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

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you know i don't suffer from multiple personalities. i understand that if we want to tackle the issue of poverty it takes investment. if we want to tackle the homeless veterans it takes work to report. i am proud to report in new york city the number of homeless veterans in new york dropped by 40% last year and declined 75% since 2012. why? because of vouchers. and homeless assistant grants. and because the city is putting also resources. that is what it takes. and so we want to tackle the issue of poverty in our country.
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what is it that we can show to demonstrate the effectiveness of the agency? it takes investment and the understanding that for the last 20 years this one issue that really is impacting americans. they're working harder. they're working two and three jobs. but there is one thing, and that is wage stagnation. while the 1% is doing extremely well, the rest 99%, are working harder and getting less. so mr. secretary, if the funding bill that passed the house if enacted, how will this impact hud's efforts to address the affordable housing crisis? >> if the bill becomes law it will seriously injure, seriously damage our ability to meet the needs out there.
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as it is, as i mentioned earlier, we only serve a percentage of people who require housing subsidies. and the chairman had individuals to discuss the private partnerships, which i think is a very fruitful discussion that ought to be had. it was very clear in that testimony whether it was the public sector or private sector or nonprofit that said if hud doesn't do these things, who else will do them? there is no private market to serve people who are extremely low income. and those are the vast majority of the people that we serve. and so whether it's is traditional housing or section 8 vouchers or rental assistance, we need to make an investment homeless, mothers with children who are doubling up. veterans who don't have a chance to have a place called home.
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those are the human consequences of the budgetary decisions that are on the table. >> so mr. chairman, mr. secretary, i would like to ask you about section three. i have been working on section three for many many years. that is containing election that is reflective of the rule you are putting out. but my question is if there is a tool that could empower residents in public housing in section three without the proper oversight and without the proper training and investment it's not going to work. >> the time of the gentle lady has expired, we now recognize the chairman from michigan. >> sorry i'm kind of hidden
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behind one of my other colleagues here. so i wanted to quick -- bring up the situation with the lifetime myth about people using hud, and throughout the statistics with family with teens, i don't know if that is accurate or where he got that. are you familiar with that statistic? >> yes i ranking member cleavers is not here right now, but what he was probably referring to, the working individuals, in the households that the individuals are disabled our goal is not to just get them in and out. but they do have a period of average stay --
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>> i think it is completely different. earlier at the beginning, the chairman was asking specifically about -- and you couldn't answer whether we are tracking people from one pha as they exit that where do they go next? do they go to another public housing authority? do they move to another state? and you couldn't provide that matrix. >> no, i said we'll get information on that. do i believe we are tracking that as well as we would like to? the answer is no -- >> it seems if we can dial it down to 5.4 years we ought -- you ought to be able to figure out how you are going to make sure that people are utilizing that service, really shift to what it's more of my concern
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how do we make sure we have an opportunity economy that eliminates poverty and breaks that cycle that may exist. you know i was a former licensed realtor. started my career in that. some of my proudest moments that i was involved in were not with my big sales. my first listing was a two-family house in holland michigan, that was very transitional. a hispanic family on top that shared an apartment. in fact they are still friends today. and helping them transition into buying their own place. one that i talked about in this committee before is someone else who still remains a friend, jill whose husband had left the family and she moved from a trailer park into her first home. and i was able to help explain to her kids why and how important that was. and literally, sitting here 20
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years later i'm getting emotional and choked up because that really is why you exist. you don't exist to just make sure that we're taking care of people temporarily. you exist to make sure that we are taking care of people long-term. and i don't mean getting into your system and staying in your system. what is the opportunity -- and i'm afraid that as i'm looking at this report it seems that the solution typically is then to just throw more money at it. and it's not only not subsidizing the market i would hope, but as i mentioned, as my colleague started to go out how do we make sure that the people who are providing that, building it, have assurance and understanding what the ground rules are. what the guide posts are so that they're not going to get sued. and they're not going to have these questions as they linger over there. that, to me, is i think vital.
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the other -- quickly i want to hit in this remaining minute, on page 8 and page 9 i wanted to highlight a couple of things. one of them, to start with this a proven model for increasing public housing residents employment and earnings. i'm curious, are you providing that and can you share the matrix on that, as well? because i'm curious is this just web base? physical presence that people are having from hud? explain that because this is $100 million you're putting into this. that can provide a whole lot of housing. >> thank you very much for that question representative. and let me say i agree with you on the premise that for folks who are working age and this is what the law requires that if they're not working they're either doing community service or job training or pursuing an education.
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job tracks does provide that, we would be glad to provide how we're doing that. and one thing i have said with this opportunity agenda that hud needs to get better at measuring the outcomes there. i would love working with that. >> amen to that. i know my time is expired but i hope you will get much better than that and provide that to the committee. >> chair has expired. we recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. hin ohojosa. >> thank you very much, i'm late for opening a meeting and i must leave. >> without objection, the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york mr. meeks for five minutes. >> thank you ranking member and mr. chairman. mr. secretary, let me ask you first let me identify myself as
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a proud product of public housing. and my whole family, all of whom are doing fairly well now. i don't know how well we would have done or how my parents would have did what they did without public housing. and then when i think about my friends, some now who are attorneys and doctors and engineers and pharmacists, all products of public housing. but had it not been for that assistance so that they could move forward i don't know whether any of us would be in positions that we're in. so i personally know the critical need and the significant importance of public housing, giving individual ss the opportunity to be successful in life. and i can't think of a better investment that we can make as a country, especially when we talk
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about, oftentimes when we're campaigning and the average everyday person and the poor person making sure they have a quality of life. there is nothing better than making sure they have a decent roof over their head so a child can get an education in their place where they can grow and become productive members of society. in new york i'm concerned because when i look at the budget s budgets that the republican party is putting forward when i see it fails to put funds to the folks and the national housing trust fund and it shortchanges several assistance programs of very low income households, i get concerned about what is going on in new york a little bit. because you know, recently our mayor de blasio released a new
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ambitious plan to re-vamp the public housing authority and to rebuild and expand and preserve the public and affordable housing. the plan is to convert units to a project base section 8. and it is therefore highly dependent on subsidies. so as we move, and currently section 8 accounts for roughly two thirds of your budget and as the housing authority moves through rad, i'm just wondering how they cope with demands across country. and how can the folks of my city of new york plan with them to preserve affordable housing concepts? >> random has been one way that we've tried to stretch resources by doing exactly what folks have
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suggested. that we engage with the private sector in this case so that they can renovate the public housing units. the fact is we have a $26 billion back log in renovations in public housing. and we lose 10,000 units every year to this repair. and in new york, you see that in spades. so that is why we're requesting a couple of things in this budget. $50 million for that rad program. we're also requesting additional resources in terms of salary and expenses because the cap was lifted in fiscal year 15 to 185,000. we want to make sure we meet that demand. by the way we already have applications for rad that are around 180,000. so it is successful in getting interests, private public collaboration. what we see with rad, we leverage for every dollar of public money we spend we leverage $19 in private
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investment. but we need to do it right and we need to ensure that the resources are there that under-gir under-gird it, that we treat tenants right and you sort of have this public/private partnership. >> and so i guess what my nervousness is because i'm not sure what these budgets are looking like. i'm not sure that everybody has the same private level. as you move forward and we look -- i'm worried about the under-pinning of the public sector continuing what it needs to match the private sector. because if we get into these scenarios and we lose the subsidies to keep them affordable, then what happens to public housing -- can you tell me -- >> i agree with you, if we're not careful then the public sector will not have the strength to engage the private sector so that we can fruitfully
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renovate. the private sector needs the public sector to do affordable housing. >> time of the gentleman has expired. chair now recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. duffy, chairman of our oversight investigation committee. >> thank you very much. mr. castro i just want to make a note that homelessness does not just exist in urban america. it also exists in rural america in places like my district in wisconsin. we have held a homeless summit to bring the stakeholders from across our community trying to figure out where to address this problem effectively. trying to figure out where the bright spots are, what small agencies, what they do to effectively tap in to resources in the community. how they can effectively tap into government resources. and so it's a problem that we
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think we have to address. and my comments are in no way try to undermine the problem of homelessness across the country. i would note though, i do hear a lot about the regulations especially for small -- small providers in our community and listen, if you're a one or two-person organization it becomes incredibly difficult for them to navigate the rules and regulations. but, i want to move beyond that. you're asking for more money, a 9% increase. that is in our present budget. why do you need more money when we have improved the homelessness in america? why do you need more public housing money? why do you need more section 8 housing money when we have had improvements in the economy and in the space? >> well, the fact is, for
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instance, let's take our vouchers through sequestration we lost several thousand vouchers. >> but have we had an improvement in this space? >> in homelessness we have seen an improvement and why was that -- >> but you're asking for that money -- >> the reason is we dedicated more resources to it. hud vouchers to the community's credit, the president and leadership, the reason that we've seen a reduction in veteran homelessness is because we actually invested -- >> and i appreciate your comments on veterans. and that is a nice number. >> okay, well, then let's talk about folks who live in rural areas. >> let's talk about it as a whole a whole -- then. what success have you had getting people out of the system as well as in the system -- it goes to the question asked that you come and ask for more money
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but you can't sit there and say today listen you guys this is what we're doing. we're bringing people in. they want help they all need help. let me finish here are the facts and numbers of how we have moved people out of the space of public assistance and into self-sufficient lives. but if you don't track people on how sustainable they are, or the authority, you can't even give us the right numbers and you're asking for more money. >> i gave an example earlier. >> i'm looking at numbers. so what percentage -- >> a good example of what we've seen is through our jobs plus initiative. >> let's talk about jobs plus, jobs plus is the 9% increase asked for by the president, is that going to the programs ss that you say are worked through jobs plus, across the board?
