tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 25, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EDT
♪ don't just try to be a mother, raise a daughter and a son ♪ ♪ be a lover to their father ♪ everything to everyone ♪ i'm up bright and early ♪ i'm all business in my suit ♪ hey, i'm dressed up for success from my suit to my boots ♪ ♪ and i've counted up the cost ♪ i know the sacrifice ♪ oh, and i don't want to die for you ♪ ♪ but diein''s asked of me ♪ well, i'll bear the cross with honor ♪ ♪ because freedom don't come free ♪ ♪ i'm an american soldier ♪ an american ♪ beside my brothers and my sisters ♪ ♪ i will proudly take a stand
♪ where liberty's in jeopardy ♪ i will always do what's right ♪ ♪ right here on front lines ♪ bringing peace to light ♪ american soldier ♪ i'm an american soldier ♪ ♪ i'm an american soldier [ applause ] general dempsey and deanie just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary. in their honor, we perform their wedding song, "close to you."
♪ ♪ why do birds ♪ suddenly appear ♪ every time ♪ you are near ♪ just like me ♪ they long to be ♪ close to you ♪ why do stars ♪ fall down from the sky ♪ every time ♪ you walk by ♪ just like me ♪ they long to be ♪ close to you ♪ on the day that you were born ♪ ♪ the angels got together ♪ and decided to create a dream come true ♪ ♪ so they sprinkled moon dust in your hair ♪
♪ and golden starlight in your eyes of blue ♪ ♪ that is why ♪ all the boys in town ♪ follow you ♪ all around ♪ just like me ♪ they long to be ♪ close to you ♪ [ applause ] it has been a journey of four decades for the general and deanie, a family first. then again, if you've served with them, you are part of their family. this irish balance add, titled "the voyage", puts it all in perspective. ♪
♪ i am a sailor ♪ you're my first mate ♪ we signed on together ♪ we coupled our fate ♪ we hauled off the anchor ♪ determined not to fail ♪ for the heart's treasure ♪ together we set sail ♪ no map to guide us ♪ we steered our own course ♪ we rolled out the storms ♪ when the winds were gale force ♪ ♪ we sat out the doldrums in patience and hope ♪ ♪ workin' together ♪ we learned how to cope ♪ life is an ocean ♪ and love is a boat ♪ and in troubled waters ♪ we learn how to float
♪ when we started together ♪ it was just me and you ♪ now look around us ♪ we have our own crew ♪ together we're in this relationship ♪ ♪ we build it with care ♪ to last the whole trip ♪ a true dance the nation ♪ not marked on any charts ♪ we're navigating for the shoals of the heart ♪ ♪ life is an ocean and love is a boat ♪ ♪ and in troubled waters we learn how to float ♪ ♪ when we started the voyage there was just me and you ♪
♪ i want to be a part of it ♪ new york, new york ♪ these vagabond shoes ♪ they are longing to stray ♪ right through the very heart of it ♪ ♪ new york, new york ♪ i want to wake up in that city that never sleeps ♪ ♪ to find i'm a-number 1 ♪ top of the list ♪ king of the hill ♪ a-number 1 ♪ my little town blues ♪ they are melting away ♪ i'm going to make a brand-new
start of it ♪ ♪ in old new york ♪ if i can make it there ♪ i'm going to make it ♪ anywhere ♪ anywhere ♪ it's up to you, new york ♪ new york ♪ new york [applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, as we bid farewell to the dempseys, we ask the chairman to assist us in singing the parting glass. >> you know, anybody can sing that song with all those people
standing behind you. [ laughter ] all right, we'll get you out of the rain here in a second. last song. give me the tune. ♪ of all money that 'ere i had ♪ i spent it in good company ♪ and all the harm that ere i've done ♪ ♪ alast it was to none but me ♪ and all i've done ♪ for one ♪ to memory now i can't recall ♪ so fill to me ♪ the parting glass
♪ good-bye and joy be to you all ♪ ♪ so fill to me ♪ a parting glass ♪ and drink a health what 'ere befalls ♪ ♪ and gently rise and softly call ♪ ♪ good-bye and joy be to you all ♪ [ applause ] ♪ for all the comrades that 'ere i've had ♪ ♪ they're sorry for my goin' away ♪ ♪ and all the memories that 'ere i've had ♪ ♪ they'd wish me one more day to
♪ can't you just feel the moonshine ♪ ♪ ain't it just like a friend of mine ♪ ♪ keep me from behind ♪ because i'm going to carolina in my mind ♪ ♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain in place for the departure of the official party. ♪ in my mind, i'm going to carolina ♪ ♪ can't you see the sunshine ♪ can't you just feel the moonshine ♪ ♪ ain't it just like a friend of mine ♪ ♪ keep me from behind
♪ because i'm going to carolina in my mind ♪ ♪ yes, i'm going to carolina in my mind ♪ [applause ] the c-span networks feature weekends full of politics, non-fiction books and american history. the pope's visit to the united states continues saturday as he travels from new york to philadelphia, live coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. eastern as pope francis speaks at independence hall. then at 7:30 p.m. the pontiff attends the festival of family the. moving to our road to the white house coverage, join us sunday at 6:35 as lawrence
