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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 13, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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hopefully with other agencies, too. i'm talking about federal agencies. how do you feel those partnerships are working? and is there anything we can do to make those partnerships work better? >> we -- i believe that we've recognized that's part of how we're going to be successful in the environments that we work. having partnerships, leveraging each other's authority, exchanging information so that people are recognizing where threats are. that's always going to be part
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of the future. we've adopted that as a way forward. we interact quite a bit with leadership and law enforcement, and the stone garden program that congress gave us several years back after the department was created is a very useful tool for us and is very well thought of by state and local. >> could you give me your assessment of border security in the indian reservation, for example. i don't want to single those out. with the reservation compared to others, areas on the northern border, would you say it's equivalent, better, worse? >> i'm not aware of any deficiencies we have specifically. >> how about with the park? glacier national park? >> same. we have an ongoing working relationship to be present and understand their concerns as well as being present on the border and patrolling. >> so the need for additional tools and i don't want to put words in your mouth. need for additional tools, you've got it with operation stone garden, with the park service relationships, memorandums, whatever? >> correct, we do. >> well, i just wanted to say, thank you for your work. all of you. most of the questions were to
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ron because i like him, you know. but the truth is, i appreciate all your work and you've got people behind you that work very, very hard. and i appreciate them, too. the key is, we have limited money here, at least i think that's across the board. i'm not sure it's across the board. we have to make sure it's spent correctly and appropriately. and i know we might want a knee jerk reaction to things when they happen. but the truth is, if we listen to you folks, i think we make better decisions. thank you for your service. >> senator carper? >> thanks. thanks, mr. chairman. sometimes -- let me just ask, how many of you have testified on this subject before before either a house or senate committee subcommittee? raise your hand.
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okay. mr. garcia, where you been? doing your day job? >> testifying on other things. >> okay. good enough. if you've been before this committee, probably want to ask you what works. what i'm going to do is flip that question and ask each of you to give us an idea or two about some things that don't work. and we really shouldn't do that. what are some things you think that don't work? especially if we had all the money in the world, getting in debt, a lot more. what are some things we ought not do? you don't think they work? they're not worth the money? mr. hollis? >> good question, sir. >> i'm full of them.
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that's my best one today, so. >> i'm struggling with that one. in terms of -- because most of the stuff is, i think, that does not work is stuff that we actually stop doing. so one of the things we went through in our own office was to analyze across all of our offices which ones were most effective, most efficient and reorganize our structure based on that. so what we actually look at that pretty regularly year-over-year to see what's not working and then to either adjust our organization and our assets to rid ourselves of those things. we're in the process of downsizing aircraft. we're getting rid of about 40, 50 aircraft. reorganizing our offices along the north and the south. so we have our agents in the right places and getting -- >> hold it right there. i want you to take a couple of minutes and think about that question. think about some things that don't work that we shouldn't be doing. go ahead. mr. murkowski? >> yes, sir, thank you for that question. i think there are a lot of lessons we learn about things we shouldn't do. for example, we shouldn't treat technology or any other capital asset as an end. it's a means to an end. and we often get attracted by the bright shiny thing. and we don't think about why or
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how it will help us do our jobs. sometimes it's difficult because we don't always have metrics. we don't have history. we're doing things that are new to us. we have to understand how to do things that are new to us and collect data and iterate on that. technology's a means to an end, it's not an end in to itself. we can't impose technologies on people who use it. we have to involve them. and they have to invite us to bring technologies. that's a classic mistake. we can't aspire to immature technologies before they're ready for us really to start to use them. and we do that very often. so those are all sort of acquisition lessons learned that
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i would say that we've done in the past that we need to remember not to do in the future. >> those are good ones. those are good ones. >> thank you. >> hold on just one sec. >> my phone just went off. my phone went off and it says rahm emanuel who used to be the president's chief of staff, but he's now the mayor of chicago. i don't think it's him calling. but whoever has his old job over there is probably calling. we'll figure out who that is. >> i agree with my colleagues. assistant commissioner this is a challenging question. and i think we have learned. >> excuse me. i've got a phone call for the chief of staff's boss. i'm going to ask you -- excuse me for a second, i'll come back and try to reclaim my time. i apologize, i'm still going to ask that question.
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excuse me. >> understood. >> shouldn't take long. >> let's talk about fencing. you know, when we were preparing for this meet, we got a chart up here showing the different types of fencing. but one of the charts i wanted to produce was -- i wanted to lay out the border, and i wanted to, you know, specify. here are the different type of fencing along the lines, and i found out i can't show that because it's law enforcement sensitive. i'll first ask the chief, why would the fencing and the quality of the fence and type of fencing along the border be law enforcement sensitive. i mean, that's a secret that isn't exactly a secret. >> i really don't understand that, as well. i think that the documents that we sent over that we were trading back and forth that we were trying to approve late in preparing for today's testimony were marked. i'm not sure the origination of those markings. i agree with you, if you live in a community that has the benefit of fencing as a --
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>> kind of know where it is. >> that people nowhere it is. >> if you're a drug smuggler, you know where that is. got that mapped out. >> as you start to aggregate data like that or images, you start to show a picture across the southwest border and it's easier to pick out some of the vulnerabilities. that may be the origination of the markings. but we will certainly provide what we can. >> which is, of course, why i wanted. i wanted to see where we have our strength and is weaknesses. talk to me. maybe trying to think who would be best here. how effective can fencing be? and what has been the real problem in constructing it? we have environmental laws, eminent domain, lawsuits. we've passed laws that exempt ourselves from those. but what's been the real reality? because, you know, we have built close to 700 miles of fencing.
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but you can tell by the different types of fencing, there's some that works pretty good. and some that, you know, obviously might stop a truck. but certainly going to stop a human being. so just -- who is the best just to kind of talk about the history of, you know, multiple laws we passed to build fencing. and then we relax them, set them up for discretion. they're not crystal clear, we don't, i mean, do we really need, do we have to build 700? there's no time horizon on it. what's happened? we'll start with mr. garcia and then -- >> mr. chairman, if i understand, the first question you had was about possible impediments, legal impediments to legal fence construction. >> when congress expressed barrier deployment in 1996, although there was barrier deployment before that, it provided a waiver, dhs or i guess at that time, the immigration naturalization
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service could waive two laws. nepa which concerns environmental assessment and the endangered species act. those two waivers, that waiver authority in many observers' mind was insufficient. the i.n.s. was required to deploy essentially complete a triple layered fencing project in san diego. and over the course of nine years, that project wasn't completed because of impediments caused by other environmental laws. congress responded to that pursuant to the real i.d. act by providing dhs with broad waiver authority to waive all legal requirements that may impede the expeditious construction of barriers and roads. not a specified place like san diego but anywhere along the u.s. border. >> did it work? >> that -- that waiver authority was exercised in five instances in, i believe, five in between
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2005 and 2008 in that certainly assisted border patrol in expeditiously constructing hundreds of miles of fence along the southwest border. there were legal challenges brought to a halt. certain border projects. but courts would dismiss those challenges. i will note it is not absolute. besides the constitutional limitations, you cannot waive the tuesday. another thing is that it refers specifically to the construction of barriers and roads. there is certainly some question as to whether it would apply to tactical infrastructure that is not a barrier or a road. like sensors or cameras. dhs when it has exercised waiver authority to border projects, it has often mentioned things like radio towers and cameras in addition to the fence. but whether waiver authority could be used exclusively for a
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project to install towers or sensors along a particular stretch of the border, dhs has never done that, and that would raise a question, is that a barrier? >> okay. chief, why don't you finish out and i'll turn it back over to the ranking member? >> so i think we've used fencing. and it's been part of border deployments for my entire career. in the images that you're showing here in the top left, that was designed, procured and developed by mostly by border patrol agents. a lot of the national guard deployments we've used over the years along the southwest border to build that fencing. effective for a short-term, you know, surge operations when you're adding other things that technology, et cetera. it did us very well. the fencing that was brought to
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us by the changes in the act and the mandate to do 700 miles or more of the other images that you show there, and then the vehicle barrier also represented there is strategically placed in locations where it's very difficult to get to the border afoot. and so necessary to have a -- it's not necessary to have a pedestrian fence in places where it's -- the infrastructure doesn't support people walking toward the border. and so all of them have contributed to higher levels of security. i think on the other side of the equation, it's a lot more expensive than we expected when we started. and it was much more difficult. i was in texas as the chief of
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the rio grande valley in 2007-2010. and so when i arrived on duty there, we helped validate and set a requirement for fencing. as i recall, about 75 miles. most of that fencing was built. and it has made a difference. but it wasn't without lots of -- excuse me? most of it is in place, yes. most of it is in place. oh, it absolutely has made a difference. yes, it has. but it wasn't without lots of challenges. difficult with hydraulogy. and we're still in court about condemnation, et cetera. that's part of the history. that's part of the lessons learned as we went through that whole project. >> thank you, senator carper. >> thanks so much. i had to leave the room for a moment. right in the middle of asking a question. i was asking a good question. rather than talking about what's
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working, i asked to talk about what's not working so we can do less of that. and he's still thinking about it. i had to slip out of the room. so you want to pick up where we left off? >> so, as i was saying, i was agreeing with both of my colleagues. some of the lessons we've learned with trying to fit technology in without the proper kind of awareness with all of the capabilities or lack of capabilities. one of the lessons we've learned is as we move into this. >> give us some examples of that. >> we have this process, capability gap analysis. border patrol agent, well known in this environment. it allows us to go to the field and do surveys and walk the
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ground and understand what threats are faced at a station level. right, so the agents on the ground who are challenged day-to-day. and patrolling the border. where are the biggest problems and what kinds of technologies that they have or think are available will help them solve those problems. we can do that station by station. rolled up in a sector, and rolled up in headquarters. we're in the process of baselining the data. we've got about 3/4 of the workforce and the station level data coming to us. and we'll use that to help inform the plans that we've already made with otia. we are in the inventory, the
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things that work now being installed in places like arizona will give us a hint of where to go next. what might be coming available that we can help do research on the dhs side. >> what country does your family come from? >> vietnam? >> i knew it. what area? >> the south.