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>> we're going from $15 million to $100 million, if your question is -- >> if you program -- >> we're requesting jobs plus? of course not? >> so if you have programs that work, jobs plus, i'm not arguing your stats on that why aren't you saying congress, listen, why aren't you talking about programs that will take people off assistance and into sustainability. >> that is what i'm talking about -- >> no, it's not. you're giving everybody a small section. the funding that is asked for is across the board not to be driven into jobs plus, not to program that is actually move people to sustainability. it gets back to the original point. i think you judge success by how much money you spend. you can't give me the numbers. tell me the numbers hold on, it's my time. tell me the number with regard to people -- >> there was a group of veteran. >> mr. secretary, the time belongs to the gentleman from
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wisconsin, please add ten seconds to the clock. >> if that is not the time you judge your success, tell me about the people who go into public housing and then actually move into sustainability. >> i said before we would love to give you the number, what i do know is we have a waiting list of 189,000 jokefolks. >> if you were judging it by the success and numbers you would tell us the numbers. you can't tell us this is not how you judge success in the agency. that is part of the problem. >> i did give you the success -- >> you don't even know the numbers. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. sherman. >> mr. secretary i want to recognize with you that section 8 and other housing programs are successful in every one of our districts. that a housing program has to chiefly be evaluated based on
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whether it provides housing and getting people off the street in housing is a good thing. whether they then get a well-paying job is a little bit outside your department. and i look forward to looking with the last gentleman to see fact tracks so they can get the high paying jobs that will lead not only to successful housing programings but to economic futures for those you benefit. but i suggest we cut back until you establish numbers means somebody gets a better paying job, too. >> what i said was that one outcome is an important outcome is that somebody has a roof over their head. that is what the department of housing is for.
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we are first and foremost about housing. however, to the second question, do i believe that we should also make investments and we are making some investments that seek to get folks to a stronger track so that they can achieve the american dream? of course i do. and should we look at the outcomes of that? yes, we should. and i think we can work together on that. but to say it doesn't count at all that somebody has a roof over their head, that is just ridiculous. >> well said, i now want to move to fha and a couple of technical areas where fha has a rule or policy that clashes with another federal rule. and hope that fha moves in the direction of the other federal rule. the first example of this is when properties subject to transfer fees. now, 99% of transfer fees are terrible. thank you at fha for working to
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prohibit them. fhfa, which of course oversees fanny and freddy has done a slightly more nuanced job. instead of prohibiting all of them they have only prohibited the 99% that are bad. the 1% that are helpful are those that benefit the property. that are key to the business plan of homeowner's associations. and fund homeowners associations by a reasonable amount when the property is transferred. so i wonder whether you would look at a technical tweet to the fha regulations and see whether the fh -- very similar regulations but a little bit more nuanced might be better for both similar federal programs. >> thank you very much for that question. let me just very briefly say that at fha our primary concern of course, is to ensure that
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responsible borrowers can access credit. we also want to continue to play that counter-cyclical role that fha has played. and at the same time, we are interested where it makes sense in policy that encourages neighborhood stability, for instance. and we are looking at matching fhfa on this situation you brought up. so we would love to follow up with you and your staff on that and give you an update of what we're up to. >> good, i mean, a similar agency is trying to carry out the same policy and they ought to have very identical or very close to identical rules. in this one case your sister agency has a for sophisticated rule. federal statute generally requires that you have to stop paying mortgage insurance once you have a 78% situation. you have got a situation where borrowers have to keep paying fha forever, except they don't if they refinance.
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now, if they had to pay forever, i would say well, maybe you need the money. but if you're not going to get the money they're just going to refinance. then i would say i have been through some refinancings. it's a lot of paperwork. and then it would be easier for borrowers if they're trying to compare the insurance with private insurance if you were offering the same product. that is to say something is cancelled at 78%. will you take a look at that? >> we are always of course, looking at how we can be sensitive to the conditions out there. as you know, this life of loan issue came to pass during the last few years where there was a need to do everything that we could to ensure that we built up our reserves. and we want to do what is prudent, always willing to look at this issue.
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>> thank you gentleman the time has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. king. >> i regret i was not here through opening statement. i was actually across the hall at the meeting on the reorganization of the 9/11 health care act. generally, i asked a question that is not written out. but this one i'm going to read as it is written, because there is a lot of specifics involved. it regards westchester county in new york which is not in my district, but pretty adjacent to it. and the implications of what is going on in westchester could impact in district. to the extent you have to get back to me in writing i would greatly appreciate that. i understand in 2009, hud reached an agreement settling a civil lawsuit considering race as an impediment to fair and affordable housing.
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and finally, filing with hud, seeking block grants. it's my understanding from talking to westchester county officials including the county official, mr. estorino i don't see this as partisan issue. as the original settlement, now being implemented by a republican county executive. i don't see this as being a partisan issue but from talking to the county executive he believes the county is ahead of schedule in implementation of the settlement terms. 469 of the 750 public housing units have been financed. some have building permits. they have spent $7 million and leveraged $12 million from other sources. and $6 million was agreed upon in other terms. yet, the county believes that hud is not recognizing this progress. in response to a hud request the county included in its analysis an examination of all of its 853 local zoning
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districts for evidence of exclusionary practices, based on race and ethnicity and found none. each time they included consideration of more data as requested by hud. the most recent ai was more than 700 pages and each time the county found in evidence of exclusionary practices. hud disagreed and in 2011, began to cut off housing grants which i believe has amounted to $20 million to date. two questions, can you say why hud has rejected the analysis of impediments submitted by westchester county and also grants and subsidies in westchester county must certify they are providing fair housing. what is the average length of the ai document and how often
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are they rejected? and what criteria does hud use to determine whether or not ai is acceptable. as i said the case as it goes forward can have implications to my district and other districts. >> i appreciate very much the opportunity to just address this briefly. would love to get back to you and your staff with the statistics on westchester. let me get back to you by saying of course we take the fair housing seriously. under the fair act of 1968 it requires that the secretary affirmatively further fair housing. as you know congressman this decision in westchester has been with us for a while. and there has been a tremendous amount of work that hud staff has done in conjunction with the local community to try to resolve these issues. what i have told my staff is that of course there is a time when -- where punitive and this
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is one of those cases that historically developed and went into litigation. but we often seek what i call mission-driven flexibility to work with communities, to meet the goals of the programs, but also to ensure that they undertake feasible actions to get under compliance. having said that i would like to bet get back to you on the specifics, because i do know the staff has been working hard on that. >> and again, i don't reside in westchester, i do know the officials up there believe they are attempting to comply in good faith. they don't feel hud is acknowledging that. again, i don't want to get in middle of this. again, we can set some parameters but there are actions in the region that would impact the district. on the other hand, local governments have to try to comply.
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again, this is very expensive and again, can be complicated. so when you get back to me on that i appreciate it. thank you for your time. >> time of the gentleman has expired at the request of the secretary. the committee will stand in recess for five minutes. the committee will come to order. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts mr. capuano. >> thank you mr. chairman. welcome back mr. secretary. mr. secretary, i know we've mentioned the fha.
