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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 25, 2016 7:00pm-12:01am EDT

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now, i think it'd be wrong for vote leave -- what it is about is saying that eu regulation should only apply basically to companies that actually do import or export into the single market. it should only apply to 1 in 20 companies in scotland. we're saying regulation doesn't have to be tone on a trans-continental basises. it should be done on a national level. i hope scottish ministers would have an input on that. >> just to follow up, i've heard good things said about the ce market, i think people do consider it as a mark of quality. in terms of the eu rules and the go goldpz plating things, i'm not sure what you said is necessarily an issue with eu
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rules, i mean, the way the local government, for example, are implementing these rules, are making them happen. >> i think that's just -- there's less i think now from what i hear over the last five years. i think the coalition government made some advances in reducing the unnecessary levels of gold plating. i think the problem isn't the gold plating, number of eu organizations, but particularly the number of eu regulations that apply to companies and you wonder, you know, why does it apply to a company that has no import or export relationship with the eu? if you're a foreign company, outside the eu, exporting into the single market, you must comply, of course, absolutely right with the standards that the eu dictates. that doesn't mean that every other single company in america, for example, have to comply with
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those same rules because only the companies that actual export to the single market have to apply them, and i think that's just common sense. >> thank you. john stevenson? >> thank you. we're all taking interest and opinion polls and the view of the pollsters is that scotland, the scottish voters are more in favor of the eu than the rest of the united kingdom. would you agree with that? >> we'll see. you know, i think there clearly has been -- i think sometimes the gap is exaggerated but there clearly is a difference. i'm asked about this quite a lot. i, from a personal point of view, you know, not artificial scottish view -- scottish vote leave point of view. there's a reason for that. for the last 50 years or so whenever there's been a debate, it hasn't been about europe, it's been about scottish independence. i think in a certain ex-temtent
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hasn't happened in england, eu hasn't gotten any level of attention. i think also, importantly, the demands for have been seen as a peculiar obsession of the conservative party. and in scotland, that means it's being isolated, being cast aside. we don't pay too much attention to it because it's kind of a tori argument. i think there's validity in that. i think that's a shame. these are issues that should have been demanded for much longer. in the toris hate it, it must be good. >> you therefore don't anticipate scotland voting to come out on the rest of the united kingdom forcing -- >> i'm an optimistic kind of person, so i i'm still aiming for a majority of scots. that's absolutely my aim. if you look at -- most of the polls are showing that snp
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supporters, perfectly understandable reasons, are more likely to be the ones that vote to leave. and snp voters. as i know from personal experience are the largest group of voters from scotland. so that's something i actually welcome. you can understand why an snp -- understand -- excuse the elected members -- you can see why an snp voter offered the chance for new powers from the scottish government by default, with a big argument, a big rally, westminister, you can understand why that's an attractive prospect. >> certainly if there was a majority of snp voters, we'd see a movement in the opinion polls. i think it's quite something to characterize this as a conservative issues just because conservatives like it, therefore
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there must be something the scottish people -- the scottish people welcome the membership of the european union. it's something we think is important and something we have enjoyed in the course of the past 30, 40 years. >> that remains to be seen, chair. i think it will dictate how strongly people feel about and how engaged they are in this debate, but from my own discussions that i've had, first of all, with fellow leader party members, with neighbors, parents at my kids' school, i don't detect a great deal of knowledge and i don't mean that in a condescending way. i just think it's something people reason all that interested in. it's almost like it's a fact of life, it's there. rather than enthusiastic. i say, i said this before, i think support for the eu and scotland is very, very -- i don't think it's very deep. i think once people actually hear the very reasonable middle road, reasonable arguments against its membership, i am confident that they will listen to them and act on them.
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>> christopher? >> everyone here as questions, but i'll start with the first ones. tell me, why is it the leave campaign has no white paper? i mean, it's a kind of basic thing that most people need to see, what is the case for leaving eu? a further stories today and a few remarks about some of the benefits. why isn't there a white paper, something for everyone to see? >> i think you said 25 years this has been going on. surely that's plenty of time to produce a white paper, is it not? >> sorry, what did you mean 25 years? >> i think you said goldsmith brought the argument 25 years ago, waiting for the vote 25 years. sorry, it was edwards. my apologies. >> yes. if you remember, i don't want to trespass on personal griefs, but the referendum, let's just speak
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to the elephant in the room. the snp did produce a white paper. i don't think that did their campaign any good. i think all it did was set up a number of targets for the campaign to attack. now, i came into this campaign relatively a stage early back in march. i haven't been involved in senior levels up until march. i wasn't involved in any debate. a white paper. there is a lot of advice on -- discussions followed by formal negotiation, followed by the practical effects of leaving and whatever new agreements were. i think it's a perfectly reasonable criticism to make i'm not personally convinced it would have helped the campaign. >> a white paper in scotland, or
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white paper in scotland. 25% to 28% support. by the referendum date, about 45% is what it was. surely that's showing it did work. i'm really astonished in all these years, there's not a single white paper been published. i'd also like to ask you a couple questions about things you brought up at the beginning of your presentation. you said that scottish students lose tuition fees from eu. isn't it the other way around, sottish students go to the eu, they don't have to pay tuition fees? >> that is the case, yes. i'm not going to say everything in the eu is dreadful, everything we're leaving is wonderful. i think there are benefits to the eu, you mentioned one of them, but there are fewer scottish students at university today than were ten years ago. 5% fewer. and there are 70 -- there's
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been -- i'll give you the actual figures. there's been an increase in the number of eu students. so, for example, it's not just in grants. it's not just in free tuition we have to treat eu students, scottish students on level playing field. it's on actual applications to university. i think if you're a scot applying to scottish university, you should be given preferential treatment. that cannot happen under eu law and the result is fewer scots are going to yuuniversity in scotland. they may well be going abroad. that's great for them. i'll be honest, i'm more concerned about access to scottish universities. >> why is it a case not a single university in scotland has made the case they want to join the leave campaign, in fact, every single one of them, bar one, is joined, one is sitting neutral? >> you're absolutely right. i'm not aware of a single organization in reseptembceipt e amounts of -- >> you're saying eu does benefit the universities? >> no, i'm saying the money that
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we get back from the eu, once we pay every single penny of investment the eu normally gives to any political institution, we'd have a lot of money left over. we can afford to pay to the university exactly what they're getting from the eu at the moment but the fact is if you are receiving very large quantities of money from, obs tense bli from the eu, it's not surprising those arctics are goi going to advocate -- >> money available to the universities -- joining off to rush your campaign. >> generally they're skeptical of it as you are, chair. >> i want do ask about the campaign movements because there's two, isn't there, there's one called grassroots, and another one called leave. not to be confused with the people's front. can you tell me what the difference is between the two and if one is comprehensively already covering the key
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evidence of the other? >> the two campaigns are -- they have to be by for legal reasons completely separate. so we can't coordinate our activities. they have a separate budget. we have a separate budget. the commission would frown quite rightly on any coordination because it would look like it was a single budget. we don't want that to happen. we need them to be entirely separate from the scottish vote leave and the vote leave campaign is. grassroots i'm not particularly familiar with them. after yesterday, i've only been involved in this campaign since march. there's a long history -- more than just the two organizations originally. and there's a long history about why they are separate organizations and the personalities involved. i feel quite privileged at never having involved in any of those discussions. >> i understand liam fox is leading up the grassroots campaign, in scotland, talking about in april. i'm a little confused about what
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the differences are between the two. if i'm confused, what is the general public perceiving between the two? >> i don't think the public could care less. we're not asking for support for a particular campaign. we're asking for support for a leave vote and if they vote leave because someone in grassroots has -- i really don't care. we just want people to vote leave. >> great. john stevenson? sorry. >> i wanted to come back to the ce markings. i knew i'd seen it before. just got through every -- toys are ce marked, a mark of the toy being safe, means it's not flammable, mean it's safe for children to have. truly you're not suggesting that unnecessary red tape? >> no, i'm not. let's be honest. say the eu, we would still want to have those kid safety markings. that particular ce mark i was talking about in the construction industry as it applies to the construction industry. for any company that wants to
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bid for a government contract or for planning permission, in those circumstances in construction industry, it's not only -- but it's actually -- it doesn't guarantee any level of quality at all. you're absolutely right on child safety. the vote leave campaign is in favor of child safety. >> just getting clarification of that. thank you very much. >> the prime minister has said that the leave campaign, rather than uk government, any sense of the question about what the uk will do in the event of a leave vote. what do we do in the event of a leave vote? >> can i preface my answer by pointing out if there is a leave vote on the 24th of june, every single member of parliament including everyone around this table will be full square behind making sure britain gets a good deal of any renegotiations. irrespective of how you feel, whether you're disappointed or whether you're angry or whatever, surely anyone in
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public life is going to say, you're right, let's get behind the uk negotiating a new deal. so people should be reassured it's not going to be the leave campaign negotiating. it's going it be the british government, it's going to be scottish ministers. it's going to be, i hope, talent from across all the parties and from civic society and from business. however they feel about the result, all working together for the uk's benefit. so that's -- i just think it's important to say that because people should be reassured that it's not going to be a minority interest. >> just on that very simple point, would you also, therefore, agree that every single european government and politician in europe will be doing their absolute best to make sure that europe gets absolutely the best deal for them in any negotiations with the uk? >> i would certainly hope so because a good deal for europe would be a good deal for the uk. you know, on the day that we leave the eu, we become the largest export mark for the eu. you know, with however many jobs depend on trade with the uk.
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so, i mean, there is no continue diction. no conflict of interest. we're told by the camp that the eu nations are our friends. they want to keep us close. they want to look after us. they want us to prosper. i don't think that's what they're saying. i don't think there's a single eu nation that wishes us ill, and once we're out, once we can actually have the right to negotiate our own trade deals, which most people are unaware that we're not even able to do at the moment, but once we can negotiate our own trade deals, there's absolutely no reason, given how close we are in terms of regulation, in terms of the relationships already exist, there's absolutely no reason in the world why the eu would not want to trade with us. >> so what do you think we should do in the event we do have a -- >> a number of technical things you have to do, first of all. there would be certainly no need
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to immediately revoke our membership of the eu right away. the negotiations would last as long as they last. we would have to go into negotiations on a trade deal first of all with the eu, but at the same time, we have got the facilities, we've got the resources to start looking at trade deals with other big players like india and china and the united states. there's absolutely no reason -- i was speaking interestingly enough, i was speaking to the scottish minister association who are supporting the -- i was asking about the barriers to having a trade deal with india. now, the eu representing 28 different countries have been trying to negotiate a trade teal f deal for nine years and we're still not there. yet, scottish -- when i asked what the biggest blot to a deal was, it was visas
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for indian citizens to the uk. now, they're not going to get what they want from the eu because they can't because as long as going back to the immigration issue, as long as we got immigration from the eu, we cannot significantly increase the number of visas we give to non-eu countries but we can if we're outside the eu. >> that's getting back to this suggestion, this proposal that the uk government are going to look much more generously, benevolently in giving visas to people from -- subcontinent, and, again, the uk governance -- >> on the contrary, actually historically given the political and cultural links we've had with, for example, the subcontinent, i mean, you know, there is a reason why -- the second -- >> i think it's taking a massive leap of faith to think the uk is going to change its immigration views about accepting people from the rest -- out with the eu more benevolently and
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generously. >> it's not about a leap of faith. it's about what our vested interest is. >> hold on. that was john's question, please. don't interrupt. a train of thought. just carrying on with this thing, just out of interest, do you think the present government is actually doing enough with regards to planning for a potential leave? >> i honestly, i can't address that. i don't know what's going on behind closed doors. i imagine that certain boxes have been checked as far as the civil service is concerned but i couldn't speak to that at all, i'm sorry. >> okay. thank you. chris? >> i want to comment on the scottish wis chiskey associatio. the chief peexecutive said we think it's important for the european union to remain part -- central to scottish whiskey success. so let us trade across simply and easily. it does go on to say a little bit about the agreements
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includes a statement, importance of a deeper and freer single market. and for the eu to be more ambitious in free trading internationally. there's no talk of it supporting any leave or major criticism of the eu. this is vital of the future of scottish whiskey. >> for the record, mr. law, i did say to the chair when i made my comments, scottish whiskey are unequivocally in favor of the campaign. i want to make that clear. certainly pointing out that i think a flaw in their strategy for achieving a trade deal with india, i don't think it's going to be possible at least that it will benefit us, as if the eu negotiated. the chief executive, he did say last year that actually the membership of the eu was not important. what was important was the quality of the product. this is an argument i've been making for a very long time.
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it's not about trade deals. you know, you can trade without a trade deal. it's not about tariffs. it's about the quality of the product. the market will decide whether you have something that it wants to buy. if we produce things of high quality, the world will buy. so in france, we sell more scottish whiskey there in a month than they sell brandy in a year. that's because it's a high quality product. i think we should have confidence in what we actually produce because people will buy it. >> thank you, chair. i just want to ask before i come on to the main question, i mean, the eu single market rules, a strong core of social rights. so, for example, health and safety profession, agency, workers' rights, paid annual leave. what's included. at the moment, we actually see the uk government is wanting to
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downgrade human rights. i would go on and mention cosmetic regulations which i'm sure mr. law won't be interested in cosmetic regulation. it strengthens the safety of these products. investment partnership as well, where really law is not really as steady as eu law, so that's just some of the benefits being part of the eu and having the laws at the moment. >> first of all, can i say that the recent publicity of the government wishing to downgrade human rights by introducing a bill of rights, that's being done at the moment in, say, the eu. the eu isn't offering any protection at all to what the government is actually doing. so in, say, the eu, that's something that's happening. that's not because that's from
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the remain camp. if you look at some of the great leaps forward in market rates in this country, protection against discrimination on grounds of sex, discrimination on account of race, the national minimum wage, maternity leave of a year. they were all brought in at the uk level. in fact, first two mentioned, sex, discrimination -- >> members of the eu. >> sorry? >> also brought in as members of the eu. >> yes, completely separately. no influence from the eu. those were -- the national minimum wage, for example, the government -- >> i do not understand your point. these things happen because of -- as members of the eu. nothing would stop us from doing it as members of the eu. >> absolutely. those advances were made completely outside the institutions of the eu. they were made by british politicians elected here. accountable to electorates. the biggest step forward in
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workers' rights did not -- >> do you have concerns of british politicians here, conservative government being solely in charge, in power, when it comes to things like employment rates, when it comes to thing like human rights. we're going to have to leave that up to westminister, we're going to have to leave that up to conservative government who, again, don't take the most enlightened view on these issues. >> well, as i say, the attack, if you want to call it an attack of human rights with an introduction of a bill of rights is happening at moment and we're still within the eu, right? it's being done by politicians that support the remain camp. but actually, yes, you know, i am still a member of the labor party. i was until a year ago. of course, i would rather have a labor government than a conservative government. make no apology for that. people say when the minimum wage
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came out, people said when the toris get back in -- governments do what they need to do to get elected. >> isn't the european union a guarantee? can't we rely on that -- labor government which may do wonderful enlightened things or whether it's the conservative government with these support, these mechanisms in place. human rights across the european union are always going it be in place. we can count on that as being a feature of our democratic life. >> i would ask trade unionists -- >> have you spoken to trade unionists? >> how they feel about the level of protection they have against the latest -- i think areas to public policy. european union, i don't think, has done very much.
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in protecting workers' rights in that respects. >> one more question. i mean, you've been putting across a strong argument for a leave vote on the 24th of june, but previously you said that you pretty much assumed that you would vote remain, referendum. but when the prime minister come back after his meeting in brussels and presented his deal, i think to quote you, you said the rate -- and you changed your mind. where do you think the prime minister's deal falls short? >> oh, we don't have enough time for me to tell you all -- >> enough time -- if you can make it as quick as possible. >> essentially, i have a particular problem with my own party who constantly will say, yeah, the european union is flawed, it does this wrong, does that wrong. reform from within. what i realized belatedly when david cameron returned with
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nothing from his negotiations was that you can't reform it. if a conservative prime minister goes to eu and goes to other national leaders and says, look, i need these reforms, i've got a referendum happening in three month months' time and the second largest contributor might actually leave the eu, that's how important it is you give me these reforms. and they turn around and say, no. if you can't get reform under those circumstances, i promise you you will never get reform. >> you only got one minute left. >> can i just make the point that at a press conference earlier today, steve made that very point. he said when asked why the prime minister thought he was going to get a better deal, steve hilton said he genuinely thought the prime minister believed he would be able to persuade his european partners, because we felt so strongly about this issue, they would make concessions. and because he didn't win those
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concessions, to use steve hilton's words, the prime minister found himself in a rather confused position and what's that's why steve hilton is saying strongly we should leave. you were challenging as to whether or not anybody else was saying as our witnesses that we need to have control over all migration from across the world. what steve hillen said, because we have no control on eu immigration, we have to clamp down on everything else. in a globally connected world with talent lies everywhere, this kind of old-fashioned discrimination is counterproductive economically and culturally. turning away brilliant chinese students, indian mathematicians and so on. do you think it would make more sense if we had an immigration policy that was open to the brightest and best from across the world, not just a small part of it? and that's not possible within the eu. the situation in scotland, which has always been outward looking.
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that scots would be much more prepared to have open borders with the whole of the rest of the world on the basis of merit in the same way scots, themselves, have made such a big contribution globally. >> and if you could, tom, briefly. >> of course. it comes back to the immigration rebate and eu referendum has nothing to do -- it's about wanting to attract people of a particular skill set which we can't do in the current situation. it is actually also about whether or not you have confidence in the government to provide the homes, the services and the school places for the 3 million eu citizen, 11 million by 2030 according to the last report. >> we're very grateful. thank you very much for that. anything further, your views are, thank you for that. can get the uk -- thanks, tom.
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>> i'm very grateful for both of you for coming to the session this afternoon. i hope to get through as many
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questions as possible. not asking for any opening statements. kick off. we know the prime minister is renegotiating a relationship with the eu and is campaigning for the uk to remain in a reformed eu. how will these reforms affect scotland? from you -- to take it from you, first. sk >> i think in terms of how the reforms achieved in february specifically will effect scotland. i think in particular, scotland, like the rest of the uk, will benefit from the principles that will define the future relationship between those countries in the euro and those that have chosen to remain outside. i think if we look to the long term, this was a very important element of the overall renegotiation because i believe
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that economic logic will require our neighbors who've committed themselves to a currency union, single monetary policy, single interest rate, a single central bank, over time to integrate their fiscal economic pollsies more losly and that, in turn, will require some mechanism to create political accountability at eurozone level for those decisions. the test for europe, the union as a whole, is how to make that possible, and i believe that it is in scotland's, uk's interest, that the eurozone should be stable as a currenoncer -- not one crisis to the other. while you do that, a single market of 28, and the right of those countries who are outside the currency union.
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nondiscrimination on grounds of currency against any company or government. a principle that eurozone integration takes place in a way that does not compromise a single market at 28. no liability of non-euro countries for bailouts of eurozone countries. those are really important principles. the other time, since our time is limited, chairman, i refer to in the february european council conclusion was the declaration on economic competitiveness and the commitments on smarter regulation because those touched on matters that were particularly concerned of scottish government when they put forward their own proposals on european reform -- >> there was lots of wants in, which i'm struggling to sort of process. i think what we all know is we have gotten this renegotiation, the prime minister secured in february. i think it asked 100 people in
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scotland exactly what the prime minister secured. i'm pretty certain next to none would tell you what they were. i'm certain if we went during this table here, it would be hard for anybody to recall exact willy ly what the prime minister secured. isn't it measuore about soverei, about trade, immigration? >> sovereignty and trade are important issues but i think if i had to sum up the central achievement of february, it was a commitment by all member states of the european union, head of level, the future development should be one where we all accepted the different levels of integration could be chosen by digfferent eu member, it's no longer a question of perhaps different speeds for single destination, but of a permanent choice by some
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countries not to proceed to the degree of political integration or the fiscal economic integration, but other members of the union for their own reasons may choose to do. >> we tried to identify what the big things are in scotland, pretty much similar to what's happening in the uk. there does seem to be sovereignty, less and less about trade because, you know, the leave campaign -- it's mainly about immigration. a case for immigration. i'd like to ask the scottish secretary this question. i mean, given that this has become such a big theme, do you recognize that there is a different immigration requirement in scotland than the rest of the uk? and this is -- possibly not helping like real considered case in scotland, people have now good look at the issues involved. >> well, i don't recognize a --
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chairman, your characterization of the debates in scotland. i think the focus of the debate in scotland is really around the economic issues and the economic benefits that scotland gains from being within the single market. the impact that that has on the hundreds of thousands of jobs in scotland that are affected by membership of the eu. what the likely impact on individual citizens in scotland would be if scotland and britain left the eu. that's the debate i hear in sco scotland. obviously, we'd all accept it's a different place. the focus in scotland for the last couple of months. but my interpretation of the debate as i see it in scotland is actually focused on those
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economic issues. >> in your conversations, have you noticed -- the eu referendum, are there any themes that have emerged scotland, looking at this question, distinct from the rest of the uk? >> i think a -- i wouldn't say a distinct in that a number of the issues could arise in other parts of the united kingdom, but obviously as was raised at scottish questions last week. scottish whiskey industry is an enormously important industry to scotland and the scottish whiskey association have been very, very clear that for their industry, it's vitally important that they remain in the eu because of all the trade arrangements, because of all the arrangements in place in relation to labeling and tagging and all these things that are in place that would have to be opened up if britain was to leave the eu. obviously, farming, i think, is
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an industry which has a disproportionate importance still in scotland compared to some other parts of the united kingdom. it's very, very clear. evidence, yourself, the farming community in scotland is very, very clear of the benefits to that industry, which then leads to the food processing industry. so i think, you know, the distinct elements within scotland necessarily shape our debate, but there are farming interests in england, there are spirit producers in england who would echo those arguments. >> i'm just wondering, too, the last question, an opening question from me, do we need a perhaps different type of conversation in scotland given the experience with referendum? you and i were on other sides in the last referendum debate. fighting on the same side in this one. but some of the more exaggerated claims that have been made particularly from the uk government, you know, i mean, things that you and i would
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remember as the scare stories and the project fear. do you think this has a more negative impact in scotland given the experience of the last referend referendum, and is there anything you can do to caution the minister, speaking on behoove behalf of the uk ministto tone it down >> my first point, it's one i would make again to the minister, to yourself, your colleagues and your party. i have the calls for a positive campaign, but they're usually followed up by a whole range of negative statements about the way the campaign's being run or process or even the impact it would have an having a second independence referendum in scotland. i think those people who are positive about scotland remaining in the eu should be out there making a positive case and that's all of us. i think we can all shape the
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debate in scotland by making a positive case. and i think, you know, it's not enough just to say make a positive case. you've got to go out and do it. so you'll recall ten days ago, i appeared on the "question time" program from aberdeen making the positive case for the eu. of course, making the case for scotland leaving the eu was jim, former deputy leader there. >> before we move on, like, things like mentioning war and pestilence and economic ruin. all the things we're familiar to at this table, the scottish referendum. do these things really help, educate, inform debate? how can any of these things -- how can they be loosely characterized -- >> i always caution chairmen into reading too much into the headlines of the tabloid newspapers. if you look, for example, at the prime minister's recent speech about the security and foreign policy dimension of our membership with the eu, what
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you'll find there is a very positive case being made. both for the way in which the eu has been able to reconcile ancient hatreds that did in the past lead to blood-thirsty conflict between the nations of europe but also prime minister referred to how the membership of the european union amplified the united kingdom's own ability to secure our global, diplomatic and commercial optics. there are issues that face us all. instability and poor economic growth in many countries in africa which is one of the key driving forces a s behind the working methodically together
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using development aid, using diplomatic action, training police and military, border forces in those countries, cruising trade access agreements to give people in those countries some hope of a decent living and fulfilling their ambition without having to move. we stand a chance over time of managing those challenges. >> thank you for that. >> thank withdreyou. the prime minister recently said there's little difference between scotland, england, wales, whether people supported a referendum. there's polling evidence actually scots are more enthusiastic about the eu than the rest of the united kingdom. what do you make of not that? >> about whether that was demand within scotland for a referendum. the last time that a specific call was taken in scotland, it
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indicated 58% of people from scotland supported there being a referendum and whether scotland remained within the eu. i think having a referendum on eu i think is entirely consistent with having a referendum on whether scotland remained within the united kingdom which obviously we did in 2014. i think people in scotland just as people across the united kingdom will be able to have their say in the debate. clearly, i support scotland and britain remaining in the eu. i think we have to acknowledge that there are people within scotland who will vote to leave. it's not -- yourself i think it's not -- i don't think it's right to characterize the number of people who support leaving the eu in scotland as a number of people who voted in the scottish parliament elections. clearly, significantly more people than that do, but i expect scotland to vote and i expect the united kingdom to vote to remain in the eu. >> and you see if the scottish
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vote is significantly higher than the rest of the united kingdom -- >> this is clear. we've had a number of debates obviously. as the eu referendum bill was passed. but this is a uk-wide vote. everybody's vote counts the same. and the result will be determined on the uk-wide vote. >> thank you. >> i'm just very cautious of the time. we hope to get me questions as possible. >> indeed. >> i speak from the -- the prime minister said a vote to leave the eu could lead to the disintegration of the united kingdom. does this mean the uk government, a vote to leave the eu would mean there would be a second independence referendum in scotland? and if not, what did the prime minister mean by that statement?
