Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  March 9, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EST

3:00 pm
actually get funded. and i think here, there are people they feel like they are on the list for decades and never know when they're going to get funding. it seems to be a mystery. i get that you want to have an index, and i think the index is great, but i think we need to have predictability for indian country when their project is likely to be funded, if ever, or if it's a constant thing where other projects because of population. that gives policy makers the ability to look at policies as well and maybe make suggestions or changes if people are falling through the cracks. so. >> thank you, senator. that gets to one of the statements senator tesser made in his opening statements. while we complete the construction for the schools who run, we select the five schools for the 2016 list. the department is internally working at a long-term program to lay out for this committee and for tribes, generally.
3:01 pm
sort of here's where we are. here's the funding that's needed, and here's how we propose the move forward. >> my time is expired, thank you. >> thank you senator cantwell. senator danes. >> thank you. they get hit with massive fines because of the obamacare employer mandate. black feet will face penalties. the crow tribe hit with a $1.6 million penalty unless something changes. i've introduced the tribal employment and job protection act to prevent from the obamacare employer mandate and prevent these unreasonable, i would argue outrageous fines. the congress of american indians and the health board endorse this bill and while the president recognizes the impact of obamacare on many and requested changes to other provisions like the cadillac
3:02 pm
tax, fails to be concerned with the employer mandate on indian country. for secretary payment on question, could you speak to the burden that the employer mandate places on tribes and the need for this legislation to exempt them from this mandate? >> the question is catered to me because i have been echoing this and speaking loudly on this issue. so for my tribe in particular as an example, i'm here to speak the cost for the employment implementation for the employer mandate about $3 million for my tribe. so we're beginning to see some of the gains under the affordable care act and the reauthorization of the ihs under the affordable care act. we're grateful for the affordable care act and permanent reauthorization and seeing some of the gains we received be erased because of the consequence of the employer mandate. probably more importantly on a
3:03 pm
broader sense and we met with some of the representatives from the white house is to have the full impact before implementation, not afterwards. so we've asked for that. there's a way the funding gets to indian tribes through sel self-governance tribes. some tribes have insurance and some don't have insurance. there's a complex maze to figure out what the unintended consequences are going to be, but i bet over $15 million in indian country, the negative consequence of the employer mandate. i would ask that this be put on hold until after we do consultation with tribes and we fully appreciate what the full costs are going to be. >> thank you, secretary payment. i want to say. montana experienced one of the worst fire seasons of no exception. the fire so severe that the tribe opened a separate facility
3:04 pm
for elders and those with special health needs that were displaced by area wildfires. here's one of the challenges. oftentimes, these fires start on federal lands and then spread to tribal lands. the tribal force protection act of 2004 did attempt to address that problem and a proposal passed the house to provide tribes more freedom to enact tribal source retrust. mr. roberts do, you support increasing tribe's authority to more actively manage the tribal lands and the neighboring federal forest lands? >> thank you for the question. i am not familiar with the act but i am generally supportive of obviously greater tribal self-determination and sovereignty and i understand that the act is particularly focused on the department of agriculture. so i understand that it does provide deadlines for certain types of funding to be provided
3:05 pm
to tribes. i think generally, we're supportive of deadlines so i would like to talk more with my colleagues and the department of agriculture and maybe circle back with your staff on questions that we might have. >> >> we saw some very clear examples of proper forest treatment management to stop from spreading but wildfires are not a respecter of boundaries. what i like to get is your commitment to work with me and the usda to address these tribal forests. >> absolutely. >> thank you mr. chairman and vice chairman for letting me go first. you know, i think when we usually do these hearings and other committees, there is one agency sitting in front of us who we can hold accountable for outcomes. we have the siloing of services.
3:06 pm
hhs or housing and hud. whether it is all of the issues that fall in all of the above with the department of interior and obviously, the department of justice. and i want to say i applaud this administration for doing the most that i've ever seen to try and coordinate among all of you to try to build relationships across the agencies to change outcomes. but with that said, we continue to see incredible challenges, whether it's housing or indian education, indian health care, law enforcement, respect for sovereignty and respect for consultation. and so i just start at that juncture, and i kind of be rapidfire here because there's so much to talk about. miss mason, obviously, we've extended an invitation to director comey to come to north
3:07 pm
dakota and come to even montana and see what's happening with the lack of law enforcement personnel, the lack of really protection for a very vulnerable population hasn't responded and i hope you will go back and ask him once again, given that you have primary jurisdiction in many of our states. >> i will share that information with the director, but i would also like to point out that in partnership with the department of interior, the office for victims of crime and the office on violence against women have been working collaboratively. it hasn't stopped drugs from coming on to the reservation, trust me. we're debating right now an opioid bill, a heroin bill. let me tell you, if you want children born under conditions they should not be born come to any one of my reservations, and there areimpunity. and that crosses over to the
3:08 pm
problems that we have in indian health and in housing. i want to applaud the great work of secretary castro. we've had a number of meetings. thank you for mentioning our efforts to get a major summit. i am curious about the report, when you expect it to be done, and when we will be seeing you all in north dakota or even maybe montana. i offer to maybe share the responsibility, but we know we have a housing crisis. >> right. thank you, senator, thank you very much. and we very much appreciate the opportunity to continue to do what we can to foster private and public partnerships. with regard to the housing needs, a study report will be completed this year. we are looking at the preliminary -- >> can you narrow it? this year is a pretty big -- >> yes, i can. i definitely can. in july of this year, we will release the preliminary findings stemming from the report. at that time, the report will be made available to the tribes for
3:09 pm
further tribal consultation. we welcome the opportunity to present to this committee the findings of the report. the final report will be completed by no later than december of 2016. >> terrific. i think that's critically important we look beyond what we're doing right now. it's obviously not getting the job done as it relates to indian housing and that exacerbating whether it locates law enforcement and whether crimes are committed or getting medical personnel into critical jobs. so i guess my last question would be for miss smith, recognizing that you haven't been at it very long. but i think to follow up on the chairman's comment, you know, we're being asked to provide more resources, and most of you know that i am in that camp. the resources we're providing right now are not adequate to treating obligations and not adequate to fulfill our
3:10 pm
responsibility, but we need to make sure that what's being spent is being spent appropriately, and we look forward to hearing the outcome of what deputy secretary wakefield told us was the new structure for analyzing these problems and working across the line. but i will encourage you. so many members actually qualify for@bb
3:11 pm
program that could, in fact, make indian people more comfortable with getting health care through a third party fee-for-payment service. >> senator, thank you for the question. yes, we are working very hard on encouraging people to sign up for medicaid and i actually spoke to tribal leaders in bismarck, north dakota, two months ago about medicaid expansion and that's exactly the topic we were talking about. we are collaborating closely with cms. >> i will tell you, tribal leaders get it. unfortunately, many tribal members don't. and somehow, we're missing that. and i think the more advocacy that we can get out there, the better the opportunity to expand services and give native american people a choice on where they get their health care. thank you, chairman. i'm sorry, one over.
3:12 pm
>> senator markowski. >> thank you chairman and for each of you, for what you do. i want to begin this afternoon by general comment about consultation. over the past few months, i can't tell you the number of conversations that i have had with alaska/native people both here in washington, dc and in alaska that are expressing more concern about the processees and the federal government has a duty to consult with tribes and to do so in a way that's meaningful, not guilty, not just a check-the-box exercise. with respect to your agencies, i look at it and say it's got to be one of our top agencies.