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i want to be clear, if i'm correct, as i understand it not a single penny of general fund taxpayer dollars has been spent to help the fha. is that correct? >> that is right. >> and as i understand it by the way, happy birthday at 50 years old and all that. in those 50 years as i read it there have been five republican presidents serving 28 of those 50 years. if any of those five presidents, mr. nixon, mr. ford mr. reagan and mr. bush did any of them shut down hud? >> no. >> did any of them admit defeat in hud's mission? >> no. >> but today yet we hear that it's a failed mission and we should shut it down. i guess that would come as a surprise to mr. reagan and others. prior to hud, were there any
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programs anywhere to help seniors find decent affordable housing? >> no, with the advent of hud, that really led to the assistance of the elderly -- >> so without hud, there would be no, not less but none, there would be no senior housing programings in this country whatsoever? >> that is right, the answer if not hud, then no one. >> then no one. so i guess i have heard a lot of criticism, and i actually think i have heard some fair comments. but the criticism, i believe in giving elected officials whatever they want whenever possible. and i have heard several elected officials today publicly state that they think that hud's programs are failing. so if they have a failing program why would they want your money? i actually think you're doing a pretty good job and i would suggest you give the officials exactly what they want which is nothing. and to send your money into my district, because i think you're
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doing a great job. and i'm not saying out of anything other than respect for the opinion of others and i hope as a former mayor you would appreciate that approach. i guess now i want to move on to something else. i apologize by our time is limited here as you know. i do want to look at the program, the least favorite program that hud participates in. not because i don't like the program, i know some of it's necessary. but i don't like the focus. but i guess my concern is basically we have been selling these houses in batches to the richest people in the world. and that is okay. not a problem, except for me, i thought part of hud's mission was to actually create strong sustainable inclusive communities and affordable housing for all.
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i ask myself, who is in the best position to know what that means in a given community. so i looked at the november 2014 sale. and on that there was some housing. some foreclosed housing in a county i actually never heard of before, but maybe you're familiar with the bexar county? >> sure this is the county with san antonio. >> san antonio, that is what i read. has 42 properties in this batch averaging $106,560 on their foreclosure loans and it was sold to a company called ammip management, llc, i looked them up they're a subsidiary of american homes in agora hills, california, which is kind of wedged in between thousand oaks and simi valley. and i'm just wondering, do you really think that somebody in a
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nice beautiful building in glory hills knows better what to do with 42 closed properties in san antonio, than say the mayor of san antonio? or maybe a person named walter martinez who runs the san antonio cdc with headquarters on el paso av? or somebody named oscar ramirez who runs the guadalupe association with headquarters on guadalupe ad. which do you think is in a better position to know what is probably in the better interest of the people of san antonio? those people, or somebody in agora hills california? >> yeah it's a point well taken, congressman, i want to thank you for your advocacy on this and others, who nonprofit made this point that part of our responsibility is to look at the effect these policies on the
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neighborhoods. we believe they have been a powerful tool to help stop foreclosure in some instances. and we would love to get back to you with the changes made on it to improve it. >> thank you. >> time for the gentleman has expired. on behalf of the secretary's texas ears and my section ears for the secretary north of the mason/dixon, it is bexar county. >> we need to have an elocution lesson. >> not for a texan. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzgerald -- i'm sorry i'm sorry, the chair stands corrected. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from california mr. royce, chairman of our foreign affairs committee. >> let me ask you about a line of questioning here where i think you and i may be in
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concurrence. but last week, we both had an opportunity to talk a little bit about a subject where i publicly endorsed moving forward with some building block housing finance reforms. and these reforms would increase private sector participation in the housing market and decrease taxpayer exposure to future losses. and would over time limit the disruption in the market. and i wanted to get your take on this. the things that we discussed at that forum were an increase in private sector credit risk sharing by the gses, including a time line to ramp up the offerings. the creation of a common platform which allows for issuance of mortgage-backed securities other than the gses, and the development of a common residential mortgage backed security by fanny may and freddie mac. and i thought i would just give
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you the floor to discuss how this might bring private sector back in the market and how we might work together to achieve these goals as kind of a building block. >> congressman, we of course appreciate your efforts on this financing reform. having finance reform has been a long and winding road i think it's fair to say. but the administration is supportive of housing finance reform. and in fact, i think there is agreement on some of these issues. the president has made very clear that he does have an interest, i think like all americans do in taking taxpayers off the hook in the event of god forbid that we did experience the same kind of housing crisis that we just went through. agreed that we can find ways to introduce more private capital into the market. my hope is that in there we'll find a way to ensure that people of modest means who are
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responsible are able to get access to credit, and so with respect to proposed legislation, i think there is some common principles that are the foundation to build on and we look forward to working with you. >> well, the question that i was going to try to drive to was the idea that gses increasing their risk sharing activities in the form of volume of offerings and percentage of risk sharing. that would be a big step to bring private capital in. certainly the common securitization platform, you know, that idea you're familiar with and making that available for the private sector to come in as well, i think would be option ful helpful. and i was trying to listen -- >> yeah, very helpful to have conversations on that. and to have legislation. >> let me then go to another question, mr. secretary. and that is that headline i saw, banks cede fha market share to
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thinly capitalized banks. we do have the situation where the market share for large banks has recently been cut in half from 61% to 33%. and i know that is a concern. non-banks were increased. they were 24%, a year late now they're 51% or several years later. so is this troubling and do you think legal uncertainty is maybe part of the problem in terms of getting the traditional lenders more involved here? and what about the need for a greater certainty around the rapid warranty framework here? have you been looking that as a way of bringing capital back in? >> this answer is yes we are looking at bringing it back in. we believe it makes sense to create more business certainty for lenders. i know this is something that director watt at fha is working
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on, is working on now. we are working on something called blueprint to access credit. we hear from lenders about the uncertainty that does exist regarding potential liability. and so we're working on that. and we look forward to being able to create i hope greater certainty that will open up the credit box reasonably for responsible americans to get access to credit. >> you know, one of the ceos that i know was interviewed on this. if you want to stick with the program of putting back any time anywhere, whatever that is fine, we're just not going to make these loans. and there is going to be a whole bunch of americans that are under-served in the mortgage market. i think that is the part of this that is concerning. there have been some ideas put forward in terms of you know how to adjust this and handle it. but given the percentage of erosion here in market share
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and especially the fact that it is thinly capitalized non-banks that are coming in, i think it needs to be addressed. so thank you, mr. chairman. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. lynch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank ranking members mr. waters as well. and i want to thank the secretary for helping the committee as well. mr. secretary i'm one of the members of congress who grew up in public housing like mr. meeks of new york, grew up in the old housing project in south boston with five sisters. it has been described as one of the poorest mainly white census tracks in the nation. and we considered ourselves very, very fortunate to have that home. and listening to this debate here today about the question that was posed earlier, does
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hud's affordable housing program work? i guess from listening to the debate if your family has not struggled, no explanation is possible. but if you have actually lived in public housing, no explanation is necessary. you understand what that means. we talked a little earlier, you know, i had an opportunity in the last couple of weeks. we cut a ribbon on one of my big veterans housing projects that is coming up. we just broke ground. it's the new england center for homeless veterans. and it's going to provide 38 new permanent supporters -- housing units for veterans, including a dedicated floor just for women veterans. we get a lot of them. it will renovate 59 supportive housing units for veterans and create 165 new units. so it has everything.
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if you have substance abuse problems or psychiatric problems, we sort of have the whole city together. i want to give credit to mayor marty walsh who is part of this and also governor baker who is a republican and we worked together on this. and there is at least a dozen different agencies, cities, state and federal that have combined on that project. and i have another one with another project that is an old police station in my home neighborhood of south boston where they're converting this old police station to single unit occupancy units for veterans. so like most communities, we love our veterans and we want to make sure that their service is remembered is respected and rewarded. but i have to say that it has really been a collaboration of a bunch of different projects in
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trying to figure out all the different aspects of what hud is doing on behalf of our veterans. and i was wondering, you know, you alluded to it a couple of times in earlier questions but can you drill down and explain what the obama administration is doing. what hud is doing on veterans housing in this country today. and what your most successful models have been in creating that housing. >> yes i'm glad to do that. this is a real american success story. because president obama, in 2010, became the first president to say we're not just going to reduce homelessness. we're going to end it. starting with veteran homelessness. and what we've seen since that time from 2010 to 2014 is a 33% reduction in veteran homelessness through collaboration with congress that funded hud-based vouchers. you ask what works. why are we here?