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>> have you seen some instances where folks have overcome that challenge? is there anything to learn from that? >> yes, sir. what i'm trying to say is it's a challenge in a sense that that in the way the budget is structured. uh just talked in my opening remarks. these are undergoing operational assessment right now. our two organizations sat down, and tried to put in the budget on my side ready for acquisition in that time frame and delivered in that time. and the cost is the acquisition and maintenance of that. i frankly doubt that the budget that he put in will get get approved. it's the way the structure, the budget is structured. being an operational department, cbp have many urgent needs. and if otaa come up and ask for budget for a possible technology that may or may not be successful three years from now, it doesn't come as a very strong argument against other very
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urgent needs. so the problem of what we call wedging the budget, if we don't do that, then, of course, there's no smooth transition. to deliver a technology in fy '18, if by that time we pass all the assessment, and let's say obp asks, mark, yeah, we want a technology, we want our technology. and if mark doesn't have it in his plan at that time, then he would have to scrounge for money. because we cannot wedge the budget. >> okay. >> that's the problem that does impact most of us who are trying to bring very innovative technology into acquisition. >> all right, thank you. where do you work? you don't work at gao, do you? >> i am -- >> you probably never thought of the idea of what doesn't work, have you? >> i think two points, senator, coming from gao's work on border security. >> okay.
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>> and acquisitions more broadly. one is, determining what the user needs are up front before moving forward with deploying technology. and it's important and we've reported on this as it relates to the surveillance technologies in arizona. for cbp to better document the underlying analysis and justification for what it's deploying, you know, where it's deploying it, and in what quantities. so we think that's important, and then the second piece of that is to conduct robust testing of what's being deployed to ensure that you're identifying any risks as early on in the process as possible so that cbp's best positioned to be able to address those risks before moving toward full procurement and full deployment.
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so i think those are two key themes emerging from our work. >> okay. good. thanks. any ideas? i bet you do. >> i should begin by saying i'm an attorney, not a policy analyst, so i simply defer to my co-panelists on that issue. i'd also be happy to put you in touch if necessary of any of the border security experts. i could make an observation, though, and this is more in terms of the legislative role. and that's simply that a central issue for congress has been what is the appropriate level of discretion? and what is the appropriate level of guidance that should be proffered to dhs through the legislation. and issues of border security. and sometimes congress has been specific, sometimes very general. sometimes it's re-evaluated where it's provided a general authority and later imposed a specific requirement. or other times, it has had specific requirements that it has later deemed to be too onerous and provided a more
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general framework for dhs. so the two observations would be, number one, the appropriate level of discretion in guidance may be different in congress' view depending on the particular issue related to border security. and number two, it is not necessarily guaranteed that just because congress believes that a particular moment a certain level of discretion should be given or specific amount of guidance should be given that they cannot change it at a later date. >> okay. that was good. it was very helpful. i'll close with this thought. i usually get a better result in the end if i'm trying to figure out how to do something by asking a lot of other people. what do you think? what do you think?
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and at the end of the day, we probably end up coming up with a better idea. and we also, even if we don't use their idea, i think people feel good about having been asked. did i ever give you a chance to briefly comment? i know you tried to at the beginning and you swung and missed. >> second chance, sir. >> real beliefly, please. >> one thing i think we struggled with in the past, when we procure new assets, make sure they're provisioned properly. that's been an issue for us in the past and it's one thing we don't want to continue in the future. we want to make sure that affects our readiness. that's key. >> makes a lot of sense. thank you. >> senator langford. >> thank you. let me ask a couple of general question and i'm going to drive down some specifics, as well. let me ask you. do you need more people? do you need more technology? i understand it's a little bit of both. but if you're going to weigh up between the two, what are you needing more than others? >> so you absolutely have to have the right mix depending on the terrain, depending on the activity, threats, et cetera. right now, i think our challenge is finishing what we started on the technology piece. i think that would do more for us. if you're just looking at the border environment, at the immediate border, the technology would be my priority would be
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our priority for the agency. >> the type of technology most of the agencies met with the -- it's just kind of grown up organically over the years. how many types of helicopters are we using? >> that would be my area, sir. goodness. >> would it help us, are there one or two of the platforms more effective than others that as we determined efficiency, effectiveness for what we're trying to accomplish with it. maintain the parts, maintenance of five different types of aircraft on that.
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has its own unique dynamic and cost on it. >> the direction would be to go to two aircraft, medium lift helicopter. >> what would it take to get there? >> procurements of new helicopters to replace the ones that are the odd types. >> is that something we need to help with or y'all are in process with right now? >> part of it we're in process with, some of them we can't entirely deal with the budgets we have. >> okay. you mean you can't retire the old ones or replace those that need to be replaced. >> can't replace all of them. some of it we can, some of it we can't. >> okay. >> so other technologies that are out that we have multiple platforms of. is there a need to be able to shrink down to one or two types that are more effective that have been tried and tested.
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now we need to zero into a couple. are there any efficiencies of scale we can gather from that? >> yes. actually, we sort of went the other way with the ground-based technology. because what we had was this very large, very expensive system which was overkill for a lot of areas. it made sense to have us have a multiple number of these technologies from small to large. the way that we're handling that is we're designing a strategy where we can centralize our workforce that does maintenance on those so we can take advantage of the economy of scale to workforce. that's a work in progress. it does continue, though, to be a concern. if we have multiple kind of radars, cameras, downstream, we may want to make the cameras the same on different systems. but that will be a plan going forward. >> okay. tell me a time period on that. make those decisions. again, the more people we have on maintenance, the fewer people
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we have -- >> we don't use border patrol to do the maintenance, first of all. >> dollars. >> that's correct. >> and by the way, i know this is counterintuitive, the cost has gone down because we're sustaining lower cost systems. that doesn't mean we can't drive efficiencies as we go forward and drive those costs further down. so far this has been a good trend. i think the way we deal with more combination is in technology refresh. >> what percentage we cannot address, then, get something to
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them in a matter to actually interdict. >> the fixed in mobile technology does really well on ground targets. people crossing the border afoot or vehicles, we have -- the assets brought by vader has been very good at that. i think our biggest challenge collectively with marine, trying to procure is this low, slow radar detection for small, what they call ultra light aircraft that's been a challenge for us. we've tried a couple of different systems, had some success, but not as far along as we'd like to be. the other big challenge based on terrain and conditions is tunnel detection. >> actually headed to my next question. where are we technology wise being able to pick that up? >> so we have a system that's we've borrowed from dod and we've done testing with and had some success with. but the terrain varies so much along the southwest border that it's been very difficult to find a box or a machine, if you will, that will give us the kind of fidelity that you would like to
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see the kinds of things we get with aircraft or fixed towers, mobile scopes, et cetera. >> okay. what kind of interchange with ideas do we have with dod and other folks to swap what we've learned, gained, how is that working? are there impediments to that we can help correct as far as communication? are you finding any walls of celebration? separation. >> we have a great and increasing relationship of dod at all levels. from secretary down to the colonel and lieutenant colonel running. i have an office that does that, and ms. duwong has an office that does that. we have all kinds of programs to bring that into our environment and check it out and test it, and in some cases use it to support operations. very extensive. >> one thing i would comment is we do have extensive collaboration. taken to buy the systems to them. so before excess military systems were passed over to us for use in homeland security, now we're having to purchase those. >> okay. are you getting walmart prices or saks 5th avenue prices? >> well, they do what they can, but there's been a big process of charges on the dod side. >> one other thing on the aircraft, the aerostat and how that's working. our blimp, am i using the right term on that? >> so first half to specify, two aerostat systems. the system i work with is tar system, high altitude 15,000
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feet detects aircraft very well. needs to be recapitalized, it's an older system. and let mark talk about the lower systems. >> all right, the lower altitude systems, the ones we've borrowed from dod, those we call tactical aerostats. five of them flying in texas. they are relatively expensive. we are leasing them from dod. but they've been extraordinarily effective there. now we're in the process of deciding at that cost how often should we use them? that's where that's -- >> this is the cost, actually, the item itself or sustaining it? >> it's the operations and maintenance and sustainment of it. we are leasing the crews that operate those. we have been able to get dod to transfer us four of the small ones as well as towers. we've gotten transfers of them. but right now, paying for the operations and support. >> and one more thing to wrap up, if i may. i want to come back to a percentage that i talked about before. percentage of people in just a guess that we can detect but
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we're not actually interdicting. >> so one of the suite of measures we collect is called effectiveness. and effectiveness is designed to get out how many people across the border last night and how many were apprehended. and so the data we collect, again, this is an estimate. but the data for last year shows that we're in the 75 to 78% range on effectiveness across the southwest border.