3:13 pm
with your agencies, with your departments, as you develop your budgets and as you update your procedures, in your day-to-day operations, keep these consumptio consultations as a high priority. i think some of you are doing a better job than others, and i'm not going to single anybody out, but i will put it front and center that when you do all that you do on a daily basis, do not forget the consultation part of that. i did have an opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with you, miss smith, in the appropriations committee this morning. i thank you for that and for discussing your issues with the state. and miss castro ramirez, i invite you to come to rural alaska to see some of the housing issues you speak very informed about, but knowing that we have some concerns and some issues that are perhaps a little unique. i want to ask you specifically about this comprehensive housing needs study. you say that this is close to
3:14 pm
completion and the results of this study are intended to be used to be driving policy and strategy. this concerns me. it concerns me because i'm told that out of the 229 federally recognized tribes in alaska, there were only three that were included in your household survey. that was chicaloon, quinali and quina quinalone. that was brought to the attention of your contractor fors. know i'm very concerned about what's an important study on which you base your future decisions, i want to make sure that alaska and alaska tribes are not underrepresented or misrepresented. so i just need to know that this has clearly been brought to your
3:15 pm
question. >> senator, thank you very much for the question. i just wanted to provide some context. the housing study that is being conducted by hud, essentially, our policy department, the study is a national study. it is using a statistically valid sample, and we have engaged in tribal consultation. this is one of the reasons why there has been a delay. we are working very closely with the alaska tribes. in fact, we held two tribal consultation sessions, but i will definitely follow up, senator, and i note your concern. and i will follow up. >> i appreciate that. because, again, it's three out of 229, and these are very small communities, for the most part. i want to ask you a question, mr. roberts, regarding tribal courts. as you know, i have made tribal courts in alaska a priority as
3:16 pm
well as other pl 280 states. we had language included in the omnibus last year, well, no, in '15, that directed a study of the budgetary needs of tribal courts, and then last year in the omni, there was $10 million for pilot systems in the pl-280 states. we're making some progress there. as i keep saying, we've got our foot in the door, but the question to you is whether or not you have an update for me on how this pilot system may move forward and then also, the fy17 budget request plans to cut the funding that we had included, the $10 million by $8 million from the 16 enacted levels. so the question is on the pilot and then any explanation for the
3:17 pm
proposed decrease. >> okay. thank you, senator. thank you so much for the funding. i have heard from ncai about the funding. one of the things to do is it's important to get the funding as quickly as possible. i think it's also important to consult with the tribes and the pl-280 states. how we are going to move forward is we have to have telephonic consultations within the next 30 to 35 days. we have a couple of days of telephonic consultations with the pl-280 states. whether that funding, how that funding should be utilized. so i've heard a number of different things from tribes in alaska and other places in the pl-280 states. i think it's very important to have the court assessments but i heard it's very important for the tribes to implement some of the money in the tribal courts themselves. so that's going to be part of the consultation with tribes
3:18 pm
given that it is $10 million. as you mentioned, the fy17 request had a bump-up from $15 million to of $2 million. the budget was passed in the closing days of the year, so we weren't able to necessarily maintain that funding for the '17 request but i know i'll be talking with tribal leaders as part of our tribal interior council in a couple of weeks, so i'm really hopeful that we can build off of the great work we did for the fy18 budget but i agree with you 100%. it's very much needed, and we're going to try to make the best use of those dollars that we can. >> well, i appreciate that, and we really want to try to make a success of this. i do want to just add, mr. chairman, i was prepared to kind of jump on mr. roberts here this
3:19 pm
afternoon about some payments as they relate to compact funding due to bristol bay native association the second largest employer in the region have to lay off or furlough some of the employees because they haven't received the fy16 compact funds and i received this afternoon that the issue was resoevered and remaining funds go out today. so i can tell you ralph anderson and some there have been appreciative, waiting since december, and they're very appreciative that this has been resolved. so thank you. >> thank you, mr. mercowski. >> thank you, the vice chairman for holding this hearing and mr. chairman. mr. roberts, ever since i first came to the senate, i have been raising an alarm, i guess, about
3:20 pm
the nagonagesha lake school in minnesota and pushing very hard every year to get construction money to rebuild the school. i was pleased to secretahat sec jewel came to the lake reservation to not just see the school but spend realtime there and see the deplorable conditions herself firsthand, and what the teachers and the students have to deal with every day and this is this is kind of disgraceful, the school. have you had a chance to go to the school? >> i have not yet, senator. >> okay. it is drafty. it is cold. structurally, it's not sound enough. if the wind blows hard, they have to leave the school. and that's very hard. in minnesota, it gets really
3:21 pm
cold. and if the wind is blowing more than a certain amount, they have to leave and run to another building, but it is, it's a deplorable condition. and so my question is, and i'm, you know, i've been trying to get this thing rebuilt every year, what is the status, can you tell me? >> yes. so, thank you, senator, for the question. as you mentioned, secretary jewel has been out there and kevin washburn had visited. everyone i talked to within the department notes the horrible condition and it was never intended for educational purposes at the outset. so there were some questions by your colleagues about the bie campus. it's a single building,
3:22 pm
essentially. so we do have appropriations. i'm hoping that within the next 30 days or so, i have an answer for you on how we're moving forward with the bug school. i am meeting with the chairwoman of leetch lake later this month. and the team. everything i've heard is that there isn't a building in necessarily worse condition there. i don't have anything for you today except that i am very well aware of it and focused and i appreciate each in this issue. i have been to some of the schools on the campus-wide construction list, and the process that we have for school replacement right now, we need a lot more resources. >> well, usually at these budget
3:23 pm
meetings, it's abundantly clear and i want to say to my colleagues as well on this committee that i believe it's our job to go to our caucuses and tell them. because we're the only ones who are hearing this testimony from indian country and about our native people. and we need to, we are not honoring our moral obligations or treaty obligations. and i think it's something we need to be, all of us on both sides of the aisle, we need to be telling our caucuses. especially when we have this hearing reporting on budget, it becomes especially apparent. i want to talk about opioid use. it has become epidemic in native indian country.
3:24 pm
in minnesota and in urban settings. while makes up 3% of kids born in public systems programs, they make up 28% of the infants born with neonatal absence syndrome. i know, ms. smith, i know tawahee initiative is intended, in part, to address this. are you hearing about similar rates of opioid use in indian country as i am hearing from minnesota and how will the tawahee initiative or other programs in the budget fight this rapidly increasing problem in my state and around the country? >> thank you, senator, for that question, and for your leadership on that topic.
3:25 pm
unfortunately, there is a very real problem with opioid abuse in indian country. we are working on it. we have, you know, in our budget, we have included $15 million for additional funding for our substance abuse initiative, but on an operational basis, we're attacking it on a three pronged basis. we have a policy that goes out to our providers as to how to prescribe correct dosages. we have mandatory training for all our providers, and then in terms of treatment, we utilize what's called m.a.t., medication assured treatment, to be sure to address this epidemic. >> that's methadone? >> well, and then, we actually, since we're on this panel, it's not a solution but one of the
3:26 pm
things that helps with the problem. we are cooperating with the bureau of indian affairs, we have prescribed maloxone, we rolled that out in oklahoma in the fall. >> for o.d.s. i'm out of time. i just want to say that that epidemic is very much tied to the poor housing, the poor health care, the job situation, in a sense of hopelessness that people get when they'refh livi in those kind of condition. >> thank you, senator franken. senator hoken. >> my questions are for deputy director mary smith. in your testimony, you note the challenges of recruiting and retaining quality health care professionals, specifically in the great plains region.
