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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  November 5, 2015 9:00am-11:01am EST

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and what i have said to not just my leadership team but everybody in the organization. i have done it through direct contact, video messages, weekly messages. i said your number one job is to screen effectively. it is management's responsibility to work with the airports, airlines and others and do cue management. but we were putting that burden on the backs of the screeners. sit no surprise to me if you hold them accountable for moving people more efficiently through the line, they are going to do just that. you get what you measure. you get what you emphasize. it is no surprise they do really well on a performance test and do poorly the other way. that's about keeping your job. it tells me they are capable of doing the job well.
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back them in that score 100%. >> all right, fine. let me ask you this, administrator, when will performance assessments using the new metrics begin to be used, and will any aspect of the performance evaluation process change to track performance over time rather than performance on a single test? in other words, how are you going to ensure tsos are at the top of their game every day not just when job performances are happening? >> those are already changed. they have been explained and announced to the workforce. >> all right. finally, let me ask you, how will you balance wait times with a focus on security and ensure security considerations don't give way when balanced against increased weight times during busy travel periods like the upcoming holiday season? >> well, we are seeing increase in wait times.
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not significant. one, i wanted to grow this trusted traveler population in a short way, which is a true vetted population. we are working very hard both with the current vendor, who you may have seen some of the opportunities in the airports. and we're looking to expand considerable in a request for proposal that's out. and working with the industry itself to look for opportunities to market it more effectively. we are seeing a significant increase in enrollments. the second is staff to go those airports that will be under the greatest pressure in the travel season. but not to put any of that burden on the packs of screeners but move it into the management chain where it belongs. >> all right. i'm out of time. and i yield back, chairman palmer. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has expired. mr. highs from georgia. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank each of you for being with
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us here today. my short time in congress, i have already seen and heard far too many reports be it from the office of inspector general or gao, wherever, detailing tsa's prohibitively expensive technology. not working properly to screen passengers or tsa agents not properly reading the technology one way or the other in the various red team tests that have taken place. as you well know, hartsfield-jackson, atlanta international, hundreds of thousands of people every day flying out of. one of if not the most busiest airports in the world. i fly out of there myself almost every week. i could not agree with more that
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the recommendations that have come from oig and gao is just vitally critical for these to be implemented. you, mr. neffinger, being in this position four months, hats off to you. thank you for your comments today and your willingness to admit the problems you're facing and willingness to attack those head on. as some of the results have come back from some of the various tests, a word was used earlier describing those results as pathetic and you yourself are fully aware of that. another word that hit the earlier is the world culture. it's been within tsa. and i believe inspector roth said the culture is the most important issue that you saw that needs to change immediately. so that being said, what have
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you done to this point to transform the culture a at tsa in such a way that the vulnerabilities are adequately addressed? >> mr. hice, thank you for that question. that is a key point. you know, i've looked at tsa, i w i come from an agency of 225 people. that being the u.s. coast guard. tsa is still largely an a amal tkpupl of the cultures of the places that everybody came from. it hasn't had time to grow a leadership core from within. so you have this combination of people. so what did you do to jump start the culture? i think there's a couple key things you can do from the top and the bottom. let me start with the bottom. first, one of the greatest challenges is we train on the job across 75 different airports. so if you hire tsa right now, if you hire into atlanta, you actually just joined atlanta hartsfield workforce. it is not clear to me there is a
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real engagement with the breeder sense of who you are part of. one i am proposing and i asked for in the '16 budget is to begin almost like boot camp training in glencoe, georgia. i can conduct all new hire training there. that's one way to start from the bottom up a sense of culture and begin to enculturate people. at the top level it takes someone at the top of the organization, and that's me right now, saying this is important. first of all, saying the word culture out loud and identifying where the culture isn't connected. and then identifying what you expect that culture to be. so i'm about to issue my administrator's intent in which i clear in a few sus seupbgt pages what the culture of our organization is, and how we intend to work towards that. and then you have to then begin working on that on a daily
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basis. there is a series of efforts i have planned over the coming months to begin to talk and train in the culture that you expect. that's the best way to jump start it. then it has to take root and grow over time. it takes continuous attention. this will fade away if you don't pay attention to it. >> in the middle of that, you have the safety issue trying to get passengers through. you have some measures you're currently implementing. i want to know, do you believe those metrics are adequate to both provide safety, security that we need, and also efficiency? >> i agree with the administrator that you get what you measure. so certainly if you measure the right things we're going to get the right things. as part of our audit process, 90 days after the completion of our
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report, we'll look back on it in a sort of rigorous, systematic way to determine whether or not these metrics will work. until then we'll, you know, be skeptical about it, because that's our job, is to be skeptical. so we will keep the congress informed as we go forward. >> time will tell. our biggest task for tsa at the moment would be to make sure they put in place a systematic, quo heernt approach to measuring the outcomes they want to achieve then monitoring and following up with the work force, because that's the only way to make sure they improve consistent effectiveness. >> thank you for working and partnering together. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say how encouraging it is to hear your forthrightness and your comments about going to root cause and human factors.
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when we look at human factors, i know when i talk to people in my district on the edges who do studies on human factors and different environments, and all they're learning from neuroscience, one of the things that comes up is making sure those individuals can focus on what their jobs are. that also reinforces what you say about culture, that you want to eliminate things that are distracting them. for individuals who aren't getting paid a lot of money but deal in a stressful retail environment where customers aren't always in the best mood, it strikes me, having been a frequent traveler for many years, going through you tell experience, you don't go to tsa to find out what's the best way for you to go through wherever you're going, whether it's customers going through pre-check, but the more we continually reinforce this is what you should expect, this is
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what you need to do, for charges for checked baggage, which you stated that this trend creates a stressed screening environment at airport checkpoints, so both of those things, how do you deal with the airlines so that when we have more and more people trying to carry on more, it seems just to an observer to create more stress for the screeners. secondarily, how do you help the airlines, when we go to our apps to understand, for people who don't fly frequently, how they can be best prepared to get through the line. >> thank you for that question. and i think that -- i'm still relatively new in the game, but i've spent a lot of time over the past four months meeting with both industry
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representatives, the associations that represent them, as well as the ceos of each of the major airlines. i've been very encouraged with their openness and their response. they recognize some of these same challenges. i think there's a great deal of work we can do to tie some of these closer together. i think that that gives you a lot of grounds for -- we have the same objective in mind even if we approach it from different motivations and different requirements. so i'm encouraged that a number of airlines and the travel associations that support them have begun to do more to advertise the trusted traveler programs, like global entry and precheck. i think there's a lot we can do to simplify the application procedures and make them more common across the various programs the government offers. i think you can never market that enough. but i do believe it really comes down to understanding that we're all in the same system together.
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we have different roles to play. but we can play those roles in a complementary fashion. the airlines have been working very hard to enforce the one plus one rule, meaning the one carry-on bag and one handbag or briefcase. their challenge is, well, it's not my business 0 address their business models, but i can tell you it's just a fact that a lot more stuff is arriving, it's packed more full of things, people have electronics in there. screeners have to be very aten ive. >> but you knew it had the potential to put more pressure on the screeners. >> i think that would have been the expectation. >> do we have a mechanism going forward? >> absolutely. and the airlines have worked closely together. both sides have to be aware of the impact of the decisions they
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make. and i'm as interested in the decisions, in the business models of the airline industry and how it affects our business, because we support that business. >> and also picking up costs that we would normally expect to be part of their costs. >> and may indeed lead to slower throughput at checkpoints because we have to screen and clear these bags. >> would there be some kind of analysis that they are making more money by charging for checked bags but it's costing us more money either because it's putting more stress on the system, you're adding more people, they're working overtime, and do you have a relationship with the revenue stream going in there should they compensate you for that? >> i would have to take that back for action. i think certainly i would want to know what the impact is on me if it requires me to have additional resources, then i need to be aware of it. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> the chair recognizes mr. russell from oklahoma. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here today and your dedication to trying to help secure our republic. administrator, thank you for your long and dedicated service to our republic. with regard to some of the issues on the screening partnership program, would you say that the partnerships have been better or worse performers than tsa, and what concerns do you have about that, if any? >> in my initial look at the difference or the potential differences between private sector screeners and the public, we haven't seen any significant differences in performance. assuming that they're trained appropriately and the like. if i have any concerns at all,
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it's that we have a clear set of standards and expectations, and that those are consistently maintained across that program. but again, i don't see any evidence that there's any particular performance differences between the two. >> thank you. and with regard to the turnover, what percentage of new hires would you say turn over within one year or two years, just ballpark? >> you know, i just saw these numbers. i'll have to get you the exact number, but it's a fairly high turnover rate. it depends on. part-time is different than full-time. in the full-time workforce, 10% i think is the number. in the part-time workforce it's been as high as about 25%. >> and you had mentioned some of the reasons before, but obviously that's got to be a drain on your experience to long time personnel, because they're constantly having to break in new employees, and you have the expense of train-up. so these are really dollars that
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are lost. how will you mitigate that in the future? >> that overarching discussion we had about connection to mission, connection to agency, as i think about what would make somebody decide this is not for them, aside from the odd individual that just says that's not what i thought i was signing up for, it's typically, the thing i thought i was going to do, is that what the agency actually expects me to do, am i connected to the mission, am i connected to the agency, do i see a future in the agency, are there opportunities for training, further advancement, and so forth. all of those are components of turnover, i think some of which can be addressed, are beginning to be addressed by the establishment of a common training program and a sense of belonging to something larger than you. i think it continues with a clearly defined sense of progression in the organization and understanding of what your
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opportunities are, incentivizing performance, understanding if i perform well, i'll get rewarded for it, and a feeling of engagement with my leadership. >> thank you. what concerns do you have with cargo screening? >> well, cargo, as you know, has been a concern for some time. there have been a number of procedures put in for that. the question is a recognition of the fact that this is a much larger system than just the checkpoint. even assuming you can get the checkpoint 100% right, there are many other potential vulnerabilities in the aviation environment, cargo being one of them. we have a very robust set of rules for cargo on domestic as well as cargo coming ip bound to the u.s. on foreign and domestic carriers inside the u.s. that reaches back to those packing the cargo container for shipment.