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>> those are individuals that we saw, that we were able to actually. pick up. >> through aircraft, an individual agent or for what we call sign, footprints in the desert, if you will. you wrap those all up, and we try to do a 24 by 7 estimate of that activity across the southwest border. and also, that effectiveness ratio counts for the people who came in, people apprehended as well as the people who ran back. >> okay. >> thank you. >> thanks, senator. that is, you know, in terms of testimony before the committee, there's discrepancy there. and maybe that's if you're looking at detections and measuring verse, you know, how many people you detected versus apprehended, it's 75%. but you're not detecting everybody, which is one of the reasons i asked the question about some level of understanding of what situational awareness is.
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is there any sense of what percent you're not detecting? >> we're also attempting at the departmental level, they're also attempting to look at the probability of apprehension, which would start to estimate the actual flow that would give you a scientific estimate, but still an estimate about the number of people who are crossing. we're in the technology and the deployment support realtime information. you can be very confident in specific zones where there's enough agents and technology to show you what's happening in realtime and record the responses in realtime and the effect.
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the effectiveness in those locations is very well documented. again, not scientific. sometimes you don't see the people cross in realtime. you can use that camera data, you can use the agent data and wrap those shift by shift, day by day and start to look at trends across. in the places where we don't have that kind of deployment, we're using this change detection technology. for instance, something that hangs off of the uac that can fly the border take a digital snapshot, if you will and interval later, maybe an hour, maybe a shift, maybe a day and look at that land, again, and you can start to recognize change based on the way the pixel look in the picture. and that can tell you and verify when you don't have threat or don't have crossings. and it'll give you a lead to find out if there's change in the specific areas to go and investigate what it is. and so that has been very useful
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for us in these locations where we believe based on the people who live there there's not a lot of traffic. and we've been able to validate some of those locations don't see cross border elicit traffic. >> again, i'll definitely acknowledge, this is very difficult to wrap your arms around in terms of what the data is, what the information is, what the truth is. but, you know, we started this series of hearings on border security, certainly dhs pointed to a number of apprehensions down, which is a quasi metric for, you know, how effective were securing our border. but at the same time, we started our first panel. people on the border themselves. and to a person. they're very emphatic making the point that the border is not secure. and another pretty interesting metric, i think depressing metric. and we had general mccaffrey here in his testimony before us only interdicting 5% to 10% of illegal drugs. so, it mean, there's a pretty big discrepancy. 75% apprehension rate of people coming into this country illegally. only 5% to 10% interdiction rate of drugs.
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so, you know, as i grapple with that, you know, plus, you know, border patrol agents, talking somewhere between, you know, the people on the ground, 30% to 40%. so, again, i realize this is difficult to grapple with. but i really take a look at that interdiction rate of drugs as preindicative how really not secure our border is. i mean, can you just comment on that in terms of how that relates? >> well, i think as we get better with these deployments as we start to fill out the arizona technology plan, as we start to move into the other locations the next for us is south texas. we'll get better in all categories. we'll get more effective on the intermediate encounters and the drug interdictions. looking at the worldwide estimate of production and our seizure data, yeah, there's a wide discrepancy. but there is -- if it's out there and our agents get wind of it. if they can follow it and track it down and make an interdiction, they're going to do that, same for the state and locals, there's a lot of help out there. >> but do you dispute that estimate in the 5% to 10% range? do you think it's higher? >> i can't dispute it. i'm not familiar with how they do worldwide prediction. the aggregate.
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commissioner alice, i really do owe you the ability to just respond to the office of the inspector general's report on the drone program. i know when we were down there at mcallen you were pretty emphatic you did not agree with that. i just want to give you the opportunity to give you some perspective on that inspector general report. >> part of our discussion this afternoon has been on the whole issue of situational awareness or what we will call domain awareness. and i think that was one of the key things missing from the inspector general's report. the predator uas system helps with domain awareness, has sensors on it i never had before, we've never had in cvp before, that work over land and over water to detect movements of craft and also personnel. and they seem to have missed that for some reason. we had 18,000 detections in the tucson sector alone the year they did that report, 2013. so that's a pretty substantial detection rate for the technology. i think the other part of it is they did not consider the actual
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value of the system in terms of seizing contraband. i just mentioned we just finished a deployment in el salvador that netted us $370 million in contraband. that's pretty impressive considering for this half of a year that we just completed with the predator system it's got $370 million of seizures. for the year they did the report we had a 444% return on investment. versus their flight calculation the cost per hour versus what we returned in contraband. so i think it's been a very successful system for us overall and i look forward to better performance out of it in the future. >> and i think one of the biggest problems cited in the inspector general's report really was just hours of operation and just the inability to get it up as often as possible to drive that cost per operational hour down. can you speak to that at all? >> i do think this is an area we need to still work in. it's not achieving the number of hours i wanted to achieve per year. part of that has to do with the weather. but that's not all of it. there's other factors in there too. we need to build out in the
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system in terms of personnel, maintenance, satellites, those kinds of things we're working on. we want to hit 6,000 hours every year. i want to get it up more toward 9,000. i'm not looking for the numbers they put out, 23,000 hours frankly as i mentioned to you guys down at corpus, the systems will wear out in a few years flying at those kinds of rates and not be available. >> chief tell, because this is detection, you're in charge of apprehension. so you speak a little bit to the uav program and how useful that's going to be and what are the drawbacks, what are the advantages? >> so i take the general's description about vader. this is something we had never tried before. and there were people projecting on to it something we weren't even sure it was capable of doing. it turned out to be a very useful system and we now are on our way to procure more of them. so we think it's going to be part of the future. it's obviously something that makes the uas much more capable.
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already a robust system with eor, et cetera, but having the vader and being able to see moving targets in real time is going to help us and has. we've learned a lot with it in tucson. we're starting to experiment, if you will, and use operational tests in south texas and we look forward to its success there as well. >> thank you. and again, we saw a pretty amazing demonstration of that too when we were down there. senator carper. >> that was good to hear. very encouraging. maybe we can talk about effective budget cuts. if you would respond to this, it's my understanding. somewhere around $39 billion, maybe a shade over that. this amount is $350 million a year below the appropriation, almost $2 million below what the president requested for 2016. and let me ask each of you if you can take a moment these potential budget cuts you work with to secure our borders. >> it's obviously potential. don't know exactly where they'll fall out. but first area of concern in the flight hours area, we would like to maintain ourselves flying the
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95,000 to 100,000 area, which is what we're projecting here in the coming years. if we're cut back, obviously, then that is going to suboptimize our force. we're really situated aircraftwise and peoplewise to operate at those levels. if we don't we're not being as efficient or effective as we can be. i have limited procurements. the only current procurement we're buying is an enforcement aircraft at two per year. >> what kind of aircraft? >> multirole enforcement aircraft. built up here at gaithersburg -- i'm sorry. not in gaithersburg. hagerstown. >> king air?
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>> it's a king air. it's a beach king air. that's our only procurement. if that would for some reason stop because of money more than likely that line would close. >> okay. >> obviously i'll leave it to the chief to talk about the operational impact but in the acquisition system there's also a huge impact. first of all, we can't buy as much. oftentimes that means we cut back on contracts. for example, what that can mean is i have an arrangement with a industry. the arrangement is an up to but not necessarily all the way up to and you can imagine what industry does. they project based on that and take some chances on the early part of it. if i cut some of that down stream effort out they don't get the return on the investment. now i have a tough relationship with them. the other thing is all the competitions become winner takes all. they get down and dirty and nasty. they increase protests. it delays the process. that also has a huge effect. it also affects their ability
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and interest in investing in what they call independent research and development which is investment we all need to provide for the future. and going to ms. duong's point, it makes it difficult to do this long-term wedge planning for the next system that allows us to have a smooth transition including with industry from the snt arena into the acquisition arena. >> okay. chief? >> senator, it remains to be seen where those cuts are. we're obviously very concerned. this gives us a chance -- gives me a chance anyway to amend my answer about what not to do. one of the challenges we have in -- >> we don't get a lot of second chances in life, do we, guys? >> appreciate that. one of the challenges is at cvp as a component we have over 70% of the budget is applied to salaries. that's people in the field. almost everybody that is employed in cvp. that's 65-plus thousand. big mission support group here and smaller numbers in each of the field locations.
