agreed to do. the commissioner testified last time three was here that the inspector general asked him to make his investigation the top priority, which meant not subjecting irs employees to any other interviews while the inspector general's interviews were going on. that was the i.g.'s. rather than waiting a few wee , weeks -- commissioner explained that the inspector general did not want to be subjected to multiple interviews, but
chairman issa began issuing multiple subpoenas. he excluded chairman can's staff from participating. republicans accused them of obstruction. claiming that he was hiding witnesses from the committee. what he, again, explained that the inspector general asked him not to subject irs employees to multiple interviews, chairman issa said i was going to follow up with the inspector general directly. that apparently didn't happen. yesterday i asked my staff to contact the inspector general's office to find out exactly what was going on. i spoke with deputy inspector general for investigations. he confirmed that his office is now conducting the investigation that chairman asked.
he wanted to avoid tainting their testimony. without directly criticizing the actions, the deputy state the that of of of of of of as investigators, they want everyone to complete their interviews first without distraction end of quote. as he stated then, there is no confusion of witness testimony and the integrity of the vision is not impaired. contrary to these requests, chairman issa has been forcing irs employees to come before our committee for transcribed interviews, and since he is excluding chairman camp's staff, after each of these interviews, i think dueling press releases
were made in an effort to compete for more headlines. no matter how unsubstantiated their claims are, the deputy i.g. told us something else. they have obtained no new evidence that would change their conclusions in their audit from 2013. as i choice, there's simply no evidence whatsoever of any white house involvement in the screening of tax-exempt applications. the irs has already spent $18 million responding to these duplicative investigations and the commissioner is now testifying before congress for the fourth time in just over a month. yet, chairman issa informed committee members yesterday that he will be holding yet another hearing on the topic next wednesday. we have the notice here, and with that, i'll yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. >> mr. chairman. >> point of privilege. there are a number of words in
the gentleman's statements that disparage me, and i object to his words in debate and ask that he withdraw or modify them and askew nan muss consent that among the terms be withdrawn would be not only the unseemly statement but in fact, when the ranking member disparaged me for a number of areas, including my intent and essentially said that the items i said were not true. additionally, the ranking member, while objecting to multiple, while objecting to multiple claims of cherry picking fails to mention that in june of 2013 he released the entire john schafer transcript, which has compromised this investigation by statements made in future transcribed
interviews, saying that they had reviewed these in preparation for those. so i certainly would say that, while questioning the intent of some argument about republicans not getting along, the ranking member managed to go beyond the ordinary opening statement in claiming the intent. in fact, the ranking member in june of 2013 went on national television claiming the investigation was over. this investigation is not over. i would ask that such items, including unseemly be taken down. >> up next -- >> i object. >> the gentleman objects. i understand, but i would reiterate, that the decorum of this committee should not lead to personal attacks as to the intent of individuals on either side. the fact is, this committee is conducting vigorous oversight.
we do so as a matter of our obligation as a committee, and i would make one last request. i askew nan mu unanimous consen the clearly erroneous claim that our request for this first hearing came after the events when in fact, the timeline will show that the subpoena had been served prior to the announcement from ways and means. and as the ranking member would know if he had ever chashed this committee, the fact is, it takes a long period of time to prepare a subpoena, to write a subpoena, to go to the clerk and get it approved, and then to serve it. so i would hope that the ranking member, once he sees that in the record, would recognize that in fact he has been clearly erroneous in his claims, and i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding. if we can, without objection,
let's allow the timeline in, and let's move to the next opening statement. would that be satisfactory with -- >> mr. chairman? >> would that be satisfactory? >> i just wonder though, would just a brief response to the distinguished chairman? >> do you really have to? [ laughter ] >> no, i don't really have to other than to say to you, mr. chairman, i certainly associate myself and i know my colleagues do on this side of the aisle as well with the sentiments that we should always speak with respect to each other. >> well said. >> we should never question each other's intentions. that has not been the practice as often as i would like on this committee. so i certainly hope that this would reflect a new day dawning here in the committee, and that we can proceed civilly. i thank the chair. >> thank the gentleman for his comments. our sub committee meets today to continuis oversight of the irs
in targeting conservative tax-exempt candidates. all kinds of questions need to be answered. and that's why, for the third time in a month, we are, we have mr. koskonen here to address the questions. first we were promised that the irs would produce all of lois lerner's e-mails. then we learned that zoom some . learner's e-mails were destroyed. then we learned last week from irs attorney thomas kaine that a backup tape may exist. first we heard there was one hard drive crash, lois lerner's. now we learn there may be as many as 20. think about this.
