Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 2, 2015 9:00am-7:01pm EST

9:00 am
up next a conversation with mayors from several cities along the u.s./mexico border will talk about border security, trade drug cartels and relations with mexico. from the texas tribune festival this is an hour. good morning. thank you for joining us. i'm carlos sanchez and i'm the editor of the "monitor newspaper." i'm happy to welcome to you a panel called a border reality check.
9:01 am
we'll go for about an hour and the last 15 minutes or so will be reserved for questions from the audience. in the interests of time, i ask you to look at your programs for complete bios of the gentlemen here. instead i would simply like to introduce them by name. mayor jim darling, el paso mayor oscar leeser, brownsville mayor tony martinez laredo mayor pete saenz and reuben villarreal. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having us. >> mayor donnelly, in relation to the $800 million border security package, is that a blessing or a curse? >> actually two things. it's a curse because of the publicity with the national guard and it takes $800 million
9:02 am
to protect the border and gives the impression that the border is unsafe, which it's not on the north side by any stretch of the imagination. when we recruit industry, or shoppers from northern mexico, or whatever we're doing from an economic development standpoint, it's really created a problem for us. for instance, the first question they'll ask is what about security in that area. the border security issue with $800 million is bad from a pub lislicity standpoint. it does have a positive standpoint in that there is money in there, for instance, for an intelligence unit, responding to an infrastructure unit for that. we're working with the governor for building the personnel to fund that. it's coming to a neighborhood near you. we're the first line of defense for that. overall i would think the publicity outweighs what we get from that. >> what about you, mayor?
9:03 am
blessing or interference? >> it's really both. i appreciate the fact that the governor is interested in the border. but it does bring this publicity, negative publicity, that the border is not safe. laredo and the entire border is very safe. there's plenty of data that says that. so it's more on the mexican side, frankly. and it's spotty as well, the laredo area is a lot safer than maybe the lower valley area on the mexican side. but they take turns every so often. it's both. the texas border is safe. i want to conclusively state that. people wanting to visit the border please come, it is truly safe. >> mayor leeser, do you think
9:04 am
this money would have been better spent on other border issues? >> and that's exactly where i was going to lead to on the question, was that, you know, one of the biggest things is trade that comes through our borders. it's really important that we make it real easy to be able to do trade. if we have that kind of money, i really believe we need to spend it on agents to go on the bridges and expedite the crossings. just through el paso alone, we have $90 billion to $100 billion of trade coming across every year. the city of el paso went ahead and through the p-3 project, we're one of five that have been able to do that, we've funded to be able to open up the bridges, to be able to expedite. if we have that kind of money, and we're looking at actually opening up the bridges, this would be a great place to spend it. they continue to make it a lot easier to keep the trade coming
9:05 am
across the border. >> mayor villarreal, do you think the issue of trade is subservient to the issue of fear, basically, from what's been going on in mexico? >> not at all. let me tell you it's a blessing. i know the $800 million sounds like a big number, but it was necessary. our borders are very porous. the responsibility of the borders actually belong to the federal government, because they've been derelict in their duties to do so, texas stepped up and provided that. i'm a small businessperson along the border. i have the utmost respect for any border people that have businesses, because the border economies are resilient. we've survived the recession, we've survived hurricanes. one thing i will tell you, the vibrancy of the border, the vibrancy of business along the border has never been better. i think as we go forward you'll see much more of that. >> mayor martinez, the politics
9:06 am
of securing $800 million is great politics at the state level, but does it come at the expense of cities like your own? >> you kind of have to understand that it is what it is. i think the most practical approach is how do you figure out to use that $800 million to your advantage. i think from our standpoint is, we all know that the border is secure. i think every mayor sitting here knows it's a good thing. i don't care whether you're from laredo or el paso. we all understand it. i think we just have to deal with realities. how do we use that $800 million to do it from an economic standpoint, to do it for your advantage, and how do you do it so it's used more as an economic and a trade situation than it is a security situation? you've just got to be smarter, i think, than trying to fight everything that's coming across the table. >> mayor darling, you're
9:07 am
sensitive to perceptions, from my experience in covering you. how do border cities combat the image of rapists and bad people coming across the border? >> people were hearing gunshots when they go to bet. we met with the mayor brought newspaper over here, and said, hey, it's safe here. you have to be careful, whether you're in washington, d.c., or chicago or many cities in the united states, you have to be careful where you go at night. it's no different in mexico. unfortunately the publicity they get down there is a problem. i drove a fire truck to show it was safe about a year ago. we need to have more understanding on what goes on in the law enforcement effort that the republic of mexico is putting in their areas and show them it's safe. we have over 2,000 managers that go to mexico every day to work. getting them to talk about the safety procedures is very important.
9:08 am
>> mayor saenz what about from your neck of the woordz? do you have a problem combatting the image? is it a constant challenge for you? >> from the border cities i never -- i think we had the most image-type problems. it correlates very easily to the name laredo. i leave laredo and people ask, is laredo safe. that's usually the first or second question i'm confronted with. i want to assure everybody that laredo is safe, the entire border is safe. for me to speak these words in front of this audience is good, because we want texas, the en entire u.s., the world, to know that the border area is completely safe. it's crucial also for trade. we'll get into that, i guess, you'll have other questions on trade and commerce. >> mayor leeser, how do you
9:09 am
co-exist with the notion that a city that has gone through the massive problems that it has in terms of homicides? >> we started working together, and it's one of the things that the mayor and i have actually worked together as one. and once we started working as a region, it really made a big difference. mayor waters has worked with -- him and i have worked together. we actually have traveled to detroit we've traveled to chicago. we've also gone to companies to do business within the two cities. and our message is, you know, what do you know about el paso? a lot of the times what they know is what they read, what they google, and it's the furthest thing from what happens today. we addressed the issues the mayor has. we've never had the two mayors come out to us and talk to us about what's going on. we addressed the issues.
9:10 am
we actually meet all issues head on as we go out there to talk. we'll continue to travel together and continue to see, el paso being the safest city, one of the safest cities in the country. watt is becoming a safe city. it's important that we continue to go out and promote as one. >> mayor villarreal, how do you pivot from the issue of security to the issue of economics and the economic benefit that mexico brings? >> let me make it real clear that border security is an ongoing effort that is a challenge. let's not lose sight of the fact that we have some of the most wonderful law enforcement officers, sheriff's officers, border patrol agents, texas dps troopers, all working in coordination with the community. i was blessed to be able to say that when we were going through the immigration crisis, i had communication with the highest levels of each organization within law enforcement.
9:11 am
they were working with us, not against us. to combat this idea of the border being unsafe, what you have to do is communicate, because to some extent, it's the creation of media, no offense, and social media, creates this image that is not just and is not true. that's why when you listen people here say it over and over again, that we're safe, we're not only safe we're extraordinarily safe. it's a testament to the leadership of the border communities. it's also the testament to the law enforcement officers out there at all levels making sure that we're safe. >> is it an image problem when you're driving, for example, from mccowan to rio grande city, when you see a dps trooper every mile along the way? that seems to be a problematic perception. >> the situation along the border, we all know, has been a constant situation of high
9:12 am
surveillance. the border has been under watch for many, many decades at different levels. for example, the national guard that came in in 2014, people don't realize they were there in 2012 doing exactly the same thing, looking upon the horizon reporting to the necessary law enforcement officers who are in charge of the operation. and they did that extraordinarily well, because so few people found out about it. even during 2014, which they were there, their duty was along the river, in the areas of high trafficking of drugs and human trafficking. their job was to make sure the community was safe. they stayed as far back away from the community as possible to preserve the integrity of the communities in texas. that's how you combat that, by making sure that you have law enforcement working in conjunction with communities to find a good solution to this problem. >> mayor darling, mayor mathinez, do you feel safer because of the presence of the national guard in your community? >> here's the the issue. nothing changed relating to border security two years ago.
9:13 am
what happened is you had unaccompanied children and families. and that became a border crisis. all of a sudden the border was free. those people were crossing the bridge saying, i'm here to seek asylum. what they needed instead of $800 million for law enforcement and social workers to handle unaccompanied children all of a sudden that was a huge border crisis. the crisis was in south and central america and mexico, forcing people to flee. but the people coming across the river, those numbers hadn't changed. we had 25,000 people, family members cross into our bus station that needed aid, going for their asylum hearings. when you talk about the border security and the crisis, there was no crisis from the at some point of border security.
9:14 am
that's been a figment of the news people. it makes good print. >> it sells papers. >> no, i'm not afraid, nothing's changed. it's been very frustrating. what has changed, we have people at our bus station that needs aid. >> the mayor is exactly correct. we know each other quite well. the difference was the type of immigrant. they came from central america this time. we were used to the mexican immigrant who came with the same habits, the same techniques, the same, catch me now, i'll go back and find some way to come back in. the central american immigrant when he came across was more desperate, more determined, threw themselves into more danger, more peril. i personally witnessed on a 5:00 on a friday coming out of my place of business, we were caught in the middle of a group of ten central americans who ran right through us.
9:15 am
and the dps trooper was following them and our officers were following them not so much to apprehend them but to keep them safe, to make sure they stopped endangering their lives. it's important to remember that the crisis that we talk about was created also because they came from central america and there were children involved. no one was equipped, no one had infrastructure to handle children, ever. i actually have pictures, i don't know why i snapped the pictures. i thought maybe it will happen again, but now i look back and it was very real, the fact that there were children and they came from a different place from mexico. they're otms. >> is it time for national guard to vacate? >> i think they probably should never have been there to begin with, okay? the whole idea here is, if you don't really address the true problem, and that is we're all a human family that needs to be taking care of each other. now, the central american, when we talk about the different customs, the different reasons of why they came, we have to understand that really, we had
9:16 am
a nice time over there with this mayor darling. when they're talking about, nobody really wants to come over here illegally. nobody really wants to immigrate from their country. there's only two reasons they do it, either safety or economic reasons. it's no different than what you have in syria or any nation in the world. if we try to understand what's going on, the dynamics, again, fear sells. i understand, you know, there's an economic -- you have to get to the core of the matter and we have to understand why they're fleeing and how do we address those issuance as opposed to just talking about fear. >> mayor leeser, fear does sell papers, i concede that. but it also elects politicians. to what extent is that a problem
9:17 am
at the state and national level? >> i'm not sure what you mean by elects politicians, because we need to go out and educate people around the country. one of the things we're talking about in el paso, you know, people want to go back to the country they love. they want to be able -- just like mayor martinez said, they want to be able to make a living in their countries. how do we work together to help them? right now the biggest problem we have in juarez is the shortage of workers as they continue to grow grow. people want to go to their country. they want to be in the country. we have to work together as one unit to educate, to help each other grow. i'm not sure i understand the question that fear elects politicians, because doing the right thing would not be fear. doing the right thing is to create a better world for us to live in. and that's what we need to do. >> mayor martinez, a few weeks ago you were one of several mayors on both sides of the border to sign the agreement
9:18 am
called the bi-national economic development zone. can you explain what that is and what its significance is? >> i think, again, going back to what everybody's stated is, we are one region. just because we have a river that once runs through it doesn't mean we're two separate entities. and so the whole eye dough between the bi-national a agreement is we understand where mexico is. we understand the security problems they have. we don't feel we have the same problems, but how do we assist them and help them? we have a highway which goes through their bread basket. how do we reach out to them and make them profit oriented, as well as this side of the border? i don't think you can isolate. this is what i'm talking about when you're talking about the global economy, you can't let borders get in the way of progress. that's the whole idea behind the bi-national agreement. and i hope that it extends and it's a model for the rest of the border to keep going up. i know we had a lot of interest from laredo and el paso.
9:19 am
the whole idea was to go all the way from brownsville to san diego. that's the whole idea. we have to understand that mexico is a trading partner for us, it's a big trading partner for us. texas knows this more than anybody else. that's why i'm glad we're having this discussion and conversation. i think once we get the education, as the mayor said over there once we educate the folks, come down and visit us come down and see what we've got, we've got a great thing going. in my part of the country, we have spacex coming. i think we're going to reach for the stars and see the stars. that's the message that needs to get across. we have to have conversation but we have to have action. you have to come see what we're doing. >> expanding on this notion, someone drew the comparison of having the mayor of austin try to sell this city without giving any kind of data south of the colorado river. is that the challenge you all
9:20 am
face? >> we do. presenting data, laredo alone with the four bridges and one rail bridge, we do $200 billion worth of trade with mexico. it's huge. it's the number one land port in the entire u.s./mexico border. it's incumbent to spread the message. laredo is open for business. we work very closely with our mexican counterparts. we need to see mexico in a higher light. granted the immigration issue is huge, it's big. our border needs to be secured. of course we need comprehensive immigration. i think all of us would agree to that. but beyond that issue, mexico is our second, third largest trading partner. we need mexico. we're tied to the hip. so it's an evolution. we need to be careful as to what we say and what we present to the world, especially now. i know it's the political season
9:21 am
and it's up for grabs. we know the border. we live the border. we breathe the border. mexico is huge for us. mexico, from my standpoint what i've seen, people i visited with, it has huge potential. we have the energy potential. we have the -- i'm talking about an area on the other side. so anyway, yes, we need to sell it, and again, i thank you for the forum, for the opportunity of spreading the word. the border area should be looked at as the regional area, global area. we'll have so many assets, so much capacity there, that people don't -- they just don't understand, they just don't see that. it's our job to sell that and make it known to everyone. >> mayor leeser? >> i think we forget a little bit of when we talk about, i think the mayor said it, how
9:22 am
much trade comes across his area, how much trade comes across the water, but it's not for el paso. it's for the whole united states. it creates and depends on millions of millions of jobs across the u.s. and trade is not just for the local area. it's important that we continue to keep the ebb and flow, not just for our areas but for the economy and jobs of the whole united states. that's the important part that we can't lose focus on. >> there's a movement afoot in larger cities, for example the dallas/fort worth area, that combine msas. i'm wondering to what extent there's value in an international combined msa, if you could all address that issue. mayor darling? >> in the valley there's 1.2 million people. when you add mexico, it's over 3 million people. because we have tens of thousands of people come across the river every day doing trade,
9:23 am
we're the largest sales tax per capita than everybody because of the mexican trade. it makes sense when we go to sell something up north from an economic development standpoint if we show those numbers as a combined msa, it's so much stronger to tell our story really than otherwise. and when we talk as mayors it's skeptical because we're proud of our cities but when you have msa figures, and documented figures, it makes much more sense to do that. >> mayor villarreal what do you think is the value of that? >> that's the future. us being able to work internationally with mexico and other countries for that matter is the future. we had nafta many years ago that opened up borders and opened up our minds to new opportunities in agriculture and manufacturing, all sorts of fields. if we want to look to the future for texas and this nation, i will tell you that mexico is texas' number one trading partner and this country's number three trading partner. that says an awful lot. if we want to open new avenues
9:24 am
to the future, we have to go into mexico and make sure we erase the borders that exist, and instead replace it with no borders for business. whatever benefits the business trade of this nation and this continent benefits everybody that lives in this country. so we've got to look past the natural borders that exist. but business is so large and expanding. and in the future you'll see a more vibrant texas and a more vibrant valley for sure. >> mayor leeser my newman went on the tour that mayor darling had indicated earlier recently, and got wonderful insight into the city of renosa. it took them three hours to cross the border to return to the united states. how do you balance the issue of this trade flow, increased potential trade flow with the issue of security? how do you prevent three-hour waits? >> i kind of addressed it a
9:25 am
little bit with my first answer. it's the public partnership between the city. and what we do, the city actually pays for overtime agents for the peak times. it's really a moving number a moving target for us. the christmas season or any type of holiday comes around, we have to continue to keep shifting, and then determine where that starting point is to see the gauge, how long it's taken. one thing we've noticed since we did the partnership with the cvp, times have decreased a little bit, but the traffic has increased a lot. if you had a lot of traffic increase, you would have had a lot of time increase, but that didn't happen for us. we had a slight decrease in time, but again, now we've met -- i just met two or three weeks ago with the mayor, he said it's important, how do we turn around, we're having a little issue with trucks, because roi, any company that looks around to reinvest and
9:26 am
come into our area is return on investment. how do we turn around and make sure they keep moving their merchandise? we've been talking about expanding hours. and we got cvp to agree. they open at 6:00. they've agreed to start opening at 4:00 a.m. when there is no traffic as they're going through the cities, to be able to come through and move the goods through. we're looking at expanding the hours starring at 4:00 a.m. and adding two hours to the commercial traffic so that can -- like i said, it's even better than you would think, because there is no traffic during the city as they're coming through. we've also done another thing that's been very important, worked with mexico, as they bring their empties. we have 2,500 empties come across every day, and the empties have to be x-rayed coming through. we work with mexico, worked with the ambassador in washington and got permission to build a second x-ray machine at our ports of entry that will cut time in half, again, return on investment is the most important
9:27 am
thing. that second x-ray facility will be opened in november. so we're very excited. so we're looking at ways to continue to have private/public investment within the city, and the people that are trying to continue to do business within our community. >> mare saenz, i think it's very clear that the economic ties that exist on both sides of the border are very tight. do you think the rest of the state and even the country recognizes to what extent these economic ties exist? >> not to the extent that i would want them to recognize them. the border area, the laredo area, all the border cities, i think the states and the u.s. should see it as what value does the border area bring to the rest of the state, and what value does a great port area bring to the united states. and of course we bring a lot of value, 6 million jobs that
9:28 am
depend on border trade. the u.s./mexico economy is over $500 billion of trade. and it comes through our borders. that's essential. it creates all sorts of jobs. and going back to, you know, the issue of security, after 9/11, things changed, we all recognize that. we've got to balance security versus economic development. and i praise cvp, could things be done better, absolutely they can. we're trying to work on infrastructure, fluidity. we want those commercial trucks moving, commerce and trade and business through our borders as soon as possible, because we know that there's someone in montana or st. louis or somewhere else, depending on that merchandise to get there,
9:29 am
so they can place it somewhere else they can make their own living. we're all interdependent. yes, we had to find that balance and become more efficient, especially up in the border areas, crossing merchandise. >> mayor darling, i want to expand a little bit about your comment on 9/11, because understandably, this country hunkered down after 9/11. while mexico did something quite different. and i came across a fact last week that was startling to me. the united states has free trade agreements with 20 different countries around the world. mexico has free trade agreements with 44 different countries around the world. what are the implications of that for communities like yours? >> it shows how progressive mexico is in relationship to trade. one of the things i want to point out is, our goal down here is a safe border, not a closed border. the thing i want to point out,
9:30 am
manufacturing, reynosa is small business. you can't build a car in the united states without products from mexico. when i tell people from michigan that, they look at me like i'm a crazy person. those are federal legislators who do not realize the importance. if you go to korea, i mention korea because it's like a country on steroids with technology. if you lock at that and if you look at that and the pacific trade agreement, it's a worldwide deal. you just can't be that restrictive. i know it's a political, probably, question more than than a real economic question. we're not dealing from an economic at some point. mexico gets it. we have a japanese chamber of commerce, panasonic, alpine, sony are all located there, because of their trade agreement with mexico and japan. as they expand those trade agreements, there will be more things getting shipped over here from mexico instead of being manufactured here. we just need to get onboard.
9:31 am
>> what are your views on the significance of what's going on, particularly as it relates to energy and all that's going on there now? >> well, you know, i think now with the liquid natural gas, the things that we have presidential permits in brownsville to go ahead and pipe some of that stuff into mexico and mexico needs the energy that we have to provide. so i think the thrust of our conversation here has to be that not only does the world need to know, we have to have a better messaging from our standpoint to let everybody know what's going on and why the border is so important. i think we also have -- i think a good example of what i'm talking about is, we just finished doing the first train rail in from mexico to the united states in over a hundred years. and of course laredo, i've been talking to the mayor of laredo, and they're likewise trying to improvise and get something going. we've cut down the amount of
9:32 am
time to cross by over three hours to brownsville by having that new rail. one of the most important parts of that particular project was that we have an agreement with mexico that we will take their x-ray machines and use their images, and they will take ours and we'll compare them. so now once you have the cooperation of the two countries, this is the first that's ever happened, between mexico and the united states. but it's one great example of how we can coordinate our efforts, and for security purposes and economic purposes, we can make those two things work together to everybody's advantage. >> mayor darling, you've done something similar. it's providing u.s. or funds for infrastructure in mexico. >> the irony here is you hear mayors in cities negotiating with the mexican federal and state government for increase in trade with the united states. you don't hear state involvement.
9:33 am
you hear very little federal involvement in that. that's one of the barriers of dealing with the state and federal government on this side. so yeah, we're paying money, the city of el paso and laredo, mcallen and brownsville pay money for federal inspectors in order to get money across that bridge. it doesn't sound right to me, that's what it takes, individual cities, because we own bridges, our partners and bridges do that negotiation to make sure that we enhance trade, to make things cheaper in the united states for people to buy things. >> mayor saenz, talking about barriers, a significant barrier is just pure xenophobia. it's a popular position to take at the state level. how do you combat xenophobia? >> it's, again, speaking out, and people realizing the safety
9:34 am
of the border area. going back to efficiency. time is money. i heard a statistic that a one-minute delay at the border causes $166 billion of loss throughout the u.s. the key now is preclearance. we've done it at the airport. we have an airport in laredo. i think it's a first in the u.s. if i airplane with cargo landing in laredo once it's inspected, it can land anywhere in mexico. that expedites trade. the same thing with trains. brownsville has done it. we're mirroring, frankly, that. it's a secured corridor type where it's precleared at the rail yards, where the train doesn't have to stop in the middle of the bridge, create a traffic congestion at both sides. we're trying to eliminate that. of course it takes federal cooperation, which we are getting, but it takes a lot of
9:35 am
communication. they've done it, so obviously we can do it as well in laredo. and hopefully the entire border can do that. it's all about expediting, making our crossings more efficient. >> mayor leeser, another fact that i came across that was very interesting, it's projected by 2020, just five years away, mexico's economy will enter the top ten economies of the world. by 2050, it will be projected that mexico's economy will be the top five in the world. my question to you is, do you think the economic power of mexico and the growth potential of mexico will ever overshadow the fear of drug cartels and all that's happening in terms of violence in mexico? >> well, let me tell you one thing, first of all. i hope to be here in 2050 to be able to see if what i tell you comes true. >> you're announcing for
9:36 am
re-election now? >> that's the important part. you know, as the economy grows and business continues to grow, it really is what will make the big difference in mexico or any country. i think in 2020, i think it will make a huge, huge difference, in making sure that we continue to share technology and learn from each other and continue to grow is very important. >> mayor villarreal, along those lines, we were talking earlier, and the big popular mask for halloween in mexico is el chapo masks. at what point can you make the economy and the economic prowess more sexy than crime and violence? >> by getting involved and working towards goals that benefit international trade. mayor leeser mentioned and so did mayor darling and mr.
9:37 am
martinez did also, that the ability for cities to be able to pay for overtime needed to be legislated. and i'm very pleased, i know congress has a reputation for being dysfunctional, and maybe it's deserving to some extent, but in this case they did something successful john cornyn is a republican, he worked with a democrat, i attended meetings where they combined efforts and worked with local, state, and federal officials to be able to create that legislation. it was bipartisan. it was great to see. i was a part of it. i attended several meetings. and to be able to see that camaraderie and that understanding that, again, it's not a red issue, it's not a blue issue, it's a red, white, and blue issue. when it comes down to business we have to focus more on red, white, and blue issues to make sewer that one aisle and the
9:38 am
other side of the aisle finds a middle ground where they can work together. and the private and public partnership that was created is a great example of how important government is and how they have to step up to the plate to do more of that. >> mayor martinez let's deal with self-perception. it's the notion that people along the border who have historically been ignored by state and federal governments kind of view themselves as undeserving in many respects. one example, recently it was announced that mcallen made it to the finals in terms of being a location for the presidential debate next year, and didn't quite reach it. when we ran the story in the newspaper, there was a lot of commenting from the community saying, well, we didn't deserve it. how do you combat that self-effacement that exists? >> i have this feeling that success breeds success. and so once you have the ball rolling and once you get momentum going, you can get away from that.
9:39 am
i think one of the things that you asked about with regards to the economics of whether when you become a great economic power like mexico is going towards, what happens when it's the cartels? well, you have a good example in columbia, when you had pablo escobar, like you have el chapo and colombia is now really doing well in the global economy. it doesn't mean their whole cartels are extinguished, because there's a certain portion of the country that everybody knows still has some of that trade. but you overshadow it. so again, they started this, like in medellin they have a slogan that says medellin, for life. in other words, if you want to go to the good life, you go to medellin.
9:40 am
if you talk about having a good love, you can talk about having a great life along the border. but you have to feel good about yourself. this undeserving stuff has no merit whatever. but the self-esteem has to be brought up to the level of yes, i am worthy, and not only am i worthy, but i can do better. and that's the whole idea -- i know all these gentlemen here, and all of our feelings along the border and all the mayors that i know along the border have the distinct idea that we can be much better than we are and we're getting there and we're going in a good direction. the undeserving stuff, i'm sorry some people felt that way, but that's probably not the reason we didn't get a presidential debate in mcallen. there's a lot of factors. there's a lot of economic factors, there's a whole lot of things that we take a look at the perception as to our voting abilities, do we go out to the polls. those are the things we have to work on as well as messaging. that's our challenge. that's our opportunity, to really get out into the world and say, yes, not only are we
9:41 am
deserving, we are really good. we are the capital of the chess game, a great example. brownsville, we're the capital of the chess. and we have young kids, and it's going to mcallen. it's going everywhere. there's a movie out there called the end game that only shows you a little bit of what it takes to succeed. >> mayor darling, is that self-esteem also combatted by demanding a seat at the table at the state and federal level? >> first, i say, if we ever win a football game north of alice. we'll get more self-esteem. but we can't do that. i forgot your question. >> should we demand a seat at the table? >> absolutely. our county, we're the seventh largest county in the state of texas. people don't know that. combined, we move up to the fifth largest population in the state of texas. we're important economically. we have the biggest agricultural production in the state of texas and with mexico it's even
9:42 am
greater, it feeds a lot of the united states. it's right that we demand -- i talk to my counterparts in the mexican consulate office. they have the same problems with mexico city at the border. i don't know why. we're at the end of the line, i guess, with those countries. when there's thousands and thousands of cars and trucks that go across mexico, they don't think about that. 80% of our water shed is in mexico. going to texas and say, you need to understand the border doesn't end at the river, and you need to understand that we need help when we go into mexico. with the state of texas. you're right, when we go out there, we go with our hands like this. we need to say, we're important and we need you to pay attention to us. >> mayor leeser, 20 years ago el paso made a
9:43 am
name for itself by convening a court of inquiry, bringing in state officials and demanding to know why state services were not up to par on the borders. is something that necessary at this point? >> is it necessary? i don't think it's necessary. it's one of the things that we'll continue to monitor doing. but i wouldn't see that it's necessary at this point. >> so you're not going to help us pay for it? >> no, i think the court of inquiry, that's kind of like the star chamber. i think we've done it once in cameron county as well. it does sell you a lot of papers, by the way. >> thank you. at this point i would like to take questions from the audience and invite anybody who has a question. there's two microphones up there. please avoid the temptation to give speeches, and ask questions. go ahead, sir. >> i grew up in laredo. i know mayor saenz as well.
9:44 am
along the border, corruption is a fact. do you believe that the corruption is trending up or down at both municipal, county, state, and federal government? and do you have budget allocations to combat that? or is that left to the state and federal government? >> i'll let whoever wants to take that. >> you know what, i think one of the things you need to realize is, large amounts of moneys cause corruption. you have to look at the attorney general's office in the state of texas. large amounts of money causes corruption. we have large amounts of money coming across with drug transactions. it's coming to a neighborhood near you. that's all i can tell you, because if you have a large amount of money and the possibility to get that, you're going to have corruption. i think we get unjustly accused of corruption. we have corruption, the last two out of three sheriffs are in jail, that's because of things that are influenced because of that. and i don't think we have -- maybe get more publicity for it but i don't think we have any more than any other area of the country. >> if i could, again, jim is
9:45 am
totally right in the sense of it's pretty widespread, but that doesn't mean we don't need to address it. and is it on the upward spiral? i don't think so. i think what's going to happen is you're going to see that at this particular point we're acutely aware, we're very sensitive to it. when something comes across my table, i call out the texas rangers and fbi and say, i want you to come down and take a look at the situation. because until we completely, and we'll never completely eliminate it. but until we truly address it, and people do get scared that they will get caught in doing those kind of things, that will never stop. i think it's a thing that needs to be talked about. i don't think we can sweep it under the carpet. >> hi. i started college in 2008. it was before utrgt was kind of made. and i have a lot of friends from
9:46 am
the valley, and they have this stigma against it. a lot of the people that i know that came to austin from brownsville and mcallen say i don't want to go back. what are you guys doing to incentivize people that have degrees to go back to the valley and build their lives there? >> i'm an alum, i graduated utpa, i'm proud of that fact. in fact anything you see me say or do or respond to is because of my education in that facility. i want to say that the trend sometimes, what you're talking about, negativity, it's existed in this world forever. i think the new platform it has now with social media, social media does a lot to fester and make that bubble up to the top. but i want to tell you that from my standpoint, i'm very proud of the valley. i encourage young people not to look at i want to go back to austin. go where the opportunity is.
9:47 am
if you're an engineer, go where engineers are being hired. if you're into rockets, go to spacex in brownsville. find that opportunity. but don't believe everything you read, everything you hear. and don't believe anything that you hear negative on facebook or twitter, because the conversations that i've had with young people have been challenging the system and not as much doubting the system. so i will take at face value what people tell me, not what i read in social media. >> this week the statistics came out from the census bureau saying we're number three in the whole country for increase of jobs that pay over $100,000. more than austin, by the way, i'll point out. we're number three in the country. i think that's a reflection of the new university, health care growing in our area and those kind of things. i think there's a lot of opportunity. >> mayor saenz? >> like every other mayor, our goal is economic development, job creation, meaningful jobs with healthy living, and of course quality of life issues too.