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but within the border patrol specifically, enormous amount of money provided by you all and the taxpayer. but 93% of it goes to salary. so it becomes very difficult to decide what things you need to make that workforce capable that you cannot do without specific levels of cuts. that's our challenge. 93% labor. 7% to do everything else we have to do. all the cars and all the radios and all the phones and all of the equipment that agents need to be capable. that becomes a very difficult challenge for us. >> okay. thanks. different subject. life cycle costs. and this would be you, miss gambler, miss duong and if we have time for some of these guys as well. but i think congress -- not just congress, others as well, but we're often better about buying new technologies than we are at paying to get the full value of those investments. it doesn't make a lot of sense.
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for example, we talked a little about this already. advanced use of surveillance technologies if we're not prepared to pay for their ongoing maintenance cost to keep them running well and at full capacity, people trained to do that stuff. could each of you comment, starting with you, miss gambler, on whether this is a challenge for the department in terms of border security investments and what advice do you have for us, for congress, on how to improve matters? >> with regard to the arizona technology plan, we -- when we did our report last year on that plan, we did assess the cost estimates that cbp had in place for the plan and some of the highest cost programs under the plan and found that cbp could take some additional actions to ensure those life cycle cost estimates better meet best practices. a key area we reported on was the need for cbp to verify and validate its cost estimates against independent estimates to make sure that those estimates would be fully reliable and credible. and we made recommendations to cbp in that area to ensure that their life cycle cost estimates
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more fully meet best practices, and we understand that -- and mr. borkowski may be able to speak to this more, that they are in the process of updating the life cycle cost estimates for some of the technology programs under the plan going forward. >> okay. thank you. miss duong? >> from the standpoint of technology that we in snt are developing we make sure we do a good job at estimating a life cycle cost before we submit that information to mr. borkowski, for example, for potential acquisition. it's a process we keep improving. as you know, before we start a project we already consult with operating component in estimating the return on investment. and when return on investment, it's their r&d investment, not my r&d investment. if we pursue this particular technology let's say we could find ten more tunnels per year. what does that mean in terms -- and we estimate throughout it
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would cost x dollars to buy a new tunnel detection system that we're developing does that mean five years, ten years? so at first it's just an estimate. and as we move further into the development of the solution, then we try to come up with a better and better estimate, and in the end when we get to operational assessment that's when we try to come up with a much better return on investment and estimate to help cbp make the decision. so it's not just about oh, look, what great this capability could
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do, what great things this capability could do for you, but if you were to buy one or three or five systems, and we estimate it would help you find five or ten more tunnels, just be conservative, per year then what does that mean in terms of cost saving? we try to do that from an snt standpoint to help them make the right decision. the other part is about acquisition programs. as you know, snt, it's not in our responsible to do acquisition. that's otia's responsibility. however, the department does employ us as an adviser and we try to make investments to help acquisition programs better understand the implication of the maintenance cost. the tale of anything. just like you pointed out, senator, a lot of time the acquisition cost is actually the lowest cost. but it's the easiest one that everybody look at. so snt always say that we want to be able to spend millions in order to save billions or hundreds of millions. so it's always a goal that we strive to achieve. and the department has become more and more -- has become more and more -- in recognition of our role, and i'm glad to say
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that snt has become a trusted adviser for the department along that line. >> well, my time's expired. we're going to have one more round so i can let these guys answer that question or not? >> no. i've got a couple more questions also. >> good, good. great. chief tell, i've got a few more questions. i want to go over the inspector general's report that came out today about the lack of the department collecting data on prosecutorial discretion. in the report it says as of september 30th, 2014 cbp's
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office of border patrol reported it had released 650 dock-eligible individuals. so you are keeping track of that? make are documented in a system. the enforcement system. so if it's appropriate fingerprints biographical data photos et cetera. >> but if you're apprehending somebody illegally crossing the border, how could they qualify under daca? >> they would not. they would not. >> you release 650 under that? >> i don't know that that's a cbp number, i've not seen the report. we've had very few encounters with daca-eligible individuals in our context. >> well, yeah. according to this report you've released 650, i.c.e. released 12,750. your percentage is low. i'm scheduling how could anybody qualify under daca coming into this country illegally? >> we to have environments we operate in such as checkpoints
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or people that are at the border that haven't crossed the boreder and they're encountered by our agents and they have eligibility under the standard. so not everybody we come in contact with obviously has crossed the border. >> i believe the department has basically agreed with the recommendations of the office of the inspector general to collect more data. have you already been contacted in terms of the kind of data they're looking for as relates to a prosecutorial discretion? >> specifically to that i have not seen that. we are always looking for ways to identify where this are gaps in the system. so the issue with the unaccompanied children last year, we struggled mightily with understanding how our data connected with the data that i.c.e. keeps as it relates to the detention. and further on to removal proceedings within the justice department. that's been a struggle for us fare a couple of years. >> so do you deal much with just the pry overization of who we're going to fry to remove? aliens pose a danger to national security, those who violate
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immigration control, aliens, fugetives, otherwise. is that something you deal with? or basically you apprehend them and someone else deals with those criteria? >> there's a training regimen for everybody to understand what the priorities are as it relates to the memorandum. most of the work we do over 190,000 some arrests or apprehensions made so far this year these are all recent border entrants. they falwell within the priorities for action. >> so those priorities really don't affect you as much as they obviously affect i.c.e. or hhs? >> correct. >> okay. you did mention border patrol agents. the numbers. i just want to get your assessment. i know the texas department of public safety engaged in "operation strong safety." they surged a lot of manpower to the border. i want to get your evaluation how effective that was. because we've talked about technology. different technicians or detection systems. fencing. that type of thing.
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in the end, we need manpower. and so just give me your assessment of how operation strong safety worked. i believe it's in mccall han, texas. or all of texas border? where is that all centered? >> it's mostly south texas. i'm not -- i've actually seen directly the deployments in the rio grande valley. and obviously as an operator i'm going to tell you more boots on the ground is always better. is it the most efficient way, those kind of thins? that really would be for the state to tell you how effective their deployments have been. but i know that we've worked very closely with them. so most of our deployments especially in south texas, are near the river. and having the department of public safety -- they have some capabilities in rural enforcement and on the river et cetera. but most of that deployment is related to hardtop on the highways. they've been an asset for us with regard to helping chase smugglers, et cetera. >> "operation strong safety," is that continuing? >> as far as i know it is. >> have you measured at all?