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documenting the 1963 visit of the king and queen of afghanistan to the united states, which included a meeting with president kennedy and a parade through washington, d.c. get our complete weekend schedule at c-span.org. the house held a hearing on automotive safety and how consumers are notified about safety recalls. this is an hour. the sub committee on commerce, manufacturing and trade will now come to order. the chair will recognize himself five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement. and i do want to welcome everyone to our hearing this morning the draft companion legislation to the motor vehicle safety whistle blower act and the discussion draft of the
improving recall tracking act. in 2014, there were over 63 million vehicles recalled in the united states, due to safety concerns. this represents the highest number of vehicle recalls in more than three decades. under current law, vehicle manufacturers are required to report defects and non-compliance to the national highway traffic safety administration. the chairman of the full committee, mr. upton has seen to it with good work he did on the tread act, but there have been types when the reporting has been slow. the motor vehicle safety whistle-blower act is intended to foster greater attention and greater responsiveness to vehicle safety defects. it does so by providing an incentive to automotive employees and contractors who report potential safety violations to the united states department of transportation that otherwise would be concealed or unreported. the bill encourages employees to
report safety problems within their companies first to allow the automaker the opportunity to address safety issues. this is an important point, because it keeps the incentive to work within the system. the bill is meant to enhance current early reporting systems that have already been instituted by congress. furthermore, the bill is designed with the express purpose of exposing and stopping instances of wrongdoing and prese protecting the safe and well-being of the public. in addition to the whistle-blower act we have an opportunity to examine the discussion draft of the improving recall tracking act. this proposal would direct the didn't of transportation to establish a national database of vehicle identification numbers and driver registration information. it is intended to facilitate the consumer notification process in the event of a safety recall. in light of recent recalls, it
has become apparent that one of the main challenges of removing defective vehicles from the road is making certain that the right consumers are notified of the defect in a timely manner. this hearing will give us an opportunity to discuss how a national database housing current driver registration information and current vehicle identification numbers could help improve the consumer recall notification process beyond the, beyond that which is in place today. we will also hear how the industry is currently responding to these challenges. so we can factor in improvements of the system. vehicle safety is a serious issue. it continues to be a concern for this sub committee and for the driving public. in past hearings on this subject, i have said that americans deserve better. americans deserve more. the legislative proposal we will consider today are steps in the right direction towards providing the driving public
with confidence that the vehicles they are driving are safe and that the recall process works. in anticipation, i thank the witnesses for their testimonies, and i look forward to an engaging discussion on these measures. with that, the chair yields back and recognizes sub committee ranking member for an opening statement. >> thank you. it's nice to meet on a quiet day when there's no real news to be talking about except for this. but even in connection with this, i did want to mention that i think this committee can also be focussing on very big issues. of and big news. and i look forward, i hope, to focussing on volkswagen and their fraudulent emissions testing cheating that was revealed earlier this month. as you pointed out that the law already does require auto
manufacturers to report defects. and here we have a situation of deliberately building in a defect, and we need to talk about that. i also think that i have a piece of legislation, the vehicle safety improvement act, which i think would actually do the real deal in terms of making sure that we deal with auto safety. i want to, i want to recognize and welcome a friend of mine, will wallace, and a friend of this committee who's testifying today on behalf of consumers union. he is an outstanding former staffer of the sub committee, and i know will bring important insight to this issue. with more than 95 million american vehicles subject to safety recall over the past two years, we obviously have to improve the oversight of the auto industry and the efficacy and timeliness of recalls.