9:48 am
in laredo we're moving along those lines. >> mayor leeser? >> and it's important that we talk about our universities, as we recruit companies to come to el paso, it's important that we work with the universities. find out what type of workforces are looking for engineers, doctors, anything they're looking for to try to create that type of graduates and the companies that come to el paso are looking for that. it's important that the youth stay within our community, because the youth is the future of the growth of our cities. so we've been working really hard with the community college, our colleges, and really, we even start in high school and grade level to see what kind of companies are going to come to el paso so we can have that type of graduate. >> mayor martinez? >> you speak the truth. there's a lot of that particular prevailing attitude. i think you're seeing a whole lot of change, with the university, with spacex, with
9:49 am
a lot of different job opportunities, which is what we're supposed to be doing. and i think i would like to invite all your friends who are talking like that to give us a chance to come and see what we have. i mean, in my part of the world, and i think he's an avid cyclist, okay, so bike and hike trails, quality of life that we're talking about. the different things that we have to offer are a whole lot different than my generation. i came up here to austin, you know, i went back to the valley because i love the valley. but there's a whole lot of my friends that didn't and live now in houston or dallas or where else. but i invite them to come down. not only all the way from el paso to brownsville to laredo to mcallen things are different. things are different. >> we have time for two more questions. go ahead, ma'am. >> part of reason why i migrated to the united states were the constant shoot-outs between military and drug cartels in mexico. how do you feel about mexico's
9:50 am
policy of putting the military into the streets, and has it affected your towns and how? >> i can tell you that it hasn't really affected any more so other than it's really matamoras about two weeks ago. they have a challenge to try to change what happens. you can't anticipate that their local police force is going to be able to survive and take care of their families when you are not paying them adequately. i think once those things that are going on right now is, you are bringing in secure people who are being paid well. their families are taken care of. they get a chance to have their kids go to school. they have public health providers. so those are the things they need to strive for. i would rather have someone secure and someone that i trust than someone that i don't trust. >> anybody else? >> let me just add that once upon a time mexico didn't have cartel problems, didn't have violence problems. there was a time when mexican tourists would come and they
9:51 am
would shop readily at the malls. there was a big part of our industry. it's a cycle. mexico is struggling. a lot of white house are hispanic, we have that sensitivity to wanting mexico to be successful. i'm confident they will work their way through it. as far as us as border towns, there's next to the border and then there's along the border. all of us come from next to the border. so i can tell you that if we are safe and we can say that with confidence, again, i keep saying the law enforcement, first responders, fire department do an incredible job of trying to make sure that if it's about property and about life that they keep us as safe as possible. >> but i think we can learn from it. the main thing is, what is the root cause? what caused that turmoil more so in the border area and goes down to in the rule of law, no enforcement, morals, values family values. there's a generation -- i spoke
9:52 am
to a general in a qualified -- i told him what's it going to take another five or ten years of the so-called militarization on the mexican side? he said, it may take a generation. it may take now that we have seen the horribleness of the situation, maybe now parents will be more attentive with their kids and building those values that we grew up along the border. so it's something that we can all learn from. we have to be mindful of those things. it all boils down to a family unit. >> i think you were right on target when you talked about understand the problem and then have a long-term solution. it's not what can we do today, because today may be different tomorrow. really to have an understand -- understanding the problem is really important and how do we sustain and have a long-term
9:53 am
solution. so that's very important. >> question over here. >> yes. hello. i'm actually from brownsville, texas. i'm a student at atrgb. a lot of the border towns are safe. i have a lot of opportunity for myself. it's a myth like they mentioned, miscommunication, negativity. this is a stigma that the border towns have in general. having said this, how do we bring those high-tech companies to the valley so we continue to have students stay there and work seeing that this is a negative stigma? but it's not in reality how it is. >> we started an incubator for people in high-tech areas that want to -- allow -- everybody is starting in garages. more tech companies started in garages than rock bands. so we're starting an incubator. we give low rent.
9:54 am
we give access to computers access to national markets and growing our own. i think that's very important. probably easier than getting -- dell is not interested in coming to mcallen. but we can grow our own. there's huge opportunities in the tech area for small businesses to succeed. >> one of the things we have done -- i talked about the -- we have traveled around the country to talk to companies that have established themselves in el paso and then we invite them and maybe their suppliers to come to el paso. we have had what's called a fan tour that was developed. we have had over 90 different people come to el paso. we show them what el paso -- with our hospitals community a big partner fort bliss which has 43000 troops our colleges. we actually -- we can take pictures and we can send them videos, but we actually through the private sector, we
9:55 am
actually -- it doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime. 100% of this has been funded by the private sector. the private sector has actually funded 100% of bringing these companies brings these individuals to look at el paso. once they level pass sewave el paso they would say it is on their radar based on what they see today and they have been able to see themselves. >> i invite utrgv group to really reach out to the new university. because i tell you what. what i think everybody here is doing all the way from rio grandee grande city to brownsville we're reaching out. a lot of the companies want to meet you guys. they want to be with you. space x is a good example. you have got quite a bit of interest in a fellow by the name of juan martinez who is with the astro physicist group. he has been hired.
9:56 am
there's a lot of different areas. i think what happens is you guys have to start looking at utrgv and your counterparts and saying, you know what, you know, it's really here. it's our opportunity. that's good. >> from our standpoint the city does have incentives. we have 1,700 acres we could provide to any one company that's going to provide multiple jobs, good paying jobs ss in loredo. we can work with industry and job creating companies. keep that in mind when you are thinking about the border and more so the loredo area. >> invest in education. invest in not just education for your college meaning there's community colleges that offer wonderful opportunities. find the void in the job market and train yourself for that. make sure you have a job. there's vocational training that are very important also that can provide wonderful livings wonderful opportunities. i'm going to put it in your court. young people gotta come out and vote. old people do too. when i hear young people over
9:57 am
and over, my vote doesn't matter. yes, it does. ask any one of us as elected officials or former elected officials, it matters. if you organize as a group and vote as a group your voice will be heard. you will shape the future. you are shaping it already. but you will shape the future of government. that is hugely important. >> one final question sir. >> my question is more for loredo and the impact of the production of eagleford and the prospects oil remaining lower. >> the prospects? slowed down somewhat. to be honest with you, it did. we are diversified. where he more into the trade, logistics, warehousing. we're a big trade town. i say town, it's -- now it's a good size city now. but now there's that potential also on the shale basin there a few miles on the south end of
9:58 am
the rio grande there. that's opening up. that's developing. that's going to create jobs and activity there by the border area texas and the u.s. and who else but us and the border that have had experience with oil and gas development and production? we have the expertise. we provide the staging ground given the insecurities still that lives in mexico. so there's a lot of potential there on the border. but oil and gas i've been involved in that for 30-some years. it will come up. >> can i say something quick? let me give you an important project that happened. that's why we are together in this. there was a pipeline from texas all the way near mexico city that ran through star county. i know you hear about keystone pipeline or something like that. we have a version of that in texas already. it went straight through star county. it's feeding mexico. we got to make sure that we
9:59 am
support the energy industry and that we don't stifle it, that we encourage it in positive ways while protecting our environment. but that's a good example of how international energy can be -- there's a pipeline that exists today. i saw it go in. that goes from texas -- i don't know how many miles it is, but it's a long way all the way to new mexico city. more of that would be a big plus for the energy industry. >> it's approximately 12:10. this concludes our panel. as a reminder, the texas tribune arranged a sample of austin's premiere food to serve lunch under the ut tower. at this time, would you please join me in thanking the panel gathered here today? [ applause ]
10:00 am
10:01 am
we're live on capitol hill on this wednesday morning for a hearing with national drug control policy director michael botticelli. he is testifying on oversight and drug control and will discuss the reauthorization of his office and its programs. this is hosted by the house oversight and government reform committee. it's live here on c-span3. should start in just a moment.
10:02 am
10:03 am
subcommittee on government operations will come to order. without objection the chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. the office of national drug control policy or the ondcp is charged with guiding the big picture strategy for addressing illicit drug problems here in this country and the consequences thereof. i think we can all agree that this is a problem that merits meaningful solutions. over the years we as a nation have tried as variety of approaches to address the illicit drug problem from its launch in 1988 to the last reauthorization in 2006 and still today the ondcp has been intimately involved in the spectrum of drug control efforts. today's hearing will look at the ondcp particularly since its last reauthorization which expired at the end of fiscal year 2010.
10:04 am
there are important questions for consideration. one, has the ondcp evolved to match the evolution in our nation's drug control strategy? two, what is the value of this office and is it correctly placed and appropriately resourced to fulfill those functions? and earlier this year, the agency actually sent a letter to chairman chairman chaffetz and their counterparts in the senate. it included reauthorization of the ondcp and today's hearing will focus also and discuss that proposal. we will hear testimony from the director of national drug control policy mr. botticelli who will speak knowledgeably to the work that is being done there as well as the proposed authorization language. and as we look at this, this proposed changes to the
10:05 am
authorization of the high intensity drug trafficking areas program, referred to as the hidta program. the hidta program has been a leader in bringing together local, state national and tribal law enforcement entities to reduce the supply of illegal drugs by targeting and disrupting drug trafficking organizations. i might note that in that particular area, we're very familiar with that with local law enforcement in western north carolina as we have one of those areas that has that cooperation. the ondcp changes would allow for the use of the hidta funds for engaging in prevention and treatment efforts previously only limited hidta funds would be used for prevention efforts and no funds were permitted for treatment. so in response to this proposal,
10:06 am
the national hidta directors association wrote to members of the oversight committee suggesting a compromise that would allow for the use of funds for prevention and treatment but with a cap. i imagine that the congressional liaison for the national hidta directors association, mr. kelley will provide further explanation on that letter and the proposed language. so we look forward to hearing from you and all of the witnesses today. i would now recognize mr. conly, the ranking member of the subcommittee on government operations for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. meadows. thank you mr. chairman and thank you for holding this hearing a very important topic. the office of national drug control policy plays a critical role in coordinating the federal response to our troubling drug epidemic in which the annual deaths from drug overdoses now
10:07 am
outnumber those caused by gunshots or car accidents. the office itself manages a budget of $375 million with two national grant programs and coordinating the related activities of 39 federal departments, agents and programs totaling more than $26 billion. so it's more than a little concerning that congress allowed the office's formal authorization to expire five years ago. allowing it simply to subside on annual appropriations rather than a long-term authorization. it has been nearly a decade since congress seriously considered our national drug control policies and activities. as we will hear from today's panel a great deal has been changed in that interim period. sadly, not for the better. mr. kelley of the national hidta program directors association notes in his prepared remarks that the scourge of drug abuse
10:08 am
lass no boundaries. it does not recognize geography social economic status race, gender or age. the efforts of the odmcp are vital to and visible in each of our respective communities. so mr. chairman, i appreciate the bipartisan spirit with which we have approached this hearing on the ondcp's performance and its proposal for reauthorization. i know many of us are troubled -- very troubled by the spike in heroin use in our communities. it used to be actually a very static demand drug. no longer. in my home state of virginia for example, the number of people who died using heroin or other opiates is on track to climb for the third straight year. heroin-related deaths doubled in my own home county of fairfax across the river between 2013 and 2014. and that follows a troubling trend all across the national capital region.
10:09 am
i know eleanor shares that as well. they provide grants to local, state and tribal law enforcement. the drug free communities program, which provides grants to community partnerships aimed at reducing substance abuse among young people. virginia now has 20 counties out of 95 that have been designated as high intensity drug trafficking areas. four are part of the larger appalachian region and 16 are part of the washington-baltimore area. white the program has historically been more enforcement focused, we're beginning to see an increased emphasis on prevention and treatment. i think that's appropriate. that's reflected in the administration's reauthorization proposal. current law caps at 5% the amount of funds that can be used
10:10 am
for prevention activities. 5%. 27 of the 28 designated regional high intensity drug trafficking areas support prevention activities. the statute actually prohibits funds from being used for treatment programs with the exception of two grandfathered programs in the washington-baltimore and northwest regions as their efforts predate the prohibition in the previous authorization. in fact, my district benefits from that particular exception with fairfax county receiving a sub grant to fund one full-time position, one, providing residential day treatment anded me medical detox services. i think that 5% limit does not make sense especially in light of a lot of changes in the demand for opiates and other drugs. i look forward to hearing more from director botticelli about the shift of public health based services within the national drug control strategy. the administration's proposed
10:11 am
reauthorization language would allow the regional drug trafficking areas upon request of their boards to spend funding on treatment efforts and to spend above the current cap on prevention efforts. that would amount to a considerable investment in strategy such as diverse or community reentry programs that have proven successful. i appreciate mrs.. kelley that we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. we're moving to a partnership between public safety and public health to create a more holistic approach to the substance abuse challenges facing so many communities across america. director botticelli's compelling personal story speaks to the power of recovery. i hope we can play a role in helping to advance this important reauthorization
10:12 am
effort. i appreciate the bipartisan spirit by which you have approached it. look forward to hearing the testimony this morning. thank you. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from maryland the ranking member of the full committee, mr. cummings for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. as i listened to mr. connolly i could not help but rereminded in this day and age we are fully realizing that drug addiction has no boundaries. it has no boundaries. it affects whites, blacks rich, poor from one coast to the other of this united states. the statements with regard to treatment ladies and gentlemen, some of the most profound words that will be spoken here is we better wake up and begin to
10:13 am
address this more and more as a health problem, because, again, what we're seeing now with heroin -- i have known about heroin for many, many years in baltimore. but now it's spreading everywhere. now people are beginning to understand that prevention is so very, very crucial. so the office of national drug control policy has a difficult but crucial mission. it is tasked with leading efforts across the agencies to reduce drug use and mitigate its consequences. ondcp is also responsible for developing and implementing strategies and budgets annually while also furthering long-term goals. although, none of these responsibilities are simple. i have been impressed with how diligently this administration has tackled these tasks while being efficient with the
10:14 am
resources that are provided. we are here today to discuss reauthorization of this office's vital work which includes the drug free communities program which i'm very familiar with, a valuable grant program that mobilizes our communities to prevent youth drug use. it also includes a high intensity drug trafficking areas program which operates through regional efforts with state local and tribal law enforcement agencies to dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking areas. ondcp's overall goals are substantial. and the stakes are high. they include reducing drug use among our youth, reducing the chronic abuse of a wide range of substances and lowering drug related deaths and illnesses. despite what often seems to be insurmountable obstacles, ondcp is making progress on many of these fronts by engaging all of
10:15 am
our community stakeholders from police officers to health professionals. in 2010, ondcp took a crucial step in recognizing that addressing drug addiction is not merely a public safety issue. it is a public health issue. we must tackle the demand for drugs as well as their supply. we must recognize that prevention and treatment are crucial tools that compliment law enforcement's efforts. i have seen up close and personal the ways that drug abuse can be destructive. i have often said that if you want to destroy a people, if you want to destroy a community and you want to do it slowly but surely, you can do it through drugs. in my own city of baltimore, i have seen entire communities fractured and broken by drug use. i have seen landmarks like our world famous lexington market
10:16 am
become synonymous with drug trafficking. i have seen people in so much pain they don't even know they're in pain. i have seen people who used to be hard working citizens in our communities staggering through our streets, slumped over from the effects of heroin addiction. i have seen right now if you went to baltimore in certain areas, you will see hundreds of them, people who have lost their way. this is not the baltimore where i grew up. it is not the baltimore i know is possible. the leaders of the washington-baltimore hidta hold this conviction, too. over the years they have demonstrated exactly how prevention and treatment efforts can compliment law enforcement efforts. i'm encouraged that our hidta is one of five organizations that will receive $2.5 million to address our nation's heroin
10:17 am
epidemic situation through the heroin response strategy. using wraparound approach that encompasses law enforcement, communities, the washington-baltimore hidta has dismantled 92 drug trafficking organizations and nearly 3,000 kill low grams of cocaine and 410 kilograms of heroin since 2013. it is because of these demonstrated successes that i was pleased to learn that the ondcp is asking congress equip all of the hidta with prevention and treatment tools well. like forward to learning about the changes you are proposing and what it has been doing to address recommendations to improve accountability. finally, this is an issue that affects all of us. it affects all of us.
10:18 am
if it has not affected you yet, i promise it probably will. whether you live in west baltimore or in the mountains of new hampshire, drug abuse affects every community in america. every one of them. i look forward to working with all of my colleagues to ensure full and swift reauthorization of ondcp, a program that is absolutely crucial to the future success, safety and health of our great nation. with that, mr. chairman, i thank you. and yield back. >> i thank the gentleman for his inciteful and i guess personal words as it brings it home up close and personal for all of us. i thank the ranking member for that. i would hold the record open for five legislative days for any member who would like to submit a written statement. the chair has noted the presence
10:19 am
of the gentleman from ohio earlier has checked in mr. turner, a member of the full committee. his interest in this particular topic is important. he has stepped out for an armed services hearing but will be back joining us. without objection, we welcome mr. turner to participate fully in today's hearing. seeing no optionbjection, so ordered. we will recognize our panel of witnesses. i am pleased to welcome the honorable michael botticelli. is that correct? i will try to get that better. the director -- >> he is more famous for painting paintings. >> i got you. the director of the national drug control policy at the office of national drug control policy. welcome. mr. david kelley the congressional liaison at hidta which is the national high intensity drug trafficking areas directors association.
10:20 am
and mr. david maurer, director of justice and law enforcement issues at the gao. welcome to you all. pursuant to committee rules we would ask all witnesses be sworn in before they testify. if you would please rise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. you may be seated. let the record reflect that all witnesses answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for discussion, please limit your oral testimony to five minutes if you would. but your entire written statement will be made part of the record. mr. botticelli, we will recognize you for five minutes. >> chairman meadows ranking member connolly, ranking member cummings and members of the committee and subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to
10:21 am
discuss the administration's proposed legislation to reauthorize the office of national drug control policy. it's truly an honer to be in this position and to be at this hearing today. ondcp was established by congress under the anti drug abuse act of 1988 and was reauthorized by the office of national drug control policy reauthorization act of 2006. as a component of the executive office of the president, ondcp establishes policies, priorities and objectives of the national drug control program and ensures that adequate resources are provided to implement them. we develop, evaluate, coordinate and oversee the international and domestic anti-drug efforts of the executive branch and to the extent practicable ensure efforts compliment state and local drug policy activities. ondcp is responsible for issuing the administration's national drug control strategy which is our primary blueprint for drug policy. the strategy treats our nation's
10:22 am
substance abuse problems as public health challenges as well as public safety ones. an approach used to address drug control problems. ondcp set ambitious goals for reduction of illegal drug use and its consequences. we knew advancing the goals would be challenging. aful careful examination shows that progress has been made in many areas but we know we have far to go in many other a areas as well. for instance, we have moved toward a chiefing our goals related to reducing chronic cocaine and meth use and we met goals related to reducing lifetime prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use among eighth graders. looking at our goals related to the prevalence of illicit drug use by youth and young adults with he find marijuana use so overwhelms the data that the progress we have achieved in reducing the use of other illicit drugs is not apparent.
10:23 am
in addition to our activities across the agency to address substance abuse disorders ondcp administers two significant grant programs. the high intensity drug trafficking area program and the drug free community support program. the hidta program was created part of our original authorization to reduce drug trafficking and production in the united states by facilitating cooperation among federal, state local and tribal law enforcement agencies. the hprogram responds to the drug trafficking issues facing specific areas of the country in which law enforcement agencies at all leave levels of government share information and coordinate strategies to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas. there are currently 28 hidta programs in 48 states. it provides grants to local drug-free community co-ligs enabling them to increase
10:24 am
collaboration among partners to prevent substance abuse issues. during 2015, ondcp was able to award dfc grants to almost 700 community coalitions. the reauthorization legislation that the administration has provided would reauthorize for five years. it would strengthen the ability to effectively respond to the range of complex drug problems confronting our nation today. the legislation expands a list of authorized demand reduction activities to include screening and brief intervention for substance use disorders. promoting availability and access to healthcare services for the treatment of substance use disorders and supporting long-term recovery. language has been added expressingly making the reduction of under age use of control part of ondcp's demand reduction responsibilities. the proposed legislation would extend authorization for the hidta program for five years.
10:25 am
in addition, the bill will allow boards with the approval of the ondcp director to provide support for programs in the criminal justice system that offer treatment for substance use disorders to drug offenders. upon the request of an executive board, they may authorize funds to support initiatives to provide access to treatment as part of a diversion alternative sentencing or community re-entering program for drug offenders. we all know that such programs have proven successful in a number of jurisdictions across the country in breaking the cycle of drug depen dense and crime by assisting offenders to overcome their substance use disorder. new language would also authorize the expenditure of funds for community drug prevention efforts in excess of the current 5% level. note that these expenditures will be driven by the hidta executive boards should they see a need. in some instances the use of a
10:26 am
limited amount of funds to support a treatment program or to support a community prevention initiative may be means of reducing drug related crime. as we have discussed can the community, we intend to rearrange its organizational structure to if afacilitate greater cooperation among public health, public safety and international policy staff across the spectrum of drug policy. our new structure will facilitate issue focused working groups bringing together staff with policy expertise. this reorganization is separate and ind end pent from the reauthorization bill and can largely be accomplished through our existing authorities. however, as most of the major drug control issues facing our country cannot be placed neatly into demand or supply reduction categories, the proposed authorization would eliminate odccp's deputy director positions. leadership will be overseen by the director and coordinated through staff. i am glad to be here to discuss
10:27 am
these issues with you in further detail. we are continually grateful for congress and this committee's support for ondc's work to address substance use in this nation. thank you. >> thank you very much for your testimony. mr. kelley, you are recognized for five minutes. >> chairman meadows, ranking member connolly, ranking member cummings and distinguished members of the subcommittee, i'm honored to appear before you today to offer testimony highlighting the high intensity drug trafficking area program and to speak to you reauthorization of the os of national drug control policy, specifically to the recommendations of the directors with regard to proposed reauthorization language. ondcp establishes priorities and objectives for the nation's drug policy. the director is charged with produceing the national drug control strategy that directs the nation's efforts. the current strategy promotes a focused and balanced approach. the hidta program is an
10:28 am
essential component of the national drug control strategy. the 28 regional hidta are in 28 states. they coordinate anti-drug abuse efforts from a local regional and national perspective leveraging resources at all levels in a true partnership. at the national level, ondcp provides policy direction and guidance to the hidta program. at the local level, each hidta is govern eshed by an executive board comprised by federal, state and local and tribal agencies. this provides a balanced and equal voice in identifying regional threats developing strategies and assessing performance. the flexibility of this leadership model creates the ability for the exeshgive board to quickly effectively, efficiently adapt to emerging threats that may be unique to their own hidtas. investigative support centers,
10:29 am
in each create a communication structure that facilitates sharing among law enforcement agencies to effectively reduce the production, transportation, distribution and use of drugs. the strengths of the program are truly multi-dimensional. one of the corner stoepcornerstones is the ability to bring people and agencies together to work toward a common goal. the neutrality of the program is viewed as another key to its success. hidta is a program, not an agency. they do not he is spout the views of any one agency nor are we beholding to the mandates of any agency. we serve to facilitate and coordinate. while the enforcement mission remains paramount. hidtas are involved in drug prevention activities. the fact that we cannot arrest our way out of this drug problem is well recognized in the law enforcement community. the emerging partnership between public health and public safety
10:30 am
has never been more important. hidta provides the perfect platform for that partnership. the washington-baltimore hidta seeks to reduce this through treatment programs. the folk suss tocus is to change the drug habits of repeat offenders. the new england hidta partners with the scope of pain program. here the epidemic is addressed at the front end through extensive education. through an innovative use of discretionary funding, five hidtas have developed a heroin response trat sdi to address the severe threat in their community. it provides an unprecedented platform designed to enhance public health, safety collaboration across 15 states. currently they enjoy a
10:31 am
collaborative and cooperative working relationship that has never been stronger. the national hidta's director association encourages congress to reauthorize ondcp during this session. the national dfirst the existing authorization specifies that the director shall ensure that no federal funds appropriated for the program are expanded for the expansion of treatment programs. the proposed revision of of this prohibition would allow the director upon request of a hidta executive board to auj authorize funds to support drug treatment programs. we support this change. believe the funding should not exceed a cap of 10% of the affected hidta's baseline budget. second, in the past no more than 5% of hidta funds could be expanded for the establishment of drug prevention programs.
10:32 am
the new words allows the director upon request of the executive board to authorize an amount of greater than 5%. we support this change. but again believe the funding should not exceed a cap of 10% of affected baseline budget. their and finally there is an authorization of $193.4 million for the program. this amounts to a 22% reduction in program funding. this reduction would handicap the hidta program. the association respectfully recommending the amount of $245 million, which was the amount awards in fy-15. i thank you for allowing me this opportunity to testify. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you. mr. maurer. >> good morning chairman meadows ranking member
10:33 am
cummings ranking member connolly and other members and staff. i am pleased to discuss goa's findings on federal efforts to curtail ill listic drug use and enhanced coordination among federal state and local agencies. combating drug use and dealing with its affects is an expensive proposition. the administration requested more than $27 billion to undertake these activities in 2016. ensuring this money is well spent, that we're making progress and that the agencies are well coordinated is vitally important. over the years, goa has helped congress and the american public assess how well federal programs are working. in many instances, it's frankly hard to tell because agencies often don't have good enough performance measures. ondcp to its credit has focused a great deal of time, attention and resources on developing and using performance measures. five years ago the national drug control strategy established a series of goals with specific outcomes ondcp hoped to achieve
10:34 am
by 2015. in 2013, we reported that a related set of measures were generally consistent with effective performance management and useful for decision making. that's important to remember especially when the conversation turns to what those measures tell us. overall, there's been a lack of progress. according to a report ondcp issued two weeks ago, none of the seven goals have been achieve and in some key areas, the trend lines are moving in the opposite direction. for example, the percentage of eighth graders who have used illicit drugs has increased rather than decreased. number of drug related deaths in emergency room visits increased 19% rather than decreasing 15% as planned. substantially more americans now die every year of drug overdoses than in traffic crashes. it's also important to recognize progress in some key areas. for example, there have been substantial reductions in the use of alcohol and tobacco by
10:35 am
eighth graders. the 30-day prevalence of drug use by teenagers has also dropped. there's also been recent progress in federal drug prevention and treatment programs. two years ago we found the coordination across 76 federal programs at 15 federal agencies was too often lacking. for example 40% of the programs reported no coordination with other federal agencies. we recommended that ondcp take action to reduce the risk of duplication and improve coordination. since the report they have done just that. it has conducted an inventory of the programs and updated its budget process and monitoring efforts to enhance coordination. another goa report highlighted the risk of duplication among field based multiagency entities. to enhance coordination ondcp funds and supports multi-agency investigative support centers and hidta's.
10:36 am
they were one of five entityies we reviewed. we found that while these entities have distinct missions, roles and responsibilities, their activities can overlap. for example 34 of the 37 field based entities where he reviewed conducted overlapping analytical or investigationve support activities. they did not hold field based entities accountable for coordination or assess opportunities to improve coordination. since our report ondcp and department of home land security have taken action to address our recommendations. however, they have not yet sufficiently enhanced coordination mechanisms or assessed where practices that enhance coordination such as serving on one another's boards or co-locating with other entities can be applied to reduce overlap. in conclusion, as congress considers options for reauthorizing ondcp, it's worth
10:37 am
reflecting on the deeply engrained nation of illicit drug use in this country. it's an extremely complex problem that involves millions of people, billions of dollars and thousands of communities. there are very real costs in lives and livelihoods across the u.s. goa stands ready to help congress oversee ondcp and the other federal agencies as they work to reduce those costs. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you so much. i appreciate the fact that you acknowledge maybe deficiencies but also areas where performance was good. so thank you for that balanced testimony. the chair is going to recognize the vice-chair of the subcommittee, mr. wahlberg for his five minutes of questioning. >> thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate that and enjoyed my time in your district over thanksgiving. notifying you of that now since you don't have a chance to call the sheriff.
10:38 am
back to serious. like many areas across the country, the communities in my direct monroe county and others have experienced some significant struggles in fighting against the growing tide of heroin use and abuse and also the misuse of medication prescription pain medicines as well. i'm aware that ondcp has increased some of their effort nfz this area, specifically through the heroin response strategy. unfortunately, this program is limited to a certain regional area. mr. botticelli what efforts has ondcp undertaken to address prescription drug abuse and heroin use? >> part of the work that ondcp
10:39 am
does is continuing to monitor these drug trends and make sure that we are putting resources and efforts against those. in 2011, ondcp released a prescription drug abuse plan acknowledging the role that particularly prescription drugs were playing at the time as it relates to some of the issues. these included broad based efforts to reduce the prescribing of these prescription medications to call for state based prescription drug monitoring programs so that physicians who would have access to patients' prescribing histories. to working with the dea to reduce the supply of drugs coming from many of these communities. and to also coordinate law enforcement actions. we also called for an increase in resources, particularly treatment resources to deal with the demand that we have seen for those resources. as we have seen -- we have made progress in those areas. we have seen reduction among youth and young adults.
10:40 am
we have seen a leveling off of prescription drug overdoses over the past several years. unfortunately, however, that's been replaced by a significant increase in heroin related overdose death. >> is that sim spli where they are going because of reduced costs to them, accessibility and other reasons? >> when we look at data, it appears that only a very small portion of people who have misused prescription drugs actually progress to heroin. about 5%. if you look at newer users to heroin 80% started misusing pain medication. we know to deal with the heroin crisis compels us to deal with the prescription drug use issue. we're also focusing on how we address the heroin issue. again, from a comprehensive perspective. we know that some of this is related to the vast supply a very cheap, very pure heroin. in parts of the country where we haven't seen it before as
10:41 am
congressman cummings talked about. we know it has been in our communities for a long time. we have to diminish the supply we have. we also have to treat it, make sure that people have access to good evidence based care. we have been working honestly in our partners with law enforcement to diminish and reduce overdoses through the overdose reversal drug. i have to say i have been heartened by law enforcement has taken on not only reversing drug overdoses but also to the point of not arresting people, are shepherding people into treatment. not only have we seen law enforcement respond in terms of reducing overdose but are coming up with innovative programs to get people into treatment. >> thank you. mr. kelley what efforts has the hidta program undertaken to address prescription drug abuse and heroin use following up with what the director said? >> sure. thank you for that question. the hidta program has
10:42 am
historically identified the most prevalent threat. there is no greater threat certain in the northeast but throughout other areas of the country than the abuse of heroin and controlled prescription drugs. it's probably the overriding issue taking the lives of so many. for that reason, the hidta program has put that on the radar. the program through its enforcement efforts of federal, state and local at the ground level comprise of federal agencies, state and local working together to identify, number one, the source of the haireroin coming into it the country, dealing with the drug trafficking organizations that havevaded our communities through investigative methods. the program also embraces as i said earlier a very holistic and multi-disciplinary approach. we recognize in law enforcement across this country each and every day that we can't arrest our way out of this problem.