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do you have kind of a before and after now? >> i can look at all the data we've developed. i'm not sure -- obviously locally we're aware of their contributions directly. but again it's a situation where there are more boots on the ground et cetera, in that particular location. and in their deployments. they help us in the areas where we know traffic is going to eventually try to make it. if it's made it past us. >> we were down there particularly the sunday, the extra day i stayed down there, you see their presence. i would never try speeding around the rio grande valley. i would really be interested in any kind of analysis your agency, your department, can do in terms of what was the apprehension rate? what was the detection rate prior to the "operation strong safety," what is it now? it's a really good test case of additional manpower, we can kind of measure how much we've increased manpower because of that. >> yes, so we have seen --
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obviously, the prior testimony that you mentioned we've seen lower levels of activity across the southwest border. that does include where the strong safety is deployed. what's their contribution, what's the contribution of the other assets that we've been able to procure and send to the agents for their use and capability there? that's the part that we struggle with. that's what you hear about data that's what you want us to do better at. >> so again, please look at that. i mean it's -- and because for example when we talk to the people where those things were deployed, it didn't shut down illegal crossings. but they just went someplace else. so -- go ahead. >> well, that's often the case. i think what i've heard from the agents on the ground that are the benefit of that capability they went from not having high-altitude, persist tant surveillance, situational awareness if you will, to having a very capable system. we're advantaged in the sense that we don't have to use agents
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to monitor those sensors and run those systems. that's a contract. the other side of that coin is it's very expensive to do. >> the other side too is when the wind's blowing, they're down. let's face it, i would cross when the wind's blowing. >> correct. that's why we're very in favor of the ift deployments, the refresh, the additional rvss, the cameras and sensors on the fixed -- the mobile technology. we know those capabilities work. we've got a long history with some of it. we know that's part of the future. and you won't be subject to the vagaries of the weather. >> thank you. i was actually trying to be shorter. i've got so many questions. senator carper. >> so many questions, so little time. i'd like to ask you and mr. burkowski will go back to my last question about life cycle no more than a minute apiece. could you just challenge on whether this is a challenge for the department in terms of
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border security investments and what advice, if any you have for us on how to improve on this? >> yeah, i think we have -- this is the data question. this is refining the assets that are available and recognizing what life cycle costs. as an operator what we try to do is say, this is the requirement. this is the problem we're trying to solve. we leave it to the acquisition professionals to understand what's out there, how much does it cost. i think we've gotten really good at learning from the acquisition folks how to establish requirements and then recognizing that life cycle what we call o and m, operations and maintenance, is operation for us to understand before we make the final decisions on deployments. >> okay, thanks. >> senator we've got pretty good processes that have grown in the department that put some discipline to check the afford affordability which includes whether or not we can pay for o and m. but there is a continuing problem. and i'll just be frank that when i challenge people they blame it on congress. so let me tell you what that is. >> no. >> they do. i'm not sure that's true but i'll tell you what they say. what happens is we buy more technology, right? you would expect that the
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operation and maintenance costs would go up. what our budget plans is suppose i have $100, and i start with $80 to buy it $20 to operate it. over time as i spend that $80, after i've built all of my technology, maybe i'm down to zero and i've moved all of that money from buying to operating and maintaining. what happens is the budget people don't look at that as a total of 100, they look at it as money to buy and money to operate. okay? they see the money to buy going down, they say, that's great we love you you saved money. that's not really true but that's what they say. but we hate you for operation and maintenance, that's gone up, you need to make it flat. that's the real problem that we tend to have with operation and maintenance is getting people to understand that if you buy more stuff, you need to operate and maintain it, and we have to look at the totality of the budget not the individual pieces. >> okay. thank you. >> sir, senator langford asked kind of a key question about numbers of different types of airplanes. so as we compute life cycles
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across each of your platforms. as you think about kind of the big picture, five different kinds of airplanes, that means five different kinds of pilot training programs five different maintenance and supply chains, five different maintenance training programs those kind of things. so one efficiency we need to keep working on on life cycles, is these numbers of different platforms. >> good. excellent. a question if i could for chief vatelle. my understanding cbp is doing an extensive gap analysis. for border security that involves identifying what else is needed to better secure our southwestern border with mexico. could you take a moment and give us a preview of what might be in that gap analysis? and when do you think it might be done? how could it be used? >> describing the process what we've tried to do is capability gap analysis, is go into the field, ask them what their challenges are, where they have specific things they would like to solve with technology, with
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additional kinds of deployments or other innovative ways to solve problems at the immediate border and in specific zones specific stations specific sectors. so what we've done is we've gone to the workforce i explain to them what the process is. then gone out and taken surveys and gotten from the agents who walk the ground who patrol the border, who are there, and gotten their ideas about what is required. we try to do is take that data, that information at the station level, roll it up to the sector, the 20 sectors out there, and that will be fed up to us at headquarters. right now we're in a situation where the training is out for the bulk of the workforce, 95% 98% of it. then we've got about 70% of their ideas and their innovations about how to go forward with specifically on the technology side. we've got about 70% of the data in. once we get all the data we'll have a baseline. we'll start to have conversations with otia and snt
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to find out, is technology available, is technology the best available resource for solving the problem as stated? then we'll be able to it rate that process as we learn about new things that are coming on board, what the future looks like, using the success we know we have with other things try to fit a program together that says, this is how many of these things that you need. then you could go down specifically into the locations and say, you know for instance the agents at quizo springs need the brush cleared or they need additional rvss. that's the kind of capability we look to have once the c-gap, the first iteration, is in as we move forward. >> and last -- thank you for that. has it thing i wanted to just touch on briefly when we think of force multipliers we think of a lot of stuff we talked about here today. and it's important. sometimes i think in terms of our being able to better ensure that our borders are not so
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porous is to use a needle in the haystack analogy. and say the needles are folks that are trying to get into our country. could be human traffickers could be drug traffickers, could be people trying to flee hellacious situations at home. but i say there's a couple of different ways to better find those needles in the haystack. and one of those ways is to make the haystack smaller. another way is to have better equipment to detect the needles. and maybe another way would make the needle bigger. i think to some extent if we do emigration form, do it smart, we can actually make some progress on this front. if we do a better job with intelligence. i think one of the reasons we do
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pretty well up on the northern border is this great relationship we have with the canadians and a lot of sharing of intelligence and really diagnose a lot of the joint operations. the other thing i keep coming back to, the chairman and i talked about this a fair amount we talked with general kelly about it. and that is to figure out how to convince a lot of people who live in honduras guatemala salvador, that they want to live there. somehow figure out how we can make them less likely to want to flee their country to come up here. do you all have any thoughts on any of this before we close? i'd welcome that. mr. garcia, very briefly any thoughts, please? just very briefly. you may not have. that's fine. okay. that's okay. >> i would just add on the unaccompanied alien children issue which i think we've touched on a little bit today, gao has a body of work looking at unaccompanied alien children issues and have a couple of reports that will be issued this
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summer, including looking at u.s. programs in central american countries to address some of those issues as well as a report looking at screening care and custody for the children, when they come to the u.s. and so we'll have some work on that this summer that will help inform some of those points. >> great. we'll welcome that, thanks. >> senator i know the focus of this hearing is not about cargo. >> let me ask you to be very brief. >> or poa. i would point out when we talk about needle in the haystack that problem is exacerbated at the point of entry. because we know that trade and travel is increasing by 5% at least per year. so the strategy of reducing the size of the haystack is indeed one of the main strategies that snt is pursuing technology for. >> slept thanks. chief? >> i would echo your comments as it relates to our partners in canada. i think that relationship is a very good one.
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the local law enforcement and the federal law enforcement as well as our partners in canada that makes a big difference. we're increasingly having those kinds of conversations in mexico. and as we get more smart about how the unity of effort and the joint task force is rolled out it will give us another opportunity to use the whole of government approach at the southwest border and as mexico -- our relationship with them mars it will be of benefit to all of us. >> thank you. very, very brief comments. >> i line the needle and haystack. technology attempts to make the needle glow. if it deters it can reduce the haystack. so we agree with you but we also agree technology is not necessarily the best way to get there. >> thanks. >> briefly, joint task forces help. intelligence investigations coordination is key. then i think working with mexico better is going to help us. >> great. thanks so much. good. thank you all. great panel. very much appreciated. >> thank you, senator. one of the advantages of me not making long opening statements
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i'll make a closing one, because i've got a comment. if you want to reduce the haystack, what you should do is try and reduce, maybe even eliminate, the incentive of illegal immigration. one chart we have been putting up here is a history of unaccompanied children. coming from central america. and prior to deferred action on childhood and rivals we were 3,000, 4,000 per year. and then we issued those memoranda in 2012. and that number jumped to 10,000. the next year 20,000. the following year 51,000. i know it's come down a little but bit it's still way above historic levels. so i think we have to again, looking at the reality of the situation, what causes these things, and we need to reduce those incentives. i've always been very supportive of a functioning guest worker program. 8.1 million of those individuals here in this country illegally.
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are working. it's a rational decision. when you have wages that are so much lower in central america and mexico than they are here in the united states it's a rational, economic choice. particularly when the reality of the situation is regardless of what the memoranda say or says, if you get into america people are staying. particularly if you're a minor. so i think we really need to take a look at our policy. i want to solve the problem. i think realistically we're probably not going to have comprehensive. we don't really do comprehensive very well. so what i've certainly asked the secretary, what i've hopefully asked my ranking members, work with me. let's identify those incentives. let's reduce them. let's start approaching this if on a step by step-basis. i come from a manufacturing background. you don't solve problems just like that. i'm perfectly willing to engage in continuous improvement. let's take the step by step incremental improvements. let's identify the things we can
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do. so if all of you would be willing to work with this committee to identify those incentives, identify those steps. maybe those small pieces of legislation. we reported out of our committee yesterday, last week in a business meeting. just allowing cbp on federal lands in arizona. i'd like to do it across the border. probably some resistance there. how about we just take a look at arizona and see if that would actually work. i really do hope that the administration, the department, your individual agencies, will work with us. let's identify those and take a step by step approach and improve border security. with that the hearing record will remain open for 15 days. i forgot to thank all you folks. again, thank you very much for your thoughtful testimony, for sitting here and answering in very thoughtful manner. we really do appreciate. i know how much time and effort goes into this. thank you very much. the hearing record will remain open for 15 days until may 28th
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5:00 p.m., for the submission of sames and questions for the record. this hearing is adjourned.
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local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd like us on hockey, follow us on twitter. now new york city mayor bill de blasio to what he calls progressive income to combat income inequality. other speakers include civil rights activist reverend al sharpton, former vermont governor howard dean, and several democratic lawmakers and labor leaders. from capitol hill this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> good afternoon, everyone. i'm new york city mayor bill de blasio and i want to thank my fellow progressives who are here. mayors, members of the house and senate and activists, labor leaders, civil rights champions. progressives from every part of the country and progressives who have made a big difference in communities all over this country. six weeks ago i convened a small group of progressive leaders at gracie mansion. the idea was to discuss the central challenge of our times.
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income inequality. to find a way to bring progressives together to make an impact like never before. we pledged to reach out all over the country to hundreds and hundreds of our fellow progressives and start a movement that would reach all the way here to washington, d.c. and make an impact so we could finally address income inequality. we knew it would take a bold set of solutions that no half measures would do. so today we're announcing and we're signing the progressive agenda to combat income inequality. these 13 progressive ideas will make an enormous difference for families all over this country, for everyday americans. they are bold steps, they are clear steps. like increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. national paid sick leave and paid family leave laws. universal pre-k and after-school and child care. and closing the tax loopholes
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that hold us back. closing the loopholes that allow ceos and hedge fund managers and billionaires to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. the only way we're going to turn this country around is we have the resources we need to actually give people economic opportunity again. that will take progressive taxation. this is the beginning and there's more to come. i've talked to so many members of this extraordinary coalition. and the next chapter in this effort will add additional key planks. we're going to address issues like the expansion of social security. we're going to address debt-free college. we're going to find ways to make sure we're investing in schools not jails. and, and to give people returning home from prison a second chance at an economic future so this country can be whole again. we look forward to working on these priorities in the days immediately ahead and building this movement all over the country. the progressive agenda comes down to a very simple concept.