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strong coordination between hud, the v.a. and providers out there on the ground to quickly get veterans into housing. the adoption of smart policies like housing first. housing first basically says we're not going to make our veterans jump through hoops. stay certain nights in a shelter or transitional living. we're going to get them into permanent housing right away. the research is compelling if you get somebody into housing with supportive services that is a real stabilizing influence on their lives. so they can address then if there is some other issue in their lives. perhaps if there is an addiction issue or mental health issue or other issues housing is the key to stabilizing those issues. and what we're seeing right now is communities like new orleans that announced about a month and a half ago that they have effectively eliminated veteran homelessness. and i joined congressman green the other day in houston houston has put in place the
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system to get to functional zero. so this is a real success story that we need to continue to support. >> that is great, in closing i only have ten seconds left. i just want to say we have 2.5 million sons and daughters of america who have served since the first gulf war. so this is something we're really going to have to focus on. a lot of them have done multiple tours of duty. so obviously, they need some help. thank you, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. patrick, chairman of our task force. >> thank you, mr. chairman and for the time spent with the committee here today. i just want to stay on the issue of homeless housing, and veterans housing. for a moment, you said in your opening statement that you reduced homelessness for veterans by 33%. and that is not an insignificant number. i think together we should celebrate that, as well
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recognizing there is still a lot of work to be done. because that means if there was a subset of veterans in this country, 67% of them are still without homes. and you mentioned you know about president obama has made this commitment to end veterans homelessness. and one veteran who is homeless is one too many. i remember in november 2009 i was a private citizen. my home in levitown pennsylvania watching the news. it was reported that general shinseki he actually put a time frame on it. he said five years, this was november 2009. that the goal was to end veteran homelessness in the united states. and my thought at that point in time, that is a pretty aggressive goal and i love aggressive goals. but i had some concerns about how we were going to get there as a nation. and my community, levitown was a
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town who was built for veterans returning from world war ii, and the korea era veterans, one of which is my father. many who never would have had an opportunity to have a home had it not been for the v.a. and the va and for that commitment. but tucked between the city of philadelphia and trenton, new jersey housing prices skyrocketed. so many of the population found themselves over time to be sort of what's described as house rich and cash poor. so housing prices went through the roof. in addressing this issue in any community, housing costs are very expensive. and homelessness is but a symptom i believe of other problems, problems like substance abuse behavioral health issues of which ptsd, these veterans are coming back. there is a community rating next to my home toub call ben salem. this gets into the issue of bring in private sector solutions. they proposed a 60-unit or so
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veterans housing project. there's an opportunity for us in your community to work with hud so that you can be the last dollar in the project rather than the first dollar. and let the private sector lead i just would like to work with you and your undersecretaries on that. i want to get to another bucks county issue. this had to do with a recapture of sweeping accounts that occurred a couple of years ago, probably before you were appointed secretary. housing authorities across the country received a letter where washington wanted to recapture or reclaim reserves in their accounts back to washington to redistribute for other programs. and the bucks county housing authority, which i'm very proud of which does a good job, which
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manages well its housing which has built up significant reserves and uses those reserve to build new projects, to get individuals in the projects on the road to self sufficiency, they received this letter than they were going to lose millions of dollars they were prepared to reinvest in the community. the housing authority just to the south of us the city of philadelphia, well known for the problems they had, they really had no reserves, mismanaged their authority, they settled lawsuits unrelated to housing, paid millions in legal fees. and so the message that was sent by hud is that if you're a well-run housing authority and you've built up cash reserves getting prepared to reinvest in your community, you will be penalized and the mismanaged housing authorities in this country were not penalized because they're going to get the dollars redistributed. i was just wonder fg you could comment on what message you think that sends to the housing authorities in many of our
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congressional districts who are working hard trying to reinvest in the community so we can get to things like ending veterans' homelessness in this country. what message does that send? >> on the first issue i look forward to working with you. on the second issue we want our public housing authorities to succeed. and so you're right that this does predate me a little bit. however it was a subject in ig audit. that money is being held by hud but will belong, does belong to the phas. we want them to have the resources they node to be successful. we look forward to working with you and others. >> the phas could have reinvested in the communities which were well-managed housing authorities. i would ask you to consider that. >> the chair recognizes now the gentleman from texas green ranking member of our oversight investigation subcommittee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, as i have sat here
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this morning, i have literally had tears to well in my eyes as i've heard some of what has been said regarding people who are in need of help. and, mr. chairman, i want the record to reflect that i, personal pronoun, will not sit silently by while the tools that are needed to fight discrimination and help those who have in desperate need of assistance are eliminated. these tools have been hard won and hard fought for. we cannot allow the e vis ration of the fair housing initiative
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program. the decimation of the housing trust fund. and we cannot allow this impact to be eliminated. these tools have been recognized by courts and they've made a difference. and i applaud you for standing up and standing your ground this morning. somebody has to take a stand. i applaud you and all of my colleagues who are doing so. mr. chairman mr. secretary more specifically, under desperate impact statistical analysis alone will not bring a victory to the plaintiff. the plaintiff has a further obligation to go on and show that there is a less
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discriminatory alternative. and absent that the plaintiff will not prevail. desperate impact is not a theory. sit a standard that 11 circuit courts have approved. and it bears a methodology by which one who is accused improperly can defend and win. the fair housing initiative program. this is the most efficacious way that we know of to present empirical evidence of discrimination. it is proven to be the best way. if there is another way, i defy someone to show me other than a person just confessing that i am a person that discriminates, which rarely happens. which is why you have the desperate impact standard because people don't confess. they have facially neutral
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policies. but in application it is invidious discrimination. and we cannot allow what we have fought hard for over the decades to just simply evaporate because some people don't understand. i know what invidious discrimination is like. i've been to colored water fountains. i've had to sit in the back of the bus. i've had to sit in the balcony of the movies. i know what i'm talking about. i know what it smells like. i have gone to those filthy fountains. i know what it looks like. i've had the klan to protest because of my protestations. so i'm going to make a stand and i want it very well known that we cannot allow poor people to go without advocacy in the congress of the united states of america. now who is helped by the federal
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rental assistance program? elderly, with children, the elderly themselves, the disabled with children, disabled adults? more than 50% of the people on federal assistance are disabled, elderly and children. are we saying that america no longer wants to help the disabled, the elderly and the children? have we gotten a point now where we've got to cut through the bones all the way to the elderly, all the way to the disabled? is this the america that we have fought hard to create? i stand with you and i promise you,8 y9 especially those who are listening who don't have the advocacy that you need in congress, that there are some among us who will not sit
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silently by. we will not acquiesce we will not give our consent we will fight. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. hurt. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you secretary castro for being here. i'm interested to hear some of the comments that we've heard from your colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the accusations that there are people on our side that woontant to shut down and end hud. folks that believe that there's anything but full support for the fair housing act. and so it interests me to hear that because i don't think that's what i've heard and anybody that i represent in virginia's fifth district, rural district believes that. the people i represent believes there should be a safety net and that hud plays an important role in providing that. the people that i represent recognize that we need to have
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federal programs that work, that are efficient. i know that you believe that as well. we need to be efficient to serve those that need the assistance but we also need to serve those that pay the bills, the taxpayers. that's the perspective i bring to this. i am concerned about the folks that i represent that live in rural virginia. and i believe one of the things that i would like to ask you about relates to the role of hud and its housing programs and housing assistance as it relates to the rural housing service with the usda. i noted in your testimony -- and i think that we all know that in 1965 when hud was created that it was really primarily geared and maybe safe to say continues to be primarily geared towards urban areas. would you agree that that's