i believe, unfortunately, that these bills miss the mark. while i support efforts to enhance the communication between auto companies and drivers whose cars are subject to recall, i don't believe that the vehicle identification number vin database discussion draft would achieve this goal. manufacturers are already able to access the names and addresses of drivers whose vehicles are subject to a recall. the difference in the discussion draft is that those records would be free of charge to the auto companies, and yet, the bill would impose significant costs on nitsa and the states with no funding implemented for the database. the illinois secretary of state's office has indicated he has serious concerns about the lack of financial support. the second bill is intended to encourage auto industry whistle-blowers, and while appreciate the inclusion of
language allowing whistle-blowers to receive compensation and anonymity for coming forward, i have concerns about the bill's stipulations. mr. chairman, you said that it's good that the whistle blower has to report their concerns directly to the company first internally, and while one could make an argument that this might speed things up, i also really worry that provisions would discourage whistle-blowers from acting and put them at low fegsal risk for doing so, which really has been the history of whistle blowers. they have not done well, vis-a-vis the companies that they work for. there's a broader and more impactful legislative alternative to improve auto safety, as i said, my vehicle safety improvement act, which is co-sponsored by a ranking member and nine other members of this committee is the alternative.
and the public about vehicle safety issues and provides new authority to expedite auto recalls if they pose an imminent hazard of serious injury or death. so that's what i am hoping that we're going to be able to do rather than i believe these bills which kind of nibble around the margins. i'm not just disappointed. i am actually frustrated, and i, i, again, urge the sub committee to take up the safety act and i anticipate a conversation about what volkswagen has been doing and i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. anybody from the republican side seek for an opening statement? seeing none, any members of the democratic side seek time for an opening statement? seeing none.
again, we want to thank our witnesses for being here today and for being willing to take time to give testimony before the sub committee. our witness panel for today's hearing includes mr. john bazella, the president and ceo for the alliance of global automakers. mr. joe lafeir, senior vice president at ihs automotive. mr. cleveland lawrence the third, co-director of taxpayers against fraud. mr. william wallace, the policy analyst at the consumers union, mr. shape carr, vice president for affairs at the alliance manufacturers. we do appreciate all of you being here today. we will begin the panel with mr. bazella, each will be recognized for five minutes. you're recognized for five
minutes. thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member schakowsky. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i'm john bazella, ceo and president of the association of gloibl automakers. at ranking member's mentioned, the very troubling facts that have come to light involving volkswagen will likely have significant implications for the industry, and i look forward to working with the sub committee and discussing these issues as we move on. i've been asked for our perspective on two bill, the vehicle safety whistle-blower act and the tracking act. they included strong whistle blower protections in map 21. we agree it is an important tool to make sure that safety concerns are promptly identified, investigated and remedied. the bill before the sub committee builds on this law. whistle-blow whistle-blower issues have been built in because they realize that the manufacturer and
employees are the first line of defense in remdying safety concerns. our member companies have instituted internal controls that allow employees to communicate with their employer about any problem that could impair product quality or safety. for example, manufacturers train their employees specifically on product defect and safety issues and have dedicated safety officers who are responsible for following up on concerns rayise by employees. in addition, manufacturers have established hotlines to allow employees to communicate such problems. such systems allow the company to take appropriate remedial steps in many cases before the affected vehicles leave the factory. but no system is foolproof. we recognize that whistle blower statutes can play an important role in vehicle safety. so that they can investigate the issues and make any repairs that