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>> i think i certainly don't believe that the prime minister meant or would wish to indicate, and i certainly wish to indicate, that the eu referendum has anything to do with the scottish independence referendum. we've had a scottish independence referendum. people have voted decisively to remain within the united kingdom. this referendum is not about scottish independence. it's about whether it's best for scotland and britain to remain in the eu. i think what the prime minister was clearly indicating is if britain does vote to leave the eu, then there will be a pretty chaotic situation within the country as we adjust to the changes that that would bring about and the likely lengthy period that that would take to negotiate a new settlement of whatever kind of relationship
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that we were going to have with the remaining eu. >> can i just say, i'm not particularly sure if that was exactly what the prime minister was intending with these comments. listen very carefully. my perception is -- can i ask you, is there no possibility, likelihood, that scotland will vote to remain within the european union? every opinion poll is indicating and suggesting that the opinion polls seem to be 50/50, some for, some against. against this national collective will, voters that remain with the rest of uk will vote to pull out. what would be the uk government's message to the people of scotland in that scenario? shrug our shoulders and say that's part of being in the uk, we have to accept it, or do you have a message for the people of scotland? >> you know, when we had the independence referendum in 2014, there was a lot of discussion as to whether we would have this
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referendum in relation to membership of the -- in relation to membership of the eu. >> i recall that conversation about the eu. it could only be in voting no and the independence referendum, almost, like, guarantee an eu membership. >> obviously, obviously we're just not going to agree on that interpretation of the debate around the independence referendum. i recall on many occasions those who favored scotland leaving the uk arguing that there would be an eu referendum and that a -- there was a potential for scotland and britain to leave the eu in that referendum. so, i mean, i think that issue has been -- has been -- my message to people in scotland, i would hope it was the snp's message, was come out and vote to remain -- >> do that. >> yes. you have to follow it through
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because between the uk general election and 1.5 million people voted snp, and the scottish parliament election when 1 million people voted snp, nearly 400,000 people didn't come out to vote. >> can i say to you -- >> i think your energy should be out there getting people out to vote to remain in the eu if that's what you really believe in. >> can i say to you, the support for the remain -- all opinion pol polls is significantly higher than the whole of the united kingdom. >> votes and polls and number of people who turn out to vote in election are two quite different things and, therefore, those of us who want scotland to remain in the eu, oure effort is to ge people out to vote. >> absolutely. i agreed. i'll try for the last time. again here today. if scotland is drived out of the
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euro european union against its collective will, what will the uk government do in response. >> the message from the uk government, a uk-wide thought, determined across the uk. i thought it was very interesting to note the polls the weekend -- we're talking about polls which indicated very clearly that a majority of people in scotland if scotland was to leave, if there was a vote to leave the eu, even though scotland voted to remain in the eu would not favor a second independence referendum. that was very, very clear. >> a few hands have gone up. >> just a very quick questions. in terms of encouraging people to vote, the best way is to make it relevant to them. can you tell us the positive tangible benefits to individuals and families in scotland of remaining in the uk? eu. >> i can certainly do this --
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the latter is, first and foremost, employment. there are hundreds of thousands of people in scotland who have come for any job because of the opportunities for scotland within the eu. the opportunity for scots to move around the eu, to secure employment in other parts of the eu. the opportunity to pay lower prices within the shops and within a -- household bills than would otherwise be the case. i think these economic arguments are the up ones that are the strongest for ordinary scots. i also believe we're safer, we're more secure, we have more influence as part of the eu. i think that the eu in scotland has been positive for our remote island communities. for example, i delivered a lot of specifics there.
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i think people's lives generally in scotland have been enhanced by being part of the eu. i don't, on the other hand, accept to set out i it was a ne campaign and it is important to put it out to people -- >> we're grateful. >> can i just have a response. let me just give a list of some of those gains. scottish people, when they travel to any other country in the e.u., will be able to have very low mobile phone data charges. those charges that will be phased out entirely within the next year or so. if you are running a financial services company in edinburg or aberdeen or glasgolasgow, you c operate anywhere, in any of the other 28 european countries,
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plain people making wealth work back in scotland. you can fly from a scottish airport inexpensively to all parts of the european union because a common system of aviation regulation across europe, single european guys have swept away the old national restrictive practices and protection of national flag carries that kept european airfares prohibitive in the past. if you are a lori driver or if you own a road hauling system you could drive from aberdeen to athens with just a single set of paperwork to cover your driver and your consignment without any extra customs or inspections anywhere along the way. if you are producing food or drink in scotland, if they need -- the scottish and there the u.k., also for the european and other standards can be sold
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freely anywhere around the european union. so -- and of course scotts can travel. they can take work. they can study at universities or colleges anywhere else in the european union on the same basis as the citizens of those other e.u. countries. so a real positive. >> a comprehensive list. thank you for that. >> so when i could address this to the -- for scotland. so when the prime minister said this, you don't take a country that could ultimately lead to its disintegration, and that is what he said on the 9th of may, was that negative campaigning or scare mongering, or what was it. it wasn't from the secretary's early remarks. >> i think you would be clear from some of the remarks and
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some of the things said within scotland there is no doubt that some people would attempt a -- to use a vote by the u.k. to leave the e.u. as an opportunity to put extra -- extra effort into a campaign for independence of scotland from the rest of the united kingdom. >> so it was scare mongering because you said they wouldn't succeed in that by reminding the people of england and the rest of the u.k. was scare mongering. do you you believe this should be a fair and free referendum and if you believe that why do you think it is acceptable at this session of our committee we are not able to have evidence from the united kingdom fisheries minister on the important issue of fishing and
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we're not able to have information from the justice secretary because both of those members of the government happen to take a different view and support the leave campaign. it is not unfair they are not allowed to give evidence to this committee because of the stance they're taking? >> my understanding is that both of those ministers have set out clearly their views. and if you wish to know what their views are, you would be able to clearly understand them. but i think you do -- i would accept that there is a u.k. government position in relation to this referendum. and in terms of a -- in terms of setting out that position, that is the rule of u.k. ministers who are not for leaving the e.u. that is the basis on which it was agreed that members of the cabinet and other ministers would still be able to remain members of the cabinet and ministers while making a case
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against the position that the government has adopted. so i don't deny that these are somewhat unusual circumstances, but i think when the process began and the prime minister made it clear that the modus operandi -- i think everyone would understand where we stood and that it would be unlikely that ministers offering a different position would be giving a view as part of the government. >> i mean today you may not have had the chance to be present but steve hillson, the former adviser to the prime minister was making a speech basically saying that all conservative modernizers should be supporting the leave campaign because that was where the optimistic future decentralized, devolved and globally -- and i don't know
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whether you've regarded yourself as a concerned modernizer or left behind as a result of what has happened. but can i say this -- can i ask you this, the financial transaction tax, it may apply to the united kingdom, extra territorially from those territories that want to use it. he said he will fight that in the european court of justice. but in the same way as the european court of justice ruled against the scottish government in minimum alcohol pricing, they could do the same on financial transaction tax and damage the scottish financial affairs industry. >> well, on the first point, i always had a high regard for mr. hilton. but i think he was someone who always took a view of producing a number of ideas, some of which
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would be accepted, some of which wouldn't. so i'm prepared to look at his different statements and take different views on different statements he's made. i don't agree with the statement that he's made today. i do think that if you are the member of a larger organization, those organizations have rules and indeed a legal framework and you have to accept -- you have to accept the judgments that come from that. you can't within that environment have always your own way and get the judgment that you would want. but likewise, i don't accept that if britain was out with the e.u., we would just be able to do everything that we wanted. of course we would still be valued by the realities of the international community. >> in the ten minutes or so or less i would like to get to the questions. and i know you have a question.
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>> a supplementary question and most people back home at watching, tell must do you wish the prime minister never put this to the u.k. it seems that conservatives both south and north of the border and almost ten -- some of which are brand-new to scotland here. but when you talk about the u.k. position, how do you include or exclude the 141 that are not going to be supporting down here and down in the north? >> i don't think that you are going to argue that every single person in scotland supports -- >> the political party members. your mps -- >> you mentioned the scottish parliament, it would demonstrate they were not in touchdo with t people of scotland if they were in favor of remaining the e.u. that would not be reflective of public opinion in scotland.
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i expect there to be a decisive vote in scotland to remain in the e.u. but i'm not pretending that every single person in scotland is supporting remaining the e.u. i know one person in the shape of jim shillas is not. there were reports in the sun newspaper there is an smp group of -- >> but my point is about -- >> but i think it is important that public opinion is reflected in the scottish parliament but i have enormous faith in the people of scotland and the people of the united kingdom. the people of scotland who i consider to be the biggest decision in our lifetime by voting to remain in the united kingdom, i trusted them with that decision. if they voted to leave the united kingdom, i would have respected that decision. i trust and respect the people of the united kingdom to make this choice. >> so my point being is do you not agree that the elected members of the conservative party are ill divided over this very issue? >> i think that when we see
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that -- the result in the e.u. referend referendum, a large number of people will vote to remain the e.u., hopefully a large majority and a large number of people will vote to leave the e.u. it is quite right that their views are reflected in parliament. and we've said it is not for mps to decide, it is not for the prime minister or for me, the people of the united kingdom will decide and then we'll respect that result and move forward. >> i fully appreciate that but the key point i'm trying to make here is the e.u. government is dedicated and most of the mp and with the exception of the u.k., but from a public perception it is a party that is divided and it is difficult to get a clear messth to remain -- message to remain within the e.u. >> my colleagues who are in favor of remaining in the e.u., part of the remain campaign, we are part of a -- colleagues who
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are part of a -- the leave campaign want to leave. >> can i ask this -- >> it is as simple as that. am i acknowledged that people want to leave the e.u. yes, there are. are there people who want to stay. yes, they are. but they won't decide whether britain in the e.u., the people of the united kingdom will decide. >> let us help -- because most scottish people, and this is a referendum and sorry for joining here, it is like two balters fighting over a comb. and this is how it is perceived. i'm sorry. but how do we -- you brought this referendum. it was a 20-part manifesto commitment to bring this referendum. it seems like you're taking scotland to the very brink of getting pulled against a rope. how do we make it much more about what is going on in the conservative party and how do you -- how do you achieve this?
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there was no desire and i know there is a public opinion poll again, but there were four different parties that wanted to have an e.u. referendum and you were part of the manifesto commitment and everybody else returned to the basis of the north. [ overlapping speakers ] >> well, i'm very happy to obviously take your advice in such matters. obviously we had two referendums in the last parliament, one to change the voting system to a.v. and one for scotland to leave the united kingdom. and they were on the losing side of both of the referendums. but what happened in the 2011 election when the smp supported the adoption of a.v., people of scotland rejected it but still voted for smp majority government. so i think that shows how savvy the scottish public are. they can separate out these issues. they can separate out where they stand on the issue of scotland remaining in the e.u. but if you want scotland to
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remain in the e.u., be positive about it. i haven't heard a single positive -- i haven't heard a single positive thing from you, mr. richard, in this whole session. >> i'm asking you questions, if that is all right. >> i know it has been short, but you be positive as well. your party be positive. the minister be positive and we'll achieve the common objective other than mr. cho of scotland and the e.u. remaining in the e.u. >> mr. choate does represent a significant number of people on the subject of european, and scotland as well as in the u.k. we can't sort of ignore that reality. it is not a view i share but it is a -- it is a position many people do hold. i think, toward your question directly chairman, i would say go out and say first of all, how people in scotland benefit from the free trade single market in the european union and how people in scotland benefit from
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the leverage in global trade of 500 million people. scottish businesses benefited from the north korea deal in 2010 and tell people in scotland how the u.k. shaped the e.u. and the global position on climate change. tell them how e.u. membership makes scots better because we could opt into the data and information sharing between police forces across europe and tell them how it has magnified our diplomat reach and brought iran to the negotiating table over the nuclear program and enabled piracy in the indian ocean that was a fear some men as to be weakened. >> and i think we need the chandler to give the dire of positiveness. >> we very rarely see it. so it is not on tv unless it is -- nod. >> chair, if the u.k. does leave
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the e.u., there will be significant changes to the powers of the scottish parliament as it is a polisy controlled by the e.u. and with scotland agriculture and to name a few. have you learned how the exit would affect scotland demolition settlement? >> we haven't made -- as has been indicated on a number of occasions, a contingency plan for exit because that is not -- that is not the u.k. government position. the u.k. government position is to argue scotland -- and the rest of britain remain in the e.u. obviously the point you made yourself that is evident that there could be significant changes for the parliament and the rest of the u.k. if there was a vote to leave. >> there would be a huge amount of uncertainty. i mean to take one of those issues, which is fisheries, and simply not the case to say if the u.k. left the european union
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there could be instant control by u.k. authorities over u.k. waters. we will still be subject to united negotiations that straddle national maritime frontiers. the u.k. would have to find a way to negotiate rights of access to third country waters which our fleets fish in and currently have been negotiating through e.u. wide agreements with those countries and we would also have to deal with the issue of in many cases the long-standing reciprocal rights of access by our fisherman to other european country waters and theirs to elements of our waters. and yes, it is right, under the terms of the scotland act, the operations of such a new regime would then fall to the devolved
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administration. but there could be massive uncertainty, which i fear would drag out over a period of -- >> you are not responsible for this. you brought this referendum and the fear taken out, i think taken out against the role because this conservative government will have delivered that and to have you say that there is no contingency, i think the people will find that absolutely appalling. and you will no certain stay that the former member of the scotland parliament as proof by the e.u. and subject to law, are you saying there is nothing planned if scotland -- if they are taken out of the union. >> i'm surprised, given that the smp did play a significant part in the various debates on the e.u. that you had not heard that stated before because that is clearly the position. the position is we -- the u.k. government are arguing for scotland to remain in. mr. livington has made it clear that a vast number of the areas
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everything would have to be then subject to negotiation. i think that you and your colleagues for example would want to echo the points that mr. livington made in the complexities of fishing across the e.u. because when i was in aberdeen for the program there was a large number of people in that audience who were for -- from the fishing communities who were wanting to vote to leave the e.u. because they believed it would make this change, but clearly it wouldn't. >> i'm really grateful to both of you. and this could go on for another half hour and we've all enjoyed the session. and as i said, i would like to see the more of the ministers, but unless anyone has pressing questions we have to get set up for scottish parliament but we are grateful to bring you to coming around and answering the questions and i am sorry we
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couldn't go on but we have as much time as possible and thank you both very much. >> thank you. madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states -- ♪ our road to the white house coverage continues on thursday from california. at 4:00 p.m. eastern we'll take you live to ventura nor a campaign rally with bernie sanders. and then at 4:30 hillary clinton
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holds a rally in san jose. that is live on c-span. by some estimates, 40% of all food produced in the u.s. is thrown away. next, the house agricultural committee looks at the issue of food waste and how to redirect it to those who need it. this is about two hours. good morning. this hearing on the committee of agriculture and food waste from the field to the table will come to order. i've asked david scott to open us with a prayer. david. >> dear heavenly father, we come before your thrown of grace to first of all give thanks. we thank you for so many blessings you bestow upon us.
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blessings sometimes we do not even know. we thank you for your holy spirit that intercedes for us on your behalf. we thank you, dear heavenly father, for this hearing. for what could be more important than the food that we get on the table for needy people. and in this case, dear heavenly father, as we discuss the issue of food waste, we hope that you will implant within this committee our resolve to do as much as we can to eliminate the food waste, to help our farmers be able to have the labor to get food out of the fields and into the hands and at the tables of those people who need it most. dearly father, we ask them in your name and the name of your son jesus christ, amen. >> amembn. thank you, david.
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well good morning. since i became chair of the house of agricultural last we're we've held over 70 hearings and invited people in the field to share their knowledge of everything from the future markets to the farmer's market. the committee doesn't agree all of the time on every issue but one of the reasons we're able to work in a bipartisan manner is that we remember well meaning people could have different ideas about how to achieve the same goal, whatever the issue pay be. because we have a different way of getting there, doesn't mean one of us is wrong and that this is sometimes -- and this is something we lose sight of in america today. good public policy is not a game. if advocates or members or whoever it may be are unopen to compromise it ensured retention of the status quo regardless of the issue. a variety of the stakeholders is in the review of food waste. i commend my colleague shelly fingery for putting this on the congressional radar. today's hearing may by been may be the fir time they are addressing the issue but it will
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not be last. 40% of the country is food is wasting and that amounts to 340 billion pounds waist wasted and that is a billion with a b. considering we have 45 million people receiving food stamps assistance through snap, i believe this is a tremendous opportunity for us to take a closer look at the food chain and figure out a way to ensure that food grown in this country reaches the dinner table and not the trash can. speaking two weeks ago at the food waste summit the secretary commented that avoid food waste loss could help prevent hunger and malnourishment in 825 to 850 million people worldwide who are not getting adequate food. tackling food waste in this country is and should be a nonpartisan issue that is most successful from the field to the table. it will take the collaboration of all stake hoerlds to be successful. as we begin the review we'll identify issues that seem easy
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to resolve but are more complex than they appear. we'll likewise identify other issues already addressed but require collaboration and in what amounts to a public relations campaign to raise awareness. two issues that congress has acted upon are the permanent tax deduction for food donations an the good samaritan food donation act. the permanent donation was identified in recent legislation and was enacted as part of the last omnibus. the second issue is what we hear an awful lot about which is addressed by our former colleague and vice chair of the committee the late bill emerson. many businesses, when given the opportunity to donate perfectly safe and wholesome food are reluctant because of liability concerns. the enact in 1996 fully addressed this concern. i wish to place into the record a memorandum of opinion for the usda general council that spelled out the act and described the effect on tate laws that may not provide the
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same level of protection. we begin hearing -- preparing for this hear -- when we began preparing for this hearing we reached out to representative fingering who i am happy is here with us today and shortly offered her introductory comments of her own. witnesses that are invited represent a broad range of perspectives and expertise but no in way -- in no way represents the entirety of the community representing this challenge. this is one element of the view and we invite members of the staff and other interested stake holders to attend an event later this afternoon in the hearing room on the balcony to see what organizations are doing to address food waste. that event will begin sat approximately 1:30 today. i will recognize our ranking member for any opening remarks he may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman and welcome today's witnesses and congressman fingery. i appreciate you are leadership on this issue. welcome to the committee. i'm probably not the only one who finds the term sell by and best by confusing.