10:43 am
so for that we have reached out to the public health community. we have made partnerships where partnerships never were before. >> international as well? >> as well. international through ondcp and the dea, which are the backbone of many hidtas have worked to identify where it's coming internationally. when we do that we try to interrupt that supply line. the supply line goes to distribution areas throughout of united states. we have hidta groups that day in and day out focus primarily again on the major trafficking organizations. not the user on the street, per se. not the person that's afflicted medically that the is victim of a disease but by those organizations that are making money at the anguish of so many. we look at it in a multi-disciplinary approach from enforcement, from prevention and from partnerships we established
10:44 am
throughout the public safety and public health community. >> thank you. my time has expired. thanks for the latitude. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the ranking member of the subcommittee, mr. connolly for five minutes. >> i would be please edd -- >> thank you very much. in trying to tackle drug use from all angles, i understand that ondcp uses demand reduction efforts as well as supply reduction efforts. i understand ondcp would like to clarify in the definition section of this new reauthorization that it is demand reduction work can include prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. mr. botticelli, you can give some examples of what you mean by prevention treatment and recovery efforts?
10:45 am
briefly. >> thank you, congressman. you know, as you noted one of the overriding efforts of our office is to restore balance to drug policy. for too long we have used public safety as our prime response to issues of drug use in many of our communities. under this administration we have tried to focus on a balanced portfolio of increasing our demand reduction efforts and treating this as a public health issue. our understanding of addiction has changed dramatically from understanding this just ace criminal justice issue but as an acute condition and understanding this as a chronic disease that one that we can prevent. we have seen dramatic reduction in underage youth use through our dfc coalitions. but we also know that many times we let this disease progress to its most acute condition. so that's why we're calling for language to allow us to do a better job of screening people and intervening early in their
10:46 am
disease before they reach those -- that acute condition and before, quite honestly, they intersect with the criminal justice system. we also know that to treat this issue requires more than just acute treatment. that this is a chronic disease that requires long-term recovery. we know that people need additional supports beyond just treatment. things like housing employment recovery networks. part of our language change allows us to focus on that continuum of demand reduction strategies that we know to be effective in dealing with this as a public health issue. >> i understand that ondcp would like congress to allow out hidtas at the request of their boards to use treatment efforts and to expand their abilities to use prevention efforts in support -- i support this because 27 of the 28 hidtas already understand the importance of using prevention focused activities. i support this because i have seen hidta treatment efforts
10:47 am
work so well in the baltimore-washington hidta which is one of the two that allows for treatment. our washington-baltimore hidta has provided drug treatment to 2,000 individuals with criminal records to date. over half of these have successfully completed their treatment program. the recidivism arrest rate for these hidta clients after one year has been 28% while comparable recidivism rates is over 40%. in addition to the successes of mentioned in my opening statement the washington-baltimore hidta captured over 4,000 fugitives from drug charges and removed over 2,000 fire arms from the streets in the last three years alone. mr. kelley in your written testimony you noted law
10:48 am
enforcement community recognizes that and i quote we cannot arrest our way out of this problem. would you agree that treatment and prevention efforts havee augmented their ability? >> i would agree. how so, the hidta program traditionally has been an enforcement based program. that's why our greatest success has lied over the years and continues to show great success from that. but we also recognize as law enforcement professionals that the multi-disciplinary, multi-faceted approach is so very important as the landscape of drug abuse has changed. treatment and prevention play crucial roles in the overall strategy. the washington-baltimore for many years -- they had treatment programs well before the prohibition was in place has shown great success. however we recognize that it is a very, very expensive
10:49 am
proposition. the treatment end of things, prevention has been throughout the hidta program for a number of years. the flexibility of the program, the beauty of the hidta program is our ability to bring people together to make the best possible use of resources, to tap into our treatment sources to tap into other prevention resources together with some limited hidta funds to make a great impact. i really believe that that can continue should congress reauthorize under the current reauthorization language. and i believe that treatment does have a place at the table. i think most hidtas across the land, if not all would agree with that. the executive board would have that ability to bring that aspect of the strategy into play should they desire to do that. >> mr. botticelli, other hidtas are using prevention tools like
10:50 am
encouraging law enforcement to use know lochlen. one of the things that has concerned me is that they jacked up the prices. the prices. the manufacturer i know you know this. i'm wondering what if anything you have done to try to encourage the manufacturer of this life-saving drug to be reasonable. >> thank you for those comments. and i too was very disturbed that the manufacturer decided at this time of great demand to more than triple the price. we know it diminishes the ability of many of our community-based organizations and law enforcement to really expand this distribution.
10:51 am
we have been pursuing a number of those. i'm pleased to say just a few weeks ago that fda approved a new nasal administration developed by another manufacturer. we hope that will continue to bring some competition to the marketplace and drive down demand. we have looked at establishing our work the past several years of dedicated grant programs through existing federal grants or additional dollars to support the additional support of medical ox in because of this particular drug. it is disconcerting that people took advantage of some of the incredible dire need we have out there to significantly raise the price. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. connelly for yielding. >> the chair recognizes mr. mull vany for five minutes. >> gentlemen thank you very much for being here today.
10:52 am
i want to go over a couple things mr. botticelli spoke about. i heard mr. botticll say it made significant progress. let's drill down into these seven goals. i couldn't find the seven goals. could you briefly tell us what they are? you mentioned one of them, eighth grade marijuana use. >> sure. seven national goals set out in the 2010 strategy were to look at three-day use by teenagers, eighth grade lifetime drug use alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs. the amount of chronic users of illicit drugs drug-related deaths, morbidity and rates of drugged driving. >> all right.
10:53 am
if i read the gao summary, stop me if i'm wrong and i'll ask you questions on this. but in march of 2013, the gao said that on those seven goals that had been laid out in 2010, that you folks, mr. botticelli had made progress on one. no progress on four. and there appeared to be a lack of data on the other two. your own analysis came out and you folks said you made progress on one. no progress on three. and what someone described as, quote, mixed" progress on three others. here's my question guys. it's now five years. none of them have been achieved. you made progress on one, mr. botticelli. tell me, why are we still spending money on this? why are you still doing this if you had five years and we're actually getting worse, not
10:54 am
better. me how substantial progress has been made. >> i will be happy to have a conversation to you. when we look at -- one of the main measures, particularly as it relates to youth. because we know youth are particularly vulnerable. when we look te decrease in 30-day prevalence among 12 to 17-year-olds we have made considerable progress towards those goals. >> 12 to 17 is the young adult group? >> correct. and clearly we know that substance use by young adults really can set a life-long trajectory of pattern. when we look at eighth graders, we know early use predicts -- often predicts lifetime use. when we look at illicit drug use, that's where we have not made progress. again, if you take marijuana out from other illicit drugs we have made progress. mott on marijuana but other drug use. >> let me stop threw. is that -- do you agree with that, by the way?
10:55 am
if we take marijuana out, have they made substantial progress? >> we didn't have access to the root data to perform that kind of analysis. it seems to fit with the broader trends we have seen in other sources. >> thank you. go ahead. >> one of the other issues we look at is chronic users. they have often been involved in criminal behavior. if you look at a number of markers in terms of cocaine use and methamphetamine use we have seen significant reductions and we are moving towards our goal. marijuana, we are not. we are moving away from goal. if you look at our marker that looks at reducing drug use among young adults in the country, we have seen no change willment again, if you take marijuana out of the young adult use, we have seen significant -- and actually would have met our target for using drug use if it were not
10:56 am
for increases in marijuana use. >> if you had the access to the root data and could separate out marijuana use maybe it is different than now than 2010. we have states legalizing it, criminalize ig it. but it give better data into what the organization is accomplishing? if we could separate out that particular illicit drug? >> access to better data. inform congressional decision making. we would be happy to do that. >> are you able to do that? >> yes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. >> i thank the gentleman. the chair recognized mr. conley for five minutes. >> i thank the chair. mr. botticelli we were just ask about metrics. mr. maurer's testimony rather than progress we are experiencing retrogres is sision.
10:57 am
are we making progress in cocaine use? >> yes, sir. >> marijuana is in legal limbo. clearly states are moving away and mr. mull vany is quite right, we need segregate that if we are to have accurate data. one of the things about metrics is even though the seven metrics cited they're a little bit broad. and we kind of want to dig down. i think all of us on a bipartisan basis we want to end the drug scourge. whatever is the most efficacious is what we want to do. mr. kelly, you are -- >> we were commenting that -- >> i'll say where are you from.
10:58 am
>> >> melrose, massachusetts. >> melrose. all right. brighton and alston. i can talk that way if i hafta. currently mr. kelly, we have a 5% cap on prevention and treatment for your program, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and the new legislation proposed by the administration would double that to 10%, is that correct? >> it would allow for the -- the current language would allow for an amount greater than 5%. and they are recommending it be capped at 10%. >> not statutorily? >> it would be a recommendation. >> that's what i was getting at. any cap is arbitrary. and any given interim you might determine or your colleagues might determine, you know, in this particular case the prevention and treatment rate is
10:59 am
the way to go. and so the mix might be different in south carolina north carolina, or virginia. and i want to make sure you have flexibility without diluting the value of the program. is that the goal you're seeking as well? >> that's exactly right, congressman. the goal is to strike that balance to maintain the integrity hidta program as we all know it and the successes we know it which is dismantling drug trafficking aimed at the supply. we recognize the prevention and treatment aspect of the holistic approach. so the hidta directors, in trying to avoid dill luting the program or mission creek, being law enforcement professionals, knowing there is already a 5%, which i might add that no hidta in the country has approached in recent memory has approached 5% of this spending on a prevention program.
11:00 am
yet they have that ability. we feel that allows an open-ended spending or funding for those has the possibility of changing the structure and integrity of the hidta program or a particularta as we know it. the strength of the program, all 28 or 32 depending the southwest border, how you choose to view it, is its unity and strategy. if we had one or more that really bent a particular way because of open-ended funding i think it would change the landscape of hidta as we know it. >> okay. but your testimony also says we can't arrest our way out of this problem. let me ask the devil's advocate problem. why not arrest anybody who is misusing drugs and put them where they pwhropblg and call it a day. isn't that a more effective strategy? >> no. unfortunately that is not the
11:01 am
case. >> if you're watching c-span that is a devil's advocate question. >> no. there's not enough jails. there are not enough police officers, law enforcement officers to do that, number one. >> is and isn't it also true mr. kelly, when people do end up in the jail they get treatment or they have to get treatment. we can't ignore the problem in jail either. >> we would hope that would be the case but not always. not always. and sometimes they come out worse they went in. and so i think law enforcement across the land has had a paradigm shift. and they understand, for that very reason it's kind of a cliche now, we can't arrest our way out of the problem. nor do we want they recognition addiction is a disease and needs to be treated. however those that capitalize and benefit from tragedy are the ones we're after.
11:02 am
>> final question. you talked about budget reductions from fy 15. can you just expand on that and what the impact of those budget reductions have been? >> well the hidta program is historically has been very valuable in using the funding that's appropriated. we have in the past provided a very is substantial return on investment. to reduce this program would put us back many years in the progress we have made. certainly the language and the authorization -- >> have we reduced the program? >> have we reduced it? no we have not. >> i thought you talked about a budget reduction from fy 15. did i miss that? >> let me check. >> mr. botticelli. >> i'm sorry. i'm taking a little more time. >> the dollar amount reflected in the reauthorization language was taken from the president's
11:03 am
fy 16 budget proposal. >> okay. >> and not representative of level funding of the program. >> mr. kelly. >> my testimony was, mr. congressman, what hidta was recommending, if y 15, the hidta program congress awarded us $245 million. and we've done tremendous things with that money to go back to 193.4. and i know it comes out of appropriations. but the language of the reauthorization in print should someone decide to latch on to that would be a 22% reduction. incident would severely handicap the program. >> thank you. and thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, gentlemen. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio, mr. turner, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow on to the issues of my good friend gerry connolly about the issue of incarceration and treatment. i want to thank you on this issue of the heroin epidemic and
11:04 am
visiting with members of the ohio delegation about its impact in our communities. as you know, we have discussed that judges and prosecutors in my district said upwards of 75% of the individuals they arrest or prosecute are suffering with substance abuse or addiction. and you and i discussed the fact that the federal government has barriers in place that inhibit an ability for someone who is incarcerated to receive treatment i want to talk about two of those for you today and get your thoughts. the samsa policy substance abuse and mental health services tkphaeupb station, has 3r0efor treating those who are incarcerated. we are not talking about additional resources. just resources applied to those. the second is medicaid imd
11:05 am
exclusion. medicaid's institution expressly prohibits reimbursement for services provided to individuals who are incarcerated. these are individuals who are entitled to receive medicaid. they qualify for medicaid. and the treatment service ises that they would receive are not permitted during the period of incarceration. one of the things we know from heroin addiction is it often leads to theft to feed the addiction or other criminal activity that results in their incarceration. the treat act would repeal both of those and allow samsa money to be used for treatment during incarceration. and those medicaid eligible for medicaid to be able to reimburse for those expenses to treatment. people are not receiving treatment once they're
11:06 am
incarcerated. i wonder if you would speak about those two exclusions of the use of federal dollars and whether or not you believe lifting those barriers might help others get treatment. >> thank you congressman. it was a pleasure meeting with the ohio delegation. to your point, first and foremost, we want to divert people away from incarceration in the first place. i suppressed to you privately i saw an innovative program in dayton, ohio where the police chief is getting people into care instead of arresting them and incarcerating them. but for the people incarcerated, we want to make sure they have access to good, high quality treatment. as mr. kelly talked about, unfortunately that takes a tremendous amount of resources. because of medicaid prohibition, that goes to the state public health agency to help support treatment. but unfortunately too few people have access to them. so any opportunity that we have to work with congress to look at how we get -- how we ensure that
11:07 am
people who are incarcerated get good care behind walls becomes important. we know those people come back to our community. untreated addiction will just perpetuate the cycle of crime and addiction. >> they are excluded to be used for those who are incarcerated? >> we would be happy to work with you. again, i think any opportunity that we have to increase the capacity of our jails and prisons to expand treatment capacity for people behind the walls is a top righter for ondcp. >> i appreciate your interest in this. mr. kelly i appreciate you bringing forth the issue that there aren't resources for this. >> we deal with the correctional
11:08 am
institutes on a frequent basis for a number of issues. i can tell you from past law enforcement experience most, if not all, issues that i dealt with had some relation to drugs drug abuse. and there were a number of people i knew personally that went into the institute, came back out, and within a short period of time without treatment they were back committing crimes and back on the addiction. so it is very is, very important from a personal standpoint. >> mr. maurer? >> looking at the federal prison system and the bureau of prisons has expanded the amount of resources it spent the last few years specifically on drug treatment programs for inmates in the federal system who are eligible for the programs one of the big incentives is they have a reduction in their sentence if they successfully complete those programs. >> i thank the gentleman for his insightful, well-informed questions. so the chair now recognizes the
11:09 am
gentle woman from the district of columbia and my friend ms. norton. >> i appreciate this hearing, mr. chairman. we've heard -- we've heard from mr. maurer about the increase in use. and i don't blame that on the drug administration, nor does he. staying ahead of the drug du jour has become such a challenge that i think we ought to concede that it will always be a challenge. if we can see that, then looking into what we can really do would make sense. i really have a question on the drug du jour in the district of
11:10 am
columbia, synthetic drugs. and another question on marijuana. but we certainly remember when the drug that the entire nation was focused on was crack cocaine. now of course everybody is focused on opiate and heroin. and it is going to change tomorrow. i was very interested in mr. turner's question. about treating people when they are behind bars. because i had a roundtable last night. you know, there are 6,000 federal returning citizens armed the country because in the sentence for mandatory minimums. this was one of the great law
11:11 am
and law enforcement tragedies. we treated crack cocaine differently from cocaine 100-1. and you essentially or we essentially -- by the way, democrats and republicans. this was certainly not partisan. essentially destroyed what was left of the african-american family. most of these were black and latino men in their mid-30s, by the way. right at the prime of life. all right. so today you hear about opiates of course and heroin and the law enforcement approach to pursue. but i must ask you, mr. botticelli, in light of prevention, i don't see how you can prevent the next drug du
11:12 am
jour. we vice president even brought up synthetics drugs yet. i am co-spore with several members on the other side with a bill to deal with that new phenomenon. but if you expect law enforcement to prevent drugs from changing. i'm not sure why they change. at the very least it seems -- at least my roundtable told me once you have somebody you will often find when we had these witnesses who had just been released for mandatory minimums, had it reduced by an average of two years. in questioning them, of course these were drug traffickers.
11:13 am
they got into using drugs. if it might have been available, we might have prevented one of the worst tragedies in american history. now we are trying to make up for it. should it be 5% or 10%. that is a number pulled out of the air. you are flat funded. you don't think you can get anymore. is that essentially the lang and short of it as to what is effective as you pursue new drugs every year. where did you get 10% from? >> where we got the 10% from congresswoman, is that was a figure that was derived in two different ways. one using the prevention
11:14 am
history of the hidta program. even though 5% of funding has been available for some time across the nation, many have never approached that. and it's not from the lack of -- >> how about treatment? >> treatment has never been -- >> except for this region. because we were grandfathered in. >> you were grandfathered in, correct. >> has the ranking member spoken about educated you at all about treatment? >> that was directed to me? >> yes. >> certainly it has. i speak for all hidta directors. >> what was the basis of 10%? >> 10% was based on -- >> i'm not suggesting another percentage just that it may not be evidence based particularly in hidta treatment. >> it was based on the budget. and the fact of the matter is historically we have never
11:15 am
exceeded, in the prevention realm, more than 5%. i also spoke about the partnership with ondpc and the fact that we as law enforcement professionals value that. and the fact that by elevating it to increasing almost doubling that would give the executive boards fairly wide discretion in using an effective baseline. the baseline of hidta differs across the nation. some of those, for example, is based on 3.1 million a year. that would allow the executive board to use upwards of $300,000 as a maximum. that is also very important to realize that that that is not the only source of funding for treatment that would be available. the beauty of the hidta program our partnerships across the spectrum on of health care.
11:16 am
in coordinating with other people we can really maximize that impact. but i think it goes back to allowing for treatment allows for enforcement. it is very, very important. we recognize that. we also recognize the fact that we are flat funded. discretionary funding sometimes is -- varies. discretionary funding would allow -- the more discretionary funding certainly would allow hidta's across the land to use more money for these kinds of programs. >> i thank the gentle woman and thank you mr. kelley, for your response. >> how many people died of heroin overdoses last year in this country? >> we had over 8,000 people die of heroin overdoses in the united states. that was data from 2013.
11:17 am
>> i think that's a lot higher. are you sure that's only 8,000? >> that's the best available data we have. i think there has been some estimation that because of the information variability that comes from medical examiner's that might be underreported. that's the best available data we have. >> i don't really think of wisconsin as being the heroin center of the world. i'm telling you when i put it out by population, it would be ape factor three times or something. are you sure it's only 8,000? even close to 8,000? >> this is 2013 data that we expect in the next few weeks to have 2014 data available. based on my conversations and my travels around the country and what i have heard as well, i
11:18 am
would anticipate it is far higher than that 8,000. >> that just goers me off the top. how are you getting that data? is every county reporting? do you think 8,000? >> the way it works is county medical examiners or coroners report to the federal levels. there is probably wide variability in the variety of that about what goes on the death certificates. we have been working to enhance the quality of our data. but, again, this is 2013 data. >> maybe i can help you with that. get me the data for wisconsin. and i can tell you the wisconsin data is accurate. second question, where is this heroin coming from? >> we know the vast amount of heroin coming into the united states is coming from mexico. it compels us to not only work
11:19 am
domestically with domestic supplies but with our colleagues in mexico. i was just in mexico two months ago, meeting with our colleagues there. one of the main agenda items of our security die leg is what additional actions it can take in terms of eradication of poppy fields, of going after heroin labs. we are seeing a dramatic effect in tpepbtf entanil appears to be coming from mexico as well. part of our overall strategy has to be looking at working with our mexican colleagues, working at our border to intercept more heroin. >> you are telling me something new here too. i was under the impression a lot of these were grown in afghanistan. you are saying the whole thing is a mexican thing grown, produced, da da, da right up here.
11:20 am
probably why we should be doing a lot better job of locking down that southern border? >> correct. >> okay. how much prison time do you expect to get if you are -- first of all is it a federal crime, possession of heroin? is that a federal or state crime? >> i believe it's federal crime. >> are you sure? >> pretty sure. i could -- yes. i'm looking at my legal counsel. >> if i am caught with enough hair you know i am selling which is a small amount, what type of prison sentence can i expect in a federal court? >> i don't know the exact answer to that in terms of what you can expect. congressman, we know many people who sell small amounts of a drug largely to feed their own addiction -- these are not folks
11:21 am
preying on our community. we want to make sure those folks doing that activity largely because of their own addiction, is getting care and treatment. >> it's shocking you don't know for sure. in wisconsin we have money for treatment and da da da. but the frustrating thing is the cost of heroin is so low. the reason the cost is so low is the people who are selling the heroin are not paying enough of a price. okay. heroin was around like in the 1970s. but it wasn't so abused like it is today. things are getting a lot worse. one of the reasons the cost is going down. i'm learning today that i don't think you consider enforcement enough of a priority. and enforcement should be a priority. people are killing people. i believe right now in the state of wisconsin more people are dying on of heroin overdose than murder and automobile accidents
11:22 am
combined. i think that is certainly true in individual counties. some in the federal government can begin to make the cost of heroin go up a little bit. i'm a little bit concerned that you guys are not, oh we can't prosecute our way out of this. you have to or the price of heroin is not going to go up. >> honestly when we look at public health strategies decreasing the availability and increasing price has been a key priority. because of the cheap availability of heroin, we know that prompted the dramatic increase, part of the dramatic increase of heroin. that's why we are focusing on domestically, law enforcement to dismantle these. we work with mexico on reducing the supply how we work to interdict more drugs coming in. we know there is a nexus between the supply and demand. i will be the first to admit
11:23 am
while we ramp up our demand strategies, it needs to complement our supply reduction work. i absolutely agree we have to look at how to we look at trafficking organizations who are moving in. >> did. i hope you do that sincerely. i'm a little bit afraid to this point. you're just throwing up your hands and saying all we are going to do is education. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> a little shorter than the last one, but that's okay. >> the chair will recognize the gentleman from missouri. >> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you -- thank the witnesses for being here. let me ask director botticelli -- and let's stay on the subject of heroin addiction. we are in an epidemic afflicting america from every part of this country ku of every background.
11:24 am
so reauthorization of your office is timely and urgent. i heard you speak eloquently and powerfully about how treatment is one of the ways we can reduce the 17000 deaths annually from prescription painkillers and 8,000 deaths annually from heroin. and i have seen firsthand the value of life-saving and life-renewing services offered by community-based non-profits that provide residential treatment for substance use disorder. they provide the full continuum of care for addiction, from residential treatment to, outpatient, to after care support. upon completion of their program, that is essential to them staying clean and being a productive member of society. so it shouldn't be all about
11:25 am
throw them in jail and lock them all up. i think this is a disease that needs to be treated. and i agree with mr. turner. unfortunately, if you are poor and you rely on medicaid for your health care, which we know a lot of states have not expanded, under the aca, that is an out moded policy over 50 kwaoers old, known as institution of mental diseases exclusion, better known as the imd exclusion which bars medicaid from paying residential treatment at a facility of more than 16 beds. and the "new york times" covered this extensively last year how it prevents people from accessing the intensive care
11:26 am
they need as heroin addiction is surging. this yields a two-piered health can care system where only people on medicaid lose access to the kind of treatment that may be clinically indicated and medically necessary. i believe this is wrong and it must be changed. and i want to join with my friend from ohio, mr. turner in trying to change that. mr. director, do you agree that people on medicaid should have access to the same kind of treatment or substance use people don't rely on medicaid? >> congressman, thank you for that. one of the things we know to be effective with dealing with substance use disorders is people need to be connected to a continuum of care. and residential rehabilitation removing people from their environment getting them new skills getting them jobs are
11:27 am
particularly important for people's long-term success. so we want to make sure people have access -- that everybody has access to that continuum of care. not just people who can afford it out of their own pocket. i agree they have taken a look imd exclusion. and secretary burwell just sent out a letter to state medicaid directors basically saying there are a number of levers that medicaid can use to help support a continuum of care but to also waiver from the current imd exclusions. i know as i have traveled around the country i used to administer state-funded treatment programs. many are under significant demand right now. and that imd exclusions can seriously limit the ability of our treatment programs to serve more people. so we should want to look at how do we expand treatment capacity. how can we ensure, particularly
11:28 am
folks who are on medicaid have access to that care. the last thing i'll mention, in spite of affordable care act and medicaid expansion in many states, there are many people who remain uninsured. and i want to make sure they have access to all of that care as well. so part of goal in working with congress is to ensure our safety net funding and block grant which every state gets remains intact. so everybody has access to that full continuum of care. >> i'm glad to hear about the plan to approve waivers. but what happens in those states that don't seek waivers? this be a national policy? >> through the affordable care act and through the implementation of the mental health addiction parody act have to look at making sure we treat
11:29 am
addictions like we do any other chronic disease. and we reimburse for the services like we did with any other chronic disease. so we need to use every tool in our toolbox whether that's enforcement, the block grant, imd to make sure people have access to care with when they need it. i'm sure you know congressman people who realize they need care off have to wait weeks before they get into care. and often get very limited duration when they need long-term care and rehabilitation. >> my time is up. i apologize. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you all for being here. thank you mr. chairman. as you can imagine, prescription drug abuse is very important to me as the pharmacist. and the only pharmacist in correct me if i am wrong, i have dealt with this, experienced it lived it. i have seen it -- i've seen it ruin lives ruin families.
11:30 am
and it is obviously very, very important to me. as a member of the georgia state senate, i sponsored senate bill in the state of georgia. mr. botticelli, i wanted to ask you, can you tell me what the national drug control policy, what is your direct role in combatting abuse? >> first of all, so let me express my appreciation for you and your leadership on this and particularly your drug monitoring programs. that has been one of our prime goals is to make sure every state has a robust monitoring program. i'm happy to report that was one of our main goals when we released our plan. when we started, we had 20 states that had prescription drug monitoring programs. today we have 49. we know having good data availability, that
11:31 am
sharing information becomes important. >> i don't mean to interrupt. but how do you fund those? through grants? >> grants through the bureau of justice. >> when we set up our program we weren't eligible for certain grants because we did not have certain programs within the prescription drug programs that we needed. for instance, sharing information across state lines. i couldn't get the bill passed with that included in it which it made us noneligible for those the type of grants. >> to my knowledge, i'll be happy to work with you congressman, if there are additional eligibility requirements that you feel become a burden in terms of states not being able to have access to those. i would be happy to work with you. >> certainly that's an important element. and my hope is we can get that changed in the state to where we can share information. because that's important. for instance, i practice on the
11:32 am
georgia/south carolina line and florida/georgia line. i get prescriptions quite often from the states that need that information as well. i want into switch quickly. you mentioned a moment ago and i took interest in this. the decriminalization of marijuana i suspect that's had an impact. i'm wondering if you have done any studies. i always viewed marijuana. in full disclosure, i am adamantly opposed to the decriminalization or to the legalization. i am a practicing pharmacist 34 years. i have used medication to improve people's health. it is a pet peeve of mine. nevertheless what i want to know in those states who have decriminalized it i you always used it as being a gateway drug. have we seen a decrease or
11:33 am
increase or any impact at all in other drug use in those particular states? >> we currently have a report that is going through final processing looking at that issue. it will be issued at the end of this month. looking at washington and the state of colorado, more specifically what the department of justice is doing or not doing in those states involving their use of marijuana. that report may address some of your questions. in terms of preparing for today's hearing i don't have any specific information in response to your question. but it's right on point. it is an important issue that needs to be addressed. we need to help form the policy debate. >> right. >> another thing i found very interesting, we have done criminal justice reform in the state of georgia. we have talked about it here in congress. certainly having programs in our prison system. our prisons are full of people
11:34 am
in there for drug abuse problems is and illegal drug abuse. we need to have programs that are going to treat them. it is a disease. i can tell you as a professional, it is a disease and it is something that needs treatment. what are we doing to help in the prison system to weapon with those type of programs? >> in the federal system, wherein mates are eligible for residential drug treatment programs. if they come into prison with an a tkeubgdz and they can get the reductions in their sentence ises if they successfully complete the program. >> so it's voluntary? >> yes. >> why aren't they required? >> why aren't they required? >> if you go to prison for drug why aren't you required to go
11:35 am
through drug therapy? >> that's something to ask the bureau of prisons. they didn't have adequate resources for that program. they have sense made a lot of progress in addressing that particular issue. i can't speak to whether every single inmate gets treatment. i know many inmates want to get that both to address their addiction. >> many may want to get that program. but i suspect all citizens want them to get it. i can assure you that. thank you. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts mr. lynch, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for your excellent tomorrow. mike botticelli is a friend of mine. used to run the substance abuse program. mr. kelley my district is a high intensity drug trafficking
11:36 am
area. most pointedly we have had had a critical situation in massachusetts in my district as well as is other parts of the state. maybe just explaining that will offer some value as to what the office of drug control policy actually does. we have had a pernicious problem with heroin coming into my district from mexico. it was true that we sort of figured all of this out. it was to the dominican republic. a lot of on dominican gangs were providing that. mr. kelly had informed us. we were able to bring in
11:37 am
resources. remember, we're dealing with a system that is -- we have local towns, counties, the state. now one of the hot areas was pref providence, rhode island. we are dealing with the mexican border and mexican government. ondcp pulls all that together so we get all of these resources. i had a number of homicides in my district that had the population population. brutal, brutal murders and directly tied to the drug trade. ondcp did a remarkable job. it is a very, very important part of that. and that's how we bring all the resources together which are scarce. i want to express support for mr. turner's idea about making
11:38 am
accesses samsa. they are short funded on that end as well as the director pointed out. maybe we can do something on a pilot program where county or state prisons might identify a certain area like dayton, ohio or gloucester, massachusetts where we try innovative stuff to deal with the inmate or potential inmate population. so i just appreciate the work that you all doing and thank you, mr. maurer for your testimony as well. i want to just back up a little bit. one of the things i see on a day to day basis. and i'm up to my neck in this stuff in my district is the power of oxycodone. i could tell you horror stories about young people we have been dealing with. one young woman had a tooth extraction, got a prescription of oxycontin.