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it's an ongoing challenge, an ongoing threat, and one you can't take your eyes off at any point. >> i guess on the tsa pre program, a lot of issues have been addressed. i certainly understand the risk of having low risk travelers set aside for screening. you talked about stopping the managed inclusion were people are benefiting from the program but really have no vetting whatsoever. based on the needs and the shortfalls of the pre program, how much of that was from managed inclusion vice vetted passengers? >> are you referring covert testing failures? >> yes. >> i think that it is the case that some of the -- without getting into details, as inspector general roth noted, some of the people coming through the system were diverted
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into it, and that may have contributed to some of the failures that we saw. i felt that the managed inclusion, as i said before, injected unacceptable risk into the system. i didn't know anything about these individuals. i thought that they were best put back into standard screening until such time as they presented themselves in a direct way for vetting to come into the program. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for your indulgence. >> the chair recognizes the gentlelady from new mexico. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you all very much for your testimony today. i'm a big supporter and proponent of evaluative testing and review of large employee organizations, because it can be very difficult, and particularly
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when it's so broad-based, and it's a national organization, to really get at the heart of what is occurring on a day-to-day bases. and in my own state, they created undercover or anonymous organizations of long term care facilities. i think today the authority exists, but we have a statute that reconfirms that not only does the authority exist but it should be encouraged, and you should undertake these anonymous care evaluations. and i appreciate very much that your leadership recognized that this might be a way to either confirm the data that you have, which at the time suggested that things were operating fairly well, and you might have some complaints or an anomaly, or you would have the opposite, right, which is exactly what occurred here, is that you've identified
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that you've got significant issues, and in the course of your responses to questions and certainly in your testimony, you've -- and i appreciate that -- have accepted that there is a culture problem in the organization that needs to be addressed, and you've got a ten-point plan. so i'm really interested in, even implementing that plan, it is very difficult, the most -- it's challenging to create in large organizations, i think, a kind of top to bottom, bottom to top culture shift, because i think too often people believe that it's a temporary investment, and then it's easier to kind of go back to the way that it was, particularly if you're doing random efforts at looking at one region or one area or one airport or one screening system versus another, it really depends on the leadership in that particular organization. what have you learned from this experience that, a, we can help you with in terms of really having a sustainable culture change shift with the leadership
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and rank and file employees? and what can we take from that is use it for other government entities that we have the same issues, secret service, the veterans administration, several others in federal government, that i think could really use this kind of approach? >> thank you. there's a lot in that question, but i think it's really important, and you've hit on a number of the key concerns and thoughts that i've had with respect to this. you're absolutely right that it's challenging to do cultural change. but we have one great benefit. we have a really, really important mission. and it's a very defined and very specific mission. and so that's a huge rallying point to begin cultural change, unlike an organization that might have, you know, a couple of hundred different things to do. so i like that. and it's a mission that people care passionately about. and you can tie them to it.
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i never forget that everybody in this workforce raised their hand and took an oath of office. you can activate that. that's one great advantage that you have. but it's not enough. and it's not enough for me to say i want cultural change, because no one individuals makes it happen. but it is important for me to say it because it has to start at the very top of the organization. the organization that raised their hand and took the oath has to believe that the person leading that organization took the same oath and cares about it. so you have to say that out loud. and then you have to build some institutional structures that actually support it. i mentioned a couple today. i think it's critical that i begin to do new hire training in a consistent, standardized, singular way. and i think that that will do great value in building culture over time. it's not immediate. >> i agree with that. but then i hope you're going to -- and i think that's a great idea, but that the accountability balance with incentivizing and creating long term shifts, having an immediate shift that people believe is really taking place is the hard part, i think.
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i'm interested to hear more about that. >> the other thing is, apparently for the first time ever i brought the entire -- what i term the leadership of tsa together, that is, both the senior leaders at the headquarters office here in the dc area, as well as all of the federal security directors, the regional directors, and then my regional directors who are posted in overseas locations together. that's about 175 people. for the first time in the history of tsa, we've done that. i spent two days with them. and it was two days of connection to culture. and during that two days we talked about how we collectively defined the culture of the organization. >> i'm out of time. i applaud your efforts and i would, with the chair's
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discretion, just encourage you, balance accountability with incentivizing and creating a clear operating system. because i don't believe it's sustainable unless you do. thank you very much for your leadership. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentlelady. i recognize mr. palmer. >> i thank the chairman. we've had a lot of discussion about equipment technology and gotten into the personnel issue as well. the inspector general has stated that the tsa's problems come i think largely from a lack of training. mr. roth; is that correct? >> that is certainly one aspect of it. >> how do you plan to address the training issues? >> we did immediate address of the current results. we did what were called mission essentials training. we trained every single screener. and now we're in the process of doing the same for the leadership of the organization. and that was designed specifically to talk about what were the nature of the failures, and then to talk about systemically why those failures existed and how they existed across the organization.
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now we have to go back and measure the effectiveness of that training and we'll do that going forward. that is a program we're putting into place on a routine bases now. we'll do quarterly essentials training, and we're look across the organization at all levels, what are the progressive levels of developmental training and repeated training that has to be done to ensure that you identify problems before they become systemic, before you get into massive failures like we saw earlier. i think that time will tell as to how effective it is. i'm encouraged that some additional anecdotal results show significantly improved performance in those areas where we recently tested. >> is this your training for front line people? >> it's one aspect of that training. we used it to bring all of our
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trainers in during the month of july, to train them, and then pushed them out to on-the-job training for our workforce. what i would like to do at the federal law enforcement training center is really move our new hire academy full-time in 2016, then develop additional training communities in developmental training throughout someone's career in the tsa. >> you both can respond to this, but do you believe this basic training will help, will it get us to where we need to be? >> it will absolutely help, both in the session of mission and community that the administrator referenced, but also some of the very basics we found weren't being followed with respect to checkpoint operations. so i'm a firm believer in training, and that is one of our recommendations. so we're gratified that the administrator is following through on that. >> and i agree, it is necessary
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and critical to both the development of an appropriate culture and enhancing knowledge to support security effectiveness. but it is not sufficient. the administrator mentioned the plan to follow up to make sure the training itself was getting desired results, and that is critical. >> mr. russell of oklahoma asked a question about cargo security. i want to ask about checked bags. are you aware of the leak that occurred earlier this year where all of the travel keys which tsa uses have been released to the public? >> i think you're referring to the photograph of a key that was published in a major newspaper. >> right. apparently they can reproduce those keys. are you aware of that? >> i am, yes, sir. >> can you provide the committee with any memorandum of understanding between your agency and the travel sentry regarding the master key program? could you do that for us? >> i'll see if we have one, yes, sir.