the irs has identified 83 custodians of documents and information. the irs has identified these people. and now almost a fourth of them may have had hard drive crashes. unbelievable. fourth, we were told that the irs was told that ms. lerner's hard drive had crashed. that's why we've continued to have hearings. that's why we have mr. koskonen back. over a month after they told congress that they lost the e-mailine e-mai e-mails, there are still unanswered questions.
deputy attorney general coal told us last week that the justice department learned of the missing lois lerner e-mails from press accounts and the media. imagine that. one of the highest profile investigations in years, and the justice department has to learn about critical evidence by the central player in this investigation. they learn about that in news accounts, not directly from the internal revenue service. that's why last week, deputy attorney general cole said he would have liked to learn about the e-mails earlier and was investigating why koskonen failed to reveal. he said last week to this same committee that they are investigating why the internal revenue service delayed months in telling the congress, the american people, the most importantly the fbi and the
justice department about the loss of lois lerner's e-mails. rather than the irs coming to congress and confirming what they knew when they knew it they waited four months. they final acknowledged the missing e-mails when it had no choice. and by the only way it knows how. on page seven in a friday afternoon letter to the senate, information obtained by the committee in the last few days provides more questions than answeredes about the missing e-mails. but remember, this is not information they are offering up willingly. it has taken over a month for the irs to come clean. we've tried for weeks to get mr. kaine to come clean. we had to subpoena him to get him to come for the deposition last thursday. the american people have this information only because the committee has been asking questions. that's why commissioner koskonen is here today. he is the individual hand-picked by this president to clean up
this agency. until we know all the facts and clear up all the questions about lois lerner's missing e-mails we will be pressing for the truth. that's why we meet today. with that, i yield to mr. cartwright. >> thank you commissioner for coming here today. we schedule these things on these little do hick e doo hick and it asks if you want to make be this a recurring thing and at this point i want to say yes. i am concerned that the hearings are no longer using these hearings for what happened in the report. this seems to be something different. and i want to say, we all ought
to agree that the point of this committee, the oversight in government reform committee is not publicly to harass federal agency heads, mr. koskonen. it is to conduct responsible oversight of the legitimate, critical issues within our jurisdiction. i believe that these repeated hearings that we're seeing today are both an abuse of authority and a dereliction of this committee's duty. i think it's abundantly clear that chairman issa and chairman camp are in some kind of taxpayer funded footrace over who can make the first headlines about lois lerner's lost e-mails. and we heard about a go for a timeline. and we ought to look at that timeline, because it was on june 16, shortly after chairman camp of ways and means announced that he would be holding a hearing with you, commissioner koskonen
on june 24, that chairman issa of this committee issued a unilateral subpoena compelling the commissioner to testify before this committee on june 23rd. in response, chairman camp moved his hearing up to june 20th. so it's something like a children's fairy tale that we're looking at here. in addition, chairman issa is no longer allowing staff from the ways and means committee to participate in the interviews. it's resulting in wasted taxpayer money as irs employees like you, mr. koskonen are now being subjected to multiple, duplicative interviews. i also want to address republican claims that the alleged targeting is this government-wide conspiracy inch earn greated after the citizens united decision involving the president, the irs, the department of justice and other federal agencies.
this committee has obtained no evidence linking these allegations to what we now now were inappropriate cry tiiteria. some of my colleagues on the other side of have not demanded the same from corporations who influence our national elections. in january 2010, the supreme court on citizens united allowed for non-profit groups to raise unlimited funds and register for tax-exempt status under the
501c-4. while these are not barred from participating in campaigns, it is stated that political participation must be an insubstantial amount of the group's overall activity, accounting for less than 50% of expenditures. the irs's job was to peak sure these groups were following the rules so they weren't taking the tax breaks intend for the community. not highlighting what a select few have on other politics. this is about groups doing everything they can do to hide where they get their money. obscure their true intentions and have undue influence on the political system tax free. this is something we don't need in this country.