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true? and how would you say that that has changed in the last 50 years? >> i'd say that certainly we do a lot of work in cities of significant size. however, you could just as easily say that we are the housing and community development department because we do a lot of work in rural areas and tribal communities. so by no means are the investments that we make limited to our urban areas. >> so with that said, there was a gao report in 2012 that confirmed that that said that there is indeed a tremendous amount of work that hud does in rural areas. and i guess my question is if you're interested in trying to make sure that we are most effectively using the tax dollars and the leverage of the federal government to provide the most for -- most effectively, i guess my question is, are there opportunities
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where we can see reform and consolidation between the rural housing service the usda and hud programs? >> we're also willing to talk about the potential for efficiencies. i know that this question about potential consolidation between fha and rural housing service has been discussed recently and this is not the first time that it's been discussed. just one note of caution there. these are two programs that are distinct. they have different underwriting approaches, other standards that are different. i'd say that while hud certainly does do a robust amount of work in rural communities there's no question that the usda has much greater reach in our rural communities than hud does so -- >> how can you say that there's not a duplication of effort? >> i think they're complimentary. as i said, they do have
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different approaches on underwriting and other things. we'd love to get your staff and you a follow-up on that analysis. all of that is to say that we're willing to explore what's possible. but i think at the end of the day that this conversation should be had as part of a larger conversation about housing finance reform. >> but mr. secretary -- and we did have our subcommittee, hour subcommittee had a hearing on this in may. the director, mr. hernandez did not seem to be very open to consolidation at all. and i guess my question is, based on the 2014 agreement on organizational charter for the joint housing agency's charter which i assume you're familiar with, what has been done? have you met with anybody at the usda on with mr. hernandez to figure out how we can consolidate these efforts between the usda hud and hud's
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efforts as well as the va's efforts? >> it's a great question. i know that my staff has had conversations in the past with rural housing service. of course we can get you the details of those conversations. >> i'd like to see them. this is something that has been an issue since 2011 when the president started out on this course. i would like to have some feedback. thank you, mr. chairman. >> time of the gentleman expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman, mr. clay. >> thank you for conducting this hearing and inviting secretary castro back. welcome. before i ask me questions, mr. secretary, let me personally thank you for your visits that you've made to st. louis and made to the state of missouri. we hosted you a couple of weeks ago in ferguson missouri and i appreciate the attention that
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you've given that community, especially with our newly minted promise zone designation. today is an unfortunate reality that is child's zip code has huge implications for life outcomes. including access to quality education, health care and transportation. hud is currently working to finalize a proposed rule regarding the fair housing act requirement that all recipients of federal housing funds take steps to affirmatively further fair housing. can you explain how this rule will help ensure greater equality for all children in the future? >> i'd be glad to. this is really is peegs of unfinished business from the 1968 fair housing act. the fair housing act requires that the secretary takes steps
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to affirmatively further fair housing, and that our grantees affirmatively further fair housing. the challenge has been that the federal government has never provide precise guidance sufficient precise guidance to communities on how they should do that. we have not given them the tools to the that. so we are close in on a rule, a fair housing rule. part of that is an assessment of fair housing tool that they'll be able to use to understand what the fair housing challenges in those communities are. and i can tell you as a former mayor, a former local elected official and former council member i wish that i had had that kind of tool when i was on the city council or as mayor of san antonio. as a policymaker, it would have helped to understand what more we could do. they will file an assessment of
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fair housing with their consolidated plans every five years. and we're looking forward to rolling this out. this is still in the rule making process. so i won't go into the specifics of it. but we're excited about the possibility of this improving the fair housing landscape in the united states. >> thank you for that for that response and for your effort in that area. you know, studies show that federal rental assistance helps families stay out of poverty achieve stability and ultimately better life outcomes, particularly for children. can you elaborate on the positive impacts that hud's rental assistance programs have on our most vulnerable house holds across the country? >> it's tremendous, the im.
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the impact that we have provides stability for young people, confident and dignity as was mentioned to the 56% of households that are headed by someone who is elderly or disabled. it gives individuals who are working age the chance to get on a stronger path to prosperity. in fact, 43% of our working age adults in hud assisted housing do in fact work. so the rental assistance that we give is in and of itself successful in putting a roof over folks head, giving them stability and putting them on a path to the kind of prosperity that they want to work for. >> and how does the brooke rule that caps tenants' rents at 30% of income help families maintain housing affordability while still having enough room in their budget for other basic necessities? >> what that role ensures is that of course they have a responsibility to pay 30% of their income in rent, so they
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have skin in the game. they are putting something forward. at the same time, it does shield them to some extent from increases in rents. with what we see out there is that the rents are going through the roof in many communities. this similaris impacting everybody. the fact is that so many households today are paying 50% or more of their income in rent. 7.7 low income households that don't receive any government assistance are paying at least 50% of their income in rent. >> thank you for your response. i yield back. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from ohio, mr. stooifers. >> thank you for your call last week offering to work with me on a lot of issues that we share a passion for.
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and i want to read from hud's mission statement and ask you about four areas really quickly. this is a summary of your mis mission statement, you want to utilize housing as a platform to improve the quality of life, build communities free from discrimination and transform the way hud does business. that's my summary of your mission. it's excerpts from your mission. >> sure. >> and i'd like to talk to you about four areas. first moving to work homes ls youth, housing finance especially involving condominium rules and the fair housing initiative if we could. i'd like to start with moving to work. it's an easy one. it's a bipartisan issue. we all care about it. it's a flexible and holistic program that build people's quality of life and transform lives. so i guess i just want to get
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you on the record saying you're going to work with this on this bipartisan bill that will expand the program and allow it to use a holistic program that looks at the total needs of the residents and makes it a little more flexible for the agencies that ad minister it. >> yes we absolutely are. >> i'll take yes as an answer. thank you. second, on homeless youth you may be aware that 2014 annual homeless assessment to congress said that homelessness among families declined between 2007 and 2014. yet the numbers reported through our department of education actual i said they went up 85%. so since the 2007 school year. that's a big disparity and it real hi has to do with the hud definition leaving out homeless
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children. and i guess my question, i don't want this to be a loaded question but it kind of is. how are we going to solve the problem of homeless youth if we don't count them correctly? >> well i believe that we have counting them. and i believe -- first of all, i look forward to working with you. we had a good conversation about this issue. as you know, we have concerns about this legislation. one of the concerns is that it injuries -- >> you got to count people before you can help people. the hud definition excluding whole categories of homeless folks that are under 18. i want to work with you to give you the flex about. but it's really important that we could them. and your definition excludes them. >> i would say there's more overlap that has been commonly given credit for.
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let's work on it. >> i would love to work with you to help solve that. they count in my opinion and i want you to help count them. so i appreciate your willingness to work on that. third, with regard to condominiums, you may know that the process with regard to fha, funding for condominiums really is complicated. and if fha would simply move to risk based pricing for condominiums only, i'm not asking you to do it everywhere. you've had the ability to do the risk based pricing since before i got to congress. condominiums have a higher risk than single family homes. i would stipulate to that. if you move to that model you could move away from a model that excludes so many condos. only about 10% to 20% condos are eligible for fha housing. we got to fix it. it's an affordable way for people to get house. it's a big way for a lot of
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urban people to get housing. i'd love to work with you on that too and i do want to get to fair housing initiative if we can. did you by any chance since you've been there you came long after it happened. did you happen to look at your ig's report from, let's see, 2014? i guess it was issued in 2015, recently. oh, this is your -- wait a second. that's the wrong one. it was shuds in 2014. have you had a chance to see this -- 2013, i'm sorry >> yeah. i'm familiar with this report. i think you're talking about this one that i brought with me. >> have you implemented the recommendations? >> we have implemented those recommendations. and we've issued a directive emphasizing the need for onsite monitoring.