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this confusion leads to a lot of food waste we see in this country and i'm glad that we're looking at this issue today. american customers are less connected to the farm and to where food comes from. and i think a lot of people no longer view food as valuable. when i was growing up, my mom used every part of the animal. but that is no longer the case and food waste has increased. producers have done such a good job of creating an abundant food supply that a lot of folks don't think twice about tossing out food that may not look perfect or is surpassed a best-by or sell-by date on the box, whatever that means. this is a challenge but i also think it presents a great opportunity for agriculture. while many have no problem throwing food away, many americans are still struggling to feed families. there is a role for fathrmers a
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ranchers and they should step up to the plate and help meet the needs. and again i'm looking forward to a constructive conversation. i think this is an area we could work across party lines and tackle food waste in this country so i look forward to the testimony and i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman. the chair requests that other members submit their opening statements for the record so our witnesses may begin their testimony and make sure there is ample time for questions. i would like to welcome the first panel to the witness table. the honorable shelly fingering from congresswoman from the great state of maine. you may begin when you are ready. >> well thank you very much, chairman connaway and to ranking member peterson. i appreciate that you are holding this hearing and giving me the opportunity to say a few words about it and i particularly appreciate that you remembered to call it the great state of maine. so obviously this is an issue that people have been increasingly concerned about and i've been very grateful to have
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a chance to work with it and as all of you said, work across the aisle with a diverse group of interests that are concerned about the fact that 40% of the food, as you mentioned, is wasted in this country. particularly people in the agriculture committee know how much work goes into growing food, how much water is lost in the process of growing food, how long it has to be transported around the country and just that gives you a sense of how much we are wasting besides the food in terms of energy and other resources in doing this. the other big concern is that we do have 50 million people in this country going hungry and when there is confuse around date labelling or how food can be disposed of or the good samaritan laws that we've talked about, it just makes it that much more difficult for restaurants and retail stores to find out how to make sure that uneaten food and beyond the label food gets to those food banks and to those people in need. so that is part of what we're proposing to look at in the bill that we submitted called the food recovery act. it is wonderful to see that the
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usda and the epa together have announced a food reduction goal. they did that last year and their goal is to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030 so an ambitious goal but showing great opportunities there. i'm fortunate enough to serve on the agricultural appropriations sub-committee so we're working with ways to work with them on funding areas that could make a difference in solving this problem and also work on some of the same things with the fda. there is certainly no single way to go about solving this problem and i know as you dig deeper into it today and hear from the wonderful panel that you have chosen, you'll start to hear that it is something that we have to face on all fronts, from helping consumers to understand differently, giving opportunities to farmers who want to make sure food gets into the right hands and helping retailers and restaurant owners to reduce that or make sure it goes places that it wants. in my own state we have a supermarket chain committed to
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zero waste making sure everything gets sold in the store that possibly can, even if it looks ugly or misshapen and making sure it gets to food banks and places where people in are ned and making sure that food goes to a composting or digester because most food waste ends up in municipal landfills and for those of you who have served on the government that is one of the increasiing costs an producing methain gas and if it is converted to compost or digestion, we are left with wonderful looking soil or producing energy with that food waste. so making sure that there are federal funds available to families that want to do that is another part of this and something that i think can certainly be dealt with in a variety of committees. just in closing, i want to mention the one thing that ranking member peterson and i were just talking about and i'm sure all of you on the committee and most of us have experienced this problem perhaps in your own
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household, where you look at a package and it has a label on it and think, okay, well this is probably still good, we should eat it. yet someone else in the household said no, look at that date, we have to throw it away. we submitted a bill last week with senator blumenthal about date labelling to bring sensibility into this. and because we hear so much about the domestic disagreement that go on we thought we should call this the domestic harmony bill to reduce the issues that people face. but manufacturers have joined us. we were endorsed in that bill by campbell's soup and nestle and a variety of other companies have come forward because they find it confusing too. basically the labels for the most part don't have a uniform or scientific basis. they may represent something to that individual company, but it really doesn't mean you can't eat that food. so our idea is to -- to ask the usda and the fda to create a label that says expires on for those foods that do have a
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safety issue and you should know when it is too late to eat it and the other one says best it used by. the bag is best if you use it by a certain date but nothing will happen if you eat it a month later or the next season which you return -- when you return to your summer cabin or find it in a box you never unpacked. chances are that is perfectly good food. we would like to bring sensibility and great for manufacturers and takes the stigma out that food is donated and there are 20 states that prohibit food donations if that date has passed. and if you think about it, we are keeping 20 states away from giving food to people in need and it is completely arbitrary date. so it seems like that is one of the ones that is extremely cost effective. it would create much less waste. something that most of us agree on and you'll find most of the manufacturers and others agree on it as well. so thank you very much for giving me a moment to open this up today. thank you for taking on this topic. i look forward to working with you in any way i can and thank you for giving me a little bit
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of the nostalgia to return to the committee which i served on in my early days and i enjoyed working with you and being in this room. >> thank you for being here and appreciate your comment this is morning and for your leadership in getting this initiative started. and we'll look forward to pitching in with you on -- i shouldn't say pitching in. but nevertheless helping in with reduction of food waste. >> bee careful about that baseball stuff. >> we'll transition to the second panel. shelly, thank you very much for being with us today. i appreciate it. i would like to welcome the second panel of witnesses to the table. dana gunders, a senior scientist, national resources defense council, san francisco, california. we have mr. jesse fink, the director of mission point and in norwalk, connecticut. mr. john oxford, president and ceo of l and m companies in raleigh, north carolina. meghan stas, senior director and grocery manufacturers association here in washington, d.c. and diana aviv, kre feeding
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america in chicago, illinois and emily leib, the director of food law policy clinic, harvard law school, jamaica plains, massachusetts. i'll let everybody get to their seats. all right. miss gunders, if you will begin when you are ready, ma'am. >> ranking member peterson and members of the committee thank you for inviting me to testify today and be willing to explore this issue. any name is dana gunders, i'm a senior science at the national resources defense council and the author of a widely cited report on food waste and a book called "the waste-free kitchen handbook" which is a guide to
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not wasting food. imagine walking out of the grocery stores with five bags in the parking lot and dropping two and not bothering to pick them up. it seems crazy but that is what we're doing when we are wasting 40% of our food. we're leaving entire fields unharvesting and eliminating produce for looks. serving massive portions, throwing out food just because it is past the sell-by date and eating out instead of what is in our frig. now imagine a farm that covers three quarters of the state of california and uses as much water as california, ohio, and texas combined. when you harvest that farm, it is enough food to fill a tractor-trailer every 20 seconds and then it drives all over the country and except instead of going to people to eat it, to goes straight to the land fill. that is essentially what we are doing today. food is the number one product entering our land fills today.
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this is expensive. all tolled, america spends up to $218 billion or 1.3% of gdp each year on wasted food. beyond money, we're wasting nutrition. more than 1250 calories per capita every day. that is three times the caloric requirements of the entire food in the secure population of the country. and we have not always been so wasteful. in the u.s. we waste 50% more food per capita than we did in the 1970s. this means that there was once a time when we wasted far less and therefore it gives me hope that we could get there again. wasting less food is to the food sector as energy efficiency is to the energy sector. the cheapest and easiest way to meet growing demand. the u.n. projects increased demand will lead to a 60% growth in food production by 2050 and
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almost a quarter of that predicted demand could be off-set by addressing food waste. there are far too many causes of food waste to address in a few short minutes but i think it is important to note that wasting food happens to the best of us. as individuals and businesses. we've all had to toss moldy strawberries or clean out the science experiment in the back of the frig and got news is that unlike many of the thorny issues that i'm sure you deal with, this one feels solvable. no one wants to waste food. and people strangely love diving into this topic. i have been amads at the -- amazed at the energy and enthusiasm people have when they come up to me and tell me they found a way to used the wrinkled tomatoes in a sauce or something like that. and because there is direct savings to be had, this enthusiasm has extended to the business and entrepreneurial communities as well and even modest savings can make a difference. i was asked to give an over view of the problem but in the last minute i would like to suggest a
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few solutions. i would like to note that the epa has prioritized prevention solutions and food donations over things like animal feed and composting. first address consumer waste. from the limited information we do have households appear to be the largest source of food waste. we recently launched a national media campaign with the ad counsel to address this called save the food with a goal of providing consumers both the inspiration and information to waste less in their homes. if the government were to embrace this campaign and provide additional funding it could vastly extend the reach and the impact of the campaign. second, standardized food date labels as we've already heard. because they misinterpret date labels consumers are unknowingly and unnecessarily tossing perfectly good food and other witnesses will address this. third, reduce waste within federal government agencies. how much is the federal government spending to buy food that ultimately never gets
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eaten? this could -- addressing this could both reduce agency costs and also incubating model solutions that others could follow. fourth, address data needs. right now there are some very basic questions that we can't answer. and lastly, support the food recovery act. introduced by representative pingery. it tacks food wastes and includes solutions for many of the discussions in my written testimony. wasting less food is something everything could get behind and in some cases there is even money to be saved. i suspect should you pursue solutions to the movement there is a broad base of support behind you. thank you. >> mr. fink. five minutes. >> thank you, chairman con away, ranking member peterson and the entire agricultural committee for the opportunity to testify today. i'm honored. my name is jesse fink and i'm here as a representative of the refed multi-stakeholder food initiative. i would like to dedicate my testimony to my wife betsy fink,
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a farmer like many members of congress who have committed their lives to growing food. i would like to dedicate the testimony to the 50 million americans who struggle with hunger. in a resource endowed country like ours we should conquer hunger and conserve freshwater and create new jobs flu the food wastin ore vags. my journey has been long and shaped by my career as an entrepreneur and farmer and a investor and a philanthropist. i helped fund priceline.com powered by the internet with consumers looking for cheaper tickets. for the past decade betsy and i have learned firsthand how challenging and rewarding it is to be a farmer. similar to price line, we see valuable perishable products going to waste. two weeks ago we asked a team at mission point partners to address a strategy to address the food waste systematically focusing on the cost effective and scaleable solutions. the huge gap in data was
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apparent. what resulted was the creation of refed, a nonprofit initiative that recently released a road map to reduce u.s. food waste by 20% in conjunction with detroit consulting and rrs. we've built an vise council committed to solving food waste. and this includes farmers, manufacturers, retailers, waste profiters and government leaders, many of which are here today. and addressing this could address three of the nation's largest problems. first and foremost is hunger. our research found that solutions could double the amount of food donated from businesses to hunger relief organizations. second is economic development. reducing food waste boosts the economy with a conservative estimate of 15,000 jobs created from innovation. in addition, solutions available today could create $100 billion of net economic value over the next decade. this includes $6 billion in annual savings for consumers, $2 billion in annual potential
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for profit for businesses, and a reduced burden on taxpayers, including lower municipal disposal costs. much of the economic development will go toward food recovery and composting and digestion. and food waste solutions will conserve up to 1.5% of the country's freshwater and this is lost on farms. in addition reducing food waste will decrease methane emissions from landfills and increase the soil through composting. four cross cutting actions are needed to quickly cut 20% of waste and put the u.s. on track to achieve the broader usda epa goal of a 50% food waste reduction by 2030. first education for consumers and for employees of food businesses. second, innovation. refed has an in ovation data base of over 200 companies and large companies are supporting
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entrepreneurs. the results are an opportunity for government mechanisms to support their ingenuity. right here in washington, d.c. companies like misfit juicery and fruit cycle and hungry harvest are start-ups that utilize food that would go to waste. the road map highlights a full spectrum of capital including grants and government incentives and private investment to accelerate the transition to a low-waste economy. financing innovation is required to galvanize the $18 billion needed to achieve a 20% reduction in food waste nationwide. there are opportunities to explore public-private partnerships innovative impact investing to support local companies infrastructure or composting facilities or government funding for early stage technologies. lastly is policy. food waste is a complex issue but three federal policy priorities stand out as a highly impactable and achievable today. first, make it easier for food businesses to donate food for
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the hungry. second, standardize date labelling through legislation or voluntary industry action. and finally strengthen and incentives for food waste solutions at the local level such as tax incentives for composting and anda robic digestion. the time is now for our country to embrace the solvable problem and by working together turn it into an opportunity. we can take ten steps to aleve -- take steps to alleviate our economy and boost our natural resources. i thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. fink. mr. oxford, five minutes. >> chairman conaway and ranking member peterson and members of the committee i thank you for the testimony to testify today on the food waste. i'm john oxford, president and ceo of l&m companies based in raleigh, north carolina, founded in 1964 we are a family agricultural business that grows markets and distributes fresh
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produce. our products in our crops include a variety of vegetables, potatoes, onions, melons, appleappl apples, pears an more n. addition to my day job, i'm with the marketing association that market fresh fruits and vegetables. pma represents more than 2700 member companies in 45 countries. in the united states, our members throughout the supply chain from growing processing and manufacturing distribution and wholesaling and retail and food service handle more than 90% of the fresh produce sold to consumers. my testimony today comes from the perspective of a grower. dealing with food waste is a complex issue that requires a suite of solutions. when fresh produce goes to waste, we lose the fruits or vegetables and the inputs, labor, energy and water and fertilizer and if the product has been harvested, cooled and transported, we lose even more. thus, the inventive for
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producers to minimize waste and loss is significant. our first preference and our goal is that fresh produce reaches its highest and best use, feeding people. at l and m we employ a range of options for produce that is unmarketable and fresh for the consumer. we use outleted not sold through the intended channel. we try to find alternative markets or used and in addition and we supply hundreds of thousands of pounds of healthful fresh produce every year to charities including farmers feeding flo, feeding america, operation blessing and a whoeft of others. in my role as chairman elect of pma i'm excited about the innovative approaches some of my colleagues are taking to further reduce food waste. in fact, most of you probably have one of the earliest examples of innovation to reduce food waste in your refrigerator at home and we provided some at your desk this morning. baby carrots. they were born from a concern
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over food waste. misshapen carrots were cut and shaped into the now common baby carrots. in fact, today baby carrots represent 70% of all carrot sales and according to a recent washington post article, this effort to reduce waste is now doubled carrot consumption. recently cisco's produce distributor fresh point introduced the unusual but usable program. though fresh point is a food service distributor it partners with produce growers and taking ugly or imperfect produce that goes to waste and find consumers interested in utilizing this. this reduces the waste caused by cosmetic imperfections and the customers get what they want at a better price point. red jackets in new york like many apple prosers takes the residual after juicing and uses them to feed livestock.
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this reduces what goes to the landfill and is an additional supply chain for the grower. and we've provided samples of these cakes at your seats today. and gill's onions, a california based producer and processor installed an advanced energy recovery system that converts 100% of its daily onion residual such as juice into renewable energy and cattle feed. instead of the disposal cost for the 300,000 pounds of annual onion waste, gills onions actually saves approximately $700,000 per year on energy and disposal cost and has significantly reduced its environmental footprint. a final area i would like to address is the important of a strong industry and government partnership to address food waste. encouraging innovation such as new variety development through traditional modern breeding practices can bring us traits that enhance the crop's ability to with stand stresses due to
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climate and pest. likewi likewise, food and vegetable shelf life making them more durable for the transportation process will reduce waste. and we need the federal government in the partner of research. the research programs have done great things for our industry and specialty crops in general. and last but certainly not least, we need help on labor issues. many growers are across the u.s. find difficulty finding farm workers and produce is too often left to rot in the field. a recognize this is a difficult issue to tackle politically, but we need congress to take action. significantly preducing our nation's food waste is a challenging endeavor. l and mvp and the produce marketing stand ready to partner with you and my fellow witnesses today to move us closer to a zero waste system. thank you again mr. chairman for holding this important hearing and this committee's attention to the critical issues, thank you mr. oxford. miss svr tasz, did i butcher
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your name. >> you are recognized for five minutes. >> members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate this morning on this important issue. my name is meghan stas, i'm the senior director for the grocery manufacturers association representing the food bench and consumer products industry. today i'm speaking on behalf of the food waste reduction alliance, 30 leading companies formed in 2011 by gma, the food marketing institute and the national restaurant association. fwra commends committee for holding this hearing and for your interest in finding solutions. i'll make four key points today. first, we know that first waste is a very real problems and we have a national goal of having it by 2030. everyone has a role to play to get there. second, the food industry has already stepped forward and made considerable progress. fwra brings together manufacturers retailers and food service companies around three goals -- reduce food waste generated, increase food donated
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and recycle unavoidable food waste. gma member are working hard to minimize waste as well. in 2014 our company recycled nearly 94% of the food waste from manufacturing and in 2015 donated over 800 million pounds of food. third, we know that more needs to be done and our industry is taking new steps. gma and fmi are taking the lead on date labelling and reducing the consumer confusion. date labelling is important and we're addressing it. but context is important and that is my fourth point. date labelling is not the solution to food waste. there is no silver bullet solution here. it needs to be tackled in a range of ways. an industry can't solve this problem alone. consumers are responsible for 44% of the food waste in landfills. if we're going to make a serious dent, we need to help consumers. but reducing food waste is a priority. that is why we created fwra. co chaired by on agra and said you canno and wegmans, we have four areas of focus, assessment,
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best practice and communication and policy. from this work we've seen really tremendous innovation. conagra who makes potpies found they could change the way they were placing pie dough and reduce the amount trimmed off the edge. this change saved them over 230 tons of pie dough in a year. that is food waste that never happened. retailers increase food donation by over a billion pounds in the last decade. kroger is turning their food waste in energy. restaurants are working to reduce waste. yum brands alone donated over 184 million pounds of food since 1992. but let me talk about date labelling. in january gma and fmi board worked to address confusion around date labelling and 25 companies met here last week. it is crucial to provide consumers with the clarity they need. 40 states have laws regulating date labelling.
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this products in some parts of the kmurpt is contributing to confusion but more needs to be done. date label can tackle 8% of the total over all food waste going to landfill. this doesn't mean we should do nothing but clearly more solutions are needed. and businesses are facing challenges to food waste. supply chain challenges and food safety is mara mount so if a food bank has maxed out refrigerated truck space, food winds up in a landfill. similarly, diverting food waste away from landfills require infrastructure that makes sense. food waste is heavy and it is wet and it requires freak went pick up. if you have to put that material on a diesel truck and drive it hundreds of miles to the next facility, you have lost your environmental benefit. it also has to make business sense. ad can cost millions to build and operate and composting facilities could face permitting challenges. so even when a company thinks they've found a solution, the composting facility can be shut down and the a.d. could go out
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of business and the business is back to square one. we're also seeing conflicting regulations at the federal state and municipal level. in some states food waste is banned from landfill but there is no infrastructure. and finally consumers, they are the single largest contributor and our save the food campaign is a great example of what we need to see to move the needle here. so in closing, while challenges do exist, the opportunity is enormous and we look forward to working with the committee and our industry partners and others to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain. thank you for your time. >> thank you. ms. leib, five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member peter and members of the committee i'm honored to testify before you today. each year we waste 70 billion pounds of food suitable for donation. at the same time people in every community across our nation struggle with food insecurity. to help end hunger, feeding america works with 198 food
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banks, 60,000 local food agencies, and 148 corporate partners. together we provide 4.5 billion pounds of food to more than 46 million americans each year, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. of the food we distribute, more than half of it. about 2.6 billion pounds, would otherwise go to landfill. and yet this still does not meet the need. significant gaps remain between the food low-income people need and the resources they have to buy it. diverting excess food to donation provides a triple benefit. it reduces hunger, it protects our environment, and it helps businesses with sustainability. but perishable food must move safely and quickly from the donor to the people who need it. doing so requires innovative practices, technology know-how and costly physical
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infrastructure like refrigerated trucks and cold-storage capacity. i want to share with you two examples of innovative platforms that we have developed to divert more excess food to donation. produce matchmaker is an online portal and ordering system that helps produce donors connect with food bank. it is available 24 hours aday and it is a last food -- allows food banks to accept donations in real-time, moving produce to hungry families more quickly. food banks can order produce donations by the pallet rather than the truckload. this saves transportation costs and allows cost-effective rescue of smaller amounts of produce. produce matchmaker is already being used by more than 150 food banks and state associations in fy 16 and collected 125 million pounds of produce with food banks across 40 states. it will help us recover and
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distribute significant amounts of produce that is currently wasted. meal connect is our new online platform to facilitate the easy, safe and fast donation of fresh food from grocery and convenient stores and other locations. donors engage online when they have product and are matched to the local food bank. it is the only matching donation software that fully vets donors and recipients to ensure that proper food safety protocols are followed throughout the prose. using meal connect on a smartphone or pc simplified the legitics with a near pantry that could accept it. this is local food rescue in the sharing economy. meal connect is enabled starbucks to launch food share which will provide an additional 50 million meals ore the next five years as the program rolls out to 7600 starbucks stores
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across the u.s. but produce matchmaker and meal connect won't solve the problem alone. additional investment in technology and physical infrastructure are needed. the improvements to the enhanced tax deduction for donated food enacted last december will also have a significant impact on food recovery. but expanding the deduction to include farmers and growers, in making it permanent for -- excuse me, for all businesses, we expect that nearly 1 billion additional meals that would have been wasted now will be donated. thanks to you and your colleagues for passing this critical legislation. without it, we would be worse off. to continue food -- increasing food recory -- recovery, additional investments to identify and scale promising program models are definitely required. policy changes such as standardizing date labels on food and providing usda grants
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to small businesses and nonprofits to facilitate food recovery would also have a significant impact. as you examine this critical issue and begin preparing for the next farm bill, we stand ready to work with you. i encourage you also to visit your local food bank to learn about food recovery within your district. and thank you very much for the opportunity to testify. >> well, i thank our witnesses for the testimony. >> there is one more. >> oh, i'm sorry miss leib. i jumped river on the end. >> that is okay. for five minutes. >> did my time pass so fast? >> yeah, it did. my apologies. i'm so sorry. miss leib, five minutes. >> thank you chairman conaway and peter son for the opportunity to speak with you. my name is emily leib and i direct the hard law food clinic. we've worked on reducing food waste for many years and we've come to see intimately the
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challenges to food reduction and food recovery and i want to high lie a fute issues. first you've heard confusion over date labels is a major cause of food waste. the refed report found that standardizing date labels is the mostwaste and could divert 398, tons of food waste. we've identified two key challenges with date labels. first, in the dating game which we published in 2013 with the nrdc we showed that there's a dizzying array of state laws created to fill the void in federal regulation on this issue. 41 states and d.c. regulate date labels but no two states have the same law which is evidence that these laws are not based in science or sound public policy. new york, for example, does not regulate dates on any food products, but its neighbor massachusetts requires dates on all perishable and semiperishable products and then heavily restricts sell or donation after the date. second, we found that consumers are confused. on most foods date labels are
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not intended to communicate safety. instead, they signal a manufacturer's estimate of how long the food will be at its best taste. but consumers toss past date food because of safety fears. in a national survey my clinic conducted this april with the national consumers league and the johns hopkins center for livable future we found that over one-third of consumers always throw food away after the date and 84% do so at least occasion ll a. interestingly, a third of the consumers also believes the federal government regulates date labels. through our work on date labels we've also learned that taifty is a risk for certain food products such as deli meats or unpasteurized dairy if they're consumed after the date. that also isn't communicating clearly to convict assumers. moving forward, we could align with what most other countries do and as representative pingree discussed require a standard quality label on foods where freshness is a concern and a standard safety label on food that's carry a safety risk aft date. we've been excited to see sow port for standard date labels
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from companies like wall nart, general mills andiest le and cam bells. standardizing the labels could help consumers make bedecisions, facilitate don naiss of past tate food anden a win for companies. moving on, i'd like to talk about food donation. several of my kol for examples and the chairman mentioned the fear of exposure to liability which hampers food donation. but strong liability protects already exist. in 1996 congress passed the bill emerson good samaritan act which provides a very strong federal floor of civil and criminal liability protection to both food donors and the nonprofit organizations that distribute food to needy individuals. these organizations are protected as long as they don't act with intentional misconduct or gross negligence. but 67% of manufacturers and 54% of retailers still say that the main reason they don't donate is because of fear of liability. food recovery organizations report that many donors don't know about this legislation or that if they do know they're concerned about the lack of authoritative interpretation of
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some of the key terms. the act has not been challenged in court so there are no judicial interpretations of it, and it was never assigned to any agency so there are no agencies that provide federal guidance or fill in these gaps or provide education about the act. congress could call on an agency to provide guidance and raise awareness about the act to help address these challenges. closely related to liability is the issue of food safety regulations. in our federalist system, regulations of grocery stores and restaurants takes place at the state level. state health codes vary, but they're mostly based on the fda food code. however, the food code does not inner corporate language around food donation so states lack federal guidance around safe food donation. including food donations and the food code are other federal guidance could help states clarify their safety lieus and better prioritize food donation. lastly, i want to mention the opportunity for innovation, organizations have begun to test different entrepreneurial approaches to food recovery. several of our client
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organizations are testing technologies that connect donors and food recovery organizations that convict virtue nonconforming fruits and vegetables into new products or apply retail models to provide surplus food at a low cost. as often happens, these innovations could not be predicted with when the laws were first passed so several existing laws like the emerson act actually posed barriers to the viability of some of these innovations. this committee could address barriers like this and create a friendlier climate for innoes vegas. in conclusion, despite strong lous bayier assist. strenlenning liability protections and food safety guidance and supporting innovation can reduce the amount of footd waste and increase the amount of healthy safe food recov recovered. thank you. >> thank you. and good recovery from my rudeness. members will be be recognized in order of arrival and i appreciate everyone's understand being. i recognize myself for five
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mines. sitting here listening to you i suddenly realized that i was among some early adopters of this issue of not wasting food in the sense that as a young mp at ft. hood we would race across ft. hood with sirens blaring and red lights flashing to get to the mcdonald's at 2:00 in the morning to get all of the unsold big macs that we would then take back to headquarters and pass around to our colleagues. so early on i was an early adopter, in addition to growing up in a family where nothing was wasted. ms. leib, would you talk to us a little bit about the differences or challenges differences between rural food banks and urban food banks in the sense of produce, how they get it, access to it. we've heard some of the retailers here a week or so ago talking about particularly small retailers in rural america have a hard time getting produce. could you talk to us about how food banks in urban and rural
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areas are approaching those challenges differently. >> the challenge evenings facing rural banks are different than those in urban food banks just transportation alone is probably one of the biggest challenges. recently i had the opportunity since relatively new to feeding america to go around the country and have listening sessions, and in the sessions that brought together most of the rural food banks, the number one challenge that they saw that they faced was transportation. in fact, they asked for us to find donations for replacement of their tires because they had to get to such far distances. but it's not only on the side of the distribution of the food. it's also with regard to the people who are facing hunger. their ability to be able to get together and come to a central location to receive the food is also a challenge. i don't think it's a challenge that we've solved. also because most of the people facing hunger or more of them are in cities and in concentrated areas, there may be an inclination to want to go to
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where most of the people are, but yet the needs in the rarely communities are just as great. so we have a balance issue when there are limited resources. >> we did have one retailer talk about the idea of setting up centralized points within the rural communities where they could take the donated produce. ms. stasz, you said i think we had some 40 different state rules or regulations with respect to labeling. you and your team would be supporter oif of a federal presemgs of all of those various state rules and regulations? >> yes, i think a national standard is really crucial. i think emily did a really good job of pointing out the complexity that's existing now and i think that as we think about if there have going to be regulation then federal preemption would be really critical to streamlining that process and reducing consumer confusion. and we thank mrs. pingree for all of her work on this really important issue and really
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starting the conversation. >> well, thank you. i do believe the statute of limitations has run on anything i might have just confessed to with respect to my conduct at ft. hood. with that, i'll yield back and recognize the ranking member for five minutes. >>ed thank you, mr. chairman. do all of you agree that to get on our goal here we need a federal preemption of state laws? do any of you disagree with that? silence. it's going to be hard for the stenographers to write that down. >> i'm happy to agree with that. i think as we've discussed -- when we started look being at state lieus on date labels we looked at a handful in new england. they were all different. the more we zoomed out and looked across the country, it's very clear they're not based on some sort of standard safety information. so i think it makes sense to have one standard that everyone can follow. >> so you'd have to have a
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federal preemption in order to accomplish that. >> i think so. >> and i'm, you know, a little bit concerned about how this would work because we've got so many people involved in trying to use the labeling and marketing of food. they've got the consumers to the point where they don't know what the heck is going on. you know? it just concerns me, you know, like this gmo issue, you know, they're opposing preemption of that because some people think that it's a good thing for the states to have these different laws. you know, which goes completely opposite of what we're talking about here. and then you've got these folks out there doing these dietary guidelines and trying to push all of that stuff, and we've got a bill that's been introduced that puts the food police in charge of the ag committee i guess. you know, that are pushing all kinds of ideology there,
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whatever it might be, confusing the heck out of people. you've got people labeling things "natural" and using it to create stores and so forth. and so i'm just concerned that if we pass this bill that says you're going to have two dates. one is best by and the other is expires, you know, i agree that we need to get -- this is a good thing to do and this is -- if we could accomplish it, it would probably be the best solution or one of the main thing that's could change things. but in the bill, it says "expires on" is the date for not the quality by the i guess safety date. i think that's -- i don't think consumers would understand what
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that means. you know, i think you almost have to say "do not consume" after this date. to get them to understand. i'm just -- you know, we're putting so much stuff on this label, all of these labels, that i'm not sure it's going to break through, you know. so i don't know what you all think about that. do you think -- am i off base trying to be concerned about all of this -- >> sir, i have two answers. one in terms of this question about the information being out there. if you go to any store right now, even in the states that don't regulate date labels like new york, almost every product, particularly in the center of the store, has a date label on it. everything from bottled water to vinegar to canned goods, whatever. so i think what's great about this, it's not taking information away. consumers are used to seeings those and they want to see them. it's just trying to make it clear so that they don't see a million different wunz. i think you're right that no
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matter what the labels are education is going to be needed. the problem is right now that because there's so many different labels it's impossible to educate anyone about what they mean. i've tried. i'd love to say, this is what you should glean from these. then last the term "spires on" was actually in the national survey that we did last month that i mentioned. we checked six different label languages and "expires on" 54% of people believed that was a safety label, that baz higher than any of the other wupz and the lowest percentage of people who thought it was a quality indicator. again, 54% isn't a lot but it's a start and i think with education it could be built upon that. >> yeah. go ahead. >> just if i may really quickly, i think you really hit the nail on the head that we want to get this right the first time. we don't want to further contribute to consume irkfs so we want to make sure that we are testing consumers to make sure they understand what we're trying to convey, coordinate with other labeling changes that are coming down the line like the nutritions facts panel and
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really have industry flexibility to truncate the phrase, make sure it facilities on small packaging to make sure we're harmonizing our standards and language and conveying the right information to the consumer. >> i would say amen to that and if you've read this bill, i am concerned about -- i agree with the goal, but i'm concerned about the way this thing is structured, that you're going to get these different agencies involved in this and by the time you're done you're not going to recognize what you tried to accomplish. you know, i've seen that with the farm bill when i passed the farm bill, by the time it got done with regulations i didn't recognize what we had passed. so i think we have to be careful about how we do this. i agree about what we're trying to accomplish. but if you get too many agencyis involved and allow too much whatever, you're going to end up potentially with a worse situation.