11:39 am
she falsely -- she tells me now she falsely complained of persistent tooth pain. two scripts later she's fully addicted. then she started having other extractions. this young woman was having teeth pulled out of her head just to get the oxycontin. now about people are doing that it tells you this is a powerful, powerful drug. because of the tolerance, what it does to the brain and the tolerance that develops and resistance that develops, greater dosages are needed. so using that as just one example. i could give you you a bunch more. why is it we're allowing drug can companies to produce these powerful, powerful drug in which they are building a customer base for life by getting people
11:40 am
on this oxycontin. it is overloading their brains and grabbing them. there is a commercial advantage to producing customers for life. if you can get these people hooked, you've got them forever. they can't get off this. the fda, god bless them, just ex ponded the use to children. so it seems we're not all rolling in the same direction here. i actually filed a bill to ban oxycontin. there were more lawyers and lobbyists on me about that. i didn't have a prayer. what is it we could do to look at the substance we are allowing people to sell out there. we're overmedicated. this is ridiculous. it's just off the charts in
11:41 am
terms of the opiates. >> we are prescribing in the united states to give every american a bottle of their own pain pills. we want to make sure people have access to the life-saving medications for those who need it. we continue to work with the fda. but one of the areas we haven't made enough progress is ensuring that every prescriber has a minimal amount of education. we are really thrilled with new england hidta. because that is often the place where it starts. right? so i'm sure there dentist was very well intended treating someone's pain. i'm sure he got little training on identifying addictive behavior. we have to work on all fronts.
11:42 am
also that we are stopping this overprescribing. it is critical to reign it in. that critical point, congressman is off with the doctor/patient relationship. >> i thank the chairman's indulgence. >> the chair recognizes himself for a series of questions. let me be real brief in terms of the introduction. we have a by patterson agreement that this is something we need to address. the question with me is with the reauthorization and some of the suggestions that have been made in that is that the appropriate place and money funding. i started a nonprofit with a very good friend of mine who lost his grandson. there is a cycle within that
11:43 am
family of drug abuse. we developed a nonprofit to work on the prevention side of things. so this is something near and dear to my heart. but i want to go a little bit closer. because i think this is all about coordination. mr. maurer talked about it early on. that there's virtually little to no coordination. yet we spend billions of dollars. mr. kelly, you were talking about increasing the authorization. i'm willing to really look at that to make sure you have the resources necessary. but as we look at these caps, i want to make sure we're not taking away from hidta, which i consider more of a law enforcement component. and in spending the money on prevention and treatment when it would be better allocated in a different agency that already does prevention and treatment. and i think you're following
11:44 am
where i'm going with this. it gets back to the pheugsz creek mission creek. in the reauthorization language there's tuck talk about getting rid of the new performance reporting system. why? >> so one of the things that we look at as we have undertaken our reorganization is how to achieve greater efficiency within our organization to focus on main goals and mission here. one of the things we have looked at and we are fully cognizant of our role both to ourselves as an agency, to congress and to the american people that we monitor performance. >> but you came up with this new development performance system. why get rid of it? cut to the chase. why are you getting rid of it? >> we are trying to achieve greater efficiency. >> how do you do that by getting rid of an evaluation program. >> through the existing -- we do have existing mechanisms within our current administration that monitors performance.
11:45 am
>> so who made the mistake of doing the new performance review? you created a new one. you're doing away with it. i don't understand why we do that? >> there were elements of the review summary that helped our ability to continue to monitor. >> let me be clear and upfront. i want you to work with gao to keep the system and performance review in place. make it meaningful make it measured. because the appearance. the appearance is you didn't meet your performance standards and you got rid of the program. and that's not satisfactory. so do i have your commitment today to work with mr. maurer and the folks at gao to make that meaningful and put that back in? >> i would be happy to work with you. i do want to assure you and gao
11:46 am
that we satisfy your request to make sure we are monitoring. >> performance is all about it. if we're spending billions of dollars and not getting what we need, we need to reallocate those funds. if you could put up a chart. this gets back to how i opened up a little bit. this actually, i believe this chart is one that comes from performance fy 2014 -- or 16, excuse me, budget and performance summary that was produced by your group ondcp. we can see prevention and treatment across agencies is substantially higher already. i guess 11 billion is where that would be. some of the wonderful programs that have been talked about today that actually i have taken advantage of and used with grants and some of those are
11:47 am
working in treatment and prevention. you drop down to the next group that is domestic law enforcement. so let me be specific, knowing you have a willing participant here to help you with the reauthorization. i am very concerned we are tiking hidta and making them a treatment and prevention group while we are spending 11 billion in other agencies to do that. what i would like us to do is relook at that if we can. if we're not meeting the 5% cap and the gentle woman from the district of columbia talked about how that treatment component with hidta is effective but we are still not meeting the 5% cap, what i want to do is make sure we are
11:48 am
allocating the money with the proper agency to perform those functions and not making a law enforcement officer do treatment and prevention. because i want to give him the tools to refer. but they are not in the treatment and prevention business. they're in the law enforcement business. will you agree with that? >> i would agree. one of the things i do want to point to. despite the fact that we have significant funding and increased funding for prevention and treatment, we know we have gaps in many parts of the country. >> i will agree with that. but is hidta the best place to do that? i can tell you, my bias is that it's not. you can tell me. i'm wait to go hear. >> one of the things we do work on is making sure if they are investing dollars in treatment they go towards evidence-based programs. >> i understand that. let me tell you, i have a hidta program in three counties. that is mcdowell bunkham and
11:49 am
henderson county in my district. and the only common thread there is transportation. we're looking at main corridors coming from the south is and to do away with money from the hidta program there is not addressing the treatment or prevention aspect. because it is all about transportation. and that goes from both a democrat and republican sheriff working in those counties. they work better together. and to reduce their funds concerns me. you follow my logic? >> i appreciate your comments on this. and let me just reiterate. that you know, our purpose here with the language was in no way, shape or form to dilute the hidta program. >> i understand that. but it can could go that way. you readdress the authorizing language with that in mind and my bias. i need to go on to my other
11:50 am
colleagues. >> sure. >> you can try to sell me. >> i think we can. and i think one of the things we can work on is maybe establishing better criteria for -- -- >> let me put it bluntly. will my sheriffs agree that we need to increase the amount of money going to treatment and prevention in hidta and go away from them? would they agree with that? >> i honestly don't know what the local -- >> okay. >> but i will say they probably would object and we would object if that dilutes from their main mission. >> if we object, we'll have an issue. >> they're probably on the hidta board. >> i'll go to the gentlewoman from the virginia. >> thank you, and good morning gentlemen, thank you for the work that you do. i am so incredibly prevent of everything that you all are putting forward in your testimony, your thoughtfulness. my first job out of law school was a narcotics prosecutor in
11:51 am
the bronx. so i understand this completely and the importance of the work that you do. as a member of congress representing the united states virgin islands, i very much strongly support the bipartisan effort of reauthorization of office national drug control policy. i see how important it is not only for our nation in terms of treatment, but preventive as well in terms of stopping the flow of drugs in and out of this country and its transportation throughout. for years, the otherwise peaceful communities in the u.s. virgin islands have been experiencing elevated levels of crime and violence. much of it is related to our economy. and that economy has in turn moved tremendously to a growth in illegal drug trade. and we are very grateful for hidta's presence in the virgin islands and would be in favor of
11:52 am
increased presence in the virgin islands and puerto rico, because we're aware that much of the traffic of drugs that's coming into the mainland is coming through the caribbean corridor, which many people are not aware of how much drugs are coming into this country through such a small area of the united states. and so you can imagine, if it's coming through such a small and porous border in this small community the effect, the tremendous effect it's having on the people that live there. neighborhoods, individuals completely afraid to go out not only at night, but now even during the day, where we're having drug wars and shootings occurring not even blocks away from schools in the middle of the day in this community. and although a significant effort has been made in recent years to secure additional federal attention and resources to address drug trafficking through the u.s. territories and the caribbean, in our opinion
11:53 am
much remains to be done to help stem the flow of drugs and related crime, as well as to diminish the negative impact of drug abuse in the communities across the united states virgin islands and puerto rico. now, in response to a congressional directive earlier this year, we took a major step forward in helping to coordinate a federal response to those issues by publishing the first ever caribbean border counternarcotics strategy. and i would ask you, director botticelli, as well as mr. kelly as to whether or not you believe that explicitly including the virgin islands and puerto rico in the statutory mission of omdcp would help ensure that drug-related issues facing the americas' caribbean border is an important aspect of your work. because we're so small in
11:54 am
numbers of population, people are unaware that almost 40% of drugs that come into this country come through those two areas. >> thank you, congresswoman, for your question and your concern. we share your concern in looking at trafficking and increasing crime in the caribbean. we've seen the increased flow, we share your concern, and we're happy to comply to produce the 2015 caribbean counternarcotics strategy which addresses wide ranging issues. we're actually going to be convening, all of the relevant stakeholders, in early 2016 to review our progress against our goals and ambitions for this and have every intent going forward to include specific action items in our strategy going forward that address the caribbean and u.s. virgin islands. it will continue to be a priority for us. >> i will work as closely and be as supportive of you as possible in that. you know, our families and our elders, our children really need your support at this time. mr. kelly, do you have any
11:55 am
thoughts? i visited hidta's -- the group in puerto rico about a month ago, was impressed by the work that they're doing have been speaking with even our coast guard, who is doing quite a bit of that work as well, and would like to get your thoughts on this. >> thank you congresswoman. in fact you've struck a number of points that i've written down that are very germane. the hidta program has been intimately involved with the caribbean, not only through our hidta program that's there presently but we on a monthly bases we have a conference call sometimes attend as many as 90 people on the conference call. and it's the caribbean intelligence conference call, where members of not only omdcp but all the federal agencies here in the united states, to talk about the transportation of drugs and the sharing of intelligence. and we've made some great, great progress, so much so that it has
11:56 am
been a representative conference call and we'll continue to do that. to your point on including in the reauthorization and the type of border strategy i think it's very important, as we look at the drug issues here in this country, that we not only have to look inward, but we have to insulate ourselves from the outside. whether it's a northern border strategy a southwest border strategy or a caribbean border strategy, that is the transportation corridors where these drugs are invading our communities. so it makes perfect sense to me and i think to omdcp, with the strategy that just came out that the caribbean is a very very important partner in this issue of reducing the supply that comes from elsewhere in the world. and we know we have to take greater strides in protecting not only the people of the caribbean and those nations, and those territories, but to priest
11:57 am
the transportation of drugs through, to make that a no-go zone for these drug trafficking organizations. >> thank you, gentlemen. thank you, mr. chairman. i'll be so impressed with working with you all in that. but know i'll be on you, i'll be watching. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> i thank the gentlewoman and before i recognize the gentlewoman from new york mr. director why are you requesting 22% less for the hidta program? >> part of the challenge -- >> you were just talking about the good job they do. so you punish them by reducing their budget by 22%? >> again, it's not reflective of what our value of the hidta program is. >> my wave was a waitress, she said appreciation is green. >> i know. >> so what's it reflective of?
11:58 am
>> i think it's just a reflection of some challenging priorities that the president's budget had. >> where did the money go? did you get that to the committee? because i'm concerned. and i'll recognize the generallywomangenerally gentlewoman from new york, ms. maloney for a gracious five minutes. >> i join this chairman in really underscoring that you should not be eliminating review processes, but strengthening them. and certainly knowing the problem that we have we shouldn't be reducing what we're spending, but we should be maintaining it, hopefully growing on it. but i want to go back on the conversations we've been having on opiates, that they've been prescribed very deeply and strongly, and the increase of prescriptions for it. are you tracking whether the prescriptions are coming from doctors, or are there illegal prescriptions?
11:59 am
>> as we look at data, the vast majority of prescription pain medications coming into the supply are coming from legitimate prescriptions. we only see a small percentage that are coming from pharmacy -- or internet sales or street level purchases. 70% of people who start misusing prescription pain medication get them free from friends or families, who often got those from just one doctor. but we know as people progress we often do move from doctor to doctor. but that really comprises a very little proportion of overall prescription pain medication in this supply. so we know if we're going to deal with this issue, that we've got to diminish the prescription pain medication. >> and also the reports that people on opiates then become addicted to heroin, have you been tracking that? apparently heroin is cheaper than opiates. is that in your database, one of
12:00 pm
the questions you ask, were you on an opiate before you went to heroin, and then often heroin goes to crime. >> so we know about 80% of people newer users to heroin started misusing a prescription pain medication because they're both opiates and they act the same way in the brain. we do know, however when you look at heroin use, it's much much lower as a percentage of use than prescription drug misuse. so we know that it appears that only a small percentage of people are progressing from prescription drug misuse to heroin. however, because of the magnitude of the prescription drug issue that has led to a really significant increase in the number of peopleoinheroin. >> is there any punishment to doctors who abuse these opiates? i thought the example from congressman lynch was astonishing that the woman had teeth pulled out of her head to get pain medicine. obviously the doctor was in
12:01 pm
incompetent if he was pulling out of her head teeth that did not deserve to be extracted. what is the punishment for a doctor for prescribing painkillers or any medicine inappropriately? >> i think we have to distinguish between those physicians and dentists who are well-intended, who are not doing it with the malice of intent versus dealing with those physicians who are just doing this as a huge cash business, which we've seen in many parts of the country. >> how is it a huge cash business? they get money for prescribing the drug? >> let me give you a very telling example. in one county in florida, because of lax laws and because they didn't have a prescription drug monitoring program, 50 of the top 100 prescribers were in one county in florida. and working with the dea working with the police working with the prescription drug monitoring program we were able
12:02 pm
to enact laws and reduce these huge pill mills that we saw that were often for cash business. so law enforcement, in reducing those pill mills become a prime strategy for us. but we've also been working with the federation of state medical boards who have oversight and disciplinary action as it relates to physicians who are clearly outside of the range of appropriate prescribing because taking disciplinary action against those physicians and other prescribers who are clearly outside the bounds of what normal prescribing behavior would be needs to be part of our overall strategy. >> and my time is almost up, but i did want to ask you, i guess mr. morrow, about the gao released report on omdcp's efforts on drug abuse prevention. the report identified an overlap in 59 of the 76 programs included in the gao's review.
12:03 pm
and what is the possible impact of this overlap and why did you arise that in your report? >> sure. this was a report we issued back in 2013. at that time we found overlap. and what we meant by that is that there were disparate programs that could potentially be providing grant funding to the same grant recipient and we wouldn't necessarily know. the right hand wouldn't necessarily know what the left hand was doing. the good news on that is we issued our findings, we made recommendations to ombdc to take a look across this universe of programs. they've done that, they've identified the need for greater coordination. they've put mechanisms in place to address that and we've since closed it as implemented. >> that's a very fine success. my time has expired. thank you. >> i thank the generally womantlewoman. we're going to do a very limited second round. i'm going to recognize the gentleman from wisconsin for
12:04 pm
four minutes. and a strict four minutes. then we'll recognize ms. norton for a strict four minutes then do closing remarks. the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized for four minutes. >> okay. so i had to come back, because i kind of thought it was a rhetorical question whether possession is a federal crime. what is the expected prison term you get if you have enough heroin with you that you're probably some sort of dealer? do you know what you guys ask for? maybe i'll ask mr. mueller. what is the standard? what do the federal prosecutors ask for? >> i don't know what the standard sentence is. i do know there are a lot of factors that go into sentencing. mandatory minimums would weigh large in such a case. >> is there a mandatory minimum that if i have enough heroin that i'm apparently not using it
12:05 pm
for medical use? >> there are mandatory minimums associated with heroin. i don't know what those are, though. >> okay. do you know how many people are in federal prison for selling heroin? >> i don't know how many are in federal prison. i do know that well over half of the current federal inmate population is serving a sentence that's predominantly based on drug possession or drug trafficking. >> the reason i say that is to me there's a big difference between heroin and other drugs, okay? nobody -- i'm for marijuana being illegal, but there's nobody dying the marijuana overdose. this heroin thing is a whole new thing. you know, much worse than the cocaine thing, much worse than anything. that's why i don't like it kind of blended with the other things. but do you know how many prosecutions for heroin either possession or selling, every year? >> i do not know. >> okay. i want you to get me those things. and i think it's important for
12:06 pm
you three, who are, after all, supposed to be the federal people out in front fighting heroin, to familiarize yourself a little bit about what's going on in the criminal federal courts dealing with heroin. i mean, i'm asking you these questions, i thought you would give me answers and you don't know the answers. >> we would be happy to work with our colleagues -- >> you should know the answers. i would think if i had your job, i would know the answers. okay. i guess we'll ask you some more questions later when you have time to get the answers. i'll give you one more question, though. which is an entirely unrelated thing, but kind of a followup. one of the problems we have is there are physicians out there who are clearly selling prescriptions for opiates that they shouldn't be selling. another problem to me is, we have physicians prescribing more
12:07 pm
opiates than we would traditionally need. somebody goes in for a root canal, instead of giving you a prescription for three days they give you a prescription for a month. do you want to comment on that, and why that practice has taken hold? >> sure. we would completely agree with you that not only are we overprescribing, but in many instances people who need only limited duration of pain medication are getting up to 30 and 60-day doses of that. part of what we've been focusing on, not only in terms of our prescriber training, but the health and human services is in the process now of developing clear and consistent clinical guidelines as it relates to the prescribing of pain medication for these exact purposes of not only appropriate prescribing, but also not overprescribing the amount of medications that are given out in many instances. >> i don't like to say it's a federal business but since so many of the prescriptions today i suppose are paid for medicare or medicaid, do you think it
12:08 pm
would be appropriate for there to be federal guidelines on the appropriate amount of opiate prescriptions paid for in those two programs? >> you know, one of the issues that we're particularly looking at with our medicaid programs is not only the implementation of these clinical standards to looking at, but also continuing to focus on what we call lock-in programs, to ensure that people who might be going to multiple physicians or multiple pharmacies are locked into one physician and one pharmacy. so we're looking at a wide variety of mechanisms both within our medicare and medicaid programs, to look at how we might diminish the scope and associated cost with prescription drug use in both of those programs. >> thank you. the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from the district of columbia is recognized. >> thank you. i felt i had to ask you a question on synthetic drugs. the chairman mentioned his sheriffs wouldn't want you to take away from law enforcement function. i would agree with you.
12:09 pm
my police chief wouldn't want it either, especially in light of the fact that i think you took down 19,000 plus packets of synthetic drugs only recently here in the district of columbia. and i think it was your very hidta law enforcement that did it. it made big news here. these synthetic drugs present a new challenge. i want to know how you're handling it. we've had, in october alone emergency services were called 580 times, more than 18 times a day, to respond to synthetic drug emergencies. here we have bipartisan legislation that has been introduced. i'm not sure any of it can be found to be constitutional, because unlike heroin which is what it is, for example, they change the composition. are you pursuing synthetic drugs, in light of the fact that a criminal statute cannot be
12:10 pm
overly broad or it violates due process, do you have the tools to do your law enforcement work with what is now a growing menace across the united states? my republican colleagues who have problems with this bill come from texas and pennsylvania. mr. botticelli? >> thank you, congresswoman. i'm glad i had the opportunity to talk about synthetics. while we've been talking about the opiate addiction one of our prime concerns has been the dramatic increase of psychoactive substances. i've seen the incredible impact it's had. we've been working with our counterparts in china, because we know the vast majority of these precursor chemicals are coming in from china. we're happy to say that china just moved to schedule over a hundred of these substances. one of the areas to your point about how do we stay ahead of these new chemical compositions has been a challenge for us at both the federal and state level. we're happy to work with congress in terms of the
12:11 pm
legislation that's been introduced, that would give federal government additional and quicker scheduling authority. >> so you do need -- china is doing new legislation you do need new legislation to be able to do effective -- >> i believe we've not been able to stay ahead of these new chemical compositions. >> i have one more question before my time is up. i note that four states and the district of columbia have legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. the other four of course have legalized possession, sale as well. in dc they're sending our people to the illegal market because we can't yet do the sale. how much of your work goes for marijuana? in light of the fact that this drug is -- increasingly, you have 20 states that have
12:12 pm
decriminalized it are you really spending resources on marijuana, particularly in light of the fact that in terms of the white/black, getting into what happened with mandatory minimums the arrest records are almost entirely black or latino because the white kids are not in i suppose the law enforcement areas, don't get picked up. in light of that racial disparity, how much of your funds for law enforcement goes for marijuana which is being legalized before your very eyes? >> so i can get you an exact breakdown in terms of our law enforcement efforts. >> can you send the chairman of this committee a breakdown in terms of -- >> sure. >> mr. kelley has a breakdown. >> i was going to address one more thing. >> could this question be answered, mr. botticelli? >> i would be happy to do that. to your point the vast majority of the resources that omdcp and
12:13 pm
the federal government looks at are for advanced treatment and prevention purposes. we've gotten guidance that we're not going to be using our limited federal resources to focus on low level folks who are using this for largely personal use. i think you've heard today that folks want to use every opportunity to divert people away from the criminal justice system. but i do have concerns based on the data that we shared here in terms of marijuana use what the implications of both decriminalization and legalization mean for the people of the united states. i've been doing public health work for a long time. he know there's disproportionate health impacts. >> i support those studies especially when it comes to children. of course we know that most people don't smoke marijuana once they leave college. >> mr. kelley, we'll give you some latitude to make that last comment then we'll close out. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congresswoman, i just wanted to
12:14 pm
bring your attention for the record, i would certainly in the washington/baltimore hidta, which is in your district, in fact i spoke to the director before coming down here, knowing this was a prevalent issue here, i would invite you that he would be able to speak to you at any time that you wish. i also have with me a threat assessment that was done on synthetics in this very area, and a number of recommendations which i'll be glad to share with you, that was developed by the washington/baltimore hidta in their initiatives, that they're working very closely with the chief of police who sits on their board to address these very issues. >> thank you, mr. kelley. i would just like to thank all of you for your testimony, for your indulgence. it's been a very insightful hearing. i want to -- director we have a number of to-do items for you to get back. it is critical, because as we look for reauthorization, as we get back into a normal budgeting process, a normal appropriations
12:15 pm
process, some of these have been appropriated without reauthorizing as you know. those days are growing fewer in number. and so it is more critical that we look at reauthorization, but look at meaningful budget numbers too. i am extremely troubled based on the testimony today that your request is to cut a program. now if it's not working cut it all out. but that's not what i heard from you. and then yet we're taking a program that -- what my local law enforcement officers say works with them, it's a critical tool, and we're somehow wanting to give greater flexibility. it appears that we're wanting to shift the money into prevention and treatment and ultimately do away with hidta. and you're going to meet great resistance in a bipartisan way here i think if that's truly
12:16 pm
the direction. i don't want to put words in your mouth, you're very eloquent with your words, so i just want to say thank you all for your time. i think we can make real good progress here, working through. director, you have a to-do to work with gao to make sure we keep those performance reviews in a meaningful and statistically accurate manner. and if there is no further business, without objection, the subcommittee stands adjourned.
12:17 pm
coming up remarks from air force secretary deborah lee james on budget cuts and sexual assaults in the military. she'll be speaking at the national press club here in washington. it gets under way live at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3.
12:18 pm
also coming up this afternoon, the senate judiciary committee will hold a hearing on the vetting process for potential sponsors of unaccompanied children crossing the border. you can see that live starting at 2:30 eastern also here on c-span 3. then tonight c-span's road to the white house coverage continues with a donald trump campaign rally in manassas virginia. he's scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. we'll bring you live coverage on c-span 2. book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors, every weekend on c-span 2. saturday afternoon at two:00 it's the 15th annual vegas valley book festival in las vegas. >> there's a fantastic word, it's tragic this word had to be
12:19 pm
invented, by an australian an throw policyapologies -- anthropologist. it's where you're standing still and watching the landscape out the front of your windshield or the front of your living room window go away. >> on 10:00 p.m. eastern, gilbert gaul examines the business culture of college football. >> i don't think the players in a few years are going to be satisfied just with a couple of of000 -- thousand dollars. they're at least smart enough to see what the coaches are being paid and ask why shouldn't they be getting more. >> and joining the conversation is tom macmillan former u.s. representative from maryland and president and ceo of the division 1-a association.
12:20 pm
and sunday, a live discussion with political commentator cokie roberts. her latest book is "capitol dale's dames." watch book tv all weekend, every weekend, on c-span 2. we want to welcome to the program this morning congresswoman susan delbene a member of what republicans have called the select investigative panel on infant lives, a panel set up to look into the activities of planned parenthood. yesterday you and your fellow democrats sent a letter to speaker paul ryan asking him to disband this committee. tell us why. >> we voted against the formation of this committee in the first place. it doesn't really make sense. there's no substance behind any allegations on planned parenthood. it's unclear why we need a select committee.
12:21 pm
we have committees of jurisdiction right now, i'm on the judiciary committee we've had hearings already. so there are other committees that can do any type of investigations that need to be done, and fast we've already had hearings. we've had two in judiciary. and so there's no point to this, it's a waste of taxpayer dollars, and we neverthink it's very important, in light of the violence at planned parenthood in colorado and other violence that has taken place, we need to make sure our focus is on, again, protecting women's access to healthcare making sure that people can go safely to receive their healthcare. and so that needs to be our focus, not a select committee that really has no reason to exist, and again, is a waste of taxpayer dollars. >> what is the status of this select committee? it will be funded by taxpayer dollars. have you met yet? >> we haven't met yet. so the committee was -- the house did pass the formational
12:22 pm
committee. members have been named to the committee. we haven't had a meeting yet. we've been told we may have a formal business meeting to set up the committee before the end of the year. as of now that hasn't officially been set up. until we hear from the chairwoman, we don't know exactly how we might meet. >> how will it operate, what have you been told on that? >> i just don't know yet. i think that's up to the chairwoman, when we would meet how we would operate, and frankly what issues we would focus on. >> you say other hearings have taken place before the judiciary committee that you sit on. what did you find out? >> it was definitely an ideologically driven hearing, kind of a predetermined result. the title of our hearings were "planned parenthood exposed." yet if it was an investigation of planned parenthood we never even had anyone from planned parenthood as a witness at these hearings. so it was ideologically driven.
12:23 pm
i think it was not focused on any type of investigation. we never saw unedited videos or any other information so unfortunately these have not been focused on any type of investigation and in fact every panel that has been in place in other committees as well has not found any illegal activity, and we haven't looked at real information about frankly how the videos were put together and maybe illegal activity by the folks who put together the video. unfortunately it hasn't been a process where folks are focused on facts. it's been an ideological agenda. >> marsha blackburn republican of tennessee will head up the select panel. this is what she said. "our investigation will be to review medical procedures of abortion providers and business practices of procurement organizations as well as the relationship that exists between
12:24 pm
the two entities. we'll look at how title x funds are being used to ensure taxpayer money to be going to fund big abortion businesses." what's your reaction to that? >> my reaction, again, is, what is the rationale for having a select committee? again, we have committees of jurisdiction already who we can talk about any issue that we want to talk about. we don't need a select committee to do that and to spend the extra taxpayer dollars. and it's unclear what the rationale is that she's putting in place for forming this committee in the first place. so again it's unfortunate this is happening. but we need folks who are willing to speak up, making sure we have a fact-based conversation. and again, that we do everything possible to make sure that women continue to have access to affordable quality healthcare and are able to make their own healthcare decisions. >> i want to show what senator james langford had to say, he was on the program last monday.