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and we've implemented a tracking system as well. >> that's great. i know i'm out of town. can you tell us have you updated your conflict of interest standards because they're real i low and they don't include having board members that actually compete against the folks that are subjected to these lawsuits. >> i look forward to following up with you on that. >> the gentleman is correct. he is out of town. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. pittenger. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. secretary, good to have with you. mr. secretary, i'm a businessman. i served in the north carolina senate. i led an effort for efficiencies, restructured the government. worked with the democrat legislature. came up with a billion and a half of savings. i worked with the speaker addressing what we could do to consolidate the health and human
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services department. i worked on medicaid fraud which was pervasive throughout our government and as such around the country, about 20% of it. i think the pushback that maybe you've sensed from this side of the aisle today is wanting a recognition that there is a concern for some abuse. you know even you referenced several times that the individuals that you serve come from the very poor or the disabled. the disability insurance has increased in the last decade from $88 billion to $145 billion. that's a lot of money. that's a lot of people. it seems that a lot of folks have been able to gain access to that. i've worked with our secretary of health and human services in north carolina on addressing food stamps. there's very little eligibility
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requirements i've heard on the phone with the majority leader and our staff, trying to create the eligibility requirements to address it. i think the overall concern is the abuse of the system. and what is being done? you've made a clear compelling statement of a great american success story in addressing the needs of veterans and their homelessness. i think what we're looking for is that great american success story in creating accountability inside the system and looking for real metrics looking for what you're doing to make sure that only those who really need assistance are getting it. if you have 56% of your folks that you're servicing and a good portion of those from the disabled and you have enormous access to disability where does that fall in line in terms of
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people being able to access not just disability but then be able to get federal housing. all of this is a real concern to all of us who want a physical accountable government. i really reject the statements that were made to imply that there's some type of racial concern here. i have been involved in federal housing in my community for 25 years. you can talk to civic leaders, pastors, african american pastors who i've worked with very closely. and i understand the need and i am responsive to that need. but at the same time i respect individuals who want a physically accountable government. and we don't see a demonstrated effort in so many ways of how that's being manifest. i would really appreciate your response to those concerns. >> i appreciate the question and the concern. and early on in my tenure we set out a vision for hud and one
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important part of that vision was to create a more accountable and transparent department. so one of the first thing i did was that i coauthored a letter, joint letter with our ig that went out to all of our employees telling them that folks ought to cooperate with ig investigations and reviews. we have gotten our departmental enforcement center to work with our ig. we work with the ig to implement the recommendations on audits and reports so that we improve performance out there. we're looking at ways to improve monitoring of our grantees. one challenge for instance is that we have over 8,000 grantees -- >> mr. secretary, if you don't mind, could i interrupt you. would you agree with me that there is abuse of the system in. >> that abuse happens in the system sometimes? >> yes. >> i agree with you on that. >> good. i think that's what we want.
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if you want to come back to us with real measured results, not what you've given to your staff and what to look for but measured results on what you've done to bring accountability inside your system. that would really demonstrate to us that we're putting or tax dollars where they really belong. we care deeply about those in the safety net that need our help. we care deeply though as well about the american taxpayer and what they're -- how they're being exploited time and again. >> i share that concern and we'd love to follow up. >> thank you very much yield back. chair now recognizes the gentleman from arizona, mr. swie getter. >> mr. secretary a couple of quick one to build the box. for the agency what do you think the thing you do or the agency does very best, where you do it efficiently, you actually
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affect people's lives and the cost, the dollar outcome as you measure it is something you're proud of? >> there are several things that fit that category. it's fair to say the thing that many of us are proud of is working with the va on veteran homelessness. >> what is the thing that most concerns you where the dollar per life affected or helped or changed is unacceptable to you? what is that. >> what is you question? >> same thing just the opposite, the mirror image of the first question. what in the dozens and dozens and dozens of programs and initiatives you are managing -- look you've inherited much of this. if the dollars spent, it is unacceptable to you the quality, the outcome in affecting and helping people's lives. >> i think it's fair to say that
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every day i read the clippings from around the country and i see one of the grantees that is not spending money the way they ought to -- >> i beg of you. no, i don't want to go the anecdotal direction. i almost want this to be your math brain side of saying as a manager of a multi-billion dollar agency, what program is unacceptable to you that the dollars being spent on the number of lives you're actually helping. >> i don't believe that there is a program that hud has -- >> so no program -- >> i guess what you're calling is basically a useless program. i disagree with that. >> no. we all have those the way they're designed the efficiencies -- >> is your program what program we need to improve in terms of its efficiency? >> or restructure. you just told me you're very proud of your veterans homeless. obviously you came up with methodology and mechanics there that you thought was effective per dollar.
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but on the flip side you can't tell me anything out of -- >> if your question is what program or programs can we improve the efficiency on, what programs concern me about the efficiency on. >> if you had a target right now where it was time for a technology revolution, cost revolution, delivery revolution in what you do to use that money to affect people's lives what is that program that is time to have that management revolution that you bring to the table tlrchlts are many. >> give me the number one. >> well, one of them that i think we can make more progress on is cwbg. i'm told by my folks who ad ministers this that a lot of the work on cdbg is centered around e essentially routine. >> what is the technology that you can bring to that to bring that revolution about so that dollars per lives affected is acceptable to you?
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>> this is why we're requesting i.t. upgrades to improve the i.t. system to enhance monitoring and cut down on the amount of time that our people have to spend doing paperwork -- >> -- provide the efficiencies that would ultimately cover those costs and that's a program that you're going -- >> that's one example. >> -- that help more people's lives and accomplish it through the efficiencies and pay for it through those efficiencies. >> your characterization is off that it's one program. it's not one program. >> you do initiatives at the program level. >> yeah, there's no question congressman. there are efficiencies that we have yet to achieve that we need to achieve. it's going to take us improving the systems. that often takes an investment and we need that investment from you. >> you actually have a misnomer there. if you take a look at the rest of the world, particularly in the private sector the adoption of technologies and efficiencies
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is to save money -- >> congressman -- >> let me finish. >> if you invest in my program as much as you did in this room with the carpet gold insignia, taj mahal i think we can make -- >> mr. secretary, the time belongs to the gentleman from arizona. >> you shocked me with that rudeness. >> that's the fact. >> shall we try again, mr. secretary? come on, you're better than this. you're much better than this. your brother is one of my favorite people here. as we try to help you policy-wise to find those efficiencies where you believe you can have the most impact through your testimony and statement you keep repeating over and over investment investment, investment. but in the same breath you tell me that the technology dollars are going to provide you efficiencies. why aren't you also telling us these efficiencies are going to
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pay for the technology investments. with that, mr. chairman i yield back. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania mr. rof fess. >> thank you for joining us today. i'd like to talk about hud's continuum of care program providing tra sigs improvisational transportation and service to individuals and families. your staff has been talking to my office about some challenges with hud regulations they've run into as a single sex provider. this provider does great work in the north hills of pittsburgh helping women with children avoid homelessness. most of the women there have been in poverty. many have experienced mental health or substance abuse issues. despite that the outcomes achieved have been tremendous, with more than 80% of clients increasing income and education
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levels and finding house. the regulations as they currently stand prevent this provider from continuing to serve females with children. and i can't imagine that they are the only ones experiencing this issue. in thinking through some of these issues i question whether it makes sense for every program fb all things for all people. this provider serves a unique population that seems to be a key tenant of the program, to enpower folks on the ground, to meet the specific needs of the community. it can't be one size fits all. instead, could services under the continuum of care program for different genders be provided at different locations if that is what the community deems to be the most appropriate? >> yeah. thank you for the question, congressman. of course i'm not familiar with this particular case. i'm glad that my staff has been working with your staff on it and would love to follow up with you on it personally.
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we always strive to allow local communities to meet their own needs, and sometimes it becomes a challenge when those local needs clash with other dictates. however, we would like to work with you and with the community to see what's possible on that. >> so would you agree that you can work with different genders depending on the context of the situation? so, for example, if you have a residence that has been helping with domestic abuse survivors that maybe there should be a particular sensitivity there to the residents? >> i would agree with you that that does exist in different places sure. >> and should washington, d.c. come down and say no no you can't do that. you have to open up the program when you a specific population there -- >> again i don't want to speak to the specific case. i am not familiar with the details of this particular case.
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however, in general what we like to do is as i mentioned earlier, have a mission driven flexibility so we can meet the mission that hud has working with local communities and effectively serve those people that our programs are meant to serve. >> do you know whether there are waivers in the program, for example, that hud would be able to grant? >> in many of our programs there are waivers and in certain circumstances we have granted waivers on a whole number of things in order to meet the fundamental goal of that program. >> we'd like to follow up with you and ask you to consider any waivers that would be appropriate to help this very vulnerable population. in meeting with the housing authorities and affordable housing provider in my district there have concern about regulations that are burdensome. can you tell me how often hud is doing a retrospective review of regulations?
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>> that's a good question. you know, when the -- a few years ago the president asked each of the departments to look at all of their regulations and to eliminate at least 5%. that was the goal of those regulations. in that time roughly over the last three or four years, hud has eliminated -- i believe the last thing i saw was 11% of those regulations. and we'd be glad to get your staff a follow-up on which regulations those have been. we share a goal i think. and we heard this from congressman luetkemeyer and others. we hear that hey, hud, can you get better about streamlining some of these administrative burdens. where we can do it, mark my words, we're going to do it. >> is there any ongoing review
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where ever two years -- tlnchs's a streamlining rule that's in development? >> the rule is in development right now? >> the rule is in development. >> when can we see that. >> the proposed rule was issued in january of 2015 and the goal is to issue this summer. >> the chair now recognizes the gentle lady from utah, ms. love. >> hello, secretary. how are you doing? >> doing well. >> i just came in so i don't know all of the questions that were asked. but i want you to know that i'm hoping we have a good civil back and forth so we can get om information. good? yes? >> yeah, sure. >> great. i have just finished reading an article on the hill and understand that the administration, the obama administration is moving forward with regulations designed to help diversify america's neighborhoods.