are needed. while it is important for whistle blowers to be able to report safety issues directly to ntsa, it should ensure that employees are not incentivized to short circuit issues. our goal is to address problems, find remedies and take care of the customer as soon as possible. this is why the manufacturer needs to be a critical part of the process from the beginning. the second bill would establish a national vin database using registration vin data collected by state dmv offices. we agree dmvs could help recall information rates. this could provide the most up to date information which they could use to more effectively issue recall notices. in addition, dmvs could be required to notify everyone who
registered a vehicle about the recall status of their vehicle. this bill also has a website. the current system has limb tagts, but some vendors have developed tools that enable batch processing. we brief the sub committee should ensure that the processes created by this bill are not unnecessarily duplicative. increasing recall information rates is a priority. that's why we are conducting research along with the auto alliance to help understand what drives consumers to respond to recall campaigns. we look forward to briefing the sub committee on the research soon. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. and i would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. >> gentleman yields back. mr. lafeir, you're recognized for five minutes to sum rye your testimony, please. >> chairman burburgess, i'm joe
lafeir for ihs where i lied the company's automotive data business. ihs reaches back to the advent of the automobile. we have worked with all major manufacturers to facilitate the recall process. ihs remains a leader in data processing and provides the service to most manufacturers today. the draft in recall tracking act proposes a national vin database to aid and recall notification. in addition, the bill requires batch searching of the current safer car.gov. we are here today to express our opposition to the proposed new database. as with any good idea, the private sector has already developed a highly vektive and
robust solution. so the legislation simply directs the federal government to attempt to replicate what already exists. if enacted, the legislation will limit innovation and use taxpayer funds to create a federally-run database that would be less efficient and likely less capable than current market solutions. today the private sector's real time data processing is accomplished utilizing best in class technologies, using processes developed over decades. companies like ihs process billions of records each year from tens of thousands of sources and thousands of file formats. companies like ihs also employ thousands of people, many of whom are devoted to data processing to support recall. ihs acquires, standardizes, assembles data to create mailing lists to provide notice to affected consumers. we assist with the fulfillment
of recall notices, measurement of campaigns through their kpliegs. we provide real time reporting to our oem customers. further, we gather open recall information and provide that to the public through our subsidiary car fax. this bill would require registration information to be gathered from each state. automotive data companies use registration as just one data point in many proprietary sources to determine the best possible address to contact the owner of a recalled vehicle. as proposed, this database would not provide the same level of day that that we can provide today in the private sector. we can identify and provide addresses for the vast majority of car owners. while there are few exceptions,
you recall notification your honor mail rates typically remain in the single digits, and the private sector continues to innovate further to reduce these numbers. given the private sector's success in providing notice, perhaps the focus should be placed on addressing why some notified consumers get their cars remedied and others do not. in conclusion, the legislation, while well-intended does not create a better solution than what exists today. in an era where federal budgets are limited, this bill would direct ntsa to attempt to duplicate what the private sector has done decades ago. the private sector continues to innovate, going well beyond this legislation. appreciate the opportunity to testify and look forward to your comments. >> chair recognizes mr. lawrence. >> morning mr. chairman, ranking
member schakowsky. and members of the sub committee. thank you for inviting me to testify at today's hearing. my comments will be restricted to that bill only. my name is cleveland lawrence the third. i'm from two non-profit organizations dedicated to combating fraud. which allow whistle blowers with evidence against entities to file suit on behalf of the government in exchange for financial rewards for up to 15% to 30% of the government's recovery. if the suit's successful. my goals also support the irs and ftc whistle blower programs which offer reward to whistle-blowers.