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yield back. >> mr. kelly five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member and i thank you, members of the panel. first of all vlgs i just want to say we have a lot of food pantries i'm from mississippi and we have a lot of rural areas. and our food pantries do such a great job and so any kind of reduction, second i rarely do this and she'll probably kill me but my wife volunteers for meals on wheels all the time to take meals to the elderly or people who can't travel and those things and she's -- you know, she never gets recognized. we've been married for 25 years and it seems like she's always behind the seens. by my wife sheila does a great job and we need more of that because there's a lot of people who really want to help people and get this food in the right hands. as a child growing up, my mother used to go to the steal bread store in town and would buy up the doughnuts and things that we necessarily couldn't afford or bread or other buns and those kind of things. then she would freeze them and we'd eat them all year. as kids we didn't know any
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different. it was still good food. the thing that's most people threw away we got to eat. so i thank y'all for doing this. ms. stasz, i think i got that right, to what extent is the industry engaged in coordinating efforts to promote uniform labeling? >> we're very engaged. this is a gma and fmi board level initiative right now. we have 25 companies who are working on this to make sure that we really get this right the first time, to make sure the information that we're conveying to consumers is accurate and it's the right kind of information. but this is a really important issue for us and it's something that we're taking very seriously. >> and just -- you know, as a follow-up on that, when we create things here, we don't always get the right results because we don't have the baseline of knowledge that is necessary. we're not the professionals in every area and we have such a broad rangeful things. so when you guys create the right things for yourself, it prevents us from doing the wrong thing with good hearts and good minds and trying to do the right
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thing but we sure appreciate your input. how do your manufacturers in your organization now work with different date labeling laws in each state and what limitationses does it put on you because of these laws? >> it's certainly own russ. i mean, our member companies are obviously complying with state law. but it does tend to create a lot of unintended consequences. i think ms. aviv really highlighted some of the confusion around at the food bank level and there's different foods that wind up getting thrown away unnecessarily. there are certainly a call for and a reason for a national standard that the industry is working towards to reduce consumer confusion and prevent some of these unintended consequences of these laws. >> and ms. aviv, to what extent have potential food donors raised liability concerns to you about a reason to withhold donations? >> thank you.
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congressman, i think that the issue that we see is lack of knowledge where people new to the space who want to help and want to contribute argue that they can't because they won't be protected. and that it's almost a one by one by one education. unless we can create a systemic way to engage in this kind of work. i was most recently at a conference organized by ohio state university with all of its alumni and so on, and the alumni sitting there talking about food insecurity, people sitting at the front table said that they were reluctant to get involved in this because they thought they were liabilities. these were people who were leaning into this area. so i don't think we should underestimate the degree to which people are not engaging because they think they're not protected. >> and final question for mr. oxford. so-called ugly fruit and vegetables in many cases have less value in the so-called marketplace. what other opportunities -- you talked about some, but if you
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can just talk about what opportunities the industry is exploring to add value to these products. >> well, you mentioned the ugly fruit. that's been a growing movement across the industry, one that we participated in and a lot of retailers are helping to do that and i mentioned the food service side is getting involved with it as well. one of the things you have to keep in mind on that is, you know, how things are positioned in the stores or at the food service level. we believe there's great opportunity and it's a huge waste from our standpoint as a grower, we hope every fruit stem and leaf ends up on someone's plate. so just trying to do anything we can to make those products available is what we're trying to do. >> and just a final ant adote. my dad growing up wouldn't eat white corn. he didn't like it. so my mother put food coloring in it and he said, this is the
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best corn i've ever had. so sometimes price pointing and other things make it better. "yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. davis scott for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, this is a very serious problem here, and i appreciate you chairman pulling this together. but it seems to be two fundamental areas here that we need to address. the first one is, how do you change human behavior? that is the big issue here. the second big one is, how do we address this issue of where the food waste starts on the farm? i represent georgia, and we are the leaders in the nation perhaps the world of growing blueberries. the problem is that so much of those blue wer berries are left, wasted, rotting in the fields
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because we have failed to address the number one issue that we here in congress can do to address food shortage, and that's to make sure our agriculture and our farmers, those who are producing our crops like blueberries, have the adequate supply of labor to be able to harvest them. so we've got to do something about that first. second point is on that, how do we coordinate a better relationship with that if it's an oversupply our farmers would gladly add a much reduced cost rather than to see those crops rot in the field get them to our food banks, like the atlanta food bank which is one of the more premier food banks with over 75 million pounds of food
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put out each year. that takes good management resource allocation. now, the other one is on, how do you get to the real? because about 80% of the problem, if we solve it at the first end of helping stop the food shortage of food rotting in the farmers because they can't get the labor because we failed to address immigration from an economic, agricultural, supply, labor standpoint, when we get to the changing of the human behavior, we've got to get into a coordinated partnership with the media. with television. with radio. to be able to change human behavior, educate the public. now, we did this with smoking so it can be done. we changed that human behavior. remember people said, you're not going to be able to get people to -- but there was a coordinated effort with the
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leaders in the media industry to help with the kinds of public announcements, commercials that we could. so i'd like to get y'all's response to that. first, let's address -- am i right on this labor issue, mr. oxford? >> without a doubt. that's one of the biggest challenges for us as growers, is not having adequate labor to harvest the crops at times. and when we leave crops in the field, sure, we can dish them in for nutrients for the soil, but that really means the crop is not going to the highest and best use, which is feeding people. >> and how about your ability? am i right in assuming that you would be able to work with food banks in a much better resource allocation way to be able to get that food so it gets on to the needy people rather than rotting
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in the fields? >> absolutely. and we already do, as i mentioned in my testimony, supply hundreds of thousands of pounds to food banks annually ourselves, probably that doesn't meet specifications for the customers that we have and so forth. but i think distribution is a big part of the equation that has to be figured out and it's -- there's no silver bul t bullets here. it has to be a collaborative effort from all parts of the supply chain. >> right. now, the reason i mention the human behavior as i looksed at this, clearly 45% of food is wasted at the dinner table. mr. chairman, i think it might be helpful if with we begin to address a way in which we can coordinate some resources at the federal level to help get public service announcements to get and work with many of our partners in the media and engage them
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much the same way as we did in changing the human behavior of smoking. thank you, sir. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chris gibson, five minutes. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i appreciate this hearing. just want to come in behind mr. scott and concur with his statements, and i appreciate the chairman. i know he's been looking at this too. we have a number of members on the committee who have been concerned about ag labor, serious issues there. i have introduced a bill on this. i certainly don't claim that it corners the market in any ideas here. in fact, i think perhaps at this time maybe what we should do as a committee is just to have a hearing and look into it more. i know the committee is looking at that, and i appreciate that. the second is, and i apologize i was a few minutes late, but i did learn from the testimony that i did hear from ms. leib, i was interested to hear your
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comment, really your analysis, of the emerson act which is, from what i hear of you, very helpful in its intent but perhaps needing some refinement, some amendments. and i thought you were very clear in what could be done. you know, i certainly would be supportive of an effort on that score. i just want to make that comment. and then third -- and this is really the question -- i'm curious for the panel, in your experiences, have you seen any best practices as far as information is concerned, a not for profit that maybe is a clearinghouse in a community where, you know, all restaurants and farmers can provide information about what they have so there's sort of in a community a place where people can go and say, well, here's our inventory of all that's the
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perish als and perhaps the nonperishables about what's available. has anybody seen anything like that? >> yes. there are in addition to what feeding america is doing with their new platform, there are a few other local start-ups that are doing it. there is a small company based in boston that's doing it for new england right now that is creating a platform that has knowledge of tractor trailers that are being rejected at particular places and are not going to find their intent and then matching those with locations that could use that. so large organizations like feeding america and there's a lot of innovation that's happening at a local level as well. >> i would say that there are lots of efforts by feeding america to try and get to the very issue that you've raised. obviously, part of the challenge
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that we face is to make sure that the food -- this whole food labeling issue is not an unimportant issue because we want to be sure that the food that gets picked up is then put if it's perishable in a refrigerator truck, is transported to a safe place, is housed in a safe place before it's distributed. so that even as we are very encouraged by efforts of small groups to do the same thing, we want to be able to be assure that we have a safe, protected standard because if we have stories that come out of somebody getting food poisoning or something as a result of this, that might be perceived by the public as the tip of the iceberg when in fact it was an isolated incident. so we have to proceed here quite carefully. our effort with starbucks that we are now going to do over the next five years with hundreds and hundreds of stores will give us an opportunity to test this
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effort because it's a small amount of food from each store, but they are incentivizing us through providing us with enough financial support to be able to purchase refrigerator trucks so that the food banks can go by and pick that food up every single day. multiply that by every store in the cities, in the variety of cities that have food left over. we have to make sure that the infrastructure or the people who pick it up are picking it up and carrying it safely to the place where it then can be distributed to people who need food. so it's a logistics in transportation and safety issue. it's not a lack of will issue. >> just to add to that, there's quite a bit of innovation on that front. there's an organization, a start-up in chicago, that's been training uber and lyft drivers in safe food handling practical iszs and then allowing restaurants to broadcast via
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text to a number of food pantries until someone accepts it and then they bring it over very quickly so that it can, you know, get to people quickly. and i would say that there's a long tale to the food. there's big organizations and sometimes they have large kwaunlts but there's also a lot of small restaurants and such that have small quantities but it's still worthwhile to donate. and i think, as mr. fink mentioned, really encouraging the innovation there can serve that sort of long tail. >> i thank the panelists. my time is expired. thanks, mr. chairman. >> mr. walz, five minutes. >> thank you, very critically important topic. thank you to my colleague ms. pingree who i've had an honor sharing a meal at her home. she takes this to heart and takes food as an important part of our cultural life. which kind ever takes me back to mr. scott and mr. kelly saying.
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this issue of by training a cultural gee okay rafr, this is an attitude issue as much as it is logistics. as far as labeling and that, it's interesting when you hear people up here talk mohs those of us of a certain generation there's the a pride in the thriftiness around food. i come from a family until i was 12 years old i thought head choose w cheese was cheese my mom was making. when we found out, we still ate it, but it was the idea of that sense of waste that was probably passed on from a previous general yaigs where food insecurity was a real threat to them. you see this around the world. and so i do think getting at that because there's some really interesting phenomenas here. we take great pride in southern minnesota that we feed and cloth and fuel the world. and we have the most efficient producers of food the world has ever seen. so because of that and then working in conjunction with all of you and ms. stasz your oh, you have become so incredibly
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efficient at delivering foods from all over the world to our local grocery store and to our homes that it has changed that cultural perception. not that we've gotten lazy or whatever. we don't have to be -- about it. i'm amazed looking at it this week when i go to shop for bananas it's a fine art because i don't want them green because i want to eat them that night. but when i buy them yellow they're bad the next day almost. it's really that supply chain along there that we're trying to get at. so i'm curious. >> i think mr. scott was talking about putting things out in the public, public awareness and all that. but i think ms. gunders you did this right and if anything i've learned from this job as a school teacher, too, maslow's hierarchy, appeal to the bottom of the hierarchy first, how it impacts their safety, pocketbook and things like that then they'll eventually self act you'llize this is the right thing to do, it saves the planet saves those types of things are we he getting at the heart of the things that is making a difference is the food labeling one of them and maybe throw it out to each of you for your
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points on this. mr. fink you talked about the data which i think is incredible what you've been able to do to gather data on this. but i think it's very hard. maybe the last one to you, ms. aviv, how did usa food inspectors interact with food banks and some of these on large exiles. i've got in pan tas tick ones in minnesota that do incredible field to plate type of things. you know that's broad and general, but the rest of the country is maybe catching up where all of you are at. and there's win win wins in this if we get this right. this is one of those issue that's is incred blil positive, economically, health wise, reducing government spending on things we'd like to see done. i'll leave my last two minutes for points on. that i know it's very generalized but we've got to get at this. >> yeah. so as i mentioned nrdc has partnered with the ad council on a campaign to try to shift the cultural paradigm around food waste. it's absolutely correct that if i walk down the sidewalk right now and i throw half a sand
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witch on the sidewalk people will think i'm crazy because i'm littering but if i throw it in the garbage can people won't quite think much of it. and that's really the paradigm that we are trying to shift there was over 12 months of research that went into the campaign and found things like people don't know they're wasting food. if you ask somebody if it's okay, nobody will say yes. but nobody realizes they themselves are doing it. it's kind of flying under the rad radar. and the other thing is that it's a by-product of sort of people's good nepgss much you want to host a good dinner party, you want to feed your kids healthy food. and there's this by product of waste. we're trying to create a wake-up call that yes, this is happening and also create a positive message that this is something that people can get on board to do bever and trying to shift that culture. and so i think we're trying to get at some of the motivations behind it through really
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positive messaging and empowering people to make changes in their kitchens because a lot of it is happening right there. >> i think your question had to do a little bit about the data and what do we do with it. the intent of refed was actually to comb the data that was out there and to create this advisory council of the 30 experts from all the different industries and nonprofits to understand the data and to create a road map which essentially is an action plan of what are all of the areas where food is being waisted and what are the solutions and how can investment be made in one case to accomplish that. and that's where we came up with the 27 solutions and there are investment opportunities for private investors, for philanthropic organizations like foundations that can make grants to feeding america and other nonprofits. and for corporations to make investments in their own
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infrastructure. so the first step was collecting the data and creating the road map. now it's an opportunity for individual organizations to figure out how they can invest in the solutions. >> thank you. maybe if we get a second round i'll wait. my time is up to come back around. i want to explore that, the economic potential that comes from this and how you're already doing that. >> mr. moolenaar, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you all for being here. just this number, 40%, is pretty staggering. and i wonder if -- i think most people wouldn't be aware of that, and if there was one take-away that you wanted me to be able to communicate back in my district from each of -- as you've been thinking about this today and throughout your work, what would that one take-away be that you'd want me to be able to communicate? because i think that number is pretty staggering.
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then when you look at the supply chain aspect of it, it becomes a much more complicated issue in terms of how to resolve. but is there one thing that you would want me to be able to communicate in my district? and maybe just go right down the panel. >> i think it's that this is very addressable, and it just takes easy steps to do it. it can be overwhelming when you think too much about it, but ultimately if everyone care about this and we all think food shouldn't be wasted it won't be as much. >> i would say that most people are not aware of how much footd they waste personally, and that this problem can be solved starting so much by the consumer and then the consumer can push that to restaurants and to retailers. >> what i would say is that i think there's a misperception with a lot of consumers that if
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the fruit or the vegetable doesn't look just absolutely perfect in the store when they're picking it out then it can't be good, and that's simply not true. so support for and encouragement of some of the imperfect or the unusual looking fruits and vegetables, that those are still very healthful products for consumers would be terrific. >> and i'd say the number one take-away is the importance of measurement, whether you're a business, whether you're a household, a city, a state, understanding that getting some numbers behind how much food you're wasting, you immediate lid find opportunities to improve. i for one need to stop buying grapefruits. i just don't eat them. but i can understand how much money i save as soon as i track that every week. and i think that measurement is far and away the best practice. >> i think there are no silver bullets here because we can't solve all of it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try and solve some of it. one step at a time will get us
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all the way there. one of the great successes in regard to this area that we think is helpful was the passage of the tax legislation that made the donation of food by small businesses possible, incentivizing them to give. so instead of that food going to waste, now because of this charitable tax deduction, they can donate that. if we can educate our farmers and our small businesspeople in the communities about this opportunity, we can save a heck of a lot, and that will be the first step of many that we can take. >> and i'd say sort of two. one on date labels that for the most part, foods are indicating quality to you and hopefully you can say you're working on trying to make them clear. and then i think the other on the liability, i mentioned the emerson act is incredible. i mean, it's an enormous amount of protection and the biggest challenge is that businesses don't know about that and having
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representatives from congress say to them, we have this legislation you're really protected, this is a priority for us could go miles in getting more people to feel comfortable donating food. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> ms. fudge, five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and thank you all so much for being here. mr. chairman, let me just take a point of personal privilege. today is congressional foster youth shadow day. and today i have a foster student with me. her name is ra gene jordan wells who was in the system for five years and is now a student at cleveland state university. so let's welcome her. >> can she stand up and wave at us? >> ragene? >> oh, there she is. welcome. glad you're with us. >> thank you. and now to my questions. first, let me again thank you all. this has been most enleightoning and very timely, mr. chairman. thank you for this hearing.