something that disrupts the democratic process and something that has to be changed. i commend chairman leahy of the senate judicial air eye committee for the joint rez lugs proposing an amendment to the constitution which would limit these damaging effects of citizens united. with that, i'll conclude my comments and yield back to you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. members have seven days to submit written statements to the committee. we're pleased to have the honorable john koskonen. you know how this works. please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth. he answered in the affirmative. >> chairman jordan, ranking member cartwright, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. with your permission i will send in a copy of my complete testimony for the record. before giving my statement i want to thank the sub committee for its willingness to work around my travel schedule. my understanding was you were interested in an overview of irs interactions with the department of justice. i'd like to talk briefly on that subject. in general terms, the irs regularly and routinely interacts with the department in the investigation and prosecution of criminal and civil tax matters and also financial fraud. our criminal investigation division investigates and develops cases and recommends them to the department's tax division for prosecution. these cases represent a variety of tax issues, including refund fraud, abusive tax shelters,
return preparer fraud and internag alg non-compliance. recent examples include the guilty pleas by credit suisse and bnp. routine interactions between the irs and d.o.j. also involve the irs office of chief counsel which reviews all criminal cases developed by our criminal investigation division before they are recommended for mrs. kugs. in addition, when it litigate the a matter, chief consulate attorneys are involved. we now turn to an update on the effort the irs has made to cooperate with the investigations into the using of inappropriate criteria. these include four visions by congress. one by the department of justice
and one by the inspector general. added to that is the new al dwags of inspector general of circumstances surrounding lois lerner's hard drive crash. we have produced more than 960,000 pages of unredacted documents and more than 7,000 pages of redacted documents. in addition, at the request of the oversight committee and other committees, the irs has been working on the identification and production of lois lerner e-mails. as part of this document production, the tax writing committees have received 67,000 e-mails that weigh found involving ms. lerner. we are continuing to provide more than 50,000 e-mails from lois lerner. we are working to produce these document s as quickly as we can.
ms. lerner had asked professionals to restore her hard drive but were unable to do so. the irs has produced 25,000 e-mails from the period 2009 and 2011, largely from the files of other individuals. the irs provided information about the hard drive crash to all six investigating entities, and a public report we released in june. i would note that the june report was based in part on e-mails we had already provided to the congressional committees, the inspector general and the department of justice. some of those e-mails were produced as long ago as last fall. those e-mails were provided in the normal course of investigation. through all six investigators have had initial information blt hard drive crash since last fall. also, additional information about ms. lerner's hard drive
crash were released prior to the report. i would also point out the inspector general is noted with proceeding with its own investigation regarding the crash of ms. lerner's hashrd drive. they have asked us not to do anything that would interfere with the investigation and are honoring that request as much as possible. we responded to a recent court inquiry. this information is consistent with what was previously provided in the six investigations. but we have provided the oversight committee and the other entities with a copy of that information. i understand during last week's hearing with the d.o.j. there was a question about the information given about the hard drive crash. we provided the same information which we released to the public. d.o.j. did not receive any
additional information. since releasing our june report we have continued to cooperate with the investigations. since mid june we have produced more than 100,000 pages of documents and made witness available for interviews with congressional staff. five of those interviews have already occurred. our deputy chief information officer has given try briefings, including one for the oversight committee, and as noted, i've testified at four hearings, including the one today. this concludes my statement and i will be happy to take questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning mr. commissioner. are you aware that you currently are under investigation by the justice department regarding your role in determining when to produce lois lerner's e-mails? >> i'm not aware of that. i did see the statement that he would be interest in why we
hadn't provided information in april as opposed to june, but i have not received any notice of an investigation. >> well, he told us that it was something that the justice department would look into, and he said it was information that they did wish they had at the time that you discovered it. let me ask you this the committee interviewed thomas cain. and they realized that lois lerner's e-mails were missing, that there was a hard drive crash on february 4, 2014. and that by mid february they realized that the e-mails would not be recoverable off that hard drive. yet, you testified in front of this committee on march 26, 2014, and after being asked numerous times whether you would produce all of lois lerner's e-mails consistent with the subpoena, you said you would. so if the senior irs officials
knew in mid february that the e-mails could not be recovered off the hard drive, why did you tell this committee that you'd produce them? >> when i testified in march, i said we would provide all lois lerner e-mails. as i have also testified since then, i did not mean to imply that if they didn't exist we would somehow magically produce them. with regard to when officials at the irs knew of the impact of the hard drive crash, what i was advised and knew in february was that when you took the e-mails that had already been provided to this committee and other investigators and instead of looking at them by search terms, looked at them by date, it was clear that there were fewer e-mails in the period up through 2011 than subsequently. and there was also, i was told, been a problem with ms. learner's computer.