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you're pushing guard with that, right? >> i wouldn't characterize it that way in terms of diversifying america's neighborhoods. i think you're talking about the affirmatively fair housing? >> i'm looking specifically at a department of housing -- your hud rule that's coming out that is dedicated to diversifying neighborhoods in the attempt to try and end some areas that you think are segregated, for instance. >> yeah. we just had a conversation about that, the rule on affirmatively furthering fair housing. >> okay. i just want to know some quick exam. s that you have where the government has actually -- the federal government has actually been able to diversify areas or end poverty in local areas where the local municipalities could not do that >> yeah, that's not the way i'm thinking about it. that's not the way we're
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thinking about it. >> how are you thinking about it? >> the way we're thinking about it is -- i used to be a mayor. i know you used to be a mayor. >> that's why i'm asking you -- i know that as a mayor you wouldn't want the federal government come in telling you what to do with your zoning laws and your rules because you have more skin in the game. you have more of an incentive to take care of the people that live in your areas. you're the boots on the ground. and so that's why i'm trying to figure out where you think this would be a good idea. >> yeah. so the lynch pin -- i'm going to be careful about what i say about the rule because it's in rule making right now. so we don't want to prejudge all of the contents of the rule. however, i think it's fair to say that the goal is to ensure that local communities have the tools to assess the landscape of housing in their area and where the investments are, where affordable housing opportunities are to understand what -- >> so you think that they don't have the tools right now and you
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need to provide the tools that they need to landscape their area, to have more of a -- to have more data for their area? >> i believe that through this rule they will be able to get through what we call an assessment of fair housing -- >> did you feel like you didn't have the right type of tools to make the right types of decisions in your area? >> yeah, i said earlier that i wish i had had this tool when i was mayor. it would have been fantastic as a polly maker. it truly would have helped us to understand how we could ensure that throughout the community people have the opportunity for upward mobility. i'm convinced -- >> i have a limited amount of tomb. before we go on, can i get a commitment from you that you are not going to do anything that preempts what the municipalities are doing in their area you're not going to go in and make zoning laws that are going to preempt -- >> i've seen talk about that
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congresswoman. >> yes? yes? >> yes. this is not about changing zoning laws or anything like that. >> the city was mayor of was named one of the best cities or livability and affordability. it wasn't because we put pockets in areas of affordable housing. it wasn't because we said there are people that cannot afford specific housing so we're going to make sure that we do that. it's because we actually lowered the price. we lowered taxes. we made sure that our taxes paid for public safety police and fire. and we gave people opportunity to use their own money in order for them to be able to pick affordable housing in their own neighborhoods, neighborhoods of their own choosing so that their kids to go into -- go to schools of their choosing. one of the things that i'm really concerned about, i just put up an article on facebook that talked about utah going
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from 1,932 chronically homeless to 178 homeless. that is remarkable. that a state can actually do that. they have their own housing project. >> they did it with a lot of our money. so i agree. >> no. listen. they did that because it was their decision. >> with our money. >> it's the taxpayer dollars. you think this money belongs to you. this money does not belong to you. it belongs to the people. >> i'm proud of what ut it has done. >> it belongs to the people. what i'm saying is you should take note from what we're doing. why not follow what utah is doing so we can end homelessness. every program that we have aimed at poverty should be aimed at making poverty temporary not tolerable. thank you. >> the time of the gentle lady expired. the chair wishes to advise that in order to accommodate the secretary's schedule, the chair plans to recognize three more
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members, the gentlemen from colorado arkansas and kentucky. those monitoring the hearing in their offices, you have a day late and a dollar short. at this time we will recognize the gentleman from colorado. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. secretary, good to see you. >> good to see you. >> i would like to talk about some of the sustainability energy saving measures that the department has undertaken with local governments with local public housing authorities. i know in colorado your agency has worked very closely with a number of our local governments and local housing authorities to really make sure that the residents, you know have very well-built units and complexes that are very efficient in their operations. so if you could just talk to us a little bit about what the
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agency is doing nationwide and you know any specific examples that you wanted to raise. >> yes. and i want to say how much i appreciate representative, the chance that i got to get out to denver not too long ago. in fact the denver housing authority is a good example of this. i had a chance to visit north lincoln homes. they've installed 10,400 solar panels on the building. we want folks to have a roof over their head in a safe environment and we want them to do it in a healthy environment as well. it's healthier, it's bet ferter for the environment and they're saving money. >> i want to, for the record colorado is the fittest state in the nation, too. >> i won't challenge you on that. >> i want to talk about colorado for a second. and i appreciate your comment. >> so we're doing just a whole
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bunch of work on this. those buildings were part of what are called our better buildings challenge. and the better buildings challenge includes a push to get multi. family building owners to agree to improve their energy efficiency by 20% over the next decade. already we've gotten about 89 multi-family partners that represent about 400 million square feet of space and serve 400,000 people. so that's one significant advancement we've made. there are also other big communities like new york, through its housing authority that is working to do green energy retro fits. and we worked with them to make it economically feasible in conjunction with the private sector so that they're going to have renovated and more environmentally sound green energy units there in new york. and we just think that this is a victory all the way around.
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>> and i've seen instances where your department has worked with other agencies within the federal government, whether it's education or transportation or energy, you know to make sure that you know, new complexes, new housing units are near transit or, you know, it's easy for the residents to get from one place to another. can you comment on that? >> i'm confident that one of the lasting legacies of the obama administration is that it has broken through the silos sustainable community is a good example of this, hud, d.o.t. epa working together and asking local communities to do the same thing. because we know if we're going to lift up the quality of life for people it's not just about housing. it's also about access to transit. it's about a good school. it's about the opportunity for a good job.