i first joined taf in 2008 and became co-executor in 2013. i'm an attorney by training and spent the first six years of my career as an asoisht at a law firm where among other things my practice included defending claims under the whistle blower act. i can say without reservation that the federal claims act is the model standard. since that law was overhauled in 1986, the false claims act has returned more than $40 billion to the oust tris uri. this is in large part due to the significant role that whistle blowers have played in exposing fraud. for example, according to the u.s. department of justice, false case claims have returned r5 ppt it should not and has not
been ignored. more than half the states have acts now. similarly, the irs, fcc and cftc have rules based on the act. i cannot support the proposed motor vehicle safety whistle blower act in its current form as it suffers from many of the deficiencies that have already been corrected under the irs and cftc agents. first, the bill lacks guaranteed minimum rewards and gives the secretary of transportation unfettered discretion over the amount of an award up to a maximum to give whistle-blowers from an automobile manufacturer
or parts supply iror dealership. including the option to award no award at all. >> decades of experience make clear that any whistle blower program will inevitably fail unless it guarantees minimum rewards for those who come forward. before it was overhauled in 1986 it did not guarantee minimum rewards either, and the program did not effectively remedy fraud, bringing in only about, pardon my, only about $54 million in the year before it was amended. whistle blowers are simply unable to risk their livelihood without the assurance of some compensation for doing so and reporting fraud or misconduct by their companies to the government. the fcc and cftc -- the concept
works but a whistle-blower program that does not ensure minimum rewards cannot guarantee progress. i can think of no other law enforcement paradigm that requires that the target of the investigation is notified before the government can investigate. in my experience, whistle blowers often prefer to report internally, but since not all internal compliance programs are equal they have to make the choice about whether or not reporting to the company will target them for retaliation. in addition, by requiring a whistle blower to report internally, the government cuts off access to information about misconduct in the company giving an opportunity to coach witnesses or thwart evidence. i urge the committee to correct these two issues, because
without these corrections, the program is doomed to failure. i'm happy to answer your questions, thank you. >> the gentleman yields back. mr. wallace, you're recognized five minutes for your testimony, thank you. >> good morning, chairman burgess, ranking member schakowsky and members of the sub committee. i'm will wallace, a policy analyst for consumers union. the advocacy arm of consumer reports, we are an independent, non-profrt organization that works with consumers and for consumers for a fair, safe and just marketplace and of empowers consumers to fight for themselves. we've pushed for effective rules and laws. and for safety features such as seat belts, air bags and electronic stability control.
our center works every day and we communicate with millions of consumers to help them make informed choices and stay save. today's hearing is timely given the news lately. the ignition switches linked to at least 174 deaths was very disappointing because it didn't nearly go far enough. right on its heels came the news that volkswagen had cheated on emissions control testing for some 11 million diesel vehicles and covered it up. these news items are sending shockwaves through the industry and the public and the government. lawmakers need to take action to address this corporate accountability crisis. the discussion draft and bill before you today attempt to address pieces of the problem. one, the improving recall tracking act aims to tackle low recall completion rates, while the other, the motor vehicle safety whistle blower act seeks
to root out concealed deeffects. while we are glad that you are pursuing these, they fall far short. both in terms of meeting objectives and in the flawed system that safety defects are reported and corrected before people get hurt. the issues with toyota, takata and others made clear that auto industries must do far more to ensure their vehicles are safe. and ntsa must do far more to hold companies accountability. the improving recall tracking act could possibly help companies reach owners of older vehicles in case of a recall, if it were fully funded. but the bill doesn't authorize that funding. despite requiring ntsa and the states to carry out a substantial amount of new work. ntsa needs to be able to hire
more staff to protect the public. not have them more stretched than they already are. the whistle-blower act couldn't incentivize employees to give details. imagine how much suffering could have been prevented if a gm engineer had reported the flawed ignition switch to ntsa in 2007 or 2006. the minimum award that at least covers the salary a whistle-blower could face. the bills don't do nearly enough for consumer safety. instead, we urge you to take up boulder legislation enough as hr-1181. that would address current shortfalls in law and a loophole that allows dealers to sell recalled used vehicles before they are repaired. in addition to these measures, consumers union also encourages
the criminal action. giving it imminent hazard authority and making sure it receives more detailed information from manufacturers through early warning reporting. the bill would empower consumers by giving them free access to more safety information and by making ntsa's existing databases which can be clumsy, confusing and hard for an ordinary consumer to use more timely and more readily searchable. identifying defects before they reach epidemic proportions. we urge members to create a strong safety title for a possible highway bill. in addition to requiring that rental car companies fiction recalled vehicles before they offer them to consumers as the senate transportation bill does. such a safety title should include the reforms just
outlined. thank you. >> thanks to the gentlemen. mr. carr, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member schakowsky. appreciate the opportunity to testify on behalf of the alliance of automobile manufacturers today. i know that our time is limited, and my complete statement is submitted for the record, so i will limit my remarks here and try to focus on the big picture. you've asked me to testify about these two, the discussion draft on a bill today. let's talk first about the improving recall tracking act. auto manufacturers are committed to keeping their products safe. and when a safety defect is identified, we want to undertake a recall. and we want all of the recalled vehicles to be repaired.