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>> and then my last question will be, how do you plan or will you be able to address this travel sentry keys have been compromised? >> the first thing i would say is it's clearly a compromise for a potential -- for locking that bag outside the aviation environment. those bags are still secure to go through the system because they go through screening and into the aviation system. i don't see it as a threat to the aviation security system. but it's clearly a potential theft issue outside of the aviation environment. i think i need to see what the potential solution is from the travel sentry folks, and look to see what we can institute in the future. clearly we have to address that as a problem. >> that's the context of my question. you have travelers who are not using locks because you use
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boltcutters. they want to know their luggage is secure. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield. >> the gentleman from wisconsin. >> i would like to thank you for coming over here. i know it's a tough job. you know, it's got to be a difficult thing to work. i assume you can work there for 30 years and never catch somebody who has ill intent. you must sometimes wonder if what you're doing is worthwhile. you're also dealing with a public that doesn't consider this a wonderful thing, so you're dealing with people who aren't particularly happy to have you there. the first question i have in general, say, in the last five years, have you folks caught anybody who you believe, not somebody that was accidentally
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slipping in a fingernail clipper or something, but somebody who really had bad intent in the last six or seven years, that you feel? >> within the entire system i would say yes. and remember that there is a security environment in which you enter when you first put your name into a reservation system. so i would say we have repeatedly identified people with connections to known or suspected terrorists over the years. >> i mean people who you believe at the airport, when i go through these things, if you guys didn't stop them, they were going to try to do a bad thing, not somebody who was on a terrorist watch list. somebody that you believe if you were not there, they would have done bad things. >> i believe we've had a few instances that i've been aware of. i hope that the vast majority are deterred from trying in the first place. >> right. that's the goal, right. you can forward to the committee later the examples where you really feel that you caught somebody who would have done the horrible thing if you hadn't caught them. >> yes, sir. >> second question, we had a hearing a while ago on this stuff. at least what i took out of it is that, you know, maybe dogs would be a better way to go
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about this, and there were slipups. have you done any work with dogs or used them as a trial? >> we actually have quite a few canine teams deployed through the aviation system. i noted in an earlier question, i'm in the process of moving some of those teams from what i consider to be smaller, lower risk airports to the large airports. i don't know the -- i think the exact number is somewhere around 112 teams currently. we've got another dozen or so teams coming on this coming here. i think dogs are a very important additional element of security in the system. they provide a lot of capability, both for cargo screening as well as for passenger screening. so i'm a big proponent of the use of canine teams. >> could you see the day when we use more dogs and less people? >> i don't know that dogs will ever replace the people component. >> not entirely. >> but i do see a day when we use more dogs going forward.
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>> do you see the day where rather than i go through there and see eight uniformed people, i see two uniformed people and a dog? do you see that day? >> i think there's a potential. but that really speaks to the larger question of how that checkpoint evolves over time. what i do see is a day when the checkpoint looks very different than how it looks today. we're still largely dealing with the same kind of checkpoint we've had for the past decade or more. and i think we're on the cusp of a very different checkpoint experience in the next five years. >> okay. a while back i knew a guy who worked for you and he felt it was a very top-heavy organization, at least the airport he worked at. are you doing things over time to reduce the number of administrative staff as opposed to people doing the work? >> we have. we've come down about a total of
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6,000 people in tsa since the spring of 2013. so in the past two years, three years almost, we've reduced the workforce by about 13%. i think we'll continue to do so. i've asked to hold steady for the coming year as we look at the impact of the elimination of managed inclusion. and i look to correct what i see to be systemic issues in the organization. and then we'll revisit the staffing standards following this year. but i do see that there are more efficiencies to be gained, always, in an organization. i think you have to look at that continuously. >> okay. what do you pay your people starting? what are the guys i see or the gals i see, what is the compensation they get? >> it various by location, because there's locality pay associated with it. it's roughly equivalent to the incoming level for -- >> how much is it? >> somewhere around 28, $30,000.
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i'll get you the exact figure. >> do you have a hard time finding people or not? >> we're challenged, like any organization, to find a workforce. we've met our recruiting goals every year. but the turnover is higher tan i would like to see it be. >> is there any reason why somebody 60 to 65 couldn't do that job? are they discriminated against? >> not at all, we have a lot of people who are retirees who are working in the screening force. >> i ran into a guy this weekend who was on your whatever list, the trouble list, okay? he had been on it for quite a long period of time. he wasn't as mad about it as i would be. one time he walked through the thing and apparently the people
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ducked down and they called the police on him. he was somebody who if you just looked at the guy you would think, what? he lives in a little town in wisconsin. it was like, really? how quickly does it take people to get off this list? when people make a mistake like this, how quickly -- >> it's a redress process that we partly managed. it's managed also by others in the law enforcement community. i'm not familiar with the specifics. if i can get the specifics on that, i can look at the specific case. there is a process, if you think you have been inaccurately placed on a list, there's a redress process. and it's a pretty fast redress process, as i understand it, although it's a process you have to go through. >> a long time for this guy. >> i'll certainly take action if you have the details for me. >> okay. thanks much. >> i thank the gentleman. ms. maloney. >> i thank the gentleman for calling this hearing. tsa relies on many different pieces of equipment to carry out its screening tasks. for example, it uses advanced imaging technology, machines, walkthrough metal detectors,
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explosive trace detection machines, bottled liquid scanners and other pieces of equipment. in may of this year the ig's office issued a report that said tsa is not properly managing the maintains of its airport screening equipment. it says tsa relies on self-reported data provided by the maintenance contractors and does not validate the data to confirm that required prevent maintenance actions have been taken. tsa also does not validate the corrective maintenance data reported by its contractors. my question is to inspector general roth. if tsa has not been validating the data reported by its contractors, can it be sure that all required maintenance has been performed and that its machines are operating correctly? >> no, they can't. and you accurately summarized what those reports are. it's the functional equivalent of giving the car to your mechanic but not checking to see whether or not they've changed the spark plugs.
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>> that's important. and ig roth, do any of the contractors responsible for the maintenance of tsa equipment have sole source contracts? is it competitively bid or is it a sole source contract? >> my understanding is it's competitively bid. but i think i need to get back to you. >> can you get back to me and the chairman and the ranking member. ig roth, have any contractors never been penalized for failing to perform any maintenance tests? >> i'm not aware of any, but again, let me take that back to be sure of the answer. >> what recommendations at your office make to tsa to improve maintenance of its equipment and what is the status of these recommendations? >> we did make a number of recommendations with regard to the process that tsa uses to verify this maintenance. that is still in process. we typically allow them some time to be able to institute
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those changes. but again, i will get back to you with the specifics on that. >> and i would like to ask the administrator, are you confident that tsa now has the systems in place to hold its contractors accountable for providing proper maintenance of its equipment and are you confident tsa's equipment is being maintained and repaired properly? >> thanks for that question. first let me say i concur completely with the inspector general's findings. and i did find that we had -- not that the maintenance wasn't being done but we had no way to verify that it was in fact appropriate and done. we put the processes in place to do so. we now have to measure whether those processes are adequate to do that. but i'm confident that certainly i get it, and that the person i have who is tasked for being responsible to ensure it happens understands the importance of
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having auditable follow-up trail to make sure it's done. >> i underscore, i know you feel the responsibility you have to the american people, we know that there are many who want to harm our citizens and that they try to do it for some reason through the airplanes, and they are continuing to break our system. because i check with the airlines in my area, and they have incidents where they're trying to break through. so having the oversight and the audit and making sure that this is happening is critically important. and i look forward to you getting back to the committee, inspector general roth, on the answers that you needed to review more for us. i think they're important questions and i look forward to seeing what your response is. again, i thank you for your public service. thank you for being here today. i thank the chairman for calling the hearing. on a very important safety issue. i yield back. >> i thank the gentlelady. i'll finish with a round of summary questions.
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first of all, mr. administrator, in previous response to me, we discussed who poses a risk. and it's less than 1% of the travelers that are examined, of the 660 million. is that still your position? >> i couldn't put an exact number on it. but i would agree with you -- >> it has to be far less than -- you're probably dealing with 20 to 50,000 people on some sort of a watch list or no fly list that we're looking to not board, who may pose a risk. but we're spending about 95% of our resources, again, on folks who pose no risk. you talked about where you're going. and i saw some of your report, and i was pleased to see that you're looking to the future. here is my boarding pass. i've been to europe last year, i
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was there twice, once in italy and once in germany. there was no tsa type screener at the entry point. i have pictures of it. i would be glad to show you. you go up and put your boarding pass on, and the style lets you through. if it doesn't let you through, there is a person who would subject you to additional screening. that's almost commonplace now in europe, in the domestic arena. maybe you saw that when you were there. >> i did, yes, sir. >> we have people going through this, some of the dumbest things i've ever seen. let me borrow your cellphone a second. they go up and put your cellphone down, and they let you through. but then you've got another tsa, if you don't have it on your electronic device, then you have someone who take time and they go through and circle each thing.
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i mean, just things like that. and where we are not. can you name any countries other than bulgaria, romania, or poland, sort of in the more sophisticated countries, that have all federal screening? >> i'll get back to you. >> there are none. >> most european countries have private screening. >> there are none. israel -- but it's under federal supervision. i have never said do away with tsa. i've said change the role, change the resources to connecting the dots to security. that's what's going to get us. every time we've been successful in stopping someone, it's connecting the dots. but again, you said it may be five years before we can get to this. this should be tomorrow. >> actually i think we'll get to that much faster. >> and we should be embedding the information here.