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we need to reward work again reserve we need to reward work, not wealth. work. and that's a change that will have a profound effect on this condition tree. something is happening in this country right now. and i have a lot of good witnesses right here. something different is happening. it's a movement from the grass roots. it's an urgent call for change. we're hearing the voices of people people, everyday people all over this kun tee. last month we saw demonstrations in 200 cities across this country for a $15 minimum wage. something is changing in america. it's time to take that energy and crystallize it into an agenda that will make a difference. it's time to put people ahead of profits. value work over wealth. it's simple as that. we'll be calling on leaders and candidates to address these issues. to stiffen their backbones. to be clear and to champion these progressive policies. and we know that this cause will grow.
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people will join -- everyday people will join in. we're inviting everyday americans to be a part of this. sign up today at when you go on that website you're going to see what is, in effect, as invocation for this moment in history by one of the greatest of all americans. a beautiful else say written by tony morrison one of the founders of this effort who joined with us at gracie mansion. one of the greatest living americans whose words inspire us. and she makes clear in the else say on the website today why it is time for a progressive agenda to change this country. now it's my honor to turn to someone who has shown us what it means to build progressive politics in this country. whose commitment to genuine grass roots action has literally transformed politics in this nation. former dnc chairman and governor howard dean. >> i'm not really from inside
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the beltway so i really am going to stick to two minutes. i'd encourage everybody else to do the same because we've got a lot of people here. first i want to thank mayor de blasio for his extraordinary leadership. new york is a great city and the great city in you has a great mayor who understands ordinary working people and the people who built this country. so i am fully signed on to this. there's gossip in washington this is about trying to move a candidate in a certain direction. if you look at that candidate's direction you'll find out she's embraced a lot of this already. we have got to deal with the fact that 80% of this country have not had a raise in the last 20 years. only the top 20% have gotten all that money. and i'm not against rich people. but i am for america. and america can't work if 80% of the people don't participate in the benefits of our extraordinary economic machine that we have. so all we're asking to do is tinker with the machine. we want to make sure that the people who work really hard are
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beneficiaries. that their kids can go to college and not fear indebtedness for the rest of their life. that everybody has adequate health care. yes, there are some things we can do. we appreciate the president's leadership on health care but there's things we need to do to fix it to make sure everybody has health care at a reasonable price. there are many many things on this agenda that bill and his folks have put together that i fully subscribe to and i'm honored by his leadership, honored by his example and i thank him and all of the people here who have spent a great deal of time in their lives fighting for what's right in a place that's not so easy to do that, which is right in the building right behind us. many of these folks i've campaigned with. i'm incredibly proud of them. they are also from the democratic wing of the democratic party. thank you. >> okay who's next? senator murkily. instead of jeff murkily of oregon.
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>> i am delighted to be here today to stand with mayor de blasio and with governor dean, to stand with so many champions who are fighting for a better america for working families. my father was a millwright. that's a mechanic who keeps a lumber mill operating. keeps the machinery operating. and when i was a child in grade school he said to me son, if you go through the doors of that school and you work hard, you can do almost anything here in america. that was a vision of opportunity for every child in america to thrive, to pursue their dreams, to give back to society. that is a vision that is slipping away. and that's why we are here today, united. united in the fight for an america where every family and every child can thrive. and the components of that we know well, we need a stronger
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public education. we need good-paying jobs. we need the peace of mind that goes with accessible affordable health care when you are ill. that is the promise that we are fighting for. and so i ask you, are we united in fighting for a foundation for every family and every child to thrive? are we united in the belief that if you work full-time in america, you shouldn't live in poverty in america? do we believe that higher education is an opportunity that every child who aspires to it should be able to get through the doors of that schoolhouse and that means we're going to have to control the inflation in tuition, it means we need to increase the pell grants. so many of our families are working families struggling families. children are going to have to borrow. and when they borrow they should be able to borrow at the same low interest rate from the federal government that the big banks get when they borrow from the federal government.
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you know it's way pastime that we adopt basic standards for working families here in america that are common throughout the industrialized world. paid sick leave and paid family leave and affordable child care. and we need to have tax fairness here in america. shouldn't the wealthiest families at least pay the same tax rate that working families pay? is that too much to ask? and we have so many egregious tax loopholes, tax give-aways to powerful special interests. 30 of the most period of timable corporations in america don't pay a single slim dime in taxes. and isn't that wrong? shouldn't they contribute? shouldn't they contribute to the infrastructure, to the education, the public education, the higher education that provides a foundation for a company to thrive? my friends, we will not have a
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middle class if we don't make things here in america. and that's why it's so important that we shut down these tax loopholes that subsidize the export of our jobs overseas. and moreover we shouldn't engage in trade agreements that put our workers, our manufacturing workers, in direct competition with workers earning 60 cents an hour. i return to that vision that i was so able to benefit from my father and my family, that here in america you get a fair chance to thrive. that's not the case for working families and struggling families today. we need to change that. and why this agenda, this progressive agenda, is so important. let's band together, let's spread the word, and let's restore america so every american, every child every
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worker, has a foundation to live a great life and contribute greatly to america. thank you. >> thank you very much. as cochair of the progressive caucus i want to thank the mayor, my esteemed colleagues that are here from the caucus, and all the leadership before you. working people, indeed americans, need a break. they need an economy that's going to return opportunity to families, fair taxation, liveable wages and because income inequality is result of a very privileged economic policy that we've had for the last 30 years. it has not been top-down. it has been top-up. and as a consequence of that we find many many families now not being able to sustain and have hope for opportunity for their families.
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the american people need someone to fight for them. they need someone to stand up for them. and they need someone that is willing on a daily basis to fight for them. the pledge is a call to action and it's also a commitment to making sure that this economy and this country works for all of us and it works for the american people. with that, thank you and let me ask my cochair mr. ellison, for his comments. >> thank you, raul. you know, today we're not signing a pledge to some billionaires. we're not signing a pledge to give more money to people who already have way too much. we're not signing a pledge to make sure the people who ought to be paying taxes don't have to pay them. we're signing a pledge to the vast majority of the american people who work hard every day and have every reason to believe that their elected officials are going to stand with them and fight for them to have a better life. it's about raising the wages. it's about fighting for the right to collective bargaining.
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it's about fair trade deals. and we are united. we are united, progressive caucus, we are united with our friends in labor. we are especially inspired by those millions of young people all over this country. black lives matter. 15 and union. the walmart workers. all these people standing up demanding national domestic workers alliance, people who are making beds and emptying toilets and frying chicken at this very moment so that they can try to have a life. and we pledge to stand with them always. and we are going to work and fight and never give up till we make sure that the american dream is a reality not just a dream. but a possibility and a path forward. thank you, i am proud to sign this, and we're doing it right now.
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>> thank you very much. and let me give a special shout-out and thanks to mayor de blasio for his very bold and very magnificent and tremendous leadership in pulling this all together to really talk about what the country really knows about, and that is the progressive agenda. i want to also thank our governors, our senators our members of congress, also our mayors of the labor leaders who are here today. all of the champions for change and for a progressive agenda. as well as i have to just say my mayor, mayor libby schaaf from oakland, california, i come from oakland and berkeley, we know what a progressive agenda is. i'm very proud to be here with you, mayor de blasio. we know we have work to do to address income inequality and yes, racial justice, which has got to be part of our progressive agenda. where we see poverty rates two and three times the rates in communities of color, african-americans and latinos, than for white americans. where unemployment rates are often twice the rates in other
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communities. we have to address these inequalities head-on and fight for economic justice for all. and this agenda, the progressive agenda, does just that. we lift people off of the floor by raising the minimum wage and fighting for a living wage. we're not talking just about the minimum wage, we're talking about a living wage. people deserve to be able to feed their family pay their represent, buy a home, and live the american dream. that's what the progressive agenda stands for. we support families with educational opportunities from preschool and head start to affordable college. we also advance some basic tax fairness by ending corporate welfare. that's what a progressive agenda does. it combats income inequality and it restores the opportunity for each and every american to live the american dream by investing in families instead of the super-rich and the special interests. so income inequality, economic justice and racial justice that
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are endemic in our society that's unamerican and unacceptable. thank you for standing tall for a progressive iveive agenda. i'm proud to sign this document today. >> representative rosa delauro. >> good afternoon. what a day, what a day. thank you so much, mayor. thank you for bringing us together in this effort. today the greatest economic challenge that we face is that people are in jobs that simply do not pay them enough money. and any starting point on income inequality has to be wages. wages are stagnant. working families are struggling today. and there are many factors to blame. as nobel laureate joseph stieglitz wrote in a recent paper, "inequality is not inevitable. it as choice that we make."