3:27 pm
and recently, i was informed of the credential process required under ihs and i heard that this process is cumbersome because it must be renewed every year. so i'm concerned that this may disqualify qualified professionals who are in good standing with the state medical boards from working in some of these underserved areas. and so i just wanted to get your thoughts on that. what's the purpose of the credential, in particular, having to go through this every single year, and do you think it does have an impact on retaining, attracting and maintaining qualified staff? >> thanks for your question about attracting or retaining staff. we do have a number of challenges there. in terms of the credentialing, obviously, credentialing is necessary to ensure we are providing quality health care and the providers are credentialed, but with respect to our credentialing system, i do think there are improvements that can be made. we have a new quality consortium
3:28 pm
that is going to look at a lot of these quality standards, and one of the areas they're looking at is a more uniform credentialing process that would make, allow more flexibility for providers. so i appreciate your question. >> is that a change you anticipate you will be making, or is that something you're just looking into? >> i think we will make changes. i don't know exactly specifically what change. one of the things we're looking at is a different software package for credentialing. i don't have an answer today, like, whether that will go forward. we definitely will make changes to streamline the process. >> do you have any estimate on timeline for that? >> i hope we will be able to do at least some changes this year. >> something this year. >> yes. >> okay, and as you know, there are serious problems at the ihs facilities in the great plains
3:29 pm
region. many profblems were due to lack of funding and other cases, it's lack of accountability. my next question. in your opinion, how does the president's budget leverage resources for ihs facilities and hold them accountable? one of the things we talked about was trying to leverage ihs resources to address the resource issue. so how do you do that? and then, how do you get accountability, make sure you have accountability for performance on the part of ihs? >> thanks for the question. i think it is not easy, sometimes. but i think it's creating a culture of quality and accountability. and i think it starts at the top. and i think you need key leadership positions. and one of the things we're doing, and there is money for this in the budget, there's $2 million for our quality
3:30 pm
consortium. as i mentioned, we created a new position. deputy director of quality. and we are going to be setting up a quality system, which is essentially a compliance system with training. and we are going to be working to ensure that the systems are in place and that people are held accountable. and i think that was one of the problems that, why those problems arose in the great plains. so that is one of the top priorities that we will be addressing this year. >> well, i think there are other service providers that you can partner with to leverage your resources, but as part of that too, and this goes to the accountability, is reimbursement to hospitals, clinics, doctors, and others that do provide services either on or off the reservation. they have a real problem with backlog and accounts receivable or getting or collecting those
3:31 pm
receivables from ihs. so anything you can do to make sure that ihs, working with the tribes gets payments out to the health care providers in a timely basis, i think now is not only important for them, for the service providers, health care providers themselves, but will help generate more services both on and off the reservation for native people. >> yes, thank you, senator. i agree. leveraging the resources and ensuring prompt payment. and i actually was talking to the person who runs our purchase referred care program yesterday about the processes she's putting in place to try to streamline those payments, so thank you, senator. >> anything you can do with that, because we really hear from the health care providers they need help collecting the receivables. so thank you. >> thank you, and senator tester. >> i want to thank the panels for being here today. we're going to start with you, carol. the grand funds implements
3:32 pm
ballot is at $5 million. last year, i believe it was $2.5 million. you can correct me if i'm wrong. is $5 million going to be adequate? >> thank you for the question, senator. as you know, in march of '15, it went into full implementation of the expanded ability to prosecute not gnnative members r domestic violence. we have the working group, so we expect the $5 million since 2014 and others implemented, we expect to have many more people applying. >> is $5 million going to be adequate? >> we will make it adequate, but the need exceeds that. >> that's all i need to know. the doj mentions allocating $1 million for research on violence against native women. it's in the same section about implementation. is that $1 million coming out of the $5 million or separate?
3:33 pm
>> that's a separate funding source. >> that's good news. now over to you, larry. you've heard this before. we will come in and talk to you about different kind of issues in indian country and they've got a lot of them. and we often say to you, you've got to fight harder during the budgeting process to make sure the budget meets the needs of indian country. does this budget meet the needs of indian country? >> thank you, sir, for the question. so i do think that the budget reflects the president's commitment to indian country. as i said earlier, the discretionary funding across federal agencies is less than 1% increase. for indian country -- >> i got you, but that wasn't the question. >> i know, i know. so the, what i will say is tribal rates still haven't regained the footing.
3:34 pm
$142 million. so if there's anything, i know this congress, and i know many of you for the '16 budget help desk. >> what i hear you are saying is this is the best you can do but not adequate. >> i think everyone needs there's additional. >> perfect, larry. i want to go back to what the chairman said when he opened up. if you've got metrics to bring to this committee to justify the increases in budget, it would be helpful. because i don't think there's anybody in this committee that doesn't understand some or all the programs. the obama administration has done a pretty good job, but they had a long ways to go. >> some of the metrics we can provide tomorrow.
3:35 pm
>> we bring you in to hammer you. we have an obligation too. we've heard from tribes, tribal organizations, and entities to do business and the loan program is a great economic development tool and god knows in my neck of the woods, they need economic development, in indian country. this is level funded. is that because the guarantee was flat? >> it's a great program. we could use more. we're focused on youth and schools and services. it is a great program. we're doing the most we can. it leverages dollars for indian country. >> all right. i want to go to ms. ramirez.
3:36 pm
there's a grant program. we had previous questions about the housing but it's been stagnant for almost 20 years. i appreciate the advocacy for a bump-up. do you feel the additional dollars will be able to get out the door? >> yes, senator. i definitely believe the dollars will be able to get out of the door and the trooibes will be ae to make use of the dollars. >> do you think the program is critically important in housing country? do you think this is one of the big programs or kind of an ancillary program, there's other ones out there to fill this need? >> senator, this is the core program of nahasta, to provide tribes the opportunity to develop affordable housing, to renovate -- >> so can i ask you a question? if this is the primary one. have you guys done an assessment on the standards of housing in
3:37 pm
indian country? like, are they, what percent are substandard? have you been able to do any of that? >> we have, senator. i mentioned earlier that we are in the process of completing a housing needs study that speaks to the conditions of housing across -- >> what does that study show? 80% substandard, 10%? >> in 2014, we released preliminary results using the census and american community survey. a few key statistics that were included were, one, a very severe overcrowding problem in indian country. three or four times of the national average. we also know, senator, that tribes are having to use more of their ihgb funding to rehabilitate and renovate existing stock, and less is
3:38 pm
going into the creation of new affordable housing. >> thank you for the courtesy, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. i'll start a second round. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and a couple things, and they don't go necessarily to this budget, but they go to the potential for change. and one is obviously something that we've been working on in this committee a, and that is looking across the board on trauma and make sure we have trau trauma-informed health care professionals making sure we have trauma-informed and trauma-based folks in our department of justice and in the bureau of indian education. just making sure that everybody understands this kind of new brain research that is going on. and so i will kind of warn you that i will continue to be a broken record as it relates to trauma as a potential path forward for change.