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i saw that in nuremberg, demonstrated in 2003, completely operational. it will stop people, they won't be able to board. the systems exist. we just keep falling further behind, adding more people. now you're saying you're training them, you're sending them back to basics, to a law enforcement training program? >> no, it's at the federal law enforcement training program. it's not a law enforcement training program. >> we have to make it clear. some of my colleagues don't even know that tsa screeners are not sworn personnel, right? >> that's correct. >> they are not sworn personnel. they are screeners. >> that's correct. >> and again, you have this huge bureaucracy trying to recruit, and maybe you've gotten better, you know, i disclosed where we're hiring them off pizza box
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ads and above discount gas pump advertisements for screeners. that hopefully has stopped. but you can recruit all you want, you can train all you want. you have actually trained more people than you employ. and at this time, you actually train more people. they're gone. your turnover has been -- some places it's horrendous. and granted some markets are very difficult. but -- okay. so we've got equipment. and this is about equipment. i've heard -- and the ait failures to maintain, to operate, train people for it, advanced imaging technology. the deployment is a disaster. how many machines do we have? 700 and what? >> about 750 machines, currently. >> 750 machines. they're at how many airports? >> 160. >> how many airports do you
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have, say over -- >> about 400. >> about 300, 290 airports that don't even have an ait machine. i'm mr. dumb terrorist, okay? where am i going to go to enter the system? ait is the best equipment we have, but it can be thwarted. you've made some refinements to it, but personnel are human beings, they're going to fail. i will bet the staff at dollar -- mike, i'll bet you a dollar, they'll be back here next september, we'll do it next september, we'll do the same hearing, we'll have covert testing. maybe you'll improve slightly. but it will still be a disaster. it's been a disaster in every classified hearing i've sat in, the failure rate. if it was publicly known, people would scream for some change. so again, i want to get you out of the personnel business, which
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is that huge -- again, they're not law enforcement, but screening team. again, you need to be in intelligence, and connecting the dots and security, setting the protocols, the standards. seeing who is not performing. getting rid of them if it's a private firm that's operating. okay. so here's our aits. we have 450 airports. we're at 160 locations. then you go to the locations. when they put them out, it was mind-boggling. how are you going to change that? it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for the equipment. then it costs the airports and you a fortune to put them in place. you go to some concourses and they've got two or three of them in one concourse. it was never intended for that. it's intended to be a secondary screening device. and then in other concourses, even at national, you go to one of our airports and some of the concourses have none.
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god bless you, you're trying to change a mess. but even the deployment of that important machine has been a disaster. when we spoke, i asked you about reducing some of the overhead. you've got thousands of people in overhead, 46,000 screeners. it was up to 15,000 we found within the 46 here in washington. at one time there were 4,000 making $103,000 on average just within 20 miles of where we're sitting. and some of those may be important responsibilities. but again, paring that down. we have the public/private screening partnership. i'm a firm believer in that. i know they perform a little bit better than you, because i've had that tested. they came back and told me, they
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said private screening under federal supervision, private screening under federal supervision performs statistically significantly better. i don't care how polite your agents are. it's nice to have them polite, you've impressed some of the members. what i care is if they are able to deter a terrorist from getting through. and they are not law enforcement personnel. they are screening personnel. you've got your whole -- billions of dollars, billions of dollars focused on people who don't pose a risk. so we need to get away from that model. a member of congress, mr. wahlberg who testified, he's got an i.d. card. sometimes they don't even recognize a federal i.d., ask you for a driver's license. but i've had hearings here on driver's license.
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and i.d.'s that can and have been duplicated. that's one of the easiest things you can do. boarding pass. i will challenge you. be glad to go out and take one and i can get through any of your gates at national or any place else with just a little bit of work on a computer. so, again, we set up a system that is destined to fail. you will be back here. maybe slight improvement, training some more folks maybe a little better retention. back to the partnership. in rochester, one of several dozen public private partnerships, i told you they had at one time 15 to 18 people, most of them making between 60 and 100 and some thousand dollars. they have 1.1 million passengers. i went to canada, looked at similar operations. they have one federal person.
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i think you need a federal person, someone who is charged with the intelligence, someone charged with conducting the oversight, audit on a daily basis and making certain it works. is there any hope of getting a reduction of some of the people we don't need at these programs where we have the public private partnership? >> as you know, we actually have reduced the number of oversight directly for the partnership. there's the additional responsibilities tsa has -- there's a surface inspection in transportation. a number of those people are involved in compliance examinations and the surface examinations. >> there's anything that can't be done through the contract? but, okay, two, three, four people at an airport like rochester, not 15 or 16. again, i know the game. you pack it so it makes it look like it costs more or as much for private screening under
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federal supervision. we will have a report that will be released soon and show some of the costs, at least it costs less under that. not that i'm trying to do it on the cheap. they're just more sufficient. i support federal wages, no change in that. i support union membership. i put that in the bill in the beginning bill. in fact, in the private screening ascreen ing in san francisco, they had people belonging to unions before the most recent signup of folks across the area. i have another question the chairman wants me to get in. will you let the committee know today or within the period we keep the record open, we want a complete response on when you will -- you will finish and
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address all of the recommendations that the ig and gao have put forward. could you give us that today, do you think? do you want to give it to us for the record? >> i will give you a schedule for the record. what i will tell you is what i told both the inspector general and director grover. that is that i'm committed to addressing all the remaining open recommendations as well as any that remain that are non-concurs and getting those closed. >> if you can give the committee in the next -- what are you going to leave this open, ten days? >> ten days. >> ten days without objection. so ordered. we will leave it open for ten days. i'm not finished. that was just leaving it open. i can comply with your wishes, too. in any event, ten days. we would like that made part of the official record and as exact a date. because, again, i'm going to
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hold a subcommittee hearing if we don't hold a full one with any year, give you a chance -- you are here and i love your attitude. i love your willingness to be open with the committee. you have inherited one of the most difficult tasks. you are the sixth administrator i've dealt with them. i think you are one of the most capable that we have been fortunate to have. but we need to look at re-righting the ship. get you out of the business that gives you the headaches. you will say, mike is full of it. but as long as you keep trying to manage a $46,000 hr department, you are going to have problems with recruiting, with training, with retaining, with managing. you will never get it right. i can assure you. not that it's your fault. you are dealing with human
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beings. then using all of that resource to go after 99% of the people who don't pose a risk, not expediting their passage and not redirecting those resources towards the bad guys connect being the dots, security, making certain you set the standards. then as the inspector general and director grover have said that you bear down on those that are not meeting the standards you have. you kick their butts out, you terminate their contract. that's i believe your role. again, welcome. isn't this great? you want to reconsider? no. but you are a true hero to come forward. i have the greatest respect for you and what you are going to try to do. i'm trying to get you to see a year from now what you are going to face when you come back here and where we will be.
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with that, thank you. i want to yield to the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to thank all of you for your patience. i know it has been a long morning. i only have a few questions. as all of you know, our nation has one standard credential for merchant mariners and employees who need access to secure areas of ports. it's called the transportation work identification card or twic card. it was remire pd quired and it' by the tsa. administrator neffenger, i'm curious given your background with the coast guard, which model do you think is better? credentials for access to facilities, secure areas be issued by each individual facility? should they be issued by a
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national entity like tsa? >> i don't know if i have a good direct answer to that. by that i mean this. when you have a nationally issued i.d. card, that creates a lot of challenge in managing it and issuing it. and introduces some concerns with respect to its viability across a large organization. that said, i think that both systems can work effectively if they're -- if the oversight is what it should be. i think as i look at the badging environment at the airports, airports would argue that they like the fact that the badges are different because it means you can't move from one airport to another and show up and get access. you have to have something that says your airport on it. i think that we can do a lot more to ensure the security of those badges and to ensure the accountability of those badges as we move forward. there was an awful lot of
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information that came out of what the aviation security advisory study told us about the way to manage and to ensure the integrity of those badges. the inspector general pointed out important areas for us to consider. i don't know which approach is better. i think both approaches can work effectively. but they need a lot of oversight no matter which way you take it. there have been challenges in the twic program as well. >> are you confident that for implementation of your plans will ensure tsa screening systems will pass future covert tests by the inspector general and tsa's own covert testing teams? >> well, testing will tell. but i'm confident that we're on the right track. i hope it means that we will see dramatic improvement in the
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future. i believe it will. but i don't believe that we can just declare it done and move forward. i think that this say continuous process and it's a continuous attention. this is one of these things that as i said before, you can't just fix this and assume you've got it right. this is -- what it has allowed us to do is see this is an ongoing attention that needs throughout the entire life of the organization. there is no fixing it. there is addressing the challenges, learning from what you have addressed, testing yourself, learning from those testing and that continuous improvement as we go forward. so what i will tell is that certainly for the duration of my tenure that i will never take my focus off continuing to test this system, evaluating the processes and training that we put in place, the procedures, continuing to adjust them as we discover whether they work or don't work and then looking for how to distribute those -- the best practices that we find across the whole system. that includes looking to our international partners for anything that they might be
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doing that can inform the way we do business. this global system relies on global standards and global consistency. >> now as you heard, goa state today, tsa has not always established performance measures that clearly align with its goals. how will you know if you have altered the problems in tsa? what performance metrics will confirm it? >> we took a look at the -- i took a look at the entire measurement system and essentially said, the current way we're measuring isn't leading us to improving the system. i said there's a readiness component. i want to know if the work force is ready. and then i want to look at their performance. i have to test them. did that stuff work? did what i think about their readiness actually show itself in the performance?