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bad trade policy is a prime example. over the past 25 years, a succession of trade agreements have sent u.s. jobs overseas and have depressed wages. and right now, just now, the senate has just voted to block fast track. but my friends, the fight is not over. the transpacific partnership threatens american jobs, wages and regulations. that is exactly why we must set our public policy on a new path. and the progressive agenda is that path it places working families at the heart of our national conversation. it advances bold, progressive solutions, minimum wage, paid sick days, paid family leave universal pre-k immigration reform, restoring the right to organize, and yes, opposing bad trade deals. these are things that so many of
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us have been advocating for a long time. the mayor and his team deserve our thanks for bringing them together in a unified agenda. and mayor de blasio is not just talk he is action. he's already started a pre-k program for 53,000 students. he expanded paid sick days in his city. and he's raised the minimum wage for thousands of hard-working new yorkers. this broad coalition from elected officials to activists, to labor leaders, to economists shows that there is a hunger in the united states of america today for a genuine progressive agenda. it is my honor to stand with all of you. thank you. >> mary cohen, president of communication workers of america. >> hey, hey. great day, right? the senate terrific. one big step.
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so our progressive agenda is our common story. not just the coalition. it's a story about democracy, opportunity, a fair economy. it's about cutting $1 trillion in student debt that chokes our families. it's about collective bargaining rights for workers. not just accepting what we're offered as the stock market soars. it's about that higher minimum wage and raising not cutting, social security. most of all, it's about decent jobs in a global economy with rules that prevent a race to the bottom. our cities cannot survive or thrive just with headquarter skyscraper jobs for the fortunate few while the rest of us clean up for the 1% or drive them around. fair trade for the 21st century ties together much of what unites us. the senate acted on that today. the $11 trillion trade deficit
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of the last 20 years not only transfers $20 trillion of wealth to foreign governments, corporations, and billionaires but it also impoverishes our cities. with the budget deficits that result when the jobs are cut. our nation is badly out of balance. big money in politics. the lowest percentage of our citizens are able to vote of any democracy in the world. the highest prison population. ceos earning 400 times what their workers make. the list goes on. and today the senate in rejecting fast track at least for today says that we won't agree to more secret trade deals. we won't agree to fast track for six more years. the first term of the next president, then the first year of the president after that, or the second term. secret trade deals. this is all about this progressive agenda. it's all about our democracy. it's all about what opportunities really exist. it's all about what we do when we're under attack.
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we stand up we fight back. we stand up, we fight back. i'm proud to sign this. thank you. >> please step forward, congressman. >> thank you. and thank you to mayor de blasio for putting this together and all the progressive leaders who are here today. one of the political statements that i remember most of my adult life has been slightly paraphrased to it's the economy, stupid. this is the meat on the bones for 2015 to give a progressive economic agenda for americans who work hard and play by the rules. we will make sure that you have a good wage and that we will keep jobs in america. we will make sure we support your families with sick leave and paid leave and pre-k. we will make sure that we have tax fairness so that everyone pays their fair share. i am very proud to be here with all of these leaders and to sign on today. this is the meat on the bones of
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a progressive agenda. thank you, mayor de blasio. >> president of the national education association. [ speaking foreign language ] it is such an honor to be here with so many fighters for justice. and i'm an elementary teacher. i have taught in the suburbs. i've taught in homeless shelters. and i know what poverty means to kids. when someone says to me as president of the national education association what do you most need to make sure that our kids have what they need to succeed? i say, make sure their families can put food on the table make sure their families can make a living wage, make sure that they have access to preschool and that they're going to end up at the end of that school pipeline with the ability to afford college. instead of having college debt,
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they need to have college degrees. where's their paid time off when their kids are sick? there are so many things that our middle class families now don't have access to. i'm not talking about my shelter kids. i'm not talking about the poorest of the poor. i'm talking about the average kid that walks into that school on any given day. 51% of schoolchildren today qualify for free or reduced lunch. that means 51% of our public schoolchildren come from families that are struggling financially. and they don't have the right to even guarantee that there's going to be a roof over their heads. the became that do have the power to give them that right work in this beautiful building over here. they're the ones that have
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access to all of the things that my kids need. fortunately, the most beautiful thing about that building is those guys have a boss. and it's the american people. we are their boss. we have the right to demand from the people who work for us what we need to make sure our kids have what they need to succeed. and what they need is a family that has some decent security. a hard-working family that knows that everything won't be pulled out from under them. i'm a really hard grader. when my kids would turn in their homework and it wasn't good enough, i marked it up and i september it back and i said, you can do better. right now we know that this congress, this senate can do better for working people. we're going to sign this and we're sending them back to do their homework.
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>> leo gerard, president of the steel workers. >> first of all, you ready to fight for this agenda? when you go home are you ready to do something for this agenda? when you go home, are you prepared to broaden the coalition for this agenda? because we're not going to change anything just standing here. it's going to take hard work. it's going to take us making sure that the public understands what's at stake. lift the floor for working people. let me give you a fact that i just shockingly found out today. we're arguing for a $15 minimum wage is that enough? >> no! >> if the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, that's all it would be $18 today. productivity has gone up more than 180%. ceo compensation has gone up sometimes 150%, 200 percent. 400 times more than the average worker. that didn't happen by accident.
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that happened as a result of an economic system that has been in place for the last 35 years to push us down. and i can tell you this. as the president of the steel workers union, what i've been saying to members of congress the last several weeks on these trade deals is let your history be your guide. i challenge any member of that congress to come forward and show us a trade deal that resulted in net job increases for american workers and upward pressure on about the sames. they can't find it. they can't find a trade deal like that because they don't exist. that's part of the push-down of wages. that's part of us losing 60,000 factories. that's part of them telling us, you can't afford to have that because we have to compete with china or vietnam. i don't intend for steel workers to have to compete with 50 cents an hour wages. i don't intend our steel workers to have to compete with slave
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labor from some other country. i don't intend for workers to have to compete with the sultan of burr 90 who thinks he should have 7000 antique cars and forced labor in his country. i intend to fight with mayor de blasio who i thank for bringing this together. i intend to fight with all these people here on the progressive agenda. i intend we'll never stop fighting until we win. that's yes ask you again, are you prepared to fight for this agenda? >> yes! >> i'm proud to sign it. >> mary kay henry president of seiu. >> thank you. thank you, mayor de blasio and to all my brothers and sisters in the progressive movement. the 2 million members of seiu and the tens of thousands of courageous activists that are hitting the streets month after month to fight for a more just america. we are proud to stand today and sign this pledge to combat income inequality. we know that the promise of
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america is being threatened each and every day. it's been undermined by big corporations and the wealthy few who have rigged the rules of our economy and democracy so they can siphon off for themselves most of the money that our work creates and the voices that we each should have in our democracy. that promise is stunted by the persistent existence of structural racism in this economy and democracy that continues to take the lives and futures of black americans in this nation. and by the broken immigration system that persists in keeping millions of immigrants in the shadows of our nation. the crucial debate that is under way in our nation is being prosecuted in the streets. and we are here today as national leaders of a progressive america to back the courageous courage of people that are growing a movement in this country to insist for a
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fight for 15 and a union, for working people tive a say and a seat at the table, with corporate america for a balance of power, for black lives matter students and working people and communities that are insisting and for immigration reform. we stand with airport workers, walmart workers, child care workers, higher
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>> it's not only time to talk the talk, it's time to walk the walk. 1.6 members of asme stand shoulder to shoulder with our progressive partners from across the country. we know that stronger unions equal a stronger middle class. and a stronger middle class equals a stronger america for all of us. so that's why we're standing together. 100% behind the progressive agenda. this isn't rocket science. what we need to do is very, very simple. it's going back to basic 101 organizing. it's going back to our communities. block by block. street by street. city by city. county by county. state by state. organizing and mobilizing and educating our communities across the country. for too long job security, about the sames benefits and retirement security have been
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disintegrating for most working families across america. meanwhile, the very, very wealthy just keep getting richer commanding an equal share of wealth and power. that's not who we are. that's not what this country is truly about. that's not what progressives stand for. we're all in this together. and all of us either rise or we fall together. we support the progressive agenda because it will advance the principle that the working women and men who helped create america's prosperity should also share in america's prosperity. we're ready to roll and ready to fight. thank you. >> randy wine gardner, president of the american federation of teachers so like my brother, mr. saunders, this 1.6 million-member union is also ready to walk the walk.
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as my kids at clara barton high school used to say, it's time to walk the walk not just talk the talk. and the time is well pastime. and i'm so grateful that mayor deapplause i don't has brought us all together. so folks from labor, some folks from civil rights, some of our incredibly fantastic foot soldiers in congress. people who have actually seen what the effects of trickle-down economics have been. people who have seen what the effects of a rigged economy has been. and what we're trying to say here with this agenda and it's not everything. you don't see public education on the agenda. you don't see other things on the agenda. but public education is part of a building block of the economy. and when you have these building blocks of lifting the floor for working people of supporting working families, of tax fairness, then we as teachers can do our jobs for children.