3:39 pm
the other thing, obviously, we've been talking a lot about this week is opioid abuse, heroin abuse. and i've met yesterday with a number of folks. it's that time of the year. but one of the meetings that sparked a great deal of interest with me was when i met with the women representing the ob/gyns. they believe there's prescription medications dispensed in a different way. and i can't speak to all the options that are out there, that would actually provide treatment, that's not methadone treatment for women who are addict addicted, who are pregnant. and i wonder whether indian health has taken an active look on other kinds of treatment options that they have for addiction, especially with
3:40 pm
pregnant women. >> thank you, senator. yes, i know. we are working on a multi-prong with opioid dependence. i don't, we have a whole division of behavioral health, and i was just talking with a doctor yesterday about that opioid crisis. and i know we're looking at a number of different things. we can get you, if we are doing anything specifically with respect to pregnant women, i can get you that information. >> we've been looking at it, but in the meantime, this is basically blown into an absolute horrible crisis, across the country but especially in indian country in north dakota. if we are not pursuing state-of-the-art treatment options, then we're going to fail. and if we're not offering help to those who come in in dealing with their addiction, i think,
3:41 pm
obviously, from the standpoint of very many of the people who provide services to pregnant women, there is a big incentive for women to look at addiction and change behavior. and to me, there's a real option to get this done. and one of the frustrations i have with indian health is you continue to do what you've always done over and over and over again and expect a different result in indian country. it's not going to happen. we've got to change how we approach it, and we've got to look at a system that really treats the family. a system that treats the individual, and doesn't just say, okay, here's your diabetes and expect people to be compliant when they're addicted. i mean, it's just not going to happen a happen, and we're going to continue to spend dollar after dollar without really treating the individual. so i would appreciate any kind of information on the structure that you plan on pursuing, especially for addicted,
3:42 pm
pregnant women, which has become a crisis. in fact, we've heard reports as high as women in 50% of the babies born from women who are addict addicted. i've heard the same kind of information. that's not for society in any case. and so falls on your shoulders, and we expect to know what we're doing about it. so thank you, ms. smith. >> thank you, senator highcamp. ms. ramirez, the budget for the annual fee, 15 basis points to 25 basis points. the impact on a budget request to a $11 buyer monthly mortgage, $130 a year. this increase is now going to be se assessed, some at risk with homeowners. you stated the tribal
3:43 pm
consultation will take place prior to implementation. currently, you use a negotiated ru rule-making. despite recent examples, this appears to be a successful model for tribal consultations. are you going to be open to using this negotiated rule ma rule-making and how do you plan to go ahead with that? >> thank you, chairman, for the question. as you stated, the loan guarantee program is a critical program in indian country. we know that this is a program that works and enables the opportunity for home ownership. with regard to the modest annual fee increase, this modest annual fee increase is driven by the credit reform act of 1990.
3:44 pm
it is not a program of nahasta, hence, it's not subject to negotiated rule-making, but you have our full commitment. as we begin to have further discussions with trooiibes, we l engage in tribal consultation with changes to the 184 program and also, opportunities for the department to be able to improve the program in general. >> thank you. mr. roberts, the road maintenance program is responsible for maintaining almost 30,000 miles of bia-owned roads and 391 bridges constructed with federal funds. the administration requested funding level for this year with a need to maintain only 16% of the road and 62% of it with the bridges in acceptable conditions. the funds are used to simply maintain the current condition.
3:45 pm
far too many public roads are in poor or failing conditions with the reservation. so if only 16% of the bia roads and 62% of the bridges are going to be an acceptable condition, how can we safely get kids to school, drive somebody to the hospital without safe roads in which to drive? is the funding level in the president's budget too low given the importance of the travel community? >> it is an incredible importance in indian country. we hear about it all the time. the department of transportation takes the lead on those funding issues. i will say the president's budget, as you say, chairman, reflects maintaining the roads that you identified as in moderate or fair or acceptable conditions. so it's extraordinarily challenging to improve infrastructure in this fiscal climate, but so i share your concern about the issue. >> in addition to transportation, i go to education in the president's
3:46 pm
fiscal year 2017 budget request. education funding requests has increased. we all understand the urgent need to fix the broken school systems. i would like to bring to your attention the request for $20.4 million in, quote, education management. can you talk about what services or type of services that education management provides? >> absolutely. and so, basically, chairman, the president's budget requests an $8 million plus-up for $20 million for that line. and the plus-up is essentially for 16 positions. contracting, acquisitions, construction, construction budget planning, ip education specialists. it's all of the, it's the 15 positions that we need for bie to address those services under the reorganization. and so it's really looking at human resource specialists, recruiters, budget planning. those type of things. so i'm more than happy to
3:47 pm
provide additional information to your staff on that funding. >> i want to talk about the vision 21 project focused on current crime victimization and enhancing partnerships, improving integration to crime victims' rights. it's intended to facilitate to meet current crime victims needs and organizational flexibility and stronger collaboration, those things you talked about previously. the collaboration of crimes victims' rights and then the budget's request to include a project grant. can you talk about how you're going to, how will the development of these grants be tailored to tribal communities and consult tribal consultation prior to announcing the grants? >> thank you for the question. the $25 million request in the president's fiscal year 2017 budget is designed to give us more flexibility than we currently have with the voca
3:48 pm
funding and we consult with the tribes. this request is a result of having numerous consultations with our tribal partners. >> senator, any additional questions? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we go back to you, larry. there's a request in here, i think you discussed in your testimony of a $4 million request for native stops initiative. it is an internet site. is there more to it an than internet site? >> absolutely. so it will, the internet site will basically, all of the different agencies across the federal government have their information fed into this internet site to provide tribes and individuals. they can access the programs. let's say they have a housing issue. they can say, hud's got a program. we've got a program. >> let me refine my program. is there funding for a physical site too to go to or is it all
3:49 pm
internet? >> my understanding is it's all internet at this point. >> okay. okay, so $4 million, this must be one hell of an internet site. that's a lot of dough when an internet state. >> fair enough. but when you have a number of different federal agencies in indian country, there's quite a bit of data too. >> no doubt about that. let me ask you. how, broadband is pretty deficient in indian country. are we building something that they will not have access to? >> i think -- >> perhaps, i think it's a great idea, but if they don't have internet service, how will they access the web site? >> so the president's budget got support, additional broadband access to bie schools. so there is increases. i'm not sure what the other federal agencies have for broadband, but i don't think this internet site will be
3:50 pm
something that needs the highest capabilities. i think tribes will be able to access it. it's something tribes have been accessing us for a think it's small investment. and, hopefully, what it does is save tribes a lot of money as they're going through that process. >> your testimony also talks about office of justice services in adopting and updating travel court codes and then the same thing kind of for uniform commercial, helping tribes, updating those. is any of that work being done now? >> i believe it is. i would have to get you more information on that. >> if you could. once again, i think it's a great idea. my next question would be, do you have the infrastructure to do this? >> we have a great team in ojs. and i just don't have the
3:51 pm
details on that for you right now, senator. >> that's good. i've got one last question for mr. ramirez, if i might. it has to do with the home loan guarantee program. this is one of the programs that we saw cut from last year's budget. and, quite frankly, native americans want this expanded to even include native americans who live off reservation. i have two questions for you. number one, would you support that, if this program was expanded? to be able to use this money, these loan guarantees for homes outside the reservation borders? >> in principle, senator, yes, i would support it. i would need to look into sort of the technical requirements behind the loan guarantee program. i know it was designed for indian country, but, yes, i think anything we can do to expand and increase home
3:52 pm
ownership opportunities. >> okay. that's good. and the second thing is that it's kind of the same question i asked other people in other programs, but this is a pretty doggone good program. it's being cut. what is the justification? is it simply dollars? that's it? you had to cut somewhere so this is the one that got the ax? >> senator, our request for $5.5 million for fy 17 takes into account carry-over funds that we are projecting from prior years. >> all right. how much carryover do you have? >> on one hand, that's good but -- we'll just leave it at that. thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate it. and appreciate all your testimony. i grilled mary pretty hard this morning, so i told her i would let her off the hook this afternoon. and, aaron, i'm sorry. i'll catch you next time.