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the system has to have the same sort of the measures. is the system ready? have we maintained it appropriately? can we verify this? is it meeting the standards before we deploy it that we expect it to meet and the other things that go into, does it work? how well does it perform when you plug it into the system? you have go back and you test that as well. you are testing the people, the processes and the technology. both its readiness and the production of the mission. and then it's a continuous process. right now i get a report on a weekly basis to me on those measures. we have a ways to go yet. we're putting -- we're getting the organization used to a new way of thinking. it's measuring effectiveness. it's focusing on the security component and the effectiveness of that. it's defining that mission in a very clear way. and then looking to see what we're learning as we're studying it. we have learned quite a bit
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already about system readiness, both in the work force as well as in the technology. and it's leading to some things that we have to do to improve that on both scores. and it's also beginning to point the way towards how we're going to effectively mesh performance. that will include working with the inspector general and the goa as we go forward. i see this as a very valuable partnership recognizing that they have to be independent and they are skeptical. they give me valuable information about how my system is working. >> let me say this. one of the things that i pushed with the coast guard, with the secret service and the baltimore city police is i have said that i want them to create an organization which is the elite of the elite. in other words, a feeling that we are the best and that our standards are high and i believe that when you have -- when you get there, the people who are
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caught up in a culture of immediamediocrity will fall off. you woern't have to fire them. they will leave. some of them you may have to fire but most will back off. as i have heard the testimony today, one of the things that just gnaws at me is the idea that we have now an agency that's willing to accept the recommendations and director grover, i keep going back to some of the things you said about accepting the recommendations and then trying to do them. but we still have those gaps. you know, as i was sitting here and i was listing to this, i was saying to myself, maybe it's not just all the things that you just said but you have to add something else to it. see, i think that when we have recommendations and then your agency looks at them and says,
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yeah, we have to do that, we missed that, we got do that, it may go back to the idea of trying to impress or get it done but not concentrating on why we're doing it. why that's important. some kind of way i think to get to the elite of the elite, people have to have a full understanding of why it is and the fact that bad things can happen and perhaps if you are not on guard they will. i keep going back to katrina. i think about katrina almost every day. because it's one of those situations, director grover, where we claimed that we were ready. we couldn't even communicate across town. and like i said, when they said the rubber meets the road, we didn't have a road. our country is better than that. one thing is leadership. another is metrics. i'm hoping that our -- i will
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talk to chairman chaffetz. he has been open to accepting the model we used in the coast guard subcommittee where we brought folks back so that we could see where we were going, because one of the things as you heard me say many times, a lot of times agencies -- i'm not saying you did this. but agencies will wait out a congress. there's no real accountability. going back to what you said, director grover, you have to have accountability. one of the best ways is deadlines. come back and report. and it may be that you don't achieve every single thing you want to achieve. but hopefully, we can get in -- see our progress. by the way, i think when the agency sees its progress that, again, helps them feel like the elite among the elite. finally, you know, i just -- i thank all of you for working together. and i thank you for having the attitude that you have.
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i think one of the biggest mistakes that we make is sometimes we act like the inspector general and director grover, that we're on different teams. but what you are saying is that we're all on the same time trying to lift up the american people and keep them safe. that's the team that we're on. they're our team. if i have a member of the team that can see things that i can't see and can bring them to my attention and help me become better and again become the elite of the elite, i think that's what we ought to be about. i thank you for having that kind of attitude. because that's what's going to get us where we've got to go. and i think that -- i go back to what mr. gowdy said earlier. i have nothing but good experiences with tsa. everywhere i go. and i know that we've got some great men and women working for
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that organization. but at the same time, i know they're also -- they're human. so i think we have to constantly find those ways to keep the work exciting, to keep it refreshing their skills and reminding them of how important their job is and how we appreciate them. i can tell you, when you got -- you got hundreds of people every day trying to rush to get to a flight, some of them are upset, they have the kids, the stroller, and all this. they have to be checked. i'm sure that's just an opportunity for people's frustrations to get out of hand. yet still, i have seen over and over again where tsa officers have just been very patient, understanding and tried to do the right thing at all times and at the same time protect us. so again, i thank you all. we look forward to seeing you again. your testimony has been
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extremely meaningful. and i think it can lead us into effectiveness and effiency. i've often said that there's nothing like having motion, commotion and emotion and no results. we have to have results. i think we can get there. i think you all have given us a road map to get there. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. i thank the members for participating today. we've gone through all the membership and you all have been most accommodating. i realize the task that you have, administrator, but i particularly want to thank the inspector general and also the director. you have an important role with your oversight. the committee conducts some oversight. we lie rely on you. the goal is to keep the american public safe, to make certain that we don't have another 9/11
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and that we do the best that we can with the resources given to us by the taxpayers. with that being said, there being no further business before the committee, i will mention to the staff as said that we will be submitting to you all as witnesses additional questions in this interim time for response. so we want you to know those responses will also be made part of the record. there being no further business, this hearing of the government reform and oversight committee is adjourned. thank you. every weekend the c-span networks feature programs on
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politics, knnon-fiction books. saturday at 11:00 a.m. eastern, american history will be live from the national world war ii museum in new orleans. we look back 70 years to the war's end and its legacy. we will tour the museum exhibits and take calls and tweets. this week and every sunday morning at 10:00, our new program road to the white house rewind looks at past presidential campaigns. this sunday, we will feature ronald reagan's 1979 presidential campaign announcement. on c-span, saturday night at 8:30, the steamboat freedom conference debates legalized marijuana. sunday evening at 6:30, our road to the white house coverage continues with former maryland governor and democratic presidential candidate martin o'malley. who will speak at a town hall meeting at the university of new hampshire in durham. saturday afternoon on c-span2's book tv, starting at 4:00
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eastern, it's the boston book festival. featuring non-fiction author presentations, includie ining ja stern, joe kline and his book, "charlie mike". and james wood, and his book, "the nearest thing to life" on the connection between fictional writing and life. and a discussion with ann romney on her book "in this together." about her journey with multiple sclerosis. i have learned that you can do anything you want to. they used to ask me if i thought the first lady ought to be paid. if you get paid, then i have to do what the first lady is supposed to do. but you can do anything you want to. and it's such a great soapbox.
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it's just such a great opportunity. so i would advise any first lady to do what she wanted to do. if she doesn't want -- another thing i learn is you are going to be criticized no matter what you do. i could have stayed in the white house, poured tea, had receptions and i would have been criticized. as much as i was criticized outside for what i did. i got a lot of criticism. you learn to live with it, as i said earlier. you just live with it. you expect it and you live with it. never let it influence me. >> she was her husband's political partner. she attended president jimmy carter's cabinet meetings, championed women's rights and mental health issues, even testifying before congress. their partnership on health and peacekeeping issues has spanned four decades. this sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, on c-span's original
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series, "first ladies, influence and image" examining the public and private lives of the first ladies and their influence on the presidency. on c-span3, live this morning at the rayburn house energy building, a meeting looking at the closure of healthcare insurance co-ops that were started as part of the healthcare law three years ago. the heads of the insurance exchanges from montana, tennessee and louisiana along with federal officials are scheduled to testify this morning before the committee. they should be gaveling in shortly. although, there are a series of votes on the house floor. members are probably there. once they wrap up the hearing should get under way. the house this morning has been debating the 2016 defense authorization bill.
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it's a new version, not the one that was vetoed by the president a week ago or so. the house is trying to pass a defense authorization bill, the one that sets pentagon programs and policy for the 2016 fiscal year. votes now on the house floor. this hearing should get under way. defense sis on the floor of the u.s. senate. they are taking up defense spending. you can follow that on c-span2. the house on c-span.
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we're waiting for the hearing to get under way. the energy and commerce committee looking at healthcare co--ops. a number of closures in the past year. they were started at part of the 2010 healthcare law. it might be a while though. the house is in a series of votes. we will have live coverage when they resume. one of the issues the house finishing up today is the multi-year highway and mass transit bill. more details from this morning's washington journal. >> transportation reporter. he is joining us on the phone to tell us more. let's begin with this debate over the gas tax. why is it -- what is the need in this country for more funding and that is why people are talking about raising the gas tax? talk about the need across the country. what is the state of our transportation system?