there are two challenges, at least two challenges to completing repairs on recalled vehicles. one, of course, is consumer motivation, right? and in this country consumers make the choice whether or not to get their vehicles repaired. we want them all to get their vehicles repaired. we urge them to get their vehicles repaired. you all have done that from the dais, but at the end of the daikon sumers make that choice. in an effort to understand why people wouldn't get their vehicles repaired, my ceo, when he was testifying in front of the committee earlier this summer noted that we were undertaking a first of its kind comprehensive study into consumer motivations and global automakers and the national automobile dealers ended up dealing us, and we've been working to the and as mr. bazella stated, we're close to wrapping that up and look
forward to briefing you all. we've been in touch about setting up a briefing for you all next month. but putting consumer motivation aside, we know and you all saw over the last year or two that reaching all consumers in the first place is a significant challenge. it just is. one of the great things about the u.s. is we are a highly mobile economy. people move at the rate of about 17% a year. ntsa in analyzing vehicle completion, recall completion rates has said that for those new vehicles in the sort of zero to four year old time frame, about 83% of those get repaired. it's a very high percentage. but as soon as you, you know, start tracking further out, the completion rate numbers fall off dramatically, right, five to ten years, 44% completion rate, over ten years, 15% kpreegs rate. at least part of the explanation for that is the challenge
associated with actually reaching subsequent owners of vehicles. mr. lafeir's testimony is terrific. my company's, i think, all of them probably use his service to contact consumers. but in reading his testimony, you know, they, they admit that part of the problem is there is not uniformity amongst the states in the records they keep with regard to registration, how quickly those are updated. and that's part of the reason why his company is so effective and why my companies use it, is because they reach all these different data points, right, beyond registration. so that we can notify consumers. the draft, right, not only requires this information to be submitted into a national vin database that would be
accessible for recall purposes, but it effectively standardizes the information that would be collected and the timetables. so it would ene in fact ensure that when we go to undertake a recall, we have a comprehensive set of timely contact information to work from and try to reach these older, owners of older vehicles, who are still required to register those vehicles in the states. i think, you know, we, my testimony notes some other technical issues with the bill. but i think from the big picture standpoint, you know, that is the issue that we're focussed on, and it's worthy of further consideration. with regard tohm9 the motor sa whistle-blower act, i would say just very briefly, you know, that bill was introduced in the senate last fall. the alliance immediately reached out to staff on both sides of
the aisle and members, that bill had very strong bipartisan support. we expressed our concerns and worked through them. i never heard, frankly, in that time the issues that are being raised here today. that bill, obviously, passed by unanimous consent in the senate. we wouldn't object to you all taking it up and passing it over here, and with that, i'll leave myself open for questions. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. it occurs to the chair that i omitted to announce to the sub committee that members pursuant to committee rules, all members of opening statements will be ma ma made part of the record. i do want to thank you all for sharing your observationing with us. we will move into the questioning part of the hearing. i'll start by recognizing myself for five minutes.
and mr. carr, let me come back to you. you mentioned in your testimony that the auto alliance joined by the global automakers of the national automobile dealers association announced that this was conducting the study on what motivates consumers to have their recalled vehicles remedied, and you mentioned that you were going to be having a briefing in the near future. can you pull back the curtain just a little bit and share with the sub committee this morning some of the thins, the insights you may have gained as to what motivates a consumer to have a defect remedied? >> oh, rats, i would like to be able to do that, but i, i just saw the preliminaries myself. and, you know, off the i wouldn't want to miss characteristicize anything off the top of my head. we will schedule a full briefing and get the folks who actually conducted the survey in here as well so you will have the
opportunity to ask them questions as well. i guess one thing that is relevant to this hearing that we learned is that the vast majority of people who knew that they had had a vehicle recalled within the past two years the vast majority of those people knew because they were contacted by the manufacturer. even more than we expected. given all the news media and social media and everything else, the vast majority of people -- >> let me ask you a question about that. i mean, if you can, if you're at liberty to answer it. so they'd already been contacted. had they done the follow-through to actually schedule an appointment or have their vehicle defect remedied at that point? >> we talked to, and remember, part of the reason for doing this survey was to find out why, really why people who didn't get their vehicles repaired, you know, what their, why they didn't, why that didn't happen. so we talked to a lot of people