it was not described in any detail than that. i was advised near the end of february that we were now reviewing all of our production capacity to make sure nothing had been done in the production capacity that would have explained or would have caused the loss of any e-mails. that process went forward. but at the same time, i would remind everybody, we were focused primarily on the request from this committee and the finance committee and the ways and means committee to provide complete production of all documents we had related to the determination process. and we did that and in mid maa r march. >> let me -- i appreciate that we even asked mr. cole, if someone responds to discovery requests and they say they will produce all of them, they can't just do that and gee, we are not going to be able to produce them. once they do that they have to
come immediately and till the investigating party. and yet you guys sat on the information for several months, and that caused this information from our end to be obstructed. let he ask you this about this b backup tapes. mr. cain testified that backup tapes may in fact exist. so can you now under oath definitively state that the relevant backup tapes that this committee has sought do not, in fact, exist? >> as i understand from your press release, what mr. cain said was the information we provided in june was accurate to the best of everyone's knowledge at that time. what he said since then is that the inspector general. >> what you said, too, with all due respect. you said on june 20, 2014, to the ways and means committee that we, meaning the irs, confirmed that backup tapes from 2011 no longer existed because
they have been recycled pursuant to the irs's normal policy. so that was a definitive statement on your part. now we're getting information from mr. cain. the irs isn't exactly sure that that is in fact true. >> what mr. cain reported was information that the inspector general has started to review tapes to see if there's additional information on them. mr. cain said therefore there may be backup tapes that were recycled but may be recoverable. i have no information what the inspector general is doing with those tapes. in fact, the inspector general said he was reviewing those tapes and not to have any further conversations and i understand he asked this committee as well not to make the existence of their review public. but i have no information whether there's anything usable on those tapes. >> we've been told about
lerner's hard drive failure. then ways and means have identified as many as seven or eight individuals whose hard mr. kane, it could be as many as 18 or 19 different hard drives that have crashed that would be relevant. so can you definitively state to this committee the number of hard drives from relevant individuals that crashed during the period in question? >> i can tell you what i know at this time, which is in the first six months of 2011, over 300 hard drive crashes occurred, and there were over 5,000 reports of hardware problems. the first six months of this year, for example, over 2,000 hard drives have crashed. >> i understand, but that's your whole agency. we're talking about people who happen to be relevant in a relatively small universe of people and the number of hard drive crashes seem to be getting higher the more we investigate. >> right, and in may, i asked our people once we knew that
there was an issue on ms. lerner's crash, i asked for what the industry standards were for hard drive crashes. was advised 3% to 5% of hard drives crash. i asked then for a review of the question you're asked of custodians, how many of those 83 had hard drive crashes? we reported on the monday, june 16th, to the ways and means committee in a staff interview that we knew there were probably at least six or seven. the next morning, promptly on the receipt of that information, the ways and means committee issued what turned out to be an erroneous press release saying all those e-mails had been lost including the e-mails of nicole flax. it turned out in a further investigation it appears no e-mails from ms. flax were lost because the hard drive that crashed was not her office computer. i'm sorry, can i answer the question? >> the question was the number of hard drive crashes. i understand you mentioned the ways and means press release and
your other statements but the numbers. where do we stand on the number of hard drive crashes? >> where we stand is thereafter, the ig was requested by congress to do an investigation, and the ig asked us not to do any further interviews or investigations so we have not pursued further what the additional implications are, how many hard drives crashed of custodians or what the implications are because the inspector general is investigating that very issue. i cannot give you a definitive answer at this point as to either how many custodians had crashes or if they did, how many lost e-mails because i would emphasize not every crash loses -- >> mr. kane put the upper limit at 20 so there seems to be a contradiction there. my time is up. mr. chairman, thank you for indulging me. i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. >> i want to thank you for testifying before the committee today and for the third time in a month. when you testified on june 23rd,
2014, and july 9th, 2014, you told us that the ig was investigating circumstances of ms. lerner's computer crash. on june 11th, 2014, you wrote to this committee reiterating that the ig is conducting an investigation into the loss of ms. lerner's e-mails and that, as you previously testified, you would honor the inspector general george's request to prioritize his investigation. has the inspector general expressed concern to you about the release of non-public information about an ongoing ig investigation? >> when the inspector general first talked to me and asked us to give a priority to his investigation and not to do any further investigation or witness interviews ourselves, he explained to me that they were concerned that they did not want to muddy the waters. they wanted to have their ability to talk to witnesses and then go back and talk to them