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>> well, the problem that lawmakers have been facing for the past ten years really is that the gas tax only brings in about $34 billion a year at its current rate. it hasn't been raised since 1993. right now, federal government typically spends $50 billion per year on transportation projects. a lot of folks say that's barely enough to maintain a system that we have. not nearly enough to make the improvements and to keep up with growth in metro areas and those sort of things. they're looking at a shortfall of about $16 billion that they have to address each year to just maintain the current level of spending. since about 2005, that's the last time they passed the highway bill that lasts longer than two years, they have been patching the system and turning to other areas of the federal budget. this bill that's on the floor now does some of that. that's what the debate about the gas tax was about.
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transportation advocates have been saying for a long time that the easiest way to close that shortfall for good is to raise the gas tax. it would be about 30 cents a gallon now. but that has been a non-starter in congress for a long time. there was some belief that there was some momentum at the beginning of the year when gas prices dipped to lows that hadn't been seen in about ten years. but republican leaders came out and said that they weren't in favor of it. even as they are voting here on 81 amendments yesterday on the highway bill, they refused to allow a vote on a proposal to increase the gas tax by 15 cents from representative bloomenhour. democrats were unhappy because they did allow a vote on the sense of congress amendment.
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reducing the gas tax to four cents a gallon and turning responsibility for most transportation projects over to state and local government. that amendment was defeated, but a lot of democrats weren't happy that that got a vote but a proposal to increase the gas tax did not get a vote. >> well, the american society of civil engineers has given the nation's infrastructure very low grades. d plus in 2013. how does this bill address the needs for bridges and road repairs across the country? >> supporters of this bill say that this would provide state and local governments more certainty. you hear that word a lot in the transportation funding debates is what's been happening is congress is coming up on transportation deadlines and passing very short extensions. this deadline that they are facing now on november 20th was the result of a three-week bill that was passed for the last deadline on october 29. that was set up by a three month
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bill passed in july. a lot of state and local governments say that they can't even begin to contemplate these longer projects that are needed to make those improvements because they don't have any certainty of the funding that is going to be available from the federal government. the backers of this bill say it's not a perfect bill, it's not six years of funding yet, but they have three years of guaranteed funding here. it authorizes the collection of the gas tax at its current rate for six years. it would provide more certainty to states than they have had in a long time. >> what were the -- give us a couple of the big amendments. you talked about the gas tax. what else was offered yesterday? what's the way forward here? final vote and then what happens? >> there were several amendments related to trucking. there was an amendment to allow states to decide if they wanted
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to have heavier trucks on their road. there's an increase of 80,000 pounds on trucks with five axles. there was a proposal to allow it to go to 81,000 pounds. that proposal was actually defeated. there was several amendments related to transit funding. there were a host of amendments last night that were debated related to the controversial export-import bank, which is a separate issue that's been included in highway bill. it looks like though that they should be able to get to a final vote today hopefully. the idea is that they can get this bill out and get to a conference with the senate. lawmakers in both parties have said that they anticipate that once they get to a conference, they should be able to bridge their differences, because the sena
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senate's bill is similar in its approach. it's three years of guaranteed funding. they would have to get a bill to the president by november 20th to prevent an interruption in transportation funding. >> all right. we appreciate the transportation report. >> thanks for having me. >> back live to the rayburn house office building. the house is in a series of votes, a number dealing with the defense authorization that the house will finish work on also on that highway bill that you heard the conversation about. we will bring you live coverage of this hearing on the health insurance co-ops when they get under way. which should be within the hour or so. until then, more from today's washington journal. >> we want to welcome back to our table armstrong williams and adviser to the ben carson presidential campaign. let's begin with your role. what is it? >> i have no role.
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you know, friendship develop over time, through good times, through bad times. over the last 20 years, we forged this brotherhood, not just dr. carson, but with his family. i think all of his sons have worked for me at some point. they've gone to alaska with me producing shows. they've gone to israel. we vacation together. my mother and my family have been guests in their homes. it's just a long family relationship. >> so you are an adviser to him. how often are you talking with him about what's happening in the presidential campaign? >> it's no different than in the past. we speak often. especially now, actually. he's a candidate for president of the united states. when you are a candidate for the
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president of the united states and when you have the arrows flinging at you and you have the overwhelming praise and adulation, sometimes you need to fall back on the froiendships yu have forged over time. you know those people in your life for the right reasons. they don't care whether you are high like the sun or low like the darkness. those people will always be there to steady you and support you. it doesn't matter if he is running for president of the united states or he is at home playing pool with his family. friends is not seasonal. it's for a lifetime. >> when did dr. carson start thinking about running for president? talk about how he has prepared for that journey. because, obviously, very smart man. i mean, neurosurgeon. but there's a lot to learn. there's a learning curve there. how when did he start thinking about it? how did he start preparing? >> you know, dr. carson and his
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wife candy, really, they're interellect intellectual giants. we would sit around the dinner table while some of us would have a fascination with medicine, the carsons always had a fascination with the country, america and politics. dr. carson and i would have our best conversations in the wee hours s of the morning when hes driving to johns hopkins for his surgeries. we would talk. if it were about healthcare, a terrorist, 9/11, the economy, creating jobs or strife in the inner city, something that may be going on with the eu and what is -- when they were forming the eu and the dollar bringing this currency under one umbrella, how is it that you are going to balance where some economies are struggling. always had that curiosity.
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then i remember having a conversation with him and he spoke that he had been reinvited back to the national prayer breakfast. keep in mind that it's unusual to get a second invitation. for some reason, the white house was inquiring about his speech. they were very kerrocurious. >> in 2013? >> yes. they were curious as to what he would talk about. dr. carson never gave speeches. he always spoke from the heart. at the same time, dr. carson had been trying to reach out to the white house and the president as they were beginning to talk about affordable care and how it would look and the details. he had serious issues with it. that's his profession, healthcare and medicine and hospitals. and he thought that the president was being misled. he could not get an audience with the president. the more and more he thought about the prayer breakfast speech, he knew the speech should be about faith and uniting people together.
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you should not venture off into politics. he agonized whether he should even mention affordable care. even at last minute when we were at the hotel, we were all in the holding suite, he said, i'm still not sure what i'm going to say. he was agonizing. finally ken and i were sitting at this table and we know the good doctor. he made this gesture. and we knew that he had come to peace that he was going to say to the president and give him his thoughts on affordable care, but in a respectable way. once he gave that speech -- we were in the -- we were headed back to the suite. i think someone from the cia, the president's security approached dr. carson and whispered something in his ear. of course, i asked what did the guy say, because he looked pretty serious. and he said to him that the president was not too pleased with his speech. yes, this happened.
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and dr. carson politically naive said why? i was honest. i was respectful. but some people would probably say it was not the place or the time. but you had no agenda. it was not something that was planned. i said to him, as a friend, i said, this speech has launched a thousand ships for you and your family. your life will never be the same again. from that moment on, people started -- the drumbeat of his running for president. he was going to retire with his family in west palm beach. the more it became louder and louder and louder. dr. carson was still -- last july in west palm beach, florida, he gathered a team to discuss the probability of running what does it take? how does someone run for president? you know, we had to organize all this for him. and finally, he had not announced. people started saying, we're not going to give you our money. we're not going to support you. we're going to commit to another candidate. hundreds and hundreds of people. we don't think you are serious about running.
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we think you are interested in selling books. you are not interested in leading. dr. carson knew it was an overwhelming commitment. finally he said, you know, the people really i -- i believe they're sincere, that they want me as their candidate. he andy discussed it. she was never for it. she's still getting accustom to the idea that her husband is running for president. but then he decided march of this year, late march that he would run. and he said, if the people support me financially, if they honor their word, then i will be their candidate. when he announced it early may and the overwhelming support, the donations that have come in. just think about this. 820,000 donations. 820,000. $10 million raised alone during the month of october.
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his favorability ratings are soaring. people asked for it. he is their candidate. >> his likability numbers are very high. he is now leading in the national -- latest national polls. there's this opinion piece in "the wall street journal." the reason why i asked about when he decided to run and his preparations is because they say, ben carson's jeb bush problem, he writes this, that at that 2013 prayer breakfast at which he criticized barak obama, that was the launching point. given his intellectual skills, one would think during preparing for the run, he might have absorbed more details about the public issues than he has shown. if he doesn't sharpen his focus, marco rubio will erode his support. if he had anything resembling their policy chops, he would be over 50%.