3:53 pm
okay? >> thanks. >> thank you, senator. >> and, aaron, following up on what the senator was asking about, broad band defishs in indian country. put all of this effort into the state-of-the-art website where this information can be integrated. can you talk about how the needs are because there is some infrastructure lack? >> i testified earlier of some of the hard infrastructure, when you think of pipes and indian country is largely neglected with that. we built basically what we do have. in my tribe's case, we were recognized late in 1972. we've had to acquire everything we have. we're in rural communities and old swamp land. we have to build the infrastructure ourselves. broad band is a critical need in indian country. we are not as rural as most other tribal communities. we do have some access.
3:54 pm
our access is limited. we have council meetings in the districts and find we don't have the ability to connect and travel staff look at us and laugh at us because we can't connect. they live with that day-to-day and try to do their jobs day-to-day. it's a wonderful concept, to connect across agencies. we talked about that recently and tried to get some perman permanency. >> not just the best use of resources. because a lot of opportunity to use the resource is there? >> i don't want to get in the middle of a fight. i would say that you need to expand -- >> well, with that, we'll end the hearing. if there's no more questions for today, written follow-up, written questions for the record. hearing record will bel remain open for two weeks. thank all of you for being here
3:55 pm
for your testimony today. the hearing is adjourned.
3:56 pm
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
join us this thursday for live coverage of the white house state dinner for justin trudeaux beginning at 6:00 pm eastern on c-span. the body of former first lady nancy reagan, arriving at the ronald reagan library in simi valley, california. mrs. reagan died sunday of heart
3:59 pm
failure. she was 94. her body will lie in repose this afternoon and part of tomorrow.
4:00 pm
4:01 pm
4:02 pm
4:03 pm
4:04 pm
4:05 pm
4:06 pm
4:07 pm
>> ready, down. ready, up. ready, face. forward march.
4:08 pm
4:09 pm
dear friends, it was our lord, jesus, himself, who said come to you, all who are labored and burdened and i will give you rest. we pray for our sister, nancy, that she may rest from her laborance and enter into god's eternal light of rest. receive, o lord, your servant as she returns to you, wash her in the fount of everlasting light and clothe her in her wedding garment. may she hear your words, come to you, blessed, my father.
4:10 pm
may she taste the blessedness of perfect rest. may ainngels surround her and saints welcome her in peace into your hands, o lord, we commend our sister, nancy. former first lady, nancy reagan, will be buried friday next to her husband, in simi valley, california. coverage is 2:00 pm eastern time on c-span. this year's student cam
4:11 pm
documentary competition was the largest yet. nearly 600 high school students took part alone or in teams up to three. we received 2900 entries from schools across the country and even as far away as taiwan and the united arab emirates. now it's time to award $100,000 in prize money to our winners. students were asked to produce documentaries using our road to the white house theme, specifically to document what issue they most wanted the candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign. through their entries, students told us that the economy, equality, education and immigration were all top issues. our judges have finalized their decisions for one grand prize winner and four first-place winners and 150 prizes in all. and there is one fan favorite selected by you. and now we are happy to announce our top prize winners. our grand prize winner is owe leava herd, tenth grader from jenks high school in jenks,
4:12 pm
oklahoma. her winning documentary entitled "up to our necks" addresses the federal debt. >> june 4th, 2015, the united states was $18.153 trillion in debt. that doesn't just happen overnight, people. so how exactly does america get up to its neck in debt? every year a budget is formed. doling out large sums of federal money to three main areas. the first of these is discretionary spending. in 2015 received $1.1 trillion. the second section is mandatory spending, which received $2.45 trillion in the year 2015. lastly, there's the interest on the federal debt, which received $229 billion. >> as our grand prize winner, she wins $5,000 for her documentary. and the c-span bus will travel to her school so we can present her with the check for the grand prize. our first prize winners for middle school are sisters mia
4:13 pm
and ava lazar. mia, an eighth grader and ava, a sixth grader at blacksburg school. >> you see flyers in your mailbox and find advertisements on tv, the radio and the internet. this is the way that politicians try to get elected. politicians spend millions of dollars on their campaigns. as soon as one election ends, the fund-raising for the next election begins. every day congress is in session, there are fund-raisers all over the country. in 2012, presidential elections cost about $2.6 billion. you can't help but wonder, where does all this money come from? >> the first prize winners of our high school central category are 12th graders, griffin olis, michael frazier and zehn warii. >> today, americans are drowning in overdebated issues such as immigration, medicare,
4:14 pm
terrorism, leaked e-mails. although these are important topics, what affects the most americans is the issue of the 1%. >> 1%. >> 1%. >> 1%. >> no, not that 1%. this 1%, shiny blue jewel of the united states, the great lakes. >> truly one of the unique resources in the world. it's the largest fresh water resource in the world. there's nothing like it. >> our student cam first prize winners from high school west category are 12th grader daniela mock-zubia and sofia taglienti who attend high school in phoenix. rethinking reform, prisons in america. >> the prison systems around the united states have changed radically in the last 20 to 30 years.
4:15 pm
but let me address arizona. 20 years ago, our prison population was about 20,000 people. now, our state prison system is over 40. the composition of the prison population has also drama ticaly changed. >> finally, our fan favorite was selected through your online voting. and we're happy to announce that the winners who will receive an additional $500, are first prize winners for high school east category, tenth graders ben miller, william ederer and charles gryder from silver spring, maryland. driving forward tackles the topic of highway and bridge funding. >> americans love moving around. we love fast cars, big trucks, road trips, horsepower and 70-mile-per-hour speed limits. we drive farther and have more cars than any other country in the world. but for all our love of what we drive, we tend to take what we
4:16 pm
drive on for granted. america's 2 million miles of roads and 600,000 bridges are aging, congested and often dangerous. >> thanks to all of the students and teachers who compete this had year. congratulations to all of our winners. top 21 winning entries will air on c-span starting in april and all the winning entries are available for viewing online at studentcam.org. cc chair tom wheeler and four other commissioners appear before a senate committee. they testify about the spectrum auction, broad band development and access in rural areas. >> this hearing will come to order. welcome to today's hearing on oversight of federal communication system. i expressed my amazement that an agency as important as the federal communication systems has not been reauthorized.
4:17 pm
reversing a quarter century of legislative inertia takes time. marking the first time this century the full fcc has appeared in this committee. another example is our unanimous approval last year of senator hellers, fcc reporting act, making marketplace examinations as well as more informative on congress. our responsibility's legislators and reverse constituencies with nearly half a billion dollar budget. it's time for this committee to get back to regularly authorizing the commission as part of its normal course of business. to that end, in the next few days, i will introduce the fcc reauthorization act of 2016. it's my intent to mark up the bill in the coming weeks. we have for us today a very familiar face, jessica
4:18 pm
rosenwersel. renomination is currently pending before the full senate. i support your confirmation and was pleased to process your nomination through the committee last year. i appreciate your public service at the fcc and your prior service to this committee. shortly after the very successful auction which netted more than $41 billion in winning bids. that record-setting auction was the product of the 2012 spectrum act, which also authorized broadcast tv airwaves that is scheduled to begin next month. in the incentive auction, charged with a balanced mission. one, reallocate relinquished by tv stations to commercial wireless users and, two, protect both the tv stations that continue to operate following the auction and their viewers. congress provided nearly $2 billion to reimburse stations for the post-auction repack.