12:25 pm
here's what he had to say about the recent shooting at a planned parenthood. you and democrats say in light of this, this select committee should be disbanded. here's what he had to say about that shooting. >> no one would say i'm standing up for life by going to take a life. that's completely inconsistent with the movement that is so focused on individuals protecting life. the focus on anti-abortion is to focus on life and children. to say you're protesting for children and for life by taking the life of innocents makes no rational sense. this is not someone that's mentally stable that's an advocate in the cause. this is someone who has serious mental issues. >> congresswoman, what do you think? >> again, i think that we saw an extreme act of violence take place in colorado. we should make sure that, again women are not in fear intimidated about going to their healthcare provider going in to get a cancer screening or
12:26 pm
immunizations or seeking birth control. this has been a terrible situation. again, the focus needs to be on what we can do going forward to make sure that people can go to their doctor and feel safe going to their doctor again to make sure we protect a woman's right to make healthcare decisions, not have those decisions be made by politicians. >> do you agree with this headline from the "washington post," abortion rights groups say that the political rhetoric contributed to that shooting? >> well, i think that again this was an extreme act of violence. and, you know, a terrible, terrible situation. we lost three lives nine people were wounded. it had impact on many people not just in colorado but across the country. we need to again make sure that women have access to safe, affordable quality healthcare. and words matter. people need to focus on if there's an issue that people want to talk about, we need to focus on that issue. but this shouldn't be about
12:27 pm
hateful rhetoric. it should be about talking about issues and having an honest and fair debate if there are issues that people want to debate. >> our guest this morning congresswoman susan delbene, who represents the first district in washington state. she's a member of the select committee that's been set up to investigate activities of planned parenthood. she also serves on judiciary. we'll go to george first, in louisville, kentucky, a democrat. hi george. >> hi, greta. ma'am, i didn't catch your name, i apologize. let me say this. >> congresswoman delbene. >> thank you. the overall heated rhetoric over the last several years from the gop, whether it's on a -- like rush limbaugh or ann coulter the virulent language they use, the characterizations of people, it goes back to healthcare
12:28 pm
forums in 2009 and 2010, when they went to healthcare forums to shout them down, and now they're yelling baby parts baby parts, getting tens of millions of people to echo this with so much anger like carly fiorina, so much anger in her voice, and you get so many people stirred up and angry, and they don't treat their political opponents like opponents, i'll admit i'm pretty liberal, but i think we should not treat them like enemies. this rhetoric has led to right wing militia groups and violent attacks in a lot of places. we need to calm down the heated rhetoric. how can we confront these lies? that video they copied and pasted bits and pieces out of that video. how can we confront this? thank you very much. >> okay, george. >> i think one thing that you talked about that's very important is we need to have a
12:29 pm
conversation based on facts and accurate information. it's incredibly disappointing and frankly irresponsible that folks have continued to perpetuate misinformation. and that misinformation leads to a dialogue that is not focused again, on coming up with a dialogue that allows folks to come together. that's incredibly disappointing. so we need -- words do matter. we need to make sure we're having, again a fact-based accurate conversation. and it's important that when leaders in our communities are talking about these issues, again that they are not continuing to put forward misinformation as we've seen moving forward here and talking about, frankly, these videos that have been proven to be deacceptde deceptively edited, very disappointing that some people
12:30 pm
continue to use that information as if accurate. >> here is our next caller, a republican. >> caller: i have two comments. one is about, you're a nonprofit organization, however the director makes $560,000 a year, and the utah representative makes 429. so i was curious, why they would make that much money. there's another 400 and some-odd thousand dollar director out there. i also have a comment about the embryo cells. according to something on tv several years ago an embryo cell could be put in any part of a human's body. and that cell will become the cell where it's put. if it's put in the heart it will become a heart cell.
12:31 pm
if it's put in the brain, it will become a brain cell. and nobody seems to understand that or they are not aware of it, i don't know. but i just want to comment about that. in any event, i'm curious about the directors making so much money. >> well i think again, we should really focus on how important it is that women have access to affordable quality healthcare across our country. planned parenthood provides cancer screenings and immunizations and birth control, many times this has been lifesaving care that planned parenthood has provided to people, women across our country who many times are in rural areas, don't have access to other types of care, low income women. that's been very, very important. federal funds cannot be used, cannot go towards any type of abortion services, so we're talking about making sure that we have funding for women's access to basic healthcare.
12:32 pm
and that's a very, very important resource that we need to make sure is available for women throughout our country. again, it's unfortunate that we are having a conversation about restricting women's access to healthcare. we should be talking about what we can do to make sure it's easier and easier for women to have access to healthcare across our country. >> ian is next in frederick, maryland. good morning, welcome to the conversation. >> caller: good morning, thanks for taking my call. i'm glad that you guys are finally covering this. i've been wondering the last a couple of days why this hasn't been covered. it's been sort of a deafening silence on the news for some reason. it seems to me these political pundits, these people on fox news and, you know, if you fact check the debates, the republican debates, about 80% falsehoods. and this whole complain against planned parenthood has been
12:33 pm
about 80% falsehoods. i mean, it's like brainwashing. it's people using fear and hatred to, you know manipulate, to garner votes for themselves. it's very selfish and greedy. if you ask carly fiorina about it, she starts attacking the left. they ask ted cruz about it he starts attacking the left. where does that all end? where is the responsibility? if it was a muslim that had shot up this place, and there's a police officer that was shot an iraqi war veteran that was shot, and the wife of an iraqi war veteran that was shot, if it was a muslim, there would be nonstop coverage. it's a tom bias on the news. >> we'll take your point ian. congresswoman? >> i need you're right we need to make sure we're having a fact-based conversation, accurate information. the continued misinformation has led to even more divisive dialogue. that's been incredibly
12:34 pm
irresponsible. we've seen the violence in colorado, but even in my state of washington, we have an arson at a planned parenthood back in september. so this has not been -- this is not a single situation, unfortunately. and we need again, to make sure that women are able to go see their healthcare providers safely and not feel this fear and intimidation that many folks have felt, seeking healthcare. that's something that we need to make sure, if we want to work hard on something, that's something we should be working together on to make sure again, that people have safe access to healthcare. >> republicans have named this select investigative panel on infant lives. democrats have dubbed it select committee to attack women's health. what do you think about the two sides being able to come together when that's how this investigation is being labeled by the two sides? >> i think some of the callers have mentioned we're not having a conversation about facts about accurate information.
12:35 pm
the hearings that we have had have not been based truly -- if the conversation was about investigating planned parenthood, they haven't been about investigating planned parenthood. so it's been more about political theater and driving an ideological agenda and attacking women's health. this is not the first time this congress, we voted about 18 times this congress to restrict women's access to reproductive rights and healthcare. and so what are we going to -- you know, if we really want to focus on issues we have a committee jurisdiction in place right now that can provide that focus. we could have hearings there. we don't need a select committee to do that. there's no reason rationale, that this was pulled together. so unfortunately it appears that it's more about continuing to attack women's healthcare. >> where could democrats compromise when it comes to these procedures that are being done and the selling of fetal parts for research? is there any compromise there?
12:36 pm
>> first of all, i think that women have the legal right to make their reproductive choices with their doctors. that's a legal right that women have and we're defending and need to continue to defend their legal rights. and when we talk about research, it's been very clear that no laws have been broken there hasn't been sale of tissue. that would be definitely against the law. this is about folks with informed consent who have decided to donate any tissue, and that tissue being used for research. and that research actually the laws that go around that research were developed under the reagan administration actually a panel put together, created by president reagan and supported by many republicans, including senator mitch mcconnell who helped support those laws. so those were put in place. fetal tissue has been important to research in areas of
12:37 pm
parkinson's, diabetes, breast cancer, helped develop the polio vaccine. there's been much research much focus that has produced great results that have helped many people across the country and around the world. again that has to be done in a process that is very closely scrutinized. and i think those laws were put in place, again back in the reagan administration. and they continue to be followed. >> we'll go to barbara next, a republican from michigan. you're on the air with congresswoman susan delbene who is a democrat from washington state. go ahead. >> caller: yes. my comment is this. why are we funding planned parenthood? why are we having our college kids poisoned by this idea of abortion? when they publish in their paper, yes, people have a right to have an abortion. 40 years ago i gave up a baby to a loving couple. i continued at 16 years old to make a decision that changed my
12:38 pm
life. but i gave it away because i knew somebody else needed a child. that's number one. number two, when they publish in the college paper that a child who is aborted is nothing more than medical waste i feel that is beyond any moral faith or standard. >> congresswoman? >> again, i think that we have to continue to uphold a woman's legal rights, her legal right to make her own healthcare decisions. these are very, very personal decisions between a woman and her family and her doctor, and these should not be made by extremeists or by politicians. and that's what we're going to continue to push for, if the select committee moves forward we'll continue to push for that. and to ensure we're having a fact-based conversation. i want to make the point one more time, no federal dollars can be used to fund abortion
12:39 pm
services. and so funding for planned parenthood goes towards basic medical care like cancer screenings immunizations and birth control. >> what about the argument that the funds are fungible that the government can't really keep track of federal dollars and how planned parenthood uses them? >> over 90% of the work that planned parenthood does is focused on basic healthcare again cancer screenings and immunizations and bitter control, and well woman visits. that's what these dollars go towards. this is for women who sometimes don't have access to any other clinics nearby women who live in rural areas, low income women. this will be their primary source of healthcare. we need to, again, make sure that women have access to affordable quality healthcare, and this is one part of that solution. >> we'll go next to chattanooga, tennessee and talk to patrick, a democrat. hi patrick. >> caller: hi how are you. >> good morning. >> caller: i just wanted to
12:40 pm
thank you for allowing the congresswoman to be on. she's a breath of fresh air. i live with a woman that, you know, she's getting some checks on herself she's going to the doctor. and i just think that, you know people like marsha blackburn are trying to take that away from people. i don't think she's the best fit for the chairperson job on this committee. i think somebody like hillary clinton would do a much finer job. >> okay. we'll hear from arlene next from tampa florida a republican. >> caller: yes i wanted to know what the difference was between a baby that's eight months in the stomach and eight months out of the stomach. they break the in the caseneck of the baby when they pull it out. i don't understand. another comment hitler had a legal right to go kill jews but
12:41 pm
it still wasn't right. to me it's murder. any woman that murders her own child is not human. >> this is about making sure that we continue to protect a woman's right to make her own healthcare decisions. that is the legal right that women have. and again we need to make sure that women can make their own healthcare decisions with their doctors. this is a very very personal decision, and there are many different scenarios that people are under. we can also make sure that we do everything possible to make sure that women have access to affordable quality healthcare. they have access to birth control. one thing that i think is also very important is women have access to birth control and healthcare, we also prevent uninintended pregnancies. that's an important part of, again, giving women access to the choices they need to make. >> what about her claim that abortions are taking place at eight months?
12:42 pm
>> i can't talk about her particular claim. >> we'll go to robert in fayetteville, pennsylvania, an independent. >> caller: yes. earlier the congresswoman said she didn't think this investigation should be going on. why did she join the committee to investigate this? is she just there to throw a monkey wrench into things? we send so many politicians to washington. we want answers. if she doesn't want to investigate bow out and let another congress person join the committee. we would like some answers. the american public doesn't want baby parts being sold for profit. and we're not trying to take away women's healthcare. it's just, you know we want some answers. if you don't want to give us them and you don't want to do your job, we'll find people that will. that's what this next election is for. thank you.
12:43 pm
>> we actually have an existing committee infrastructure. we have three different committees who have looked into this particular issue both the judiciary committee which i sit on, energy and commerce committee, oversight committee. in fact chairman chaffetz on the oversight committee, a republican, said that they have found no evidence of any illegal activity at planned parenthood. we had, as i mentioned earlier, two hearings in the judiciary committee which i sit on. those two hearings were titled "planned parenthood exposed." so there was no -- it was not an unbiased hearing. yet no one from planned parenthood was invited to be part of that conversation. no one who helped create these videos that we know have been deceptively edited was there. we have never seen the full unedited videos. so we want to have an investigation to have that conversation. we absolutely can do that in the committees that we already have. as for the select committee now, the reason that i'm on the
12:44 pm
select committee is because we wanted people who are from these different committees of jurisdiction to participate. and if there is going to be a select committee, i want to make sure we're having a fair and accurate conversation and that we are -- that this is not just political theater. unfortunately i'm very concerned about that. but i want to make sure we're standing up to make sure it's a fair and accurate discussion. and that's why i'm going to be there if the committee does move forward. >> renna in cincinnati, ohio, a democrat. did i pronounce your name correctly? >> caller: rena. >> rena. >> caller: she says we wouldn't leave it up to the politicians, you know? if it was me and i'm poor, there is no way, shape, or form that i would have an abortion unless i was in my very, very early term. and i would do that at home
12:45 pm
before i would come up there to her. >> several comments there congresswoman. >> again this is about letting women make their own healthcare decisions. and the law says, again, that women should have that right to make their own healthcare decisions. what i'm saying is that politicians should not be making those decisions for women. so again, we need to support and defend the law that exists today, that makes sure that women have the ability to make their own healthcare decisions in conjunction with their doctors. i'm going to continue to fight to make sure politicians don't insert themselves into those conditions. >> before coming to congress, you were a corporate vice president at microsoft. you're serving on judiciary. i want to get your thoughts on surveillance of americans. and i know you're pushing for tighter scrutiny over e-mail and having privacy there. what are you pushing for in light of what happened in paris, are you concerned at all about restricting the cia and the fbi, tying their hands preventing,
12:46 pm
being able to prevent a terrorist attack here? >> so we've had a broad conversation about surveillance especially when it was -- when it came to light that the nsa was doing bulk collection of information on innocent americans. we want to make sure again, and the law continues to make sure that law enforcement and others have access to information when they see a credible threat they're able to access information. but we also don't want it to be a situation where folks are having their information collected and are under surveillance, who once again have their rights to privacy. and so making sure that we put in place that balance between our civil liberties and national security is always very important. part of that has been our laws, that have said that you need a warrant to access information if there's a need for information. so if you wanted to access this piece of paper from my desk drawer, if there say reason you would need to get a warrant to get that access. the challenge we have today is
12:47 pm
that digital information is not under that same standard. mainly because our laws are very out of date. so we are in a situation where digital information like e-mail that you might have stored in the cloud if it's over 180 days old, you do not need a warrant, law enforcement does not need a warrant to access that information. so we have a difference of whether you have that piece of paper versus an electronic version of that in the cloud. and we're trying to make sure that there is no difference between that physical information and the digital information. that's people's normal expectation. we had a hearing on this yesterday. to update our laws, it's called the electronic communications privacy act. it was written in 1986. the way the world works, the way we communicate i don't know about you but not a lot of people were using e-mail back in 1986. i started working on e-mail in 1989, and even then it was just used a little bit between people at work, each other between
12:48 pm
colleagues. now it is a very common form one of the most common forms of communication. and yet our legal rights are not the same there. so we need to update those laws. and i think that's a very important part of work we need to do. >> under your legislation, it wouldn't matter how old the e-mail is, you would still have to get a warrant? >> you would have to get a warrant to access that. the fact that it's 180 days old has to do with the way the law was written in 1986. really what we need to do is make sure digital information and physical information are treated the same, that people still have that same reasonable expectation of privacy. we still uphold fourth amendment rights on digital information just like physical information. and our laws are out of date with the way the world works today. >> do you have republicans on board? >> we do. this is a very bipartisan piece of legislation. a lot of the privacy work has been very bipartisan. a piece of legislation we passed earlier this congress the usa
12:49 pm
freedom acted, which wasn't really to make sure we ended the bulk collection of data i was talking about earlier, that's something that passed with bipartisan support. and the legislation we have to address this issue, for example on e-mail, also has strong bipartisan support. actually a huge number of co-sponsors, a majority of both sides supporting the piece of legislation we talked about in the hearing yesterday. >> do you think it will get a vote on the floor? >> so i certainly hope so. we had our first hearing on it yesterday. i'm hopeful that we'll be able to mark up that legislation and move it forward, because i do think it's something that would pass, and again, something that would kind of keep us up to date with the way the world works today. >> is this legislation that's something that microsoft and other companies want? >> i think definitely a lot of folks in the technology world would like to see that, because again, it's hard for folks if they feel like information that they have that's digital would be treated differently, it's hard for folks to feel comfortable putting information, for example in the cloud or
12:50 pm
storing it if they think there's a different legal standard that that's under. so it shouldn't make a difference. it shouldn't matter whether it's a digital form or a piece of we need to make sure our laws are the same and i think a majority of folks on both sides of the aisle agree. hopefully we'll get this legislation moving forward. >> tina in alabama, a republican, you're next. >> caller: good morning, how are you? >> good morning. >> good morning. forgive me for mispronouncing your name. i have a question as an american who has had family members who have died fighting for liberty. why am i called an extremist when i believe in life? >> is that your question there for the congresswoman? >> i think that, again, this is letting people make their own personal decisions and you should be able to make your personal decision as should other women and that's what the law says and that's what we're going to continue to uphold.
12:51 pm
>> san from draa in attleborough, massachusetts, independent, good morning to you. >> caller: good morning. i thought a thought that came into my head when my step grandson came to us and we couldn't afford to get him the clothes that he needed and stuff so we called birth right. birth right went in action and sent somebody over to lord's over -- lourdes, france or whatever and this person went who went back there prayed brought back crosses sent them to me and sent $300 for clothes for this child to go to school so that he could have clothes on his back. so it's not only there to help women one way, it helps in other ways too. thank you. catherine in mobile, alabama, democrat, hi there. >> caller: hi how are you doing this morning? >> good morning. >> thank you congresswoman, for trying to get the facts out
12:52 pm
because i listened to that entire hearing. i could not get away from it. i put all televisions on and cleaned the house frantically listening to it i was so upset because they were so rude to this woman. it was amazing her composure.0$(ibp&hc% they did not put this hearing fact-based at all. it was pander, it was talking point points, it was really sad and juvenile. now we need to get the facts out that women have their right to choose. that's a fact. but in all of these states, they are rolling this back. if you drive by the planned parenthood clinic, you see these fevered crazy people out there screaming at people trying to get health care services. they don't understand that not everybody that walks in there is getting an abortion. this is another thing that drives me crazy. they let them do this. if they were over there at my husband's clinic, i'll tell you, they would have them arrested.
12:53 pm
he's gp. they wouldn't allow screaming and yelling at patients over there. i do not think this is right in america that our politicians continue lie and misinform their constituents who may not have an education. you must understand these people operate off of the emotional part of their brain they do not have any logic left. when they work them up -- i'm over 60. it's been terrible down here my entire life. the only reason i came back was to help my elderly people and now i'm elderly. but the kkk has been terrorizing us down here for years. nobody cares about that. i mean they're allowed to spew hate. it's so backward down here, we really need more help. and i don't understand why the national level y'all just disregard us and it's because nobody helps. they don't have money in the democratic party down here to get help and give these people information that they need.
12:54 pm
>> we'll talk about the education and the misinformation. >> we absolutely need to make sure we're having accurate information and a fact-based conversation and that's something folks should be demanding to make sure anything we look at is actual accurate information so on the videos that we're out there there there should have been a loud cry to make sure we were looking an unedited videos. i don't think anyone has seen the funll unedited video. and we need to make sure people have safe access. no one should feel fear or intimidation when they're going to their doctor. the vast majority, over 90% of what planned parenthood does is basic health care, cancer screening immunizations, birth control basic health care and yet we have folks who are in fear of going because of many events, recent events but this
12:55 pm
is not necessarily something -- intimidation is not something new. we know there's lots of security, a lot of planned parenthood clinics and other clinics because people are concerned about any potential acts of violence or intimidation that take place and we need to focus on what we can do together to make sure that changes. >> and the caller was referring to a hearing that took place this year where the president of planned parenthood, cecile richards testified before hours before the government oversight committee. if you missed it you are interested, go to our web site, we cover the whole thing there. we'll go to keith in virginia, a republican. hi keith. >> caller: yes, ma'am i was just listening to some of the previous callers and not everybody that is opposed to what planned parenthood does is a crazy person or as she kind of
12:56 pm
had on. i was just kind of wondering why as an american taxpayer my money has to go to fund something that that i do not belief in. and a question i had was the only planned parenthood clinics i know of around here are flight the middle of college towns. i live in a rural area and they have no clinics outside of these college towns. there is other health clinics but planned parenthood has nothing to do with them. i mean, it's just as like they were money-making plan there.
12:57 pm
>> well, i think women should have access to affordable quality health care in every part of our country and that should be our ongoing focus. we think a woman should have a right to make her own health care decisions and that's part of the policy we'll continue to fight for. but any funds that go towards planned parenthood only go towards basic health care needs. once again, cancer screenings, immunization, well woman visits, basic health care. making sure whether's planned parenthood or other areas that women have access is very, very important. something we make sure is available in all areas of our country including rural areas. >> right now on c-span 2 we're carrying live coverage of the british parliament. they're debating the members of parliament there whether or not to authorize air strikes in
12:58 pm
syria against isis. they've been conducting air strikes in iraq but now the british prime minister is asking the parliament there to give him -- give the government permission to strike in syria as well. what do you make of that given the lack of debate on capitol hill over a new authorization for this president to fight isis in iraq and syria. >> i think this congress needs to weight in. i think we should not be relying on authorizations for use of military force that are over a decade old. we should be focused on the issues of the day and congress should be engaged and involved in that process. i would support having that debate and making sure this congress makes a decision in terms of the appropriate use of military force. we need a strategy and it's important congress continues to call for a strategy in terms of
12:59 pm
what we'll do to fight isis but once again i agree we should be having a conversation about the authorization for use of military force. >> do you support the idea of having ground troops to fight isis in iraq and what do you make of the announcement yesterday that this administration is sending even more special forces to iraq and syria. >> i think we should be having the debate in this congress about what's happening and what we want to authorize. to our earlier point that's something we haven't done. we've talked about it last year. this is not a new conversation. so we need to have that conversation so that, again, we provide the appropriate authority and we also need to again talk to military leaders get their feedback and have a strategy so that we know what the appropriate actions are to take place going forward. >> if the experts say we need ground troops in order to defeat isis, would you say yes then, to that authorization? >> i think we need to hear that
1:00 pm
information and have that debate in congress before anybody can make that decision. >> we'll get in one last phone call, pat in jackson, tennessee. independent. hi there, pat. >> caller: good morning. >> good morning. >> listen, i -- when you first came on there you said that this committee is requested by the republicans for you to investigate on planned parenthood. now there are a lot of things that you really can do. you said that it's really not serving the purpose, but what about that half video that we saw? maybe that your committee can find out -- get the full video and start showing it. >> pat we'll take that point because we're running short on time with the congresswoman. >> and we absolutely should demand to see the unedited, the fun unedited video and look at that video and talk about that in the existing committees that
1:01 pm
we have if that's a conversation and something that the committee chairs would be willing to have. we could do that. we would not have to waste taxpayer funds on a special select committee. >> more to come on this debate. but we thank you for coming on the program this morning and talking to our viewers. appreciate your time. >> thank you. and live now to the national press club here in washington to hear remarks from air force secretary deborah lee james on budget cuts and sexual assault in the military. speaking now is press club president john hughes. this is live coverage on c-span 3 and it's just getting under way. >> gene tighe, the speaker's committee member who organized today's luncheon, thank you, gene. joe anselmo editor-in-chief of "aviation week" magazine. john hurley, past commander of american legion post 20 and an air force veteran. [ applause ]
1:02 pm
i also want to welcome our c-span audiences and our audiences listening on public radio. you can also follow the action on twitter. use #npclive. that's #npclive. deborah lee james was sworn in as secretary of the air force nearly two years ago and a newsworthy two years it has been. james has made her mark as a tough no nonsense washington insider who has presided over an unprecedented downsizing of air force personnel. meanwhile, she has pushed hard to get her message out on her three top priorities. these are stopping further personnel cuts streamlining the
1:03 pm
air force acquisition system, and making taxpayer dollars count in an air force budget of $139 billion. under her watch the air force has allowed more women to serve in combat roles. in addition james has pushed hard for full reporting of sexual assaults focusing on transparency up and down the chain of command. she began her tenure at the helm of the air force investigating a widespread missile test cheating scandal. >> this led to the removal of several senior ranking air force leaders. there has also been progress toward improving the culture in which nuclear missile launch officers perform national securityyy0w duties. and as if she didn't have enough work already, the deputy secretary of defense recently
1:04 pm
made james the principal space advisor with expanded responsibilities of all pentagon space activities. we are grateful with all this that secretary james made time in her busy schedule to tell us about the state of affairs at the air force. ladies and gentlemen, please give a hardy national press club welcome to secretary of the air force, the honorable deborah lee james james. [ applause ] >> thank you. thank you so much. thank you john jerry, gene, thanks all of you for the invitation for coming here today and thank you for that very kind introduction as well, john. my own mother couldn't have given me a better buildup than you just gave me. i hope i live up to expectations. congratulations as well on being elected the 108th president. i know this club is going to
1:05 pm
continue to flourish under your leadership. i want to begin by telling you it's an honor for me to be here today and this is my second presentation before the national press club. if any of you were here about 20 years ago, were you here about 20 years ago any of you? some of you were. he's changed a lot. i look exactly the same i want to say. i did have the opportunity to come in the mid-90s when i was assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs so thanks for having me back. it's a pleasure to be able to stand here as the 23rd secretary of the air force and talk to you about my favorite subject of all which is our united states air force and your united states air force. there is just no question that our air force is engaged globally and when i say globally i'm talking from tacoma to tokyo, grand forks to greenland and today i want to tell you some air force stories.
1:06 pm
i specifically want to tell you air force stories unfolding in the skies above iraq and syria, throughout the horn of africa and across european borders. i know a little something about this because you see precisely two weeks ago today i returned from a whirlwind trip to the middle east, africa and europe and during my trip i met with senior military and civilian leaders from the united states. i had the opportunity to dialogue with our partner nations and most importantly at every stop i visited with our airmen. and our airmen are doing a fantastic job, an amazing job is helping to keep us safe and i am proud to call myself an airman along their side. [ applause ] in just a few moments i want to tell you about where i've been and what i learned from my trip, give you a couple of the key take aways that i shared with our secretary of defense and
1:07 pm
give you an overall update from himy perspective on the conduct of the air campaign in iraq and syria and i want to finish up with comments about the number one asset that our combat and commanders want more of from the united states. i'm talking about about the world of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, isr, as we say and specifically the world of the remotely piloted aircrafts. which you heard earlier some people call drones. we do not. they have a lot of men and women who support them. we call them remotely piloted aircrafts. the dubai air show brings the global community together and4dhb is considered the fastest growing air show in the world. there were about 61 countries represented there showcasing capabilities in defense and civilian sector in aerospace and
1:08 pm
i had bilateral discussions with a number of allies and partners there in government from around the world governments around the world and industry. we discussed the importance of interoperability from a military perspective, the importance of joint training in order to be able to operate in a coalition environment because everything we do now days is in a coalition environment. and we discussed specific foreign military sales cases and the need for additional munitions in particular. some of our allies are running low as we collectively prosecute the campaign against daesh and extremism. i then traveled to qatar and visited the combined air operations center what we call the caoc where i received an update on the air campaign in iraq and syria from general charles brown who is the commander of the united states air force's central command. and i was really, really
1:09 pm
impressed with the capability of ongoing efforts to prevent civilian casualties. enormous care is taken to avoid civilian casualties. i was struck big time by the complexity of the coalition. let me repeat, the coalition. there's more than 60 countries involved with this effort in one way shape or form. many countries have competing interest interest. that brought to me that old saying of where you stand depends on where you sit. i then traveled to djibouti to meet with the men and women serving in the combined joint force task force and i met with senior military officials. i was able to see our rpas modified with external fuel tanks which gives them an increased range and coverage which allows our war fighters and commanders to have a great even rear for isr flexibility as
1:10 pm
they require. djibouti, by the way is all about location location, location. its position on the horn of africa allows for critical power projections surveillance flights above the african continent in places like libya and somalia and allows us to work more closely with partner nations coalition forces and interagency organizations so that we can achieve the very best unified effort possible. i then stopped in kuwait where i visited ali al sal lem air base and then it was on to iraq. in iraq i saw the combined joint operations center the cjoc, as we call it, which is in baghdad and met with general sean macfarlane who is the commanding general of the combined joint task force operation inherent resolve. i got to observe in iraq our airmen flying combat sorties to include a live strike on daesh combatants controlled by air nen
1:11 pm
that cjoc and i had the opportunity to meet with the iraqi chief of defense and the chief of the air force who also spoke of their commitment to this ongoing fight. from kuwait it was on to egypt where i met with the egyptian minister of defense and the air chief of egypt and as you can imagine, top of mind for egyptian officials was terrorism and the sinai and the terrible, terrible downing of the russian airliner which had recently taken place. i then visited romania and met with senior military leaders, met with their senior military leaders who were deeply concerned not so much about daesh and the air war but rather about recent russian activity in the crimea and in the black sea. so remember what i said. where you stand depends on where you sit. and finally, not quite finely, morocco, i met with military leaders and heard about their contribution to the fight in yemen as well as their concerns about the western sahara then on
1:12 pm
to stuttgart which is the home of aftercome to talk to our own commanders there and i want to underscore, throughout all of this trip i had the opportunity to see our airmen of all ranks serving our nation doing everything from advising foreign militaries to gathering and analyzing intelligence, coordinating the movement of supplies and equipment and even flying in combat. so my first key take away from this tripened and the first point i made when i returned to secretary carter was that everyone, all of these partner nations with whom i had met, they want more engagement with the united states. and there's processes to deliver that engagement and we have got to look for ways to speed it up to speed up these engagements. all in all throughout the trip i had 15 different bilateral meetingsened i heard requests for more training, more exercises many expressed interests in buying or upgrading some of their equipment and my message back to them was always
1:13 pm
about the total package approach. what i call the total package approach. because it's not just the equipment alone. obtaining equipment is part one of the package. or obtaining upgrades is part one of the package. but equally important is part two. part two has to do with training which includes tactics, techniques and procedures and then there's part three which has to do with maintenance and sustainability. if you have one piece or two pieces but not all three pieces you will not have a sustainable program over time so having talked to all of these individuals, i believe the united states is the partner of choice for all of them but i also heard repeatedly about the challenges they feel they face in working with us to get that total package. for instance, the process is lengthy and dissuades some countries from purchasing our equipment. and we have strict technology transfer rules. the complex overall is complex
1:14 pm
and it involves not only air force but also other parts of dod, state congress and interest is involved as well. so i came back recognizing that i obviously don't have power to fix or speed it up in all of these different arenas but i was going to try to do my best to fix it where i could. so so to that end i've directed my staff to examine how the air force can speed up our part of the process and work with other stakeholders to make sure u.s. security cooperation efforts are responsive to evolving needs, such as the demand for munitions that i just told you about based on partner engagements in syria, iraq and yemen. for example my deputy undersecretary for international affairs ms. heidi grant is working on producing a strategy that will identify capabilities that we would like to see our partners acquire that would allow us to better forecast and prepare for future foreign military sales activity. so this would give us a point of discussion to be able to discuss
1:15 pm
this with allies in the future. like wise, we're working to speed up the process by setting pre-approved air force technology transfer baselines for major air force systems. so if we get this right in the future, instead of waiting for a partner to request a particular capability and then they enter into what can be a lengthy process to determine rewhether or not we can transfer it, this pre-approved baseline should cut the process down by weeks if not months in the future at least for certain technologies. so this is just the beginning of our efforts. these are our initial ideas. we'll be looking for other ways to speed up at least the air force part of this process and i'll continue to advocate to colleagues and other parts of government as well. now, building partner capacity is really really important, especially in light of our ongoing efforts against violent extremist organizations. most notably daesh which brings me to my second key take away.