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certainly i do represent the city of cleveland and akron and 20 cities in between. i represent one of the poorest districts in america so this is extremely important to me. as i work closely with my food banks on a fairly regular basis and have my staff go on a regular basis to assist and volunteer. so it is good, ms. aviv, to have you here as i wanted to just remind you that earlier this year mr. rodney davis, my colleague from illinois, and i did in fact request that the appropriations committee provide an additional -- a $100 million for the cost of storing, transporting and districting food. we know that refrigerated storage, we no that moving food is very, very important to making this whole thing work because a lot of times if it's difficult for them to donate the food, they won't do it. so i just want you to be aware that they did it and thank you for your assistance. feeding america's assistance in helping us do that. and i'm happy that my colleagues
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have heard today how important it is to make sure that we have the transportation and the refrigeration that we need. ms. leib, we've been talking about the emerson act for some time this morning. but unlike other statutes, there is no -- there has never been a federal agency that really is over this particular act. would it help if in fact there was some kind of guidance by a federal agency that would make persons who come under this act feel better? >> i think so. i mean, i think, you know, one issue is really that there's a lack of awareness which can also be addressed by having an agency that's really tasked with putting guidance out, telling people about it, sharing information. then the other question, there's -- i mean, it's intended to be incredibly strong if you read it you can get that but i think as attorneys as an attorney myself i can imagine if i were advocating on behalf of a company looking at it and saying
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there are few terms in here there are unclear apparently wholesome food what does wholesome food is something past date wholesome or not. there are other questions like that that access, for example, that food has to follow federal state and local quality and labeling standards. but some of the labeling standards are not related to safety to even have an agency be able to say, you know, the alorer generals certainly are safety related. that is important to be on food when it's donated. but if the net weight is wrong, someone who will get this food that is being donated, if it says it's 3 ounces and it's really 4 ounces or vice versa, that's not an issue. so i think there's a bunch ever places like that where having an agency be able to provide clarity and raise awareness would go a really long way. >> i've heard on two occasions today that there is no role for the federal government and i'm happy to hear that. i'm happy to understand that my colleagues would agree that we don't want to have 40 or 50 different states with all different rules.
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and secondly, that with the emerson act there should be some at least interpretive guidance as to how it goes. so i thank you for that and hopefully we can take care of that of smosome of nose things. you take about labor. are you talking about immigration? what are you talking about? you kind of talked around it. >> certainly immigration is a part of the discourse. know that's a tough issue to tackle politically, but, yes, that's a big part of it. it affects our ability to get the products grown and harvested and to the marketplace, and simplistically we can probably either import labor or import our fruits and vegetables. that's a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but yes, it's a big part of it. >> thank you very much. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. yoho, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i appreciate y'all being here. today, as you brought out, ms. fudge, the foster youth shadow program, we have one with us from the great state of florida, ms. samantha rogers. if you would raise your hand. [ applause ] she's a young lady doing great things and congratulations for being here and sharing with us. ms. leib, i wanted to hit on the emerson act. you've talked xenively about it. and you know to make it further to incentivize the tax things an the clarification in laws, if in your -- in the work you've done with that, if there's any recommendations that you can give us on this committee that we could help draft that, that would surely facilitate that because i think the incentives and the things that mrs. aviv brought up, the tax incentives for people to go ahead and donate those things because we see it so often. i grew up like mr. walz. i'm from minnesota.
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i have five brothers, four of them were older. when we sat down all six of us, it was like puppies at the dish. if you were the last one there, you didn't get anything. there wasn't any foodaste borrowing up. and then growing up i was on food stamps for a period of time, and we were good misers with that. and then my mom, you know, she taught us how to -- you saved all your food and at the end of the week you had stew. and it was always really good. saying that, being in the agricultural sector since i was about 15 years of age, we've seen a lot of waste. i've worked at produce markets. i've worked at loading docks. and then working with the farmers, we've seen the crops left in the fields and so any recommendations you can give as far as things that we can do up here as far as legislation would be great along those lines. and then i've had a specific question here for mr. fink. you mentioned consumer education as a cross-cutting action to reducing waste. have you found any specific best
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practices in educating the consumers and what have you found is the most effective ways to educate the consumers not just the consumer. i wanted to add to that awareness and industry. and i know industry does a good job from the grocery stores, the restaurants, to the farmers and to the families. and have you any cooperation with usda and public service announcements? >> thank you. so the first question on the consumer side, i think we're getting a great start with the ad council and nrdc and a few congressmen mentioned ad campaigns over the years that have changed behavior. and i believe that this will do that. it's a start. it needs to be backed up by companies providing awareness at supermarkets and restaurants. there are chefs who are circling the hill today who are
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interested in food waste, and the chefs actually could play a role in changing people's behavior. so i think it start was the ad council, but then companies can play a role and the government can play a role. i would also say on the industry side, we have personal experience, we have a farm and we collect produce, leftover produce, from the local market. every day we go and there's a new person and they're not doing it the same way. so employee training is huge, and that's why it was one of the things that came out of the refed, was not just the consumer training but employee training. >> okay, thank you. ms. stasz you brought up like the grapefruit you buy. i've done that myself. we buy things that sometimes we shouldn't. i mean, that's just up to us. it's a cost-benefit analysis there that we have to make. mr. oxford, i think you brought this up, too, the bruised tomato. nobody wants to buy that. but if you're in the restaurant business, that's different. you can utilize that. it's kind of like buying a new
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carrist don't want the one with the dent in it. but again, i think if the retail market or the rest raints moved to like on wednesdays it's brunswick stew because it's the leftovers and those aren't the things that are the shiniest. have you guys seen a difference in the handling of food waste in the rural versus the urban areas? in the grocery stores, restaurants? >> i'll say there are some marked differences but i think overall the general through-line there is a real struggle with infrastructure. so depending upon what kind of business you're operating and where you are, urban or rural, your infrastructure options are going to be really different, right? so if you're a restaurant and you have small amounts of pickup, you're going to have to get someone to come pick up that material really, really frequently if you're in a city. then it has to go a really long way away to go to a composting facility or -- fa stilt and you could lose your environmental benefit by putting it on the diesel truck. i think for all businesses increasing infrastructure options to make sure we're
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meeting the 50% reduction goal is going to be really critical. >> okay. thank you. i yield back. >> mr. mcgovern, five minutes. >> thank you. thank you all for being here. this has been excellent testimony and it's all common sense and it's all doable. it doesn't seem like it's rocket science to be able to implement a sensible food waste policy in this country. if i have a suggestion, we should just put you all in a room, write the policy and tell us to fund it and we're done. because i think you represent the vast array of the players that need to be at the table. a few weeks ago i was invited by the amherst cinema to react to a show called "just eat it." it was a couple who decided to live for six months on food waste. at the beginning of the film they thought they couldn't do it, they wouldn't be able to find good food waste to be able to live on. by the end of the film, they gained 20 pounds because it was so plentiful. and they were able to eat
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relatively healthy, but they ended up eating a lot because they uncovered so much discarded food. they went to dumpsters at supermarkets and uncovered huge amounts of discarded food. they went into the supermarkets to try to buy food like bananas that were being taken off the shelf and they were told by the people at the supermarket they couldn't sell it to them. so they discarded it and they went to the dumpster and got it. they had so much food left over they had a banquet at the end for all their friends. the bottom line is, we waste an enormous of good, nutrition, healthy food that not only could feed hungry people but quite frankly could be utilized in our schools and so many other places. and we need to fix this problem. there's an environmental aspect of this, too, moving away from landfills going into digesters and composting and feeding animals versus kind of the way we're doing it with landfills. but i come at this issue
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primarily from the hunger aspect. we've got close to 50 million people in this country who are hungry. we should all be ashamed of that. and while what we're talking about today is not a substitute for snap or wic or other feud nutrition programs, keirly getting good new trigs food to people who are struggle willing is really important. so then we get to the infrastructure issues. you know, on that panel i was on, it was a farmer who out of the goodness of his heart kind of brings his excess produce to the food bank of western massachusetts. but he didn't get any incenti incentives. he doesn't -- there's no -- it's hard, and he's a small farm. i think a lot of people are faced with this. they don't have the labor force or they don't have the refrigerat refrigerated trucks to do the transporting of the food. then even at food banks there's a limited amount of refrigerati refrigeration. then you could talk about trying to get it to smaller stores or whatever. they have ai limited amount of
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refrigerati refrigeration. in tfap, we authorize $100 million for transportation and storage. we never funded it at that. it's like half of that. so at some point we've got to figure out a way to fund this. and ms. aviv and mr. fink, maybe we could talk a little bit about the infrastructure challenges especially when it comes to feeding the hungry in this country. you know, how do we piece together the funding? how much does it cost in? how do we do this? >> gosh, i'd have to get back on you about how much it costs altogether. we were hopeful it would be funded at 100 million. i couldn't tell you whether 100 million would solve the problem. but it would sure solve more of a problem than $59 million. simply because the need is so great. and with 50 million people or near 50 million people face hunger in the united states, we have a big problem. and all of the food that we provide which is well over 3.5 billion meals is just a small
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part of what we're able to provide. the infrastructure is on two levels. it's what i mentioned before, the one side is the refrigeration and the transportation and our being able to harness it and keep it safe, the food safe. the other side of it are the people who need to access this. in rural communities it's much more difficult, but within the cities it's a problem as well. we also have big challenges in when we get donations there may be a whole lot of one item and it may be nutritious but not everybody can live on carrots alone. so we need diversity. mixing centers and a variety of things that make it possible for people to have access to all of this. >> right. >> i think that being able to harness more of the food that's going to waste would go a long way to solving the problem, but it wouldn't solve the whole problem. >> mr. fink? >> i think the good news is there really isn't that much capital needed on the
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infrastructure side in the grand scheme for the recovery standpoi standpoint. and it's needed and we've all talked about a need for information technology and infrastructure like refrigerator trucks and refraij rairts at food banks and stuff like that. in the grand scheme that isn't a huge amount of capital. think about we talked about uber for food waste. that's really when you look about it, it's sort of infrastructure light in that perspective. the other point you mentioned is the environmental aspect. and that there is a large need for capital for composting and an aerobic digestion. you know, that requires a significant amount of capital. i guess i will say that the private sector is very interested in participating in that capital structure. foundation and impact investors are very interested so there's the opportunity for public/private partnerships i think there needs to be some signaling from you all of what needs to be done but there's a very willing investors on the
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other side. >> thank you. thank you. >> i would tell the group that we are working on getting a screening for our members and staff of "just eat it". >> great. >> we'll keep everybody posted on that so all of us can have a chance to take advantage of watching that experience and see what we can learn from it. mr. crawford, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the panel for being here today. i want to switch gears a little bit we had an awful lot of pushback from schools superintendents, teachers, parents, coaches when the national school lunch program rules changed back i think in 2012. it started being implemented that school year. and the complaint we got from school districts was just huge amounts of waste, where children were just not used to the menu items and so they would essentially turn up their nose at what they had been offered and, you know, the standards
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aside the waste was one of the biggest issues. so administrators or superintendents rather are challenged by trying to take their food budget and cash flow with general funds. anybody given any consideration to how you analyze food waste in schools and what we might do to heavy alleviate that problem? anybody want to comment on that? >> i'll say one thing briefly. i think there's really great opportunity in schools both in the cafeteria and in the classroom. a couple of people have alluded to other places where we've made a lot of progress in social change and aloft that is also things like smoking, recycling, where we actually talked about them in schools. so there's a really good opportunity to kind of point this out to kids. and then in terms of the cafeterias and the school lunch rooms, i think there's still some confusion like so many things we talked about around liability protection. i think there's opportunity within even the emerson act to really clearly with guidance to say to schools, here's how this
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also applies to you. usda is doing good work on this. they've put out info graphics and information about having sharing tables and donate food. but more can be done definitely. >> i would add that the flip side is that the more we can do to kind of get kids to eat their fruits and veggies the left waste there will be. so i think the solutions are the same and there's been a lot of documentation of efforts like the farm to table work and marketing produce to kids and some of those things that -- recipes that make the food taste good so it's not just sort of veggies out of a can that look drab or things like that that can really help to both address waste as well as health and fruit and vegetable consumption. and also i think the ideas around share tables in schools
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is very opportune because, you know, you have these kids who are taking a full carton of milk because they have to take it and throwing it straight in the garbage can. and that is just a shame. and a huge waste. and i think there's real opportunity for guidance along with the funds that are delivered through the school program to really direct schools to allow for sharing of that food. >> mr. oxford? >> there's a new program in texas called brighter bites and it's a unique partnership between food banks schools and growers and packers to provide 50 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables to students in at risk schools for free. and this program introduces new products to children at a very early age while providing educational materials to their parents on menu ideas for using them and so forth. 98% of the parents reported that their children ate more fruits and vegetables while participating in the program and 74% were able to maintain that
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increased consumption after the program ended. so as ms. gunders said, trying to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables would be a big help. >> yes, ma'am? >> maybe our experience in other areas might be helpful here. we have a program that focuses on foods to encourage and our experience is that even though we might think that there are a whole range of foods grains and produce and proteins that are healthy and good for folks to eat it doesn't mean necessarily that they will lean into it if their life experience was different. and we have learned from the work that our food banks and pantries have been doing is that the way in which it's presented, the way in which it's talked about, the way in which it's approached makes a big difference. simply putting it on the plate, if kids have not seen it before and adults for that matter, won't get us to where we want to go. but an education effort, encouragement, presentation makes a big difference. it's also true for people who walk into supermarkets when it's
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beautifully presented they lean into it and want to do it. we need to apply it also in this area. >> indeed. just as an aside in the time i have left, we actually have a hearing to this effect in my in district o'and collected a lot of comments to address the school nutrition program, and i think one of the i thought most productive comments came from one of the moms on the panel who suggested these programs be implemented on a gradual scale, that is, k through 2, as opposed to k through 12, and graduate that into implementation over time so that children are -- sort of grow into, as you suggest, making healthier food choices. do you agree with that? >> i'm not an expert on whether that's the right age group, but certainly the notion of encouraging people and not forcing them and making it a delightful thing to do rather than a required thing to do is likely to succeed.
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the particulars i'll leave to other experts. >> thank you. i'll yield back. the gentleman's time has expired. >> the gentle lady from north carolina, ms. adams. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you all for being here. it's been really great testimony. let me just take a moment to recognize my foster student from greensboro, north carolina, my home, jamie wharton. and if jamie's here, if she'll stand up. >> jamie, thank you for being here. [ applause ] >> thank you. next week will be the one-year anniversary of the adams hunger initiative that i launched in the 12th district in north carolina to raise awareness of the high level of hunger and food insecurity in the communities that i represent. north carolina ranks ninth in the nation. and my district, first in the state in terms of food insecurity. so we have a serious problem. i've been concerned about that. hunger is a consequence of not having a good-paying job that earns enough food to put on the table and to raise a family. and as some of you have mentioned today, developing food recovery as a business model
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will help local farmers stay in business, create jobs to help with the additional prarpgs, and distribution of donated food to those who need it. my first question is to the north carolinian on the panel, mr. oxford. mr. oxford, your testimony lays out several ways that your company and other members of the produce marketing association are finding innovative ways to reduce food waste and to maximize the use of leftover produce within our nation's food system. so what support can both the public and private sector provide to farmers to educate them on opportunities and incentives to move more food products that are not destined for market to food banks? >> thank you, representative adams. and appreciate your support here in washington, d.c. we believe there's opportunity for greater education across the board.
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our experience with lnm has been very positive in working with the florida association of food banks and the feeding america program and others. and ensuring that producers understand the options is helpful but equally important in reducing food waste is educating consumers. we've already talked a little about some of the things. we've talked about the need to change behavior that one of your colleagues mentioned. and i think that's very critical from -- if we want to make a real difference and move the needle here. changing behavior in our senses speaking on behalf of the produce marketing asoefgs, that beginning that dialogue and trying to change behaviors starts at a young age. that's where we learn our habits and our values and so forth. one of the things the produce marketing association has been involved with including with the partnership for healthy america and the white house has been a program called eat brighter.
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and i should mention sesame workshop, which has provided their assets, their characters for free to put on the packaging for fresh produce. so changing -- having a collaborative dialogue and getting more people involved is critical. >> thank you. miss aviv, several universities in north carolina operate campus kitchens. these student-run organizations use university facilities to turn donated food in to meals for those who need it. what federal laws protect campus kitchens and food donors from liability? what recommendations would you make to encourage more farmers and food processors to donate unwanted food products to food pantries and feeding organizations? >> thanks for your question and also all of the work that you do in this area. as you know, the federal bill emerson good samaritan liability protection act, which we've talked about some today, quite a lot, makes it possible to
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provide protection for people donating fit and wholesome food to a non-profit organization. and it provides critical assurance of liability protection to donors. and while there may be some ways in which it can be strengthened, the big challenge that we face is that too many people don't know about it, including on campuses. and the degree to which we systematically educate people about this is the degree to which i think that we'll be able to increase donations in a meaningful kind of a way. >> okay. would feeding america support being able to use funds from the emergency food assistance program to directly purchase leftover produce from farmers? >> that is a very complicated question because our experience is that in fact the tfap purchases right now with tfap friends, we already do that. that's what we believe. and that we do it at scale. and that at this point in time
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for us to change that we're not sure that that would be the right way to go. but that said, there's an opportunity for us to take a look at how to do it with smaller donations because we're doing this at scale and we would be very happy to work with you and others to look into that. >> well, thank you. i'd love to do that. and i yield back. my time's up. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. miss lujan grisham, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thanks again for such a great panel in highlighting that while we need to do more so that individuals and families are not so food insecure in this country, i make this statement at every hearing because until it's resolved it hurts me every day to remind all of my colleagues and everyone who comes before this committee that new mexico is still one of the hungriest states in the country. and every single day i know there are children in my
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district and in the state who are some of the hungriest children in the entire country. so the work that we do that leverages, that makes sure that we're encouraging, as you do, incredible private work as well as i think our responsibility to change a variety of systems so that people really have the support that they need to be food secure and to have all the other necessary basic issues addressed in their lives so that they can be successful. and i know that this question's been asked about -- we're limited in what we can really do and accomplish because for every donation there's an issue about getting it picked up and storing it and far too much money actually is needed to do that. and in fact, i have a bill that says look, let's put 100 million
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in so that we're not asking food banks to decide between having food available for their families or paying for the administrative -- i'm going to call it administrative, or the other structural issues. which is storing and transporting this food. so i know that that's been asked, what else can we do. but maybe the thing to do is are there any private groups who are looking at until -- and i hope i convince my colleagues to support my request to put more money in, to not be borrowing or leveraging in this way, to be very clear that we need to pay for transporting and picking up and storing foods. i actually have a situation in my district where we had to say no to corn because we let it spoil because there was no way to go get it from the farmer who was donating it. there was no way for us to deal with it. are there businesses or groups who are now looking at ways to maybe invest in the
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transportation and the storing? there are folks in the feeding america environment that i can reach out to until we get this problem resolved. in my state in particular. in the southwest region. >> i would say there are a number of burgeoning businesses that are kind of addressing that problem through a private sector lens. so for instance, there's a company called imperfect produce that just started in california, and in just a few months they have over 3,500 people subscribing to their produce box. the offer -- that is all kind of seconds of produce. they offer it to people who qualify for snap at a reduced cost. it's already reduced because it's imperfect and then further reduced and it's delivered to their door. sow don't have the access issues. they don't have to go to the grocery store that may not be near them, et cetera. and they're getting basically $20 worth of produce for $5 or so delivered to their door. so i think there are some private sector solutions like
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that that are coming. >> i love that. do you think the private sector solution -- i'll ask them directly. so thanks for that heads-up. but you know, the challenges -- and not that they couldn't figure it out in my state. but it sounds like i'm diminishing. but when you're not urban, much harder to make those deliveries. and in a state where we have the worst economy in the country, the folks able to really do that and successfully manage that business model, it's been really tricky. do you see ways for really challenging states, rural, food deserts, not urban populations. if you're going to deliver a basket, you're going to drive 100 miles. do you see ways and strategies that are being developed with really challenging environments like mine? >> yeah, you know, what i would say -- >> i love that idea. thank you to the panelists. >> earlier we talked about modifying the standards for procurement. and i think, especially in your state and states nearby, there's
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so much that's grown and so much that's coming in from mexico that is getting rejected because it doesn't meet the absolute perfect standard. and there's a real opportunity for less perfect fruits and vegetables being processed. they don't have to be shipped and refrigerated. they could be processed and then be shipped in a different form. and so to me there's a huge opportunity to take a look at all of the fruits and vegetables that either are left on the farm or left somewhere in the supply chain and do some value-added processing and then be able to turn them around into rural communities. >> i appreciate that. and i'm already out of time. but i appreciate these ideas and the chairman's continued patience with me. these are really important to feeding families in my district, mr. chairman. thank you. >> the gentle lady yields back. turn to closing comments by the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, this is a very, very good hearing. and i think we accomplished a lot in this hearing. i hope we can take that away.