4:19 pm
concerns have been raised the reimbursement funds and time allowed for repacking may be inadequate. i'm hopeful that will not be the case. however, these concern also receive the close attention of this committee. my colleagues and i all wish to see a successful incentive auction and successful repacking progress. local broadcast tv remains popular, broader medium continues to change and grow. video services is one of the most dynamic segments of the space, driving consumer electronics, experimentation. growing broadband data consumption. it is not a coincidence that the parts of the video market seeing the most innovation are also the least regulated. immense this video reality, fcc recently proposed partisan rule making to have the government
4:20 pm
somehow better produce results than the astonishing and consumer disruption that's already happening. ranking member nelson sent chairman wheeler a letter before this new adoption of the proposal. i agree with senator nelson's sentiment that, and i quote, advances abound in the video navigation device market and section 629 should always be implemented with an eye toward what is actually happening in the marketplace. end quote. i want to further echo senator nelson's warning to the commission, section 629 does not contemplate imposing regulations by which third parties gain their ability to alter, add to or interfere with the programming provided by content providers.
4:21 pm
finally, i would like to address the issue of stand alone broad band support for small rural carriers. because of flawed, these providers choose to subscribe to broad band while not simultaneously purchasing land line. all five commissioners made commitments to me and this committee to fix counter loophole by the end of 2015. it's my understanding that an item is currently on circulation at the commission that would fix the stand-alone broad band problem and reflects compromise and other forms that have been linked for this simple objective. the 2015 deadline for stand alone broad band has recently passed i'm glad the extra time has given a chance for rural providers for proposals on businesses and rural broad band
4:22 pm
customers that they serve. assessing its impact and continuing to provide oversight of the fcc's implementation of these forms. meantime, i would like to thank all of you for fulfilling your commitment, fix the stand-alone broad band issue for consumers across the nation. i would just like to say a word regarding the report by chairman johnson. among other things, the report finds that the fcc, and i quote, failed to live up to standards of transparency, end quote. i want to thank chairman johnson, he and his staff, for work on this report and hope the commission, rather than resorting to a defensive posture, look for ways for our independent agencies. today's hearing provides one opportunity to do just that. and so i look forward to hearing your testimony and appreciate very much having all of our commissions here before us today and look forward to having an opportunity to ask you some questions at a later date.
4:23 pm
i turn now to our distinguished ranking member, senator nelson from florida, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i return compliments to you in the way the two of us have worked together. on behalf of senator mccaskill, which we all know is going through a difficult time, i want to ask that her letter to her commission
4:24 pm
commissions. >> i think all of us on our committee express our thoughts and prayers to our colleague, very active and respected member of this committee but & hope and pray for a quick recovery. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is significant, because it's been over a year since all five commissioners have appeared before this committee and a lot has happened in the interim. now i really appreciate, mr. chairman, what you said, about commissioner rosenworsel's renomination, and the confirmation that we attempt to get.
4:25 pm
democrat jessica rosen worsel quickly in the new congress. senat
4:26 pm
senator. >> jay rockefeller that they would move the nomination without delay in the new congress if the democrats in the last congress in 2014 agreed to moveñfwñ commissioners o'reilly nomination. nomination is on the executive calendar. i know, chairman, you are working with leader mcconnell to make this happen. we don't want to lose her leadership and thoughtful approach to the crucial issues. mr. chairman, this -- as promised, it didn't happen in the first year in the new congress last year, 2015. here we are in the second year of the new congress. finally, she's on the calendar.
4:27 pm
i hope we move to confirm commissioner o'reilly. and i want to thank all the commissioners for appearing today. >> as our nation grows ever-more internet enabled, more connected and more mobile, this fcc's role becomes ever-more critical. you are the expert agency that congress created over all the things, communications. you have a statutory mandate to protect consumers, promote competition, ensure universal service ensure public safety and, as technology transitions, these core directives do not necessarily follow.
4:28 pm
>> to combat these abusive phone scams. >> americans lose millions of dollars each year to these scam scams. >> i hope that they can act quickly on senator fisher and my legislation.
4:29 pm
meantime, we will do everything we can under current law to stop these scammers. there's been intense interest. i support the existing statutory obligation, how consumers access their paid television programming. but it's essential that any new fcc rules in this area must not harm the production and distribution of video content, and my letter to the chairman said just that. the fcc, too, has worked hard to keep the u.s. competitive in our national spectrum policy. in a matter of weeks, the commission will launch the first voluntary spectrum incentive
4:30 pm
auction. the agency deserves much praise for getting us to this point. at the same time, many of us have heard concerns about what may happen after the auction during any repacking of tv stations. obviously, we will continue to watch the fcc's work closely in order to make sure that tv viewers are not disenfranchised at the end of this important process. i want to recognize the work that's being done by the commission related to 5g, the next generation wireless services. the nation is, once again, on the verge of wireless revolution and the work on a new spectrum frontier for such services as vital to american leadership in this area. tomorrow, this committee will take up the bipartisan mobile
4:31 pm
now act that chairman thune and i have referenced. that bill is designed to help move the ball forward on 5g. and with regard to universal service, as important as it is with technologies, it is equally important that all americans have access to these networks. i know that the fcc has been spending significant time considering reforms to the life line program. i want to make it fairly obvious that we must have a lifeline program that helps low-income americans obtain access to br d broadband in order for them to participate in today's digital economy. failing to do so risks exacerbating the digital divide.
4:32 pm
with regard to public safety, a call to 911 remains the most-ever call any one of us will ever make. i hope you all will keep that in mind. and i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, senator nelson. we'll proceed now. we'll start on my right and your left with chairman of the commission. chairman wheeler, if you want to go first, then we'll work down the dias from there. thank you for being -- by the way, i would add, too, i know it's hard to enforce the time line, but there are some of you on the panel who have been on this side and you know how nice and how much the staff would appreciate it -- isn't that right, staff? if you would confine your remarks to as close to five minutes as possible. i know you have statements, too, that we will enter into the record. mr. chairman? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and
4:33 pm
members of the committee. we all look frd to discussing matters of importance that you wi discussed as well as others. i will heed the admonition and keep my remarks brief. next week, we will have a workshop and a web-x for broadcasters who are desiring to participate so that they can work through their processes and begin to understand even more. the following week, we will release the forward auction participants. the third week, we will have practice sessions, after we have distributed to the participating broadcasters their own security token so they can actually practice and stress the system. and the flag falls in three weeks and five days, but who's counting? secondly, i have just returned with my colleagues, commissioner
4:34 pm
rosenworsel from the mobile congress, big gathering in barcelona, where the buzz was all about 5g. commissioner rosenworsel made remarks there that were spot on insofar as the spectrum of 5g. mobile now legislation is an important part, as you both, chairman thune and ranking member nelson, have referenced. but i want to make sure that everybody understands, there's a difference between the way we approach 5g spectrum and the way the rest of the world. we just met with the rest of the world. we will allocate 5g spectrum faster than any nation on the planet. we already have a proceeding under way. we will bring that proceeding to closure this summer. we will then get out of the way.