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we can lift all boats when you have an economy like this. so i am proud to be part of this progressive community to say, let's not just talk the rhetoric, let's do these tangible things. let walk this walk for america's working people right now, starting today. >> president of the national action network, reverend al sharpton. >> thank you. let me say, when mayor de blasio had contacted me i had some concerns. because i've seen progressive groups come and go. but because of his leadership and the ability of saying that we could have unity without uniformity, i said that i wanted to work to set what is the goal
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posts for where this nation needs to go. when i was 13 years old, i became youth director of sclc "operation bread basket" in new york. the year dr. king who founded it, was killed. i saw robert kennedy go to appalachia. the movement became splintered. and we started fighting over dogma. so the result was richard nixon became president in '68. we don't agree on everything. but we agree that we have got to deal with income inequality and wages and how we get there. we are establishing with this agenda where the goal post is. we can argue about the place to get there. in new york, we've had debates on policing. you would think from the right wing that mayor de blasio and i are twins. sometimes we're not even in the same crib.
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but the goal is to protect people and police. we don't agree. i've been a firm supporter of president obama and remain that. unapologetically. and will fight for that. but i will fight for that in the room. there are debates about trade that we don't agree. there are debates about racial inclusion. even in some parts of the union movement that we don't agree. but we all agree where we need to go. so it's in that spirit led by someone that all sides of the debate can trust, that i come. i don't come with uniformity, i come with unity that we've got to deal with as president obama said issue of our time. income inequality. yes, police conduct or police accountability is not on the list. but when you look at what's going on at the core root of a lot of the react is economic inequality. mass incarceration, economic
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inequality. if you look at some of the things the civil rights community is concerned about economic inequality. we are not going to agree when i stand here today, i thought about howard dean and i ran against each other in washington. he won washington, i beat him in south carolina. but we're here today. we can debate our differences on trade. we can debate our differences on inclusion. but we can't debate that america has to be fair for everybody. and we can't debate that the billionaires are playing games with us and treating us like hamsters on a treadmill rather than people that are focused on the goal line. we will change the debate starting today. we will debate where we think is best to get there. but the goals are undebatable and i salute mayor de blasio for being big enough to say get past your dogmas let's fight out our dogmatic differences. but the goals are more important than any one of our specific opinions. i do not for one minute bow down
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or in any way acquiesce my opinion. but i'm willing to be in the tent to fight for them. because the mansion that is outside the tent has no room for regular working people. let's get in the tent and fight to change the landscape. thank you. i sign. >> the mayor of oakland, california libby schaaf. >> good afternoon my name is libby schaaf, i'm here all the way from oakland, california, to roast in your d.c. sun. because oakland also wants to stand proudly as part of the progressive agenda to end income inequality. a city like oakland is one of the most expensive places to live in this country already. and yet we are the second fastest raising rents in the country. we have done our part in oakland to raise the minimum wage. something that the federal government really should do. but we need the federal leaders
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to help us and do their share so that we can have some shared prosperity. things like quality preschool. 21st century job training. and affordable college tuition. and how about some reasonable gun laws so that our young people have a pathway to jobs and not to prisons. i am very proud to sign this pledge today on behalf of cities all over this country that are on the ground feeling the effects of this income inequality. so thank you mayor de blasio. >> thank you mayor. mayor nan whalen of dayton, ohio. >> thank you, mayor de blasio. in dayton, ohio, we have the lowest unemployment in
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we are here with the mayor and close friends to launch the progressive agenda. give all the members of congress and the progressive agenda a round of applause for putting this together. income inequality threatens the character of the country as well as our economic future. now, 95% of the gains since the great depression went to the top 1% of the economic ladder and
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wages for the nation's working families remaining stagnant. this cannot continue. the discrepancy partially results from the ongoing crisis in the job market. that's why propose a full employment legislation for everybody in america to either have a job or get trained for a job. full employment. that's the way out of what we're in right now. now, despite all of the progress made by this administration and sometimes by us we've got 20 million americans that are unable to find full-time employment. and that's got to change.
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joseph economist and other top economists emphasize full employment is essential not only for the well being of american families but the economy as well. so i'm proud to sign as a supporter of our progressive agenda, and i look forward to working with every one of eweyou to achieve full employment in america. thank you. >> congressman. thank you. you get your coat back. all right. >> and the pen too. >> and the pen. thank you, congressman. >> maria of unite here. >> thank you mayor, for your proactive leadership in pulling a all together. in new york's harbor, the statue of liberty stands as a beacon shining for the world to see, and on it is inscribed, give me
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your poor. it doesn't say so we can keep them poor. but for immigrants in america, that is exactly what we are doing. 30% of all immigrants in america are working as custodians and grounds keepers. 80% of immigrants work in low wage jobs. in my union's jurisdiction, we have nearly 200,000 immigrants working as hotel housekeepers, and 600,000 cooking food. these people are among the bravest of all of us. they came here with nothing bringing only their name with them. they left everyone. they left everything behind. they did not come to get welfare or social services. they came to work. the five words of the national anthem anthem, home of the brave.
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brave immigrants willing to come here, should want to stay here. there's so much written about the millennial generation, but all that talk paints a stereotype of who they are. we picture them as white, college educated digitally hip socially connected but 43% of the millennials are nonwhite, and 40 % of the children have a single mom. 30 % of all low wage workers in america are millennials women of color, and in ten years, these millennials of color make up 7 5% of the global work force. no one will es keep sheer numbers. while it's in vogue to talk about income inequality and low wage jobs, it's time to shift the focus away from the issue and on to the politicians who
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vote for tax breaks that create the low wage jobs. politicians who give speeches and do nothing. it's time to focus on low wage politicians and hole them accountable with our votes. the dreamers have pointed the way. those young men and women are the new beacon. they stand as the example. shining the light for all of us to follow. the light that demands equality and points to higher future, brighter future and guides america. [ speaking in spanish ] >> i want to thank a dear friend from labor. thank you for being here in support. i want to call up janet, the president of the national
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council of a rrgs arasa. >> we are here together with common constituentcyies and common goal. america has a stake in america of latino families. we support the national council supports this progressive agenda because we understand that it is an agenda for all america a common sense approach for all americans. thank you. >> van jones. >> first, i just want to say, i've been reading in the media people asking a question, who does the mayor think he is to pull all these folks together? he's the mayor. >> that's right. >> into say veryings very, very clearly, i want to say very, very clearly, a mayor in the middle of a national security
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crisis bringing the country together and led as america's mayor, and now we're in an economic security crisis. it's high by appropriate that america's mayor bring us together again. thank you, mayor deblasio for the leadership. i appreciate his commitment as he underscored to include schools not jails, as a part of the agenda moving forward. young people who are marching across this country, the overwhelming majority of them peacefully, are heart broken about the doors closed to them. they can't talk about income inequality because many of them can't get a job, and many of them can't get a job because they have a felony conviction. african-americans use marijuana at the same rate of whites but go to jail six times more often. that's an economic issue.
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it's not just a justice issue when you can't get a job because you have a felony. you can't get a student loan because of a conviction. you can't rent an participant. that's not just racial justice issues, but an economic justice issue. it's impossible for us to raise the floor on the working middle class, and there's a big hole in the floor called mass incarceration. i'm praudoud to be part of a movement that says equality for all, means for everybody. poor kids in appalachia don't have a future, those on reserves don't have much hope those in urban america who want a job, you we have to invest in schools and not jails for them. i salute the mayor for leadership and pledge to work with him, reverend sharpton, and others to ensure criminal justice is a part of economic justice in the country. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> heather mcgee of demos. >> thank you mayor, and thank
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you to the brothers and sisters in this progressive movement for the visionary agenda. we believe that we all need to unite at this historical moment of racial inequality to work for an america where we all have an equal say in democracy and equal chance in our economy because today a cashier making 7.25 an hour, not only gets to buy that worth of education for her children, but 7.25 of food for her family, but she also seems to merit just 7.25 worth of respect in our political culture, and only 7.25 worth of voice in our democracy. people ask where this agenda came from. it came from the voices and the hearts and the feet and the arms of the people who have been pushing for a more progressive vision of the country. from the fast food workers fighting for 15 along with
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adjunct professors and child care workers walmart workers those lying down in the street to say that black lives matter, from the students who said that debt free college was good enough to create the middle class at the middle of the century, and it's good enough for the greatest, most diverse generation the world has ever seen. i'm proud to stand in partnership with the mayor, a visionary leader, of my hometown in new york and sign this agenda. thank you. >> thank you. >> congressman of illinois. >> thank you. i am jan, represent the ninth district of illinois, and when i'm home in the grocery store very often people come up to my in my progressive district and say, how can you stand it? they mean how can i substantiate what's going on in the congress? i say the reason i can stand it is because the american people agree that they are ready to support a progressive agenda. we are ready to fight back


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