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>> listen, that is a fair editorial. of course, written in a vacuum. let me explain the vacuum. debates, when you get to respond and make statements in 30 seconds, that's such an injustice of the substance that a person understands. that's for all the candidates. what i would say to the writer of that piece, go on the road to iowa, south carolina, nevada, new hampshire, ohio and florida and sit in a room with dr. carson for an hour where it's back and forth on the issues, whether he's discussion the grid, isis or isil, whether he's talking about how do you create jobs in the inner city, whether he's talking about affordable care, how to make it better, whether he is talking about his tax plan in more details. dr. carson needs a forum that requires great details. in those forums across the country -- this is why americans
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see that carson in the debate form versus carson in their churches, at their events. he's a different person. the debate will never play to dr. carson's strength. i don't think he will ever, ever -- they will ever say he is -- that's not who he is. but when he is on the road, the kind of things that this writer talks about, which are fair, he delivers with an exclamation point. he does. >> let's get to call. david in oklahoma, a democrat. >> caller: good morning. excuse me voice. i'm a u.s. history and civics teacher. i would like to know what dr. carson's position is on immigration reform. >> listen. dr. carson doesn't believe that you can just round up millions of people and send them out of the country. he believes that being an american citizen is a privilege and an honor. and there's a process that we have in place where you can,
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too, be a part of those people that have waited so long and made the sacrifice to become a u.s. citizen. dr. carson wants to make sure that people understand that we are nations of laws. so for the immigration process, while he may grant a temporary worker program, citizenship, you must create a path to citizenship. and we have to do a better job of the kind of people that we let in our borders. our borders are very porous. just talking about putting up a wall is not enough. you've got to also -- when people come here, a lot of times, they make their money and send it back home. the money doesn't stay in our economy. also what happens when you have a flood of immigrants coming in, it overwhelming the system, whether it's the legal system, the medical system. and a lot of people will say, we need the immigrants here because most americans don't want to do that work. that's still debatable. dr. carson wants a sensible program in place where he thinks about the children, through no fault of their own, who are here
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and also the american people and our economy for many of us who pay a price for the fact that immigration laws are very loose. it doesn't really respond to sort of tiding the immigration. he doesn't want to kick people out. but he does believe in strong immigration policies for the american people going forward. >> we will go to george next in pennsylvania, a republican. >> caller: hello. i would like to know what mr. carson's views are on medicare. he keeps talking about wanting to eliminate it, but he never says what he is wanting to do to replace it. we need medicare as a senior citizen. i'm 72 years old. medicare is very important. he never talks about the issues. he only talks about generalities. >> okay. we will get our answer.
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>> dr. carson is a strong advocate of hsas. he talked about how making -- >> health savings accounts for people who don't know. >> yeah. it's interesting because we have heard this often from people across the country. dr. carson is putting together his policy, more detailed not only medicare but the policies on immigration, the policies on taxes and on foreign policy. he realizes that his personal story is just not enough in terms of if he is going to be taken serious and people embracing him as someone who can lead this country across the board. so what you are going to find over the next couple of months with his campaign manager barry, his senior adviser ed and communications director, you will see dr. carson get more into substance. you will begin to see papers that he will release to the press that he will have on his website. the other candidates you can go and find a detailed position on
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where they are on the issues like when mr. trump released his tax plan. while many people may have ridiculed it and said it had holes, he gave the american people some understanding of how he would move forward on the issue of taxes and making it fair for all americans. dr. carson is in the process. by december or january, he will begin to roll out detailed policy positions to address the question that the caller just asked. >> this headline, ben carson's medicare muddle. do you agree he muddled the issue? he backed off from his original plan? he is promising details of a new one, but he is not giving a time line of when was that will come out. has that muddled the message? >> you could always understand why it's confusing. dr. carson speaks like a physician. someone who has dealt with this firsthand. he also has a team of experts who understand these issues in a much more expansive and detailed way. because this is what they spent their life work doing.
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so what you are seeing with dr. carson now is that he is learning more in-depth, not just his perspective on the issues, whether it's medicare or taxes. he is vetting other perspectives. i was with him a few weeks ago in florida when they had the debate prep. some of the issues came up. dr. carson would lean back and say, wow, that's a very serious perspective that i need to consider. you are absolutely right. he said, you know, i really need to think through these issues more and give more details. he is challenged by the policy experts on board now, challenging his ideas so he can put together ideas that are thoughtful, that make sense and not in the opinion that muddles the issues and makes it seem as though he doesn't understand what he is talking about. >> jamaica, new york, duane. >> caller: good morning. i have a question for you. do you really think that dr. carson is going to win in gop
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nomination? i'm afraid for dr. carson just as i was afraid for president obama, because no one is going to give him a chance to succeed as a black man in this country. your thoughts. >> you know, you and i have one vote. that's what we have. i think you cannot ignore the fact that if someone has said to you and the millions of people watching this broadcast today that someone was a -- grew up in poverty, witnessed roaches and mice first hand, who was given no chance of succeeding to go on and become a world renounced pediatric neurosurgeon, the first to put together a team to separate conjoining twins, it would be a possibility that in early november 2015 exactly a year away from the election that dr. carson would be the top tier candidate.
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that's not just about armstrong williams believing in dr. carson. the american people, the more they see of him, the more they believe that he is the outsider that they are looking for to lead them a year from now in 2016. to say the american people would not support dr. carson, they have shown their support. they have shown their enthusiasm. they have already shown their trust and likability in this man. can we sit here today and say that dr. carson is going to bet nominee? no. but this race is not a sprint. it's a marathon. i think there are many candidates in race today that would welcome being in dr. carson's position today as a top tier candidate. >> mr. trump yesterday or tuesday in new york said, some of the candidates need to get out, the field needs to narrow. does dr. carson think that way as well? >> he doesn't talk about that. dr. carson welcomes the vetting system. you know, the people that support them, it is their decision. at some point that will change,
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because he also realizes, by the grace of god, che could have ben hovering around 3%. he understands they spend a lot of time and resources and let them alone with their supporters make that decision. >> we will go to willie, you are on the air. >> caro >> caller: i'm a 74-year-old black male. i have seen people like ben carson and the way they say things or they say what the americans would not say. they are con artists. we know this out in the community. thank you. >> you know, i appreciate callers like the gentleman. much respect. people don't understand voices like dr. carson and mine, sometimes. you know, where while dr. carson and i grew up differently, you know, we still believe in america. we believe that despite the
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history of america from human slavery to segregation to the civil rights movement, where we are today that anyone in america, if you are willing to work hard, make sacrifices, discipline and have strong faith in god and be willing to always look for the best in mankind and in yourself, you will always have obstacles to overcome. just because i'm a man today who happens to be black doesn't mean that i am the only person in the world who faces obstacles and t tu turbulence. we all have challenges. how you overcome ders whdetermit you become in life. no one could have believed that america would elect the first president who happened to be black. i think president obama has pave the way to show us the best.
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some people would say that the gop is racist. they would never embrace a black man. what america is showing you today is that we're not racist. we're not interested in the color of your skin. we're interested in your ideas, your policies, your believes and whether you can move america forward. it's a tribute to the incredible spirit of america and who and what we are and why we will remain the envy of the world. there's no place in europe where someone like dr. carson or president obama could become prime minister or head of state. >> you yourself recently -- i want to show our viewers. armstrong williams leading largest minority owned tv group, seven of the 12 now under your own areship. >> it's a blessing. i blush. it's hard work. wonderful business partner in
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david smith. have i have known him for a long time. i worked with them for a lot of years. sleeve abou life is about relationships. none of us get to where we are by ourselves. if you build relationships, develop character, loyalty, trust and honor and you show you have a little common sense and a little creativity and imagination, people believe in you and you believe in them, there's special things that you can do in life. my life is a tribute to the many people that have been in my life that continue to believe in me. i believe in them. we have been able to do something very special. it's certainly something that we enjoy, ownership of television stations. we get to employ many people, do town hall meetings around the country. my attitude is, there's no such thing as freedom of speech unless you own the media. i take it as a privilege. we don't take it lightly. it's just another milestone for us. >> rhonda is next some
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massachusetts, a represent. good morning to you. go ahead. >> caller: first of all, dr. carson, anybody who call themself a crihristian has got business running for the president. we telling people he is coming soon. america is called the lamb who is going to enforce 666, they will make war on people. how can he sit there and call himself seventh day adventist when he knows he will get the church, he going to get the bible. we ain't got no business being in politics. policy has nothing to do with -- >> okay. we got your point. mr. williams? >> obviously, she doesn't feel dr. carson should run for president because of his faith.
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i think mostly all the candidates that are running are christians. obviously, i don't know how to respond to her. >> how does his faith shape his thinking? on issues -- all the different policy issues. does it at all? >> for all of us who are people of faith, the scriptures shape our belief. it shapes our value system. you know, we have what is called natural law and we have man's law. you know, no matter what our values and virtues, whether it's faithfulness to your spouse, whether it's being there for your neighbor, forgiving your enemies, whether it's paying tithes and giving back and empowering those because you can not empower others without empowering yourself. but as an elected official we have laws and a constitution. never would dr. carson's faith ever trump the laws that are on
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the books and the constitution. he is a man that respects them and will always honor those laws that are in place. >> missouri, janine, independent. >> caller: i have two questions and one comment. one comment is, how is it that we complain about the mexicans -- well, people coming over to the united states and they're not willing to harm us. they want to work. versus the people that the taxpayers dollars are shipping in from overseas like iran and other places who want to hurt us who are over here going to school on our money and we're taking care of them. we're taking care of them. i don't understand why is it such a big deal for the people to cross the border who want to work versus these people who actually came in our country and told us we don't need your god and want your help but you use the tax dollars to bring these people over who do not -- they're against us. it seems crazy. >> do you have a question? let's get to your question.