4:35 pm
>> saying you need to wait until there are standards. we are world leaders in 4g because we made spectrum available and let competition and innovation reign. i believe that is the same strategy that will bring us to world leadership in 5g. thirdly, the last time we were together, mr. chairman, you've referenced this. broad band support to unserved areas before the end of the year. thank you for your understanding. it was a complex issue. but thanks to the work of commissioners o'reilly and
4:36 pm
clyburn, we have a bipartisan plan, no easy undertaking in and of itself, but also negotiated with the major associations of the parties involved, which increased the complexity. exhibited the kind of bringing people together attitude in finding solutions that made him an effective member of the staff of this body. commissioner clyburn, who had over a decade of experience dealing firsthand with this issue at the state level brought that kind of expertise and experience and helped us through that process. none of us got everything we wanted. nor did any of the associations get everything they wanted.
4:37 pm
but we have a solid, bipartisan reform and broadband funding for unserved areas, in particular, that will serve the test of time. lastly -- and this is not last in priorities, just last on the list. public safety is embodied by 911 is dangerously close to a crisis. 21st century life saving is being blocked by 21st century technology. we have been pushing for texts to 911 deployment. we've improved network resiliency and we just completed a year-long process where we brought all the experts from around the country to spend a
4:38 pm
year developing a plan for just what does it take to get to the next generation 911. we have submitted that task force plan to this committee. congress holds the key to whether there will be a next generation 911, and we look forward to working with you in achieving that goal. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, chairman wheeler. commissioner rosenworsel? >> thank you. good morning, chairman thune, ranking member nelson and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. it's my fourth time this congress, but who's counting? as my colleague mentioned, last week i had the privilege of speaking at the mobile world congress in barcelona. it's a global gather iing
4:39 pm
to discuss mobile technology. while we have only 5% of the globe's population, we have over one-third of its 4g deployment. what i learned in barcelona is that we have work to do to maintain our leadership role. now, the good news is that wireless policy is front and center. this month at the fcc, we will begin the world's first spectrum incentive auction. of course, this week, in front of this committee, you will consider mobile now legislation to advance our nation's leadership in wireless policy. in light of all of this, i will focus my remarks today on three aspects of the future of spectrum policy. first, the future of spectrum policy requires looking at wireless. 3 gigahertz or below.
4:40 pm
in the future we will have to bust through that 3 gigahertz ceiling and start looking at airwaves north of 24 gigahertz. we'll have to look at airwaves that go to infinity and beyond. now the signals at these high strat stratospheric levels, 10 to 100 times faster than what we have today. and these networks are going to be a formidable part of the next generation of wireless technology known as 5g. the race to 5g is on. what i learned last week is our counterparts in europe and asia are already making headway. so, it is imperative that the fcc complete its outstanding millimeter wave rule making and get it done this year. second, the future of spectrum policy requires not just more license spectrum, but also more
4:41 pm
unlicensed spectrum. in short, we need more wi-fi. unlicensed spectrum, like wi-fi, democrat democratici democratizes wireless. it adds to the u.s. economy every year. it's good stuff. any effort to increase the license spectrum pipeline we need to explore a cut for unlicensed. call at the wi-fi dividend. right now at the fcc, we have a golden opportunity for a wi-fi dividend in the upper portion of the 5 gigahertz band. thanks to the encouragement of this committee, we have a smart framework for testing this band for unlicensed use while also protecting automobile safety. we need to work with our colleagues at the department of transportation and the department of commerce and get this testing under way. third, the future of spectrum
4:42 pm
policy requires we focus on the ground as much as on the skies. spectrum gets all the glory, but the unsung hero of the wireless revolution is infrastructure. because no amount of spectrum will lead to better wireless service without good inf infrastructure on the ground. we need smarter practices for deployment on our federal lands. and we need updated policies that will be critical for next generation 5g networks. if we do these three things, we will create dramatic opportunities for new wireless services across the country. >> we have problems to serve, resources that are strained and communities that need help navigating what is possible in
4:43 pm
the digital abling age. we are on the cusp of cars that drive themselves, streets that can be safer, commute times that can be cut, emergency services that are more effective and health care that is more personalized and communities with more capability across the board because they are more connected. it's already happening. to help solve problems before they occur, with childhood asthma, flash flooding and street congestion. coachella, california, has made wi-fi available on its school buses to help bridge the homework gap and help students who lack the connectivity they need to do basic school work and wireless smart sewer systems have saved the city of south bend, indiana, millions by providing real time analysis of waste water. these efforts are exciting and can be bigger and bolder if we have forward-thinking steps with spectrum policy and if we take them right now. thank you. >> thank you, commissioner
4:44 pm
rosenworcel. commission commissioner pai? first, ensuring direct access to 911 is important, both to me and to members of this committee. last month, senators fisher along with corneryn, cruz and shotts, i commend those for their leadership. in december 2014, carrie renee hunt-dunn was attacked and killed by her estranged husband at a hotel room in marshall, texas. her 9-year-old daughter tried calling 911 four times, as she had been trained to do. those calls never went through because the hotel's phone system
4:45 pm
required her first to dial a nine before 911. when i first learned about this sad case two years ago, i started an inquiry into the status of 911 dialing. to date, we have made substantial progress across this country in fixing the problem. when we started, for example, no major hotel company required franchiseees to permit direct 911 dialing. today, nearly every major chain does. but the job isn't done. and that's why the carrie's law act of 2016 is needed. it will require that all multi line telephone systems sold, leased or installed in the united states allowed direct 911 dialing as the default setting. i hope this bill becomes law soon. second, i want to turn to the threat posed by inmates use of contra band cell phones. these devices present a major threat to public safety. that threat has only grown worse of late. contra band cell phones are flooding into our nation's jails and prisons.
4:46 pm
inmates are using them to order hits, run drug operations, arrange gang activity and victimize innocent members of the public. i heard about these disturbing developments firsthand last october when i visited a maximum security prison in jackson, georgia. we cannot let inmates treat prison as just another base of operations for criminal spr prizes. we need to act. now, in 2009, this committee passed bipartisan legislation to help law enforcement combat the serious threat. in 2013, fcc picked up the baton with a notice of proposed rule making. in it, the agency teed up technological solutions and regulatory reforms. we now need to follow through. and to help do that i announced earlier this week i would hold a hearing on contra band sfoens in south carolina i hope this event will build the foundation for a robust fcc response.