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i am particularly concerned, mr. chairman, i hope we've registered the point that we've really got to get our farmers, get our agribusiness community to get before this congress and share what is happening. and i really think because of our failure to deal with the immigration issue from a labor economics issue as it impacts food waste, which we see here, because they can't get the labor in the fields to get the food in the first place. and that is something we can do something about. and also, mr. chairman, as i mentioned, i think we need to coordinate a whole lot better with our food banks and to have this food waste in there when it could be beneficial to our food banks, the pieces of this is right out there. we've just got to reach out and grab it. and finally, changing that human behavior and mr. chairman, you
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mentioned to me a very good thing there when you whispered in my ear something that you all had a saying in the army. and i said to you, that -- if we took that to some television people and radio people, we could turn that into -- you could grab hold and educate people. would you share that with us? >> you're going through the mess line and the mess sergeant would say take what you want but eat what you take. >> take what you want but eat what you take. do you know -- i mean, that could be a great commercial. that could be a great deal. and who better to get on television to say that than you? we say that across the country. but seriously, mr. chairman, we've got to change that human behavior. and i think -- hopefully we touched some things on that. thank the panel. appreciate your coming. >> i too want to thank our panel and thank the gentleman for his comments. i want to thank our foster kids in the room. thank you all for being here. hope this has been instructive
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and not just boring you to death. we're talking about good stuff and one of the more rare bipartisan exchanges we've had today because i don't think we could find too many people who are in favor of food waste. that's a rare individual that would be in that case. i'd also like to get in the record several you have mentioned the tax deduction and how important that was. you gave credit in the omnibus bill, the much maligned am anybodyus bill that many of us on our side of the aisle just got beat to death because we were supportive of it. it was in the tax bill. both those were negotiated together. the same thing. so i appreciate you helping us, those of us that were criticized for passion the omnibus bill. there were some nuggets of good things in there. i'm also encouraged, we're trainable. look how quickly we adapted sneezing into our elbows. as soon as elbows started doing it on sesame street that blew up and we all now do that as a matter of course. we face water restrictions in west texas because of the drought. we ask people to turn their
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faucets off while they brush their teeth. that became a habit. and water reuse has dropped. didn't change anybody's lives but it helped a little bit of time every single day we went on. we announced it at 1:30 in this space we'll have the food waste fair while we have booths manned by a lot of folks coming around to show the good work that's been going on and to begin to highlight that. i do think their role for public service announcements to help other people become more cognizant of it and sensitive to the fact we don't throw things away. one of those other sayings from my early youth, and i'm haunted by is my mother used to say you need to be a member of the clean plate club. well, that had mixed messages. but it's because today i eat too much and i'm overweight. as a child my mother wasn't interested in wasting food. there are all these kinds of things that we can be better at and i'm encouraged by that. thank all six of you for coming here today, sharing. miss gunders, i think you get the prize for coming the
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furthest, from san francisco. but we do appreciate all the work that you do. it is collaborative work, and there's only winners in this deal. and this is something we should be able to get our arms around as we move forward. again, i thank our witnesses for being here today. under the rules of the committee the record of today's hearing will remain open for ten calendar days to receive additional materials, supplemented written responses from the witnesses to any questions posed by a number. this hearing of the committee of agriculture is adjourned. thank you.
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[ room noise ] the second day of hearings on wait lines at tsa checkpoints begins thursday at a house homeland security subcommittee hearing. members will hear testimony from airport executives from across the country.
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that will be live at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. centers for disease control and prevention tom frieden will talk about the zika virus outbreak and what's being done to prevent its spread. at a briefing in washington, d.c. we'll take you there live at 1:00 p.m. eastern. this memorial day weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. saturday evening at 6:00 evening on the civil war. >> sherman could not have agreed more, and by the time he captured atlanta in september 1864 his thoughts on the matter had fully matured. once again a rebel army had been defeated and another major city had fallen and still the confederates would not give up. so rather than continue the futile war against people, he would now wage war against property. >> georgia historical society
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president todd gross on union general william tecumseh sherman arguing that sherman's march to the sea campaign was hard war rather than total war and that his targets were carefully selected to diminish southern resolve. sunday evening at 6:00 on american artifacts take a tour with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. viewing some of the oldest rooms in the capital like the republican leader's suite, conference room, and his private office. >> and i have the good fortune to actually be here on august 28th, 1963 when martin luther king made the "i have a dream" speech. now, i confess i couldn't hear a word because i was down at this end of the mall, he was on the lincoln memorial looking out at throngs, literally thousands and thousands of people. but you knew you were in the presence of something really significant. >> then at 8:00 on "the presidency," former aides to lyndon johnson and richard nixon talk about the role of the presidents during the vietnam era. >> lbj anguished about that war
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every single day. and that is not an overstatement. the daily body counts. the calls either to or from the situation room often at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to see if the carrier pilots had returned. >> historian h.w. brand is joined by former lbj aide tom johnson and former nixon aide alexander butterfield to explore the president's foreign policies during the conflict. monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. eastern on real america our five-part series on the 1975 church committee hearings convened to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and the nsa. with testimony by cia director william colby, the fbi's james adams, nsa director jen lou allen, fbi informants, and others. >> we are here to review the major findings of our full investigation of fbi domestic intelligence including the co-intel program and other
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programs aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law-abiding citizens and groups, political abuses of fbi intelligence, and several specific cases of unjustified intelligence operations. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to c-span.org. this week on "washington journal's" spotlight on magazines, a contributor for "reason" joins us to discuss funding the war on terrorism. >> and we continue today with our ongoing spotlight on magazines series, featuring a recent edition of "reason" magazine. and inside that is this piece. the high price of security theater. the $4 trillion war on terror. where did the money go? jim bovard joining us, a contributor to "reason" magazine, to talk about this piece that he wrote.
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let's begin with this $4 trillion price tag first. how did you come up with that number? >> well, this is the total cost of the homeland security, the war on terrorism at home, and the cost of our wars abroad. in the last 15 years the u.s. government seized far more power. it's killed a huge number of people. but killing foreigners is not a recipe for keeping americans safe. and it's unfortunate the entire political culture in this country has changed. people became far more deferential to washington. and it was almost as if people had to maintain faith in the government keeping us safe or else we'll all be killed. the government has been able to be far more secretive. the government has -- both the bush and the obama administration have acted like the constitutional law does not apply. and part of the result is a torrent of government spending, most of which is wasteful and some of which has directly destroyed our freedoms. >> there hasn't been another
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9/11/2001 terrorist attack since 2001. so is it money well spent? >> there was not one -- not a major attack like that before 9/11. so i mean, simply because there hasn't been another massive attack doesn't prove that all the stuff the government is doing is justified because if you -- you know, a lot of people tend to look at the war on terror with a broad brush overview. but what i try to do in this article is walk through the details, walk through the absurdities, walk through some of the details like for instance homeland security is financing fusion centers around the country, which are creating these data bases of suspicious activity. and for instance, out in los angeles there's a data base that was keeping track of people that were hanging around talking on their cell phones too long or joggers who were hanging out. there's other data base that's have targeted gun owners or libertarian types or people that are anti-immigration. and you have these huge garbage bins, federal garbage bins which
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all these different agencies are tossing in unverified information. it's building up millions of dossiers on americans. and this information can and will be used against people. and so it's not simply a laughable boondoggle, but these are programs which are deadly perils to our liberty. >> $1 billion since 2001 spent on these fusion centers. >> well, senator coburn had a great report on this. and he was -- you know, he asked some simple questions of the homeland security, well, how much did you spend? we don't know. homeland security gave him estimates that varied 400%. this is not a difficult question. and not only that, but the feds cannot even say how many different fusion centers that there were. at one point they were saying 71, 72. well, it's 77. where are the others? they're a secret. i mean, it's amazing how much secrecy the government has gotten away with in the last 15 years when so many times the veil of secrecy simply covered
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official lies. we saw that with the invasion of iraq. we've seen that with the -- obama's drone program. we've seen that with some of the shifting rationales for our bombing of libya. and yet folks don't realize that if the government's allowed to keep secrets and lie to them then self-government is a charade. >> the biggest price tag you note in your piece is the war spending. $3 trillion. so of this $4 trillion that's been spent, 3 trillion has been on these wars. explain. >> yeah. the most expensive single issues have been the war in iraq and the war in afghanistan. and the war in iraq was justified as a response to 9/11. the bush administration sought to make people work very hard to give the impression saddam had a link to 9/11 even though they knew it was false. three or four years after the invasion they backed off of that. for a while they said they were bringing democracy to iraq. that hasn't worked so well. they've also said that they're
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trying to get better treatment for women. that hasn't worked very well. same thing in afghanistan. i mean, it's understandable the u.s. would have gone after the taliban after afghanistan had been used as a base for the 9/11 attacks. but there was no need to occupy the country. and we have spent vast amounts of money and thousands of american soldiers' lives in this charade of making afghanistan a democracy. and they've had two major presidential elections, both of which were decided by massive fraud which the u.s. government admitted and then say, well, but the government -- it's still kind of legitimate so, we'll keep propping it up. american soldiers have died for nothing in afghanistan and iraq. >> the war on terror. the cost according to "reason" magazine and jim bovard, $4 trillion since 2001. we're taking your comments and your questions on that this morning. democrats 202-748-8000. republicans 202-748-8001. and independents 202-748-8002.
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start dialing in. also one of the other big price tags is the fbi. $30 billion. what was that money for? where has it gone? >> well, the fbi has got a huge increase in its budget even though the fbi screw-ups with a major reason the 9/11 hijackers succeeded. there was a huge effort to sweep the federal failures under the rug after 9/11 but the cia and the fbi failed massively as far as keeping track of the people that ab apparently carried out the 9/11 attacks. there were so many warning signs, but the feds were simply incompetent. and yet in spite of being incompetent they've gotten huge increases in the budget. one thing the fbi has done has been massively engage in entrapment. they've been setting up people all over the country. there are some people who are actually dangerous. but what the fbi has often done
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is just find knnitwits and persuade them to do some babble about islam and a number of times the fbi's given them mock bombs or fake things and then busted them. it works out great for the fbi. they have two or three days of great headlines and everybody's saying thank god they keep us safe. a week or two weeks or a month later the details come out and it looks like brazen entrapment. you had the case down in liberty city, miami. we had five or six guys who were roped into this by an fbi informant and those guys were so dumb that they asked the fbi guy for terrorist uniforms. okay. we don't need protection against would-be terrorists who ask for uniforms. okay? but this is the kind of thing that works out great for the fbi for their pr and their budget. and unfortunately most people in congress have been utterly cervserve
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isle both on the fbi and other agencies. congress is supposed to do -- most of them have lined up to polish federal boots in the war on terror. >> you note in your story trevor aaronson author of the terror factory, inside the fbi's manufactured war on terrorism, he estimates only about 1% of the 500 people charged with international terrorism offenses in the decade after 9/11 were bona fide threats. >> yeah. and his book is one of the best analyses, one of the most thorough breakdowns of that. and here's another thing. a lot of the trouble with the war on terrorism is the definition of terrorism because it's very vague and it's also very -- it works out well for the government. because if some american sends $100 to some of these groups in syria that have been classified as terrorists that american can be sent to prison for five years for material support for terrorism. but if the u.s. government decides to send the same group a bunch of weaponry, well, that's not a problem. our policy in syria epitomizes the irrationality and just the
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mindlessness of the war on terror. "l.a. times" reported a month or two ago that in syria right now there are cia-backed rebels fighting pentagon-backed rebels. okay. do we really need to have this -- the u.s. government has gotten in the habit of intervening so often on every side of the issue that these kind of absurdities occur. but because it was the "l.a. times" and not the "washington post" people in washington say i didn't hear about that. we have trouble with attention deficit democracy on capitol hill as well because most of the congressmen are very poorly informed about the war on terror. as well as being servile. >> kim is up first in santa cruz, california. independent caller. hi, kim. >> caller: hi. i'm very concerned that the constitution is not being -- what do i want to say? not being held up. when they go and do an
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assassination on osama bin laden, who is actually -- what did seymour hersh say? was actually just sitting there a prisoner of war. how i feel like our congress is criminal. why isn't -- why wasn't bush ever put in jail? cheney ever put in jail? i don't understand any of this. >> it's a really good point about the constitution. it's very frustrating to me because i was raised and told that america was a nation that obeys the law and that we have rule of law in this country. but for the war on terror it's almost nothing but sovereign immunity. the government can do whatever it wants and the government is never prosecuted. as far as the constitution, the eighth amendment prohibits torture. and as well as federal law prohibited torture. yet you had starting in 2002 the bush administration embraced that. and then obama came into office and he chose not to prosecute the people that were involved in
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torture except for the one cia guy, john carrick, who blew the whistle on the torture. he was the only cia official prosecuted for torture even though he was a hero. and the fourth amendment, which protects us from unreasonable sour searches and seizures that has been completely shredded in the war on terror. if you look at what edward snowden courageously brought out, why have there not been any indictments on that? but instead you have a rationale in washington where they circle the wagons, it doesn't matter what laws were violated, it doesn't matter how many americans' rights have been trampled or shredded, the government's still sacrosanct. >> bill in new mexico, a democrat. good morning. >> caller: good morning to both of you. greta, you need to have an interview with morgan reynolds. he was the top economist under the bush administration, george bush administration. he's now a professor at a&m in
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texas university. you and james both need to interview this individual. >> i know morgan. >> caller: yes. and discuss his book. and thank you for your time and effort, james. >> well, thank you, sir. >> tell us about who he's talking about and how do you know him. >> morgan reynolds has done some very good work on government interventions, on government waste. he's very free market oriented. he's very skeptical of the official story on 9/11. i am not so skeptical of that. i think it was basically a vast number of government screw-ups, which the government does well. one of the few things the government does well. but it's frustrating to me to see -- it's understandable to me that a lot of people would think that 9/11 was a conspiracy because the government has changed the story so many times. but that doesn't prove the government did it. and if you look at the 9/11 commission, for instance, when their report came out in the summer of 2004, which was very timely for bush's re-election
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campaign, it basically avoided finding fault with the government, instead had all these broad big theories. it turned out a lot of the 9/11 commission information came from torture. the 9/11 commissioners were actually sending requests to the cia to find out more information about this and that and so many of the details which they provided in their official storyline of the 9/11 attacks came from torture of some of the suspects. phillip chennin of the "new york times" has done some excellent work on that. it's not just me. you have that look on your face kind of like uh-oh, where's he going with this? where's he going? >> not at all. finish your thought, though. >> i was just saying it's typical of how official history is written in d.c. that you have this panel, this bipartisan panel, the 9/11 commission, which largely ab sovld the government and relied on torture. and that fact comes out three or four years later and people say, eh. but this is how history's written in d.c. >> what i wanted to add to the
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conversation is this whole debate over the 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report because senator rand paul wants to add an amendment to the national defense authorization bill that the senate's debating and voting on this week that would release those 28 pages. >> yeah. i'm all in favor of that. i wrote a story for "usa today" last july on this. there's a group called 28pages.org that does great work. it's really helped propel this issue. it makes no sense for the u.s. to be covering up these key materials, this key information on what happened on 9/11 especially when it appears that the saudi government may have been -- the people in the saudi government may have been financing some of the people that carried out the 9/11 attacks. 15 of the 19 people reported hijackers as saudis and yet you had the bush administration, you had others just very anxious to sweep this under the rug. senator bob graham of florida, former senator, has done great work on this issue. >> we are talking about james bovard's piece in "reason"
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magazine, the recent edition of it. the title, "the high price of security theater: the $4 trillion war on terror, where did the money go." martina, north andover, massachusetts. republican. you're next. >> caller: yes. i'm actually independent. but i'm speaking -- i'd like to speak to the issue of the sale of arms being big business, big profit. it ties into the issue of war, the fear-based culture that we live in. president obama's visit to vietnam lifting the arms embargo for sale of arms. my question would be why are we going around the world selling arms, adding to the mayhem, big sale, big arms sales, big bucks, big mayhem. on a most basic level when a child hits a friend with a bat do we give them another bat? no, we take the bat away. and i think james is a voice of reason. and i think many of us need to get on board with
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practicalities, common sense. why are we arming up all of these people, all of these whatever you want to call them, and wondering about what happens after the fact. >> thanks for your comment. thanks for the excellent question. it's -- yeah. it's a good point about all these sales, the arms sales. and i think there's a lot of parallels if you look at who's donated to the clinton foundation and who's -- i mean, there's been a big increase i think in the approvals for arms sales since obama took office, especially when hillary clinton was president. secretary of state. there was an article in "mother jones" recently that broke down some of the parallels between a lot of the big military contractors have donated to the clinton foundation and they've done very well under this. the article -- the comment on the fear-based culture, we have that in this country as well because basically what we have is an awful lot of fear mongering. there's been a profound change in the american politics the
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last 15 years and it's made it much easier for the government to push the fear alarm and make a lot of people a lot more docile. you see that with tsa. you see folks willing to do anything. i mean, they would bend over and squeal if tsa said so. i mean, it's amazing to see how the government's become so much more intrusive. and i've written a lot about tsa. the tsa chief publicly condemned my work a couple years ago. i was hurt deeply. but it's interesting to chat folks up in the tsa line and see, well, what do you think of this. a lot of them are kind of saying this is a bunch of crap. but others are saying, i'm glad that they're keeping me safe. and i'm thinking, like, you know, i've got a bridge in brooklyn i'll sell you. but politicians have sold that bridge in brooklyn to the american people. that's why our federal debt has skyrocketed. >> the congress will hear from the tsa administrator today up on capitol hill to testify about what's going on with those long airport security lines. that's at 10:00 a.m. eastern
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time on c-span 3 this morning. and you write about the tsa in this piece that we're talking about and how much money has gone to them since 2001. $70 billion for the tsa. tsa behavior detection officers, another billion. tsa time wasting. you calculated that at 8 billion. so we'll talk about that. >> yeah, that's low. that's very low. >> tell us about time wasting by tsa. >> yeah, i mean, basically people need to get to the airport earlier than what they would have in the pre-9/11 era. maybe half an hour, maybe an hour. i mean, crap, tsa is telling people now to get to the airport three hours early. you've got a place in chicago and they get there that early and they're just stretched out forever. that's a real cost. and that's something that changes. you mentioned behavior detection. tsa has thousands of behavior detection officers who are kind of wandering around airports and they're looking for micro signs, micro aggression, whatever,
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people's faces that would give away the fact that they have terrorist intent. now, for instance, if someone is yawning or someone seems nervous or they're sweaty, that's a sign you that might be a terrorist. but tsa is the only security agency in the world that considers it a terrorist warning sign if someone has excessive complaints about airport security. >> and boith by the way, this hearing today about tsa also on c-span radio. you can tune in if you're in your car but also if you have your cell phone or mobile device, we have a radio app you can listen to what the tsa administrator has to say there. doug, newport news, virginia, independent caller. you're next. >> caller: hello. it's a pleasure to talk with you this morning. i have a question about the budgetary concerns regarding the wars. senator bernie sanders is proposing what people are miscalling a free college. he's actually propose iing coll
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reimbursement for state college tuition. anybody who's ever gone to college understands that tuition is a small part of going to college. you have room and board and books and living expenses also. would the cost of the wars in afghanistan be able to pay for people to go to college on his program? >> i don't know the breakdown of the separate costs in afghanistan. i'm also not exactly sure what senator sanders is proposing. it would -- you know, it would certainly -- well, it's fascinating to see the details in afghanistan because we poured in hundreds of billions of dollars and it's financed corruption. for instance, in the top military hospital in afghanistan the afghan equivalent of walter reed there was so much corruption that wounded soldiers starved to death because they could not pay bribes to the hospital staff for food.
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"washington post" had a great story a couple weeks ago about how the afghan army doesn't have boots because they're so corrupt in their contracting that the boots they get fall apart the first time soldiers wear them. i mean, we've simply fizzled this away and we've made afghan a more corrupt place because of it. >> paul is calling from arizona. an independent caller. you're on the air. >> caller: good morning. i would like james to maybe address the subject of terrorism didn't start in a vacuum. the creation of the hate of our way of life was due to our own actions. and now we're spending, like he says, $4 trillion here already fighting something that is an idea and a reaction to our past policies. >> mr. bovard. >> that's an excellent point. there are, if you look back at
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9/11, osama bin laden said there were three primary reasons for it. one of which was u.s. troops being stationed in the muslim holy land, in saudi arabia. another one was the embargo on iraq. another one was u.s. support of israel. you know, especially on the troops in saudi arabia, it made no sense to have them there, to be stirring up all that hatred. and our other policies have also done that. but what we need is a supply-side anti-terrorism policy because at this point the u.s. government is doing so many things, it's creating new terrorists and it's going to be people that will hate us in the future. and might want to kill us. for instance, obama's drone policy. the president has been very secretive about how many people he's killed. and there have been a lot of civilians who died in those attacks, and we don't know how many. and the obama administration had some hokeum about how, well, if it was a military-age male, which means a male between the
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age of what, 16 and 50 or 60, then we're going to assume he was a terror suspect. well, this is utterly -- this is absurd. but this is how the government covers its butt. and we're seeing this forever in the war on terror. we're seeing the logic being twisted. we're seeing the secrecy. and the only consistent thing is the government always wins. >> how did it come about that transportation security administration, you put the price tag at $70 billion. how'd you come to that figure and how did it come about that tsa would get that much money, more than the fbi in this war against terror? >> well, see, you have to keep in mind that right after 9/11 the transportation secretary promised the tsa would hire the best and the brightest and that's where they've gotten all the money. basically, i just added up their budget from 2002 onwards. and it's interesting. tsa's moaning and groaning about
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how it's struggling right now with budget cuts. tsa had more agents and i think a larger budget in 2007 when there were more travelers than what it has right now. these huge delays at tsa are largely because tsa's more intrusive. these whole body scanners are not worth a gallon of spoiled milk and yet you have them swelling up the airports. and you also have tsa being much more aggressive. i was flying back from portland on thanksgiving and i got to the airport early and i chose to opt out instead of going through the whole body scanners and the tsa agent does the usual patent and he takes off his gloves. then he takes you over to the explosive trace detector and goes oh, this shows a positive alert for explosives. you know, i was out in oregon. it wasn't like i was launching missiles or spending time -- i said, what explosive does it show? i don't know. it's a code. well, you know, how often do you get false alerts from this? that's classified. okay. so he and two other agents take
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me to a private screening room where i get an enhanced pat-down where it's a lot more vig rois, a lot more aggressive and it concludes with this tsa guy basically grinding his hand, his palm into my groin like he's trying to turn my family jewels into a pancake. so i have tsa on that in "usa today." i've filed a foia request and got the videotapes of when i was going through that checkpoint. and it has all the different segments except when i'm taken behind closed doors, where they were very aggressive. and this is like a metaphor of the entire war on terror. yeah, it seems bad, it seems stupid, and then they take you behind closed doors and it gets a whole lot worse. and yet very few people on capitol hill have really turned up the heat on tsa. there have been some people. john mica's hammered them at times. >> just on our show yesterday. >> yep. yep. i mean, i wish he would twist the -- would be more vigorous on
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that. but i think it was a congressman from south carolina, clyburn -- >> james clyburn. >> yeah. james clyburn said one of the problems with tsa is it doesn't treat congressmen specially, it doesn't realize that congressmen need to be really -- hey, this is a special class. i'd love to know how many of these congressmen effectively get a pass and don't get hassled by tsa. president obama said that nobody would say that tsa was an example of how people are losing their freedoms. and tell that to the people in lines in chicago and atlanta and tell that -- i mean, there's a lot of women who have been horrendously abused in these enhanced pat-downs. it's a lot more of a trauma for a woman than for a guy. and it's unjustified. it's sheer harassment. >> salem, oregon. ron is there, a republican, next. you're on the air. >> caller: yeah, thank you. good morning. you know, what's really got us in this mess is our eight-year lame duck. and we really don't need hillary
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to follow that up. >> all right. that was ron's opinion. we'll go to shawn. providence, rhode island. a democrat. good morning. >> caller: greetings. certainly i appreciate c-span. can you hear me? >> we can, shawn. >> caller: anyway. james is a very bright guy with a very astute and very broad knowledge of the circumstances. my question is what would you replace it with? because your description is very doomsday. and i appreciate it fully. because nobody could be more disappointed with our government and its non-functional status than me. but what would you replace it with? what kind of world -- you're a philosopher type. what kind of world vision do you have that would be much more successful in terms of harmonizing the people on the face of the earth and enabling them to live somewhat peacefully? >> yeah, thanks for the excellent question. i've written about free trade a lot over the last few decades. i did a book a while back called fair trade criticizing protectionism. free trade is one thing. but if we simply mind our own
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business it's not a panacea. there will still be people who hate us no matter if we don't bomb their country or overthrow their government or things like that. but that would be a great first step. and on the home front privatize airport security. it would be a huge step. i mean, you had the i.g. report that leaked out last year, showed that the tsa failed 95% of the time to detect bombs and explosives. okay. it didn't fail 100% of the time. but it almost cannot be worse. but a fundamental change between 9/11 -- i mean and now is going to the airports now you're dealing with federal agents. they have sovereign immunity. they can harass you. they can sexually assault you. they can steal your things. fbi -- the tsa's fired more than 500 agents for stealing from passengers. and that's probably only the tip of the iceberg on the amount of theft that's been happening. they've had more than 70,000
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people have complained to the tsa about theft or damaged luggage or property from the tsa. we need to put the government back on a leash. and that's the fundamental problem because the government is out of control. it's been out of control since 9/11 when george w. bush promised that he would rid the world of evil. and i was -- you know, i was watching him on tv, and he said that, and i said, okay, now people are going to laugh. they haven't. instead people just said oh, that's a great idea. let's rid the world of evil. and the first thing that he does is unleash the government to rid the world of evil. but the founding fathers realized that the most -- that the most basic step is put a leash on the politicians because otherwise they will destroy our rights, our freedom, and our prosperity. >> by the way, a tweet from steven who says "attention deficit democracy. that's a line i will reuse. very apt." that's also the title of your book. >> it's a book i wrote in 2006. >> you're writing in "usa today"
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as well about corruption. we can talk about that a little bit. but what do you focus on? where is most of your research and your writing on? >> well, basically, i just try to think of topics that would help build faith in government. >> your sarcasm is coming through. >> hey, i was hoping it did. the last time i was on -- last time i was on c-span, the host asked me, well, what is your political orientation? i said, well, you know, i'm a moderate. and he says, you don't sound like one. no. i just try to -- what i've done for decades is try to write about things that would help people understand how the government has far too much power and it's not something a democrat or republican thing. i've done books attacking bill clinton. i've done books attacking george w. bush. but the politicians as a class have far too much power oaf the rest rest us and the government is a deadly peril to our rights and
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liberties. this is what americans used to understand. but now there's this officer friendly notion of government that we're supposed to presume that the government's going to be like some kind of guardian angel and it doesn't matter what we do or where we go, the government will take care of us. but again, i just try to focus on the nuts and bolts of what the government does to help people recognize how much of their rights and liberties that they have lost. and also to make them laugh at times. because laughing at the government is a badge of freedom. >> san francisco, david, independent. good morning. >> caller: yeah, good morning. i agree and disagree with him. i suspect actually that "operation gladio" is behind 9/11 and this whole situation. but i'm interested in how he calculated the top secret budget. you know, if basically the taxpayers are supposed to have taxation with representation,
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now it's against the law for the congressmen to even know how the budgets are being spent, much less it's against the law for them to tell us how these budgets are being -- >> david, you're referring to the intelligence budgets. >> caller: well, he's talking about a $4 trillion spending campaign. and how does he -- >> we'll take that point. jim bovard, the intelligence budgets were not known. it was secret. was not allowed to be public. and then in the past, what, five years or something congress said -- >> snowden. snowden. one word. snowden. >> we'll let you know what the top line is for the intelligence. >> right. and it's an excellent question, the caller. i appreciate that. this is a good example of how this cloak of secrecy has covered up so many things the government has done since 9/11. i think that they're saying the intelligence budget agencies are around what, 56, 55, 59.