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>> caller: i have a question. my question is, all these promises that are being made from these presidential can candidates. i notice one thing. why do they not have overseers of their promises? they put certain programs into action. why there are not overseers to make sure these things are being done? >> you know, i clearly understand her point. theoretically, people make many promises of what they can do and how quickly they can do it. people believe in them. they invest in them with their money, their time and resources. then when they are elected to office, things never change. why do we continue to invest in leaders who don't honor their word and the broken promises? i think that's reason why you see dr. carson and mr. trump rise in this election. because they are outsiders.
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people could care less now about whether you have this experience, whether you were a governor, a senator. they want to know, what is it that you have done where i am to impact my life? even on her point about refugees. refugees coming in this country, we're overwhelmed. if you go to certain places -- we just returned from tennessee this week. i was shocked at the overwhelming amount of homelessness that was in nashville, tennessee. how do you take care of some stranger from the outside before you take care of your own? i think to her point about why do we care about people coming across the border, when you hear isis and isil, talking about a lone wolf and having their lone wolf penetrate our borders, it's easy to drop someone in among these refugees that could come in and create harm and havoc on our soil. we have to have a way of vetting exactly who we want to come in. she's right. there are many people who come in, last thing they would want to do is harm us.
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they're looking for a better way of life. >> donald trump believes you have to be more than just an outsider. here he is on tuesday in new york talking about dr. carson and the other candidates. >> we need a person that has tremendous personal energy to get us back on track. you can't do that when you don't have that. i think marco is highly overrated. highly overrated. he doesn't have it. all you have do is look at his stance on things. jeb, he lacks the quality that you need. we're talking about everybody in the world is ripping us off. you need a very strong person with tremendous energy. thank you very much, folks. i will take the job. and it's so important. by the way, ben carson does not have that energy. we need somebody with tremendous energy to straighten out military, to straighten out isis, to straighten out our
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horrible trade deals, to terminate obamacare and come up with something far better for far less money. you need somebody with tremendous personal energy as president. >> you know, it is quite you kn intriguing listening to mr. trump make the case that there is no one qualified to be president in this race except donald trump. he cannot even see the value of the goodness in his colleagues. he can only see it in himself. you know, it is easy to talk rhetoric is very cheap. when you talk about leading, many people talked about leading. when you face the reality of rhetoric, it doesn't always pan out. you have to surround yourself with good women, good men, diplomatic scene, environmental scene or on energy scene. you have to surround yourself with good people. and you've got to be able to work with people, not alien ate
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them because you feel you are the only person who should belong in the room. while he has incredible attributes, has done incredible things, i think a dose of humility and a dose of respect for others shows great promise and leadership and great promise that you have what is necessary overall to lead america in the future. and i just think my advice is to mr. trump is that before you start looking at somebody else's house, you clean up your own. >> paul, oliver springs, tennessee, a republican. >> caller: good morning. i want to say something to c-span but i have a quick comment that needs to be heard. ive called previous times and ring and ring and ring. i wait my 30 days just like everybody else. but to mr. williams, i want to say to you, sir, i've got a comment and a question.
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please give me the time to get this out. the first thing is you had previously callers talking about yahwe. we stop killing babies and we start addressing the gay problem, the bible says that's wrong and it's murder. and we need somebody to stand up and tell the american people whether you like it or not, the bible says it is wrong and we ought to stand by that. mr. son has an open mind. mr. trump has a closed mind. we don't need somebody like that in office not willing to work with anybody. my question to you, mr. williams is about social security and medicare. we have poor people in this country. we have kids going to bed hungry at night. that's wrong. we send millions and billions of people to people who don't even like us. and we have kids going to bed hungry at night. that's wrong. i'm telling you, until we get somebody in that office with a
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little bit of faith and humility like mr. carson, it will continue to fall. >> we will leave it there, paul. let me go to nathan and then i will have you respond to both callers. a democratic. >> caller: hi. you are doing a wonderful job, as usual. good morning, mr. williams. >> good morning. >> caller: i have a question about dr. carson's belief in the law, which you commented on. he's an admirable man and professional. however, he has said that he would not vote for a muslim for president. this shows a prejudice and it shows a lack of understanding of the bill of rights. i feel it disqualifies him from being president. how would you respond to that? >> dr. carson's statement -- and thank you for the question and call-in. he would not embrace someone who
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embraces sharia law. it does not respect women. it does not respect gays. and family members are willing to kill their own. we don't embrace that. it's not an issue of muslims. it is the people that embrace this thing we call sharia law. that dr. carson stated was his choice is and his preference. and i think since that comment you will find many were americans, including myself, agree with him. >> joan, bell ford, new jersey, independent. >> caller: yes. i am an original supporter of dr. carson. in may when i got a phone call about it, i jumped right in and contributed. he's a man that has the same roots that i have. i'm a 59-year-old white man. i grew up in a building where i saw the roaches and saw the
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mice. and i pulled myself out of it. and what he did. and we have a clown in the white house who has sold the minorities down the river with 39% unemployment for young black men. and you know what, of course they're in crime because of the fact they can't get a job and they supported him. i'm hoping that by this man running, with his integrity, that a lot of young black kids are going to see this and say i can achieve that. >> all right, joe. mr. williams? >> listen, it's very difficult for the president. you know, i'm certainly a critic of president obama. there's no way he would intentionally not want to empower people left to themselves with no opportunities. the heroes and sheroes that moved the way. corporations that moved away.
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the breakdown of the family. you don't find fathers who are role models. a lot of the young then have no idea what it means to be a man. they think it is pulling out a gun. they never learn those values. we have to find real policies that we can create opportunities. we have to give them a reason to keep their dollar for at least 30 days before it goes out. they have to see real industry to make them think they have an opportunity. sometimes it is very difficult in these places to work with people, that people perceive as being on the bottom running of the ladder. when the money comes to these different communities like ferguson, baltimore, and other places, it doesn't really trickle down to the people that need it the most. that is more of a reflection on the city mayors. you have to be sensitive. capitalism cannot inside in america. bring them into the middleclass
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and the possibility of the wealth class. it takes a lot of heart and dirty work to make that happen. and i'm not sure that some people are willing to do the heavy lifting. >> give us app update on the debate negotiations. dr. carson wants some things changed. are the candidates making any headway with rnc and therefore the networks? >> i think it's a work in progress. there has been progress in terms of the opening and closed statements and that the focus of the question stays on the subject matter that has been established for that debate and that moderator exerts more control. if it's 30 seconds, it's 30 seconds. if it's a minute, it's a minute. dr. carson respects rules and guidelines. if you say he has 30 second, he is going to speak 30 seconds. he is not going keep talking like there are no rules or
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moderator to the debate. >> will they change his strategy? >> they want him to get more confidence that he is answering issues in a way that energizes the americans like this is our guy. and i'm not going to say we are going to see it in the debate next week. dr. carson, in terms of the debate process is a work in progress. >> okay. armstrong williams, appreciate your time, as always, sir. >> thank you. and by the way, the nbc reports of ben carson surged into the lead of the republican presidential race. their poll with "the wall street journal" from last week has ben carson at 29%. marco rubio 11%. ted cruz, 10%. jeb bush at 8%. that's from nbc/wall street journal poll from october 25th through the 29th. here on c-span3, we are live on
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on capitol hill. a hearing delayed due to a number of floor votes in the u.s. house. the hearing is going to look at the health care insurance co-ops. it should get under way once that series of votes wraps up. the house a short while ago voted unanimously, overvoted 370-58 passing the revised defense authorization bill for 2016 after the president had vetoed the original measure just a week ago. so votes continue on the house floor when they wrap up, this hearing should get under way. senate is also in session today. they are working on the defense spending bill for 2016. as we wait for the committee to gavel back in, we will take you back to today's washington journal. >> back at our table this morning democratic california judiciary and foreign affairs. i want to begin with the white house over the weekend released
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6,500 federal prisoners for nonviolent drug offenses. what are your concerns with this, if you have any? >> sure. my concerns are. it is similar to california. the court ordered us to downsize our prison population. first of all, i think it is long overdue. but now that people are being released, we need to talk about what is going to happen when they come back into communities. we have incarcerated people for so long that we actually need to create a layer of supportive services so they reintegrate. if they are not able to find employment or housing, they will be part of the criminal element. one of the things the president did, of course, is call for reentry programs in different communities. >> yeah. so how do you go about doing that? >> sure. >> what are the different


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