1:16 pm
that is we need to keep up the fight and we need to up the pressure against daesh and other violent extremist organizations. we've seen their savage barbarity and while i was traveling daesh unleashed double suicide bombings in beirut, killing 43. it was within 24 hours of that they were at it again and we saw the horrific attacks in paris unfold. and, oh by the way, daesh isn't the only threat we face from violent extremism. my travels covered much of the same territory that serves as a training ground for other violent groups as well. like al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and al qaeda in the lands of the islamic maghreb and al shabab and boko haram. these are names many of just read about. these are all violent extremist
1:17 pm
organizations. collectively we have to up the pressure against these organizations but let me cut to the chase and get to the part i know many americans are wondering about and this is just how are we doing in this fight against daesh? well, i want to direct my comments principally to the air campaign because, of course that was my focus. so bottom line up front on this, every single senior commander with whom i spoke indicate ed that our strategy of degrading and ultimately destroying daesh is proceeding at pace. everybody indicated that air power is getting its job done. now, in the very next sentence everyone also indicated that indigenous ground forces now need to get their part of the job done and that we also of course, have to keep the pressure up on the political and diplomatic channels because in order to get a lasting solution we need that diplomacy and
1:18 pm
political aspect to pay off. daesh no longer has the ability to operate freely in somewhere between 20% to 25% of the populated territory it held one year ago. so we pushed them back to that degree. we hit them command and control centers, supply lines disrupted their tactics, techniques and procedures, not to mention -- and you've been reading about this one lately some of you have been writing about it -- we've been attacking their sources of revenue. in addition to enabling local forces to fight daesh, coalition air strikes have taken out thousands of fighters, including key leaders for command and control financing, logistics and propaganda and we have upped the ante in what we call deliberate target ed
1:19 pm
target targeting. deliberate targeting mean we detect and identify and develop a target with sufficient time to schedule the action against them in our daily air tasking order, or ato. the ato, by the way, the s the document that contains all of the planned missions and forces and the targets planned in any given day. so we're working more closely with some indigenous ground forces and we're learning more and more about daesh, how they operate and all of this has contributed to more of these so-called deliberate targets. here's how targeting works. we study and collect data. we evaluate existing intelligence and develop a plan to collect information. the pre-existing and newly derived intelligence allows us to form an assessment about enemy activity. second thing we do is we watch. we wait and we watch some more. we watch with our full motion
1:20 pm
video platforms, the isr platforms and we look for the presence of enemy activity over time and hopefully the absence of civilian activity. third, we leverage our targeting strategy and decide specifically which weapon is best suited for the target and using precision-guided munitions we achieve the right effect on the target while always minimizing the to best of our ability the blast effects that might impact surrounding civilian facilities. so the recent strikes against the nearly 400 oil tanker trucks is a great example of deliberate targeting and it shows we'll continue to so-called follow the money and hurt them in their illicit sources of revenue. these are the same types of strikes that have allowed our coalition to shut down isle facilities such as the dire asueur facility in syria which i'm told accounted for about two-thirds of daesh's oil
1:21 pm
revenue. those particular strikes were executed by f-15s, f-16s, and a-10 aircraft. so all of these statistics and examples persuades me that the air campaign is very much proceeding at pace we're intensifying our efforts as much as possible, particularly as the indigenous ground forces improve and particularly as we get more of these deliberate targets. but keep in mind this fight is not going to be over tomorrow and there will continue to be complications that will present us challenges along the way. so one clear complication of recent time is the russian involvement in syria. now, what's actually going on here in my opinion is what i call a say/do gap. on the one hand, the russians say that they entered syria to attack daesh but what they are doing is focusing most of their strikes not against daesh but against other forces on the
1:22 pm
ground and what they're really trying to do is prop up the regime of bashar al assad: the russians also say that they are using precision bombing to avoid civilian casualties but what they are actually doing for the most part is they are dropping dumb bombs which, of course, does create significant civilian casualties because they're not as accurate and they are contributing to making what is already a terrible refugee crisis even worse. so the bit of good news of late to report about russia and what is é going on here is that we do now have a memorandum of understanding the ensure safety of flight between our coalition and russia. we cold calls, by the way, the russian military twice each day and we've established a common frequency to help deconflict efforts over the area of operations. however, we do not -- underscore
1:23 pm
do not -- exchange operational information such as the type of mission, operating locations or duration of our sorties. now, as for the tragic shootdown, the turkish shootdown of the russian aircraft, i, too, want to join with others who have already said it and make clear that turkey, like all countries, has the right to self-defense and russia did enter their airspace. claims to the contrary are simply not true: it's also untrue that russia informed the us of its actions that day through the mou process. russia did not. the turkish jet that tragically shot down the russian aircraft was executing a national air defense mission, was not part of our daily ato like i was telling you about. they were not at that point acting as a member of the coalition in -- as part of our ato. but with all that said it was a very, very tragic situation. and we certainly hope and have
1:24 pm
been urging going forward that both parties will deescalate the situation and find a diplomatic path forward to resolve the issue daesh, after all, is the common enemy and we have to stay focused and in the case of russia nay need to get focused on that threat and the challenge ahead. the other complication, i'll come back and say it again, is helping the indigenous ground forces effectively execute their missions. there's been some progress here as well and we need to increase the momentum on this as much as possible. one success took place while i was traveling and just by way of background, to the west in syria is daerk's sosh's so-called capital of raqqah and in the east across the border in iraq is another daesh stronghold which is mosul. now, splitting the two smack dab in the middle is the town of sinjar which is connected by
1:25 pm
highway 47. the thought of the coalition was this. if we could create space by using air power for indigenous forces to attack daesh in sinjar we might be able to disconnect daesh's supply lines and retake a key logistical today in and that is exactly what happened. kurdish and yazidi forces backed by our air power, our coalition helped sever this logistics line and take back the town of sin war. we've also seen other smaller fighting forces unified against daesh. in northeast syria we had two smaller groups, the syrian arabs and kurds come together to join what we're now calling the syrian democratic forces. some have called them the syrian arab coalition. this is the group we have helped to equip and they have we raptured key terrain, pushing daesh out of the town of al hall and at least 900 square
1:26 pm
kilometers of surrounding territory. so you see there is some progress. finally as you know doubt saw just yesterday, secretary carter announced that we would be accelerating a number of efforts particularly he talked some about the special operations world to include sending what was called expeditionary targeting forces to counter daesh and also to help enable these local ground forces to become more effective. over time, these forces will be conducting raids hopefully freeing hostages and gathering that all-precious intelligence. in which in turn will lead to better deliberative targeting like i described to you earlier. though all of this is still being worked out and the details are not final, i can tell you such a team illustratively would have air force members front and center and air force capabilities front and center.
1:27 pm
i'm talking here typically such teams would have battle airmen as part of the team, there would be mobility forces that would transport them. there would be support from combat search-and-rescue and from isr capabilities. so illustratively you can expect these sorts of team members could be part of such a thing. now there are many, many components to an air campaign like the one i've been describing to you that make it successful but there's probably none, at least none that i can think of more important than the value of isr. as i mentioned earlier, that happens to be the number one thing that the combat and commanders want more of from our air force. so let me wrap up by concluding with a few comments about that essential strategic capability. bottom line up front -- the airmen who perform this essential mission are doing a phenomenal job. but over the course of my two years and talks that i've had directly with the airmen and all
1:28 pm
sorts of briefings i have that received, certainly have convinced me -- and not just me others in the top air force leadership as well -- that this is a force under significant stress. let me explain a little of what i mean. our operators in therp rpa world is flying that to the planned aircraft which averaged 200 to 300 flight hours per year. they're working 13 to 14 hour days and they work pretty much six days per week. the spread of daesh and other groups means that in addition to our long -- standing commitments to allies and partners we've piled additional requirements on this already strained community. we even had to take some one-off steps in the enterprise such as literally we removed instructors from our training pipeline to accomplish operational missions and of course, you know what happens when you take instructors out of the schoolhouse.
1:29 pm
it means you can't train up the requisite numb r number of new people into the field you need. so in effect it becomes a vicious cycle. to address these issues we've already taken some significant steps to try to alleviate knees strains. for example, we're going to use contractors more in the world arepof rpa for surveillance missions. we're going to be using more of our reserve in this area. we have boosted incentive pay for our rpa pilots. we're leveraging army isr platforms in new ways and we've received a temporary reduction indom bat air patrols that the air force must perform. it used to be 65, we will go down to 60 for some period of time. these are some of the actions we've already taken and already announced but we're not stopping here because there is more work to be done. i will tell you, stay tuned on this. i'll whet your appetite but stay
1:30 pm
tuned because we're within a week or so of finalizing and announcing a series of new initiatives buts designed to up the ante and alleviate more stress from our rpa enterprise and improve quality of life. for example, today there are relatively few duty locations for our rpa force to actually serve so we're looking at expanding basing opportunities for the rpa force. we're also looking at some approaches that are designed to address this ruling schedule that many of our airmen are maintaining and if we can get that done correctly that will allow for a bit more time off as well as some professional development opportunity for this category of airmen over time. we have been actively reviewing the role of our enlisted officers and personnel the world of the rpa so we'll have announcements in that regard as
1:31 pm
well. our gel is to direct positive change change. we want to do a good change of listening from bottom up for changes that come from suggestions from our airmen. if you recall, the nuclear enterprise matter that was referenced earlier, we did a very similar approach two years ago using what we called the force improvement program or fip. fip allowed our airmen to have discussions with senior commanders and offered their suggestions about what needed to change and what needed to happen and then we took on board many of those suggestions and implemented them. we're using that same approach but instead of fip, we're doing the culture and process improvement program, or cpip.
1:32 pm
we are the pentagon. we do acronyms very well. so keep your years and eyes open for some announcements in this world within the next couple of weeks. we have a lot going on in our united states air force and in our military at large. many hot spots. the reason why the u.s. air force is called on is because we are the greatest air force on the planet but remaining the best will be a tough tough challenge because at this same point, while we're the greatest we're the smallest we've ever been since our inception in the year 1947. we're the busiest we've ever been with more frequent deployments and our airmen are operating what is an aging force of equipment. that's why i'm going to remain focused on our top three priorities. the top three priorities are taking care of people balancing
1:33 pm
readiness and modernization so we get the right mix for today as well as the right mix of investment for tomorrow and in light of these tough budget times we're facing we have to make every dollar count. we have to be efficient. so these are the three priorities and because as far as i'm concerned underpinning all of what we do is our amazing airmen, that is why you will always find i will put taking care of people as my number one. always. period. end of story. on behalf of those more than 660,000 active duty reserve and civilian airmen in our air force, i want to thank all of you very much for turning out today, giving me your valuable time. i do appreciate it love coming out and telling our air force story and i look forward to your questions. [ applause ]
1:34 pm
>> thank you, madam secretary. for those of you watching on television, we had a lighting accident so if we look a little dark up here, that's why. we also wanted to mellow the mood a little bit. >> yes, thank you. >> for q&a. so you talked about deliberate targeting and i think it's already been reported that the terrorist who is known as jihadi john was killed in an air strike from what i would call a drone and i'm wondering if also the intelligence capabilities you talked about, the tracking and the observing that led up to that strike, if that also happened through some of the same equipment you're talking about with deliberate targeting. >> so my understanding is that particular incident was also a matter of deliberate targeting and it was an area that there was an identification there was a period where we watched, we made sure that there were --
1:35 pm
that the weapon we selected was the best weapon for the job at hand and we took great care to avoid the loss of innocent life and the casualties to infrastructures that were not those infrastructures we intended to hit so yes, that was an example of deliberate targeting. >> you said battlefield airmen will be part of the increased effort versus isil. can you be more specific on which kinds of battlefield airmen will it include? p.j.s? combat controllers? jtacs or others and also are you considering expanding the existing rpa units in the guard and reserve? >> we certainly are looking to do more in our guard and reserve in the world of rpas and expanding our unit structure and our manning structure there. when it comes to -- i'm sorry what was the other part of the question? the first start. >> it was the types of people on the battlefield that you'll be expanding. what types of positions?
1:36 pm
air people will you be tapping far? >> so i was giving you my best speculation about what these teams illustratively might look like. obviously they need to get to point "a" to point "b" and that's the job of the mobility forces and the battlefield airmen are typically such as jtacs could be a part of it but details are not worked out. my example was illustrative to indicate air force is front and center and part of the team. >> can you give us a sense of the type of aircraft you're deplying on this effort against isil and what proportion would be what i would call drones versus conventional aircraft? >> well we use a variety of aircraft. in addition to tune manned aircraft you're speaking of we have used over time and will continue to rotate through
1:37 pm
appropriately f-15s, f-16s, various bomber aircraft have been used. so it's really a variety of platforms and a variety of units used over time. it gets to a deployment schedule so we're hopefully not using the exact same people over and over again so it gets to my point about the busyness of our air force because of our small size. >> in terms of a percentage about how much is this or that aircraft, i'm afraid i don't have those numbers but i can tell you they've all been excellent contributors to the effort. the a-10 is currently over there, that's another platform that is in active use. >> you talked about the effort to minimize collateral damage or civilian deaths in this effort is, how satisfied are you in -- that you've been able to minimize civilian deaths in this campaign and as you step up this
1:38 pm
effort now will the risk of more civilian deaths rise? >> i am satisfied that our combined efforts and the way we are approaching this campaign is unprecedented in the history of warfare in terms of the care that we take to do everything possible to try to avoid civilian casualties. is it 100%? no. because there are from time to time terrible tragedies. but with the thousands of sorties that have been flown, the fact that there have only be a and ifful of these incidents i think is almost a miracle. so i'm convinced we are doing a good job. i saw in the action myself when i was in the caoc and the cjoc and enormous care is taken. >> how has the strained relationship with russia or the
1:39 pm
relationship with russia that you talked about how does that impact the future of the rd-180? does the air force plan to phase it out over time or will the air force continue to use the rd 180 as some members in congress have called for particularly senator shelby? >> by way of background in case there are those who aren't tracking this issue on a daily basis. the rd-180 is an engine which is used to power what has been over time our rocket approach to get our satellites into space. the rd-180 is a fairly inexpensive, very efficient engine. it happens to be manufactured in russia and over time, i will remind everybody if we go back 15 years ago we were trying to make common cause with russia. it was different times. so over time we became very reliant on this engine which i will repeat what the technical people tell me.
1:40 pm
it's a very efficient and fairly inexpensive engine. so it met our needs for more years. with all of that said 100% of us in the executive branch and congress, we want to get off of the reliance. we want to have and we must have by law and policy two mow test i can ways to get us to space so what this is going to involve is a new engine manufactured here in the united states, it must be worked on and we are working to get that done as quickly as possible. the controversy is how quickly can we get it done? it turns out this really is rocket science. [ laughter ] it's not as easy as it might sound. if you look over history, it's taken 10 years on average from start to finish when a new development project for a new engine has been done in the past. we don't think it will take ten years from today. we think we can beat history but
1:41 pm
we're not sure that we can get -- not at all sure we can get it done by the deadline which has been given to us by congress. my top job as secretary of the air force as well as principal defense space advisor you mentioned earlier is i've got to make sure we can get to space because space is critically important to us so we're trying to work this through with the congress to essentially give us a little bit more leeway. either allow us to use more engines for a few more years until we can get this developmental program completed so we're trying to work our way through that. >> the information you get through the mou on russian planes, do you in turn share that with your coalition partners in syria. >> it's shared on the air tasking order. it's not operational details. i would call it administrative.
1:42 pm
we'll make sure that the lines are up and running frequencies up and running. but yes it's shared appropriately with the coalition. coalition. >> this questioner says the air force has a budget crunch coming within five years starting with the new bomber, the f-35 and kc-46 tanker. what can you tell us about the budget plan? what can you tell us about that? >> i can tell you those are our three top programs. so we're committed to all three of them. we have to failure outpaying the figure out a way to fit them in the budget. you're right, we are all facing a budget crunch. i mentioned we're the smallest air force and the oldest air force in terms of age of our equipment? you can't keep flying these aircraft forever and ever.
1:43 pm
there are aircraft that are not quite as old as i am -- that's 29 -- [ laughter ] but they're aging quickly like some of us secretaries in the air force so we have to modernize. now, it's a tough budget problem. i want to say we're grateful in dod that we have a bipartisan budget agreement to take us through fy-16 and '17. because having stability and knowing what we're executing toward will be way, way better than what we have had in the recent past. the thing that worries us ifys fy-17 is about $17 billion less than what we said we needed so over the next month or two we need to as a team figure out how we'll live with $17 billion less in fy-17. whatever we propose for fy-17 needs to follow through appropriately for the rest of the five-year plan.
1:44 pm
so it's difficult it's tough, there's no free lunch but these are important programs and we have to modernize. >> the air force said it wants to buy between 80 and 100 bombers leaving the exact number hanging. can you tell us whether the service has settled on a number? will it be 100 or somewhat less? >> i believe the number is 1 hurks00100. >> and how would you characterize the efforts of the supply chain in responding to the air force's efforts to squeeze out costs? is the supply chain responding adequately or is there more work on the supply chain to get the costs in line? >> well, of course, what -- i'll speak about the approach that we have been taking. obviously we in the air force are very much part of the better buying power initiatives buts that have rolled out from osd. but in addition to those approaches, we've also come up
1:45 pm
with a series of initiatives buts we call bending the cost serve. so this is our complementary approach in addition to better buying power that we're trying to either bring down costs or do things a little bit differently so that we can ultimately buy more for the buck that we will have in the future. so industry is squarely in the middle of this effort that i just called bending the cost curve. we regularly meet with industry on these initiatives buts. as a matter of fact, some of the initiatives but wes basically each bring ideas to the table and then we end up working on things that either industry bringings to our attention or that we already know from industry are things that are slowing them down so we have this additional approach. i would say overall they're responding well, they have certainly responded well to bending the cost curve but the proof will be in the pudding several years down the pike to see whether or not these initiatives buts produce real
1:46 pm
results. >> can you comment on recent reports that the air force will delay by a few years the retirement of the a-10 thunderbolt warthog and what about resistance to retirement of the a-10 that exists in congress? >> well there certainly has been resistance. that's a correct statement. and this is part of the key budget decisions we'll be making over the next month or two. so i will say everything is on the table and you can argue these things any way which way. so let me go back to basics. we proposed that the a-10 be retired over the course of five years not because we don't like the a-10 but rather because we had to choose to retire something, we had to choose to cut something and given the age of the aircraft, the single-purpose nature and so on it seemed to be the best approach. so that's one way to argue it. on the other hand, we're using it rotating it into the middle
1:47 pm
eastern theater it's doing a good job for us so that's perhaps a reason to keep it a bit longer so you can argue this one way or the other but i want to come back to a comment i made a moment ago. there's no free lunch -- except maybe at the national press club for me. [ laughter ] so if not that what do we reduce? because we can't, particularly with $17 billion less in fy-17, we can't do it all. so these are the end game final decisions that are going to have to be made in the next month or two. >> at what point does the move to control cost harm readiness and are we getting anywhere close to that point? >> yes we are getting close to that point. i think it's already happened to a degree. ready for for us, by the way, is a factor of i'll say two key thing, number one is how we invest our money and we've done a good job of investing our money.
1:48 pm
so this is do we put enough money against flying hours and training of all sorts and are we upgrading our ranges and making sure we have structurek infrastructure so pilots and other crew members can practice against high-end threats? in terms of our investments, i think we're investing in the right places. the other part of readiness, though, is you have to free your people up so that they can go and engage in this training and they've got to do it on a regular basis because these skills atrophy. there's where we're not doing as well. why aren't we freeing people up? because they're busy. they're busy doing these missions i just told you about. so those are the two key parts of readiness. i'm optimistic we're investing correctly but i don't foresee necessarily next year that we'll be able to free our teams up to put them through enough of this training in order that we get our readiness levels up. >> have any new rules of engagement been promulgated for
1:49 pm
air force operations over the disputed south china sea maritime territory? >> i'm not aware of anything new. what i am aware of is that we of course, reserve the right like all sovereign nations to exercise freedom of navigation and that goes for on the sea and in the air, that, of course, is a long-standing proposition, there's nothing new about that. so that's my knowledge of the south china sea question. >> how severe is the cyber security threat to the air force and what is the air force doing about this? >> i think cyber security is a major consideration for all of us these days. it certainly is a huge consideration for our military and for those of you in industry i have to believe it is for you as well. so what we're doing about it is we are trying to systematically go through and identify any weaknesses that we might find
1:50 pm
both in our it systems, that's one piece of the approach but then we also have to systematically go through and look at our weapons systems and see if there are vulnerabilities see if there are vulnerabilities in this area, as well. and then we need to hop on it and address it. and we nid and we need to fix it. so it's a major concern. it's something we talk about all the time. once again i think we can probably do a bit more going forward in the area of investment. and i also think we need to double down on our efforts to look at using increasingly cyber in ways which would be a substitute for kinetic operations. >> this questioner says one month ago at the u.n. there was a vote for disarmament in space. the u.s. was one of the four against. why is the u.s. against disarmament in space?
1:51 pm
>> well, i'm not familiar with that vote, but what i will tell you about space and the proposition of space is this. number one, we don't have weapons in space in the united states. number two, we're very focused on not creating debris in space. so to back up for just a minute if you go back 20 30 years, there were relatively few countries and few companies for that matter who even could get themselves to space. but flash forward to the present day, and there are many more countries and many more companies, plus there is debris in space. there is space junk. so you've got thousands of these pieces of material whirling around at 40,000 or 50000 miles an hour and even a small piece of debris can do some serious damage to a billion dollar satellite. so debris is bad and we want to make sure that we minimize that at all costs.
1:52 pm
now, what that has been very worrisome in recent years is that some of our -- some other countries around the world, notably china and russia, are investing and they're testing in different types of capabilities which could shoot satellites out of orbit and dido other things to our capabilities and the capabilities of allies in space, which is worrisome. and so what we have said is we need to focus more attention on space. we need to invest more in space. the resiliency of space. and we need to at all times get this point across particularly to some of these other countries that are investing and testing in ways that debris is bad, it hurts all of us. >> at the beginning of your tenure, you committed to making sure there is better treatment for victims of sexual assault at places like the lackland training center air force
1:53 pm
academy and overseas remote deployment areas. how are these programs going, are you happy with the results of this program encouraging women to report assaults? >> i think we're making progress on sex august asual assaults so we're headed in the right direction but i'm not satisfied that the work is done. so we have to keep up the focus and keep ups pressure to make sure that we are taking care of victims better and again i think we're making progress, to make sure that more people feel comfortable reporting, to make sure that there is follow-upas appropriate. why do i being we're making progress? there are two key points i'll give you. number one, i look at the overall statistics that we have on the number of reports of sexual assaults. the anonymous reporting that we have in terms of incidents of
1:54 pm
sexual assaults year over year. and reports are up and the actual incidents are down. both of which are not good enough but they're in the right direction. because you want people to be comfortable reporting but hopefully the number of actual cases year after year go down. so those two are good statistics. so i watch the overall statistics, that's one thing. the other thing i do is everywhere i go, i try to sit down privately and personally with the sarc on the base. that's the sexual assault response skoordcoordinator. sometimes there are victim advocates. but my point is i meet privately with the front line defenders. and they report to me overwhelmingly that they think we're making progress on all fronts, but one. and here comes the hardest of all i think. and where i'm definitely not satisfied. and that is the issue of retaliation. so retaliation by the way can be, if you report sexual
1:55 pm
assault, the boss takes some action against you which is or feels like retaliation. so i'll call that official retaliation. and then the other form is just when your peers in the unit kind of find out what has happened or what allegedly happened and they take sides. and maybe they treat you differently or maybe people would were your friends now shun you. i'll call that unofficial retaliation. our biggest problem is on that unofficial part, it's with the peers in the unit and people who rush to judgment and take sides. so i'm not satisfied we've cracked that nut yet. we have to keep on that one and that will be a major focus of our training going forward. >> who is going to replace dr. la plant as acquisition czar? >> well rich lombardi is now in the acting capacity, so that's dr. la plant's deputy who has fleeted up to the acting role. and beyond that, we'll have to work our way through it and see
1:56 pm
who the permanent person will be. >> is that your call or sdw thedoes the white house make that call? >> ultimately all of these are presidential appointments. >> we're almost out of time, but before i ask the last question, i have housekeeping. national press club fights for a free press worldwide. to learn more about the club go to our website, to donate to our nonprofit journalism institute, visit i'd like to remind you about some upcoming events. this friday december 4 prince alley al hussein, fifa presidential hopeful will address a national press club luncheon. also on friday, starting at 7:00 a.m. the press club will publicly read articles by
1:57 pm
"washington post" reporter for 24 consecutive hours, the club is doing this to draw attention to the 500 days he has been unjustly detained in iranian prison. and on tuesday, december 8, the new secretary of the smithsonian institution will address a press club luncheon. i now would like to present our guest with the most valuable and sought after national press club mug. >> thank you. >> very close to air force colors. we'll just say that's air force blue today. >> excellent. >> final question. you were recently spotted at the air force/navy football game in annapolis and you were wearing an air force jersey with the number 23 on it. and i assume the 23rd because you are the 23rd secretary. so that is your number on the jersey. >> right.
1:58 pm
>> so we'd like your assessment right from the top, how is the air force football team looking, what is the future looking for this team? is there hope? give the assessment from the very top level on that football team. >> okay. high top level assessment is we're going all the way and don't believe any statistics or any talk to the contrary. so that is my favorite team and you're right, my jersey is 23 i'm lucky 23 because i'm the 23rd secretary of the air force. so all the way we've had the commander in chief trophy now for two years and even if the navy takes it away from us we may have misplaced it. i mean i'm not sure where it is. >> how about a round of applause for our speaker. [ applause ] i would also like it thank the
1:59 pm
national press club staff including its journalism institute and broadcast center for organizing today's event. if you would like a copy of today's program or to learn more about the national press club, visit our website thank. we are adjourned. in about half an hour the senate judiciary committee holds a hearing on the criminal alien removal policies. they will examine the vetting process for potential sponsors.
2:00 pm
you can see that live starting at 2:30 eastern right here on c-span3. also tonight c-span's road to the white house coverage continues with donald trump scheduled to speak at 7:30 eastern. and if the senate is finished with their business for the night, we'll have live coverage for you on c-span2. >> i'm here to voice my strong support for the people in afghanistan, women and men who have suffered for years. each and every one of us has the responsibility to stop the suffering caused by malaria because every life in every land matters matters. after studying first ladies and knowing some of them very own like my open mother-in-law, or
2:01 pm
one that i admired very much, our country benefits by whatever our first lady's interests are. >> lawyer are bush is the second woman in manneramerican history to be the wife of one president and daughter-in-law of another. she became first lady after a controversial election brought her husband to the white house. with less than nine months in office, the 9/11 attacks occurred and first lady laura bush helped comfort 9 nation while continuing to pursue interests long important to her including education, literacy and women's health. laura bush this sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's original series first ladies, influence and image examining the public and private lives of the women who filled the position of first lady and their influence on the president shall i from martha washington to michelle obama, sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3.