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so how do all of us work together across the silos so that folks have a holistic opportunity to rise. and denver is a good example of this, whether it's investment in transit that connects to some of the housing there or environmental investments that have been made, the promise zones that we are recently announced the second round of are another good example. we want to make sure we're making an overall holistic effect on life. >> is there anything that i haven't touched on that you would like to talk about? >> there are a million things we'd like to talk about but we're very proud of so much of the investments that are made. we're also mindful, as folks i know on this side of the aisle have said that we can can't to work on efficiency and accountability and we will do that. >> with that mr. chair, i'll yield back. >> gentleman yields back his time. the chair now recognizes the
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gentleman from arkansas, mr. hill. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you ranking member. mr. castro good to have you before the committee today. i was thinking quite a bit at the dinner about what the president, be happy or sad about the performance of the great society program since we really haven't gotten poverty as a percentage of the population down since his time. i know we've spent trillions trying to. but i do welcome you back to the committee. i've met with my public housing authority twice in little rock arkansas. one thing that came up consistently was hud's bureaucratic delays and disposition of properties, that was -- i was informed that it can take up to literally a year through your chicago disposition
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office to take a property that's been sold take it off the books and therefore we can't develop new units without putting that cash to work. that seemed like a really long time to me. i wonder what you consider a good benchmark for that disposition process. >> i believe it's fair to say that, according to the history of the property and the size of it that you see a range. however, i agree with you that we certainly should endeavor to do it in a way that is as swift as possible. and while i'm not familiar with the particular case of the little rock housing authority, i'd be glad to follow up with you and your staff so that we can figure out with regard to that how do we improve that situation and then more broadly give you an answer on what our average is. it may well be that that doesn't -- >> my question is not case specific. sit prospective. i think -- but i've seen it in a couple of instances now and i encourage you to set a benchmark
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that's substantially better than that. you talked a lot about your success with veteran homelessness today. we appreciate that. but in preparing for the hearing i was really shocked when i read a crs memo that suggests that of the $45 billion in new discretionary appropriations provided for hud's program $43 billion, so some 95% basically all of it is nearly all that funding is apparently disbursed by automatic or computer-driven funding. sout's basically on auto pilot. that it goes out. they say it's allocated by formula, 95% of hud's appropriations is allocated by
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auto payment. which means that hud doesn't have a lot of managerial input. this is a real change i've noticed since coming back to washington that our cabinet secretaries don't have a lot of control about mixing programs or changing personnel. we see it at the veteran's administration all of the time, i know you've been frustrated about it. whether you choose to mention it here or not is your business. it appear to me how many more houses could we build or how many more lives could we change if we had a reduction in the 7800 employees that you have if 95% of your spending is driven by a formula, do you really need that big of a head count? what do you think about that? >> let me give you another stat. in january of 199 is we had 6100 employees, and today we have 7,810. >> you were spending probably
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$10 billion in 1983. >> we're having to do more with less people. but i think you and i can agree on this. that we are always looking for ways through the use of technology, through doing things just smarter that we can become more efficient. >> does that number shock you in 95%? does that surprise you that crs says that 95% of your spending is all based essentially on a standing formula that flows out to you -- >> does it surprise me? i might want to double-check that percentage. it doesn't surprise me that a lot of our programs are essentially formula funded. however there are a number of them that are competitive fund as well. there is not much discretionary power that is given over to the cabinet secretary. >> what do the nearly 8,000 people do in that instance, then? >> they essentiallied ay ed aad minister
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the programs. we've had a lot of talk about how we can ensure the accountability. they're the front line in ensuring the accountability. >> if you had a good inspector general and get congress to agree to a big i.t. upgrade if you're going to have that much automated spending, wouldn't that be the way to handle it? where do they add value? >> that's why we need the investment in i.t. so we can achieve some of that. i agree with you on that. >> chair now recognizes the gentleman from kentucky, mr. barr. >> thank you mr. chair. mr. secretary, thank you for your patience. i appreciate your time here. the report is that hud has spent since it originate in 1965 approximately $1.65 trillion on its programs other the course of these 50 years. and yet since 1965 the percentage of prime age male workers in the workforce has
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declined from over 90% to only about 77% today. also the official poverty rate has been discussed has remained essentially flat. in 1965 7% of american children were born outside of marriage. today that number is over 40%. that matters of course because single parents families are four times as likely than married families to persist in poverty. the number of single parent families in official poverty has more than tripled. we talked about this quite a bit today. but how do you personally define success in the mission of the department of housing and urban development? >> we have addressed this, congressman. i define success in several ways. first of all somebody having a roof over their head a veteran that served our country having a
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roof over his ore her head is success. >> can i stop you there? i agree with you. >> we agree on that. >> i want to elaborate here a little bit. putting a roof over someone's head is success certainly in keeping that individual out of homelessness. >> for the department of housing. >> sure. but wouldn't you define success with higher expectations that the aspiration of your agency shouldn't just be putting a person who's homeless so into a shelter or putting a roof over their head but instead putting a person in a position where they themselves are putting a roof over their head? isn't that the expectation that we would want? is that what the american taxpayers expect in terms of the return on their investment? >> what they expect is that the department of housing will provide safe quality affordable housing first and then we also of course, want to work to ensure that people also have the stability to get on to the path
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that they want in life. but let's not suggest that the fact that they have a roof over thane head didn't count for anything. >> it certainly counts. i think that our aspirations need to be much higher. or expectations expectations are far too low. the expectation should be that success is mess ired not just on how many people we're moving in on dependency on the department. >> i wouldn't call it dependency. i disagree with that. >> i think we just went over the statistics. but let's talk about your stated testimony, which i appreciate that you're always looking for ways to become more efficient. you're always working on efficiency and accountability and you've assigned your deputy secretary to lead an operational review that deep dives efficiency. let me tell you where i think the department could deliver on that commitment. in kentucky i have heard from many constituents who are dwran tees of continuum of care which is supposed to take care of our
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homeless population. in one city in kentucky with a homeless rate that is average they're getting about $8 million. in a similar city with the same homelessness rate, they're getting about 1/8 of that money. and for those constituents in that underserved community, what they tell me is that hud has been capricious in prohibiting unused funds from being redirected. so, in other words, in the city with the large number of continuum care funds the grantee is supposed to have 24 months to expend those funding or those funds will be recaptured. but the statute also says the secretary shall reallocate the funds for another program that meets the requirements to be carried out if possible in the same geographic area as that area served through the original grant. but i have heard from my constituents that the request to move the unexpended funds from one dwran tee in one kentucky
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county to another less than an hour away has been denied. so my question to you is what do you define as a geographic area, and why can't we take unspent funds in one area and reallocate those to another area where there is an equal and chronic need. >> ha a great question. in fact it's a great question because this is one of the things we would like to work on, especially in smaller communitying to allow them to share resources, whether it's on overhead or direct provision of services. so let's work on that. >> i appreciate your offer. i want to work on that to help you make good on your commitment to make these dollars go further for the american taxpayer. thank you. i yield back. >> time of the gentleman has expired. i'd like to thank the secretary for his testimony today. without objection -- [ applause ] -- all members of the committee will come to order. without objection, all members will have five legislative days
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in which to submit additional written questions for the witness to the chair which will be forwarded to the witness for his response. i would ask the secretary to please respond as promptly as you are able. without objection, all members will have five days with which to submit items for the record. this hearing stands adjourned.
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friday, environmental protection agency officials testify about air quality standards at a house energy and chers sub committeek-ykykykmember. they have proposed stricter limits on ground-level yoe zone. you can watch the hearing, live on c-span 3 at 9:30 eastern time. on c-span's road to the whous, more presidential hopefuls announce their
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candidacy for president, live saturday on c-span, hillary clinton will kick off her campaign, live from the fdr four freedoms park in new york city at 11:00 eastern. on monday afternoon we're live at miami dade college where jeb bush will officially announce his candidacy. and on tuesday, on c-span drorg, businessman donald trump will announce whether he will make a bid for the white house. c-span's road to the white house, 2016. the new congressional directory is a handy guide to the 114th congress, with color photos of every senator and house member, plus bioand contact information, a foldout of capitol hill a look at congressional
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committees, federal agencies and state governors. order your copy today. it's $13.95 plus shipping and handling through the c span online store at in last month's parliamentary elections, snp nicola sturgeon spoke about her party's gains and an upcoming referendum on britain's membership in the european union. from the council on foreign relations, this is an hour. good morning, everyone, and
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welcome to this session on the council on foreign relations. i'm judy woodruff, and i'm delighted to be with you this morning to preside over a discussion with the first minister of scotland. nicola sturgeon was elected deputy leader of the snp in 2004. and in that capacity she went on to become a high-profile figure in the scottish parliament and scottish politics, leading to her history-making election as leader of the snp in november of last year. she became the first woman to hold the position first minister of scotland but she made further history two months ago after a vigorous campaign when her party won a landslide in the u.k. general elections, can touring 56 of 59 seats designated for scotland in the national parliament. sheila begin by making remarks, and then i'll sit down with her for a conversation before we take your questions.
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please join me in welcoming the first minister of scotland, nicola sturgeon. [ applause ] >> thank you very much indeed, judy for that very warm introduction. thank you to all of you for being here this morning. it is a real pleasure for me to be here. it's a real pleasure for me to be here in the united states here in washington, d.c. and in particular to be here at the council on foreign relations, august and well-respected organization not just in the united states but worldwide. one of the things i've been reminded of often since i arrived on thist to the u.s., the weekend is the fact that the very deep bonds between scotland and the united states go back centuries. they run from the discussion and
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the debate between enlightenment thinkers such as david hume and benjamin franklin to the modern exchange of university graduates and the connections between our technology companies the relationship between our two countries is cultural. it is social. it is historic, and of course, it is economic as well, and we value those lengths and those ties very highly. and from what i've seen and observed on my visit this week is that those ties are set to continue and indeed to strengthen for generations to come. so it's a real pleasure to be here this morning at the council on foreign relations, an organization, which, for more than 90 years, has contributed to that exchange of ideas between the united states and the wider world. i'm especially pleased to be speaking at this particular time. i'm very aware that there is a
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strong interest here in political developments not just in scotland but across the united kingdom as a whole, and there is understandably, an interest in the implications of these developments for europe and for the wider international community. before we begin our discussion therefore, i want to provide a very brief overview of my thoughts on where the united kingdom and scotland stand now. and in doing that, i'll talk about two referendums and one election. i'll look back briefly on the referendum of scottish inld pence that took place last year and also at the uk general election that took place just last month, but i also look forward to the referendum on the united kingdom's membership of the european union which is


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