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>> billion. >> yeah, billion. but if you just have a round number it's sort of like going to a car dealer and you ask about a car, well, that's 40,000. what do i get for 40,000? i can't tell you. and this is what we have with so many of these federal agencies. and the nsa has basically screwed up massively before 9/11 and has the budget has greatly increased of course. and it's an example. but a lot of these other intelligence agencies, we've got no idea what the heck they're doing. it was wonderful that snowden did what he did. i wish there were a dozen more. and there's other agencies like the state department. the state department has so much secret funding. on foreign aid we have very little idea how much of it is spent because as the old saying goes, foreign aid is money from a government, to a government, for a government. >> and that's what you're
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writing about today in "usa today" p. >> that's part of what i wrote about today, how u.s. foreign aid is breeding corruption around the world at the same time that john kerry is taking his public vow to fight corruption. it's a paradox. >> when it comes to surveillance and edward snowden you put the price tag at 500 billion in your story. >> yeah, that's the price for a lot of the surveillance stuff since 9/11. not strictly limited to the war on terror. because again, it's not broken out. but there's a huge increase in that. and i was reading last night some of the other details i hadn't been aware of on this. i think it was in 2011 the obama administration was trying to set up a system where it could track everybody's cell phone movements. they have a lot of time on their hands if they want to do that. you get a lot of false positives. because the budgets have been almost unlimited they've been able to pull in all this money and they'd just like to stockpile information on the rest of us. but it's important to have a
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balance between the citizens and the government. and with the surveillance people have become more afraid to criticize the government and the government has got a lot more trump cards to play against the citizens. it makes a mockery of the self-government. >> back to calls. jim in grand forks, north dakota. republican. >> hey. how are you doing, james? >> good. >> caller: i agree and disagree. i voted for bush, and i made a mistake. to me i kind of like laugh -- try to laugh too to keep from crying. one of the things is i try to pretend sometimes i'm in an orwell novel because it seems like that we're told one thing and yet we -- deep down inside we remember the past. like me and you, i'm 52, i remember -- like i called one time before. jumping on an airplane was very innocent and fun. and why was that, james? i think you probably know why. because we were a homogenous people.
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and one of the most beneficial things about hom oj nooet, racial homogeneity is trust. we weren't a perfect country. we had a lot of problems between back and white. but we did not have this mistrust. of course the government does not trust us. that's what's going on here. and the government refuses to say who the enemy is. so we're all basically guilty. >> okay. jim bovard, do you have any thoughts? >> well, it's interesting. if you go to a place like holland, you've got a wide variety of nationalities there and yet the government isn't paranoid of everybody and treating them all like they're a terror suspect all the time. it's interesting. there are places -- it would be easy for the government to focus on real terrorist threats if they chose to do that. instead the government gets a lot more power by creating
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almost everybody as a threat. he was saying that folks are somewhat homogenous. my experience with tsa, tsa often doesn't like me, and i've wondered if tsa has a secret profile for scruffy rednecks or maybe ornery rednecks or people that just kind of radiate like this is a bunch of crap. so anyhow. >> crofton, maryland. mike. independent caller. >> caller: yeah. thank you so much for being on the program. really refreshing to hear. i wanted to ask you how much of a factor is like rhetoric in all of this? like phrases such as war on terror, for example. >> mike, we'll take that. >> yeah, it's an excellent question. the whole phrase war on terror. well, what is terror? terror is bad things done by non-governments. but if it's government killing somebody then it's not terrorism, it's public service. and it's almost that absurd.
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but if you look at some of the governments the u.s. supports like uzbekistan, which i guess a decade ago used some u.s. aid to just slaughter hundreds of demonstrators, and which is known for taking dissidents and boiling them alive in vats of oil, but they still get u.s. foreign aid. if you look at haiti, utterly corrupt. the u.s. gives money to governments that are horrendously persecuting their own people. but that's not terrorism. the sovereign immunity is a pandora's box and it's much more so with the war on terror. because the government can commit so many more atrocities. if you look at the court decisions on the torture cases from the bush administration, you've got judge after judge basically saying, well, it would be unseemly to hold the government liable for torture. or to hold any individual like ashcroft or cheney or others liable for torture. and you know, you can't have a free society if some people have a license to torture other
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people. >> let's get to john before the house gavels in here in new jersey. an independent caller. hi, john. >> caller: good morning and thank you for c-span and thanks for this terrific guest this morning. how about president how about president obama's selling about $100 billion worth of weapons to saudi arabia. and -- >> i don't know what happened there. sorry to you. pick that up. saudi arabia, selling weapons. >> yeah. thanks for the call. president obama has worked really hard to cover saudi arabia's -- the cover for saudi arabia. and sold them a lot of weapons. right now the u.s. has been providing support for a saudi war in yemen. the saudis have called a large number of yemen civilians. there is no good reason for the u.s. to be backing that up. the saudis have been the primary
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funders of the isis paris group and other extreme groups. there was a story in the "the new york times" about how the saudis helped bank roll extremist muslim clerics and encouraging those to go to the middle east for a jihad. there with a lot of good people in saudi arabia. i hope the government does better there. >> at this hearing this morning with the tsa administrator, what are you watching for from the administrator? >> i assume that, you know, tsa has been having hearings like this going back for more than a decade. i assume he'll just kind of, you know, make promises that they'll fix things, i fired this person and now we're supposed to pretend it's better. it won't get better. >> thank you very much. jim bovard.
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appreciate the conversation. >> thank you. this sunday night on q&a, betty koed talks about various events in senate history. >> i came in june of 1998 as a newly minted historian. my colleague said to me, it's going to be nice and quiet. we have an election coming up. you'll have lots of time to settle in and read and get comfortable in your job. within a few weeks the house decided to improech bill clinton and we got very busy very quickly and had to do a good deal of research on impeachment trials. the senate, the senate leaders at that time, trent lot and tom daschle really wanted to follow historical precedence as much as they could. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a.
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♪ madam secretary, reproudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. ♪ ♪ our road to the white house coverage continues thursday from california at 4:00 p.m. eastern we'll take you live to ventura for a campaign rally with bernie sanders. then at 4:30 hillary clinton hold a rally in san jose. that will.
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live on c-span. the heads of washington, d.c.'s transit system and the federal transit administration were at a house hearing on the safety and reliability issues of washington, d.c.'s metro rail system. this is about two hours and 15 minutes. >> we'll g ahead and call the hearing to order. today we're going to discuss how the washington metro system is going to address safety and reliability issues. the issues important to all of the members here because when we have constituents come in, we want to make sure that when they come here to see the nation's capital that they should be able to move around the region safely and efficiently. the federal government invested billions in metro. metro has been plagued by long standing well-documented safety issues.
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and unfortunately investigations from the 1980s, from the 1990 as and today have a common frame, lack of communication and safety procedures. the focus of today is how the system is going to change. and i'm heartened to hear the metro's new general manager paul wiedefeld is going to talk about addressing the may not nebs bag log. the committee is going to watch to make sure that the talk turns into action. the fta is playing an important role at metro's temporary direct safety oversight entity. the fta is here today to share with us what it's going to do to promote safety and reliability at the metro. congress can't legislate communication and can't buy a safety cull her. they have to take action on responsibility of providing safe transit in our nation's capital and has to be held account to believe the federal, state and local taxpayers.
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i look forward to a frank discussion. i'm going to yelled the rest of him time to congresswoman comstock. >> thank you, chairman. first of all, last friday when metro's general manager paul wiedefeld is with us today terminated 20 managers, seven of whom were considered senior. i think we all hope this is just the beginning of a new error of accountability at met trop. and i know our washington delegation all voiced support for you in this action. as well as a number of your recent actions. we need to find new ways to run this rail. i join congressman delaney on changing the board structure on that front. we're pleased to see more board members are more focused on being experienced board members. on cost issues, according to fta and d.o.t. data, metro's rail
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costs run 120% to 150% higher than comparable transit systems. that is why i appreciate that mr. wiedefeld said at a recent event he offended with me that he's not asking for more money but is very much focused on addressing these issues and how we can restructure metro and address the issues and find way to do bet per. i'm concerned that there's a clause in the current labor agreement which states, the authority shall not contract out or subcontract any work normally performed by the employees within the bargaining unit defined in this agreement which would result in a layoff, transfer or demotion of these employees. does this prevent metro from having the kind of flexibility to realize the cost savings of contracting out track work and having the best people at the best price do this work. i know i've talked with a new general manager and fta about
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these issues. i'm met with businesses who are doing track work who tell us they can do this at lower costs than we're paying. and our current costs seem to run well ahead of the costs. i want to see how we're using new technologies that can document the track work being done, technologies that can save money and increase safety in transparency and already been used in other rail systems around the country. i hope we can explore that more. since i am chairman on the research and subcommittee in science, anywhere with can assist you on that. we want to find the best most cost efficient systems to save our taxpayers money. finally i want to address the report last night about a rape that occurred last month on metro in broad daylight, 10:00 in the morning. i hear this from people all of the time, the concerns about basic personal safety. i've had people approach me, my
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own stations having personal safety issues. this is something that's obviously unacceptable but also a concern that this wasn't immediately made known when this report was made and how are we doing all of these things. i appreciate -- we've talked about this new era of transparency as well as the culture of safety that we need and finding better ways to save money. but i appreciate that you've talked about putting more people on the front lines, in the stations and i think this very troubling incident is one of the many reasons we have to have more people out of the back office and on the front lines protecting our customers and constituents. i thank the chairman and our witnesses today. i thank the chairman very much for this important hearing and for his hard work on this effort. and i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. thank you. >> thank you very much. i turn now to ranking member norton for her opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.
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i have to begin by saying how much i appreciate this hearing. i think the fact that we're having this hearing today points how important ra ma da is, of course, to its immediate region but also the federal government itself. we're locked into this together and into their problems together and unwinding them together. i stress ramada uniqueness. no other metro system across the united states has to respond to three different jurisdictions. that is a built-in structural problem that neither ramada or those of us in the federal government have been able to help ramada somehow get over. it's there and it is one of the reasons for its complexities and
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those complexities play prominently into the changes that are needed. for example, just this morning cemetery fox announced that he was appointing a high level official from his office to help hasten the work of the three jurisdictions in setting up their own safety oversight mechanism. the new chairman, mr. wiedefeld has taken steps that have been acknowledged to be bold and necessary to be sure inconveniencing the public. here we have a dual, a dual -- we have issues that collide. we want the public to be safe and we want the public to be able to ride' get where they're
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going quickly. how ramada solves that during the process when they're overhauling the system is one of the issues that we want to face today. the basic challenge they'll meet this year after essentially rebuild much of the system is how to keep it that way. i want to hear more this morning about that. the word safety culture is thrown around. what does that mean? it is a really scary word. because it means that something is embedded in now the ramad operates that somehow has to be dug out. and the culture notion is it has not been defined. congress passed map 21 giving
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federal transit over public transportation. we reinforced that. and the f.a.s.t. act. and there are issues that pile on to fta that it would like to offload. i think the safe track plan of the general management will help to do that. some of metro's funds are being held up because inexcusably, on top of its other issues, it has a financial crisis in how it dealt with applying for the federal grants. this is something that has to be worked out and worked out very quickly. it works that ramada has taken the necessary actions but that the federal transit administration has not responded appropriately. so if ramada does something right, we expect the federal agency to respond in kind.
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mr. chairman, i'm very anxious to hear the testimony. i appreciate that the witnesses have prepared thoughtful testimony today and i think you see how much today's hearing means to the region that you see three members of the region here to testify. i thank them for coming as well. i yield back, sir. >> thank you very much. i now turn to the chairman of the full committee, bill schuster. >> thank you. we've got the entire house delegation that represents the area which we can tell it's an important issue to them. but it's really an important issue to all of us. millions of people come to washington, d.c. every year from around -- our fellow citizens to people from around the world. and this transit system really ought to be the crown jewel of the transit systems around the country. in fact, they get more money per
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capita than any other system in the country but they also spend more money than any other system in the country. we've got to bring those things into alignment. this needs to be a system, safety has to be paramount. and for over 50 years, as mentioned, the metro system has benefitted by federal support. this is important to the entire nation that we get this right. in addition to the monies that the federal government gives to the metro system, also 40% of the metro's rush hour required, federal employees are provided a subsidy to ride the system. the safety of the people that we work with every day and depend on us to help operate the government depend on this system being a safe and reliable system. the safety reliability record has deteriorated. it's not switched its responsibility from building a system to operating and
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maintaining a system. what it takes, i believe, is a cultural change at metro. and i'm pleased that the new ceo i think is doing just that. what the federal transit administration is temporarily taken over that authority and the administrator flowers is here to talk about that. that oversight needed to be done because metro hasn't been able to do it appropriately. secretary fox has given one year to the ramada, virginia, maryland and d.c. to step up to the plate and do what's necessary. and last year congress passed the f.a.s.t. act. we strengthened the fta's safely oversight and provided them with more federal dollars that the citizens of america contributing to the system. as i said, this should be the crown jewel of the system and it's not. and we deserve to have that. the new ceo, paul wiedefeld is
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here. and his record as a manager of making things run in the proper way, he's got the right resume for it and i think his strong statements in just his first year really has woken folks up to the need for strong management, for a cultural change at this transit system. so again, i welcome my colleagues here. i look forward to hearing from them and also from mr. wiedefeld and ms. flowers on this issue. thank you very much. yield back. >> now turn to ranking member da faz yo. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's sad that we are here today under these circumstances. there's certainly management issues and i'll get into that in a moment. let's get to the bottom line here. congress has neglected to make sufficient investments in infrastructure. everywhere in the country cities are struggling between pressure to build out new transit and new
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options, and that's certainly going on here in what is arguably the most congested traffic region in the united states of america and then maintaining their legacy systems. and congress hasn't been willing to be an equal partner. $84 billion backlog nationally to bring transit up to a state of good repair. yeah, the f.a.s.t. is going to give us a little more money. that's good. but with the amount of money there, we're never going to get a state of good repair. never. it's going to continue -- we're just about treading water. and right now d.o.t. says the average annual level required to eliminate the backlog is $18.5 billion a year. and well, we're putting up 10. uh-oh. that doesn't sound too good, does it? it's pretty embarrassing when in
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what's called the capital of the free world, the greatest country on earth, we're killing people on a transit system with a combination of budgetary pressures. what about the money? we cannot ignore the need for additional investment. now when the so-called american recovery act passed, which i voted against because 4% of that $800 billion went into infrastructure investment, 4%. city like chicago just pulled projects off the shelf. they had the money committed in 30 days. they could have spent 10, 20 times as much money on projects sitting on the shelf waiting to happen that are critical for the safety and security of their riders. and obviously the efficiency of the system. so we cannot ignore the
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thousand-pound gorilla in the room. we aren't putting up the money we need to be a good partner. we only partner 50% and we don't pay -- we don't help with operations. and you know, we're just walking away from that. so that's why we're here today. so let's not just say this was a management issue or oh gee, they spend more money or they're less efficient. yeah, those are all issues. this is not a unique circumstance. what is happening here in washington, d.c. is getting attention. but there's -- that's happening in every major legacy system across the country today an it's happening in cities that want to give their people new transit options and have to choose between running a bus with a billion miles on it that's breaking down every day, maybe the brakes don't work so well and giving people the option to get them out of congestion. we shouldn't have to make those choices. the country, the united states of america can afford to do
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both, afford to partner and rebuild and maintain and build out the new options. it's going to take a new attitude here in congress. i've offered many ways to help increase transit funding. they've all been rejected. we weren't allowed to vote on one single option, one amendment when they did the f.a.s.t. track. we pretended. in fact we took money from the tsa to help pay for the bill and now people are standing in line at the airports. wow. we're going to keep shuffling stuff around until nothing works in this country anymore. thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to the hearing. >> today we have two panels. and i want to welcome our first panel. the honorable sven any hoyer, gerald conley and the honorable john delaney representing the sixth district 0 maryland. i'd ask that our witness's full statements be included in the record.
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and with that objection that is so ordered. and with that we'll start with mr. hoyer. thank you for being here. >> chairman graves and ranking remember defazio. i want to associate myself with the remarks from the gentleman from mr. p pennsylvania, mr. schuster. clearly this was the crown jewel. clearly nobody would be calling it the crown jewel today and clearly it must be the crow jewel for all of the reasons that the chairman mentioned. we used to call this america's subway. millions of constituents in this room use this system. i appreciate the opportunity to share my input regarding the transit authority and the need for robust investment and high safety standard. the safety and reliability of the metro is of krit kol pornts, not only to washington, d.c. and its surrounding communities. it's also critical to the smooth
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functioning of the federal government and national defense and homeland security. both civilian and military rely on the metro to get do their offices and to their duty stations. my district is over to 62,000 federal employees, many who serve in military jobs located here. many of them depend on metro to get to work each day to serve the american people. metro is a crucial tool for the millions of americans and foreign visitors who come to our nation's capital each year. that is the premise which underlines our federal focus. i join the rest of the delegation last wednesday for a meeting with paul wiedefeld, metro's new general manager of whom many of you have spoken and spoken positively. i think that appropriately as well. to discuss the new safe track plan which aims to address maintenance and rehabilitation
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to improve safety. however we spoke on a more broad basis than simply the fast track -- or the safe track program. the recent incidents for fire and day long shut down for inspections have brought to light a number of critical repairs that must be done to ensure that the required are always safe when using the metro system. in some ways these problems with the result of past failure to invest adequately in long term maintenance and upgrades. as the new 7,000 series cars are brought into the fleet, we need to make sure that the tracks and tunnels that these new modern cars run on are up to date as well. metro safety and reliability is a critical concern for residents of maryland's fifth district which is home to communities served by all of metro's lines.
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i am disappointed, as i know many are, that metro needs to implement the safe track plan in the first place. but it is necessary. we shouldn't be in a situation, however, where entire lines need to be shut down for maintenance and where the predictability and reliability of train schedules has been undermined. but i'm very impressed with mr. wiedefeld's leadership and his determination to take the steps necessary to put metro back on course to be a system that all in our region and in our country can be proud of. we have a ways to go before we can get to that point. but it is encouraging that the leadership is fully committed to putting passenger safety first and acting to improve safety in the near and in the long term. now, mr. chairman, i hope the shub committee and the full committee will support investments in metro's safety and service so that safe track
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plan will be as successful as possible as quickly as possible. congress has a responsibility to make sure that the metro system which we call america's subway can well serve those and serve american citizens as well. i want to thank ranking member eleanor holmes norton for her entiring advocacy on behalf of metro and all those who ride it. mr. chairman, i want to ensure you and mr. schuster and ms. norton and mr. defazio that the washington metropolitan delegation is united to ensure working with you that america's subway is a subway system second to none. thank you very much. >> thank you, congressman hoyer. next is congressman connelly.