2:02 pm
and we're back with republican of washington, he's co-chair of the law enforcement caucus on capitol hill and also former sheriff from king county in washington. thank you sir for being here. >> you're welcome. >> i want to talk about policing in america, but i want to start with the headline from chicago this morning, this is usa today chicago police chief fired because of the video and cover upof the video not being released. what do you make of this, everything that happened there and how it was handled? >> well, i think one of the things that i always go back to in my 33 year career in law enforcement is to always be transparent and always be connected to the community. and you have toed edbuild a relationship with the entire community you serve. and you have to be in touch with
2:03 pm
and build that partnership and trust. and if you don't have that relationship, you don't have the partnership, if you don't have the trust, then things like has happened in other parts of the country as we've seen over the last year or so those things are bound to happen and mistrust is sort of a disease that catches on fire. and so i think that's where we are in today's policing community. generally speaking, of course. there are communities that do have trust in their law enforcement. but generally speaking the community has lo trustst trust, they have lost respect for the police officers and sheriff's deputies. and i think part of that is that law enforcement has not reached out, has not been transparent. and they in some instances not
2:04 pm
respected the community in return. >> is it a culture problem within police departments, is it something that you saw where within the police department, there is an understanding and an evident to sort of cover up or police officers who obviously have broken the law themselves? >> no. and it that's the good news because in the part of the country that i come in, seattle was the county seat. so i was sheriff of the 12th largest sheriff's office in the country. so sometimes when people hear sheriff they imagine a small country town sheriff. this was a large organization with helicopters and boats and divers and s.w.a.t. teams and all those things. and serving a county of almost 2
2:05 pm
million people. so it was not a culture in washington state. however -- and i don't think it's a culture across this country. however, there are bad apples in every profession. you know that in your world. i think the listeners can identify with the places they work, communities they live in. there are people who get past some of those investigative background checks that we do on police officers the psychological exams that we do on police officers, because it's human beings evaluating other human beings. and those bad apples will make it through periodically, but it's our job then again back to the transparency issue, it's our job to be then very tough on those individuals and weed those people out. because it's on critical to make our communities safe. >> what about when a police officer breaks the law or alledgedly breaks the law p
2:06 pm
suspected of doing something wrong, what about in the case of a shooting of civilians especially, that you do not have the prosecutor stressinvestigate the case, that you have somebody outside the system because of the close relationship often that the police and sheriff and all the officials have with the prosecutor? >> that's a great point. in king county, there can be a number of investigations that are going on. people have the opportunity to go to the ombudsman's office and they can investigate their complaint against the sheriff's office. they have again the prosecutor's office will be involved and what i did is i actually had other police departments come in or
2:07 pm
the seattle police department. and we would investigate each other. the other option, too depending upon if there is some sort of a question as to whether or not federal law has been compromised, the federal government enters in to another investigation. so you have the possibility of a federal investigation an internal investigation and then an outside citizen investigation which is the ombudsman's office. and then you have other agencies investigating, you could even call an out of state agency and if you think twll be real controversy around an incident. so those options are available and again i think that's another point that goes right back to my first comment and that is if you want to be transparent and you don't want to hide anything, you welcome those outside investigations because if this person is bad
2:08 pm
news, i want them out. i'm 33 years in law enforcement and i left with a very respected professional career. and i don't want to be tainted by someone who is not there to serve. one of things that i tried do was hire people with the heart of a servant. so we had core values that we went by. we implemented four core values, leadership, in-tigtregrityegrityintegrity, service and teamwork. it spells list. service is the most important core value out of those four. and that's the heart of it. if you start each day, and is this a lesson for all of us across this country our
2:09 pm
communities included imagine how different it would be in we all began the day with thinks of others first the heart of a servants. i'm here to serve. i'm a cop and i'm here to serve. that's why i'm here. and when you have that attitude you and i come to each day knowing that you you care about me and i care but, we build a friendship then. friendship is based on caring and also trusting each other. so know we trust each other. but in order to build that trust, you and i have to be honest. honesty is okay because that's just a moment in time. honesty, though, leads to integrity. and this is where i think sometimes people say my police department does not have integrity because they're not transparent, i don't trust them. they have to have the heart of a servant, community needs to know you care about them, you have that in-tregrityegrityintegrity. and that leads to a team. then you're a leader. and that's where i led my sheriff's office. and i think we had the trust of
2:10 pm
the community. and we had some rough times here that we had to go through, but i think all in all we had a great relationship with the people that we serve. >> we want to welcome our viewers to call in. we're talking about policing and justice in america. mike is up first in california. an independent. mike, good morning to you. you're on the air with with dave ricart. 33 years in law enforcement. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. it seems that all federal law enforcement, everyone who is legally authorized to kill american citizens, should have a body camera by this time next
2:11 pm
year. i think the date is key, otherwise it amounts to public endorsement of motherhood. may i have your comments is this. >> i think there are a lot of tools that are available to us today that were not available to us back in the time when i drove a police car around in the early to mid-70s. body cameras i think can be a tool. i really am disturbed though that our society has decided that the only way we can wild trust is to video each other. so you have citizens videoing everything that is cop is doing, and now we have cops that will put video cameras on them and so we'll build trust because we're spying on each other. we'll record everything we can't trust each other to be haf in a way -- back to that respect issue. and that really bothers me that
2:12 pm
our society has moved in that direction. however, i think that the most important thing that can be done is again in keblgtsing with the community and building that relationship and the way i did it was to visit the people that i serve. get out of my police car walk around. and when i showed up, they go deputy dave, you're here. instead of going who the hell are you and why are you here and i don't trust you. and so body cameras are a tool i think in this day and age, i think people are clamoring for that, but i really hope we don't forget that we need to build that relationship and that trust. >> bronx public defender is writing in will today's "new york times" op-ed pages that about a third of police departments in the united states have started to use body cameras and they typically have almost complete control over the
2:13 pm
programs. police departments decide when cameras should be rolling, how long the footage is stored, who gets to see it and how it can be used. individual officers operate the record button and their supervisor decides what happens when those officers fail to comply with the department's recording policy. law enforcement she argues should not be allowed to control the camera footage. >> yeah. well, and that's the other problem. there are a lot of questions around the use of body cameras and how do we address the police officers have rights just like any other american citizen has rights, too. so imagine you having a body cam on you all day and everything that you did during the day is recorded. and the community around you has control over your activity through the entire day.
2:14 pm
yes, people need to know what police officers are doing and if they're acting in a way that is respectful that is professional. however, there are public disclosure laws that can overburden police departments and sheriff's offices. for example, one police officer eight hours a day having the recorder on then submits that, it's stored. where, how long do you store it. then public disclose sure request. we've already experienced citizens who have requested because they have sure request. we've already experienced citizens who have requested because they havesure request. we've already experienced citizens who have requested because they haveure request. we've already experienced citizens who have requested because they have on a police officer, i want every minute of every hour of every day recording -- of every recording, i want that public disclosure request. so the police department becomes
2:15 pm
bog theedged down in providing that information. you can imagine how much that might cost. and then there rare union issues and everything that we have to deal with. again, i understand the need to make sure the community feels this need to make shurure police officers are doing the right thing, but in my pinned i don't know opinion, the best way do that -- i was a cop for 33 years. i worked in the police car, in the jail, i was a s.w.a.t. commander. hostage negotiator. i became sheriff. i was a homicide detective, i investigated a serial murder case.
2:16 pm
we closed 51 cases. i've had a career that can span almost every aspect of law enforcement and in every aspect of that role that i had, it was all about building that relationship, caring about the families and people that i served. that is really -- i talked to the national association of counties elected officials from around the country, and met with someone from city council a woman from baltimore. she heard me speak and afterwards asked me if i would come and visit baltimore to talk to some of the folks there. she connected with what i was saying about this relationship. you can talk about cameras, yes, they're tools, but bottom line is if the police department is not engaged, those tools will not change the world. >> let's get in more calls. we'll go to massachusetts.
2:17 pm
john, independent. >> caller: hi. my father was born in 1905. he has seen history either change doctored or covered up for supremacy. just basically one race over another. we've been murdering people of color oversea, murdering people of color on the streets. we've had fbi, cia, now gps on phones. what is the problem that cops can't be put on cameras since you guys ain't got nothing to hide some since you got so many integrity and we have to hold you to a higher standard, that you have the right to kill people without no cost? >> well, you know your comments are -- it's a sad commentary
2:18 pm
that people in the united states view law enforcement that way and that law enforcement has not been responsive to the needs of our ethnic communities across this country in some cases. i've seen just the opposite happen as hopefully you have, that maybe you've seen police officers reach out and help. i don't think we hear much about these stories wrrks police officers give money to family, they will buy groceries for families. i remember one christmas during the green river investigation where a yunkoung african-american girl was killed, i went to the home and notified the family. the brorther had been given a bicycle for christmas. i came black toback to interview the family again and the bicycle had been stolen.
2:19 pm
i went home, fixed up would bicycles and took it back and gave it to the young boy.been stolen. i went home, fixed up would bicycles and took it back and gave it to the young boy.would bicycles and took it back and gave it to the young boy. i don't tell that story to uplift mifrl. but i tell it because those things happen every day across america and we don't hear the good things. and sir to your point, i really believe that it's easy for you and for me to focus for any human being to focus on the negative of a person or a group in general. but it's very, very hard for us to focus on the positive ss that are happening to us around the world. and that's where we need to be focused, how do we make it better. and doing this in congress today because i want to make things better, i want to help bring police and communities back together. >> and chair of the law
2:20 pm
enforcement task force in congress. what's at the root of the problem? rutgers university professor i don't a piece why american cops kill so many more than european cops. and he writes that about 57% of this year's deadly force victims were allegedly armed with actually toy or replica guns. american police are primed to expect guns. if may make them prone to misidentifying or has gonemagnifieding threats. it may them them more combat oriented and also fosters police cultures that emphasize bravery and aggression. >> well, i'm not a professor. i'm just a cop in congress.
2:21 pm
and i can only tell you what my experience has been. look, i've been jumped by a guy with a buper knife, i've had my throat slit with 45 stitches. i've been standing toe to toe with people one individual shotgun in my chest threatening to blow me away. i've kicked this doors to drug homes serving search warrants. i'll just share this story with you. my assignment was to go into the bathroom of this apartment, we kicked in the door, i went to the right went in to the bathroom and i found a man, a young man sitting in the toilet. when the bathroom door was opened, he stood up, he had a band around his bicep and heroin needle in his arm. i told him to put his hands above his head. he raised his hands. but then his right hand moved slightly slowly behind a half wall and he came out with a gun. now, at that point some police
2:22 pm
officers would have automatically fired. i didn't. what i said was, you know what i think i can talk this guy down. i think i can get this guy out of here alive and i can get myself out of here alive. this is why we do this job. you put yourself on the line and that means taking those chances. so i talked to the guy. and it took a while. but finally woozy, eyes glazed over, leaned back and he dropped the gun in the toilet. he went home alive, i went home alive. nobody was hurt. so again there are police officers who have that -- we call it danger dog syndrome. everything is a heightened a wearness. i'm pulling over this car, i got six people i need backup immediately. well, you really have to take a look at a police officer like that and say is this really the job the person should be in.
2:23 pm
i've been in that situation so many times, i couldn't even describe all fof the scenarios that i've been involved in. so again it boils down to training. but more than that, let's really get n tointo the sociology of why i'm here. again, i'm not a professor, but i think having 33 years in law enforcement, you can claim some social work experience and maybe a little even preacher experience experience. i believe it's all about hope, it's creating a community that cares about their young people that supports them through education so they can have this educational opportunity so that they have hope for future for their kids. it all starts here. we can't fix it here. you can't now say, look, we need to build more prisons. we know what happens. we fill the prisons.
2:24 pm
you can't do that. now we're talking about let's build more mental health facilities because we have some people out there that are mentally ill. we have to address in a from the bottom. the third thing that really frustrates me is driving through seattle, and seeing the tent cities and people living under the freeways how disgusting is that. how inhumane is that. and it's right here in washington, d.c. why do we tolerate, why do we put up with thinking that we're helping people by providing them with a tent that is stuck in the mud and it's raining and cold out. this is not the solution. drug rehab, alcohol he rehab, prison, mental health institution and tent cities are not the solution to the problem. it starts right here in you're communities and it starts with caring about each other, it starts with -- we had a foster care bill that we passed not long ago to help foster kids get
2:25 pm
permanent homes where they could have a loving stable home. >> we'll go to dan next, democrat, you're on the air with the congressman. >> caller: hello, sir. it sounds like you're a very good policeman. but i think all policemen should wear body cameras every single one of them and i would talk to the advertisers if the body cameras and say if the police aren't going to wear them, then maybe we should.fif the body cameras and say if the police aren't going to wear them, then maybe we should.orif the body cameras and say if the police aren't going to wear them, then maybe we should.f the body cameras and say if the police aren't going to wear them, then maybe we should. the body cameras and say if the police aren't going to wear them, then maybe we should. every person should be wearing a body camera. thank you very much. >> thank you for your compliment. as i said earlier i think body cameras are a tool that can be used. and maybe the direction our society decides to take is having a police officer wear a body camera. i think in some cases does the police officer some benefit
2:26 pm
because i've been the subject of complaints that really didn't happen. and i know most police officers experience that and it's -- because it can ruin your entire career. a good cop can lose their job over a false claim and good people can be abused by bad police officers. so maybe body cameras can play a role. but you cannot disregard the fact that human being ss have to be able to communicate, have to connect or we lose that ability too to understand each other. we've divided ourselves by religion, ethnicity and now police and community. the police cannot protect your community by 24e78sthemselves. the community of course cannot protect their children and their community by themselves.
2:27 pm
so we know we have to work together. and how do we do that. we have to build that relationship, we have to work together to build that foundation to change things from the very bottom up. education to me is the key for creating that opportunity. >> we'll go to alabama, finn, a republican there. >> caller: you appear to be about the same age as me, we grew up before the computer age. and a lot of younger people in general play a lot of very violent video games. that includes policemen wheresepsaccepts
2:28 pm
sense desensitized to the violence away them. i kind of wonder after a while if people being people sometimes younger people, including policemen get desensitized to violence. >> thank you. i think that you're right. i think that is the beginning of being desensitized. and then as we see the world unfold in front of us, watching the events of the middle east and other plac the world where people will blow themselves up for a cause will show video of people having
2:29 pm
their heads cut off, our society globally has been i think desensitized in a way to those very tragic and heinous and just terrible agents of violence. and our kids grow up sitting at home watching tv and the next minute there is a news shot and they see that at a very young age thousand where when you -- i'm officially a senior citizen thousand. so a few months ago, i turned 65. but you and i grew up in a different world. so i'm in agreement with your comment and i think the world affairs of today even make that worse. >> bill, a democrat good morning. >> caller: good morning. can we get back to the focus of the conversation about the -- let's say the bad apples in the
2:30 pm
police department? also body cameras won't solve the problem. >> i agree. >> caller: body cameras are plated by a human being. what good is having on video the fact that the officer illegally shot someone if the person is already dead. what we need to do is get back to figuring out how to eliminate or reduce the number of bad apples in the first place. i think the training of police officers unlike it used to be prior to the '70s where like the congressman says police officers were more about community. i'm from brooklyn, new york. there were police officers on food. they had to do a beat on foot, not in police cars. and there were more police
2:31 pm
officers than there are now. police officers were more in touch with community, police officers were more in touch with store owners, with people who lived in houses. today you have less police officers on foot. in cars. the congressman mentioned a certain mentality where they're quick to the trigger. that i believe is the core of bad apples in the police department regardless of what state. we also have to remember that police officers, they are a human being. whatever prejudices we have as human beings are not going to change once we become police officers. >> so let's take your point about being more officers on foot, but also the training that goes in to being a police officer. >> right. so i think what it started with with his comments are first weed out those that we think might
2:32 pm
not be you know in tune with the leadership integrity service and teamwork core values. and there is a -- i'll introduce you in just a moment. i usually wait for ranking member, but i was told i could go ahead at this point. several years ago -- by the way, i have a very short statement and a longer one i'll put in the record and i'll have a shorter statement because i want senator sessions to have a longer time to speak. several years ago, the obama administration promised, quote, we're focusing our limited resources and people on violent offender, people convicted of crimes, not just families end of quote. but although there has been more funding for enforcement in 2015, the president's promise goes
2:33 pm
unfulfilled and many criminals remain in our communities. when will enough be enough? even those with violent criminal histories aren't being removed as promised to the extent they should be and american citizens are paying the price while law enforcement officers are instructed to look the other way. the administration says that it does not have the resources to enforce the law against all undocumented criminals, but a lack of resources doesn't seem to be the problem. it's a lack of will and the policies of this administration prove that. when first preparing for this hearing, several administration officials informed this committee that they were unable to testify because the hearing wasn't, quote in response to a particular crisis, he said of quote. congress at yoifr sight isn't
2:34 pm
contingent upon a crisis. and when you listen to the testimony, inhope hope you'll keep in mind that there are 179,027 undocumented criminals with final orders of removal at large. in the united states today thousands of victims and the agency's own officers are unable to do the job they signed up do. do we still think that there is no crisis? i reserve the remainder of my time as i said and call on senator sessions. and if somebody comes from the minority, we will do them before we introduce our witness. >> thank you, senator grassley, for your strong leadership of this committee and for your commitment to oversight in ensuring that our agencies who work for the american people respond appropriately to america's congressional representatives. you framed the questions well. while we all know that the obama
2:35 pm
administration is removing fewer total aliens than it did a few years ago the focus of today will be on the dramatic fall in the removal of criminal aliens from the interior of the united states, something that runs contrary to the direct claims of this administration. countless times over the last five fiscal year, members of the administration have made public statements about the need to focus limited enforcement resources on criminal aliens first. it address mitts s admits normal routine cases has fallen significantly, about but in you a search our policies to remove criminal aliens has strengthened. on may 10, 2011, the president said we are focusing our limited resources on people on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes. not just folks looking to scrape together an income. just a little over a year ago, november 20, the president
2:36 pm
announced we will keep focusing on enforcement -- keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security felons, not family, not children. thus the contention is that they had to stop normal enforcement and create executive amnesty programs. since we cannot possibly remove everyone, the administration has said and congress rejected my proposals for reform, i will do it anyway by executive order and allow for example 4 million dopa beneficiaries to stay in the united states and give them work permits, social security numbers access to federal and state benefits. and focus only on removing criminals and other high priority aliens. as we will establish today, not only are total removals down but the number of removals of
2:37 pm
criminal aliens from the interior of the united states the so-called priority, has decreased significantly. the reason for this decrease is not because there are fewer criminal aliens in the united states than just a few years ago. there are hundreds of thousands of known criminal aliens in the united states. in addition new crimes are committed every day by criminal aliens, so while we're not seeing a decrease in crimes committed across this country, we are seeing a decrease in removals of criminal aliens and it is not that the administration has fewer resources than they did in years past. to the contrary, the amount of funding available for the detention and removal of aliens has increased steadily while criminal deportations have plummeted. the administration is doing substantially less with substantially more. under the law passed by congress any person found unlawfully in the united states is subject to removal.
2:38 pm
anyone unlaunchly in the united states is subject to removal. they don't have to commit a crime. and those who enter unlawfully and then commit crimes are surely higher priority to removal. there is never a reason to allow a dangerous criminal to live or remain in the united states, no parent should ever have to bury a child because their government failed to keep violent criminals out of the country or failed to deport them once it discovered them. protecting the lives of innocent americans is one of the most basic duties of the federal government. our goal should be to keep 100% of criminal aliens out of the united states. and then to promptly remove all such criminal aliens from the interior of the united states if identified. there is nothing wrong or controversial about such policy. in deed the president and his team say this is what they're vigorously doing. but is it true. in late july the senate judiciary committee heard system from grieving family members who lost loved ones to criminal
2:39 pm
alien violence. the whole nation watched really. and we heard their moving calls for action. their stories represent a small sample of tragic events that happen every single day. so this failure cannot continue. the american people have pleaded with congress and the president to their a uniform, fair and lawful system of immigration that serves their interests protects their security, a policy in which this nation can take pride. but the politicians and officials for decades have promised do that to get elected, but have failed to do so. even the obvious need for the removal of criminal aliens, which administration deems is needed and just is just not happening. so once again i'd like to thank
2:40 pm
the witness. she's an experienced prosecutor. we're glad to have you here. and i'm have to work hard to dig up something on him. thank you, mr. chairman. >> before i introduce you i'd like to swear you in. do you affirm that the testimony you're about to give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you. i would like to give a short introduction, but for everybody that would like to have a full biography, i'd invite you to go to our committee website that has such a biography of director saldana. sarah saldana is director of the u.s. immigration and custom enforcement commonly referred to as i.c.e. director saldana was nominated by president obama and confirmed by the senate in december of last year. previously she served as the u.s. attorney for the northern
2:41 pm
district of texas and as you just heard severed very well there. and served also as assistant u.s. attorney for the northern district of texas and worked in private practice. i'm ready for your opening statement. >> thank you sir. before i begin that i just wanted to thank you personally. i had all my senior leadership from across the country, 26 offices across the country, field office directors, senior attorneys, our special agents in charge of our homeland security investigations unit in last week to maryland actually week before last i think. and you were asked by our folks to provide a video in support of our overall mission and our efforts. and they got a great kick out of it. i just wanted to thank you for taking the time do that. >> thank you. >> thank you chairman grassley if i may proceed now.
2:42 pm
ranking member leahy i believe may be here later. and distinguished members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today. as secretary and i have both stated and as the senator sessions has mentioned, it is the administration's objective and my objective personally to focus on a smart and effective enforcement of our immigration laws. this was very similar to my focus as a united states attorney and assistant united states attorney before that where i had to make difficult decisions over ten years on which cases we could prosecute which areas we would prosecute them in. i had 100 counties 100,000 square miles to cover and over 3,000 federal laws to enforce. so we could in the take each and every case and we are approaching our mission similarly at i.c.e.
2:43 pm
i will tell you, i took this job last year over senator core in an cornan's admonitions because i wanted to lead this extraordinary group of women and men at immigration customs aen respect fomtcornan's admonitions because i wanted to lead this extraordinary group of women and men at immigration customs aen respect fomtadmonitions because i wanted to lead this extraordinary group of women and men at immigration customs aen respect fomt enforcement which have a very significant law enforcement mission which i began as united states attorney. and i had the small hope i think i shared with you senator cornan that i could bring even somewhat rational voice to a set of issues that are just chalk full of highly charged often misappre-ended by so many in the country and yet of such great importance to the country. bottom line, those individuals who pose a threat to public safety apprehended crossing the border illegally are enforcement priorities. these priorities were set fort
2:44 pm
by the secretary a little bit more than a year ago. and they guide our enforcement efforts, everything we dough cradle to grave. i know most of you are familiar with our priorities. one focuses on border security, national security, public safety. prior it two includes those people who have committed significant and repeated misdemeanors. and those who are appre-ended unlawfully in the country after january 1, 2014. that was intended to stop the flow. and priority three focuses on those individuals who have been issued a final order of removal after that same date. so with these priorities as our guide, we are gaining ground in our efforts to remove dangerous criminal alien from the interior of the country. despite overall apap pre-henkss on the border declining removal numbers are lower, but we are removing at a greater proportion
2:45 pm
of dangerous criminals in our overall removals, thereby achieving the president's objective of trying to get the most dangerous criminals out from our midst. in 2015, 98% -- i'm really proud of these numbers. 98% of all removes lined to one of the three enhe forcement priorities before of the roughly 235,000 removals we had in 2015, 59%, almost two-thirds, were convicted criminals reflecting a 3.3 increase over 2014. that's proportionately. i know the numbers are as you say, but that's proportionately. when he we drill down further and look at interior removals only that figure relative to the total jumps to 91% fpe we drill down further and look at interior removals only, that figure relative to the total jumps to 91% fpwe drill down further and look at interior removals only, that figure relative to the total jumps to 91% fp are criminals. with respect to all aspects of our enforcement including transfer of undocumented
2:46 pm
imxwrapt sim imgrachbts, we focus on individuals who threaten public safety and are working with approximately 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies to take custody of dangerous individuals and convicted criminals including felons, significant repeat misdemeanors criminal gang participants, before they're released into the community. of course this committee very well knows that there are also times when despite our best efforts, and i will assure you there is no one sitting on their laurels at immigrations and customs enforcement including the director. we are very actively continuing to pursue criminal aliens, but they do despite our best efforts get released from our custody. we cannot remove any undocumented immigrant, and this is really important, really important, i want this committee, but the american
2:47 pm
pooem public equally important, that i.c.e. doesn't willy-nilly release people. we have to have a final order of removal from the immigration courts. and appropriate travel documents to the country of or beginigin. in addition, the decision that limited our ability to remove and detain removal of aliens. it restricts the at of time an individual can be held in post-order custody. six months typically. and then there after unless there is a showing that remove dwlt ability removeability is likely. whether the result of protected appeals or refusal of a country to accept them back, this decision accounts for somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 convicted criminal alien releases in recent years. that number has dropped significantly over time and this remain as key objective to keep that number going down. i mentioned one aspect of our
2:48 pm
interior enforcement includings transfer of undocumented i will grants from state and local custody. we use our priority enforcement program or p.e.p. to expand our access to these dangerous criminals. the united states government faces daily criticism for not being flexible. p.e.p. is an example where we are flexible. it's an approach that works with state and local governments, something very important to me when i was in dallas working with 100 counties and 100 sheriffs that we have a good relationship with state and local law enforcement and that we tailor or program to community safety needs and to develop process to fit the needs of that specific jurisdiction ensuring that we remove as many convicted criminals as we can without damaging trust with local communities. this trust is critical, so communities feel secure
2:49 pm
reporting crimes. there there by making everyone safer. do i have good numbers with respect to the first six months of p.e.p., the number of jurisdictions who had previously not cooperated with us who are doing so now it's over 50% at this point. and each day our objective is to conduct interior enforcement strategy in a way that supports community policing. i think it's annen encouraging sign that for example counties like alexandria which the deputy and i personally work very hard to speak to their local elective officials have gotten then back to the table. a state that with texas has so many undocumented immigrants. p.e.p. is allowing ice to re-establish these crucial local relationships that are so important. again, thank you for the opportunity to testify.
2:50 pm
you have my commitment to work with each member of your committee to forge a strong and productive relationship currently and in in the future. i appreciate it. appreciate it. >> before i ask questions, i want to announce that after i ask my questions, senator sessions is going to take over and then i was told i could go ahead without a ranking member being here but if any of you have the responsibility of speaking as a ranking member i'd be glad to defer to you before i ask questions. >> go ahead. >> okay. on june the 29th of this year the department requested a reprogramming of $113 million from your agency for immigration enforcement to the dhs. and by the way, that's what this question's about, but i have an introduction before i ask you this specific question. yet less than a month later you testified before this committee
2:51 pm
about how i.c.e. employees must every day exercise prosecutorial discretion and focus the agency's limited resources -- and the words limited resources were yours -- in order to ensure the deportation of -- of removals of -- i'm sorry here. just a minute. well, anyway, we have the removals of criminal aliens for fiscal year 2015 we're down 22% from fiscal year 2014 and down 38% from fiscal year 2012. and then removals of criminal aliens from the interior of the country as opposed to the border for fiscal year 2015 we're down 27% for 2014 and down 53% for 2012. and yet you willingly gave away
2:52 pm
$100 million despite your repeated complaints about how you're doing the best you can with limited resources. so my question is how do you justify this reprogramming and how many additional criminal aliens ss could have been taken off the american streets with $113 million that you don't now have in your budget? [ inaudible ] >> mike. >> yeah. >> i'm sorry. thank you. >> yeah. >> that's -- i think the number you stated is out of our six plus billion dollar budget. we can always use resources. i'm not familiar specifically with -- i think these are dollars that went to the department. stayed within our department and its overall border security and public safety mission. but as you know our bed numbers
2:53 pm
which have been typically been holding at 34, 35,000 in prior years were down this past year. and as a result we had some excess dollars. and mind you it's not -- our effort at -- i appreciate every dollar we get. our effort with respect to our mission overall is removal. it is not detention or holding people unnecessarily. we make these decisions on filling the beds. we made our decisions throughout the year as judiciously as possible and we still ended up with some excess money. and the department has an overall public safety mission and border security mission that could have used that and i trust did wisely. >> going back to your testimony before this committee in july, you said that your agency
2:54 pm
welcomes, quote, welcomes any 287-g partners, end of quote. you then conceded that there had been indeed been an increase in 287-g participation but you said, quote it's not because the u.s. immigration and customs enforcement not wanting that partnership, it's because jurisdictions have either withdrawn or not coming to the table anymore, end of quote. and yet in response to a question for the record on this subject, the department revealed that there are ten jurisdictions in seven states with applications that have been pending for years. one has been pending since 2008. seven have been pending since 2010 or 2011. and two have been pending since 2012. how can you say, then that the decrease in 287-g program participation is quote because jurisdictions have either withdrawn or not coming to the
2:55 pm
table anymore end of quote when there are ten jurisdictions whose applications have been pending for years? >> you know senator that the secretary having -- >> mike. >> third time's the charm. i'll do it next time. you know senator that the secretary looked from the first day that he came on board has been looking at every aspect of our immigration enforcement efforts. and 287-g is one of them. we had this whole upheaval with respect to secure communities lots of litigation. got bogged down in things and we needed to move forward, that's why we came up with p.e.p. with respect to those jurisdictions that weren't coming back to the table. but we are currently considering whether or not it makes sense at this point now that we have six months under our belts of p.e.p. to expand 287-g and the secretary and i will be discussing that further.
2:56 pm
>> okay. well, then, when would you plan to adjudicate along the lines of what you just said you're looking at and that will be my last question? >> we're actually in the midst of it now. >> i think senator from minnesota was here before you were. senator from minnesota? and then i'm going to turn it over to senator sessions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director saldana, welcom= k and thank you for coming today. before i turn to my questions, i'd like to draw your attention to two letters that i have sent to i.c.e. and to dhs. one joined by 18 of my colleagues on the question of whether i.c.e. is interfering with the ability of mothers and children held in family detention centers to access legal representation. many of us have argued that the
2:57 pm
administration should end the presummitive presumetive detention of these families and are fleeing violence in their own countries and seeking asylum here. but on the other hand it's absolutely nessnarycessary that i.c.e. not hinder families from receiving pro bono counsel. i've yet to receive a response to these letters. will you commit to me today that you'll take a look in to this matter and provide me the requested information? >> of course. may i share with you a couple of points in that regard right now? >> absolutely. >> and we have, like, 500 congressional inquiries any given year. that's not an excuse but i apologize for any delay. and we are actually improving in our turnaround time and we're going to keep working at that.