again without anyone having conversations in between time. so they were very concerned that witnesses that they were interviewing in the investigation be allowed to proceed with the inspector general only. >> do you know when that was that you had that conversation with the inspector general? >> the conversation was shortly after they were asked by the finance committee and congress to make the investigation. i can't remember which date. it was in mid-june. >> the ig has expressed similar concerns to our committee. for example, on july 2nd, 2014, committee staff held a conference call with the inspector general in which the ig described the investigation of lois lerner's hard drive as, quote, very active, open, and ongoing, end of quote. and asked our committee to refrain from publicly disclosing the non-public information regarding this ongoing
investigation. is the ig's investigation into this manner still active and ongoing to your knowledge? >> to my knowledge, it's still active and ongoing. >> would the ranking member yield for just a question? were majority staff members present at that briefing where the inspector general conveyed that information? >> yes. >> our staff says that they weren't, and if i -- you'll get your time plus extra if you would like. inspector general called our counsel yesterday. he happened to be in my office with mr. meadows and said that they had talked to you but did not express any of the comments you made in your opening statement or frankly any of the comments you're making in your line of questioning now. the gentleman is recognized. >> why don't we have a meeting next week since we are having all of these irs hearings. >> i'm open to that. >> because we can go back and forth on this. i want to be very clear as to what was said.
so, you know, when you're talking about he say/she say, it's better that we have them here, and we'll do that if you so choose, but i would be happy to. the ig has expressed similar concerns again to the committee. it's your understanding that the ig investigation is still ongoing? >> it is. as far as i know. >> so in spite of the inspector general's request on july 21st, chairman issa issued a press release based on the interview of irs deputy associate general counsel thomas kane, quote, new developments have regarded uncertainty regarding the existence of backup tapes. commissioner koskinen, is it your practice to release nonpublic information about an ongoing ig investigation? >> no. >> why not? >> because we made a commitment
to the ig that we would give -- honor his priority, that we would not do anything that would interfere with his investigation. he could talk to anybody he wanted, they could look at any evidence they wanted, and we would not have an ongoing discussion with any of the witnesses he was talking to because we did not want to interfere. >> of course the press release and statements from mr. kane and other witnesses undermined the partisan narrative. mr. kane told the committee that he was aware of a, quote, potential issue, end of quote, regarding the backup tapes. but he did not know any additional details. when asked whether he had seen, quote, any evidence that any irs employee intentionally destroyed documents or e-mails to avoid their disclosure, end of quote, commissioner kane said, and i quote, i have not seen anything to that effect, end of quote. have you seen any evidence of obstruction by irs employees?
>> i have not. >> yesterday, the committee staff interviewed irs national director for legislative affairs leonard alsor. he told the committee staff that based on the information available at the time, your june 13th, 2014, letter to the senate finance committee stating that backup tapes from 2011 had been recycled was accurate. is that right? >> i don't know what he said, but i understand from the press release about mr. kane that he said the information we had and provided on june 13th was accurate and that's what everybody knew at the time. >> now, we were also told that earlier this month, he was made aware of an issue with a backup tape, but that he did not know if the backup tape from 2011 was from 2011 or whether it was
mislabeled. he said that even if the unrecycled backup tapes exist from 2011, the irs does not know whether they contain e-mails from ms. lerner, not previously produced to the committee. sitting here today, do you know any additional details regarding the backup tape issue that the ig is currently looking at? >> no, all i know is actually what mr. kane said, that at this point, nobody had any information as to what was on those tapes or whether they were relevant. >> and until the ig determines the facts regarding this backup tape issue, are you in a position to correct your earlier statement? >> no, my point has been that we're going to honor the ig's investigation. i look forward, as everybody does, to his completion, and we'll see what his facts are and what he determines happened three years ago, and we'll
respond accordingly. >> and you were asked earlier about computer crashes, and you said that you were not aware of the folks who may have some relevance to this investigation with regard -- concerning their crashes. would you normally have that kind of information? >> normally, if things had proceeded as they might do, when i asked in may for the answers to this question, that is how many custodians had hard drive crashes in light of the fact the industry says they crash regularly, i had asked for a review of how many crashed and what the implications were. we had not completed that review when we provided our june report. and basically, we had that morning, the following monday, our i.t. people had been advised, i had not been advised, that we knew there were six or seven custodians with hard drive crashes.