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>> chairman graves, chairman schuster, thank you for having us here today. i'm delighted to join with my colleagues, mr. hoyer and mr. delaney. i serve as the ranking member of the government operations subcommittee of the oversight government reform committee which held it own hearings on the metro. the challenges facing metro are significant and i welcome collaboration between our two committees to ensure robust oversight over the management of federal dollars and the adherence to federal safety standards. i spent the last 22 years working at metro, first as a chairman where i made appointment to the board and approved the local operating subsidy. for the past eight years i've worked with your and your colleague to secure the $150 million annual commitment for metro safety improvements which
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is matched dlarts for dollar by d.c., virginia an maryland. no one is more disheartened than i am. i want to start by commending this committee for your efforts through map 21 and then the f.a.s.t. to create a comprehensive framework of safety standards for metro and all of the nation's transit system. as the ft as and ntsb has highlighted again and again, the tri-state oversight committee is a paper tiger without the proper resources and tools to provide effective oversight. our partners are working together to stand up a new metro safety commission next year that will meet and enforce the new federal standards. until then secretary fox acting under new norts in the f.a.s.t. has appointed fta.
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i respectfully disagreed to that action, deferring instead to the ntsb's recommendation, i share the committee's ultimate goal for addressing the shocking lack of safety culture within metro. to that end i welcome an opportunity to work with you to explore further ekts panneding the fta's authorities to bretter match the oversight and the enforcement authorities to address the ntsb's safety recommendations. in fact metro's new general manager indicated he's voluntarily directing his team the explore what fra standard they can apply on their own. regardless of what style of transit commuters are using, they deserve to know they are being protected by effective and enforceable federal standards. what we're witnessing today with metro is to result of a deck katsds long march into med yok
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kraty and dysfunction. arcing and smoke in the tunnels have become all too frequent and are scaring riders away. recent arcing incidents led the general manager to take the step of shuttering the entire system for 24 hours in march. and earlier this month the two stations serving capitol hill were closed during the evening rush hour. mr. wiedefeld recently released an aggressive proposal to single track and shut down portions of metro lines for days at a time in order to condense three years worth of deferred maintenance, three years into one year. this will present significant and sustained challenges to riders in the federal government. federal employees account for 40% of all metro riders.
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so we have called on opm and all federal agencies to push flexible work schedules during this time. of course metro cannot focus only on track and infrastructure repairs. a complete system wide change in culture is necessary. safety and personnel actions already taken by by wiedefeld should serve as a shot across the bow that indifference to safety and customer service will no longer be tolerated. these are not problems that can be fixed overnight. metro and its partners face a monumental task and the federal government must be a full fundi funding partner in this effort. i look forward to expanding our commitment. the federal government does not pay any shares of subsidies.
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we must finally create a designated source of reeve knew for funding metro. these are critical to metro's future success. metro has been our single greatest regional achievement and in many ways or single biggest disappointment. we can restore america's subway to the place of prominence it once held and setting the standard for other transits across the nation. thank you. >> thank you, mr. connelly. next is representative john delaney. thanks for being here. >> thank you. i want to thank the chair and the ranking member and all of my colleagues for giving me this opportunity to discuss metro with you today. it's very important to my constituents, many of which use the system on a daily basis. it's also important as we know to everyone who lives in the national capital region and to all of the visitors of the nation's capital. clearly metro is an organization
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in crisis with significant deficiencies around safety, around reliability, around customer service and around financial management. and if you diagnose the problems with metro, you realize there are several causes. the first ranking member norton discussed, which is metro effectively reports to four governing jurisdictions, d.c., maryland, virginia and the federal government. this four-headed monster makes it very difficult for metro to get the funding and oversight that would be optimal for an organization of its scale. secondly, as ranking member defazio talk and, by any measure metro has been underfunded and it's lacked a reliable source of funding which has created greater uncertainty. and finally it's clearly been mismanaged, perhaps for several decades. when you look back at management decision bs, clearly poor decisions were made. i like you want to exclude the current general manager from
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that criticism because i share the view that he's off to a good start. but i think there's another issue that needs to be considered when you talk about what's going on with metro. and this gets to chairman schuster's comments about culture, which is metro has clearly had a deficient couple chur as it relates to its priorities. and i think that raises a governance question. in other words, what's hang in terms of the board, the board of directors in the governance and management of metro. as someone who spent my career in the private sector charg two publicly trade company and being on the board of highly performing nonprofits, i think governance really matters because a good board sets the correct mission, sets the correct strategic goals. the most important responsibility is to recruit management, to hold them accountable. if they're not living up to the goals, make management changes and to secure the funding that the enterprise needs. and the way they secure the funding is by making people believe that they're actually
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running the place right. and i think this is a significant question with metro. right now metro has a 16-person board. four of those members are appointed by relevant jurisdiction and currently there are no standards for who those members can be. the chairman i think you said you can't legislate certain thing. one thing you can't legislate is good governance but you can make sure we have the best people possible sitting around the table making the decisions, instead of people who are given a board spot because they raised a lot of money for their elected officer. what i've tried to do is put forth a framework where the jurisdictions will be required as part of their appointment process to certify that the members that they're appointing are experts in either finance, in management, in transit or in
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safety. i think this will put people with more qualifications and more experience around the board table at metro. and i think it will encourage maybe longer term thinking. because my sense is these people will probably have more experience in board governance matters and they won't think about their own unique interest in the particular jurisdictions they represent. but spend more time thinking about the good of the whole enterprise, which is what a real fiduciary should do. so i think to talk about specific things we can do to talk about the culture, in addition to getting new funding, supporting the new management changes, i think there are important things we can do around governance. i applaud secretary fox taking a step in this direction. we recently changed all of ted federal appointee to the board and put up four people who clearly have expertise in safety. we would also like to see some people sitting around the table who have finance experience,
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management experience and transit experience. get real experts thinking long term, and holding them accountab accountable. i think over time that can change the culture of metro. i appreciate the opportunity to be here with you. >> with that i'll dismiss the first panel and we'll bring the second panel up. thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, while the second panel is coming up, i would like to ask that the statement of representative chris van hollen, a member represents a jurisdiction in the region be admitted to the record. and i would like to ask unanimous consent to correct the record and have a chart that shows federal funding for ramada
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as opposed to other agencies. ramada receives 19% of its budget from federal contributions, 17% is the industry average on fares. ramada's fares cover 32.6% of its budget where the industry average is 23.3%. and i ask that this chart be entered into the record as well. >> without objection. so ordered. i would like to take the opportunity to welcome the second panel. we have paul wiedefeld, chaarol flowers, and tim lovain. with that i would ask unanimous
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consent that our witnesses' full statements be included in the record. without objection that is so ordered. and since the written statements are going to be included in the record, try to limit your comments to five minutes. with that, mr. wiedefeld, we'll start with you. >> good morning chairman graves and ranking member norton and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i'm paul wiedefeld. what i thought i would do is just summarize very quickly what my priority have been since i joined november 30th for the agency. talk about what we're up against and what i'm trying to do about it and wrap up with concluding remarks. my priorities are obviously safety, fiscal management. so what we're up against, i think it's important just to step back and think about the physical nature of what we're up against before we get into the management issues. i think we have to recognize that this is a two-track
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railroad system which presents a lot of challenges for maintenan maintenance. you add on top of that decades of delayed maintenance and underfunding, that's created a lot of the issues that we're dealing with. on top of that is an aging fleet. the cars, the trains themselves. that's on the rail side. it's also important to recognize that metro is more than just rail. it's also a very major bus system. we do almost 600,000 people a day on the bus system alone. we have a much better fleet but we have basic infrastructure systems that need to be fixed. particularly in garages. in terms of the agency what i found is what i've heard echoed here, a lack of safety and service culture in the organization. that permeates throughout the entire organization. there's been a lack of accountability on the management, on the front line people and also a lack of strong
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management systems put in place. there's been a lack of sustainability and predicting source over the decades for the system. we're facing ridership decline. some of that is elf inflected by the performance levels we've provided but also the change in the demographics. metro access is increasing in demand. 's one of our most expensive services and we need to think about how we provide that service as well. crime as was mentioned is a concern for all transit agencies. unfortunately we've had terrible and visible incidents on our system recently, both 0 the passengers and some of our employees. always in the back and front of my mind is terrorism and we have to make sure we're doing everything in our part to be prepared for anything that may occur there. in march i released a customer accountability report where basically there are 60 action items that we've outlined what we're doing to increase the
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overall performance and customer service portion of what we do. i did release the rail maintenance plan called safe track. basically the current approach is not working. we need a transparent process how we good about that upgrading of the tracks. i've been working with our manufacturer of the cars of the train sets which is kawasaki. we now have 134 in prop, 120 in service. 748 of those ordered and as soon as we get those to the point where i'm comfortable that we've got what we paid for, we and increase the delivery of the cars. the bus fleet is maintained well so we'll continue if that area. on the metro access we're looking at brokering some outside third party vendors to provide better service there. in terms of safety and service culture, that starts with me driving home that that is the most important thing that we do. recently i've come out with a
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number of things to reinforce that. safety trumps all. we have our track inspectors and people that are the ability to understand the system can shut down the system at any time if they see something they want to get out and look at, which is not the case in the past. we have a new chief safety officer which i just brought in earlier this month. we're looking at the police are doing a metro, basically constantly metro stat where we monitor the system every day, literally minute by minute to apply the resources and we're adding new resources there. the good news is that the system other the years, last 40 years has driven the economic development and our culture here. and the business communities behind it, elected officials are behind it and the riders are behind it. my job is to get iter performing better and then we'll deal with the other issues. my priorities are is safety,
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service life and the fiscal management and that will continue to be my focus in the near term. with that i'll be glad to take any questions. >> thank you very much. ms. flowers? >> thank you chairman graves, ranking member norton, chairman schuster, members of the subcommittee. thank you for inviting me to report on the transit authority. together safety and reliability come price the minimum we should expect from public transportation. and yet on both counts ramada has fallen short. in recent years the result has been not only delay and disruption but also injury and fatality. our goal at fta is to make sure that they restore safety and reliability for its riders and employees. we're conducting underground inspections, leading accident investigations and directing safety improvements that must be
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made. to do this we're exercising the authority congress provided our agency. congress fist authorized fta to oversee the public transportation systems. over the course of the past four years we have worked with transit industry stakeholder to develop regulations that would be effective, enforceable and adaptable, the opposite of one size fits all. where state safety oversight agencies do not exist or where they fail, congress gave fta is statutory authority to step in. and that where he is we are today in the d.c. met thero are. fta's direct oversight of ramada is temporary. virginia, maryland and the district of columbia must set up an agency that is fully
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functioning. nonetheless, since fta assumed oversight, we've been able to work with ramada to get results. they have made steady progress in addressing the findings of our initial safety management inspection lasting year and responded to troublingdy feshcys we discovered at the rail operations control center. although our investigation of this incident -- sorry. i lost a page. sorry. as a result of the findings from fta in april, three key areas, red signal overrun, track integrity and vehicle securement, some track was taken out of service immediately to make repairs and hundreds of defects have been fixed. in addition to identifying and ordering the correction of safety problems, we've also conducted a review of ramada's
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grant applications to ensure that the federal funds are being used to address the recommendations. but most troubling however is the fact that they've failed to create an enduring culture of safety. although this problem goes much further back, i would like to talk about a recent example. on may 5th, a third rail understand later exploded alongside the platform at the federal center southwest station. although our investigation of this incident is ongoing, our preliminary information shows that ramada's response was slow and inadequate. operational convenience was clearly prioritized above safety. not only did they fail to notify fta a timely manner, they waited for hours for access of the track after service was resumed. it was only later in the day when another fire occurred in the same area that the track was
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taken out of service and the problem was thoroughly addressed. such errors are simply unacceptable. safety must come first before service. as a result, we issued a safety directive requiring ramada to take immediate action to mitt gate fire and smoke risks, improve emergency planning and preparedness and conduct a safety standdown. we've verified that ramada has taken steps to address these actions and paul wiedefeld has been responsive to our safety concerns. but the agency still has a difficult task ahead. beyond the need for critical investment in infrainfrastructu every one of their employees must make a personal commitment to safety. we're working to help restore metrorail's safety and
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reliability. thank you. >> ms. flowers. next we'll hear from mr. lovain. >> i'm tim lovain chair of the board at the metropolitan council of governments. the transportation planning ford is the federally designated metropolitan planning organization for the national capital region responsible for a continuing, comprehensive and cooperative planning process in this area that includes 22 jurisdictions and over 5 million residents. i would like to thank chairman graves and ranking member norton for the opportunity to appear before you today. i've submitted more detailed testimony so in any oral remarks i'll emphasis three things. first how critical metro is to our nation, second its importance to this region's largest employer and finally the efforts under way to help metro
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improve safety and service reliability and be the world class system the nation deserves. last year, two million jobs, more than half a million zwrobs are located within a half a mile radius of the station and bus stops. 77 of the bus stops are in activity centers. 86% of this region's new office construction is occurring within one quarter mile of metrorail stations. metro helps to tie the multistate region together. it will shape few chr patterns, helping our region accommodate more jobs and people other the next 30 years. one in five riders come from zero car households. for example, metro provided 1.1
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million rail trips on inauguration day in 2009. as noted, the federal workforce represents 33% of the commuters and 40% of this region's federal workforce use the metrorail system. 315 buildings with federal officings are within one half mile of the sayings. enat's gsa policy to plo kate future office space near metro. it is very important that this federal funding program be retained as it is critical to undertaking and completing needed safety and state of good repair work. metro's importance is magnified by the fact that washington, d.c. is the most important national capital in the world. our 19 million annual visitors to the region come from around
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the country and around the world. their impressions of the d.c. region and our nation as a hole are shaped in prt by their experience on the metro system. when metrorail opened 40 years ago it gained a reputation as a world class system and we need to restore the reputation. we certainly acknowledge that metro is facing significant challenges that characterize a world class system. this issue has the full attention and commitment of the state and local government levels within the region and we're pleased that the federal transit administration has been an active partner. the work is being tackled on many fronts. fta is providing the lead working with the states. on the management front, we're pleased that paul widefield has taken action. there's more work to be down and our region has come together to work on it. one additional and important
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resource that is needed to address the safety and reliability challenges, beyond mr. widefieedefelwiedefeld's po reform. we do not have a dedicated source of funding for his operations. i believe that lack of dedicated funding contributed to metro's maintenance short falls. that's why region noll leaders are coordinating through the greater washington board of trait to explore how we can work together to provide long term predictable sustainable funding support. and we look forward to continued and hopefully increased financial support from the federal government as well. i am confident that this region and the federal government can continue our partnership and rise up to address metro's challenges. working together we can make metro a regional and national asset for decades to come. thank you. >> thank you very much. we'll move into questions.
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and my first question is for mr. wiedefeld. ntsb investigations of different ramada incidents from 1982 all the way up to last year have unfortunately had very similar findings. it's come down to improper training, inadequate emergency response by the operations control staff which was pointed out by ms. flowers. why didn't metro -- two questions here. why didn't metro provide better training and staffing for emergency preparedness and the second question is, what have you changed at the rail operations control center to make sure that this doesn't repeat itself? >> i can't speak to the history of what training they did. i know what we're doing. one of the things i have done, i did replace the head of the operations center in april. i have a new head there. we have added additional staff there.
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a more robust training program that came out of some of the incidents in the past. we've staffed up. we have a fire liaison for instance now were 24/7. when i got here it was 16 hours out of the day. we now have him for 24 hours. we want the communication. fta is monitoring the activities daily at the operations center to make sure that the proper procedures are being followed. we're doing basically we started spot testing of our controllers to make sure they're part of exercises and in effect we throw curve balls at them during those exercises. it's an effort that we have to continue to work on but we're moving in that direction. >> i have a question for ms. flowers, too, which the committee is concerned about the safety and reliability for sure. but we're also concerned about
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the need for all of the transit agencies all across the countrys as to their efficiency and you know, we want them to be as productive as possible with the federal resources that they're receiving. my question is, what's the fta doing to ensure that its transit agency recipients are most efficiently using the limited resources, you know, that they are receiving and are you considering contracting out work through competitive bid, whenever that is appropriate? ms. flowers. for the fta. >> okay. chairman graves we are -- we are program management oversight as well as grant management oversight of our grantees. and we do contract out some of that work so that we can, on a
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national basis, be able to monitor our over 800 grantees. >> how about the work -- so you monitor -- or you contract out the work to monitor them? >> yes. and we perform trienial audits. >> how about when it comes to the work, you know, whether that's maintenance work or other things too, putting that out for competitive bid. do you ever encourage that in. >> at the grantee level they make decisions under procurement. but we do ask them to be effective in the use of our funds. i know that ms. comstock that the option of looking at contracting out would be something that she would encourage. that our, you know, agencies
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that do contract out to try to ensure that they effectively use our funds. >> thank you. and i have some more questions but i'm going to turn to ms. norton for her opening questions. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. ms. flowers, i want to thank all of you at fta for the new financial discipline you are apparently importing into metro. quiet as it's kept, metro's or ramada's financial record keeping mirrors or has mirrored the much more widely understood and known issues of safety, particularly financial accountability, a system that was in disarray. that directly affects safety, of course. whereas most of the money that
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ramada is getting is for safety. if you look behind some of the criticism ramada has received within we're told that $783 million of federal transit funding for ramada is going unspent. so everyone assumes that ramada is sitting on money and that ramada a really ineffective by not spending money it already has. how could it want more money. but if you look behind these numbers, ms. flowers, you find that $300 million of it is obligated for safety projects and for new cars, and the remaining amount is waiting reimbursement through fta. now according to the information we've been given from fta, in order to bring itself into the
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compliance it solely needed -- and again i thank you for the discipline that apparently is working. ramada has come mind with all 45 recommendations of fta, submitted the required 65 corrective action plans, is working with fta on a testing and validation planned, close five of the required testing and validation items and have committed 1 is to fta for review of the remaining four will be done at a later date and will be submitted on time. ms. flowers, a recent inspector general report of fta criticized fta for not having consistent policies when it in fact
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undertakes a very serious matter, which is to withhold federal funds, which in this case means that the three jurisdictions get to pay. this report was entitled fta monitored grantees' corrective actions but lacks policy and guidance to oversee grantees with restricted access to federal funds. and it found, for example, with respect to ramada, here i'm quoting, that ramada was required to mail hard copies of the invoice imagins to a contra north carolina to review which is more time and resource intensive than other processes. so my question, given the need for every penny ramada can get,
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my question to you is, can you specifically identify at what point ramada will be able to return to normal restrictions as procedures for accessing federal funds that the congress appropriated to it, rather than drawing down funds by hand which can take anywhere from ten days to two weeks for the money to get to ramada for safety and other matters. >> we are on site at ramada and we were there yesterday to work on a plan, we call a snapshot plan to try to expedite the
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issues you're talking about. we're also addresses the issues of trying to expedite the drawdowns of ramada. >> if they've complied in this way, what is left to be done, so we can understand what is outstanding? >> we're in the final steps of the verification process. so. >> so do you expect in a few months, do you expect by the end of the year? when do you expect ramada will be able to access its funds in the normal fashion rather than by hand? >> in this last step, if we see that the documentation is verified, we should be able to, i think, have a targeted lifting of restricted drawdown in certain areas. there's some of the older stuff that i believe that will still
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be there. but we can work with them in terms of addressing targeted and focused areas to lift that dropdown. >> but you don't have a time line of when you might be able to accomplish -- the burden is on you. they've done what you've asked them to do. the reason i'm pressing you on the question is if they've done all that you've asked them to do, the burden shifts by when do you think ramada will be accountable enough so that these drawdowns will no longer be necessary? >> we're verifying that documentation and i expect that in the next few week we will have completed this step. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. i now recognize chairman schuster for five minutes. >> first, i appreciate the witnesses being here today to ted. a really important issue. i also want to say i think congressman delaney's testimony
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was spot on. i that that one of the things he said paramount in all of this if you want to attract the dollars to a corporation, an organization of any kind, you have to demonstrate that you deploy those dollars efficiently to get things done. and i think that's something that before this committee or this congress says we're going to give more money to the metro, we've got to see it demonstrated and i don't think it's been done over the last several years or couple decades that they've employed the dollars in the most efficient way. that requires a cultural change at the agency, which i think the new ceo mr. wiedefeld has set the standard. he said some tough things, any theeded to and any needs to take tough action. my question is to managing the employees. and i think if you're going to shake up a culture at an organization -- and i spent 20 years of my life in business and
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had the unfortunate circumstance to have to terminate people. when i thought about this question it brought me back to one of the first hearings i had in this room 15 years ago with the epa associate administrator for hr. the previous congress before i was here, they passed a law saying that the federal employees must follow the guidelines congress sets in legislation. so my question to the epa administrator was, how many people in the last year out of 17,000, how many people did you prior? took him a couple of whispers back and forth to tell me they fired one person. terminating and firing people are unpleasant. but people don't do the job, they're doing stuff unsafe, they're negligent, illegal, you need to terminate them. so my question to mr. wiedefeld, do you have the tools necessary -- i know you're coming up to a contract negotiation soon. do you have the tools necessary if you have a mechanic, and if a
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mechanic was negligent or illegal or unsafe, try to work with him but eventually sometimes unfortunately you have to terminate. do you have those tools available to you that you're able to say to people that aren't doing the job we've got to let you go, or they locked in and protected like so many of these government agencies that you can't do anything about it. my example is the epa is perfect. 17,000 people. they terminated one person. that doesn't make sense. >> i'll come at it from two levels, the management side and the front line employee. in terms of the management, three weeks ago i sent a letter out to -- i have roughly 650 at-will managers. those are frontally supervisors and superintendents. i sent out a letter to all of them, you know, explaining what my priorities are and my management style. but more important i had them sign a piece of paper that
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recognized they were at will. shortly after they held a meeting with all 650 of them. first time in the history of the agency where we did that. i explained what we're doing and that accountability is the most important thing they have to do besides safety and customer service. shortly after that i terminated a number of managers recently and i have currently a review of the entire organization in terms of whether there's redundancies or other times positions that haven't been dealt with. that's ongoing. i'll continue to manage that. that's where i have a little clear capabilities. on the front line side i have the ability to let people go. we have processes for that. it depends on the type of discretion. if a skatation manager is in a uniform, they get a couple of dings. to basically any major incident
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i can terminate immediately. that does not mean they don't have the right to grieve, and we do through the whole process. that is set up in the contract and that eventually can get to an ash ar ba tore. and we do that on a regular basis both on labor and management. >> i appreciate hearing that from you. again, we've got to make sure that safety is paramount. the people that ride this, whether they're from the area, whether they're from other parts of the united states or around the world, they deserve to have a receive system. and if somebody is working for the metro that isn't, we need to make sure that safety is paramount and we can't tolerate people not doing their jobs. i wish you well and so far have been improeszed with your management style so far. thank you for being here today.
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>> and i now recognize ranking member da faz yo for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. ms. flowers, i realize you're briefly on the job.

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