2:58 pm
you are familiar i'm sure with the california district court decision, judge gee's decision, in the flores case which has significantly impacted our dealing with, processing undocumented immigrants particularly family units. children and unaccompanied children. we are appealing that decision but in the interim the judge gave us until october 23rd to come into compliance with its principal elements and it overall. and we have done so. what it has impacted us most is we are now from the time a person is booked in to the time we -- with respect to family units, the judge has imposed more or less a 20-day requirement as long as we're dealing expeditiously we might have to take longer than that, but we are actually meeting that. we have essentially turned the family detention as a result of that decision, once again we are appealing it, because we
2:59 pm
believe it has impacted our flexibility we need in enforcing our immigration laws. but we are complying with that decision and it essentially has turned us from detention with respect to family units into essentially processing folks getting the biometric data and getting them physical examinations getting them medical examinations, getting them off in an orderly manner and that turnaround is about 20 days. it had averaged before this decision about 60 days. although there were some that were much longer than that. before that i had issued a directive in may of several things i wanted done -- this was my fifth month on the job. and i directed our field office directors and everybody out there and assured the american public that we were doing some things to take a close look at family detention. again, judge gee's order has impacted that to some degree but i was asking for more reviews of why people were staying in
3:00 pm
custody beyond 90 days and periodic reviews thereafter. that's not happening anymore under judge gee's decision. i set up a family advocacy, advisory group, a member of whom -- of which is here with us today, mr. rosenbloom, and it is a star-studded list of people in the area of detention and family units and social services and enforcement across-section of those, i keep getting complimented on the people represented there who are going to be helping us in an advisory capacity as we move along family detention issues top to bottom including legal access. i'm a lawyer. as a prosecutor i much referred having a lawyer on the other side than having an pro bono representation because we could get along and move the case forward. i believe -- >> a pro bono representation are lawyers, i mean --
3:01 pm
>> no that's what i'm saying. so i prefer to have a lawyer even in this context. our lawyers prefer to have lawyers on the other side. and i want to ensure legal access to our folks, and we've done some things already, including -- including additional space, making sure everybody understands the rules of the road, and working in constant communication with our working groups so we have an advocacy working group including the aclu and ala who are talking to us about what they need more with respect to legal access. so, yes, i look forward to pulling your letter and making sure we get you a more timely response but i least wanted to make those points to you. >> okay, well thank you. my time has expired but i appreciate your getting back -- reading those and getting back to me on them, okay? thank you very much. thank you. thank you, new mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator cornyn i yield to you whip, and will yield to senator
3:02 pm
durbin next if you need to go you got a short period of time. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary saldana, thanks for being here and you know of my regard for you and for your professionalism and the way you've discharged your responsibilities as united states attorney, you're right, i did warn you before you took this job that not only was it very difficult, the complexity involved, but you would be instructed by your superiors on the basis of politics what laws to enforce and which laws not to enforce. and so i have some sympathy with your challenge, but no sympathy for the administration's failure to enforce the law. sanction ware city sanctuary cities where all we're asking for local law enforcement to do is to share information and to honor federal detainers and the like, an effort to
3:03 pm
reform that situation in light of the kate steinly case out in san francisco was blocked by our friends across the aisle. something i think was a big, big mistake to do. you alluded to the detention policies with regard particularly to the unaccompanied minors and the -- or those who were with the single adult. and i know you are constrained by some of the litigation that's gone on but the fact is as i've discussed with secretary johnson and you, that if there's no consequences associated with entering the united states illegally and you will be simply processed as you said you're doing now and then released, then there is no deterrence and people will not return for their court ordered removal hearing. so, as i think a number of us have tried to communicate both to you and secretary johnson and to the president himself this failure to -- this perception
3:04 pm
that the president is not dedicated to enforcing the laws that congress has passed as perhaps most egregiously evidenced by the executive action he took, has undermined public confidence in the federal government's ability to enforce or willingness to enforce our immigration laws on the books. and what it has done is to undermine our ability to actually fix what i think you and i both would agree is broken in our immigration laws. because public confidence has dissipated. but i just want to give you -- give you -- ask you one question about unaccompanied minors. we're starting to see another uptick from central america and we realize the circumstances under which those children and their families are fleeing. and i previously commented i think that it's hard to imagine how bad things must be before a mother or a father would put a
3:05 pm
minor child in the hands of transnational criminal organizations and be smuggled from central america up on the back of the beast through mexico and into the united states. many of whom would be assaulted, robbed, killed, or injured perhaps fatally. but i think one of the things that concerns me the most about the current situation is there is no comprehensive background check for the sponsors for these unaccompanied minors. and we found out as a result of whistle-blowers coming forward that some of these children are being put not only in custody of nonsit dencitizens but people with criminal records some of which are evidence involvement in trafficking and other crimes and potentially subjecting these children to exploitation or worse. and i know -- i think i know you as a person of strong conscience
3:06 pm
and very professional as i said earlier. but doesn't that bother you, that the u.s. government would be placing children in the hands of people with criminal records and people who have not been adequately screened and who may, in fact, be continuing the exploitation of these children that we know are supported by some of these transnational criminal organizations that are engaged in illegal smuggling and human trafficking? >> of course, senator. of course, it bothers me. i have learned, as you -- i have read, as you have learned, about those allegations that are being made. i do remind you, if you're soliciting my opinion, i've given it to you, but i do remind you thattese esei.c.e. is not in the children placement business. we turn over any children -- >> to health and human services. >> to health and human services. they are the ones who place the
3:07 pm
children and have the policies with respect to that. i'm going to look further in to this just because i am at least interested as an american citizen and ask questions about that and see if there's anything we could do to help. but it is -- it's more -- these questions and what can be done about it are more appropriately i think directed towards the department of health and human services. >> well you happen to be the witness, so i'm asking you. i understand health and human services' role in all of this but i don't think it's very satisfactory to the american people to have federal officials, whether they be politicians or whether they be appointed officials say that's not my job and i'm not going to have any -- i'm not responsible. so i do appreciate your willingness to look in to this further, and i hope we can have more of a conversation about this and how do we get to the bottom of this. but to me it demonstrates just like the sanctuary cities situation, where many of the criminals who are not removed as a result of sanctuary cities policies, in fact, prey on and
3:08 pm
exploit the very minority communities that we say we're trying to protect. and here these children are being exploited and preyed upon perhaps by human traffickers and others who would exploit them as a result of policies that we view perhaps some people view as beneficent or helpful to them, in fact, trapping them in an unspeakable situation. so, i look forward to our continued conversation. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you very much for your testimony. the june 27th 2013 on the floor of the united states senate we passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with 68 votes bipartisan bill. senator flake and i sat for months working on the details of that bill. i thank him for that. and i thank him for our effort to pass this bill. many of the people who are critical of this administration today voted against that bill. voted against comprehensive immigration reform.
3:09 pm
one of the requirements under our bill was for those who are undocumented in the united states who wish to continue to reside here and work here come forward and face a criminal background check. would that help us root out the criminals who are among the undocumented population so they could be deported? you need to turn on your microphone again. >> it makes imminent sense senator. as i said as a united states attorney i enforce 3 ,000 laws. here's the comependium of laws which bind us by our process to engage in. it's extraordinary even with a lawyer of 30 years experience that i am, that i have. so i would hope that despite public communications that i've heard that we still go forth and forward with immigration reform because this is -- hearing a bit
3:10 pm
here and a bit there is just not going to get us there. >> and clearly with an estimated 11 million undocumented comprehensive immigration reform required them to come forward and face a criminal background check in order to continue to reside in this country and to work in this country. and i hear your testimony that that would have been a real step forward in making america safer. it was opposed by many of those who are questioning you today on this panel. it also would have made a dramatic new investment in border security between the united states and mexico. some of us thought it was excessive. we voted for it in order to get a bipartisan majority. we're spending roughly now $3.6 million a year on border security. the immigration reform bill that was opposed by several members of this panel would have increased that to $46 billion from $3.6 billion. it would have increased the number of border patrol agents from the current 20,000 to 38,000.
3:11 pm
border patrol agents. we wouldn't have had to build mr. trump's wall. we were basically going to achieve with that bill verification of the background of people in the united states criminal background and we would have had a much stronger border security. and yet many of those who are criticizing you today voted against that which is very difficult to understand. let me ask you this question, if i can, there's going to be testimony from a witness in the next panel suggesting that the number of people being deported by your agency has gone down though the evidence of crime has gone up. how do you respond to that? >> as i said in my opening that is true. about two-thirds of our people in our national docket, sir, come from cbp apprehensions those at the border and ports of entry. about two-thirds of them. they are down significantly -- >> wait a minute, let me stop you. why are they down significantly? >> well i would -- you know, i guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder but i would say it's because of effective enforcement and the fact that we
3:12 pm
sent a message that you should not cross the border. >> fewer people are trying to cross the border is that what you're saying? >> yes. if the number of apprehensions which i believe is a rational argument represents -- is proportionate to the number are trying to come across -- are reflective of the number trying to come across, yes, they are down and i trust our message has gotten across. >> so two-thirds of those deported are apprehended at or near the border and you're saying fewer are coming across the border so there are fewer being deported? >> yes i think the cbp number is down dramatically. >> i have a minute left. when secretary of johnson asks for my vote of department of homeland security i said not unless you promise you'll come to broadview illinois on any friday morning. he did. brought his son with him. i wanted him to meet with those about to be deported and their families and i'm telling you among those are some people that
3:13 pm
should have been deported no question but among them as well were families being broken up because the mother was undocumented and the rest of the household were american citizens. when you have young people who were apprehended and deported with no criminal record whatsoever that to me was a waste of our resources. tell me where your focus is in terms of i.c.e. deportation when it comes to distinguishing between criminals and children between felons and families. >> the secretary's priority announcement of november 20th last year make very clear what -- and reflect what the president has talked about and that is not breaking up families. what is more effective for immigration enforcement the removal of a mother and two children who are causing no harm to a community or a convicted child molester? that is where we're focused and that's what we're continuing to do and i'm pleased with the numbers even though they're overall the removals are down, again, the reasons for it i believe, but i'm pleased with
3:14 pm
the numbers of the percentage of apprehensions of -- and removals of criminals. >> thank you. >> thank you. well to rehash the bill i would just note that the association head and the i.c.e. officers association chris clane and on the customs and immigration service council of law officers said this about that bill -- this is an anti-public safety bill and an anti-law enforcement bill. we urge all lawmakers to oppose final cloture and vote today to oppose the bill. they issued that statement on the day it came up for vote. they went on to say i.c.e. officers and uscis adjudications officers have pleaded with the lawmakers not to adopt this bill but to work with us on real, effective reforms for the american people.
3:15 pm
that's who we represent. the american people. they go on to say, quote the proposal will make americans less safe, will assure more illegal immigration, especially visa overstays and so forth. it goes on further. i just would say that this was not a solution. we hear the talking points about the comprehensive bill, but when you read the details these officers were correct. and i would note that as a result of the denial of the i.c.e. officers rights and duties to enforce the law effectively, they sued your predecessor mr. morton in federal court for denying them the right to conduct lawful activities. and they've also been reported they have the lowest morale of any agency in the federal government -- >> -- sir, they've lost that at the fifth circuit i know for sure and i don't think it's gotten much further.
3:16 pm
>> well it's a very unusual lawsuit, i've never heard one where law officers sue their supervisors for claiming they block them from doing their duty. it just shows how badly the situation is and how little enforcement. with regard to the budget you made reference to turning back $113 million that you did not spend. under the fy-'15 budget, do you know how much i.c.e. received for detention removal and transportation of aliens? >> i can't give you the number off the top of my head. it's 34,000 beds. >> $3431 million according to the numbers i have. i would just know that it's my understanding that the $113 million came from that specific account, which was for detention, removal, and transportation of aliens. according to the information we've obtained in 2011 your
3:17 pm
agency, i.c.e., removed 150,000 criminal aliens from the interior. in '12 -- fiscal year '12 it dropped to 135,000, in fiscal year '13 it dropped to 110,000 and in fiscal year '15, this year, we believe the number is only around 63,000. do you agree with that? those numbers? [ inaudible ] >> of criminal removals they sound about right. >> well, that's a dramatic reduction by -- far more than half. so you're actually removing half -- less than half as many criminal aliens as you were in just 2011. >> and as i -- >> turning back money that you were given for that very purpose. >> well, sir, a big portion of that is detention which doesn't
3:18 pm
necessarily get us to removal every time. but as i said earlier, i am heartened -- i would like my hands on every criminal alien who's in the country illegally and to be able to remove them. this is what i have done as a prosecutor and this is what i did as a united states attorney. neither i nor the women and men who work for i.c.e. would let go of a criminal alien if they had a basis for it a final order of removal and the ablth toility to remove them so -- >> did you make the decision what kind of criminal offenses qualify for removal or was that made before you or above you? >> that's in the statute, sir. the senate -- the congress -- >> you are using discretion to say there have to be more than say misdemeanors or a felony before you basically remove people. other people that are here that
3:19 pm
commit major traffic offenses and so forth if they're here illegally are not being removed isn't that right? >> the removal -- the only thing i was saying with respect to the statute, the group of people that can be removed are defined there. yes, the secretary and myself now as the director of i.c.e. are focusing on those in the november 20th memorandum, those three priorities i mentioned in my opening statement, which are mostly criminals. and, again sir, once again 59% of all of those that were removed were criminal aliens. that is a record-breaking percentage of the people that we removed. >> forgive me if that doesn't make me feel good because the numbers are dropping dramatically. so you're dropping down on other removals and you're defining upward what you consider to be criminal and you're saying it makes up a larger percentage of the very much smaller pie, isn't that correct? >> yes, sir. but all i ask you to do is give the american public some perspective here. we're talking about apprehensions being down
3:20 pm
substantially. i would like to think and i believe truly that that is reflection of effective enforcement, that people trying to cross the border are going down. so, if the numbers are going down, it also reflects the number of apprehensions and the largest part of our apprehensions are from border and -- >> well a number of years we forced a good bit more expense and hired a good number of more agents and i trust we have seen a reduction of attempts. we made it somewhat harder. but the difficulty as senator cornyn said when you accept people other than mexicans and allow them to be released in the country, pending some sort of deporting situation, then you're encouraging there. i really worry about that. my time is up. i believe it's senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thank you, ms. saldana, for very difficult work and your hard
3:21 pm
work. i'm a former prosecutor and i worked with law enforcement for eight years in that job, and obviously we had cases where we worked with federal authorities on deportation. and could you talk about the priority enforcement program in terms of the coordination with law enforcement, where do you think the strength are, where do you think could be changed to make it better? >> well, it is -- and let me make sure we understand. we work with about 3000 jurisdictions across the nation. we have identified, oh, somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 00-plus who had at the beginning of this priority enforcement program not been cooperating with immigration and customs enforcement in connection with apprehensions of individuals from -- >> different jurisdictions around the country. >> yes, undocumented immigrants there. >> uh-huh. >> so we have set out, everyone, top to bottom, the secretary has assured and charged us with a
3:22 pm
mission to set out to work with those state and local noncooperating jurisdictions. and as i said earlier, we've made tremendous progress. we have about 56% of those jurisdictions have now come back to the table. that represents about 76% i think of all our previously declined detainers. that's tremendous progress, and that's six months. >> over what period? in six months. >> uh-huh. we're going to keep going at that. we're going to keep going at that, even with those jurisdictions that have not come forward we're going to continue working towards that objective. but as i said earlier, it is essential to our mission, not only our immigration mission, but let's not forget i have homeland security investigations as well, hsi, on the investigative efforts there. we need good, sound relationships we don't need to be at loggerheads with one
3:23 pm
another. that's what we're working forward. >> i always said victims of crimes and their families didn't care who handled the case whether it was local or state or federal, they just wanted us to get the job done and i think the worst thing is when people are fighting with each other over whose jurisdiction it is, i appreciate that. senator durbin touched on this but i keep hearkening back to the comprehensive reform and the money we had in there as he pointed out for much more law enforcement at the border and their help in adjudicating cases and other things. that was a major piece of the bill in addition to having an orderly process for a very, very lengthy path to citizenship as well as making it more straightforward for legal immigrants. we have a huge -- in our state, as senator franken knows, we'll have a case where someone will come in legally to work at a dairy and they want to bring their spouse in, they're allowed to but then their spouse can't work for seven years in a town where the unemployment rate is
3:24 pm
1%. so could you go through on the immigration side in terms of your jurisdictions just how more particularly than when senator durbin asked the question, just how this would help you to do your job if we were to pass a comprehensive bill. >> well i've mentioned some of the obstacles that we have to our enforcement. we cannot have removals of the people we're focused on without a final order of removal. we've got courts that are -- have very few judges compared to a two million plus docket, national docket there are two million plus undocumented immigrants on that docket and very few courts to handle it. we have a current state of laws that is just very difficult to work with, and truly takes an expert to navigate, never mind persons who have -- lack the sophistication. so it's just essential to have
3:25 pm
all these jurisdictions working with us. and as i said -- and i think, by the way, senator i should apologize, i think i reversed the percentages on what -- >> i saw there was action behind you. >> they are very angry with me back there. >> there was a flurry of action. so what is the correct percentage so we can make them happy and get it on the record and not be subject to "washington post" fact checker? >> of those 300-plus jurisdictions, about 76% in terms of raw numbers of jurisdictions have come to the table, and that -- >> have come to the table to work with you on these priorities on getting people into your jurisdictions? >> it translates into numbers of 56% of those previously declined are now being honored. >> right. >> in some form or fashion. >> and 76% of the jurisdictions. >> got it. >> is that correct? okay, good. there's a lot of head nodding. thank you very much. >> very at odds with what you said earlier.
3:26 pm
i'm joking. >> yeah he's kidding. >> thank you very much. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thanks, ms. saldana. in a hearing earlier this injury, in july i believe, you testified that the law enforcement notification system had been deployed in 11 states. you expressed confidence that it could be deployed in all states by the end of the year. where do we stand now? >> senator flake thank you so much for asking me that question. we're at 100%. we got every -- all 50 jures dixedz dictions on board and we're communicating with those dates on a daily basis. >> how is that going? how have they received it? >> well, of course, they would like us to -- the local sheriffs would like us to communicate directly with them. but this is really the process by going through a central database with the state government, we rely on them then to notify the local jurisdictions like counties and cities.
3:27 pm
>> right. as you know we had the case in arizona, mr. altamarino where he was released, and then murdered somebody soon after his release. he posted $10,000 bond after his immigration hearing, which means that he became obligated to report to i.c.e. upon demand. at that time his most recent criminal offense hadn't triggered his obligation to report that demand is the problem there. he was released from i.c.e. custody on january 7 th 2013, he was arrested for murder, took place on january 22nd of this year. during that time he received two injunctions against him. but there was no communication apparently between the agencies here. on may 28th of this year in response to a letter that i along with chairman grassley wrote, you stated there's no
3:28 pm
systematic process for state and local authorities to notify i.c.e. with an injunction or an order of protection that is served. if i.c.e. had been aware of those two civil injunctions against this man would i.c.e. have taken any action? >> every decision we make sir, is based on all the facts and circumstances. those are material facts. and if we had known that, it might have altered the decision. i can't tell you looking back now whether it would have or not, that would be speculation but it would be something we very much would have taken into account. >> is there a way you obtain this information if somebody has injunctions against them? >> it doesn't go the other way. it goes from federal -- with respect to our releases to state and locals. >> so we have no way right now unless there is an effort at the local level to inform you. >> well, also i have asked all
3:29 pm
our people -- and i will tell you that was part of the disturbing facts that got my attention on this matter. but i've asked all our field office directors i got them all on the video telephone conference, and i said let us look at every flag, every possibility, in this case we didn't know about these injunctions, but i want you to run down, where you have a question. because i think the offense there he was convicted of was facilitation of burglary which is a wobbler offense and could have been reduced to a misdemeanor. so, we said -- i have told them any flag that you see take the time to run it down. and let's get all the information we can. it's -- we'll continue to work with local jurisdictions to try to do better. >> so, there's nothing preventing you from putting such a notification system in place where the information goes the other way could that be required of i.c.e. or would you8pzqñ need enabling legislation to require that kind of thing? >> to require state and locals to report to us?
3:30 pm
we have criminal databases. what we don't have is these -- these orders necessarily which are, you know, family matters as opposed to criminal data. >> in july you stated you'd follow-up with us. we asked the number of denied doca requests that have resulted in deportations. my officeñdóze of these numbers that your office or you said that you would give. do you have any of those numbers today? >> i do not, senator. i -- that was july? >> yes. >> we -- i'll just -- i'll have to pull that and get that. that's probably going to be a manual search. maybe it's already begun. i will get you a status on that as soon as we can. >> i would appreciate that. if there's a reason we can't get these numbers please let us know. but otherwise we'd like to get those. >> yes sir. >> we've not received those yet. you mentioned that effective
3:31 pm
enforcement is the key to reducing border apprehensions. i think we all recognize that. one such program that's been very effective in arizona is "operation streamline" particularly in the yuma sector the zero tolerance approach. but we hear that doj and i.c.e. is pulling back on implementation of that program. how does that square with the recognition that effective enforcement actually helps in this regard, but when we have something that has been by all accounts effective -- an effective deterrent to apprehensions or border crossings, yet we're pulling back on it? >> well, "operation stream line" involves a streamline prosecution. >> right. >> and that's obviously the u.s. attorneys and the department of justice who have control over that. you know i'm not sure what the department's formal stance is on that but as i understand it, i
3:32 pm
don't think "operation streamline" at least as of years past, did not distinguish on the status of the immigrant or the facts or circumstances related to that person. so if it doesn't meet our priorities, that would probably not -- not be in our view an effective measure. again sir with the focus being on criminals and serious prior offenders, dangers to the community, reflection of dangers that represent dangers to public safety, if "operation streamline" in a particular area, i don't know how it operated in yuma, but if it just included any mom or pop, i think without distinguishing further, i think under our current priorities that would not be included. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks, mr. chairman. welcome, director saldana.
3:33 pm
i know you're familiar with the john jacques case. and i hope that your able staff has informed you about some of the questions i have regarding john jacques. as you know, he is alleged to have murdered a 25-year-old young woman in norwich connecticut, casey chadwick, after his release from prison having served 15 years for attempted murder. i.c.e. failed to deport him as it should have done. i've asked for an investigation by the inspector general. i hope that you will support and cooperate with an investigation. >> absolutely. i understand inspector general roth has -- you sent that referral to him. >> i have written to inspector general roth along with two of my colleagues senator murphy and congressman courtney, asking for an ig investigation.
3:34 pm
to my knowledge, i have not received a response. but i hope for your support and cooperation. >> absolutely. we will do that. i will just say just like any of these situations where you have somebody assaulted or injured or murdered, worse, it's tremendously disturbing. i mentioned earlier, senator and i think we briefed you we've had at least some briefings with your staff on this particular matter. as disturbing as it is this is one of the consequences of that decision where we cannot detain someone without end. -- the sabidas decision requires us in post-custody post-order situation to release a person if there's no legitimate basis for
3:35 pm
believing somebody will be able to be removed. without a travel document to haiti, this person would not have been able to be removed. your questions have been directed to what efforts did we make. and we did make some efforts. >> well if i may -- if i may just interrupt. number one, i have been totally dissatisfied with the briefings that we've received. the information has been completely inadequate. it has changed over time. and even now i feel that we have not received the full story, which is why i asked for the ig investigation. but number two, it isn't a question of whether he had to be released. it's a question of what was done to deport him. and why he is not back in haiti and casey chadwick still alive. that's the real question here. and i accept your statement that some efforts were made but they were abysmally and abhor rantrently
3:36 pm
inadequate and much more could have been done in my view and i believe the inspector general investigation will demonstrate factually that much more should and could have been done. and i also want to know what broader problems this particular failing may have reflect. >> as i said, sir, we will cooperate with that investigation. i know it leaves you dissatisfied, the explanation. i think your concern is scoont you have gone to the country and tried to make some efforts there locally. we did try to find family members this person, we could not locate him. >> he was picked up on a boat coming from haiti. is that correct? >> that may be sir sir.
3:37 pm
i'm not sure how he was apprehended. >> and without meaning to compare the two, the administration has said that information is gleaned from various sources about refugees coming into this country, and i accept that representation, that there are means to verify the origins of a person without necessarily some document in that person's hands. and that could have been done here. >> and it -- you know, i won't argue with you on how much more could have been done. i will tell you that we have to rely on the country to accept those travel documents and to put them in a form that they will accept their national back. that's the frustration we have, is that there are a whole bunch of countries with which we have been trying to work to turn them around on this issue to get us travel documents for these people. haiti does not have apparently the interest, the resources to
3:38 pm
assist us in doing that. and so we can't just drop them off without the country being in a position to accept them. and that's what -- i am as frustrated as you are with some of these countries that we have these difficulties with. >> apart from what haiti is or is not willing to do i maintain, and i think the inspector general investigation will affirm, that much more could have been done by i.c.e.? but if that's a problem why haven't you come to the congress? why haven't you gone to the state department? haiti receives a lot of aid from this country and it has to be held accountable. >> i've personally been to the state department and met with one of our -- the representatives there that helps us with respect to these recalcitrant countries. we are making all kinds of efforts. the state department can be most helpful in this and i'm hopeful we can turn around some of these other countries. >> which other countries have
3:39 pm
failed to cooperate? >> there's a bunch of them sir. china comes to mind. india. >> can you give me some examples? >> china comes to mind. india. there's quite a few. the list is long. you can probably imagine some of them. those that have very unstable governments those that have cold relationships with us many of those countries are not cooperating with us -- >> well -- >> -- but i can certainly provide you a current list. >> i would appreciate a list. and i would appreciate an answer as to what efforts have been made with those countries in the first instance by i.c.e. and also by any other agency of our government to change those practices that resist taking back criminals who commit murder in our communities or other crimes. because they have no business being here. and they give a bad name to all of the programs that you administer.
3:40 pm
they undermine the credibility and legitimacy of our entire immigration effort. so, i look forward to the investigation report from the inspecter general. i want to thank you for being here and answering my questions. i know that you're newer to this agency, and i commend your efforts in texas as a law enforcer and your efforts here to improve the performance of i.c.e., so i want to thank you for being here today. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator blumenthal, it was a very excellent line of quefing. i i remember our former colleague, senator specter introduced legislation both when he was a republican and democrat, i believe and his proposal was we stop
3:41 pm
admitting -- first we stop admitting any government officials other than the ambassador as long as they refuse to take back all people. we cut off aid. we could -- if it's an essential part of immigration system worldwide that nations work together. so it cannot be accepted that nations refuse to take back criminals that have left their country after they've been convicted. that's a part of basic -- and if they refuse to do that, then we have the ability to push back. so i would think -- i would appreciate it if you would consider, as senator blumenthal suggested, legislation if that's needed. and i believe frankly, that you have plenty of powers that could move the needle on this anyway. and finally this is a long-term problem. and it's costing us hundreds of millions of dollars, wouldn't you agree, ms. saldana?
3:42 pm
>> yes sir, and it has been -- >> and agents and time and efforts to go forward with this. so i think it is something that we need to fix. and i appreciate you raising it. >> and mr. chairman, if i can just add, i make these points as a longtime and passionate supporter of immigration reform, providing a path to earned citizenship for the 11 million people who are now in the shadows, providing more h1-b visas as well as eliminating the abuses in that program, h2-b visas, agricultural workers. i helped lead the of the in the sessions previously when we successfully advocated for long-term immigration reform in the united states senate, and there was an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority in favor of it and unfortunately it was never voted on in the house. but we can disagree even on this panel as to overall immigration
3:43 pm
reform but this kind of glaring gap in enforcement and protection of our citizens i think deserves immediate attention. and i continue to be an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. and, ms. saldana is it not true that this refusal to take people back also raises the sabidas question puts you in a position where you have to release people because you can't hold them any longer? >> that's right. and that is the case here. >> so, it's a big issue. you need -- you need to go to the cabinet member mr. johnson. and mr. johnson needs to go to his boss, the president of the united states, and say we can't -- this is unacceptable and we're going to have to come up with a policy to deal with these countries in my opinion.
3:44 pm
that's my suggestion. and let us know if you need -- you have legislation you'd like to see proposed. >> i appreciate that. >> now, the administration has claimed that congress only appropriates enough resources to remove the approximately 4 00,000 aliens in the fiscal year in one fiscal year. yet in 2014, i.c.e. removed only 315,000. that includes interior removals and border protection, border patrol removals after they are apprehended near the border. in fiscal year 2015 the number of removals was only 235,000. of which only 63000, as we noted before, were criminal aliens, people who committed crimes, like in san francisco kate steinly and senator
3:45 pm
blumenthal's example. that's -- that's a dramatic drop from the 150,000 criminals removed in 2011. so -- and do you know what the -- your budget for removal and detention was in 2011? i have the number. >> back in 2011 nope, i don't sir. >> $2.6 million -- billion. >> billion. >> and what about this year? it's gone up to 3$.4 billion as we as we noticed. even though inflation is up and budget deficits are high congress found considerable amount of extra money for you. you didn't spend it all. and you removed far fewer persons. so my question to you is, not what happened at the border not what's happening there but our focus today is primarily on
3:46 pm
removal of criminal aliens. and there still remains something like 11 million here illegally, people enter the country illegally every day and illegal -- those undocumented aliens here in our country are committing crimes every day. it seems to me that's an unacceptable decline in prosecutions and removals. >> as i said earlier sir, again, we're -- we're -- we're affected by the apprehensions at the border and ports of entry. that's a substantial number. but we're also affected by changing demographics. the fact that we have increase in these -- in these families. there are all kinds of levels of due process that are afforded them by the statute, by the courts, and that tend to delay removals. and we -- and that's why we're working so hard on this p.e.p. effort to try to make sure that we're reaching as many jurisdictions as we can even
3:47 pm
though the number is large right now, we want them all. >> well, i thought your answer to senator flake's excellent question about "operation streamline" was not adequate. and i also believe your answers to senator grassley's questions about 287-g, this drop from 71 agreements with local law enforcement to 31, is very troubling and unacceptable and we have to have better cooperation with local law enforcement, and we need to see what works at the border. the american people want -- they want -- they are tired of arguing over means and problems. they want to see some actions and some positive results. senator cruz, i yield to you. >> thank you senator sessions. ms. saldana, welcome. the last hearing we had that you testified we discussed in 2013
3:48 pm
how the obama administration had released over 104,000 criminal illegal aliens. at that hearing you misstated that number by a factor over two. and indeed in 2013, we discussed how the obama administration released 193 illegal aliens with homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions 1,075 aggravated assault convictions, 9 187 dangerous drug convictions 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions, and
3:49 pm
303 flight escaped convictions. at that hearing i asked you how many murderers and rapists here illegally was the obama administration releasing. and you did not know. >> i think you asked me for the day before? >> yes. >> yes. >> i did not know that specific number for the day before. >> so let me ask you, in the several months since that last hearing, how many murderers? here illegally has the administration released. >> well, you missed the part, sir, earlier, when i discussed the fact when you say the obama administration released, and i presume you're talking about i.c.e. and the agency that enforces the immigration laws. you missed my testimony earlier where i discussed that two-thirds of these releases for 2015 were not within the control of i.c.e. the immigration courts, we don't
3:50 pm
play in this sand box alone. the immigration courts are a big part of that. >> ms. saldana, i asked a specific question. question. how many murderers has the administration released? >> in the last year let me give it to you by fiscal year '15. i believe they're homicide related, not just murder negligent homicide, et cetera, there are about 197 i believe. >> how about sexual assaults? >> we have that chart broken down by crime. i don't have that chart but i can certainly provide that to you. >> does that include drunk driving? >> yes, it does. >> since the hearing last july the administration has released administration that indicates it's even worse than what we discussed in july. in particular senator sessions and i along with several other senators on this committee sent a letter to secretary johnson asking about isis's so--- i.c.e.'s
3:51 pm
so-called enforcement program. you sent us a letter in response, a letter that without objection i would like to introduce into the record. >> without objection. >> in that letter, the administration made a number of rather stunning admissions. that letter indicated that at the end of fiscal year 2015 there are 918,369 non dsh-detained illegal aliens who are present in the united states or on their own recognizance, have been ordered to leave the country by a final order of removal, but haven't done so he. that means there are essentially 1 million illegal aliens who
3:52 pm
have been ordered to leave, haven't d