4:47 pm
third, i want to thank the committee, a band ideally suited for unlicensed use. four years ago, spectrum act called on the fcc to begin the process of opening up this band and the fcc did that in 2013. since then, marco rubio and corey booker have introduced an act, a substantial measure to help move the process forward. right now, there are up to 195 megahertz of 5 gigahertz spectrum that the fcc could open up for consumer use, a new world of gigabyte wi-fi. process hasn't been fast enough. qualcomm and cisco have identified paths forward, and i hope that we get this proceeding across the finish line and soon for the benefit of american consumers. fourth and finally, i want to
4:48 pm
commend chairman thune and ranking member nelson for the introduction of the mobile now act and spirit of bipartisanship which they showed engaging in that measure. in particular, i want to commend them for calling on the fcc to move forward on opening up the millimeter wave bands for mobile use. companies are now investing heavily in mobile technologies that rely on spectrum above 24 gigahertz as part of their work on 5 g technologies. we should aid those efforts with rules that will allow 5 g to develop in the united states as quickly as technology and consumer demand will allow. on that score, there is plenty of work to do. the fcc recently adopted notice of proposed rule making, addressing some bands above 20 gigahertz but left 12,500 megahertz on the floor. i'm glad this committee, too, is looking to move more massive swaths of millimeter voice spectrum into the commercial marketplace. chairman thune, ranking member
4:49 pm
nelson, members of this committee, thank you once again for holding this hearing. i look forward to answering your questions and continue to labor alongside of you on these critical matter. >> thank you, commissioner pai. commissioner o'reilly? >> thank you, chairman thune, ranking member nelson, and members of the committee for the chance to participate in the oversight process. the commission has collectively recognized the need to act on wireless issues, especially next generation networks, commonly referred to as 5g. it is paramount additional license and where appropriate unlicensed bands be made available in the sub6 gigahertz frequencies and higher bands, including those above 24 gigahertz. u.s. can is currently the leader in 4g wireless communications because we have endeavored to meet insatiable consumer demand for data services and recognize the economic value in doing so. any unnecessary delay risks another nation setting the terms of the next 15 years of wireless
4:50 pm
communications, something we shouldn't -- we should make sure does not happen. along the same lines i find it necessary to express my concerns with the outcome of last november's world radio communications conference. member nations were unable to s bands for future mobile use. in particular, the failure to study 28 gigahertz of favored highly band for 5g in the u.s. and other leading technology countries means that the u.s. will move forward with our own studies and deployment bypassing the that itu and undermining its future. besides spectrum companies will need to deploy additional facilities in a timely and cost effective manner. un n unnecessary expenditures will slow it down. let me suggest a few ways in which burdens can be reduced for small cell and tower sighting. the commission must follow throughen 0 its commitment to expand relief provided to small cell and dash installations. in addition, despite the best effort of the congress, localities are still blocking
4:51 pm
far too many facility sighting attempts. some options to deal with that include ending repetitive permit requirements when multiple small cells are cited in close vicinity and preventing permits from being denied based on localities' estimate of sufficient infrastructure and coverage. for larger towers co-location must be promoted including by reducing burdens for replacement towers in compound expansion and by resolving the decades-old problem of twilight towers will promote co-location and wireless deployment. changing topics, congress should be mindful of efforts by the commission to expand its regulatory mission including to cover noncommunication companies like edge providers. these decisions often impact entities not familiar with the commission's activities and subject them to another regulatory body or con flinging set of rules. separately, the commission's creative license in regard to statutory interpretation is beyond measure.
4:52 pm
in some instances the fcc set aside the intent of congress. deals struck at the time. real reams of its own precedent to force old paradigms on to new innovations all in a single-minded pursuit of a particular outcome. the result, permissionless innovation being put through the unnecessary wringer which threatens american output, employment and innovation. i would also like to bring your attention to three issues where change in law could be beneficial. first, payments made in response to u.s. for fiture and it could be helpful to give them more enforcement tools and better focus its efforts. finally as i've often highlighted shortcomings i want to recognize the efforts and sadly report there are no up
4:53 pm
dates on our end. >> thank you commissioner o'rielly. >> members of the committee, good morning. what a privilege it is for me to appear before you. today i would like to center my testimony on two congressional directives relating to universal service and diversity. i took seriously my commitment to modernize the program for rate of return carriers and stop penalizing carriers whose customers migrate to broadband only lines. this collaborative process has resulted in reforms that are win/win for rule customers and those who contribute to the universal service fund. commissioner o'rielly and the chairman, i joined them i'm thankful to say and presented a frame wok for consideration that should modernize the program in a manner that is simple, rewards
4:54 pm
efficiency and sets forth a path to ensure that we connect and serve households in this aggregate support in areas served by an unsubsidized competitor but as laudable as this proposal is, the fcc still must address the lack of broadband access on tribal lands and the gaps that remain in mobile broadband coverage throughout this nation. millions of americans are stuck in the digital darkness. they lack the technological infrastructure needed to improve their lives, particularly when it comes to health care. life saving and life-changing technologies like the one i witness in ruralville, mississippi, that manages the care of patients with chronic diabetes are only possible if broadband is both available and affordable. and when it comes to universal service reform, we have no choice but to modernize or allow me to boldly say this morning,
4:55 pm
completely overhaul the federal lifeline program. we can never forget that section 254 of the communications act places equal weight on the needs of low-income consumers as it does for those living in rural areas when it comes to access to advanced services. the fcc should never turn its back on this directive so let us roll up our sleeve, refrain from dwelling on malik what may be wrong and start working on fixing and finding solutions to address whatever is deficient in lifelines so that low-income americans once and for all may have access to its life-changing opportunities that broadband has unleashed for the rest of us. section 257 of the communications act tasks the commission with identifying and eliminating market entry barriers and promoting the purposes of favoring diversity of media voices, vigorous economic competition,
4:56 pm
technological advancement and promotion of public interests, convenience and necessity. however, i have spoken to dozens of independent programmers who say they face insurmountable hurdles, that it is difficult to receive fair or reasonable contract terms and growth in their online distribution model is prohibited or inhibited because distribution -- program distribution access is often restricted via contracts. for every independent programmer that reaches an agreement with an mvpd, there are countless others who cannot even get a simple telephone call returned. so, i am pleased to say that my fellow commissioners join me in voting for an independent programming notice of inquiry during our february meeting, which will launch discussions about what role, if any, the commission should play in
4:57 pm
addressing obstacles that may be preventing greater access by consumers to independent and diverse programming. members of the committee, i am truly grateful for the opportunity to speak with you today. and look forward to answering any questions you may have. thank you. >> thank you, commissioner clyburn. thank all of you for being here again and for sharing your thoughts with us about the priorities of the commission and the things that we should be focused on up here in the congress, as well. chairman wheelen, next january there will be a new president of the united states. your term doesn't technically expire until january 2 21 and tt enables a newly elected president to nominate a chairman to lead the fcc who is from the same party as a new president. so, my question, you probably figure out where i'm going with
4:58 pm
this, is do you intend to respect that tradition and resign from the fcc when the new president takes office unless explicitly asked to stay on? >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. this is a ways off. >> push the button. >> turn it on. it's a ways off. i understand precedent. i understand expectations, i also understand that 10 or 11 months is a long time. so, it's probably not the wisest thing in the world to do to make some kind of ironclad commitment but i understand the point you're making. >> and you understand the tradition that historic -- >> i understand. >> -- with regard to that? chairman wheeler, it's my understanding that commission rules prohib prohibit informati except as authorized by writing by the chairman and limit ability of the fcc and
4:59 pm
commissioners employees to discuss certain nonpublic mat r matters with outside stakeholders making it a valuable tool when dealing with outside interests. chairman wheeler, yes or no, will you provide to the committee any written exceptions you signed while serving as chairman of the commission? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. commissioner o'riely, you have written about your concern point application of this rule and the current commission serves as a roadblock to public participation and ultimately damages the fcc's credibility as an agency. would you like to expand or -- >> yes, two points. onesie think that it inhibits my ability to talk to outside parties who come in to see me. they'll suggest certain idea, way to change things and i can't correct them. they may have some information and hard to have a full divide log and i can't test out ideas i have so
5:00 pm
it inhibits my ability. two, i think the rule as being applied is discriminatory because the rest of my colleagues don't have the advantages the chairman has and have used at the time and the commission. there are a number of things that have happened that disclosure of nonpublic information that we're not able to take advantage of so i think the fair application of the rule would make more sense. >> i'll direct this to all the commissioners and it deals with section 629 which i referenced in my opening remarks of the communications act provides the fcc with authority regarding pay tv set-top boxes. the section is clearly aimed at actual physical equipment which is obviously when one considers the legislative history,s plain language of the statute and consumer experience as it was 20 years ago when the provision was added to the law. so, the question is, if a pay tv service is offered in a manner that requires no set-top box, in other words, no physical equipment or device as n

6 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on